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Herexen

When a cleric rebels against their deity and dies in the grip of blasphemous rage, the heresies they committed in life may fuel their transformation into an undead herexen. Herexens seek vengeance against the deity they once worshipped, defiling temples, slaying the faithful, and rallying lesser undead and death cultists to aid them in their unholy quests. Though a herexen's divine gifts have mostly been corrupted into the vileness of undeath, they stubbornly cling to remnants of their former power, still wielding magic and armaments favored by the deity they so greatly despise.

Groups of herexens that blasphemed against the same deity sometimes combine to form a mockery of a congregation, conducting blasphemous rites with something approaching euphoria. These congregations are more often formed from a blasphemous cult who practiced their heresy together in life and died together, though some gather independent herexens of the same former faith.

Recall Knowledge - Undead (Religion): DC 18
Unspecific Lore: DC 16
Specific Lore: DC 13

Elite | Normal | Weak
Proficiency without Level

HerexenCreature 2

UncommonNEMediumUndead
Source Bestiary 3 pg. 134
Perception +8; darkvision
Languages Common, Necril
Skills Athletics +6, Deception +7, Religion +10, Stealth +6
Str +2, Dex +2, Con +1, Int +0, Wis +4, Cha +3
Items dagger, defiled religious symbol of Pharasma
AC 17; Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +10
HP 30 (negative healing); Immunities death effects, disease, paralyzed, poison, unconscious
Final Blasphemy (divine, necromancy, negative) When the herexen is destroyed, it explodes in a wave of negative energy with the effects of a 3-action harm spell (DC 20). The herexen is destroyed, so it doesn't gain any Hit Points from this use of harm, and it doesn't need to have any harm spells remaining to use this ability.
Speed 25 feet
Melee dagger +10 [+6/+2] (agile, versatile S), Damage 1d6+4 piercing plus heretic's smiteDivine Prepared Spells DC 18; 1st harm (×4)
Cleric Domain Spells DC 20, 1 Focus Point; 1st death's call
Heretic's Smite (divine, necromancy) While wielding the favored weapon of its former deity (such as a dagger for an ex-Pharasmin herexen), the herexen's Strikes deal an additional 1d6 evil damage against creatures that can cast divine spells.

Sidebar - Locations Herexen Lairs

Most herexens settle down in a particular town or region to corrupt the local populace. Powerful herexens may boldly lair in a defiled temple, creating a vile parody of the building's former glory. However, most herexens hide in decrepit places such as ruins, forgotten basements, or tombs

All Monsters in "Herexen"

NameLevel
Faithless Ecclesiarach6
Fallen Champion8
Herexen2

Herexen

Source Book of the Dead pg. 112
A herexen is an undead heretic, driven by hate to destroy the deity they once served. Herexens choose their faith willingly in life, rising to become respected religious figures within their church. Shortly before or during their death, they lose faith in their chosen deity so completely they become a full heretic, blaspheming, committing atrocities, and cursing their god. These anathemic acts bind their soul to their flesh, causing them to rise as cursed beings. To a herexen, faith is the ultimate lie.

Although the circumstances that drive a pious worshipper to break with their faith are varied, herexens are unified in purpose. Herexens spend their existence fighting their former god in every manner they can, destroying iconography and temples, slaying worshippers, banding together with other herexens who oppose the same deity, conscripting lesser undead, and hiring living proxies to wreak havoc or spread misinformation. A particularly motivated herexen may even plot to kill or unseat the deity they once revered. Curiously, herexens maintain a corrupted form of their divine powers after death, wielding the weapons and magic of their past faith to tear it down.

Building Herexens

The herexen presented in the stat block below was originally a cleric of Pharasma, but there are as many kinds of herexens as there are deities. To create a herexen of a different deity, do the following.
  • Swap out the herexen's weapon for the deity's favored weapon. If the weapon is simple, increase the damage die by one step; if it's two-handed, decrease the herexen's attack bonus with that weapon by 2.
  • Swap out the herexen's domain spell for a 1st-level focus spell from a domain associated with that deity.
  • Swap the defiled religious symbol for the correct deity. For example, an ex-Sarenite herexen carries a scimitar and a defiled religious symbol of Sarenrae, and can cast fire ray (attack +12) as a focus spell.

Greater Herexens

More powerful clerics, or herexens that have existed over long spans of time, might become a more powerful variant known as a greater herexen. An 8th-level creature, it casts harm as a 4th-level spell, it gains a second Focus Point and a 4th-level domain spell in addition to its 1st-level domain spell, and the bonus damage from heretic's smite increases to 2d6.

Sidebar - Related Creatures Herexens vs. Deathless

Herexens and deathless acolytes often arise from the same event, the difference being whether the mortal kept or renounced their faith upon death. Herexens and deathless acolytes of the same deity are far more likely to fight than work together, but a herexen might find allies among foes of the deity the herexen renounced.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Religious Freedom

Herexens can worship any deity and should be modified based upon their ex-faith by swapping out their favored weapon and religious symbol for those associated with their deific foe.

Additionally, replace the herexen's domain spell (or spells) for focus spells of equal level from a domain associated with that deity.