Hellbred

"Look at them; walking corpses. They do not know fear or sorrow, love or happiness. They are agents of death pulling moral men's souls towards their graves with their dead eyed stare."
Oswyn Whitestone

Hellbred also called the Hellborn, Gravelorn, or the Damned are souls resurrected in hellfire. Given a second chance to right the wrongs they committed in their previous life by the forces of good, they are hindered by a body made by the forces of evil. Although many are bastions of light and goodness, some fall a second time, becoming champions of evil and furthering the plans of Hell in the mortal realm.

They are a scattered few. Lone souls who have been rescued from the torments of Carcereth, they are given a chance at a new life in order to correct the mistakes that they had made in their previous one, but not without a terrible cost. Devils are a jealous lot and have marked the hellbred as one of their own, by twisting its flesh and soul into a form more suitable to their purposes. Now returned to life on the Material Plane, the hellbred seeks to prevent themselves further torture in the infernal realms or to solidify their damnation.

The Hellbred are damned souls who repent of their evil ways in the moment after death, before their condemnation to the hells. The gods of goodness and justice, suspicious of the hellbred’s motives, allow them to return to life to prove the truth of their repentance, but having come so late, only the most epic victories over the forces of evil will allow the hellbred to achieve that goal. Thus, hellbred throw themselves with reckless abandon into every doomed cause, knowing that in all likelihood, their struggle will still be in vain. Meanwhile, the tyrants of the nine hells have had a taste of the hellbred’s soul, and resent them for eluding their grasp at the final moment. They nurse a special hatred for the hellbred, and scheme their downfall; the torments of the hellbred who fail to achieve salvation (which is most of them) are multiplied a hundred fold.

Scourging


Upon being freed from Hell by the forces of good, a hellbred character is subjected to the Scourging: a terrifyingly evil transformation that alters either their body or their spirit and provides the character with most of their racial abilities. Key in the creation of their character is the choice of whether the Scourging will target their body or their spirit. The result are two very similar branches of the same race, which can be played in dramatically different ways from one another.

By means of the Scourging, the damned soul is restored to life. The Scourging removes most of the hellbred’s memories of their past life, including the precise nature of their crimes, releasing them from the claims of evil and guilt on them and giving them a second chance. They retain only a dull, shadowy memory, enough to drive them and remind them of why they have been given this second chance. The Scourging changes their appearance utterly, putting them into a new, diabolical body with smooth red skin and horns. Once the scourging is complete, they are dropped, fully-formed, into the realm of the living—as one final mercy, in proximity to whatever nexus the gods of fate have provided as the hellbred’s slim chance of salvation.

Body-Scourged Hellbred

Body-scourged hellbred characters are tough. Their higher Constitution score makes them ideal front-line combatants. This higher resistance, coupled with a bonus to saves against poison makes them incredibly difficult to weaken with more subtle methods of attack.

In addition, they receive a total of three Devil-Touched feats throughout their progression, the first being devil's favor at 1st level. Since Devil-Touched feats are generally strengthened by the acquisition of other Devil-Touched feats, this is a very attractive option, as it means the feat choices made in earlier levels continue to be relevant at later levels as they get more powerful.

A lower Intelligence score means that they will likely shy away from more intellectual pursuits, making choices like rogue and wizard less attractive to them.

Spirit-Scourged Hellbred

Spirit-scourged hellbred characters aren't particularly tough in combat, but they make up for it with access to a small number of social and observational abilities. Their higher Charisma score means that they're more likely to take the roll of an arcane spellcaster or as a socially-minded skilled character.

Their darkvision abilities can allow them to sneak ahead of the group in dungeons or can be combined with darkness spells (especially when they learn to see in magical darkness at later levels) to turn them into competent assassins.

Finally, their ability to use telepathy at later levels makes them ideal as tacticians since they can help to direct their allies in battle while staying silent.

Their lower Constitution scores however mean that unless they're properly protected, they'll want to steer clear of attacks.

In either case, hellbred characters also benefit from a bonus to Intimidate checks, which can be combined with several class features or feats to make those more effective as well as the ability to use evil spells or magic items without penalty. This ability can allow a hellbred paladin to use an unholy weapon, or a cleric to use spells like unholy aura without risking damage or having their alignment shift towards evil. The only restriction is that these evil tools must be put to good purposes. For example, a hellbred fighter wielding an unholy weapon to defeat a tribe of lizardmen is perfectly fine, but the same fighter using an unholy weapon to kill unarmed villagers is most certainly performing an evil act.

All hellbred characters also suffer from one important drawback. If they are ever killed, they can only be brought back to life by a resurrection or a more powerful spell. That means that lower and mid-level hellbred characters should take care not to die, as it's expensive enough to resurrect them that it may very well be an impossibility.

Physical Description


By human standards, any hellbred is typically both physically and mentally exceptional. Hellbred are also incapable of successfully siring children.

All hellbred look essentially the same at they did in life, though with paler skin, darker hair, and their notable steel gray eyes, and each of them smells strongly of brimstone. This last trait has caused them to develop a fondness for heavy cologne, which they much prefer to avoid the smell of the Hells.

Relations


Hellbred tend to have mixed feelings towards baatezu. Those actually created and raised in Hell are segregated from actual baatezu until their abilities are judged to merit integration. But even this supposed honor doesn’t come with all the frills one might expect. Barred from true legionnaire status, hellbred are forced to serve with the osyluth-commanded companies even if their abilities are superior. They are allowed, and even subtly encouraged, to form their own military groups, which the baatezu can then hire and send to imminent doom without any real loss. If military careers do not suit them, hellbred often go into politics, but even here they are hard-pressed to succeed against their devil creators.

The abrasive social climate in the Hells persuades many hellbred to leave Carcereth, causing some to speculate that they are intentionally mistreated. These specimens live amongst humansthe species they were designed to imitate almost perfectlyusually without much suspicion, at least not until the baatezu come to their doorstep. Due to the devils’ constant search for influential figures to coerce into service on the Material Plane, most hellbred live off the grid, finding employ as adventurers or soldiers in lifestyles that make use of their various talents.

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