by Richard “Tharion Greyseer" Powell
Demonhosts are shadowy beings who have given themselves over, often times voluntarily, to a demonic spirit. These people have chosen to share their bodies with their demon ally, accepting the risks that come with repeated possession. The demonhost's body acts as a vessel through which the demon can interact with the world. This is different from a traditional demon hunter, where the demonic spirit is defeated and bound. For demonhosts, the spirit is usually a stronger entity that will take over the physical body of the host for a limited amount of time based upon rules established in some formal demonic pact.
Most times, a demonhost chooses to become the vessel of his own free will. He communes with the demonic spirit, and an agreement is reached. The demon will provide a measure of power and ability to the host, and the host will allow the demon to walk the world when it could otherwise not. Most commonly, the demons are unable to be summoned into the world, so the pact made with the demonhosts is one of the few ways it can exert direct influence over a material realm.
Sometimes, however, a demon's spirit possesses a host without the host's consent. If the spirit cannot be exorcised, then it must be bound into the host to prevent it from possessing others in a similar manner. These are the dangerous cases, because the demon itself may be able to take control of the body at unexpected times, and there will be very little the host can do. Usually, an unwilling demonhost will be encircled with magical chains and wards to keep the demon subdued. Very rarely, the demon may be unleashed upon an enemy, still tethered to wardings so that control may be re-exerted before things get out of hand.
The demons contained within a demonhost are often enemies of the Burning Legion, having been cursed or trapped or slighted in some way, and they are seeking their own vengeance. Some craft great complex plots of revenge, and others simply revel in outright destruction.
The concept behind the demonhost is a character that gets possessed for certain lengths of time before regaining control of his body. This basically means that, when the demon is manifesting, that character's personality can drastically change. Subtle differences between the core personality and the demonic personality can add some mystery regarding which character is speaking, but always remember that consistency should be a goal. The possession is bound by an agreement, and that agreement should have some structure.
The form of that agreement is something left up to the player. It can be an actual contract, a bloody handshake, a complex spell, or even just a word. However, it is important that you set rules for this contract for yourself, and that you allow your characters to abide by these rules. It will help give the demonhost character a level of consistency in his actions.
There are also a couple of in-game toys that can help bring this psuedo-class to life. The first and foremost is the Accursed Tome of the Sargerei, which causes a fel-icon to appear above your character's forehead. This toy only lasts for 5 minutes, and it has a 1 hour cooldown, so it's more of a limited thing, but it can be used to represent when a demon is speaking through the character's body.
There is another, similar toy that transforms the user into an eredar. I find that this works best if the base character is a draenei, or if the bound demon is an eredar. Like with the Accursed Tome, the Jewel of Hellfire only lasts for 5 minutes, but has a 30 minute cooldown, so use it to underscore certain parts of a scene. Make it count. The toy also displays a red crystal shoved into the forehead of the user as a nod towards Diablo. This can be incorporated into the roleplay or just casually ignored.
(Y - Yes, N - No, O - Optional, U - Unique)
O - Physical Training
Y - Mental Training
Y - First Hunt
O - Blinding
N - Second Hunt
U - Binding
Y - Naming
Physical training is optional due to the variety of classes that can accept this pseudo class. A mage or a priest may not have any much physical training at all, whereas a warrior would. Similarly, the blinding ritual is also optional. If the character wishes to attempt to pursue a version of the spectral sight, it can be performed. However, knowing of the blindfold limitations of some classes, it is not a required ritual.
The second hunt is characterized by defeating the demon that is to be bound. Demonhosts have little need to defeat the bound demon, as the binding for a demonhost takes the form of an agreement between the two. This is also why the binding ritual is labeled as “Unique".
Demonhosts adopt a wide variety of appearances. When they're not actively serving as a demon's vessel, they would look like any other member of their class. This provides a bit of freedom when it comes to your appearance. However, there are a few different ways to visually express the concept of a demonhost.
The first style option is to fully encase your character in armor, covering all skin. This represents the idea that the character is completely bound, and it suggests that the armor may be the primary focus of the binding. One may never quite tell when the demon has taken over when using this style of appearance, because there is no visual indication beyond the appearance of the armor.
Another option would be to seek out armor pieces that prominently feature chains or rope. There are various pieces out there with these design aspects, and they can be used to suggest a character that needs to be chained, leashed, or tethered when the demon takes over. Imagine, if you will, a fully possessed demonhost floating above the battlefield wreaking havoc, but surrounded by two to three handlers who keep a firm grip on the chains hanging from the character.
This is the most recent concept to have been developed for the Netherbane. Knowing of similar characters in other fiction, I wanted a class that could be used by anyone, but that also still maintained a similar ritual structure as a traditional demon hunter. Demonhosts retain the darker aspects of their brethren--binding to demon souls, demonic power, and a strong distrust from other characters--but they do not require any specific combat specialty. A demonhost player can be of any World of Warcraft class, because the demonic aspect does not become apparent until the demon actually manifests.
I imagine that many demonhost characters choose to stay within the Netherbane for a measure of protection. Not only are they around like-minded individuals, but they are also able to handle the demon if it ever takes over the host permanently.