Moloch

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Moloch
Moloch.
(Déité)
Titres The Ashen Bull
General of Hell
God of Fires
Lord of the Sixth
Home Melqart Keep, Citadel Ba'al, Malebolge, Hell
Alignement Lawful evil
Portfolio Fire
Obedience
War
Cleric Alignments Modèle:Alignment grid
Domaines Evil, Fire, Law, War
Sous domaines Ash, Devil, Smoke, Tactics
Arme de prédiléction Whip

Introduction

Moloch avatar.jpg

Before he became the General of Hell, Moloch tended the furnaces of Heaven: the Heresy Ovens hidden in the Vault of Correction beneath Heaven’s Great Library. There black-robed archons and angels put to the torch those ideas and knowledge too evil and dangerous to be allowed to exist. For eons, the ancient archon who would one day become one of Heaven’s greatest enemies tended the flames alongside legions of exscinders, entrusted with disposing of the multiverse’s most profane secrets. In all those ages, not once did the upstanding archon read a word of the forbidden texts. Neither pride nor ambition led Moloch from his duty. Nor did some idle curiosity or stray secret, or even the fell influence of some magical tome. In the end, Moloch’s undoing was the same trait which had for so long garnered him Heaven’s grace—his obedience.

In the hours before Asmodeus’s rebellion against Heaven, Baalzebul entered the Great Library and used his station to force his way into the library’s depths, reaching the repository of blasphemies due for destruction. Had he asked to view some foul scripture or for possession of an evil relic, the archons there would have suspected some deceit. Yet Baalzebul requested only a piece of the Great Library’s flame.

With no obvious evil in the directive, there was no reason to deny the angelic hero. Yet the power to control the library’s flames was a boon granted specifcally to Heaven’s censors, and could not merely be transferred to another, even one as mighty and demanding as Baalzebul. Angered but unable to argue, Asmodeus’s champion instead led one of the kiln-keepers from the library, an archon who carried with him a single cinder burning upon an ancient page.

Asmodeus was not pleased, but sought advantage in the development. A legend among the heavenly host, Asmodeus knew no archon would deny him. He embraced his captive, drawing him into his plots. Rather than Asmodeus or Baalzebul wielding the blasphemy-tainted flames, the archon himself became the bearer of that unconventional weapon. Asmodeus armed the former censor and, when the war began, sent him into battle.

Perhaps it was simple obedience, or some corruption of the flames he bore. Perhaps it was a longing for glorious battle. Whatever the case, when Asmodeus commanded, the archon fought—and, more impressively, won. It would have been easy to dismiss his victories, attributing them to the flame he wielded, yet the archon’s battle prowess proved considerable, as did his mind for tactics. In battle afer battle, against foes celestial and otherwise, his abilities kept his weapon well fed.

Maybe the archon didn’t realize at frst that the flames were feeding off of his own essence. Maybe not even Asmodeus did. Yet it soon became clear to Asmodeus that the fre-bearer and his flame had become one and the same. From the charred spoils of past victories, the Archfend produced plates of blackened armor and girded the archon’s burning form. No longer merely one among the ranks of Heaven’s rebels, the fallen soldier earned the privilege of command, and, along with it, a new name: Moloch.[1]

PERSONIFICATION AND REALM

Moloch.

Easily the most martial of the archdevils, Moloch is known as the General of Hell. His other epithets, such as the Ashen Bull and God of Fires, originate from his favored animal and his power over flames, respectively. When personifed, Moloch appears as a gigantic suit of horned armor wielding a massive weapon in both hands. His favorite weapons are the whip Forest of Razors, the horned battleaxe Goreletch, a warhammer of solid flame called Halethate, the bloody sword Ramithaine, and the javelin Vothadiel’s Spine, any of which he can produce at a moment’s notice.

Within Moloch’s armor blazes a hellish inferno. If the former archon ever had some other form, it burned away ages ago. As with many who began existence as angels, Moloch is genderless, though most cultures around the Inner Sea view him as male. He cares not how his followers refer to him, so long as they offer the proper obedience.

Moloch’s symbol is a tongue of flame within the silhouette of a bull’s head. His unholiest rituals and celebrations take place around hollow metallic statues of bulls and bull-headed humanoids, known as molechs (see the sidebar on page 72).

