"There are those who say that demons are dangerous and evil. There are those that say demons never did any good for anybody. There are those who say that only a fool deals with a demon. Of course, then there are those who say 'To the hells with that!'"
A diremage is an individual who transforms himself into demonic form in order to do battle. These demonic forms vary in shape and size, and gain in power as the diremage progresses in levels. Diremages use the mage tables for advancement in experience, as well as saving throws and THAC0. However, diremages roll 1d8 to determine hit points.
Diremages have no real role in society, except perhaps as outcasts. Due to the intensely evil nature of these individuals, diremages are shunned, and sometimes hunted as hideous monsters. This is not as true in Outland. While still feared and often shunned, the Mentors have identified diremages as legitimate citizens, acceptable into the Champions and Border Wardens (but, due to their usually chaotic nature, they are not welcome as Knights of the Guardian Hawk).
Requirements: Due to the strain on their systems, diremages must have a minimum Constitution of 14. They must also have a minimum Intelligence of 9.
Weapon Proficiencies: Diremages suffer the same weapons limitations as regular mages. When in direform, these individuals will use no weapon (unless the weapon comes as a part of the direform).
Non-weapon Proficiencies: Diremages must have the anatomy non-weapon proficiency (at a minimum Skill Level of 2), as their magics require a detailed knowledge of their own bodies.
Equipment: As per regular mages.
Special Benefits: The diremage transforms himself into a demonic form in order to do battle. Such transformations last for 1 turn per level, and can be attempted once per day, per level. After each transformation to direform, a diremage is required to pass a system shock roll - failure means that the diremage passes out from the strain, for 1 round per turn spent in direform. When in direform, the character has the same Attributes as when in regular form (however, while in direform, his Comeliness and Charisma each drop to 3).
The strength of the direform depends upon the level of the diremage. In normal form, diremages follow the hp, THAC0, proficiencies and saving throw progressions of regular mages. They do not, however, gain spells. What they do gain is their direform - a demonic shape, summoned from the Outer Planes, which wraps itself around the diremage, transforming him into a hideous, powerful beast.
The transformation, during which the diremage summons his bestial image and takes on its form, takes one round. The change is hideous and painful, as if evidenced by the diremage's screams of agony. During this process, the diremage is unable to take any action, and has an AC of 5 (losing all bonuses to AC due to high dexterity and magical items). All items carried by the diremage are transformed with the character, but cannot be used as long as the character remains in direform. Thus, if the character is wearing a ring of protection +2, the ring's effects cease to function while the character is in direform.
The shape of the direform, once set, may never be changed. This shape is extremely demonic in appearance, with glowing eyes, scaly skin, horns, wings, etc. (as per the traditional picture of the demon). The Player rolls on the following tables to randomly determine the direform's appearance. However, all demons have certain things in common. They are large, hulking beasts (ranging in height from 6-7 feet tall), muscular and fearsome in appearance (fangs, claws, the lot), with glowing eyes (the same colour as their skin). All direforms have long, barbed tails.
Table 1: Eyes
Table 2: Skin Colour
Table 3: Skin Texture
Table 4: Horns
Table 5: Wings
Table 6: Feet
Every diremage gains certain special abilities when in direform. Some of these abilities are pre-set, and others may be chosen by the diremage as they gain new levels. These abilities are explained below, and are divided into five levels: Automatic, Neophyte (Levels 1-5), Adherent (Levels 6-10), Adept (Levels 11-15) and Master (levels 15+). Abilities chosen must, where necessary, agree with one another. Each direform will have its own elemental association - fire, cold, electricity or gas. Once chosen, all abilities which take on an elemental form must agree. For example, if the character chooses flame breath, then it becomes a demon of heat and fire. Should he later chose a diresword, the sword must have flaming ability - he could not chose a cold ability or electrical ability.
