Black Sabbath, Castles & Crusades, Demons, Devil, Devils, Folklore, Free RPG, Infernal, Infernals, Magic, Magic Items, Medieval Folklore, Medieval Magic, OGL, Sabbatic Goat, Witch's Sabbath, Witches' Sabbath
Here’s the classic Devil who presides over the Witch’s Sabbath of late medieval and early modern lore. He makes a great final villain for a story arc, especially if there are Paladins or good Clerics among the PCs. Remember, what follows is a description of medieval legend – nothing in it is reflective of any modern Wiccan or Neo-Pagan groups. In fact, the Black Sabbath probably never existed at all outside the imagination of the witch hunters. The legend makes a great way to introduce some real darkness into the campaign, however. It hardly needs to be said that this creature will not be appropriate for all games
CORRUPTER DEVIL (Sabbatic Goat)
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1
HD: 10 (d8)
ATTACKS: 1 Gore (4d4), or 1 Kick (1d8), 1 Torch (1d8, double damage against the Good-aligned)
SPECIAL: Magic or Silver Weapons To Hit, Deepvision, Fire Resistance (Full), Immune to Poison and Emotion-affecting Magic, Hellfire Torch, Disguise Substance, Place Witch’s Mark, Give Familiar, Grant Boons, Spell Resistance 12, Spell-like Abilities
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil
TREASURE: 10 (and see below)
The way of Heaven is hard, demanding a life of good works in return for the promise of Paradise after death. Stuck in lives of seemingly endless toil and frustration, many cannot wait that long for their reward. To those people the Corrupter Devil offers an existence filled with indulgence and pleasure on Earth, in return for renouncing Heaven and serving the powers of Hell. The Devil becomes their unholy priest, leading his congregation in a perverted parody of Heaven’s worship.
A Corrupter Devil has the torso and arms of a human, but the head of a black, four-horned goat. Its lower parts are likewise those of a black goat with an unusually long tail, although the Devil walks upright. The Corrupter Devil has a woman’s breasts, but the other attributes of gender are male, and grotesquely large for the creature’s size. Under its tail the Corrupter Devil possesses another, human-like face. This posterior face cannot talk, but the eyes, mouth and facial features seem to have full movement. The Devil usually carries a blazing torch which never seems to extinguish. If it wishes, the creature can absorb the torch into its body, transforming it into a fifth, flaming horn atop it’s head. The Corrupter Devil also particularly enjoys assuming the form of a normal black goat, or a blasted oak tree with a grotesque human face on the trunk.
Unlike the Pact Devils, who make make simple bargains that can be accepted or rejected, the Corrupter Devils tempts souls with the promise of life’s indulgences. Instead of presenting a formal contract, a Corrupter Devil asks that mortals perform acts that further Hell’s agenda. These can range from simple tricks played on the pious, to the desecration of holy places, to outright murder. Periodically the Corrupter Devil will call together its faithful at assemblies known as Black Sabbaths. At these Black Sabbaths the Corrupter Devil rewards its servants with all manner of sensual delights. Eager to curry favor with the Devil and attain ever more pleasurable rewards, people willingly damn themselves to Hell.
Although they promise ease and luxury to their followers, Corrupter Devils are actually extremely abusive and sadistic. They are also possessed of twisted, obscene senses of humor that they will seek to gratify at every opportunity. They particularly like to see wholesome aspects of human society parodied in the most disgusting and degrading manner possible. It give them great pleasure to watch their followers consume disgusting substances magically disguised as rich provisions, and to watch the dupes engage in taboo and perverted acts.
Combat: The Corrupter Devil does not like to engage in melee, but it can be a fearsome opponent nonetheless. It is able to gore with its horns, or kick with its sharp hooves and burn opponents with hell-fire from its torch. Typically, however, the Corrupter Devil will let others fight for it, either its mortal cultists or other summoned Devils. In addition, the Corrupter Devil has several spell-like abilities which usually allow it to escape almost any potential combat.
Spell-like Abilities: At will: Levitate, Major Creation, Suggestion, Mirage Arcana, Obscuring Mist, Persistent Image, Pyrotechnics. The Corrupter Devil can also transform itself at will into the shape of a lightning-blasted tree with a distorted parody of a human face on its trunk. In common with other Infernals, Corrupter Devils can roam the Ethereal and Astral planes; speak, write, and understand all languages and forms of communication; become Invisible; see in complete darkness; Teleport with no chance of error; perform feats of Prestidigitation; Know Alignment; assume the form of a snake, black dog, black cat, goat, toad, raven, or owl; and create Darkness, all at will. A Corrupter Devil may summon one Pact Devil, one Seducer Devil, one Wrath Devil, one Craft Devil, and four Tormentor Devils per night. All abilities have an effective caster level of 10.
Hellfire Torch: The Corrupter Devil’s torch burns with the fires of Hell itself. It does double damage against all Good-aligned creatures. The Corrupter Devil can use its Pyrotechnics ability on its own torch, without extinguishing it. Only dousing with Holy Water can extinguish the flame.
Disguise Substance: In addition to their other spell-like abilities, Corrupter Devils have a magical ability to disguise one organic substance as another. They can do such things as make excrement look, smell, feel, and taste like roast beef; blood seem to be fine wine; and filthy leafs seem to be pastry. They can also do the reverse, causing edible or harmless substances to be perceived as rotten or dangerous things. The change is wholly illusory, of course, but affects all senses. All non-magical substances of solely animal or vegetable origin with 300 feet of the Corrupter Devil can be affected at the Devil’s whim, and the creature does not need to concentrate to maintain the illusion. Living plants or animals cannot be affected, however. A successful save versus Wisdom (Challenge Level 10) will allow someone to see through the illusion.
