Kil’lix the Ambitious

Another of the neogi deities from Dragon Magazine #214, Kil’lix represents the cutthroat nature of neogi advancement. He is a god of death, and teaches his followers to gain power through poison and murder.

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Kil’lix (PDF Version)
(The Ambitious, the Transformer)
Lesser Power of the Abyss, LE

Portfolio:                 Death, murder, poison, ambition
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           434th Layer/Karish (the Shadowdepths)
Superior:                   Ka’jik’zxi (Dead)
Allies:                       None
Foes:                           Every other power
Symbol:                     Shadow of a neogi
Wor. Align.:              LE, NE, CE

The most subtle and conniving of the neogi pantheon, Kil’lix (KILL-licks) is a treacherous and black-hearted being that gets what it wants through murder and poison. It is said to have imbued all neogi with their venom, and devised the method by which neogi transform into great old ones. It advocates for a constant subtle yet violent change that benefits it and its followers.

Kil’lix is a shadowy figure in neogi myth, which brings death to all members of that race eventually. It delights in using poisons, traps, and agents to kill its enemies, especially when doing so brings a direct, if not immediate gain. It has used such techniques to slay powerful minions and servitors of all other members of the neogi pantheon, although so far none of its plots have been successful against the deities themselves. It avoids sending its forces against the others whenever possible, preferring subterfuge and ambush where possible, but Kil’lix’s servants are more than capable of defending themselves.

While a deity of death, Kil’lix takes far more pleasure in delivering fates that transform victims in some way as they die. Neogi myths credit it with devising the poison that slew the pantheon’s mythical creator-god long before mortal neogi existed, but these same myths often indicate the transformation Ka’jik’zxi underwent was unplanned and unexpected. After overcoming its shock, Kil’lix reveled in the discovery of what it was able to bring about in others, and set to devising new and interesting ways to eliminate its rivals. One of its many discoveries, as the myths state, was the poison all mortal neogi now possess that also serves as their means of reproduction. In this way, Kil’lix has become the closest thing the neogi have to a fertility deity.

Kil’lix shares a plane in the Abyss with two of its brethren; whereas they war on the surface, it lairs deep beneath in an extensive cave system that is said to have secret entrances into the realms of both Thrig’ki and T’zen’kil. Why these powers dwell in the Abyss is unknown, but legends claim the layer holds a significant piece of Ka’jik’zxi’s remains. These legends further claim this piece of flesh bears the original tattoo of ownership the creator deity applied to its five servant deities, and should any one gain control of the whole layer, they can claim ownership of the remaining four powers. Sages are doubtful of the veracity of this legend, but note that if it is true, the constant distraction of interloping tanar’ri and other Abyssal residents may be enough to keep any of the three from gaining the upper hand in the conflict.

Kil’lix is the least active member of the neogi pantheon on the Prime Material Plane, only sending an avatar if other servants are unable to achieve its goals. These activities usually consist of acquiring rare and unusual ingredients for its research and the occasional slave raid, and of course the assassination by poison of those who have angered it. He may get involved if he detects a direct conflict between the avatars of two or more of the other deities, hoping to take advantage of momentary weakness, but such situations are quite rare.

Kil’lix’s Avatar (Thief 27, Transmuter 22, Cleric 18, Fighter 14)
Kil’lix appears as a shadowy neogi of inky blackness with ill-defined edges. Its eyes seem to be even darker still unless enraged, at which they burn a deep midnight blue. No tattoos or other features can be seen on its insubstantial body. It draws its spells from all spheres save animal, chaos, creation, and plant, and only uses harmful effects from the sphere of healing. It draws its spells from all schools save abjuration, although it favors those from the schools of alteration, illusion/phantasm, and necromancy.

AC −1; MV 12; HP 162; THAC0 7; #AT 6
Dmg 1d6+1/1d6+1/2d6 ×2 (claw/claw/bite)
MR 30%; SZ M (5 feet tall)
Str 10, Dex 21, Con 18, Int 19, Wis 17, Cha 14
Spells P: 10/10/9/8/6/4/2, W: 6/6/6/6/6/6/5/5/4*
Saves PPDM 4, RSW 3, PP 5, BW 5, Sp 4
* Numbers assume one extra alteration spell per spell level.

