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Fideles: the LG response to lillends, succubi, and erinyes

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Jem
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Fideles: the LG response to lillends, succubi, and erinyes

Between lillends, succubi, and erinyes, love and lust have almost every aspect in D&D represented... except one very important one. Where are the defenders of marriage as the reliable, comforting rock of an orderly, strong community? Doesn't Mt. Celestia send a local to the cheesecake competition? ;^)

I joke, but it's a good niche (and some artwork of the beings described below could be cool). Presented below is the one I just wrote up today. It's described in Pathfinder format, but it's fairly easy to convert to the old 3.5 version: replace Acrobatics with Jump, K(religion) with Tumble, and Perception with Spot, mostly. "Heaven" becomes "Arcadia, Mt. Celestia, Bytopia, and Elysium." References to Erastil are replaced with your preferred LG gods with a portfolio involving family or community (for which there's rather a lack in core... Yondalla and/or Rao, maybe).

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We consider love a good thing, an important thing, and every culture has an enormous number of rules and traditions surrounding it. A community with strong morals regarding sex and marriage, a rich tradition of courting and romance and abiding family ties, is a community resilient in the face of enormous shocks. It's one that will be happy and healthy. And that's exactly the kind of community Erastil likes. So here's an angel that stands up for the sacrament of matrimony, for lifelong love, by giving us an eternal example of fidelity rich with love, sex, friendship, and family. In fact, it's such an important job, here's two.

FIDELES

A fidele usually appears to be a towering human, though other races are not unknown, with the antlers of a deer, elk, antelope, or similar creature, and deep, dark eyes. Male or female, they are gentle in mien and physically impressive, usually quite attractive: strong, healthy, vibrant with the life of the natural world. They are almost always encountered in married pairs promoted from petitioners among Erastil's faithful. This origin means some fideles have attributes rearranged from those presented here; for example, in a pair one often carries a pair of light weapons for melee combat while the other carries Erastil's signature longbow and switches the Str and Dex attributes.

Erastil charges fideles with exhorting mortals to respect the bonds of marriage and enjoy it to the fullest when it is achieved. Their feelings for their spouse are deep, joyful, and often on unabashed display. They assist licit lovers that face obstacles and punish adulterers, rapists and other offenders against love. Shelyn is also known to call upon them for these missions, while they are often demurely aghast at the behavior of Calistria and her faithful.

Fideles often advance as rangers, taking as a favored enemy either outsiders (evil) or mortals similar to the humanoid form they bear, the companion-bond version of hunter's bond, and the combat style that favors feats they already have. A few become clerics of Erastil.

Fideles (singular, Fidele) CR 7
LG Large Outsiders (Angel, Extraplanar, Good, Lawful)
Initiative: +3; Senses Darkvision 60 ft, Listen +13, Spot +13
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AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (–1 size, +3 Dex, +5 natural)
HP 45 (7d8+14)
Fort +7 (+11 versus poison), Ref +8, Will +8
DR 10/evil; immune electricity, petrification; Resist fire 10; SR 18
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Speed: 40 ft.
Melee Short sword +11 (1d8+5/19–20) or
Ranged Composite Longbow +9 (2d6+5/x3)
Full Attack: Melee Short sword +9/+4 (1d8+5/19–20) and short sword +9/+4 (1d8+2/19–20) or
Ranged Composite Longbow +9/+7 (2d6+5/x3)
Special Attacks: Charge +11 (1d8+7)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3rd):
At-will: Guidance, Light, Purify Food and Drink, Stabilize
1/day: Bless, Detect Evil, Protection from Evil, Consecrate, Cure Moderate Wounds
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Abilities: Str 20, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 18
Base Atk +7, Grp +11
Feats: Run, (Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting) or (Point Blank Shot and Rapid Shot)
Skills: Acrobatics +15, Climb +15, Craft (any one) +14 or Profession (any one) +13, Diplomacy +16, Heal +13, Knowledge (nature) +12, Knowledge (religion) +12, Perception +13, Sense Motive +13, Survival +17
Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal
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Environment: Heaven
Organization: Mated pair
Treasure: Standard
Advancement: By character class; Favored Class (ranger)
Level Adjustment: +6
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Special Abilities:
A fidele’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as lawful-aligned and good-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Ever Touching (Su): All fideles wear wedding bands, some ornate and some simple, that are part of them and connect them to their spouse. In many ways, they are one being. They are constantly aware of their mate's state as per the status spell. The pair share a single pool of totaled hit points which is affected by any wounds or cures either receives; when this pool is 0, both fideles are disabled, and the boundary between dying and dead is set by the lower of the two Constitutions. Any other baneful effect that would lower the hit points of a fidele, such as negative levels, Constitution damage, or other effect must first overcome any relevant spell resistance, magical defenses, or saves from both fideles, but if it does so it affects both fideles equally and fully. For example, both fideles must fail a save versus poison, but if they do, the poison affects both; if an enervation spell is failed by both fideles, it affects both with the same number of lost levels, and the total number of hit dice lost is subtracted from the common pool. Vice versa, if one fidele makes a stabilization check or a continuing save against poison or disease, both are safe.

