Hellknights and Jade Regent


Jade Regent

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So, I'm not even halfway through my current game (CotCT) and my players are already discussing what should be run next. One of the major front-runners is Jade Regent (with Hell's Rebels and Ruins of Azlant a close second).

One of the players very much wanted to play a Hellknight in CotCT but given that involving her character with the campaign would have in effect involved her entire order I couldn't see fit to allow it for that campaign.

It is starting to seem very unlikely I'm going to be able to hold it off for JR however.

Seeing how her other option of interest is in an inquisitor of Zon Kuthon I'm inclined to find a way to make it work.

Any Hellknight scholars with deep knowledge of JR who can tell me how I could tie in the most troublesome of organizations to the path?

The suggestion that Hellknights are troublesome is the opinion of the OP and not indicative of the posting masses as a whole. Any opinions are the responsibility of the OP and not actionable by the universe at large.

A potential fugitive for Order of the Chain perhaps?

Acquisitives

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

eh. it doesn't really fit.

the idea of jade regent is to go and liberate a nation - on the other hand the hellknight is by his nature all about tyranny and oppression.

maybe you could squeeze in a hellknight of the order of the torrent or the order of the scar... but here's the thing - the players start at level 1, hellknight is a prestige class, and in jade regent, they set out on a journey that takes them to the other side of the world.

so... how exactly does a level one character, who doesn't spend any time being around hellknights, become a hellknight?

it just doesn't make any sense for the campaign. the zon kuthon idea is also right out - it just doesn't make sense for the campaign. tell the player that they need to have a more conventional character, and you'll run the "evil" campaign in the future.

someone wants to be a hellknight - great - just do it in Hell's Vengeance.

Silver Crusade

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Hellknights are not all Evil, though most lean to it. Case in point as you pointed out, the Order of the Torrent are mostly Good and are your allies in Hell's Rebels.

Secondly you are not required to have levels in the Hellknight prestige class in order to be a member of a Hellknight Order. It's an organization. Not every person has levels in the class.

A wayward Order of the Pike or Order of the Torrent might work I guess in JR. For backstory they could have been raised by Hellknights or have been aspiring to be one, I know Order of the Pike is definitely popular in Varisia.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rysky wrote:

Hellknights are not all Evil, though most lean to it. Case in point as you pointed out, the Order of the Torrent are mostly Good and are your allies in Hell's Rebels.

Secondly you are not required to have levels in the Hellknight prestige class in order to be a member of a Hellknight Order. It's an organization. Not every person has levels in the class.

A wayward Order of the Pike or Order of the Torrent might work I guess in JR. For backstory they could have been raised by Hellknights or have been aspiring to be one, I know Order of the Pike is definitely popular in Varisia.

the key bit is "I guess"

Hellknights are not a good fit, thematically, with Jade Regent, which is a campaign about friendship, a journey, and a revolution. None of those things are "hellknighty".

Can you do it? Of course. You can do lots of things. But the campaign would be better served with another character type.

as for the other option of Hell's Rebels, a Hellknight is right out (unless it is as the Order of the Torrent, in which case, it fits right in), as is the inquisitor of zon kuthon.

Silver Crusade

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It's a journey about camaraderie and reestablishing a rightful ruler, that's something a Hellknight PC could get behind.

Whether it would work or not entirely depends on the player and the group.

Back to Hell's Rebels yeah a standard follower of Zon Kuthon is straight out, but one of those heretical LN followers who are trying to redeem him could work.


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As noted above, Hellknights are predominantly lawful, not evil.

Hellknights are, at their core, all about bringing order to chaos. And there is a ton of room to do that in Jade Regent! Especially since "chaos" doesn't necessarily mean, "Run by chaotic people." but rather, "Not following the proper way of things." (for a given definition of "proper" that actually is unique to the Hellknight mindset).

I am not suuuuuuuuuuper-knowledgeable of the AP, but I know a lot about some parts of it, and am loosely planning on running it, so I might be able to help somewhat.

Before we do anything else, let's just acknowledge that few official orders actually exist in Varisia, and being a Hellknight from level one is... tough, at best, given the entry requirements of defeating a devil single-handed in a manner witnessed by a Hellknight.

