Age of Ashes - Hellknight Alek


Age of Ashes


Now that my group has survived Plaguestone, they are moving onto Age of Ashes. Been doing a read through & I have a query regarding the NPC Alek. He is a LN Armiger (I gather that is kind of like a novice knight) of the Order of the Nail. A Hellknight of Asmodeus.

I know the module paints him as LN and that he doesn't specifically 'worship' Asmodeus. He is however a member of the Order of Hellknights, a military organisation dedicated to the tenets of Asmodeus "the Great Lord of Hell".

How the heck do you get a group of "good" sane PCs to trust a character or want to deal with him when that person is the equivalent of a freaking Nazi?

I just don't see how this is supposed to work. Personally, I would just cut his head off and move on. LOL

Sovereign Court

That's fine. There is no penalty in the campaign if they distrust him, and even kill him. Let them do it, and then they can rebuild the castle after taking it from the devil-worshipping cult of the Hellknights.


That seems like a more likely way forward for my group that's for sure. Good to know there aren't any dramas created by killing him though, because knowing my group that seems highly probable :)


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orphias wrote:
That seems like a more likely way forward for my group that's for sure. Good to know there aren't any dramas created by killing him though, because knowing my group that seems highly probable :)

The players should 100% be investigated or hunted for killing him.

And it is a VERY evil act to kill or harm him if he never does anything wrong to them.

Hellknights don't worship devils by default, they like the order of hell and do a LOT of good in the Golarion in many situations.

He doesn't like devils themselves, many hellknights don't.

Heck look at the godclaw and who they worship and why.


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May want to move to the age of ashes forum to avoid spoilers.


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It should be noted that Hellknights (mostly) don't worship Asmodeus or devils in general. What they do is look at Hell and see it as a place where Order is imposed on the wicked, and that's what they want to emulate - not the corruption, but the punishment of those who have sinned.

They're not (necessarily) into tyrannical rule and torture, but they do not rule it out either, if that's what it takes to keep people in line.


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Remember that the Hellknights aren't an evil organization. They do not revere the Evil aspects of Hell and Asmodeus, but the Lawful aspects of both. There are neutral and even good aligned members of the Hellknight order.

They are nothing like Nazis. Hellknights do not engage in genocide, do not believe in a "master race," and do not actively wage wars of aggression against their neighbors. See the below description of Hellknights, cobbled together from a variety of sources:

"Regardless of their severity, Hellknights are not an inherently evil group; they are wholly unconcerned with morality. Although there are numerous evil members—particularly among their upper echelons—the majority of the orders are impartial arbiters and enforcers of order and justice. They see the study of Hell's tenets and even the summoning of devils as tools meant to intimidate and strengthen the individual resolve of the orders' members.[8] Hellknights are taught to replace emotion with steely discipline,[9] and are not interested in methods: only the end results matter.[1]

While Hellknights are widely feared and respected, the common Hellknight joins out of a sense of duty and a wish to be a part of something greater, seeing a world ruled by laws and free of rampaging beasts and cheating thieves as a future well-worth striving toward, even at the sacrifice of freedom. Countries and rulers sometimes invite Hellknights into their lands, leaving the dirty business of harsh law enforcement to an already loathed third party, although convincing Hellknights to leave once they have been welcomed sometimes proves problematic for more freedom-loving societies.[8]"

(From the Pathfinder wiki.)

Samurai wrote:
That's fine. There is no penalty in the campaign if they distrust him, and even kill him. Let them do it, and then they can rebuild the castle after taking it from the devil-worshipping cult of the Hellknights.

This is completely unnecessary. Alak has no interest in the castle beyond that stated in his back story. The Hellknight order has washed their hands of the place, and it is specifically stated in the AP module that Alak will make no objection if the party takes over ownership of the place.


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Age of Ashes GM only kind of spoiler stuff:
As my PCs allied with the Hellknights in Hell's Rebels, forming an "Order of the Silver Raven" that is basically a dedicated and armed good-aligned police force, I made Alak a Silver Raven from Kintargo and introduced him during the Call for Heroes at the start of the game. The PCs took his quest and he travelled with them during the first part of the AP-- and he helped them bring in Voz in Part 4 of the adventure. Then he left back to Kintargo to inform his superiors of what was going on with the Citadel... Later, in Part 3, I had him captured by the villains and this gave the PCs a good hook to go and save him. Now, he's one of their NPC allies who minds the Citadel when they're gone.


