Hellknights Part 2: Hellknights, Mystic Arts, and You [PF1E]

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In my last post I mentioned that due to some actions on the part of my PCs I have Hellkinghts on the brain. Well part of the reason for that is that due to how I ended framing events resulting from their machinations. I wanted a powerful Hellknight NPC for the PCs to see and potentially interact with. While mentally stating out this NPC I ended up wanting a veilweaver, specifically a Vizier, and for him to be a signifer within the Hellknights. Thus Paravicar Antares Vash of the Order of the Pyre was born.

For any one that is unaware, the Hellknights are an ultra lawful order of knights that though not actually affiliated or aligned with hell, respect the order that exists there and style themselves after hell and its armies. Signifers are members of the Hellknights with the ability to use magic. There also happens to be a related prestige class the Hell Knight Signfer. To be honest I could have just said he had the rank of “Signifer” and left it at that, since the title and the prestige class don’t necessarily go hand in hand. But, the prestige class was shiny and I couldn’t help myself. 

I ran into a somewhat obvious issue that this prestige class is not exactly Akashic compatible, or for that matter compatible with other alternate “magic” options including psychic magic from Occult Adventures. Naturally, none of this is surprising. In a burst of madness or inspiration I decided to try tweaking the prestige class to spread the fun around. What follows is an alteration that opens the prestige class up to psionic manifesters, psychic spellcasters, spherecasters, veilweavers, and the Zodiac class


For the sake of convenience, below is the complete prestige class including the unaltered portions which are tagged with an asterisk. Please see the original prestige class for comparison.

Hell Knight Signifer(expanded compatibility version)

Hit Die*: d8.

Requirements

To qualify to become a Hell Knight signifer, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

  • Alignment*: Any lawful.
  • Armor Proficiency*: Proficient with medium armor.
  • Feats: You must have one of the following: Arcane Armor Training, Armored Casting, Clashing Essence, Combat Manifestation, Logical Spell, or Warrior Priest.
  • Skills*: Intimidate 2 ranks, Knowledge (planes) 5 ranks, Spellcraft 5 ranks.
  • You must have one of the following requirements: 
    • Able to cast 3rd-level spells or manifest 3rd-level powers.
    • Zodiac level 5th and an essence pool of at least 6 
    • An essence pool of at least 6 and the ability to have at least 4 veils shaped.
    • A sphere magic caster level of at least 5, and possession of at least 5 magic talents.
  • Special: The character must slay a devil with Hit Dice greater than his own. This victory must be witnessed by a Hell Knight.

Class Skills*:The Hell Knight signifer’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Diplomacy (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Linguistics (Int), Knowledge (all) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skill Ranks at Each Level*: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Hell Knight Signifer

Lvl BAB Fort  Ref Will  Special Spells per Day/ Veilweaving
1st +0 +0 +0 +1 Aura of law, catechesis, order, signifer mask +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
2nd +1 +1 +1 +1 Combat Mysticism +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
3rd +2 +1 +1 +2 Signifer armor training 1 +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
4th +3 +1 +1 +2 Assiduous gaze +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
5th +3 +2 +2 +3 Combat Mysticism +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
6th +4 +2 +2 +3 Discern lies +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
7th +5 +2 +2 +4 Assiduous gaze +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
8th +6 +3 +3 +4 Signifer armor training 2 +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
9th +6 +3 +3 +5 Infernal resilience +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class
10th +7 +3 +3 +5 Diabolic harbinger +1 level of existing constellation manifesting, manifesting, spherecasting, spellcasting, or veilweaving class

Class Features 

Catechesis* (Ex): If a Hell Knight signifer has the Warrior Priest feat, his Hell Knight signifer level stacks with other divine spellcasting classes for determining the effects of those classes’ domain powers, inquisitions, and mysteries. This doesn’t grant any new powers or abilities. In addition, a signifer with the Warrior Priest feat gains Alignment Channel (chaos) as a bonus feat, and treats his Hell Knight signifer levels as cleric levels when determining the amount of damage chaotic outsiders are either healed or dealt, and when determining their saving throw DCs to halve this damage.

