Kr’tx the Flaming Master

One of the neogi deities detailed in the article “The Ecology of the Neogi,” in Dragon #214, Kr’tx is that race’s deity of war. It is an unsubtle brute of a neogi, and favored by the umber hulks the neogi keep due to its brutality.

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Kr’tx (PDF Version)
(The Flaming Master, the Flames of War)
Lesser Power of the Grey Waste, CE

Portfolio:                 War, brutality, strength
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           Oinos/Jik’qu the Warship
Superior:                   Ka’jik’zxi (Dead)
Allies:                       None
Foes:                           Every other power
Symbol:                     Neogi leg holding up a flame
Wor. Align.:              LE, NE, CE

Of all the members of the neogi pantheon, Kr’tx (KERR-ticks) is the least subtle. It delights in marauding and destruction, and fans the flames of conflicts throughout the planes. It teaches its followers that might is right, and brutality proves one’s strength.

Like the other neogi powers, Kr’tx represents the perfected embodiment of that race’s brutality in combat. It is straightforward in its pursuit of war, although it never actually engages in battle itself or leads armies. Despite its lack of subtleness, it has a cunning knack for getting others to fight each other, usually by playing up small slights until they become major irritants to those involved. It currently hopes to manipulate the other neogi deities into fighting each other and exhausting themselves so it can sweep in and enslave the other deities. When it does go to war on its own terms, the Flaming Master is an adept strategist who directs its forces with considerable skill. Kr’tx seems unable to resist its love of bloodsport, however, and eagerly pits its forces against much stronger forces simply to watch as many die as possible. Sages believe it is this trait that keeps the Flaming Master from dominating the whole pantheon.

Of myths particular to Kr’tx, there is one that seems to bear a shadowy reflection of the Blood War that rages throughout the Lower Planes. This myth speaks of a great “War in Heaven” that the Flaming Master engineered especially so it could constantly look down from the windows of its great spider ship and enjoy the bloody spectacle. Considering Kr’tx’s realm is a large spidery vessel hiding in the gloomy skies above the battlefields of Oinos, sages speculate it has told its followers it is responsible for the never ending conflict. These same sages scoff at the idea there is any veracity to the myth, and baatezu and tanar’ri are quick to end the life of any creature claiming it to be the truth. On the other hand, what is factual is that the Flaming Master has hired out its petitioners as mercenaries to both sides, and has raided a battle on the plains of Oinos in order to take captives on many occasions.

Kr’tx’s activities on the Prime Material Plane consist largely of sending an avatar and retainers to conduct slaving raids and skirmishes for blood sport. These activities are infrequent, as they could be used as an opening for an attack by one of the other neogi powers. It is constantly on the watch for any weakness or opening left by his brethren, and quick to try and exploit them if they are detected.

Kr’tx’s Avatar (Cleric 28, Fire Elementalist 23, Fighter 15)
Kr’tx appears as a golden-eyed red neogi with intricate tattoos in orange, yellow, and violet that appear to be constantly writhing. It has a mane of flame, and each of the small claws on its legs is sheathed in constant flame. It draws its spells from all spheres and schools, but never uses those related to water.

AC −2; MV 12; HP 152; THAC0 2; #AT 6
Dmg 2d4/2d4/2d8 (claw/claw/bite × 2)
MR 20%; SZ L (5 feet tall)
Str 13, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 15
Spells P: 11/11/9/9/9/9/6, W: 6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/4*
Saves PPDM 2, RSW 3, PP 5, BW 4, Sp 4
* Numbers assume one extra elemental water spell per spell level.