Unless otherwise stated, all innate abilities have an initiative modifier of 3. Characters are free to chose abilities from earlier levels (thus, a 15th level character could chose abilities from Neophyte, Adherent, Adept or Master levels). Characters gain one new ability per level, up to 20th level - after this, no new abilities are gained.
Diremages, while in human form, have AC 10 (modified for Dexterity and worn armour). While in direform, the character starts out at Level 1 with AC 10. This AC improves by 1 point per level, to a maximum AC of -5 at Level 16. The direform may never wear armour, nor employ a shield; however, AC bonuses due to high Dexterity still apply.
These abilities are gained automatically, at the levels indicated.
Infravision (Level 1): The direform has infravision to a range of 90 feet.
Neophyte Abilities (Levels 1-5)
Flame Breath: The direform is now capable of breathing a cone of flame (or cold, electricity, acidic mist, Player's choice) in a cone 10 feet long and six feet in diameter at the end. All characters caught by this breath weapon suffer 1d6 hp of damage for ever two levels of the diremage (round down), to a maximum of 10d6 hp damage. This ability can be used once per day, for every five levels (round up) of the diremage (maximum of 4 times per day).
Adherent Abilities (Levels 6-10)
Additional Damage: The direform causes increased damage with its claw/claw/bite routine, and adds +2 hp damage to each successful attack.
Adept Abilities (Levels 11-15)
Advanced Spell Immunity: The character becomes totally immune to any one spell from the following list (however, the character may chose this ability multiple times for additional immunities): forget, hold person, ray of enfeeblement, scare, fear, charm monster, confusion, emotion, fumble or suggestion.
Master Abilities (Levels 15 and Beyond)
Poisoned Bite: The direform's bite is highly poisonous - bitten victims must pass a save vs. poison or suffer 1d6 hp of damage, plus 1 hp per level of the diremage (to a maximum of +20 hp). Characters who have taken the diseased attack ability may not select poisoned bite.
The Diresword: This weapon is magically called into being by the direform, and can be used in place of its normal claw/claw/bite attack. Whatever form the sword takes (Player's choice), it causes 1d10/2d6 hp damage, plus gains a +1 to attack and damage rolls for every 5 levels of the character (round up), to a maximum of +5.
Direswords are always the same colour as their owners, and are sheathed in the appropriate elemental effect (fire, cold, electricity, acidic mist, etc.). For example, if the direform has chosen a cold-based breath weapon, then the sword appears to be encased in a fog of super-cold mist. However, if he had chosen fire breath, the sword would be sheathed in flames.
Special Hindrances: All diremages are evil in alignment. If a diremage begins his career with a non-evil alignment, his close association with demonic forces slowly but surely erodes at his soul. Each time a non-evil diremage uses his direform, he must pass a Wisdom check. Each failed check moves the character one step closer to evil (thus, Lawful Good becomes Lawful Neutral, which then becomes Lawful Evil). Diremages may never multi- or dual-class, due to the intense concentration required by their studies .
Diremages may not use any magical items while in direform, unless that item is a purchased ability (i.e. the diresword). Any attempt to use a magical item in this form automatically fails. Even non-charged items which do not require command words (such as magical swords) will not function. Of course, to the direform, the use of any weapon or item other than its own claw/claw/bite (or a diresword) is totally anathema.
Once in direform, the diremage may not change back to human form at will, and instead must wait until the form's natural duration (10 minutes per level) expires. Characters who wish to end a direform early may attempt to do so by making a Wisdom check (with a -1 penalty for every full turn left in the form's duration). A successful check ends the direform; the diremage suffers 1d2 hp of damage for each full turn left in the form's duration, and suffers a -2% penalty to his system shock roll. A prematurely ended direform is considered "used" for the day, and counts against the diremage's allowed daily transformations.
Money: Diremages begin the game with 3d4 x 10 gp.
Races: Diremages are almost exclusively human and half-elven; however, in rare cases, elven diremages have been seen.