Marchosia, King of Killers

A legendary assassin in life, Marchosias now grants his summoners his supernatural charm, plus the ability to kill or paralyze with one startling attack and to disappear in a puff of smoke.

Legend: Marchosias seems to have appeared as a vestige quite recently—in fact, only a short time before Dahlver-Nar did. In life, Marchosias was a human who brought death to others. His favorite targets were other assassins and murderers, but this choice of foes had nothing to do with morals. Despicably evil, Marchosias was obsessed with improving his skill as a killer, and ending the lives of other professional slayers seemed the best challenge he could undertake. When at last Marchosias met his death, his soul traveled to the Nine Hells. The devils gleefully accepted his powerful spirit, but others there took note of his arrival and were not pleased.

The spirits of hundreds of thugs, slaughterers, executioners, and assassins banded together and rebelled against their devilish captors— intending not to escape or take control, but to attack Marchosias. Although the devils were loath to allow such lawlessness, they let the souls of the damned fi ght it out, thinking to step in and punish all the spirits when the battle was over. Marchosias fought well, but he could not prevail against so many foes at once, and he fell under the onslaught. When the devils pulled back the attackers, nothing was left—Marchosias’s soul had been torn to pieces.

Special Requirement: To summon Marchosias, you must at some point in your life have committed an evil act for which you have not apologized, atoned, or made reparations. Lying or breaking a confi dence doesn’t count, but other small acts of evil—such as theft, infidelity, or vandalism— do fulfill the requirement.

Manifestation: Marchosias appears with a bloodcurdling scream in an explosion of fi re and black smoke. Though much of the smoke curls away, some remains and slowly coalesces to form a human figure. Marchosias appears as a king with body and raiment composed of swirling smoke and cinders. He wears a crown of fire, beneath which gleam two glowing, hot coals where his eyes should be. Marchosias wields a scepter of flames, and a sword of hot ash is belted to his hip. For a moment, he seems exhausted by the rigors of his arrival, standing with his shoulders slumped and his head bowed. After a moment, he raises his gaze to his summoner and stands straight and tall, adopting an imperious posture.

Sign: While you are bound to Marchosias, the pupils of your eyes glow with a red-orange light. Anyone looking at your face can make a DC 12 Spot check each round to notice this effect. This light is not strong enough to illuminate the area, and it does not make you any easier to see in the dark, but it can be disturbing to look upon.

Influence: Marchosias’s influence makes you debonair and sly, as though you have some trick up your sleeve and the knowledge of it makes you confident. In addition, Marchosias requires that you use the death attack he grants you against any foe you catch unawares.

Granted Abilities: Marchosias gives you an assassin’s skill at killing, plus the ability to assume gaseous form and the power to charm foes.

Death Attack: If you study a target for 3 rounds and then make a sneak attack with a melee weapon that successfully deals damage, the attack either paralyzes or kills the target (your choice) in addition to dealing normal sneak attack damage. While studying the victim, you can undertake other actions so long as your attention stays focused on the target and the target neither detects you nor recognizes you as an enemy. If the victim of such an attack fails a Fortitude save against the kill effect, she dies. If she fails against the paralysis effect, she is rendered helpless and unable to act for 1d6 rounds + 1 round per effective binder level. If the victim’s saving throw succeeds, the attack is just a normal sneak attack. Once you have completed the 3 rounds of study, you must make the death attack within the next 3 rounds. If you attempt a death attack and fail (the victim makes her save), or if you do not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before you can attempt another death attack.

Fiery Retribution: You deal an extra 3d6 points of fire damage when you strike an opponent who can deal extra damage through a sneak attack, sudden strike, or skirmish attack. This extra damage applies to ranged attacks only if the opponent is within 30 feet.

Smoke Form: You can assume the form of a smoke cloud at will. This ability functions like the gaseous form spell, except that you can remain gaseous for as long as you wish. Although you lose your supernatural abilities while gaseous, you do not lose the ability to remain in gaseous form. Vestiges you have bound remain so for the normal duration. Since you lose your supernatural death attack ability, however, you cannot study an opponent for the purpose of making your death attack while in smoke form. You can suppress or activate this ability as a standard action. Once you have returned to your normal form from smoke form, you cannot do so again for 5 rounds.

Silent and Sure: You gain a +16 competence bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks.