The Aleax was originally created by Alex Martelli.
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The aleax is a physical manifestation of the vengeance enacted by a power. There is but one aleax for each deity; it is sent forth to punish and redeem those who stray from the dictates of their alignments, who fail to sacrifice sufficient treasure, or who otherwise anger the god. These creatures are created specifically to fulfill that stated purpose, so an aleax will never be met by chance.
The aleax usually appears in human or humanoid form and quite closely resembles its intended victim. In fact, the being is in all respects (except as noted elsewhere) an exact duplicate. The aleax has the same attribute scores, hit points, armor and Armor Class, weapons, magical items, spells, and so on. To the intended recipient of the deity's punishment, the aleax appears to be bathed in shimmering light that varies in color according to the god's specific alignment: golden for lawful-good aleaxi, vibrant green for lawful neutral, deep purple for lawful evil, bright yellow for neutral good, silver for true neutral, royal blue for neutral evil, ever-changing rose-and-blue for chaotic good, kaleidoscopic colors of all shades for chaotic neutral, and shifting scarlet and indigo for chaotic evil.
Bystanders, however, see the aleax as a nondescript individual of the same race as the target. When the aleax attacks, it seems to onlookers that the character has been assaulted by (or has attacked) a complete stranger. Those attempting to help the character quickly discover they cannot aid the object of divine wrath. Companions of the punished character can do little but stand helplessly by and wait for the outcome of the battle.
When it appears, the aleax utters a few brief words in the language of its deity (which may or may not be understandable to the victim), stating that the mortal has offended the god, outlining the nature of the crime, and insisting that he or she must now submit to punishment. After this decree is spoken, the aleax attacks without quarter or mercy. No discussion or plea is heeded.
Combat: Characters who attempt to rationalize with the aleax forfeit their claim to an initiative roll, because the being moves in to attack while the PC gibbers away. In battle it will use the same weapons and spells as the character, along with tactics similar to its target. The aleax has 100% magic resistance to any magical effect that does not originate from its victim. Likewise, it is immune to all damage from sources other than its target; only the weapons and magic of its target can harm it. If a wizard casts a fireball at an aleax attacking a priest, the creature is unharmed (although the priest is still subject to damage), but if the wizard cast the same spell at an aleax attacking him, the spell would cause damage normally. Of course, the aleax enjoys any magic resistance that the target character has. Further, the aleax naturally regenerates hit points when wounded, at the rate of 8 hit points per round.
An aleax is also immune to any magical effect that taps its life source, including magic jar, possession, lifedraining, or vampiric regeneration. It automatically saves vs. spell when confronted by illusions, and it can attempt to break a charm spell once per round.
Despite its numerous tactical advantages, an aleax has a special vulnerability to physical attack. Any hit with a physical weapon (not a magical effect) that scores on a natural roll of 19 inflicts double damage, and a natural roll of 20 causes quadruple damage. However, damage inflicted by the aleax is always normal, regardless of the result of its attack roll.
Although they are ferocious fighters, aleaxi never actually kill their victims. One who is "slain" by an aleax is simply suffering the judgment of his or her god. Although to onlookers it appears as though the character has died, in truth his spirit is held in suspension between death and life. He is in commune with his deity then, and he is given a last chance to barter for his life. The spirit can be returned to the character's body, but only by quickly paying the price demanded by the offended power. The deity can demand service, levels, treasure, or magic. The choice is not open to negotiation - either the character accepts or he dies. Those who choose death cannot be raised.
Service can be any one quest (unbreakable by even a wish spell) stipulated by the power. The deity can also claim up to half a character's levels, while treasure and magical-item forfeitures result in the loss of all the character's property, no matter where it is hidden. If the condition is accepted, the character is then automatically raised from the dead (including elves) with whatever conditions agreed upon immediately applied. The character will receive no further visitation from the aleax as long as he or she remains true to the offended god in the future.
If the character defeats the aleax in battle, some portion of the aleax's spirit merges with the character. The power's wrath is annulled, for Fate has judged against it. No more attacks will be made on the character for that particular offense (regardless of whether the character is now acting in a appropriate manner), although further offenses may trigger retribution.
The joining of the aleax's spirit with the player character brings both rewards and penalties. The character's wits and senses are heightened from this commingling with the divine, so Intelligence increases by 1 and the character enjoys a +1 bonus on all surprise rolls. Also, others can see that the character has been "aleax-touched," effectively bestowing a +1 bonus to Charisma. However, the aleax spirit still fights for control of the character. Whenever faced with a situation similar to the character's original offense (regardless of whether the character is now acting in an appropriate manner), the spirit will attempt to assert itself as a rightful avenger. At that time, the character must successfully save vs. paralyzation or become possessed by the desire to punish those who have offended the aleax's god. The desire remains until the offenders are punished or the effect is broken by a dispel magic spell. Note that this does not free the character in future instances, but only cancels the immediate effect.
Habitat/Society: Aleaxi have no habitat or society - they are the creations of the powers. They come into existence when a god wishes to punish a mortal, and they return to nonexistence immediately upon completion of their duties. A power can only create one aleax at a given time. Since a deity's strength diminishes slightly every time one of its special servants is defeated, the gods as a whole do not lightly send out these avengers. Typically, aleaxi are created to correct the most blasphemous of followers, or those that pose a great threat to the stability of the power's realm.
Ecology: Aleaxi essentially do not exist until they are called into being by the gods. Some sages speculate that an aleax is an actual part of its god's consciousness, which separates and adopts a physical form. Others believe that it is a magical being, created on the spot at the behest of the offended god. In any case, an aleax exists for no other reason than to defeat its mortal model and return to its deity victorious.
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