Sunday, October 16, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Flabberghast

Hello, and welcome back to a new edition of Frightful Fridays! (slightly delayed) This week's monster goes against my normal appreciation for gnomes and fey by bringing out an undead monstrosity focused on fey (and gnomes thanks to their bloodline). It's still a potentially nasty monster against other characters, too.

I hope you enjoy the flabberghast, and I'll be back later with another monster. Thanks for reading!

This skeletal creature’s bones fade into a set of withered brambles where its legs should be. It has alternatively bony and branch-like horns protruding form its skull.
Flabberghast    CR 6
XP 2,400
CE Medium undead
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +15
Aura aura of despair (10 ft., DC 17)
AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 67 (9d8+27)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +9
Defensive Abilities evasion; DR 5/cold iron; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 20, electricity 10; SR 17
Weaknesses compulsion vulnerability
Speed 30 ft., fly 40 ft. (good)
Melee 2 claws +11 (1d6+2 plus 1d6 Cha damage), gore +10 (1d8+2)
Special Attacks broken beauty, create spawn, feybane, rend (2 claws, 1d6+3)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +12)
   3/day—dancing lightsfaerie fire
   1/day—confusion (DC 16), deep slumber (DC 16), entangle (DC 14), glitterdust (DC 15), major image (DC 16)
Str 14, Dex 19, Con —, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 17
Base Atk +6; CMB +8; CMD 22
Feats Combat Casting, Lightning Reflexes, Vital Strike, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Bluff +12, Fly +12, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (arcana) +11, Knowledge (nature) +12, Perception +15, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +11, Stealth +14
Languages Aklo, Common, Sylvan
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, reprisal (3–6)
Treasure standard
Aura of Despair (Su) Any creature within or entering a flabberghast’s aura must succeed on a DC 17 Will save or take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, ability and skill checks, and weapon damage for as long as it remains within the aura. A creature that successfully saves is immune to the same flabberghast’s aura for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
   Additionally, a flabberghast suppresses spells and effects granting morale bonuses within its aura, but it does not dispel them.
Broken Beauty (Su) If a flabberghast confirms a critical hit with its claws, in addition to inflicting 1d6 points of Charisma damage, it deals 1d2 points of Charisma drain (DC 17 Will save negates). If the flabberghast successfully drains Charisma, it gains a temporary +1 enhancement bonus to all Charisma-based skill checks, and save DCs for its spells and abilities. These bonuses stack with each other and last for 1 hour. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Compulsion Vulnerability (Su) A flabberghast generally enjoys an undead creature’s immunity to mind-affecting effects, but it still falls prey to the seemingly bizarre rules governing fey. It must attempt a Will save against a spell or effect with the compulsion descriptor, and it incurs a –4 penalty on such saves.
Create Spawn (Su) If the flabberghast kills a gnome or a fey creature, either through damage or by reducing the creature to 0 Charisma, the creature returns as a flabberghast one hour later. Other creatures killed by a flabberghast rise as ghasts.
Feybane (Su) Once per day as a swift action, a flabberghast can imbue its gore attack with the bane (fey creatures and gnomes) weapon ability for 1 minute.

Fey are no strangers to undeath and several of their number fall prey to vampires, spectres, and other foul creatures. However, flabberghasts are undead unique to fey. Typically resulting from fey creatures brought low by the backstabbing machinations omnipresent in faerie courts, flabberghasts return to a twisted form of unlife, embittered against all other fey. This hatred also applies to humanoids with fey origins such as gnomes. Flabberghasts prefer targeting the objects of their ire over other creatures but are not so overwhelmed by rage to ignore obvious threats. Ultimately, the creatures wish to diminish all beauty in the world and often stop just short of killing foes to force them to suffer (at least temporarily) with disfigurations.

Despite, or perhaps because of, their antipathy toward fey, flabberghasts ally with unseelie fey to destroy their opponents. Only powerful nobles deal with flabberghasts, because the creatures almost invariably seek to betray their allies, usually after bolstering their numbers.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Stubby Squid

Hello, and welcome to a beeelated Frightful Fridays! Life got extremely busy, and I missed working on new critters for the blog. But this little squid spoke to me, and I was compelled to return this week to put it out there.

I hope you enjoy the stubby squid, and I shall be back sooner than two month's time with another monster. Thanks for reading!