Special Att/Def: Kil’lix disdains physical combat unless it can fight from darkness or shadow. It is always accompanied by an utterly silent and pitch-black umber hulk named Nrikt (11+11 HD, 12 feet tall, 99 hp), as well as 2d6 shadows in the forms of normal neogi and umber hulks. In melee, Kil’lix defends itself with a pair of chilling claws and a venomous bite; those struck by the claw attacks are allowed a saving throw versus paralyzation at a +2 bonus or lose a point of Strength; this loss is cumulative and lasts 1d6 hours. Any victims of Kil’lix’s venomous bite must save versus poison or be transformed into shadowstuff, similar to Lorloveim’s shadowy transformation, over the next 1d4+1 rounds. During this time the victim can act normally and spells such as neutralize poison are effective at slowing or reversing the effects; once the transformation is complete, only a limited wish, restoration, or similar magic can return a creature to their normal form. While composed of shadow magical light deals 1d4 points of damage per spell level, and full sunlight or a sunray spell will utterly destroy a creature. Kil’lix’s venom also slows creatures as normal for neogi venom, regardless of the first save; it lasts 2d6 rounds and a saving throw versus poison with a −4 penalty is necessary to avoid this secondary effect.

Once per day, Kil’lix can cast polymorph other, shadow magic, and shadow monsters. Three times per day, it can cast poison and darkness, 15′ radius, and it can dispel any magical light at will. Once per hour, it can summon 1d6 shadows to aid it in battle, and once per day it can summon a shade of an umber hulk (as the monster described in Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol.4).

Kil’lix is immune to cold, poison, paralyzation, and all forms of mental domination and control, and can only be struck by weapons of +2 or better enchantment. Bright light is painful to it, and it suffers a −2 penalty to attacks, Armor Class, and saving throws in full sunlight or continual light or more powerful magic. It suffers damage from spells such as sunray as if it were undead, but it is not truly an undead creature, and other magics and effects such as holy water that affect undead cause it no special harm or discomfort.

Other Manifestations
Kil’lix, as with his brethren, never manifests its power on the Prime Material Plane to assist or defend its followers. Neogi myth holds that this is due to an oversight in the contract forged with their deities. Sages speculate that it instead stems from a casual disregard for their followers’ safety and a realization that aiding them would delay their demise and transformation into petitioners in their planar realm.

The neogi pantheon is served primarily by divine servitors in the form of umber hulks and normal spiders of all sorts, but Kil’lix the Ambitious can call on bebiliths, bodaks, darkweavers, incarnates of pride, lesser yugoloths (all mercenaries), shades, shadow fiends, shadows, slow shadows, and vargouilles. It never displays its favor or displeasure through discoveries of any kind.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, shamans, wizards
Clergy’s Align.:      LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No, Sha: No, W: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes, SP: Yes, at level −2, Sha: No, W: No

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

Kil’lix’s faith tends to draw the schemers and assassins of neogi society, as well as a disproportionate number of wizards. They tend to be among the least overtly violent, for they prefer to use subtle means to harm others. Kil’lix is held to have control over death itself, and so those neogi who wish to bring about a specific individual’s demise, or those who wish to evade death often turn to its faith. Most undead old masters at least pay lip service to this deity. As Kil’lix also governs the transformation of neogi into great old masters and the eventual spawning of young neogi, it is the closest the neogi have to a fertility deity. For this reason it is often called upon to replenish numbers of neogi or slaves lost to battle. It is also this aspect that it receives worship from umber hulks, although it is one of the less popular deities among those creatures.

Priests of Kil’lix maintain personal shrines, but virtually never build temples in its honor, as the neogi only rarely colonize worlds. On ships that are predominantly crewed by members of Kil’lix’s faith, communal shrines are constructed, always in the darkest place in a vessel. These shrines use nothing but black materials, and often go unnoticed by other races unless they specifically see neogi using them for ceremonies or prayers. Thick velvet curtains or draperies frame a niche in which a small matte-black object is placed. Once per year, the neogi who maintain the shrine must transform the object in some way in order to continue gaining spells from Kil’lix. The specific transformation doesn’t matter, and priests are encouraged to be creative with the process. It may be burned, polymorphed, shattered, broken, or even traded for another object, to name just the more common methods of transforming it.

