This post is part of a series! Click here to see the others.
In this post we’ll take a look at the kind of people who make up Imix’s cult in the middle world. As mentioned in Part 1, the cult promises to give its adherents the power to burn all that angers them, so it draws in all sorts of misanthropes, murderers, and people with all-consuming grudges. Rising through the cult’s ranks means allowing your free will to be burned out piece by piece. No matter your reasons for joining, soon all you’ll care about is serving your primordial master.
Cultists of Imix can act covertly, infiltrating peaceful communities to sow sedition and discord. They can also act more openly, establishing strongholds and calling out to both recruits and mercenaries to help conquer the surrounding regions, immolating anyone who opposes them.
The cultist lineup here is pretty diverse, species-wise, for the Fire Lord isn’t picky like those posers Yeenoghu and Baphomet. He’ll find a use for anyone willing to swear the oaths, even if that use is “walking bomb”. These stat blocks should be mixed with more “generic” stat blocks for humans and other humanoid or elemental opposition to build Imix-themed encounter groups. They’re not enough to do so on their own.
Fire Lord Cultist
This Level 5 Minion Brute represents the bulk of the cult’s low-ranking followers. They have a speed of 6 and fight with torches and clubs. Their melee attacks deal extra damage if they’re adjacent to an ally, so they have an incentive to cluster around a PC.
They can also use that torch in the Ignite ability. This encounter power is a melee attack that targets Reflex and deals ongoing 5 fire damage (save ends). Make sure this is their first attack, because they might not get a chance to use it otherwise.
Servant of the Fire Lord
A more senior and better-trained cultist. Servants of the Fire Lord tend to hide out in sapient communities disguised as clerics of more benign deities. They use this cover to undermine the community and spread Imix’s influence over it.
The Servant stat block depicts a half-elf. It’s a Level 6 Skirmisher with the Leader tag and 73 HP. Their ground speed is 6 and they have low-light vision.
Servants try to always keep moving in order to benefit from their Wildfire Stride passive trait: if they move at least 3 squares, their attacks deal +5 fire damage for a turn.
They wield scimitars that can perform a standard basic attack and an Immolating Strike, which is a bit weaker but deals ongoing 5 fire damage (save ends). The basic strike itself is also kinda weak - it’s the Wildfire Stride damage bonus that brings it to the expected level of damage.
Their “leaderly” skill is the Gift of Fire (recharge 5+), a minor action that gives every ally within 5 squares a +5 fire damage bonus that lasts for a turn.
Fire Temple Elect
The name sounds important, but that’s a lie. Fire Temple Elects are cultists who had all of their will burned away but didn’t have the potential to master Imix’s mysteries. They proudly serve their master as walking bombs.
Elects are Level 7 Minion Skirmishers with an excellent ground speed of 7. They employ human wave tactics, charging enemies with their shortwswords. When an elect drops to 0 HP, they trigger the Self-Immolation ability. When this happens the elect can move its speed as a free action, and then explode. This is a Close Burst 1 attack that targets Reflex and deals a bit of fire damage. It’s not selective, so if you have a bunch of elects close together the first one to get hit might trigger a chain reaction.
Fire Temple Champion
This one’s actually important. Champions also have little of their free will left, but unlike the Elects they were tough enough to handle a more substantial blessing. They’re tasked with protecting key locations and important individuals. I can also see them leading mercenary squads in operations important to the cult.
The stat block in the book is for a dragonborn Champion, a Level 8 Soldier with 88 HP. She wears plate and wields a Fullblade (a big two-handed sword).
The Champion has the same Wildfire Stride ability seen in the Servant of the Fire Lord, above. Her fullblade attacks mark for a turn, and do damage that’s only a couple of points below the expected average - Wildfire Stride makes them stronger than that average. If a marked enemy within reach moves on their turn, the Champion can use a Fiery Attack against them, dealing the same damage as a basic attack and inflicting ongoing 5 fire damage (save ends).
If that marked enemy instead makes an attack that doesn’t include the champion as a target, she can use a Fiery Rebuke, a Close Blast 3 attack that targets only the triggering enemy, attacks Reflex and deals fire damage.
And as a dragonborn, this particular champion also has one use of Dragon Breath per encounter. It works like the power for Dragonborn PCs, a Close Blast 3 that targets Reflex. It obviously deals fire damage, and marks those it hits.
Flameborn are priests who have attained sufficient rank to run a small temple/stronghold, with the goal of making it grow larger and more important. They’re ultimately in charge of those recruitment drives and raiding campaigns I mentioned earlier. In other words they’re accomplished middle managers.
The stat block we get is a human priest, who is Level 15 Artillery with 111 HP and the Leader keyword. They have Speed 6 and Resist 10 Fire, the first Imix cultists actually resistant to their thematic element. They project an aura (5) named Fire Within, which grants Resist 5 Fire to all allies inside.
Flameborn with with flails in melee and with fire bolts at range. The bolts also inflict ongoing fire damage. Once per encounter they can call down the Blessing of Imix, which covers a Close Burst 3. It acts as an attack dealing fire damage to enemies, and grands allies 10 temporary HP.