My party actually kinda accepted him, even though we had some pertinent questions. But I think his introduction speaks a lot about the kind of person he is and his organization's main role. Granted, we're a party of mainly neutral characters, but I think a shared alliance can be worked with, specially since the Order of The Nail, at least as far our party knows, isn't completely comprised of Asmodeus-worshiping crazies and neither are the Order's goals.


He was also born into it, because both of his parents are. I can understand not wanting to work with the guy or trust him, but if your party murders him without cause they should be rightfully hunted down and executed. And probably will because Hellknight.


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It's really better to think of Hellknights as "fantasy world Judge Dredd," than gestapo. Law upheld to the letter, and as always that tends to benefit those in power.

ACAB

Shadow Lodge

Captain Morgan wrote:
He was also born into it, because both of his parents are. I can understand not wanting to work with the guy or trust him, but if your party murders him without cause they should be rightfully hunted down and executed. And probably will because Hellknight.

Our party gave him a hard time about his organization, to which he responded that his family had been Hellknights for 4 generations.

I believe I got a Hero point when my Emancipated Rogue responded that his family had been slaves for 4 generations because of people like his family.

No one in our party liked the guy to start with, and he didn't earn any favor when he Crit Failed a save that made him Confused and then proceeded to beat the crap out of me.

In the end, we just went our separate ways when we finished that part of the module.


My group literally stole his family ring from him. Buncha jerks.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Saldiven wrote:
They are nothing like Nazis. Hellknights do not engage in genocide, do not believe in a "master race," and do not actively wage wars of aggression against their neighbors.

Order of the Coil and Nail pretty much are and do, though I'm pretty sure the former has been wiped out recently.

In counterpart, Order of the Pike (monster hunters) and Torrent (saving people who have been kidnapped) are explicitly Good Hellknight orders.


Order of the Nail are pretty much colonialists most than anything, and that's something I tried to play up. One of my parties actively decided to bring him along to try and redeem him. They're failing to do so, but they at least made friends with him and have given him some perspective on "not murdering goblins and warg puppies."

Liberty's Edge

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FedoraFerret wrote:
Order of the Nail are pretty much colonialists most than anything, and that's something I tried to play up. One of my parties actively decided to bring him along to try and redeem him. They're failing to do so, but they at least made friends with him and have given him some perspective on "not murdering goblins and warg puppies."

My Alak wasn't especially interested in murdering the goblins, but when he learned that Breachill had a goblin ambassador, his response was, "Oh, you're civilizing the goblins? I wouldn't have thought it was possible, but very good work!"

My players were all trying not to shudder at his, ah, "praise."


Shisumo wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
Order of the Nail are pretty much colonialists most than anything, and that's something I tried to play up. One of my parties actively decided to bring him along to try and redeem him. They're failing to do so, but they at least made friends with him and have given him some perspective on "not murdering goblins and warg puppies."

My Alak wasn't especially interested in murdering the goblins, but when he learned that Breachill had a goblin ambassador, his response was, "Oh, you're civilizing the goblins? I wouldn't have thought it was possible, but very good work!"

My players were all trying not to shudder at his, ah, "praise."

Absolutely love that LOL.

So going to use it in my campaign. Thanks :)
Huh SO Hellknights are more LN that evil Asmodeous worshipers. Have to do some background research on the order. Only a recent convert to Pathfinder ...


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Depending on the character and the GM, Order of the Nail Hellknights can be anywhere between just people who protect towns to basically the nastiest possible version of the imperialist/conquistador archetype. The order's tenants aren't really particularly bad, but its leadership pushes an agenda of cultural supremacy. Not sure if there's any guidance in the book about what Alek's ideology is.

That said, even if hypothetically he was one of the bad ones, just meeting up with this guy and deciding to lop off of his head without any provocation is pretty sketchy to say the least.