This miniature purple squid has large, expressive eyes. It waves its tentacles seemingly in greeting.
Stubby Squid    CR 4
XP 1,200
CN Diminutive aberration (aquatic)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11
AC 19, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+3 Dex, +2 natural, +4 size)
hp 42 (5d8+20); fast healing 2
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +7
Defensive Abilities amorphous; Resist acid 10; SR 16
Speed 10 ft., swim 40 ft.
Melee 4 tentacles +10 (1d4–4 plus attach)
Space 1 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks attach, dehydrate, mind swap
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th; concentration +8)
   3/day—water breathing (other creatures only)
Str 3, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 13, Wis 17, Cha 16
Base Atk +3; CMB +2 (+6 grapple); CMD 8 (16 vs. grapple and trip)
Feats Go UnnoticedAPG, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Bluff), Weapon FinesseB
Skills Bluff +11, Escape Artist +11, Perception +11, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +20, Swim +17
Languages Aklo, Common
SQ amphibious, symbiosis
Environment temperate and warm oceans
Organization solitary, pair, or raft (3–12)
Treasure incidental
Attach (Ex) The suckers on a stubby squid’s tentacles latch onto a target with surprising tenacity. The squid gains a +4 racial bonus on combat maneuver checks to maintain a grapple, and a +8 racial bonus to CMD against grapples.
Dehydrate (Ex) A stubby squid attached to a creature halves the amount of time (12 hours plus 1/2 Constitution score) the creature can go without water. Additionally, the DC for the Constitution check to avoid nonlethal damage from dehydration increases by +2 for each previous check.
Fast Healing (Ex) A stubby squid loses fast healing when it is out of salt water.
Mind Swap (Su) As a full-round action, a stubby squid can trade minds with a creature to which it is attached. This functions as magic jar, except the two minds trade bodies. An unwilling target can resist this ability with a DC 15 Will save. The mind swap lasts for 1d4 hours or when the squid ends the effect as a free action, whichever is sooner. If a creature saves against the effect, this particular stubby squid cannot attempt it again with the creature for 24 hours The save DC is Charisma-based.
Symbiosis (Ex) While a stubby squid is attached to a creature, the creature gains the spell resistance and acid resistance possessed by the squid. The creature cannot voluntarily lower the spell resistance. Likewise, the squid enjoys energy resistances and immunities possessed by the creature.

Stubby squids are not animals despite their outward appearance. Instead, they are intelligent lifeforms with alien minds. They indulge in their curiosity by attaching themselves to fast-moving oceanic creatures or obviously non-aquatic specimens. If they feel they have approached friendly creatures, they attempt to convince the creatures to carry them along. They otherwise just attach themselves to their targets and hope for the best. Regardless, they entice potential hosts with their conveyed protection from acid and spells, as well as the ability to breathe water (typical stubby squids can provide water breathing to a single creature for a full day). Squids with a positive symbiotic relationship inform their hosts of their need for water when they leave the sea and the potential for dehydration as they drain water from their hosts.

In aquatic environments, stubby squids work together peacefully. Outside their watery homes, they become extremely competitive over precious water resources. The squids are instinctively aware of other squids, even those hidden on a host’s body. The squids assert their intelligences over their hosts, sequestering their hosts’ minds away in their bodies, to engage in proxy battles. When their hosts die in these bizarre combats, the squids find the nearest available creatures to possess and continue their conflicts. Warring stubby squids wipe out settlements ill-equipped to handle them, typically with only one squid-hosting “survivor” remaining.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Fog Golem

Hello, and welcome back to a new Frightful Fridays! After skipping a week for GenCon, I'm back with a foggy golem for you. It's a walking cloudkill, which should be a lot of fun for GMs, but not so much fun for characters.

I hope you enjoy the fog golem, and I'll be back next week with another monster. Thanks for reading!

