Archives of Nethys

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Demon Lord

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 45
The mightiest of all demons are the demon lords of the Abyss, inf luential entities of chaos and evil and powerful demigods who each rule vast realms of horror and vice. Each demon lord is a unique creature, a paragon of sin that exists only to further its own desires. The genesis of demon lords varies. The majority of them rise from lesser demons who have transformed into powerful entities (this was how Pazuzu became a demon lord). In rare cases, a demon lord transitions directly from being a powerful, sinful mortal into the role of demon lord (as is the case with Kostchtchie), or from a qlippoth into a demon lord as a result of unknowable influences in the Abyss (as is the case with Dagon).

When a demon gathers enough power, whether by gaining class levels, advancing in Hit Dice, gaining many mythic tiers or ranks, undertaking a vile ritual, or simply amassing a sufficiently large and devoted following, it becomes what is known as a nascent demon lord. It may remain a nascent lord indefinitely, but usually seeks to complete its transformation into a full-f ledged demon lord. In order to do so, the nascent lord must build a cult among mortals, but more importantly it must claim and control a large enough Abyssal realm that the plane itself takes notice and elevates the nascent lord to the power level of a demon lord. In a few cases, demon lords have been known to ascend to the status of full deities. While there are likely thousands of nascent demon lords in existence at any one time in the Abyss, the number of fullf ledged demon lords is more limited—known examples of demon lords number in the dozens.

The phrase “demon lord” is gender neutral—there are male, female, and genderless demon lords, as well as demon lords with multiple genders.

A demon lord may be contacted via commune, and can be conjured via a gate spell, but when so called, a demon lord is under no compulsion to come through the gate. Typically, a demon lord requires an enormous and significant offering or sacrifice before it deigns to answer a gate spell.

Abyssal Realms

Demon lords’ realms range in size, but even the smallest are as large as a continent, and the greatest are larger than some planets. The realms’ environments, themes, and traits are as unique as the demon lords themselves, presenting unusual challenges and dangers to creatures trying to explore them. Yet despite the close connection a demon lord has to its realm, it does not exert total control over the realm, and powerful adventurers can infiltrate such realms and accomplish goals without arousing the lord’s anger—if they’re careful.

A demon lord gains the following additional powers while in its realm (the statistics presented on the following pages do not include these abilities):
  • Mythic: A demon lord functions as a 10th mythic rank creature, including the mythic power ability (10/day, surge +1d12). It may expend uses of mythic power to use the mythic versions of any spell-like ability denoted with an asterisk (*) 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 the realm, the polymorph duration factor increases by 6).
  • Use of the following spell-like abilities once per day—binding, miracle (limited to physical effects that manipulate the realm or to effects that are relevant to the demon lord’s areas of concern)
  • Heightened Awareness (Ex): A demon lord gains a +10 insight bonus on Perception checks and Initiative checks.

Demon Lords in a Campaign

Each demon lord is a unique creature ranging in power from CR 26 to CR 30. Demon lords are generally beyond the reach of most mortal heroes, and should not be placed in an adventure without careful consideration. In most cases, they are best used as the final enemies of long campaigns—especially campaigns in which the PCs themselves are mythic characters—and even getting an audience with one should be a memorable event.

Yet even if demon lords are far outside the abilities of most heroes to combat directly, they can still be used as foes in campaigns of all levels, inspiring or directing monsters, mortals, and entire cults. Opposing and defeating a cult is a time-honored plotline for a campaign, and a climactic encounter where the PCs must close a portal before the cult’s demon lord manifests in the flesh can make an exciting capstone to a longrunning campaign, especially if the demon lord in question appears for a round or 2 to fight the PCs before the closing of the portal forces it back to the Abyss. Alternatively, rather than having the PCs face the demon lord at full power, you can build a campaign where the PCs systematically undermine and destroy a demon lord’s resources, imposing increasing penalties on it and gathering potent weapons so that when the time comes for the final confrontation, the PCs are powerful and the demon lord is weakened to a state below its normal CR. An easy way to model weakening a demon in this manner is to assign negative levels to the demon—normally, a demon lord is immune to level drain, but in this case, the reduction of its resources and sources of power can bypass that immunity for a time... at least, until the demon lord can rebuild and recover.