Given what I know of the Hellnights now, they remind me a bit of the knights from the Elenium series. Sparhawk and his fellow knights were a bit of a rough bunch lol

From my first read I figured being a knighthood that follows Asmodeous they must have been a bunch of evil bastards. Not so much the case now that I have done some more research into them. A very grey bunch. Reminds me of the Clergy of Helm from some of the Realms novels. Some of those characters could be righteous bastards !

Still, I would hate to live in a realm governed by Hellknights. Argh. Cheliax seems like a pretty s+~&ty place to live. Great to be at the top of the pyramid, sucks to be everyone else...


Our group mostly was indifferent to Alek and we ended up not minding each others business. We let him retreive his heirloom and he did not object to us doing some looting. What surely helped was that he was on a personal quest and thus we never discussed ideology much.

Our LN dwarven fighter was indifferent to him anyway and could not have cared less, our CN human ranger (being the only Isger local) did not mind him as long as he did not try to civilize, colonize or convert us, our NG gnome wizard was more interested in the Order of the Nail's backstory and history than anything else which only left my NG human warpriest of Sarenrae a little wary, especially because of his Taldorian descent.

However we decided to grant Alek the benefit of the doubt and all went well.


orphias wrote:

Given what I know of the Hellnights now, they remind me a bit of the knights from the Elenium series. Sparhawk and his fellow knights were a bit of a rough bunch lol

From my first read I figured being a knighthood that follows Asmodeous they must have been a bunch of evil bastards. Not so much the case now that I have done some more research into them. A very grey bunch. Reminds me of the Clergy of Helm from some of the Realms novels. Some of those characters could be righteous bastards !

Still, I would hate to live in a realm governed by Hellknights. Argh. Cheliax seems like a pretty s@$%ty place to live. Great to be at the top of the pyramid, sucks to be everyone else...

They don't rule chelliax by any degree. They maintain order and are heavily based in cheliax but they aren't a real governing body.

Order of the nail are based in Varisia not Cheliax anyway. I suggest reading the hellknight section in the lost omens character guide for a good primer.

"Based in Citadel Vraid near Korvosa in Varisia, the Order of the Nail dedicates itself to stamping out threats that lurk within the vast swaths of wilderness that threaten to choke civilized society. These Hellknights see roaming monsters, unchecked superstitions, and unruled frontier living as a threat to society. The Nail often dispatches contingencies of knights throughout the world to deal with what they see as rising threats. The order’s favored weapons are the halberd and lance; Hellknights who travel on foot prefer the halberd, while mounted Hellknights fight with lances."

Both of the lost omens books are solid entries into the pathfinder lore and gods & magic is looking to be a great third book covering the major bases.


Yeah Order of the Nail specifically kind of just fills the same role as adventurers: killing bandits and monsters that prey upon small communities. Flavor wise they have a much more colonial bent than many people are comfortable with, but there's not a lot for blue sky between their focus and how most low level adventures begin.


Captain Morgan wrote:

Yeah Order of the Nail specifically kind of just fills the same role as adventurers: killing bandits and monsters that prey upon small communities. Flavor wise they have a much more colonial bent than many people are comfortable with, but there's not a lot for blue sky between their focus and how most low level adventures begin.

They are better than most adventurers, in the sense that they won't charge for their services in many cases ;)

Liberty's Edge

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Having champions with "tenets of law" would make grasping Hellknights a lot easier for many people, I think.


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Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sorry, nope. "Hell" is right in the name. Not buying what you're selling. They're bad guys.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Order of the Pike and Torrent would like to have words with you.


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Tarondor wrote:
Sorry, nope. "Hell" is right in the name. Not buying what you're selling. They're bad guys.

A solid argument that could never be argued against. Quite the hellraiser we have here!

EDIT: Don't even get me started on the Hell's Angels. I don't even know WHAT to think with those guys.

Silver Crusade

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Ruzza wrote:
Tarondor wrote:
Sorry, nope. "Hell" is right in the name. Not buying what you're selling. They're bad guys.

A solid argument that could never be argued against. Quite the hellraiser we have here!

EDIT: Don't even get me started on the Hell's Angels. I don't even know WHAT to think with those guys.

For your sarcastic need, might I direct you to the Hellreaver Prestige Class from 3.5?


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Tarondor wrote:
Sorry, nope. "Hell" is right in the name. Not buying what you're selling. They're bad guys.