Moloch dominates Malebolge, the sixth layer of Hell, having reshaped the patchwork demesne into his own impossible fortress. Countless disparate hellscapes, or bolgias, cover Malebolge. Some are predictably infernal vistas, like burning forests or broken mountains, while others are more alien, like scorpions the size of islands drifing upon seas of bile or gulfs wherein float monstrous skulls. Many are wilderness, some untouched, but others serve as training grounds for Hell’s diabolical legions or breeding realms for slave-beasts like achaierais and cerberi. Among the most dangerous are the lands of foul divinities, such as the infernal dukes Caacrinolaas and Eligos the Winged Rider, or the undead court of Ruithvein, third of all vampires. Dividing these expanses are massive walls patrolled by countless legions of levalochs, Moloch’s favored devils. One viewing all of Malebolge would realize that each bolgia is a courtyard of an infnitely spiderwebbing fortress: Citadel Ba’al. Within the depths of the layer hides the citadel’s heart, Melqart Keep, a gigantic fortifcation from which Moloch directs Hell’s endless campaigning. Impossible numbers of devils congregate here, readying themselves for initiatives on billions of fronts across the planes. Even the burgeoning infernal dukes known as malebranche— Hell’s commanders, who persecute wars throughout the Material Plane—take their commissions and orders from the depths of Melqart Keep. This activity makes Moloch’s citadel one of the most vital nerve centers in all of Hell, and also one of the most viciously impregnable. [1]

DOGMA AND WORSHIPERS

For Moloch, there is only war—not as a blind, bloodthirsty pursuit, but as a means to spread Hell’s order across the planes. While his fellow archdevils might further diabolical schemes through lies and manipulation, Moloch favors the simple effectiveness of force. A master strategist, the General of Hell is capable of sophisticated strategies and might wait centuries for them to bear fruit. Moloch knows the necessity of maintaining troops of various natures and origins, especially those familiar with the lands he seeks to conquer. His armies are flled with both devils of all kinds and his mortal worshipers. The latter include not just Moloch’s clergy, but whole communities brought into the archdevil’s thrall. Followers of Moloch, whether devils or mortals, seek vulnerable groups—typically those at or beyond the frontiers of civilization—that know nothing of the archdevil. They ofen target cultures with totemistic or animistic beliefs or ancestor worship, or those that might be open to the inclusion of one more fre spirit. Moloch’s followers typically use their powers to solve such a community’s problems, perhaps staving off a natural disaster or defeating a monstrous foe. Responsibility for the population’s salvation is then credited to Moloch, or simply to the “God of Fires.” Once his faith has a foothold, Moloch’s religion spreads, and his clergy seek to make him the people’s sole deity. Only when frmly entrenched do Moloch’s priests reveal the violent, burning rites the archdevil favors.

As a result of this approach, Moloch’s followers are ofen warlike tribes and wild raiders. His faith rarely has a place in more civilized lands, except in cultures with dominant martial traditions.[1]

TEMPLES AND SHRINES

Moloch has few temples. As a martial faith, the deity’s worship is ofen conducted in the feld or amid war camps, making permanent structures impractical. The rare temples of Moloch that exist are usually built around molechs (see the sidebar) situated within massive caves, hidden canyons, or open-air pavilions decorated with brass. More typically, Moloch’s worship consists of stern evangelists extolling the virtues of faith, obedience, and giving one’s life in the god’s service. Only during festivals and rituals do they raise the visage of Moloch over his followers, erecting bull-headed totems, brazen bull idols, or similar efgies.

In times of war, Moloch’s armies carry images of their god with them. Ofen a particular wagon bears a molech or metal bull idol. When traveling through lands where Moloch’s image might be met with hostility, such carts are usually covered. These idols are ofen positioned at the heart of a war camp; before battle, the army’s priests gather the soldiers there to whip them into a frenzy and bestow the god’s blessings upon them.