How to handle this?

Well, one idea is starting with a before-the-game "special event" for that player.

Here's a potential scenario:
An imp, escaped from Korvosa (because of course it did) is on the run from its master. Due to <reasons> (experimentation, curses, whatnot) it is a little worse-for-the-wear, compared to normal imps. So let's say that it's wings were shorn off (probably for parts and/or hide), and had stolen a magic item - let's say it was an attempt at an ioun stone that, instead, made it so whenever the creature it was attached to became invisible or gained magical concealment of any sort, the creature was subject to a faerie fire effect.

This magic item, though cursed and more or less worthless on its own, is perhaps an expensive and rare component of a complex project originally being worked on, or became cursed by being removed from that project. In any event, due to the potential danger it represents in an escaped vindictive fiend's hands, some members of a Hellknight Order - either the local Order of the Nail, or traveling members from an appropriate Order of your choice - are chasing it down, as it represents a serious threat to stability.
If the idea that wings were shorn by someone else feels like "not enough 'by yourself' for defeating a devil" consider having the cursed item also force a creature to remain on the ground, and leave its wings intact. In this manner, the devil has done things on its own - its master certainly never commanded it to steal from her/him, and everything becomes a solo adventure against a devil.

EDIT: Also, the Order - and even mage who made it - might not be aware of the item's current status. If it is returned to the rightful owner, I could even see the owner, frustrated by the loss, but thankful for revenge against the imp, send it back to the youth that killed the creature, as a dubious "present" or somesuch. Hey, the owner's a jerk.

The imp, being cursed and frustrated, flees far from Korvosa to a small place called Sandpoint where it spends its time hiding (it still has a solid Stealth (+8 for size, +3 for Dex -> +11; if that's not enough, replace Spellcraft or Knowledge (arcana) to net you +3 and +3 more for a total of +17: this stupid, ill-educated imp didn't know what it was stealing, after all, just that it was shiny and magical), and using a combination of Bluff and suggestion and/or Stealth to get itself hammered on local booze.
This could even be how the PC meets Ameiko - she begins complaining that some of her stores of alcohol have started going missing, recently...

A local - with a sworn oath to <important figure, like dying parent or something> to stay at/help Sandpoint for <arbitrary length of time>*, such that, by the time the campaign starts, the armiger (for that is what she would be), in effect, is compelled to stay here.
* This can also work with specific Orders. For example, if the Order of the Chain witnesses the coming events, and the master/owner of the PC (who is a Chelaxian slave "indentured servant" indicates, "Sure! ... so long as I keep her here." for various reasons, it could be impressive enough that the Order works to make it happen, anyway. Other Orders could have similar specific variants on this.

An inevitable collision occurs, in which the would-be Hellknight PC, equipped with naught but a silver kunai (a weak simple, light weapon, that also works as farming equipment; silver, perhaps, due to being an heirloom, or winning it in a competition, or something) finds and is forced to face the imp, probably in a confined space so that the imp can't readily flee without killing the kid. Though the Hellknights come across the scene of the conflict, either the PC desires to be one, or has a burning desire to be strong, or tough, or honorable, or something, and demands they stay back, or the head of the expedition holds his Hellknights back in order to allow them to watch what is about to transpire.

Now, the imp is still potentially quite dangerous! At a +6 attack value (+8-2), and dealing <1d4-2 plus poison> damage (so, 0 nonlethal, 1 nonlethal, 1 or 2 damage... plus poison) it could still take down our would-be hero.

But let's help a bit more. Let's say our hero is a resourceful an apprentice blacksmith who, with quick thinking, grabs, say, an iron stove door (always a classic) and a massive wooden sign (netting a total of +1 from the kilt, +1 from the haramaki, and +4 from the shield = +7 AC). This evens up the fight quite a bit, bringing odds to actually hitting the hero down to slightly less that 50% (+6 attack v. minimum of 17 AC, maximum of 19 - that forces an 11, 12, or 13 on attack rolls to hit).
If something happens to the equipment, or you don't want to have a weapon so convenient, you can allow the Hellknights to toss a weapon that can pierce the imp's DR to the young would-be devil-slayer. This doesn't count as them battling the creature, and allows the PC to qualify.

