This column aims to provide players with tips on creating effective and interesting characters of various types. Whether you're a beginning player creating your very first character or an experienced gamer looking to put some punch into an old standby, this column is for you.
Demonwreckers (from Expedition to the Demonweb Pits) are indefatigable foes of all Abyssal spawn. They are skilled in destroying their demonic enemies with both weapon and spell.
Demonwreckers have many useful abilities. Here are a few things to consider when building a demonwrecker:
- Good Will Saves: Demonwreckers have good Will saving throws (PH 22). Levels of cleric and wizard augment this further.
- Average Base Attack Bonus: A demonwrecker has an average base attack, like that of a cleric, which enables him to battle demons with weapons as well as spells.
- Average Hit Points: A demonwrecker uses eight-sided hit dice, giving him as many hit points as a cleric.
- Good Spellcasting Progression: At each new level, a demonwrecker gains new spells and an increase in his caster level as if he had also gained a level in a divine spellcasting class to which he belonged before joining this prestige class.
- Special Abilities: At each new level, a demonwrecker gains one or more useful abilities that enable him to fight demons more effectively. Breach spell resistance (and perfect breach at 5th level) makes a demonwrecker's spells more effective against demons. At 3rd level, demonwreck spell damage transforms half the damage of a spell dealing a specific type (for example, fire) into untyped damage that bypasses all of a demon's resistances and immunities. Demonwreck weapon of good and demonwreck weapon of cold iron allow him to bypass a demon's damage reduction with any weapon wielded. At 4th level he gains demonwreck weapon aura, which enables all allies within 30 ft. to treat their weapons as good-aligned and cold iron when battling chaotic evil outsiders.
The demonwrecker's advantages come at a price. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about such a character:
- Poor Reflex Saves: Demonwreckers have poor Reflex saving throws (PH 22). Unfortunately, both clerics and wizards have poor Reflex saves, making this a major weakness of the class.
- Poor Fortitude Saves: Demonwreckers have poor Fortitude saving throws (PH 22). Levels of cleric offset this weakness, but levels of wizard compound this problem further.
- Low Skill Points: A demonwrecker gains only two skill points at every level, which makes developing a wide range of skills difficult unless he has a good Intelligence score.
- Loss of Class Abilities: Although every level in demonwrecker bestows an increase in spellcasting power (see Assets, above), the character does not gain any other benefits from his previous class. Therefore, for example, a cleric/demonwrecker does not get better at turning undead while a wizard/demonwrecker's familiar does not gain any additional abilities.
The Arcane Demonwrecker
Expedition to the Demonweb Pits introduces a variant of the demonwrecker prestige class designed for arcane spellcasters (page 170). Arcane demonwreckers are very similar to normal members of this prestige class and have the following characteristics:
- Good Will Save
- Good Special Abilities
- Good Spellcasting Progression
- Poor Base Attack Bonus
- Poor Hit Dice
- Poor Fortitude Save
- Poor Reflex Save
- Poor Skill Points
- Loss of Class Abilities
A sample arcane demonwrecker appears, below.
Playing a Demonwrecker
The advice for playing a cleric or wizard (depending on the character's qualification strategy) also applies to demonwreckers. People who play efficient demonwreckers should keep the following in mind:
Demonwreckers live to kill demons. When preparing for an adventure, they should take particular note of their enemies' characteristics. Bear in mind that, as a rule, demons have spell resistance, are resistant to acid, cold, and fire, and immune to electricity and poison. Particularly dangerous demons may have more potent defenses. Normally, however, demons have no immunity to sonic spells -- although they must overcome spell resistance, shout and greater shout can be particularly effective against them. Other useful sonic spells include sonic blast, sound lance, sonic rumble, sonic snap, sonic weapon, sonic whip, and orb of sound (all Spell Compendium). Choose your spells accordingly and refer to the Spell Selection sidebar for recommended spells that ignore spell resistance from the Player's Handbook.