Place Witch’s Mark: Anyone who agrees to join the cult of the Sabbatic Goat is first made to renounce their former faith, and in particular all ties to Heaven. The Devil will then place a mark on the convert’s body. This mark will take the form of a small, red or purple nub that resembles a nipple. The Witch’s Mark, as it is called, is always paced on some hidden or inconspicuous place, usually one hidden by body hair. The Witch’s Mark is insensitive to pain, and can be used by Imps and the like to nurse on the person’s blood. The possession of a Witch’s mark excludes a person from receiving miraculous aid from any Good-aligned cleric, including healing. A Witch’s Mark can only be removed by Atonement, or such magic as a Limited Wish (or its equivalent).
Give Familiars: Once a night a Corrupter Devil is able to summon an Imp and bind it to a person. The Imp them becomes the familiar of it’s new master, in a manner identical to the Summon Familiar spell. Even non-Wizards can gain an Imp familiar in this way. The Imp will suck 1 hp of its master’s blood nightly using the master’s Witch’s Mark as a nipple.
Grant Boons: A Corrupter Devil is able to summon actual, non-illusory treasures or magic items from Hell’s storehouses, usually to confer them as rewards upon followers that it feels have been sufficiently wicked. The Corrupter Devil can summon a maximum of 5,000 gold pieces worth of Boons per night. Summoning Boons indebts the Corrupter Devil to the Craft Devils that create the items, however, so it is done with an eye towards maximum reward. The Corrupter Devil will always try to Grant Boons to opponents that its feels could successfully challenge it in combat..
The Black Sabbath: Corrupter Devils appear on Earth primarily to preside over meetings known as Black Sabbaths (or Witch’s Sabbaths). These festivities will be held four to eight times a year, always in some lonely and forbidding place. Typical venues include stark mountains, lonely heaths, secluded glades in haunted forests, and cursed ruins. Places that have previously been burned or scorched by lightning are favored. If there happens to be a crossroads in the venue, that will be chosen as the focal point of the Black Sabbath.
The Corrupter Devil will usually summon other Devils to be present at the Black Sabbath, and always at least a Pact Devil. The many-faced Accuser Devils, however, are specifically not invited (although they may try to sneak in to spy), and the arrogant and beautiful Luminous Devils (rivals of the Corrupter Devils) consider themselves to be above the the coarse entertainment of the Black Sabbath.
The Corrupter Devil will use its magical abilities to create numerous illusions to create a dramatic scene for its Black Sabbath. With Mirage Arcana it will make the semblance a golden, pulpit-like throne for itself, as well as two other thrones to flank it. These will eventually be occupied by the witches that it chooses as it favorites. Other tables and chairs will be created with a combination of Mirage Arcana and Major Creation. Various edible and semi-edible materials (preferably disgusting and rotted) will be gathered and disguised as rich provisions. The illusion of musicians playing will be created with Persistent Image, or else Tormentor Devils will be assigned the task of playing instruments produced with Major Creation. Various other illusions will also be created to order to create a properly festive atmosphere.
As the mortal attendees arrive, the Corrupter Devil will demand that they present themselves before it. It will demand that they kneel behind it and kiss its posterior face. The Corrupter Devil will indicate its two favorite witches by allowing them to kiss its regular mouth. The favorites will be told to sit on the thrones, and will be allowed to keep their clothing on (if they want). Most others present will be expected to strip, although sometimes powerful Wizards who are friends of Hell will be allowed to attend the Black Sabbath as observers, and also be allowed to remain clothed. The Devil will demand a accounting of the evil acts that its cultists have committed since the last Black Sabbath. It will then Grant Boons as it sees fit, or have followers punished if they have made no effort to be evil. Any potential new cultists that have been brought will then be initiated by the Corrupter Devil, and given their Witch’s Mark. Often they will be made to sign in the Black Book of the Pact Devil who has been summoned to keep accounts.
After the initial formalities, the Corrupter Devil will then lead the revelry. There will be feasting from the seemingly luxurious foodstuffs. The cultists will dance obscenely. Various intimacies will always be in progress, in which the Devils present will take part. The Corrupter Devil itself will insist upon personally coupling with any new recruits. Gambling, and the telling of obscene jokes and stories will be encouraged. All manner of foul magic will be practiced openly and freely. The Pact Devil present will make side contracts and teach sorcery. The Craft Devil (if present) will make its own deals to create special treasures or perform labor. The Seducer Devil will indulge its particular desires. Any Wrath Devil present will guard the area, and tempt cultist to further acts of murder and atrocity. Any Tormentor Devils present will serve as the other Devils as menials when not engaged with the cultists. The Corrupter Devil will often preach its perverted doctrine to the attendees, and may even lead them in a disgusting parody of the rites of Good-aligned religion. The Black Sabbath will never begin before midnight, and will always be broken up well before dawn.
Naturally, any Paladin or Good cleric who witnesses, or even learns of the celebration of a Black Sabbath is obligated to tirelessly stamp it out using any means necessary. Paladins in particular will be expected to exterminate any Devils present, and must attempt to at least arrest (if not kill outright) any mortal attendees. No person who voluntarily attends a Black Sabbath is innocent, and the Paladin is obligated to punish them by whatever means he sees fit.