Special Att/Def: The Flaming Master avoids physical combat whenever possible, using slaves, mercenaries, and other minions to do its fighting instead. It is always accompanied by Cragt, an umber hulk of exceptional size (12+12 HD, 14 feet tall, 108 hp, immune to fire), as well as an assortment of other creatures. In melee, Kr’tx defends itself with claws and a venomous bite. Due to the flames that envelope its limbs, any successful claw attack deals 1d6 points of damage to those not protected against magical fire. The Flaming Master’s potent venom is saved against with a –2 penalty; failure causes slowing (as the spell) for 1d8 rounds, which is cumulative with successive bites. Furthermore, this venom burns like internal fire as it courses through a victim’s veins causing 1d8 points of damage to those who failed their saving throw and 1d4 points of damage to those who succeeded.

Kr’tx can cast burning hands, command, and the hot version of fire shield at will. Once per day, it can create illusory engines, shadow engines, or shades of umber hulks. It can also summon 1d6 umber hulks any time it has only one umber hulk within 100 yards of itself. Finally, the Flaming Master can inspire a berserk fury in any umber hulks it owns once per day, granting them a +2 bonus to hit, damage, and armor class. In this state, umber hulks fight Kr’tx’s foes until death.

The Flaming Master is immune to fire, poison, and all forms of mental domination and control, and can only be struck by weapons of +1 or better enchantment.

Other Manifestations
Like all neogi deities, Kr’tx never manifests his power to aid his followers. The neogi believe this is because of an oversight in the contract forged with their deities.

The neogi pantheon is served primarily by divine servitors in the form of umber hulks and normal spiders of all sorts, but the Flaming Master can call on bebiliths, harginn grues, fire mephits, incarnates of anger, least and lesser tanar’ri, lesser yugoloths (all mercenaries), and retrievers. It never displays its favor or displeasure through any discoveries of any kind.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy’s Align.:      LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes, SP: No, Sha: No

All clerics and specialty priests of Kr’tx receive religion (neogi) and reading/writing (neogi) as bonus nonweapon proficiencies.

Among neogi, the faith of Kr’tx is particularly popular with the reavers and pirates who gain slaves and wealth through marauding raids and battle. Those who are drawn to its faith tend to be the more violent and aggressive members of the society, although most neogi find the need to demand aid from the Flaming Master at some point in their lives. Kr’tx is also popular among umber hulk slaves, a feature that the neogi encourage in order to increase the ferocity of their powerful favored minions. Despite this popularity, the faith of the Flaming Master is not looked down on as a slaves’ deity; to the neogi, it is only right and proper that their slaves should worship the deities that make them more effective in their duties.

As neogi do not colonize worlds or build settlements, there are virtually no temples constructed to honor the Flaming Master. Priests always maintain a shrine, however, either in their personal quarters or as a separate chamber if they are wealthy enough to own their own vessel. These shrines are predominantly red, with highlights of yellow and orange. Dark grey is often added in whole-chamber shrines if there is a need to tone down on the color. Cushions and tapestries are common, and the chambers are always as comfortable as possible for a neogi, and they frequently feature trophies from battles, raids, and piracy. These range from ships flags to weapons and armor to the skulls of fallen foes. The altar is crafted with a low stone slab and a pair of red neogi legs arching above; the center of the altar holds a recessed flame that must be kept burning at all times within wildspace.

Novices in the service of the Flaming Master are called Unburnt Cowards. Full priests of the Flames of War are called Burning Claws. The church of Kr’tx is not organized hierarchically, and all priests choose individual grandiose titles that supposedly reflect their deeds or goals, but are more often pure self-aggrandizement. Specialty priests are known as warmasters. Specialty priests (70%) make up the bulk of the Flaming Master’s priesthood with clerics comprising the remainder (30%); shamans are found only among umber hulk slaves and are never seen as equals by the neogi clergy. Besides neogi (91%), the planar tso (8%) are also found among Kr’tx’s clergy; while unusual, a small number of umber hulks (1%) also manage to join the clergy as well, usually due to the eccentricity of a priestly neogi owner.

Dogma: All creatures and objects are either owners or owned, but that does not mean they must be purchased. Ownership by might is more valid than ownership by deed, for those with power need never give up possessions if they do not wish to do so. Those with might are feared, and ensuring that fear through unpredictable violence is the right of those with might.

