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Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Source Bestiary 6 pg. 159
The greatest of daemons, known as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (or simply the Four), rule the blighted plane of Abaddon. Each of these monstrously powerful evil demigods is a unique physical personification of one of the four concepts of apocalyptic events: death, famine, pestilence, and war.

Only four Horsemen can exist at any given time, though whether their claim to that status is granted by the assent of their other sibling-peers, by their native plane of Abaddon, or by a rumored fifth progenitor Horseman of deific power remains a mystery. While their number remains exclusive, Horsemen can and have died and been replaced, slain by vengeful gods, demon lords, daemonic harbingers from within their own courts, or even—in rare cases—their own sibling-peers among the Four. Among the Horsemen, only Charon, the Horseman of Death, has held his position from the beginning. The title of “Horseman” is gender neutral—there are and have been female, male, and genderless Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as well as ones with multiple genders.

Every Horseman was once a mortal whose soul transitioned into the form of a daemon at some point after death. This legacy stands at the center of their kind, gnawing at their pride and sanity moment by moment, as they understand that they began their lives as the very things they seek to exterminate. Equally incongruous is that the Horsemen each actively foster their own mortal cults, even granting spells to clerics pledged to their name. The Horsemen see their worshipers as useful idiots condemned to oblivion upon death, despite the aid such cultists provide in carrying out the Four’s genocidal will.

Any Horseman can be contacted through commune and can be called by a gate spell, though they are under no compulsion to come through the latter. Typically the Horsemen require an enormously valuable offering or a tremendous amount of bloodshed in their name before accepting such an invitation.

Apocalyptic Realms

The Four Horsemen collectively rule vast reaches of their native plane of Abaddon, dividing their realms among themselves. Within each of their respective apocalyptic realms on Abaddon, each Horseman holds godlike powers and exerts control both actively and subconsciously over the surrounding landscape and its nightmarish denizens, often blurring the line between themselves and their claimed portions of Abaddon. For all their terrible power, however, none of the Four are omnipotent, and with careful preparation, powerful mortals can travel within their realms without falling afoul of their rule. A Horseman gains the following additional powers while in its realm (the statistics presented on the following pages do not include these abilities).
  • Mythic: A Horseman functions as a 10th-rank mythic creature, including having the mythic power ability (10/day, surge +1d12). It can expend uses of mythic power to use the mythic versions of any spell-like ability denoted with a superscript “M,” just as if the ability were a mythic spell.
  • Use of the following spell-like abilities at will: demand, discern location, fabricate, major creation, and polymorph any object (when used on objects or creatures that are native to Abaddon, the polymorph duration factor increases by 6).
  • Use of the following spell-like abilities once per day: binding and miracle (limited to physical effects that manipulate the realm or to effects that are relevant to the Horseman’s particular facet of apocalypse).
  • Restore Mount (Su): Once per day as a standard action, the Horseman can restore its apocalypse horse mount to life as if via true resurrection.
  • Heightened Awareness (Ex): A Horseman gains a +10 insight bonus on initiative checks and Perception checks.

Horsemen in a Campaign

Each Horseman is a unique creature ranging in power from CR 27 to CR 30. Horsemen are beyond the reach of most mortal heroes, and even beings of equivalent power fear to directly oppose them on their native plane of Abaddon. As such, the Four are best used as either the final enemies of long-term campaigns or as the lurking puppeteers of villains who can be directly opposed and defeated by the player characters. Between them, the Four control the resources of an entire plane, including courts of daemons known as harbingers—an entire race of fiends devoted to the extermination of all mortal life. They play an extremely long game, however, and as such their methods are often subtle and complex, extending to the use of mortal servitors, cults, and even dupes completely unaware that their actions further the goals of creatures devoted to the termination of all mortal life. One way of incorporating a Horseman into a campaign is by having PCs fight the Horseman's lesser minions until the party gradually becomes aware that one of the Four is the campaign’s major antagonist. Once the PCs come to this conclusion, if they are themselves mythic characters, they might directly fight the Horseman in a truly epic battle. If not, they might be placed in situations where they either fight the Horseman for a few rounds before, for instance, using an artifact to banish the Horseman back to Abaddon. Alternatively, they might fight a lower-powered version of the Horseman weakened by the PCs’ actions elsewhere. In any event, even being in a Horseman’s presence should be a truly memorable experience and something that players will recall even years later.

Creatures in "Horsemen of the Apocalypse" Category

NameCR
Apollyon29
Charon30
Szuriel28
Trelmarixian27

Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Apollyon

This muscular figure has a skeletal ram’s head and a cloud of f lies spews from his mouth.

Apollyon CR 29

Source Bestiary 6 pg. 160
XP 6,553,600
NE Medium outsider (daemon, evil, extraplanar)
Init +12; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect good, true seeing; Perception +49
Aura frightful presence (120 ft., DC 38), plague shadow (10 ft.), unholy aura (DC 29)

Defense

AC 47, touch 35, flat-footed 38 (+4 deflection, +8 Dex, +1 dodge, +12 natural, +12 profane)
hp 717 (35d10+525); regeneration 30 (deific or mythic)
Fort +38, Ref +23, Will +34
Defensive Abilities apocalyptic resurrection, freedom of movement; DR 20/epic, good, and silver; Immune ability damage, ability drain, acid, charm effects, compulsion effects, death effects, disease, energy drain, petrification, poison; Resist cold 30, electricity 30, fire 30; SR 40

Offense

Speed 50 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee Usher of the Black Rain (scythe) +56/+51/+46/+41 (2d4+29/19–20/×4), bite +46 (6d6+8 plus energy drain and disease), gore +46 (4d6+8)
Ranged Usher of the Black Rain (longbow) +48/+43/+38/+33 (1d8+21/×3)
Special Attacks breath of flies, disease, energy drain (1d4 levels, DC 38), father of plagues
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 29th; concentration +40)
Constant—detect good, freedom of movement, true seeing, unholy aura (DC 29)
At will—astral projection, blasphemyM (DC 28), creeping doom (DC 28), desecrateM, contagionM (DC 24), greater dispel magic, greater teleport, shapechange, telekinesisM (DC 26), unhallow, unholy blightM (DC 25)
3/day—quickened epidemic (DC 27), quickened plague storm (DC 27), soul bind (DC 30), summon daemon
1/day—cursed earth (DC 30), time stopM, wishM
M Apollyon can use this ability’s mythic version in his realm.