Their final power is a minor action, Fiery Eye, which can target targets taking ongoing fire damage. It’s a rangged attack against Will that does no damage, slides the target 2 squares, and makes them grant combat advantage (save ends).
Flameborn pair well with skirmishers that possess sneak-attack-like abilities. They can also grant fire resistance to their front-line without having to stand right behind it.
This is not a cultist, but rather something they might summon with high-level rituals. Conflagration Orbs are avatars of Imix, and look like miniature suns. They contain a fragment of Imix’s power and are loyal only to him. They’ll work alongside the cultists that summon them, because the cult’s goals usually coincide with the primordial’s, but they are totally unconcerned with the safety of the cultists and will happily include them in their area attacks if it means hitting the PCs as well.
It’s interesting that the book uses the word avatar here. It appears to be a primordial-specific term, since the equivalent entity for a god or demon lord is called an “Aspect”. Then again it could also be just an editorial oversight.
Anyway, Conflagration Orbs are Level 20 Artillery with 143 HP. They can roll around at speed 6, but prefer to use their flight speed of 8 (hover) instead. They’re immune to disease and have Resist 20 Fire. Its basic melee attack is named Rolling Frame, and consists of bumping into people. The attack allows the orb to shift 1 square as an effect, targets Reflex, and deals immediate and ongoing fire damage. Its ranged Scorching Bolts have much the same effects but are stronger, and the orb can fire two of them against different targets in a single action.
The orb complements this with occasional Fire Tempests (recharge 5+) which allow them to make three area attacks that deal fire damage and increase any ongoing fire damage the targets are suffering by 5. The three areas can’t have any squares in common.
If the orb is surrounded it can release Waves of Flame to get some space. This deals fire damage in a Close Burst 3, and pushes any targets it hits 3 squares. It also creates a zone that lasts for a turn, partially obscures the orb, and deals 10 fire damage to enemies caught inside.
Scorching Bolt and Fire Tempest are very strong powers, because they’re multi-attacks that each do the full expected damage amount for a monster of this level. The orb can’t target the same enemy multiple times, but it’s still very good at spreading the hurt around.
Chosen of Imix
The Chosen are the highest ranking priests in the cult. Each of them is in charge of a major temple and commands a sizable force of mortal followers, mercenaries, and elemental servants. They commune directly with Imix and transmit his orders to the other members of the court. This particular Chosen is a firesoul genasi.
Chosen rarely leave their temple’s inner sanctum, as this is where their power is greatest. The book recommends making these sanctums into Fonts of Power, a special terrain type described in the DMG that enhances the damage of attacks that have a matching elemental keyword (fire, in this case). Since the Chosen is an epic tier enemy, they’ll be fighting in terrain that gives their fire attacks a whopping +15 bonus damage! PCs planning to attack a temple of Imix would do well to figure out a way to engage the Chosen outside this sanctum.
Chosen are Level 22 Controllers with the Leader keyword. They have a stronger version of the Flameborn’s Fire Within aura, granting 10 fire resistance to all allies within 5 squares. Their basic melee attack is a dagger that damages targets and makes them vulnerable 10 to fire for a turn. Pretty much ever other attack they know has the Fire keyword, so they’re going to benefit from this vulnerability and from that Font of Power bonus damage.
Their basic ranged attack is a Fire Orb that deals fire damage to the target, and 5 damage to each enemy adjacent to the target. Before they resort to that, though, they’ll fill the map with Servants of Elemental Fire. This power is a standard action that summons a “fire grue” to a space within 10 squares of the Chosen. Fire grues are minions with the same defenses as the Chosen. They can’t make attacks, but each enemy that starts their turn adjacent to one or more grues takes 10 fire damage (subject to those situational bonuses I mentioned earlier). The Chosen can spend a minor action to move all grues on the map up to 6 squares. They can have up to four grues summoned, or six when they’re bloodied.
Once per encounter they can use Fire’s Fury to detonate a fire grue, attacking a Close Burst 1 around it. The explosion deals fire damage and dazes (save ends) on a hit.
To cap it off we have a few triggered actions. Demand Focus triggers when an enemy willingly moves away from a fire grue without shifting. It attacks the enemy’s Will and slows them on a hit. Firepulse is an encounter power that triggers when the chosen is hit in melee, and it’s basically a Close Burst 1 fire attack. Finally, when the Chosen is reduced to 0 HP, they’re Claimed by Imix, and explode in a Close Burst 3 dealing fire damage and dazing (save ends) on a hit.
Encounter Groups and Final Impressions
These cultists weren’t all made to be used together. They’re too far apart in terms of level for that. Instead, they’re made to be added as “spice” to a group of other non-themed opponents of similar levels. These would represent mercenaries, or lower-ranking cultists that don’t necessarily have all these fire-based blessings. Good candidates include the many Human stat blocks, elementals, the occasional demon, and even some undead if you want to replicate the spread found in the Temple of Elemental Evil.
There are plenty of fire-themed monsters in all of those categories, but it’s more interesting if you vary the composition of Team Monster and include some members who rely on untyped damage or other damage types. It will prevent your PCs from trivializing these encounters by stacking fire protection.