This creature’s dark grey humanoid shape barely stands out in the enormous fog bank billowing around it as it moves.
Fog Golem      CR 9
XP 6,400
N Huge construct
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft., fog vision, low-light vision; Perception +10
Aura fog cloud (20 ft.)
AC 17, touch 17, flat-footed 8 (+8 Dex, +1 dodge, –2 size)
hp 118 (12d10+52); fast healing 5
Fort +4, Ref +12, Will +6
DR 10/adamantine and magic; Immune construct traits, critical hits, elemental composition, magic, sneak attacks
Speed fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 slams +18 (elemental strike)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks engulf (DC 18, elemental strike and cloudkill)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +14)
   Constant—gaseous form
Str 7, Dex 27, Con —, Int —, Wis 15, Cha 14
Base Atk +12; CMB +12; CMD 31 (can't be tripped)
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Toughness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Fly +12, Perception +10, Stealth +0 (+16 in fog); Racial Modifiers +8 Perception, +16 Stealth in fog
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or bank (3–6)
Treasure none
Elemental Composition (Ex) A fog golem can change its composition to a particular energy type as a move action. It can select acid, cold, electricity, or fire. It is immune to the chosen energy type. If the golem’s controller is not available to command it to change its composition, it changes to protect itself from the most recently used energy type to damage it. If it has not been damaged, it changes composition to bypass resistances or immunities enjoyed by its foes; in this case, it chooses acid, cold, electricity, and fire in order. The golem starts a typical encounter with an acid composition.
Elemental Strike (Ex) A fog golem’s slam attacks deals 2d6+12 points of damage based on the chosen energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire) for its elemental composition.
Engulf (Ex) A fog golem deals its elemental strike damage to all targets it engulfs, and it subjects them to the effects of the cloudkill spell (DC 17 Fortitude partial). The save DC to avoid being engulfed includes a +4 racial bonus. The save DC for the cloudkill effect is Charisma-based.
Fog Cloud (Ex) Fog surrounds a fog golem as per the fog cloud spell. If the fog is dispersed, the golem regenerates at the end of its next turn.
Fog Vision (Ex) A fog golem can see perfectly well in fog and clouds.
Immunity to Magic (Ex) A fog golem is immune to spells and spell-like abilities that allow spell resistance. Certain spells and effects function differently against it, as noted below.
  • ·        A gust of wind spell (or any spell increasing wind speed that targets the fog golem) slows a fog golem (as per the slow spell) and suspends its fast healing for 1d4 rounds, with no saving throw.
  • ·        A solid fog spell (or any spell replicating solid fog) targeting a fog golem slows it and negates its DR (magic, but not adamantine) and immunities to critical hits and sneak attacks for 1d6 rounds, with no saving throw. If the spell deals energy damage, the golem takes damage from the spell, unless its elemental composition ability grants it immunity.

Whereas a single elemental spirit animates most golems, a minimum of one elemental spirit for each of the four elements animate fog golems. Fog golems guard locations where their ability to pass through tiny spaces make them more valuable than other golems. While they are mindless, they are capable of adapting their energy signatures to effectively combat opponents reliant on or protected against specific energy types. Acid-imbued fog golems’ caustic fluid sizzles when it condenses, cold-imbued golems form stinging icy crystals, electricity-imbued golems crackle angrily, and fire-imbued golems release ash and smoke rather than fog.

A fog golem’s body consists of specially treated gases infused with all four elements. The gases must be treated with oils worth 2,000 gp.

CL 9th; Price 62,000 gp
Requirements Craft Construct, cloudkill, gaseous form, geas/quest, limited wish, creator must be at least caster level 9th; Skill Craft (alchemy) or Knowledge (nature) DC 19; Cost 32,000 gp

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Star Conqueror

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Frightful Fridays! (Saturday edition) My friend Jason asked me to stat up Starro, one of the first Silver Age comic book supervillains. I realized I hadn't ever done a comic book creature for the blog, and this seemed like a suitable choice for the first such monster.

I hope you enjoy the star conqueror, and I'll hopefully have a monster lined up for this Friday. Thanks for reading!

