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Hex magic is a form of sorcery that manifests at a young age. It tends to occur in poorer areas where magical training and education are unavailable, though this is not always the case. Some embrace this ability, becoming evil or neutral hexblades bent on vengeance and retribution. Others fight it, seeking to transform their innate powers into something more positive. These youths tend to study sorcery in depth, becoming sorcerers and forsaking the dark blight of hex magic entirely. The former are more common—the allure of hex magic is especially strong. They embrace a "might makes right" attitude, viewing academia as pointless, asceticism as foolish, do-gooders as deluded, and book-learners as weak.
Many hexblades are self-taught, though it is not uncommon for a young hexblade to learn his craft from a mentor. There is only one hexblade college on Faerûn, Hexcidon, and it is housed in Bezantur. At this school, generations of hexblades study to become elite bodyguards and generals for Thay.
Most hexblades, however, are loners who travel to gain power, riches, and pleasure. They seek vengeance against any who get in their way and brook no fools or the faint of heart in their travels. This makes them perfect agents for neutral and evil deities of vengeance and retribution. These hexblades most commonly follow the divine guidance of Hoar, Kiaransalee, Loviatar, Shevarash, or Uthgar. The first two of those are discussed here.
Hoar has guided the footsteps of a number of hexblades in their search for vengeance. These warriors typically enter the ghostwalker prestige class, traveling around Faerûn in search of wrongs to right. These hexblades are almost entirely neutral—not merciful but also not cruel. They treat all offenders the same, meting out punishments that fit the committed injustice.
Most drow hexblades are loners and assassins. A small but sizable minority, however, serves the whims of the Revenancer. Each of these agents, known as "revenant blades," serves a single cell of priests devoted to Kiaransalee. They are frequently accompanied by undead minions supplied by their priestly masters or through their own feats and abilities. They take revenge on the foes of the Vengeful Banshee, especially worshippers of Eilistraee, Dumathoin, and Kelemvor.
A small presence of hexblades exists among the Imaskari. These members serve the Lodge of Retributive Masters by taking revenge against those who have sinned against the society. They almost always take levels in the Imaskari vengeance taker prestige class, though they must be able to cast 3rd-level hexblade spells in order to qualify. These hexblades study in a manner similar to other Imaskari arcanists, but they are more focused on a practical mix of vengeance magic and martial prowess than on magical esotericism.
While most hexblades wear only light armor, that is not a rule, especially among those belonging to the Vengeance Knights, an order of tyrannical warriors that serves the Knights of the Shield, a loose network of greedy and paranoid Southern merchants. These warriors favor the heaviest armor they can find. They typically take the Battlecaster feat, wearing mithril armor and using mithril shields. This allows them to avoid suffering arcane spell failure with their hexblade spells. They serve the malevolent Knights of the Shield as bullies and enforcers much of the time, but when called to duty, they can be agents of brutal vengeance.
Magical Abilities: A hexblade begins play with the ability to call down a curse on a foe once per day. This curse won't vanquish an opponent, but it can help the hexblade prevail in combat. As he attains higher levels in the class, the hexblade can use his curse power more often, and it becomes even more potent. He also gains additional magical abilities that can help him survive as well as bedevil his enemies.