5e Races: Hellbred Traits & Bonds

The Hellbred, Part 2!

Continuing the hellbred race that I started, last time. I think this is would be a fun race for the Hell’s Rebels adventure path. Is it overpowered? Does having weaknesses break the design philosophy of 5e? What do you think?

cc remtonHellbred Traits

Your hellbred character possess a number of traits that reflect your remade body and your damned soul. Some hellbred are saved as tireless warriors against evil, while others are better suited to be hunters.
Ability Score Increase. You have learned from your mistakes. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Age. Hellbred come into the world as adults, and none live long enough to determine their normal lifespan. It is possible that they do not age in the way that mortal races do.
Alignment. Hellbred are almost always lawful good. Less common are neutral and chaotic good hellbred, although many Empyreal Lords have a uses for hellbred of those alignments. More rare are hellbred who become evil, having given in to the inevitability of their damnation. These hellbred are hunted not only by devils, who seek the soul they have been denied, but by celestials, who do not take kindly to betrayal. Hellbred are never fully neutral.
Size. Whatever the hellbred’s race and size in life, and process of resurrection always crafts a body about the size and shape of a large human. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Infernal Mein. You are terrifying to look upon. When a creature can see your face, you gain advantage on Intimidate checks and disadvantage on Diplomacy checks.
Touch of Evil. Your soul is pure, but your body still contains the taint of the evils you did in life. You can attune to weapons that can normally only be attuned by those with evil alignments, regardless of your alignment.
Hellbound. While you have cheated damnation for a time, a devil still has a claim on your soul. If you die, you can only be returned to life with a resurrection spell, or more powerful magic, and you can never return as the creature you were before becoming hellbred.
Empyreal Favor. The Empyreal Lords have faith in your ability to overcome your past, and that faith gives you an inner reserve of strength to call on when you most need it. As long as you are fighting an evil creature, you can choose gain advantage on any d20 roll, before you roll it. You must finish a short or long rest before you can use this ability, again.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Common, Infernal, and one other language you knew in life. Hellbred are not known for creating art or music. If they do, their endeavors tend to be heavily influenced by themes of salvation and damnation, and are always small enough to be carried: carving, poetry, small musical instruments, and so on. Their creative endeavors are sometimes tied to one of the Empyreal Lords that resurrected them: hellbred who were redeemed by Empyreal azatas are more likely to create art than those redeemed by Empyreal angels.

Hellbred Body

Your body is infused with a combination of divine and infernal strength, making you hardier than others of your kind, allowing you to shrug off blows than would fell most people.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2.
Devil’s Blood. You gain resistance to poison damage.
Infernal Resilience. After you are hit with an attack, but before the damage is revealed, you can choose to gain resistance to bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing damage until the end of your next turn. Silver weapons ignore this resistance. You must finish a short or long rest before you can use this ability, again.
Consume Essence. Your body swells with demonic energy, consuming its own essence in an effort to fight longer. You can sacrifice a number of hit points up to one less than your current hit point value. If you do, you gain twice that number temporary hit points, which last for 1 minute. Any amount of magical healing causes these temporary hit points to disappear.

Hellbred Spirit

Your body is weak, but your spirit shines with the light of the celestials, allowing you to follow your prey into even the deepest of hiding-places.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2.
Darkvision. You fear no darkness. You gain darkvision to 60 feet.
Celestial Intuition. You gain advantage on Wisdom (Insight) checks.
Light of Heaven. Even magical darkness is no impediment to you. You gain the ability to see in magical darkness for 10 minutes. You cannot use this ability again until you finish a long rest.
Eyes of the Empyreals. You can choose to gain the blinded condition. If you are blinded in this way, you gain telepathy to 10 feet. The range of your telepathy increases by 10 feet whenever you gain a level.

Hellbred Bonds

When creating a hellbred character, you can use the following table of bonds to help flesh out your character. Use this table in addition to or in place of your background’s bond or a bond of your creation.

d6 Bond
1 The Daredevil. I am without fear. Having died once, I am eager to prove to my benefactors that my resurrection was not a waste, so I throw myself into everything I do with a grim determination, and a complete disregard for my own life.
2 The Hero with No Name. I speak little, focusing instead on allowing my actions to speak for me. I am not interested in small talk, or exchanging names and pleasantries. I will save those I can and move on.
3 The Pack Leader. I want to think of myself as a “lone wolf,” but I often gather allies to myself, generally misfits and those discarded by society. I try to act as though I don’t care about anyone, but if anyone interferes with my pack, I react decisively and violently.
4 The Peacemaker. Some of my kind delight in wiping out evil, but I see every mortal soul as worthy of redemption. If I was giving a second chance, there is hope for anyone, and my purpose is to provide opportunities for repentance.
5 The Revenant. Although I was once a living thing, I am now closer to death than life. I walk the world in search of evil to put down, and never will I give quarter to those who sow the seeds of wickedness. I do not pretend to be alive, and avoid the trappings of life I no longer require: art, music, good food, companionship, these are the pleasures of the living.
6 The Scourge. Once I set my sights on an evil, there is no stopping me from eradicating it, even if that means ignoring other evils along the way, or alienating those around me. Those who embrace evil will whisper my name in the darkness, and know that I am coming for them.

Hacking the Hellbred

The hellbred might be a perfect race for the Hell’s Rebels adventure path. They are creatures of redemption, looking to get out of an infernal contract or atone for a terrible deed, and their redemption can only be found if they can thwart the plans of a great evil or save hundreds of lives. Helping Kintargo throw off the rule of House Thrune would certainly count. The hellbred are the ultimate tortured soul: they know they are probably damned, but they feel compelled to try, anyway. Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (and a lot of others, besides). Liam Neeson in… most Liam Neeson movies. Most of the characters in The Dirty Dozen.

They’re not anti-heroes: they’re lawful good, but look like they’re pure evil. What a great role-playing opportunity.

In converting the hellbred to 5e, I made some changes, but tried to keep the spirit of the class. I wanted to tie in the Empyreal Lords more, because they’re an aspect of Pathfinder cosmology that I think it brilliant, and I don’t think are used enough. The Body/ Soul split lent itself brilliantly to sub-races, and I thought it would be fun to have one infernally-influenced and one celestially-influenced subrace. I added a couple of powers, since many of the hellbred’s abilities are tied to “Devil Touched” feats, which don’t make sense in 5e. I tried to give each one a specific, flavorful mechanic that required sacrifice, in keeping with the theme of the class. I love the image of a hellbred’s eyes going white as she reaches out with her mind, or her body bulking up, but leaving her vulnerable to attack, later. Can she finish the combat and get other healing in time? Will an enemy figure out what she’s doing and “heal” her?

The hellbred has a mechanic that 3rd edition used a lot, but 5e shied away from: class abilities that are drawbacks. I decided to keep one or two of those, to enhance the knife-edge feeling of the class. Death is a big deal, for a hellbred, after all.

I’m not a graphic designer, and I’ve never done anything in Adobe, but as an experiment, I put this together, my first two-page spread.

What do you think?

Next time: More Empyreal Connections: The Empyreal Lord Warlock Patron!

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