Several smaller starfish attend this enormous purple starfish. A malevolent eye glares from the center of the being.
Star Conqueror      CR 18
XP 153,600
NE Gargantuan aberration
Init –2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +39
AC 34, touch 4, flat-footed 34 (–2 Dex, +30 natural, –4 size)
hp 322 (28d8+196); fast healing 10
Fort +16, Ref +7, Will +20
DR 10/—; Resist acid 30, cold 30, electricity 30, fire 30, sonic 30; SR 29
Speed 30 ft., fly 90 ft. (perfect), swim 90 ft.; starflight
Melee 2 slams +29 (8d6+12/19–20)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks energy projection, spore release
Str 35, Dex 6, Con 24, Int 21, Wis 18, Cha 17
Base Atk +21; CMB +37; CMD 45 (49 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, BludgeonerUC, Cleave, Combat Expertise, Critical Focus, Greater Feint, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Feint, Magical Aptitude, OutflankAPG, Persuasive, Power Attack, Staggering Critical, Stunning Critical
Skills Bluff +31, Diplomacy +21, Fly +17, Intimidate +38, Knowledge (arcana) +36, Knowledge (geography) +33, Perception +39, Sense Motive +36, Spellcraft +40, Use Magic Device +35
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal; telepathy 180 ft.
SQ hive mind, no breath
Environment any
Organization invasion (star conqueror plus 1–6 greater star spores and 3–12 lesser star spores)
Treasure none
Special Abilities
Energy Projection (Ex) When a spell dealing energy damage does not bypass a greater star spore’s spell resistance or energy resistance, it stores the energy damage. It can store up to 60 points of damage in this way. As a standard action, it can release the energy through up to 6 rays, with which it makes touch attacks against one or more targets. The total stored damage is divided evenly between the individual rays.
Hive Mind (Ex) As long as one star spore is within 300 feet of a star conqueror, if one of the group is aware of a particular danger, they all are. The star conqueror is only considered flanked or flat-footed when all of the group is.
Spore Release (Ex) Once per hour as a full-round action, a star conqueror can release 1d4 greater star spores and 2d4 lesser star spores. Its maintains telepathic communication with spores it releases regardless of distance, unless they are on different planes.
Starflight (Su) A star conqueror can survive in the void of outer space. It flies through space at an incredible speed. A trip within a single solar system takes 3d20 hours, while a trip beyond the solar system takes 3d20 days (or more, at the GM’s discretion). If the star conqueror does not know the way to its destination, the time increases drastically.

This oversized starfish floats in the air. An eye protrudes from the top of the starfish, while the underside has a maw filled with serrated teeth.
Greater Star Spore      CR 14
XP 38,400
NE Large aberration
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +31
AC 28, touch 8, flat-footed 28 (–1 Dex, +20 natural, –1 size)
hp 210 (20d8+120); fast healing 5
Fort +12, Ref +5, Will +16
DR 5/—; Resist acid 20, cold 20, electricity 20, fire 20, sonic 20; SR 25
Speed 30 ft., fly 90 ft. (perfect), swim 90 ft.
Melee 2 slams +23 (6d6+9/19–20 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks energy projection
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +22)
   At will—dominate monster (DC 21)
Str 29, Dex 8, Con 22, Int 17, Wis 18, Cha 15
Base Atk +15; CMB +25 (+29 grapple); CMD 34 (38 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, BludgeonerUC, Cleave, Combat Expertise, Greater Feint, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Feint, OutflankAPG, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Intimidate)
Skills Bluff +22, Fly +28, Intimidate +31, Knowledge (arcana) +26, Perception +31, Sense Motive +28, Spellcraft +26, Swim +17
Languages Abyssal, Common, Infernal; telepathy 120 ft.
SQ hive mind
Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or dominance (3–6)
Treasure none
Dominate Monster (Sp) A greater star spore can only use its dominate monster spell-like ability when it pins a creature or maintains a pin. It uses this ability as a move action. If the star spore is removed from its victim, the dominate monster spell ends.
Energy Projection (Ex) When a spell dealing energy damage does not bypass a greater star spore’s spell resistance or energy resistance, it stores the energy damage. It can store up to 60 points of damage in this way. As a standard action, it can release the energy through up to 6 rays, with which it makes touch attacks against one or more targets. The total stored damage is divided evenly between the individual rays.
Hive Mind (Ex) As long as there are at least two star spores, or one star spore and the star conqueror, within 300 feet of each other, if one of the group is aware of a particular danger, they all are. No star spore in a group is considered flanked or flat-footed unless all of them are.