In the Inner Sea region, Moloch’s faith is strongest in the Realms of the Mammoth Lords, the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, and the mountains of the Mwangi Expanse. Numerous mercenary companies, like the Circle of Flame and Company of Bakthatal, invoke Moloch’s name before battle, as do many pious Hellknights.[1]

MOLECHS

Moloch’s most important rites involve sacrifcial idols called molechs. They’re usually made of metal, and some molechs are even magical items, as detailed below. { |- |MOLECH ||10,000 GP PRICE|| || |- |SLOT none ||CL 12th ||WEIGHT 2,000 lbs. } AURA strong enchantment and evocation [evil]|

This statue takes the form of a bull or a bull-headed humanoid. A hatch in the idol’s chest or side allows access to a hollow inside the statue—this hatch can be opened only from the outside. This hollow is typically large enough to accommodate one Medium creature, though larger idols might accommodate more. One round after a creature is placed inside, the idol’s interior blazes with hellfre, which deals 6d6 points of damage per round to any creature inside. Half the damage is fre damage, but the other half results directly from unholy power and is therefore not subject to reduction by resistance to frebased attacks. Pipes inside the idol amplify the screams of those within, making them sound like the bellows of an enraged bull. A creature inside the idol can break out through the locked door by succeeding at a DC 30 Strength check, or by dealing enough damage (hardness 15; hp 90; immune to fre damage). If a creature dies within the idol, all lawful evil creatures within 100 feet gain the benefts of the spell bless for 1 hour.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS |COST 5,000 GP

Craft Wondrous Item, bless, produce flame, unholy blight A PRIEST’S ROLE

Some warriors will do anything to achieve victory, wanting nothing more than glorious conquest. For these fghters, the worship of Moloch seems a natural choice, as Hell’s army stands among the strongest. Seeking to embody the strength and discipline of Hell, Moloch’s most martial followers attempt to emulate their god, doing everything they can to become stronger and win glory. These champions do little to spread Moloch’s faith, except by furthering the archdevil’s conquests.

The strategists and evangelists of Moloch’s religion seek to raise devout, unquestioning armies. Through fery speeches, the threat of sacrifce, the weight of tradition, and the lash, Moloch’s priests force the weak to raise praises to the Ashen Bull. In times of war, they are crusader generals, spurring their armies on to battle with promises that victory brings glory, while cowardice brings the fres of sacrifce. Priests with signifcant followings have the opportunity to claim what they please, whether the spoils of battle or the possessions of their congregations. Moloch does not care how his servants indulge themselves, as long as they remain competent soldiers. Those who fall prey to vices and lose their edge, though, eventually face his wrath.

Warpriests outnumber clerics among the ranks of Moloch’s most faithful. Other martial classes, particularly barbarians and bloodragers, are also common among his followers, as are those who adopt the sentinel prestige class (Pathfnder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods 202). Regardless of their class, many faithful take the Leadership feat to attract contingents of soldiers and acolytes. Moloch’s true followers are typically lawful evil, though those forced into his religion might be of any alignment. Worshipers of Moloch ofen excel at Bluff, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge (religion), and Perform (oratory).[1]

HOLIDAYS

Moloch’s worshipers—especially those who live close to nature—celebrate a variety of seasonal changes, memorials of great battles, and the accomplishments of great heroes. One of these, ofen tied to the summer solstice, includes a grisly display meant to avert Moloch’s wrath.

Feast of Flame: At least once per year, every worshiper of Moloch is expected to take part in an elaborate sacrifce. Several hours of chanting, marching, drumming, and dance evoking the motion of wild flames transpire before a special statue called a molech (see page 72). This statue is typically hollow, cast in metal, and situated over a sizable fre. At the ceremony’s climax, a sentient humanoid is sacrifced by entering (or being forced into) the molech.

Priests of Moloch claim to hear their god’s voice in the resulting screams or crackling flames, which they interpret to divine portents for the coming year.[1]

APHORISMS

Moloch’s followers aren’t poets and don’t mince words. Obey or Burn: Moloch’s followers would forcibly conscript every mortal soul into their master’s fell army. Those who don’t yield and who refuse to serve have no role in the Ashen Bull’s merciless vision of order—save as kindling for his army’s war fres.[1]

HOLY TEXT

Moloch’s holy text is The Iron Script, a series of dictums that are typically etched on bars of blackened iron or pieces of armor. The Iron Script, in its entirety, is as follows. “What begins in glory ends in Hell. His tithe: fve of every seven. All blessings come in fre. Flesh burns, iron bows. Victory begets victory. Consume cowardice. Obey.” [1]

RELATIONS WITH OTHER RELIGIONS

Moloch’s devotees ofen infltrate ancestor- and natureworshiping cultures, where his faith might be synthesized with that of great heroes or forces of fre. While this gradual process might take generations, those suffering from hardship might accept increasingly warlike aspects to their religion more quickly if victories follow displays of faith. Moloch knows the importance of morale among his followers, and might provide centuries of protection and prosperity before demanding greater proof of faith.