In any event, the fight is tough! That imp's AC means a +0 attack bonus (no strength or dex or anything) requires a 17! A successful Bluff to feint (probable success, given the -1 Sense Motive a drunk imp is rocking) can push that down to 13, but that's still not good, comparatively. A +2 or +3 to Str (or Dex with the appropriate class) can push that down to pretty even chances - a 10 or even 9 on a roll - but the whole thing can easily come crashing down.

Note: if you want to make this fight easier, add another curse to the item: a bestow curse effect, specifically, to either weaken attacks or AC, and/or to negate that fast healing - even at +3 Strength modifier to damage, that's five solid hits, ignoring the fast healing.

In any event, the battle happens, and, hopefully, the PC wins. If the PC doesn't? Pretty daggum impressive attempt, and the Hellknights take a shine to said PC's gusto anyway. This doesn't make the PC a "real" Hellknight, but could earn them a kind of armiger status. They promise the PC another chance, eventually, to work toward that same goal, later.

And thus you've got a PC who is inducted into the Hellknights.

It is important to note: this is not the only way of handling this. This is just one potential scenario that I whipped up while being distracted by a toddler.

With that in mind, let's look at how some of the various Orders could work!

Going by the list above, and supplementing it with this one.

Order of the Chain
Fundamentally, this Order is all about putting people in their rightful place, and demanding they live up to their own duties within that place - whether as slave or ruler. This is actually relatively perfect for a PC on-mission in JR, though it'd take a bit of set-up.

Spoiler!:
Given that the entire point of JR is to make Ameiko an empress, you could even play up the, "reluctant hero" angle for her, and allow the Hellknight to be her Jiminy Cricket-like "conscience"-character, who helps by being a constant, steady hand of friendship (or perhaps irritating forced reminder; or maybe some of both!) combined with a reminder of personal responsibility.

Either way, with all sorts of ninja clans and other would-be assassins/disposable minions, there is a looooooot of room to subdue and enslave in this game, especially if the Hellknight has a method of brewing a philter of love* or something similar.

* When used along with beguiling gift to get them to drink it and hypnotism for follow-ups, this creates a phenomenally tight control scheme: the person in question not only deeply loves the controller, but is also permanently "two steps more friendly" toward a particular non-absurd suggestion. With use of Diplomacy and the acquisition of the Leadership feat, you've suddenly got the makings of a new Order crafted from the bones of your own foes...

Order of the Gate
In my not-super-aware-of-things opinion, this particular order might not work very well. Tied as they are to a particular gate, and associated as they are with summoning fiends, its not really a good fit. That said...

Spoiler!:
... I could actually see this potentially working by looking at it from the angle of a fascination with Oni as a possible alternative "lawful evil spirit" concept to devils - perhaps even a sacred and/or secret mission by the Lictor Vicarious to look into the possibility of using oni against any leverage that Hell has built up over them for <reasons> (possibly in exchange for control over the rumored gate in their citadel's center).

Similarly, keep in mind any other more-or-less innately or automatically lawful-evil spirits the PC might come across. See if you could even work out a method to subdue such creatures and seal them, somehow - a "gotta catch'em all" sort of thing. Unfortunately, the only spells and magic items I know that do that are all rather high level/highly expensive.

One potential option is to tie the method of binding deeply to her backstory - some combination of deranged kytons and daemons (or merely using cacodaemon essence) worked together to make a "living seal" or something when she was a child. Enter inscribe magical tattoo, where the belt, body, chest, feet, hands, head, neck, shoulders, ring, other ring, and wrist each are given an iron flask or (even better) a mirror of life trapping* (for up to fifteen spaces each - though, perhaps, one explicitly limited to functioning on outsiders of a lawful evil alignment). This allows for up to 11 (or 165 with the mirror-concept!) different bindings.

This might even have been at the order of the Vicarious himself... though I'd guess in that case, the character would likely not be originally from the Order of the Gate, but merely have a connection to it from her past. This still allows her to be a Hellknight, however, as its quite possible that another Order found the whole thing reprehensible and smuggled her away from the region she had been afflicted in while they searched for (the well-hidden) evidence on the wrongdoing on the part of the Vicarious.