Creatures in "Demon Lord" Category

NameCR
Baphomet27
Dagon28
Deskari29
Kostchtchie26
Nocticula30
Pazuzu30
Shax28
Sifkesh28
Xoveron27

Demon Lord, Kostchtchie

This towering giant with twisted legs has human skulls woven into his beard and holds an immense warhammer.

Kostchtchie CR 26

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 48
XP 2,457,600
CE Huge outsider (chaotic, cold, demon, evil, extraplanar)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect good, detect law, true seeing; Perception +52
Aura frightful presence (120 ft., DC 33), unholy aura (DC 26)

Defense

AC 44, touch 30, flat-footed 38 (+4 deflection, +6 Dex, +14 natural, +12 profane, –2 size)
hp 604 (31d10+434); regeneration 30 (deific or mythic)
Fort +35, Ref +20, Will +31
Defensive Abilities Abyssal resurrection, freedom of movement, rock catching; DR 20/cold iron, epic, and good; Immune ability damage, ability drain, charm effects, compulsion effects, cold, death effects, electricity, energy drain, petrification, and poison; Resist acid 30, fire 30; SR 37
Weaknesses vulnerable to fire

Offense

Speed 60 ft., climb 60 ft.
Melee +5 adamantine icy burst warhammer +53/+48/+43/+38 (3d6+24/19–20/×3 plus 1d6 cold), slam +48 (1d8+19 plus grab)
Ranged rock +37/+32/+27/+22 (2d6+19)
Space 15 ft., Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks clutch foe, crushing blow, favored enemy (giants +4, humans +4, see below), powerful slam, rock throwing (600 ft.), vengeful strike
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 26th; concentration +34)
Constant—air walk, detect good, detect law, freedom of movement, true seeing, unholy aura (DC 26)
At will—astral projection, blasphemy* (DC 25), cone of cold* (DC 23), desecrate*, enlarge person*, greater dispel magic, greater teleport, telekinesis* (DC 23), shapechange, unhallow, unholy blight* (DC 22)
3/day—polar ray*, power word stun*, summon demons, symbol of stunning (DC 25)
1/day—mass icy prisonUM (DC 27), polar midnightUM (DC 27), time stop*
* Kostchtchie can use the mythic version of this ability in his realm.

Statistics

Str 48, Dex 23, Con 38, Int 25, Wis 30, Cha 27
Base Atk +31; CMB +52 (+54 bull rush, +56 grapple, +56 sunder); CMD 86 (88 vs. bull rush, 88 vs. sunder)
Feats Awesome Blow, Catch Off-Guard, Craft Construct, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Critical Focus, Greater Sunder, Greater Vital Strike, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (warhammer), Improved Sunder, Improved Vital Strike, Power Attack, Quick Draw, Staggering Critical, Vital Strike
Skills Bluff +42, Climb +58, Intimidate +42, Knowledge (arcana) +41, Knowledge (engineering) +38, Knowledge (local) +41, Knowledge (planes) +41, Knowledge (religion) +38, Perception +52, Sense Motive +44, Spellcraft +41, Stealth +32, Use Magic Device +39; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Giant; telepathy 300 ft.
SQ demon lord traits

Ecology

Environment any cold (Abyss)
Organization solitary (unique)
Treasure triple (+5 adamantine icy burst warhammer, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Clutch Foe (Ex) If Kostchtchie chooses to use his hand to make a grapple check when he successfully slams and grabs a Medium or smaller opponent, he takes a –20 penalty on the grapple check. On following rounds, he can attempt to maintain his grapple on the creature as a swift action. If successful, he can constrict the creature for 1d8+28 points of damage, throw the creature (treat this as a bull rush), or use the creature as an improvised weapon. An opponent used as a weapon takes half as much damage as it deals to the creature it hits.