Novices in the service of Kil’lix the Ambitious are called Strivers, while full priests are termed the Darkly Ambitious. The priesthood of Kil’lix is hierarchical, with rankings based on the number of times a member of the clergy has used subterfuge, assassination, blackmail, or other devious means to advance their secular position. Using such tactics against other members of the clergy is strictly forbidden, unless doing so would advance a member in a secular position. The titles used by individual priests always reflect these accomplishments, and can thus be quite long. Specialty priests are known as venomclaws. Specialty priests (70%) are the most significant group within Kil’lix’s clergy, with the remainder being clerics (22%) and wizards (primarily necromancers, shadow mages, and transmuters; 8%); shamans are only found among umber hulk slaves and are never seen as equals by the neogi clergy. Unsurprisingly, neogi (90%) make up the majority of the priesthood, with their planar relatives the tso (9%) and a miniscule number of umber hulks (less than 1%) composing the remainder. These umber hulks are usually brought into the faith by an eccentric neogi owner.

Dogma: Change is a necessary and regular aspect of life; it brings power, but also death and new life. Change need not be random, however; seek to bring it about in a way that is advantageous. Power and wealth only come through a change in the balance of who owns what; seek the changes that benefit you and harm your foes. Seek to control all change that can be controlled, and find the benefit in that which cannot. Work from the shadows so others do not see the change you wish to bring until it is done.

Day-to-Day Activities: The priesthood of Kil’lix is composed of schemers, backstabbers, spies, and skulks who seek to rise in power through manipulation and subterfuge. They carry out assassinations against their superiors or deploy blackmail to gain advantage in trade deals, and generally know more than they let on. They often keep their affiliation with the church of Kil’lix a secret to better hide their nefarious dealings, as being a known member of the clergy is a sure way to arouse suspicion in other neogi.

A fairly significant number of neogi who choose to become undead in order to escape the transformation into great old masters are followers of Kil’lix. The faithful do not see such an act as going against their deity and do not seek to destroy the individual, but they may run them off if it risks the community’s power structure stagnating.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Neogi of all stripes celebrate a ceremony known as the Bargain of Transformation, held on the last day of the neogi calendar. Like other neogi holy days, this ceremony falls on one of five intercalary days on their calendar, each spaced 72 days apart, although the exact day varies from sphere to sphere and even ship to ship at times. Neogi theology holds that this ceremony renews the bargain their people struck with their gods, and the sacrifices they make are seen as a payment due for services rendered. Sages speculate that this thinking is the basis behind neogi making demands of their deities rather than the requests that most other creatures make.

The specific ceremony is simple, as with most neogi religious ceremonies. One slave among the crew of a neogi vessel is chosen by the captain to be offered up to Kil’lix; this slave is usually one that has not been meeting expectations or is becoming too old to be useful. It is then administered a mixture of neogi venom and a paralytic poison, and then cast overboard while the neogi make exhortations to Kil’lix about the slave’s worth. The ship will stay nearby to ensure the slave dies in the void of space and not rescued by another vessel. However, there are times when this ceremony is circumvented by a neogi crew that believes their captain has become too old and senile to lead any further. They will attend the ceremony as normal, but before the captain can choose a slave, they will all leap on the captain and administer the venom that transforms the old captain into a great old master, and eventually result in a new generation of neogi. As such, many captains are very careful to have their bodyguards close at hand for these ceremonies, and may choose an instigator or troublemaker neogi as the sacrificial slave if the attempt on their life is thwarted.

Major Centers of Worship: The neogi do mot build great temples or honor holy sites, so there are no centers of Kil’lix’s worship among the known spheres.

Affiliated Orders: The priesthood of Kil’lix maintains no martial or monastic orders.

Priestly Vestments: Members of Kil’lix’s clergy wear hooded robes of pitch black when conducting important ceremonies. These robes have no embellishments whatsoever. The holy symbol used by the clergy is an amulet in the shape of a black triangle, pointed down, worn about the neck on a thin iron chain. Priests never tattoo themselves to mark their membership in the church.

Adventuring Garb: Kil’lix’s faithful rarely wear anything to distinguish themselves from other neogi, favoring instead brightly colored clothes and tattoos. They actively try to appear no different from their brethren.

