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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, Charon

This ancient figure is dressed in black, and its eyes are sunken pits that glint with malevolent cunning.

Charon CR 30

Source Bestiary 6 pg. 162
XP 9,830,400
NE Medium outsider (daemon, evil, extraplanar)
Init +12; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect good, lifesense, true seeing; Perception +50
Aura frightful presence (120 ft., DC 40), unholy aura (DC 30)

Defense

AC 48, touch 38, flat-footed 40 (+4 deflection, +8 Dex, +10 natural, +16 profane)
hp 774 (36d10+576); regeneration 20 (deific or mythic)
Fort +32, Ref +32, Will +35
Defensive Abilities apocalyptic resurrection, freedom of movement, negative energy affinity, Stygian bond; DR 20/ epic, good, and silver; Immune ability damage, ability drain, acid, death effects, disease, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, petrification, poison; Resist cold 30, electricity 30, fire 30; SR 41

Offense

Speed 50 ft., swim 30 ft.; air walk, water walk
Melee +5 spellstealing unholy quarterstaff +52/+47/+42/+37 (1d6+20/19–20 plus curse of ages), +5 spellstealing unholy quarterstaff +52/+47/+42 (1d6+20/19–20 plus curse of ages) or touch +51 (curse of ages)
Ranged 4 Stygian bolts +44 (10d6 plus memory loss)
Space 5 ft., Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks curse of the ages, memory loss, Stygian bolt
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 30th; concentration +42)
Constant—air walk, detect good, freedom of movement, true seeing, unholy aura (DC 30), water walk
At will—animate deadM, astral projection, blasphemyM (DC 29), circle of deathM (DC 28), control undead (DC 29), create greater undead, create undead, desecrateM, greater dispel magic, greater teleport, shapechange, telekinesisM (DC 27), unhallow, unholy blightM (DC 26)
3/day—quickened circle of deathM (DC 28), plane shiftM (DC 29), soul bindsummon daemon, symbol of death (DC 30), quickened telekinesisM (DC 27), wail of the banshee (DC 31)
1/day—time stopM, wishM
M Charon can use this ability’s mythic version in his realm

Statistics

Str 40, Dex 27, Con 42, Int 35, Wis 32, Cha 35
Base Atk +36; CMB +51 (+55 bull rush); CMD 89 (91 vs. bull rush)
Feats Blinding Critical, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Double Slice, Greater Bull Rush, Greater Two- Weapon Fighting, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (quarterstaff), Improved Initiative, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (circle of death, telekinesis), Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge, Two-Weapon Fighting
Skills Acrobatics +44, Bluff +51, Diplomacy +48, Intimidate +48, Knowledge (arcana, engineering, geography, history, religion) +48, Knowledge (planes) +51, Perception +50, Profession (sailor) +50, Ride +47, Sense Motive +50, Spellcraft +51, Stealth +47, Swim +59, Use Magic Device +51
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal; telepathy 300 ft.
SQ craft item, Horseman traits, reach of the Styx, transform mount