Demonwreckers should max out their ranks in Knowledge (the planes) so that they can identify any demons they encounter. Knowing a demon's specific abilities is an important first step to destroying it. Knowledge (the planes) also provides other useful information about the planes themselves. Such knowledge could spell the difference between life and death for a demonwrecker in the Abyss.
Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration are good feat choices for a demonwrecker. Although they gain the perfect breach ability at 5th level, demonwreckers will still likely battle many other creatures with spell resistance as they travel the planes in search of their foes. Lightning Reflexes is also a useful feat for all demonwreckers, as it offsets one of their primary weaknesses.
Demons and Spell Resistance
Most demons have some level of spell resistance. Thus, a demonwrecker needs to develop tactics to overcome this formidable defense. The list below details demons by CR (and includes their spell resistance rating).
- CR 1: mane(FC) (SR -)
- CR 2: abyssal maw(2) (SR -), abyssal skulker(2) (SR -), dretch (SR -), nashrou (4) (SR -), quasit (SR -)
- CR 3: rutterkin(FC) (SR 14)
- CR 4: ekolid(FC) (SR -), guecubu(FC) (SR -), skulvyn(FF) (SR 12)
- CR 5: abyssal ravager(2) (SR 20), bar-lgura(FC) (SR 16), jovoc(2) (SR 13), nabassu(FC) (SR 16)
- CR 6: babau (SR 14), broodswarm(FC) (SR 12), uridezu(MP) (SR 17)
- CR 7: armanite(FC) (SR 18), arrow demon (3) (SR 18), succubus (SR 18)
- CR 8: dybbuk (FC) (SR 19), palrethee (2) (SR 18), yochlol(FC) (SR 19)
- CR 9: bulezau(FC) (SR 20), maurezhi(FF) (SR 19), vrock (SR 17), whisper demon (4) (SR -), zovvut(2) (SR 20)
- CR 10: bebilith (SR -), chasme(FC) (SR 21)
- CR 11: hezrou (SR 19), kastighur(4) (SR 17)
- CR 12: lilitu(FC) (SR 23)
- CR 13: glabrezu (SR 21), jarilith(2) (SR 25)
- CR 14: alkilith(FF) (SR 23), blood fiend(FF) (SR 24), nalfeshnee (SR 22)
- CR 15: sibriex(FC) (SR 26)
- CR 16: goristro(FC) (SR 27)
- CR 17: marilith (SR 25), sorrowsworn demon(3) (SR 25), wastrilith(FF) (SR 20)
- CR 18: deathdrinker (4) (SR 29), kelvezu(2) (SR 26)
- CR 19: molydeus(FC) (SR 30)
- CR 20: balor (SR 28)
- CR 21: myrmyxicus(FF) (SR 30)
- CR 25: klurichir(FF) (SR 36)
(FC) = Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss
(FF) = Fiend Folio
(MP) = Manual of the Planes
(2) = Monster Manual II
(3) = Monster Manual III
(4) = Monster Manual IV
Demonwreckers planning to carry the fight to the Abyss must have some way of getting there. Astral projection and gate accomplish this, but both are 9th-level spells. Plane shift is an easier way of getting to the Abyss but without a planar fork tuned to the desired layer, the caster arrives at a random location. Of course, demonwreckers traveling the Abyss must also possess means to protect themselves from both a layer's environment and denizens. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss contains more information on the Abyss, its layers, and its denizens.
Clever spell selection (particularly for an arcane demonwrecker) is crucial if he wants to crush his foe quickly. The following arcane spells ignore spell resistance and either harm the target directly or limit its mobility or ability to attack
8th -- incendiary cloud
7th -- reverse gravity
6th -- acid fog, wall of iron
5th -- wall of force
4th -- Evard's black tentacles, solid fog
3rd -- flame arrow, slow, stinking cloud
2nd -- glitterdust, Melf's acid arrow, web
0 -- acid splash
The following divine spells ignore spell resistance and either harm the target or limit its mobility or ability to attack.