* You could handle this much like an item's ability to "shine" or invisible ink's ability to become visible under certain circumstances. Basically, the tattoo/mirror in question is invisible until she manifests it - possibly shining with light, possibly shining like a mirror, possibly both - to use it. Another variant (usable with either bottle or mirror) is that a stylized "mask" of the fiends she has bound appear somewhere on the area where the binding device is tattooed - so as the game goes on, and she collects more lawful evil spirits, she gains ever-greater numbers of tattoos of malevolent devil faces.

Order of the Godclaw
This one is very straightforward. The Order may well have an agent with a mandate to spread the religious doctrine of the Godclaw to the other side of the world; and/or become an esoteric religious scholar, going forth to "acquire" the codes and tenets of (potential) "new" lawful deities (at least their beliefs) on the other continent to help "make a stronger alloy of faith" (or somesuch); and/or to establish a new variant of the Godclaw using local deities on the opposite side of the world - this may even be as a result of a religious vision, bringing her there in the first place.

Order of the Nail
This one is easy: the Order simply believes that the character has the potential/duty to spread order and fight back chaos and should do this by aiding the caravan and its people in their goals (and/or adventuring around Sandpoint a little - nothing wrong with sending an armiger to do a little PR work, right?).

This is the easiest to justify in the area, and the Order would especially want "good press" after the events in CotCT, if only to ensure the locals work better with them. And, besides, after RotR, it's known that Sandpoints might be an important place of interest.

Order of the Pyre
... this one is prooooooooobably a no-go. It's still possible, in terms of maybe sending her to purge heresies and bad things on the other side of the world (either actually eliminating the things at their source/starting a new order to do so, or, perhaps just doing scouting/reconnaissance on such heresies; maybe even as a long-term plot on the part of the Lictor to "surround and invade" Vudra or something), but it feels a little harder to justify in a campaign like JR.

Order of the Rack
Nope. There may well be a way to do it, but, frankly, it's not worth the hassle, in my opinion.

Order of the Scourge
This one is actually pretty solid, and only gets more compelling as time goes on.

Spoiler!:
When its discovered that an Empress must ascend, that's actively pushing a lawful agenda; when ninjas begin attempting to assassinate her, the lawlessness must be punished. When it becomes clear that an illegal entity has set up shop in place of the rightful empress, it becomes a practical mandate by nature of the Order. It might not be House Thrune, but given the fact that this pretender is sowing chaos and causing a civil war...

Order of the Coil
Not only is it too far away (even by my standards), but it has nothing related to the mission. Much like the Order of the Rack, or 'Pyre, you could stretch it to make something valid of the whole thing, but it's probably more hassle than it's worth.

Order of the Pike
These guys are basically wandering knights looking for a fight against cruel monsters. There is little reason to avoid this one!

Order of the Scar
Guys. C'mon. I mean, guys. Guys. C'mon. C'mon, guys. Guys. It's an Order that centers around hunting down assassins.

Spoiler!:
There is an entire thing with a whole clan of assassins. This almost writes itself...

The Order of the Torrent
An Order scattered across Avistan with a reputation for not ever having evil members? This is nearly perfect.

Order of the Wall
This one seems exceptionally focused on a specific task, though the mandate to "defend civilization's frontiers" actually lines up pretty well.

If you and your player are open to more Homebrew Orders:

Order of the Scales (by Silverline)
This could work really well if there was some great transgression - either real or imagined; against a true law or against a specific individual - that the PC is going for. Any of these could tie the PC to various individuals or people involved.

Order of the Sewer (created by me!)
This one works really well... if your player wants to be a goblin. XD

Order of the Flame (created by me!)
This one also works really well... if your player wants to be a goblin. XD

Order of the Angel (created by me!)
This actually could work very well if the character in question is descended from the Dunbloods. Dunbloods are, statistically speaking, usually some combination of either human, half-elf, or half-orc (at least as they apply to PC races) with the (dunblood) subtype, though I also have different ones in my home game. The giantkin, especially, were noted as moving north in our game (this was as far back as when Arazni was still alive and active - Tar, too).
These giantkin were taers - a kind of medium-sized hairy "giant" with the cold subtype. In our game they were breedable with other humanoids, which, at its most basic, produced a variant of the half giant race with "cold acclimated" instead of "fire acclimated" as a racial trait.