Day-to-Day Activities: The clergy of Kr’tx live their lives much as other neogi do. They are the first to choose aggression and violence as the solution to problems, and they tend to be crueler owners than other members of their famously cruel race. They invariably work their way to the higher positions aboard neogi reavers, while on other neogi vessels they are often in charge of directing boarding parties and ship defense.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Once per year neogi offer up a large sacrifice to Kr’tx, in a ceremony known as the Bargain of Conflagration. As neogi are today an entirely spaceborne race, the exact date of this ceremony varies from sphere to sphere and even ship to ship at times, but it is held on one of five intercalary days in the neogi calendar. These days are spaced 72 days apart, and the Bargain of Conflagration is the third such day. During this ceremony, neogi offer up slaves (including other neogi) to the Flaming Master in order to confirm the bargain they believe their ancestors struck with it in the past. They see this sacrifice as a payment rendered for the powers Kr’tx grants, and this is seen by sages as the reason neogi make demands of their gods rather than asking or begging for it as most other worshippers do.

The actual ceremony for the Bargain of Conflagration is fairly simple. Two of the slaves aboard a neogi vessel are chosen by the captain for the sacrifice; any slave may be chosen, even those owned by other members of the crew, as can neogi or umber hulks, although the latter is quite rare. Often the slaves are those who have proven to be troublesome or ineffectual, although strategically weakening powerful underlings is not unknown. Once the sacrifices are chosen, a priest of Kr’tx, or the captain if the vessel has no such priest, conducts the ritual repetition of the bargain’s terms, and the. The two slaves are sacrificed in flame. The neogi believe these slaves are added to the Flaming Master’s own stock of slaves, and in return the deity lends its power to them for the upcoming year. This ceremony is held even in the phlogiston, although extra precautions need to be observed for safety’s sake.

Major Centers of Worship: There are no known holy sites or major temples dedicated to the Flaming Master.

Affiliated Orders: No martial or monastic orders are sponsored by the church of Kr’tx.

Priestly Vestments: When conducting ceremonies, priests of the Flaming Master wear robes of red fringed with orange. These robes are decorated with circular symbols of flame, and this same symbol is always tattooed somewhere on a neogi priest’s skin. The placement is usually prominent, but it need not be.

Adventuring Garb: Other than the tattoo that marks them as a priest of Kr’tx, the Flaming Master’s clergy tend to garb themselves in a similar manner to other neogi. They sometimes favor more reds and oranges in their clothing and personal tattoos, but this is by no means universal. Like all neogi, they use no weapons or armor.

Specialty Priests (Warmasters)
Requirements:          Constitution 12, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.:                Wisdom
Alignment:                CE
Weapons:                   None (Any)
Armor:                       None (Any)
Major Spheres:         All, astral, chaos, charm, combat, elemental (fire), healing (reversed only), necromantic, war
Minor Spheres:         Elemental (air, earth), protection, summoning
Magical Items:         Same as clerics, plus any fire-related items
Req. Profs:                Fire-building
Bonus Profs:             None

  • Warmasters must be neogi, tso, or umber hulks.
  • Warmasters are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Warmasters may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group without penalty.
  • Warmasters gain a +2 to saving throws versus fire-based attacks.
  • Warmasters can cast burning hands (as the 1st-level wizard spell) or command (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 3rd level, warmasters can cast produce flame (as the 2nd-level priest spell) three times per day.
  • At 5th level, warmasters can cast prayer or pyrotechnics (as the 3rd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 7th level, warmasters take half damage from fire, one quarter if a saving throw is successful.
  • At 7th level, warmasters can cast caltrops (as the 3rd-level priest spell) or flame arrow (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 10th level, warmasters can cast illusory artillery (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 12th level, warmasters can cast flame strike (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per week.

