The core rules provide options for cultists and cult leaders, but few options for other members of an occult organization. In particular, those who have sworn pacts to gain magical power are sorely underrepresented.
This article presents a new NPC to help develop and fill out the membership and leadership of a profane sect. High Priests are the real brains and power behind the cult.
The entry is presented in the same monster format as other entries in the SRD.
Note, the NPC below lists the creature’s race as humanoid, but often the most compelling stories come when you deviate from the rules. Imagine the power a cult might wield if its high priest was a harpy, its sanity broken and long corrupted by power, using its luring song to charm hundreds into unwittingly sacrificing themselves to some horrible god-thing. Imagine the surprise members would feel if a medusa, after years of rising through the ranks of the organization, finally prepares her creed for a secret assault to undermine the kingdom of the human warrior who humiliated her so long ago.
Medium Humanoid (any race), any alignment
Armor Class 14 (studded leather)(15 with mage armor)
Hit Points 110 (20d8 + 20)
Speed 30 ft.
|10 (+0)||14 (+2)||12 (+1)||16 (+3)||15 (+2)||20 (+5)|
Saving Throws: Charisma +9, Wisdom +6
Damage Resistance: Slashing (ring of resistance)
Skills Deception +9, Religion +7
Senses Passive Perception 12
Languages Any four languages
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)
Agonizing Blast. When the high priest casts eldritch blast, it adds its Charisma modifier to the damage it deals on a hit.
Armor of Shadows. The high priest can cast mage armor on itself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.
Caller of Darkness (1/Day). As an action, the high priest can summon up to 4 CR worth of
Fiends (one fiend of CR 4, two fiends of CR 2, etc). The summoned creature(s) appear in a spot designated by the high priest within 30 feet and immediately attack the nearest creature. The fiends are not charmed or under the high priest’s control and do not follow instructions or commands unless compelled to do so by another means.
The summoned fiend disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or after 10 minutes. It cannot summon additional fiends even if it normally would be able to do so.
Dark Devotion. The high priest has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened.
Devil’s Sight. The high priest can see normally in darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance of 120 feet.
Eldritch Sight. The high priest can cast detect magic at will, without expending a spell slot.
Hurl Through Hell (1/day). When the high priest hits a creature with an attack, the high priest can send the creature through the lower planes. At the end of the high priest’s next turn, the creature returns to the space it previously occupied, and takes 10d10 psychic damage if it is not a fiend.
Mask of Many Faces. The high priest can cast disguise self at will, without expending a spell slot.
One with Shadows. When the high priest is in an area of dim light or darkness, it can use its action to become invisible until it moves or takes an action or a reaction
Spellcasting. The high priest is an 18th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). It has eight 5th-level spell slots, which it regains after finishing a short or long rest, and knows the following warlock spells:
- Cantrips (at will): chill touch, eldritch blast, mage hand, minor illusion
- 1st level: burning hands, hellish rebuke, charm person
- 2nd level: darkness, scorching ray, suggestion
- 3rd level: fireball, fly, gaseous form, magic circle
- 4th level: banishment, wall of fire
- 5th level: flame strike, hold monster
1/day each: finger of death, mass suggestion, power word kill
Witch Sight. The high priest can see the true form of any shapechanger or creature concealed by illusion or transmutation magic while the creature is within 30 feet of the high priest and within line of sight
Scimitar. Melee weapon attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) slashing damage
High Priests are the leaders of covens, cabals, and cults. Generally the oldest and most cautious members of the group, they excel at getting others to do the dirty work and keeping their own hands as clean as possible. Having spent years if not decades bargaining for otherworldly power, a high priest’s sanity tends to hand on a thin thread – at best.