Ecology

Environment any (Abaddon)
Organization solitary or mounted (Charon and the Pale Horse)
Treasure triple (+5 spellstealing unholy quarterstaff, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Craft Item Charon is treated as having access to all Item Creation feats listed in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook plus Craft Construct for the purposes of creating magic items or constructs.
Curse of Ages (Su) The first time in a round that Charon strikes a creature with a weapon or a successful touch attack, that creature must succeed at a DC 40 Fortitude save or instantly grow decrepit and feeble, as if the target suddenly became venerable. The target’s Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength scores are reduced by 6, but its mental ability scores are not increased. If Charon touches or strikes a venerable target (either a naturally venerable creature or a creature suffering from this effect or a similar magical effect), that creature is subjected to memory loss (see below). Curse of the ages is an aging and a curse effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Memory Loss (Su) When Charon strikes a creature with a Stygian bolt or touches or strikes a venerable target, he can affect that creature with memory loss. A creature affected by memory loss must succeed at a DC 40 Will save or gain 2 permanent negative levels as swaths of memory are wiped away. These negative levels are a mind-affecting effect but not a negative energy effect. If these negative levels cause the target’s total number of negative levels to equal or exceed its Hit Dice, instead of dying the target enters a catatonic state that lasts as long as the negative levels from the Stygian bolts continue to cause its total number of negative levels to equal or exceed its Hit Dice. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Reach of the Styx (Su) Once per hour as a standard action, Charon can transport himself and any adjacent creatures— such as passengers on his skiff—to any point touched by the River Styx, even if he is not currently on a plane through which it flows, traveling as if via a plane shift spell.
Stygian Bolt (Su) As a standard action, Charon can spit four blasts of Stygian water from his mouth. Each of these Stygian bolts can target a different creature. These attacks are treated as ranged attacks with a range increment of 100 feet. On a hit, a Stygian bolt deals 10d6 points of bludgeoning damage and inflicts memory loss.
Stygian Bond (Ex) Charon’s regeneration cannot be overcome by any means when he is in physical contact with the River Styx or when he is aboard his skiff while on the River Styx.
Transform Mount (Su) As a swift action, Charon can cause his mount, the Pale Horse, to transform into a skiff that can carry up to four passengers plus himself. He can also transform this skiff back into the Pale Horse as a swift action, in which case he automatically mounts the Pale Horse and any passengers or cargo in the skiff are dumped into adjacent squares.

Description

Charon, the Horseman of Death and Boatman of the Styx, is ancient even by comparison to his kindred Horsemen. Of all the Four, he alone was an original Horseman, the first—and only—Lord of Death. Yet Charon’s title obfuscates his true focus: not simply death as a whole, which is the purview of all daemons, but specifically death by old age. Even the most virile mortals must eventually succumb to that looming specter, and in this sense, it’s unsurprising that the Boatman remains the most powerful of the Four. Like mortality’s inevitable end, Charon’s patience is legendary.

Charon resembles his thanadaemons, and most presume that he modeled them after himself. Charon, however, is so ancient as to have preceded the creation of humanoid life and thus his current form is likely nothing more than a modern guise, with his original form long discarded.

Daemons in Charon’s service range far and wide across Abaddon, often riding the Styx to other reaches of the cosmos, hunting souls in his name. Unlike those of the other Horsemen, Charon’s servitors often act in understated and subtle ways, yet they harvest just as many souls as others. When approached independently by a traveler, Charon sometimes simply carries the guest off to be consumed. Other times, however, he makes legitimate deals, though his bargains work toward ends hundreds or thousands of years in the making. Charon’s dealings also serve him well in other ways, with even his fellows among the Four often quietly acquiescing to his authority. In the past, Charon has bargained with dying and desperate divinities, archfiends, empyreal lords, and even the populations of entire worlds, offering them aid in return for payments of souls, knowing all the while that the bargainers were beyond saving anyway.

Charon’s domain is the largest of the Four, particularly when one takes into account the fact that the River Styx stretches into or borders the others’ realms, the unclaimed wastes, and the planes beyond. Every branch of the Styx ultimately flows back to Charon’s citadel, the Drowning Court, which comprises hundreds of mobile islands, ships, and floating castles swirling around a massive central whirlpool.

Charon's Cult

Charon is worshiped by ferrymen and -women, grave robbers, undertakers, the undead, and so very many doomed and damned would-be immortals. The Horseman of Death is served by thanadaemons, his deacon servitor race, along with fiendish krakens, grim reapers, hags, hydrodaemons, river monsters, and numerous varieties of undead. Charon’s unholy symbol is a skull with coins over its eye sockets, and the quarterstaff is his favored weapon. He grants access to the domains of Death, Evil, Knowledge, and Water, and to the subdomains of Daemon, Ice, Memory, and Undead.