The GM should adjudicate any unusual effects with an eye toward maintaining the shared status of the fideles. If their wedding bands are removed, by theft or violence, the more precise status effect is suspended but the shared life is not. The bands are useless to others: a fidele will never remove theirs willingly, and when a pair of fideles is slain, the bands cease to function; the rings are useful only as particularly foul trophies. It might be theoretically possible to kill one fidele and not the other, but the task would be extremely tricky. It is just the sort of twisted experiment fiends enjoy trying, but to date, no such project is known to have met with success. Since a fidele without a spouse is not a fidele, speculation is either that they would return to petitioner status (and desperately seek powerful magic to restore their spouse to eternal life) or fall and become some flavor of fiend, likely an erinyes.

To my Lover's Side (Sp): If separated from its mate, a fidele can use plane shift and greater teleport both once per day to the plane and immediate physical vicinity of their mate.

Unshakeable Fidelity (Su): No mind-affecting effect whatsoever can cause a fidele to act against the interests of its mate as it would rationally understand them.

Alternate Form (Su): At will, a fidele may change between its humanoid form and the form of a deer, elk, or antelope -- whatever species of animal its horns specify.* They may also change into medium specimens of whatever humanoid species they appear as.

(*Wondering why? These are some of the only monogamous mammals.)

Tongues (Su): Fideles can speak with any creature that has a language, as though using a tongues spell (caster level 18th). This ability is always active.

Memory (Ex): Unusually for ex-petitioners, fideles fully remember their time as mortals unless later effects damage their memories. Erastil is a very old god; some fideles have memories of ancient histories indeed.

Skills: Fideles have a +4 bonus on Survival checks.

Wexquif's picture
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It seems balanced, and I

It seems balanced, and I love the flavor, although I think it would be better if they were not tied to a god.

Jem
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Joined: 2006-05-10
Sure, one can certainly have

Sure, one can certainly have the concept independent of any particular god: they would be a form of celestial created from pairs of married petitioners who wished to be devoted to each other for eternity.  They would certainly be of a lawful bent, so they'd be created by gods who received petitioners in Arcadia, Mt. Celestia, and Bytopia.  Mechanus-native forms of fideles might be possible but strike me as unusual; if they were axiomatic and linked regardless of distance or plane, they'd almost literally be one creature with two bodies.  Elysian fideles would probably be lawful petitioners of gods that otherwise make their case on Elysium.  Amoria and Eronia have their own interpretations of love.  I can't see a diabolic version; FCII talks about erinyes and social mores, but Hell's vision of sex doesn't really involve devotion to others.

Wexquif's picture
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I would just make them free

I would just make them free from all godly ties. They would be the souls of married couples, whose love strong enough to last through death. Campy, I know, but hey, it's DND.

Hyena of Ice's picture
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factotums
Joined: 2009-09-25
Re: Fideles: the LG response to lillends, succubi, and erinyes

A creature that represents marriage will have very, very strong virtues of oathkeeping and fidelity in general, as well as amorous and familial love in general, and not just when it pertains to marriage (after all, marriage, technically, is merely a *traditionally religious* contract/oath of fidelity and love between two lovers... and companionship.) A Fideles's personality and personal values should emphasize these aspects. They absolutely would be unable to tolerate oathbreaking of any kind, (except maybe evil oaths or something; not sure how that would work) abandonment of family/friends/fellow adventurers, and cold-heartedness. Oh, and deadbeat parents >_>

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Factol
Joined: 2004-10-05
Re: Fideles: the LG response to lillends, succubi, and erinyes

I see the firre as a closer equivalent to succubi and erinyes than the lillendi, personally. The firre engender passion, while the lillendi mostly guard the Infinite Staircase. But regardless, the fideles are a nice addition.

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Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Fideles: the LG response to lillends, succubi, and erinyes

Another great concept Jem. I really like these anti-succubi, and they provide a great foil for eladrin or fey who might condone adultery in the name of true love. Curious though, because what would they do in the face of divorce? That is not a betrayal, well not necessarily so - sometimes people separate of mutual accord or one person comes to find they do not have those same romantic feelings.