Specialty Priests (Venomclaws)
Requirements:          Dexterity 12, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.:                Dexterity, Wisdom
Alignment:                LE
Weapons:                   None (Any)
Armor:                       None (Any)
Major Spheres:         All, astral, charm, combat, creation, divination, healing (reversed only), necromantic, sun (reversed only), weather
Minor Spheres:         Elemental, protection, summoning
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Herbalism
Bonus Profs:             Observation

  • Venomclaws must be neogi, tso, or umber hulks.
  • Venomclaws are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Venomclaws may select proficiencies from the rogue group with no crossover penalty.
  • Venomclaws can cast darkness (as the reverse of the 1st-level priest spell light) or spider climb (as the 1st-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 3rd level, venomclaws gain minor access to magic from the wizard schools of alteration, necromancy, or shadow, as defined in the Limited Wizard Spellcasting section of “Appendix 1: Demihuman Priests” of Demihuman Deities. They may only choose one of these schools, and once chosen, the selection can never be changed. As this is minor access, they are limited to spells from levels 1–3 only. In addition, they gain a +2 to their saving throws versus any wizard spells from their chosen school.
  • At 3rd level, venomclaws can cast darkness, 15′ radius (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) or spider gout (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 5th level, venomclaws can cast poison (as the reverse of the 4th-level priest spell neutralize poison) or venom bite (as the 2nd-level priest spell) twice per week, in any combination. Only one usage can be made in any given day, regardless of the spell chosen. This rises to once per day at 9th level, although only one power can be used per day, not both.
  • At 7th level, venomclaws can cast polymorph other or shadow monsters (as the 4th-level wizard spells) once per day).
  • At 9th level, venomclaws can cast lethal hatchling (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 12th level, venomclaws can cast Lorloveim’s shadowy transformation (as the 6th-level wizard spell) once per day.

Kil’lixite Spells
2nd Level
Spider Gout (Pr 2; Conjuration)
Sphere:                    Necromantic
Range:                     10 yds.
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Instantaneous
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        ½

This spell creates a magical glob of spider venom in the neogi’s mouth, which it can spit at any single target within range. The neogi can hold the venom for a number of rounds equal to half its level. If held longer, the neogi suffers the damage detailed below, with no saving throw.

The venom can be spit up to 10 yards. The neogi must make a successful attack roll to strike the target (no range penalties apply). Failure means the venom glob missed, causing it to dissolve harmlessly. Creatures struck must save vs. poison or suffer 2d4 points of damage plus 1 hit point per level of the caster (to a maximum of 2d4+10 points of damage at 10th level). A successful saving throw means only half damage is taken.

The material component is the neogi’s own poisonous saliva.

Venom Bite (Pr 2; Evocation)
Sphere:                    Charm
Range:                     5 yds. + 5 yds./level
Components:           V, S
Duration:                 Instantaneous
Casting Time:          1
Area of Effect:         10 ft. square
Saving Throw:        Special

This spell is the neogi version of a magic missile spell. When cast, the spell brings into being a small set of pointed teeth that are fired outward from the caster’s body. One set of teeth is created for every two levels of experience beyond the 1st possessed by the caster (for example, a 3rd-level neogi would create two sets of teeth) to maximum of four sets of teeth. The teeth strike as 5 HD monsters; any creature struck by a set of teeth must save vs. spells or be slowed for 1d4 rounds. The caster can divide the sets of teeth among as many opponents as desired so long as they are all within a 10-foot square selected as the focus for the spell. Hits from multiple sets of teeth require multiple saving throws. Further bites from this spell have no effect once the victim has already been slowed.

5th Level
Lethal Hatchling (Pr 5; Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Necromantic
Range:                     10 yds.
Components:           V, S
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          1 rd.
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        Neg.

Upon utterance of this spell, the caster conjures up a small egg, 1 inch in diameter, which fires outward from the caster toward a target creature. The creature is allowed a saving throw vs. death magic. A successful saving throw negates the spell. Failure indicates a most gruesome fate: The egg enters the creature’s body and begins to grow. For the next four rounds, the creature is allowed another saving throw vs. death magic each round at a −2 cumulative penalty (that is, −2 for the first save after the egg enters the body, −4 for the second, etc.). Each failed saving throw cause the loss of 25% of the creature’s original hit point total. If the creature makes a successful saving throw during this time, the spell is halted, the egg’s growth stops, and then it deteriorates. If the creature dies, a newborn neogi erupts out of its body.

2 Responses to Kil’lix the Ambitious

  1. Barastir says:

    Another nice entry. I still have to read it more carefully, but already noticed the hit points of the avatar are missing.

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