Crushing Blow (Su) Once per round, Kostchtchie may designate any attack with his warhammer to be a crushing blow. He must designate this attack before making the attack roll. If he hits, the blow ignores the target’s hardness and damage reduction, and allows him to make a free trip attempt against the target. This trip attempt does not provoke an attack of opportunity, can target a foe of any size, and has no chance of causing Kostchtchie to fall prone if he fails. A creature struck by a crushing blow must attempt a DC 44 Fortitude save; success means the creature is staggered for 1 round, and failure means it is stunned for 1 round and staggered for 1d6 rounds afterward. The save DC is Strength-based.

Favored Enemy (Su) Against female giants or female humans, Kostchtchie’s favored enemy bonuses increase to +8. Once per day, he can declare any one creature as a favored enemy, but only if that creature has damaged, humiliated, or otherwise inconvenienced him at some point in the previous 24 hours. His favored enemy bonuses against that creature last 24 hours.

Powerful Slam (Ex) Kostchtchie’s slam attack is considered a primary attack even when he uses a weapon in his other hand, and he always adds his full Strength bonus to damage dealt with his slam attack.

Vengeful Strike (Su) Once per round, Kostchtchie may make an attack of opportunity against any creature that strikes him in melee combat. This attack of opportunity has a critical threat range of 18–20. Against female targets, the vengeful strike is also a crushing blow.

Description

Kostchtchie (pronounced kosh-TIK-ti-kai) appears as an immense, deformed frost giant with twisted legs, tiny white eyes, and a thick matted beard into which are woven dozens of skulls—trophies of mortal kings and priests of rival faiths he has slain. Legends speak that each of these skulls is haunted by the ghost of its previous owner, and that he can commune with these spirits to seek their wisdom—although if the legends are true, it is more likely that Kostchtchie has little interest in anything but mockery and torment for these lost souls.

Kostchtchie is never seen without his massive warhammer, an adamantine maul of such prodigious size that even the strongest frost giant would have trouble wielding it properly. Known also as the Deathless Frost, Kostchtchie dwells in an immense Abyssal fortress carved from the heart of a towering mountain in a frozen realm of jagged mountains and immense glaciers infested with manifold frozen horrors. Kostchtchie stands 30 feet tall.

Kostchtchie was born of human parents, and became a murderer when his father forced him to kill his mother and sisters. Kostchtchie went one better and murdered his father as well. Later in life, after he had become a ferocious warlord well known for the slaying of dozens of giant chieftains, he confronted the Witch Queen Baba Yaga and tried to force her to grant him immortality—she agreed, but twisted his form, turned him into a hideous giant, and hid away the last fragment of his mortal soul in a magical torc. Kostchtchie fled to the Abyss to nurture his hatred and hide his shame, eventually finding a new purpose as a patron of frost giants despite his hatred of their kind. Kostchtchie longs for the recovery of the torc that contains the fragment of his soul, in the hope that its return might reverse his deformity without removing his immortality.

In combat, Kostchtchie almost always uses Power Attack, taking a –8 penalty on all attack rolls but gaining a +16 bonus on damage rolls. The Deathless Frost is often accompanied by several frost giants, at least two of which are clerics. These clerics attend his every need, healing him in battle as best they can lest they forfeit their lives—or fall to some fate even more dire at the merciless hands of the Deathless Frost.

Kostchtchie’s Cult

Kostchtchie is worshiped by giants—primarily frost giants, although many ettins, hill giants, and ogres worship him as well. Some white dragons worship the Deathless Frost, and even certain barbaric human tribes in the frozen reaches of the world have been known to venerate him. He does not tolerate women in his cults, and never grants female clerics spells. He is served by half-fiend yetis, ice linnorms, remorhazes, and other cold-dwelling monsters of great size.

Kostchtchie’s unholy symbol is an ice-caked, runecarved warhammer, and the warhammer is his favored weapon. He grants access to the domains of Chaos, Evil, Strength, and War, and access to the subdomains of Demon, Ferocity, Ice, and Tactics (although the Ice subdomain is normally not available without the Water domain, an exception is made in this case because of the demon lord’s close association with cold).