Statistics

Str 42, Dex 27, Con 40, Int 31, Wis 32, Cha 33
Base Atk +35; CMB +51; CMD 86
Feats Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Deadly Aim, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Improved Critical (scythe), Improved Initiative, Mobility, Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Point-Blank Shot, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (epidemic, plague storm), Ride-By Attack, Sickening Critical, Spirited Charge
Skills Acrobatics +43, Bluff +49, Diplomacy +46, Fly +50, Intimidate +49, Knowledge (arcana, engineering, history, religion) +45, Knowledge (planes) +48, Perception +49, Ride +46, Sense Motive +49, Spellcraft +48, Stealth +46, Use Magic Device +49
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal; telepathy 300 ft.
SQ Horseman traits

Ecology

Environment any (Abaddon)
Organization solitary or mounted (Apollyon and the White Horse)
Treasure triple (Usher of the Black Rain, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Breath of Flies (Su) Every 1d4 rounds as a move action, Apollyon can exhale a cloud of flies in a 60-foot cone. Those caught in the area take 18d6 points of piercing damage from the bites and are nauseated for 1d4 rounds. A creature that succeeds at a DC 42 Reflex save takes half the normal damage and negates the nausea effect. Any creature that takes any damage at all from the flies is automatically sickened for 1 minute. The flies linger for 1d4+1 rounds, gathering at the start of Apollyon’s next turn into a buzzing 20-foot-square cloud centered on the cone’s point of origin. Any creature that ends its turn in this cloud must succeed at a DC 42 Reflex save or take 9d6 points of piercing damage and become sickened for 1 minute. This cloud of flies can be dispersed by any area effect that deals damage or creates strong or stronger wind. All daemons and apocalypse horses are immune to the effects of breath of flies. The save DCs are Constitution-based.
Disease (Ex) Those bitten by Apollyon risk contracting soul plague, a deadly affliction that causes flesh to rot and drip away and that fills the sufferer with overwhelming despair and nausea. The soul of a creature that dies from soul plague is consigned to Abaddon to become one of the hunted of that realm, regardless of the victim’s actual alignment and religion in life. Soul plague can be cured via magic but cannot be cured through normal rest.
Soul Plague: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 42; onset immediate; frequency 1/day; effect 1d8 Con drain and nauseated for 24 hours. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Father of Plagues (Sp) As a swift action (but no more than once per day per target), Apollyon can inflict upon a single target within 60 feet any disease that the creature has ever previously suffered, unless the target succeeds at a DC 38 Fortitude save. The onset is immediate and this ability affects creatures immune to disease unless they are of demigod or greater stature, though creatures immune to disease gain a +4 bonus on their saving throws. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Plague Shadow (Su) Apollyon is surrounded by a carpet of plague-ridden vermin that bubbles up from the ground at his feet. Creatures within a 10-foot radius of Apollyon are subject to damage from this swarm. Any creatures in the area occupied by the plague shadow at the end of Apollyon’s turn take 5d6 points of swarm damage and must succeed at a DC 38 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Charisma-based

Description

Apollyon has ruled for eons, since he seized his throne and slew all potential rivals following the disappearance of his presumed-dead predecessor. The Horseman of Pestilence is also known as the Prince of Plagues, and rules from his domain of the Plaguemere, a vast realm of swamps, flooded forests, and shallow, acidic oceans. His citadel, the Throne of Flies, is carved from a titanic spinal column and set of ribs, rumored to be those of a dead god of healing or a protean lord slaughtered by the Four and dragged back to Abaddon to feast upon.

While other horsemen engage in more overt acts of brutality against the mortals of the Material Plane, Apollyon and his servitors focus instead on their distinct form of creation: the crafting of new diseases and plagues capable of doing the daemons’ work for them, spreading across the Material Plane in virulent pandemics. Less known is the fact that these acts of creation also extend to artifacts and magical items intended to corrupt their recipients, and even larger metaphysical infestations that work within the goddess of death’s system to taint souls and condemn them to Abaddon after judgment.

Apollyon frequently sends his minions to the Material Plane, and their actions there leave behind contagious diseases long after they’re killed or banished. When spreading ever more horrific and virulent plagues, the Horseman is not averse to granting temporary immunity to his mortal cultists in exchange for using them as carriers and living incubators, though this protection is short-lived— eventually, they too fall and their souls are carried to Abaddon amid clouds of corpse flies.

Apollyon's Cult

Apollyon is worshiped by those who carry, suffer from, or use disease, including neutral evil druids, vengeful lepers, wererats and the like. Apollyon also commands the allegiance of a significant portion of the daemon-worshiping urdefhan race. The Prince of Plagues is served by leukodaemons, his deacon servitor race, as well as astradaemons, diseased undead, monstrous rats, nuckelavees, otyughs, piscodaemons, and all manner of vermin. His unholy symbol is a yellow scythe, and the scythe is also his favored weapon. He grants access to the domains of Air, Darkness, Destruction, and Evil, and to the subdomains of Catastrophe, Daemon, Loss, and Night.