This smaller starfish floats in the air. While less powerful than its brethren, it nonetheless radiates a palpable menace.
Lesser Star Spore      CR 10
XP 9,600
NE Small aberration
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +22
AC 24, touch 12, flat-footed 23 (+1 Dex, +12 natural, +1 size)
hp 127 (15d8+60); fast healing 2
Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +13
DR 5/—; Resist acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10, sonic 10; SR 21
Speed 30 ft., fly 90 ft. (perfect), swim 90 ft.
Melee 2 slams +17 (4d6+4/19–20 plus grab)
Special Attacks energy projection
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +16)
   At will—dominate person (DC 16)
Str 19, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 13, Wis 18, Cha 13
Base Atk +11; CMB +14 (+18 grapple); CMD 25 (29 vs. trip)
Feats Cleave, Combat Expertise, Greater Feint, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Feint, OutflankAPG, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Bluff +16, Fly +29, Intimidate +19, Knowledge (arcana) +19, Perception +22, Swim +12
Languages Common; telepathy 90 ft.
SQ hive mind
Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or minor dominance (3–8)
Treasure none
Dominate Person (Sp) A lesser star spore can only use its dominate person spell-like ability when it pins a creature or maintains a pin. It uses this ability as a move action. If the star spore is removed from its victim, the dominate person spell ends.
Energy Projection (Ex) When a spell dealing energy damage does not bypass a greater star spore’s spell resistance or energy resistance, it stores the energy damage. It can store up to 40 points of damage in this way. As a standard action, it can release the energy through up to 5 rays, with which it makes touch attacks against one or more targets. The total stored damage is divided evenly between the individual rays.
Hive Mind (Ex) As long as there are at least two star spores, or one star spore and the star conqueror, within 300 feet of each other, if one of the group is aware of a particular danger, they all are. No star spore in a group is considered flanked or flat-footed unless all of them are.

The star conqueror is a unique being whose sole aim is to dominate the known universe. It does this by unleashing thousands of star spores, which look nearly identical to it, on a planet and letting them seek out creatures they can enslave. Once the entire populace of intelligent creatures has star spores controlling it, the conqueror moves on to the next inhabited planet to continue the process. The star conqueror can carry hundreds of star spores on it and shelter them in the depths of space. It also produces a hundred new spores per day.

Star spores control their hosts to protect them and destroy any opposition. A host benefits from the star spores’ immunities and resistances, but star spores just fly to another potential host when previous hosts die. Star spores usually attach to their hosts’ faces, making it very easy to spot creatures under their control. Occasionally, when their desire for subterfuge overcomes their arrogance, they find subtler locations on their victims, such as the chest or back, to which they attach.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Gorillagator

Hello, and welcome to a new Frightful Fridays! I'm at a local convention this weekend, organizing and playing in Pathfinder Society games. As it turns out, it's been a while since I've unleashed a mashup monster on the blog, so this is a good time for it. I also get to point out how wizards are dumb with their owlbears and other hybrids they dump into an unsuspecting world.

I hope you like the combat machine that is the gorillagator. I'll be back next week with another monster. Thanks for reading!

This massive alligator has a mix of reptilian skin and gorilla fur. It features an elongated, toothy alligator snout, and muscular arms and legs belonging to a gorilla.
Gorillagator      CR 11
XP 12,800
CE Huge magical beast
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +19
AC 25, touch 9, flat-footed 24 (+1 Dex, +16 natural, –2 size)
hp 147 (14d10+70)
Fort +14, Ref +10, Will +6
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 30 ft.; sprint
Melee bite +19 (2d6+7/19–20 plus grab), 2 claws +20 (2d4+7 plus grab), tail slap +14 (1d6+3)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks blood rage, death roll, rend (2 claws, 2d4+10), terrifying scream
Str 25, Dex 13, Con 20, Int 3, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +14; CMB +23 (+27 grapple); CMD 34 (38 vs. trip)
Feats Crippling CriticalAPG, Critical Focus, Dazzling Display, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Intimidating Prowess, Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Climb +15, Intimidate +23, Perception +19, Swim +15; Racial Modifiers +16 Intimidate
Environment warm marshes
Organization solitary, pair, or rage (3–6)
Treasure incidental
Blood Rage (Ex) When a gorillagator takes damage in combat, on its next turn it can fly into a rage as a free action. It gains +2 Constitution and +2 Strength, and gains a +8 morale bonus on Will saves against mind-affecting spells and effects, but it takes a –2 penalty to its AC. The rage lasts as long as the battle or 1 minute, whichever is shorter. It cannot end its rage voluntarily.
Terrifying Scream (Ex) As a free action at the beginning of combat, a gorillagator can unleash a unsettlingly loud scream. Each flat-footed creature within 30 feet of the gorillagator must make a DC 19 Will save or become shaken for 1 minute. The save DC is Charisma-based and includes a +2 racial bonus.