In Hell, Moloch’s greatest allies are Dispater and Asmodeus himself. As two of the Prince of Darkness’s oldest followers, Dispater and Moloch share the experiences and resentments of ancient veterans. Dispater knows he can call on Moloch to defend Dis, should the need arise, while Moloch never wants for conscripts or new war machines from Dispater’s garrisons and prisons. As for Asmodeus, Moloch serves the Archfend with almost unquestioning obedience. He has never expressed any dissent, and so Asmodeus trusts him with command of nearly all Hell’s forces. Moloch is also one of the few archdevils who willingly deals with the Lord of the Flies, seemingly immune to Baalzebul’s stings and barbs. Although Baalzebul once outranked Moloch, such a hierarchy no longer exists, and today, Moloch might be one of the only devils with the patience to listen to Baalzebul’s endless, buzzing lies.

Torag openly loathes Moloch. Concerned with strategy, protection, and the forge, the dwarven god sees all he cares for corrupted by Moloch’s warmongering and vicious flames. As a result, Torag’s servants ofen seek to disrupt Moloch’s rites and campaigns. In return, Moloch actively seeks dwarven followers and numbers Torag’s dwarven priests among his favorite sacrifces.

Moloch’s interests beyond Hell are in potential conquests, with one exception. At seemingly random intervals, heavily armed messengers carry missives from Malebolge to the Cinder Furnace on Abaddon, domain of Szuriel, Horseman of War. What their relations might entail remains a mystery. SPELLCASTING

Clerics of Moloch can prepare pyrotechnics as a 2ndlevel spell and flame arrow as a 3rd-level spell. Moloch’priests have created the following occult ritual.[1]

BURNING SACRIFICE

School evocation [evil]; Level 6

Casting Time 1 hour

Components V, M (fre, a sentient being), F (a prominent symbol or idol depicting either Moloch or a bull), SC (up to the Charisma modifer of the primary caster)

Skill Checks Knowledge (religion) DC 30, 3 successes;

Intimidation DC 30, 3 successes

Range 10 ft. + 10 ft./caster level of the primary caster

Duration see text

Saving Throw none; SR yes

Backlash The primary caster takes 6d6 points of fre damage and catches fre (Pathfnder RPG Core Rulebook 444).

Failure All evil creatures within range take a –2 penalty to Strength and Constitution, a –1 penalty on Will saves, and a –2 penalty to AC for 24 hours.

EFFECT

The primary caster performs an elaborate public sacrifce wherein a sentient being is burned to death. The sacrifce must be killed by fre damage, usually a result of being burned at the stake, by fre magic, or within a molech (see page 72). Regardless of the method, the sacrifce’s body is reduced to ashes and its soul is damned to Hell. A nonevil spellcaster attempting to bring the sacrifce back from the dead must succeed at a caster level check (DC = 10 + the primary caster’s caster level) to succeed; failure means the spellcaster cannot try again for 1 day.

Evil spellcasters can raise the sacrifce normally, without a check. Upon the sacrifce’s death, all evil creatures within range of the primary caster gain a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and saving throws for 10 minutes per caster level (maximum 10 minutes per Hit Die the sacrifce possessed). If the sacrifce had the chaotic or good subtype, all evil creatures within range instead gain the benefts of heroism for the same duration.[1]

OBEDIENCE

The following describes the ritual a worshiper of Moloch must perform to take full advantage of the Deifc Obedience feat, as well as the boons for the evangelist, exalted, and sentinel prestige classes found in Pathfnder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods.

OBEDIENCE (MOLOCH)

Heat an iron bar, tool, or weapon in an open flame while speaking prayers to Moloch. At the end of this time, snuff the fre with your hand or let the fre burn your flesh before extinguishing it (taking 1 point of fre damage). You gain a +4 profane bonus on saving throws against fre effects.