There is always room at a table for the 6 int 6 wis LG paladin.


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And those dang warpreist always starting wars. They are the evil ones I say.


Kennethray wrote:
And those dang warpreist always starting wars. They are the evil ones I say.

Well, if you ask me "Hellknights" also sounds a lot cooler than Axiomaticknights... :P

Liberty's Edge

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Ubertron_X wrote:
Kennethray wrote:
And those dang warpreist always starting wars. They are the evil ones I say.
Well, if you ask me "Hellknights" also sounds a lot cooler than Axiomaticknights... :P

So did they. They were originall called Hellknights by their detractors and took ownership and pride in it instead.


It's kind of not a great name even sidestepping the obvious issue. Hellknights are supposed to be champions of order above all else and devils are honestly pretty terrible at the Lawful part of their alignment. Hell basically runs on trickery, subterfuge, manipulation and betrayal.

Silver Crusade

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Squiggit wrote:
It's kind of not a great name even sidestepping the obvious issue. Hellknights are supposed to be champions of order above all else and devils are honestly pretty terrible at the Lawful part of their alignment. Hell basically runs on trickery, subterfuge, manipulation and betrayal.

That's more 3.5 Hell, Pathfinder's Hell is more in-step in how it runs.


Tarondor wrote:
Sorry, nope. "Hell" is right in the name. Not buying what you're selling. They're bad guys.

That is a pretty reductionist way to look at it, especially if you've read into any of their lore for the world.

The only alignment requirement to join most - if not all Hellknight organizations is that you're lawful. They state that being lawful good may make it harder depending on the group, but not impossible.

The order of the nail could very easily have a keep that is sitting on a boarder between a town and an area infested with raid happy orc tribes. How would they be evil for protecting said town from the raiding orcs and attempting to reduce the overall violence in the area?


My group in the game I'm running ignored the halfling tormenting the goblins upstairs. Then befriended Alek and asked him to come with them to explore the citadel. When they heard the crying and whimpering from upstairs, they shut the door and decided to come back later because they didn't want to fight the grauladon.


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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
My group in the game I'm running ignored the halfling tormenting the goblins upstairs. Then befriended Alek and asked him to come with them to explore the citadel. When they heard the crying and whimpering from upstairs, they shut the door and decided to come back later because they didn't want to fight the grauladon.

Who send them on their quest and what was their objective again? ;)


Our group did something similar as well, but we only saw the Grauladon and some Goblins arguing, no halflings tormenting, so we though the dragon (as far as we knew) was in the way and we weren't ready for it, so we ended up finding Alak first as well and we fought the Grauladon with him. He ended up landing a crit on the Halfling, which made the fight a lot more easier.


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Lightning Raven wrote:
Our group did something similar as well, but we only saw the Grauladon and some Goblins arguing, no halflings tormenting, so we though the dragon (as far as we knew) was in the way and we weren't ready for it, so we ended up finding Alak first as well and we fought the Grauladon with him. He ended up landing a crit on the Halfling, which made the fight a lot more easier.

It's funny to me that at least two groups that were sent to find out what's going on with the Goblins and why they set the signal fire, ignored them.

"You guys hear goblins yelling? Looks like a big lizard chased them up the stairs... close the door there's a pantry to loot."


Vlorax wrote:
Lightning Raven wrote:
Our group did something similar as well, but we only saw the Grauladon and some Goblins arguing, no halflings tormenting, so we though the dragon (as far as we knew) was in the way and we weren't ready for it, so we ended up finding Alak first as well and we fought the Grauladon with him. He ended up landing a crit on the Halfling, which made the fight a lot more easier.

It's funny to me that at least two groups that were sent to find out what's going on with the Goblins and why they set the signal fire, ignored them.

"You guys hear goblins yelling? Looks like a big lizard chased them up the stairs... close the door there's a pantry to loot."

It's just like the old saying, "You can lead a player to adventure, but you can't make 'em hero."


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Alak bit the dust in my campaign. He found his family signet ring, and then stuck around to help the party claim the +1 weapons... And got killed by a wight. The party thought he was still alive and tried to rush him away, only for him to turn and try to rip the fighter's throat out. They were really broken up about it.

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