Kr’txan Spells
2nd Level
Flames of the Warmaster (Pr 2; Illusion/Phantasm)
Sphere:                    War
Range:                     240 yds.
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Up to 1 turn
Casting Time:          2 rds.
Area of Effect:         1 unit
Saving Throw:        None

This spell causes a single military unit to feel as if there is a great conflagration licking at their backs, forcing them forward into battle. This phantom heat causes no injuries should those affected fight as directed by their commander. However, those who refuse their orders suffer 1d4 points of damage per round until they follow orders again. This damage is temporary and is immediately negated (accompanied by an immediate sense of relief) if the creatures accept their orders and do as they are directed. Those who continue to disobey do not recover any temporarily lost hit points until after a full night’s rest. Should a creature be brought to 0 hit points (or −10 if the optional hovering on death’s door rule is used) through this temporary loss, or a combination of real and phantom damage, they must make a system shock roll or instantly die.

For the duration of this spell’s effect, an affected unit fights with a +2 bonus to their attack rolls, but suffer a −2 penalty to morale checks. Morale checks are not made any more frequently, but should a failure occur, members of the unit will never break and flee back the way they came. Further, they suffer temporary damage as detailed above for disobeying orders. For the purposes of this spell, a military unit is one that has trained together and is equipped the same, with a minimum original contingent of 20 individuals. This spell can be used on those who are trained to fight as a secondary task, such as sailors.

The material component for this spell is a hot coal plucked from an active fire.

Mercenary’s Glamer (Pr 2; Enchantment/Charm, Illusion/Phantasm)
Sphere:                    Charm
Range:                     60 yds.
Components:           V, M
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        Neg.

By means of this spell, the caster deceives another creature into believing they have already been paid for services rendered. This spell only affects those who have been contracted into providing a service of a military nature, including as mercenaries, champions, or guards. If an initial saving throw versus spell is failed, the target believes the caster that they have already paid, but they periodically have a chance to realize they have been duped with another saving throw; the time between checks is the same as for the charm person spell.

At the DM’s discretion, incongruous situations can apply a bonus of up to +4 to the saving throw, or decrease the time between checks; similarly, facts that back up the lie can create penalties to the save or increase the time between checks. For example, if the caster uses this spell on an individual who was promised payment in emeralds, and the target has no emeralds, they are less likely to fall for the glamer. By contrast, if an individual with 2000 gp on hand is tricked by this spell into believing they had been paid 500 gp for a service, they may suffer a penalty to their saving throw as their cash can easily cover the shortfall for a time.

The material component for this spell is a gold coin.

3rd Level
Sheath of Flame (Pr 1; Charm)
Sphere:                    Elemental Fire
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          6
Area of Effect:         The caster’s forelimbs
Saving Throw:        None

When this spell is cast, thin flames sheathe the forelimbs of the priest. These flames cause no harm to the casting priest or his possessions, but cause an extra 1d4 damage if those limbs are used for natural or unarmed attacks. The light shed by the flames is equal to that of a torch, and they can be used to ignite flammable objects. For every two levels the caster has attained, they can designate one creature to be immune to these flames; those selected are typically the casting neogi’s umber hulk slaves. Once per round the caster can choose to brand a single creature touched with a painful mark, typically representing the caster’s slave mark, but it can also be used to inflict pain for the sake of it. If used in this way, the flames cause 3d6 points of damage; this damage can never kill a target, however. If enough damage is inflicted to cause death, they are reduced to 1 hit point and must make a system shock roll or fall unconscious. If used against an unwilling target, a normal attack roll is required, and all other attacks are forfeit for the round.

If this spell is cast in the phlogiston, it immediately explodes in. A 30-foot diameter fireball that deals 6d6 points of damage, even to those designated as immune to the spell, as well as the caster.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a flask of lamp oil.

2 Responses to Kr’tx the Flaming Master

  1. Tony says:

    Ive been waiting for the neogi pantheon. As usual, stellar work.

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