EVANGELIST BOONS

1: Enkindler (Sp) produce flame 3/day, pyrotechnics 2/day, or rage 1/day

2: Voice in Flames (Su) For a number of minutes per day equal to your Hit Dice, you can gaze through a fre at least the size of a torch in order to perceive the surroundings of another flame of equal or greater size within line of sight, as if using clairaudience/clairvoyance. While doing so, you can cause your voice to emanate from that flame, either as your normal voice or as a crackling, inhuman one. Once per day while using this ability, you can cast mass suggestion as a spell-like ability, but the spell originates from the distant flame rather than from you.

3: Face in Flames (Su) A number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifer, you can reshape a campfresized flame to produce the effects of major image.

Whatever shape you create appears to be made of flame and occupies roughly a 5-foot cube, even if it is part of a larger fre. You can end the effect as a free action, causing the flames to erupt in a 5-foot-radius burst that deals 1d6 points of fre damage if you so choose. This damage increases by 1d6 for every additional round you maintained the major image, but can deal no more than 1d6 points of fre damage per Hit Die you have. Causing a flame to erupt in this way extinguishes the flame. You can use this ability in tandem with Voice in Flames.[1]

EXALTED BOONS'

1: Fire Starter (Sp) produce flame 3/day, heat metal 2/day, or flame arrow 1/day

2: Mark of Flame (Su) By dealing fre damage to a creature using a spell or spell-like ability, you can temporarily brand that creature with a coin-sized, smoldering image of Moloch’s unholy symbol for 1 minute. While marked, the creature takes a –2 penalty on saving throws against all fre effects. A creature can remove this brand with erase or remove curse.

3: Accept the Flame (Su) Three times per day, you can gain immunity to fre for a number of rounds per day equal to your Wisdom modifer. Track any fre damage you take during this time. For 1 minute after you end the effect, your body becomes uncomfortably warm, and once as a standard action you can use a melee touch attack to deal an amount of fre damage equal to the damage your immunity prevented (maximum 10 points of fre damage for every Hit Die you have) and cause the attack’s target to catch fre (Core Rulebook 444). A successful Fortitude save halves the damage (DC = 10 + 1/2 your Hit Dice + your Wisdom modifer). If you do not touch another creature before the end of this minute, you take all of the damage your immunity prevented—neither fre resistance nor fre immunity can reduce this damage.[1]

SENTINEL BOONS

1: Pyrebrand (Sp) produce flame 3/day, flame blade 2/day, or phantom steed 1/day

2: Ceremonial Pyre (Su) Once per day as a swift action, you can cause all creatures within 15 feet of you to catch fre (DC = 10 + 1/2 your Hit Dice + your Charisma modifer, Reflex negates); they burn for 1 minute or until the flames are extinguished. Each round that they’re on fre, affected creatures take an additional 1d6 points of fre damage per 6 Hit Dice you have (maximum 4d6). If you begin your turn within 15 feet of a creature taking damage from this ability, you gain fast healing 10 for 1 round.

3: Sacrifcial Pyre (Su) When you confrm a critical hit against a foe, it must succeed at a Reflex saving throw (DC = 10 + your base attack bonus) or catch fre. While the target is on fre, caustic smoke obscures its vision, and it treats all other creatures as though they had concealment. Creatures killed while on fre from this ability are immediately reduced to ashes, leaving behind no remains. [1]

CUSTOMIZED SUMMON LIST

Moloch’s priests can use summon monster spells to summon the following creatures in addition to the creatures listed in the spell. The creatures below have bull-like features, such as horns or hooflike feet. Summon Monster III

Phantom armor, guardian (always lawful evil; Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 4 213)

Summon Monster VI Devil, warmonger (Levaloch; Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 5 81)

Summon Monster VIII Tophet (Pathfnder RPG Bestiary 3 271) [1]


References

Paizo published a major article about Moloch in The Inferno Gate.

  1. 1,00, 1,01, 1,02, 1,03, 1,04, 1,05, 1,06, 1,07, 1,08, 1,09, 1,10, 1,11, 1,12 et 1,13 Hell's Vengeance - 3 The Inferno Gate

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