Order*: A Hell Knight signifer chooses a Hell Knight order to join. The most common Hell Knight orders (and their favored weapon or weapons) are:

  • The Order of the Chain: flail
  • The Order of the Gate: dagger
  • The Order of the GodClaw: morningstar
  • The Order of the Nail: lance or halberd
  • The Order of the Pyre: glaive
  • The Order of the Rack: longsword or whip
  • The Order of the Scourge: heavy mace or whip

Signifer Mask* (Su): Upon initiation, a Hell Knight signifer receives a signifer mask, often devoid of eyeholes or other personal features. This mask doesn’t obscure the signifer’s vision, and while wearing it he gains a +2 competence bonus on Sense Motive checks and on saving throws against spells and abilities that rely on visual effects.

A Hell Knight signifer with a bonded object from the arcane bond class feature can perform a special ritual that costs 500 gp and takes 8 hours to complete. This ritual converts the signifer’s mask into his new bonded item, which takes up the head slot. In this case, Hell Knight signifer levels stack with levels from the class that grants the bonded item for determining what additional magical abilities can be added to the bonded item.

Constellations/Manifesting/Spells per Day/Veilweaving: At 1st level and every level thereafter, the Hell Knight signifer improves their manifesting, spells per day, orbit, or veilweaving as if he had also gained a level in a single class he belonged to before adding the prestige class, as described below. He does not, however, gain other benefits a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one applicable class before becoming an Hell Knight Signifer, she must decide to which class he improves. 

Constellations: The Hell Knight signifer gains essence and advances his orbit as though he had gained a level in the zodiac class.

Spells per Day/Manifesting: The Hell Knight signifer gains new spells per day or additional power points per day and access to new powers as if he had also gained a level in any one spellcasting class or manifesting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain other benefits a character of that class would have gained. This essentially means that he adds the level of Hell Knight signifer to the level of whatever other spellcasting or manifesting class the character has, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level or power points per day, powers accessed and manifester level accordingly. If a character had more than one spellcasting class or manifesting class before he became an Hell Knight signifer, he must decide to which class he adds each level of Hell Knight signifer for the purpose of determining spells per day or power points gained and powers known.

Spherecasting: The Hell Knight signifer gains an increased caster level and casting ability progression (new magic talents, spell point progression, etc.) as if he had also gained a level in any one spherecasting class he added before the prestige class level. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character with that class would have gained (such as non-casting class abilities). If a character had more than one spherecasting class before he became a Hell Knight signifer, he must decide which class he adds each level of Hell Knight signifer to for the purpose of determining casting progression.

Veilweaving: The Hell Knight signifer gains new veils shaped, binds, and essence as though he had gained a level in any one veilweaving class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain other benefits a character of that class would have gained. If a character had more than one veilweaving class before he became a Hell Knight signiferr, he must decide to which class he adds each level of Hell Knight signifer for the purpose of determining his veils shaped and binds known.

Combat Mysticism: At 2nd level the Hell Knight signifer gains one of the following abilities:

  • Akashic Tactics: At 2nd level, if a Hell Knight signifer has the Clashing Essence feat, he gains King’s Castle as a bonus feat. At 5th level, the Hell Knight signifer gains the ability to invest essence into this ability. For each point of essence invested in this ability one ally of his choice, within close range (25 ft. + 5 ft. per veilweaver level), gains the King’s Castle feat. 
  • Arcane Armor Expertise*: At 2nd level, if a Hell Knight signifer has the Arcane Armor Training feat, he gains Arcane Armor Mastery as a bonus feat. At 5th level, the action required to use this feat changes from a swift action to an immediate action.
  • Armored Spherecasting Specialization: At 2nd level, if a Hell Knight signifer is a spherecaster and has the Armored Casting, he gains Armor Focus as a bonus feat applying its benefit to any armor with “Hell Knight” in its name. At 5th level, the Hell Knight signifer can spend a spell point as swift action to add a +4 bonus to his concentration checks while wearing armor with “Hell Knight” in its name for 1 round.
  • Psionic Agility: At 2nd level, if a Hell Knight signifer has the Combat Manifestation feat, he gains Psionic Dodge as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites. At 5th level, the action required to expend psionic focus as a part of this feat changes from an immediate action to a free action.
  • Psychic Clarity : At 2nd level, if a Hell Knight signifer has the Logical Spell feat, he gains Intuitive Spell as a bonus feat. At 5th level, by expanding a spell slot of 1st-level or higher as a free action while casting a spell, the Hell Knight signifer can cast a spell as if it were modified by either Intuitive Spell or Logical Spell without increasing its casting time. 