Another interesting question would be their view of Morwel taking a second spouse - is that adultery in their eyes?

A village with eladrin, fideles, and varied marital situations would make an interesting adventure that demands the PCs try to keep everyone from throwing punches...

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Jem
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Factor
Joined: 2006-05-10
Re: Fideles: the LG response to lillends, succubi, and erinyes

Personally, most fideles will definitely prefer monogamy until death -- they themselves almost certainly did, and now exhibit fidelity beyond death! Their opinions of divorce will probably vary depending on the particular god they serve and the culture they hail from. Some might regard marriage as a sacrament binding until death, and divorcees as adulterers. Some might regard marriage as a bond between people which necessitates the ability to withdraw it. For some their opinions might shift depending on how they understand love and marriage to make a couple part of a particular community, which is a delicate balancing act.

Polygamy and polyandry are less than ideal, but probably okay as long as it's legal and the community is happy with it. It's far preferable to adultery and bastards. In fact, it's a theme in one of the adventure seeds I proposed over on the Paizo boards. Here are those:

Possible standard game uses:

* summonable entities (VII, perhaps) and planar allies, as mentioned above
* background plot elements; something for a nice young NPC couple to aspire to
* encounters on Mt. Celestia or with heralds of a suitable deity

Some adventure possibilities:

* CR 8 or so: a rich merchant or noblewoman (or man, sexes are fully interchangeable in setup) has disappeared after a series of violent incidents involving supernatural powers. The worried husband contacts the PCs. (Insert reason suitable to the party: you're friends of mine, if this is a previously-used NPC couple; we hear you're capable of handling a ruckus of this sort; etc.) Someone else is on her trail, too: one of a pair of fideles.

As it turns out, the lady was having a fling, and the other man was getting tired of waiting for her to find an excuse to divorce him, so he paid up for a devil to make her a widow, supposedly without her knowing. The wife, who was having second thoughts about the whole affair, is now seriously worried not only for her husband but that she might be implicated in devil-summoning and murder, and has fled.

The fideles' jobs are to get her back, protect the husband by defeating the devil, and repair the marriage, and the male of the pair has been tracking her through the wilderness. When the PCs find them, he senses that his wife, back protecting the husband, is being attacked, and returns to her side, leaving the PCs to bring the woman home. As an alternative lead-in, he may have found her but have to return, and finds that he and his spouse must stay, so he asks the PCs to go get the runaway, starting the search from where he had tracked her. (Wilderness obstacles and unrelated mishaps to taste.)

The PCs can also attempt to track down who the other man was. The devil is obligated to silence and the wife has enough shreds of sentiment to refuse to reveal him. The fideles would certainly like to know. (Between their craft skills and their humanoid shape, fideles can easily take up long-term roles as quiet watchers over a community.)

For extra fun if desired, the way the devil's orders are worded, if the wife moves to intervene in the struggle, she's a legitimate target ("any who stand in your way") and the devil can kill her off, massively enjoying the chance to betray her mortal employer so.

* Invasion of the Barbarian Housewives (CR varies by size of town and local lord's defenses): this small walled settlement is under siege by, apparently, several dozen barbarian women ranging from barely out of teenhood to the far side of middle age, all of whom are fully capable of riding and shooting with the best of them but not so great at laying sieges. They're demanding in the local tongue, as best they speak it, that the local chief give up his daughter. Naturally everyone is objecting to the outrageous request, and the daughter is being kept well out of sight.

In fact said daughter is quite ready grab a horse, ride off into the night and become a barbarian queen. The invaders are the wives of a current barbarian chief and several of their family members, and the girl has met one or two along with the husband when he previously journeyed to town on a trading jaunt. They quite liked her, too, and have come to release her from her fortress 'prison.' (Hubby is busy with the usual monster-eradication duties.) She's fine with being a later wife. Her father isn't fine with it, and furthermore by the laws of the town she's too young to wed, though she's no younger than one wife horsed outside the walls right now.

A female fidele is riding with the invaders as one of the support troops, but would rather see the situation resolved before bloodshed starts occurring. Her spouse is now in town seeking either someone with access to the local lord's social circle or some folks skilled at sneaking about to assist a breakout.

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Re: Fideles: the LG response to lillends, succubi, and erinyes

Great stuff Jem - fascinating opportunities for conflict beyond Good versus Evil or even direct Law versus Chaos.

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