Gorillagators resulted when a cabal of transmuters reasoned they could do better than the owlbear. In their hubris, they created a pair of fecund creatures fusing the torso of a gorilla to the body of an alligator. In the process, they added a component of insatiable anger, resulting in their creations turning on them, escaping, and producing offspring. The terrifying animal hybrids clear out their marshy homes, and then turn on each other when food runs out.

Gorillagators start combat by attempting to demoralize their opponents, with their awful screams and displays of might. The creatures are susceptible to mind control at this time. However, as soon as something injures them, they fly into a rage that makes it considerably more difficult to affect their minds. Gorillagators fight to the death.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Geleton

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Frightful Fridays! Today's monster completes the triumvirate started with the bloodbag and continuing with the meatshield. As with the bloodbag, the idea for the geleton came from my nearly adult child. Now might be a good place to mention that I take requests for monsters (I do have a couple in the pipeline, but I'm happy to take more). Like the other two monsters, I hope I succeeded at taking a silly concept and turning it into a viably scary creature.

I also hope you can use the geleton in your games. I'll be back again on Friday with another critter. Thanks for reading!

They look delicious!

This bones belonging to this strangely-colored skeleton bend at odd angles.
Geleton      CR 7
XP 3,200
CE Medium aberration
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +16
AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+4 Dex, +6 natural)
hp 85 (10d8+40); fast healing 2
Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +10
Defensive Abilities amorphous, dissolution, sticky body; DR 5/slashing; Immune acid
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +13 (2d6+9 plus 4d6 acid and 1d4 Con damage)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +12)
   3/day—wall of ectoplasmOA (DC 17)
Str 22, Dex 19, Con 18, Int 13, Wis 17, Cha 14
Base Atk +7; CMB +13 (+17 disarm); CMD 28 (30 vs. disarm)
Feats Combat Expertise, Deceitful, Greater Disarm, Improved Disarm, Stealthy
Skills Acrobatics +16, Bluff +16, Climb +10, Disguise +16, Escape Artist +21, Perception +16, Stealth +21
Languages Aklo, Common
SQ compression, duplicate
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or closet (3–8)
Dissolution (Ex) If a piercing or slashing weapon deals damage to a geleton, the weapon must succeed at a DC 19 Reflex save or take 4d6 points of acid damage. Weapons made of bone take no acid damage. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Duplicate (Ex) If a geleton reduces a creature to 0 Con, as a move action, it disgorges some of its liquid interior on the remaining skeleton (dealing 20 points of damage in the process). One round later, a new geleton arises, but it only has half the maximum hp.
Sticky Body (Ex) If a weapon strikes a geleton, it can attempt a disarm check as an immediate action. It gains the benefit of its feats when it attempts to disarm its opponent.

Geletons are tumescent bags of acidic ectoplasm taking the structure provided by skeletons that resist their acid. The acid makes bones pliable without destroying them, so they can easily contort themselves and squeeze into tight spaces. They “reproduce” by reducing victims to their skeletons and then imparting some of their essence to the new receptacles. Since this weakens them, they usually try to attack solitary victims. In the process of dissolving flesh, they render it into ectoplasm, which trails behind them and allows them to create walls of the material.

Geletons enjoy playing on superstitions and beliefs about the undead they mimic and act accordingly when targeted by positive energy. While they prefer to roam together and spawn more geletons, they also ally with necromancers and actual undead. In return for providing surprises against their allies’ opponents, they receive previously animated undead that are no longer viable.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Dire Pink Fairy Armadillo

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Frightful Fridays! I'm taking a break from the creepy to bring you something cute this week. However, the dire pink fairy armadillo's cuteness is deceptive, because it's got sharp claws that will dig furrows in characters just as deep as those they create in the ground. Should a grasslands druid, ranger, hunter, or other animal-companioned character want one, they're available.

I hope you enjoy the dire pink fairy armadillo, and I'll see you next week with another monster. Thanks for reading!