6th -- animate object, greater glyph of warding
5th -- insect plague
3rd -- glyph of warding
2nd -- silence
Additionally, the summon monster, summon nature's ally, and planar ally spells conjure allies to fight on the caster's behalf, making them useful spells against demons and their ilk.
Sample Demonwrecker: Crulamin Demonbane
Clad in tight-fitting traveler's clothes, this heavily-bearded human has short-cropped, flame-red hair and an imposing manner despite his slight frame. The faint scent of brimstone and ash hangs in the air about him.
Crulamin Demonbane, CR 10
Male human wizard 5/demonwrecker 5
LG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +5; Senses Listen +3, Spot +3
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic, empathic link
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 15
(+1 Dex, +4 armor [mage armor], +1 deflection)
hp 49 (10 HD)
Fort +8, Will +11
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee mwk dagger +4 (1d4-1/19-20)
Ranged mwk light crossbow +6 (1d8/19-20)
Base Atk +4; Grp +3
Special Actions demonwreck spell damage, perfect breach, spell smite 3/day (+4)
Combat Gear pearl of power (2nd level), potion of cure serious wounds, scroll of false life, scroll of fly
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 10th, +5 ranged touch; spell penetration +14, +19 against chaotic or evil outsiders):
5th -- empowered fireball (DC 17), teleport
4th -- empowered scorching ray, Evard's black tentacles, solid fog, stoneskin
3rd -- dispel magic, fireball (DC 17), protection from energy, slow (DC 17)
2nd -- bear's endurance, glitterdust (DC 16), invisibility, Melf's acid arrow, web (DC 16)
1st -- expeditious retreat, mage armor*, magic missile (2), shield
0 -- detect magic, message, prestidigitation, read magic
* Already cast
Abilities Str 8, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 19, Wis 12, Cha 10
SQ share spells, toad familiar
Feats Alertness (if familiar within 5 ft.), Empower Spell, Great Fortitude, Greater Spell Penetration, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Scribe Scroll, Spell Penetration
Skills Concentration +15, Knowledge (arcana) +17, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) +5, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +5, Knowledge (geography) +5, Knowledge (history) +5, Knowledge (local) +5, Knowledge (nature) +7, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +5, Knowledge (religion) +9, Knowledge (the planes) +17, Listen +1 (+3 when familiar within 5 ft.), Sense Motive +6, Spellcraft +19, Spot +1 (+3 when familiar within 5 ft.)
Possessions combat gear plus masterwork dagger, masterwork light crossbow with 10 bolts, headband of intellect +2, cloak of resistance +2, ring of protection +1, spell component pouch, 50 gp.
Spellbook spells prepared plus 0 -- all PH; 1st -- alarm, comprehend languages, identify, true strike; 2nd -- false life, fox's cunning, mirror image, rope trick; 3rd -- flame arrow, haste, heroism, stinking cloud; 4th -- dimension door, polymorph; 5th -- cloudkill, wall of force.
Demonwreck Spell Damage (Su) All of Crulamin's spells that deal damage of a specific type are imbued with extra power against demons. Half of the damage is untyped and is not subject to reduction or negation by resistance or immunity to a given damage type.
Perfect Breach (Ex) Crulamin automatically overcomes a chaotic evil outsider's spell resistance.
Spell Smite (Su) Once per day, Crulamin can smite evil with any spell that requires an attack roll that deals damage. A single spell cannot gain the extra damage more than once per casting. If Crulamin uses the ability to augment a spell that does damage for more than 1 round, the extra damage is dealt in each round.
Crulamin had the following ability scores before racial adjustments, Hit Die ability score increases, and stat boosting items: Str 8, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Had a chance to try out the demonwrecker prestige class? Let us know your thoughts on how it played or what changes you would make to it.
About the Author
Creighton Broadhurst is a member of Living Greyhawk's Circle of Six and a mad-keen World of Greyhawk fan. He has two young sons (whom he nicknames "Ghengis" and "Khan"). His house is an oasis of tranquility, tidiness, and order. In his spare time, he tries to survive the Savage Tide.