If you're interested in more useless detail, all three Orders (due to influence of the Angel), are training in Melekatha (as taught by the Children of the Upper Reach - an organization the Angel served under as a minor, but skilled devotee for many years during her very long history).
To emulate that style, we used a variant of the flowing monk and maneuver master; we probably would have used the crane style feats and/or the archon style feats, but a) we really weren't aware of them, and b) the archon style feats don't really match the flavor that well. You can check the styles for ideas, if you like.

One final thing you could do, is use the old Faction Guide as a resource. Make sure the PC gains one PA for every level (perhaps by way of a magical journal or something to inform the Order of her progress) which grants a +3 or +4 PA for every level (make sure to work in a specific order's goals - this isn't just a "you're level 2 - gain 4 PA!" reward, this is a "you're level 2, and have done things 1, 2, 3, and 4 to get there, each of which earn you PA" reward). By level 13 (the start of the last entry of the JR AP), she'll have ~45 PA (presuming 3.5 PA per level, she'll have 3.5*13 = 45.5 PA), which is enough to become a lictor of her own order: and if she was useful enough to the new Empress, it seems perfectly legitimate that said Empress would allow the establishment of a new Order in the Empire...

Anyway, this is a whoooooooooooolllllle lotta words. Sorry! Hope it helps in some ways, though!

Acquisitives

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tacticslion wrote:

As noted above, Hellknights are predominantly lawful, not evil.

Hellknights are, at their core, all about bringing order to chaos. And there is a ton of room to do that in Jade Regent! Especially since "chaos" doesn't necessarily mean, "Run by chaotic people." but rather, "Not following the proper way of things." (for a given definition of "proper" that actually is unique to the Hellknight mindset).

I am not suuuuuuuuuuper-knowledgeable of the AP, but I know a lot about some parts of it, and am loosely planning on running it, so I might be able to help somewhat.

Before we do anything else, let's just acknowledge that few official orders actually exist in Varisia, and being a Hellknight from level one is... tough, at best, given the entry requirements of defeating a devil single-handed in a manner witnessed by a Hellknight.

How to handle this?

Well, one idea is starting with a before-the-game "special event" for that player.

** spoiler omitted **...

nice post. lots of good advice.

Shadow Lodge

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Tacticslion wrote:

I am not suuuuuuuuuuper-knowledgeable of the AP, but I know a lot about some parts of it, and am loosely planning on running it, so I might be able to help somewhat.

The Order of the Torrent
An Order scattered across Avistan with a reputation for not ever having evil members? This is nearly perfect.

I dunno, given this Order's especial purpose, and the preponderance of certain recurring events in the AP, this one might be just a little on the nose.


Even better! :D


Man, I kind of super want to play a character based off of both Orders of Chain and Gate, now... Godclaw... and Nail... and Scar... and Torrent... and Scales... and Sewer/Flame... and Angel...

DANG it! They can't all be the same character... :/


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The Order of the Scourge would be an excellent fit for Jade Regent - helping an empress retake her throne from a psychotic usurper who horribly abuses his power would be right up their alley.

Your only real stretch is a Hellknight armiger being in Sandpoint in the first place, unless he's just passing through when things start going to pot. The armiger would probably pitch in to settle the goblin trouble and investigate Brinewall Castle if there's another implied threat to the town's safety; after the big reveal at Brinewall, any Hellknight of the Scourge fit to wear the armor would be on board all the way to the end.

The GM should probably add a Hellknight NPC at the capital city on Book 2 to facilitate the Trial, though.

The PrC is optional, but the Trial is not.

After that, your Hellknight should be good to Judge Dredd all over the Five Storms.

Edit: Random thought - a Godclaw travelling to Minkai may well conclude that Shizuru and Susumu are additional facets of the Godclaw, and act accordingly.

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