The Way of the Hellforged Soul

mortal_kombat_scorpion_primaryI’ve had the idea of a Mortal Kombat Scorpion monk subclass in my head for a while. I had to get it into actual words instead of general concept, because I needed that headspace for other things. I’m sure this will need all kinds of tweaks, but I had to get the structure out there. Let me know what you think . . . although, you know, try not to make the critiques into too much of a fatality.


The ever awesome Brandes Stoddard game me some feedback on the original version of this article, and the subclass has been tweaked a bit based on this feedback.

Monks of the Way of the Hellforged Soul have learned to tap into the power of the lower planes. They learn how to manipulate some of the powers traditionally associated with devils to make them fearsome opponents.

Those who follow the Way of the Hellforged Soul may be followers of doctrines of tyranny and pain, but they may also be monks who have decided to put themselves through the ultimate trials, or those that wish to learn to use the weapons of the infernal against the evils of the world.

The challenge that faces the monks of the Way of the Hellforged Soul isn’t getting their souls to enter the lower planes, but spending enough time in Hell to learn its secrets, and return their soul to their mortal body. The following is a list of how a Hellforged Soul may have learned the secrets of Hell.

Hellish Tenures

d6                                    Hellish Tenure

1 Your soul died and was consigned to Hell centuries ago. For their own reasons, the powers of Hell have returned you to your body, and as you learn the secrets of harnessing your inner power, you remember the lessons you learned in Hell.
2 Your soul was consigned to Hell, but after spending a few months (which felt like centuries) in Hell, a celestial raided Hell to bring your soul back to the world of the living, to serve a specific purpose in the struggle against evil.
3 The monks who trained you have a pact with a devil. This devil takes your soul to Hell for training before your body has died, and escorts it back to your body when you begin to learn the lessons of Hell. This takes very little time in the Prime Material Plane but feels like months of torturous training.
4 The monks who trained you specialize in finding living bodies that are no longer inhabited with souls. By opening portals to Hell, they free a tortured soul to enter the soulless body and then train the escaping soul how to harness the lessons they learned in Hell.
5 You are part of an elite force of mortals trained by devils in various planes adjacent to Hell. These mortals are expected to act as agents for Hell in places where devils would be unable to travel. You may still be an agent of these powers or may have gone rogue.
6 Elder, powerful beings send your Astral form to Hell so that you can experience the secrets contained there. Eventually, those beings pull you back to the Prime Material plane by your Silver Cord, and you then reconcile your time in Hell to your spiritual mastery.

The Chains of Hell

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you can manifest the Chains of Hell to drag your opponents closer to you. You replace an attack that you gain when you use your attack action to throw the chains at an opponent. You may target an opponent up to 30 feet away, and they must make a Strength saving throw against the difficulty of your ki abilities.

If your opponent fails this save, they are pulled into your reach. Your next attack against this opponent is made with advantage. You regain the ability to use The Chains of Hell when you take a short or long rest, or when you expend three ki points to recharge this ability.

The Fires of Hell

Starting when you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you may choose to do fire or necrotic damage instead of bludgeoning damage when you make unarmed attacks. You may do this a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus before you must take a long rest to regain your use of this ability.

When you do necrotic damage with your martial arts attack, your opponent must make a Constitution save against a difficulty of 8 + profiencity bonus + your wisdom bonus. If they fail this save, they cannot regain hit points until the end of your next turn. When you deal fire damage with this ability, your opponent makes a Dexterity save versus the same difficulty above. If they fail, they take your martial arts die in fire damage at the beginning of their turn. They may attempt a new save at the end of each of their turns to end this effect.

You may also spend 1 ki point to use this ability once you have expended your uses.

The Power of Lost Souls

At 6th level, whenever you reduce a creature to 0 hit points, you regain a ki point by siphoning part of their spiritual energy. This ability does not work on constructs, oozes, or undead. In addition to gaining a ki point, you also regain the use of your Chains of Hell ability.

The Face of a Tortured Soul

At 11th level, you can reveal the horrid visage that was scarred upon your soul during your tenure in Hell. Any creatures that you chose that can see your face must make a Wisdom save against the difficulty class of your ki abilities or become frightened by your face. Those that fail this save may attempt a new save at the end of each of their turns.

Anyone that is affected by this ability has disadvantage against your Chains of Hell, and when you deal damage to them, you inflict a die of psychic damage equal to your martial arts die. You may use this ability once per short rest.

The Finality of Hell

At 17th level, your critical range increases to 19-20, and whenever you roll a critical hit, you may spend 5 ki points. When you do this, you can choose to change all your damage to fire or necrotic damage. You deal additional damage equal to 5d10 + your Wisdom bonus. You may also spend a ki point to add the necrotic or fire effect from the Fires of Hell ability, whichever matches the damage you choose. If you bring a creature to 0 hit points with this ability, you dramatically destroy their physical form, and they immediately die.

You can use this ability once per long rest. You may spend 5 ki points to recover your ability to use this ability instead.

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