Signifer Armor Training*: At 3rd level, while a Hell Knight signifer wears armor, he reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0), and reduces the arcane spell failure chance by 5%.

At 8th level, he reduces his armor check penalty by an additional 1, and reduces his arcane spell failure by an additional 5%. Additionally, at 8th level, when a Hell Knight signifer’s speed is reduced by wearing medium or heavy armor, his unique training offsets the speed reduction by 5 feet.

Assiduous Gaze*: At 4th level and again at 7th level, a Hell Knight signifer gains an assiduous gaze ability chosen from the list below. A Hell Knight signifer can use each assiduous gaze ability he possesses for a number of rounds per day equal to 1/2 his class level. These rounds need not be consecutive. A Hell Knight signifer can activate an assiduous gaze ability as a swift action to examine a single creature, object, or 5-foot square within 30 feet. A Hell Knight signifer must be wearing his signifer mask to use these abilities, and his caster level while using them is equal to his character level.

Elucidation (Su): Discern each active constellation, power, spell, sphere effect, or veil on the target, including the effects, caster/manifester/veilweaver level, invested essence, and chakra bind effects.

Morality* (Sp): Determine whether the target is chaotic, evil, good, or lawful, as well as the strength of its aura as if having studied it for 3 rounds using detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, and detect law.

Scrutiny (Su): Discern whether the target has spel/psi-like abilities, spellcasting/manifesting, spherecasting, veilveaving, or the ability to manifest constellations. You also can also glean additional information as follows:

      • If the target has spellcasting or manifesting, you can determine whether the spellcasting ability is arcane, divine or psychic, and the strength (see detect magic) of the most powerful spell/power or spell/psi-like ability the target currently has available. 
      • If the target has the ability to manifest constellations, you can determine what cosmology(s) they can manifest constellations from.
      • If the target has spherecasting, you can determine their casting tradition. 
      • If the target has veilweaving, you can determine what chakras they can shape and bind veils to.

Veracity* (Sp): Observe the target as if using true seeing. A Hell Knight signifer must be 7th level to select this ability.

Vigilance* (Su): See through up to 5 feet of stone, wood, or similar barriers as if they didn’t exist. This effect cannot penetrate metal of any kind.

Discern Lies* (Sp):At 6th level, a Hell Knight signifer can use discern lies as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to 3 plus his Charisma modifier. These rounds need not be consecutive. His caster level is equal to his total character level.

Infernal Resilience* (Ex):At 9th level, a Hell Knight signifer gains DR 5/chaotic and becomes immune to poison.

Diabolic Harbinger* (Su):At 10th level, as long as the Hell Knight signifer wears his signifer mask, he gains telepathy with a range of 100 feet, and can see perfectly in both magical and mundane darkness. While wearing his signifer mask, he is immune to blindness and dazzling effects and gains a +2 bonus on all Charisma-based checks when interacting with lawful creatures. This bonus increases to +4 if the creature is also an outsider.


In terms of how members of alternate magic systems fit in lore wise as signifers, it would vary. For the most part I think that it would be an almost invisible distinction, other than in orders that are more critical of exotic and eldritch abilities, such as the Order of the Pyre. That said at most it would be more of a case of “you must prove your worth twice as hard” rather than “arcane and divine spell casters only”. Though as always this would be something for players and GMs to discuss.


New NPC

Antares Vash

Image by dnzpnrmrym

Titles Paravicar
Alignment Lawful neutral
Race/Species Aasimar (Peri-Blooded)
Class Vizier 5 / Hellknight Signifer 5
Gender Male
Homeland Cheliax
Deity Atheist
Organization Order of the Pyre, Hellknights

The aasimar Antares Vash is the Paravicar of the Order of the Pyre, but insists on being addressed as signifer rather than his proper title of Paravicar. He leads the Order of the Pyre’s signifers. Little is known about his past except that his entry into the order was precipitated by the loss of a close family member, rumors suggest a twin brother, and that his admittance into the Order of the Pyre caused something of a stir.

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