This pink, armor-plated animal is low to the ground; its claws are definitely built for digging but look like they could inflict harm on flesh.
Dire Pink Fairy Armadillo      CR 3
XP 800
N Small animal
Init +7; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +6
AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +4 natural, +1 size)
hp 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +2
Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft., swim 20 ft.; sand glide
Melee 2 claws +7 (1d6+3)
Str 17, Dex 16, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 13
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 18 (22 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Reactive Burrower
Skills Acrobatics +7, Perception +6, Stealth +11, Swim +11
Environment temperate and warm plains
Organization solitary, pair, or roll (3–8)
Treasure none

Dire pink fairy armadillos are gigantic cousin to pink fairy armadillos and considerably more aggressive. Also unlike their smaller cousins, they are more comfortable gathering in groups. A typical hunting tactic for a roll of armadillos is to leave one out as prey for a potential predator, while the others lie in wait just under the ground’s surface. When the unsuspecting creature draws close, the hiding armadillos leap out of their hiding spots and savage the victim with their claws.

Lone dire pink fairy armadillos take a more defensive approach to confrontation and rely on their burrowing ability to avoid predators. Since they virtually swim through loose earth, they leave little trace for pursuers. These armadillos usually wait until the last second to drive into the ground to confound predators.

Dire Pink Fairy Armadillo Companions
The fierceness possessed by dire pink fairy armadillos makes them good candidates for animal companions. Note that these armadillos have access to the Reactive Burrower feat when choosing a feat for them.

Starting Statistics: Size Small; Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft., swim 20 ft., sand glide; AC +2 natural armor; Attack 2 claws (1d4); Ability Scores: Str 15, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 2, Cha 13; Special Qualities low-light vision, scent.
4th Level Advancement: Size Medium; Speed 30 ft., burrow 20 ft., swim 20 ft.; AC +4 natural armor; Attack 2 claws (1d8); Ability Scores Str +4, Dex –2, Con +4.

New Feat
Dire pink fairy armadillos can react to danger and dive into the ground to avoid being hit by a foe. Other creatures with a burrow speed can take the below feat.

Reactive Burrower
You can take to the safety of the earth when threatened by an attack.
Prerequisites: Burrow speed.
Benefit: As an immediate action, you can burrow 5 feet into the ground in response to an attack. You gain a +4 circumstance bonus to Armor Class when using this feat. Your burrow speed decreases by 5 feet during your turn. You must be aware of the attack to use this feat, and you cannot use this feat if you are denied your Dexterity bonus to Armor Class.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Meatshield

Hello and welcome to a bonus edition of Frightful Fridays! I can't really claim it's a bonus, though, since I've been pretty slack with the monsters lately. This monster is courtesy of Paris, who jokingly suggested it as the next monster after the bloodbag. I took it as a challenge, and here we are with a mobile mound of meat that can turn people into more mobile meat mounds.

I hope you enjoy this "companion" to the bloodbag. I'll still be back on Friday with a new monster. Thanks for reading!

The odor of meat getting ready to turn bad wafts from this collection of scraps somehow held together in a loose sphere; limbs made of meat jut from the mass to propel the creature forward.
Meatshield      CR 5
XP 1,600
NE Medium construct
Init +0; Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0
AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 18 (+8 natural)
hp 58 (7d10+20)
Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +2
DR 5/—; Immune construct traits, magic
Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee 2 slams +10 (2d6+3)
Special Attacks create spawn, pulverize
Str 17, Dex 11, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 5
Base Atk +7; CMB +10; CMD 20 (can't be tripped)
Skills Climb +11
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or slaughterhouse (3–12)
Treasure none
Create Spawn (Su) A creature that dies from a meatshield’s red ache rises as a meatshield in 8 hours.
Immune to Magic (Ex) A meatshield is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below.
  • Purify food and drink heals 10 hit points and increases a meatshield’s movement rates by 10 feet. A meatshield no longer inflicts red ache with its attacks.
  • Putrefy food and drink deals 10 hit points of damage to a meatshield and reduces its movement rates by 10 feet. All of its attacks inflict red ache.

Pulverize (Ex) If a meatshield hits the same target with both of its slam attacks, it deals an additional 1d4 Strength damage and afflicts its victim with red ache.
Red Ache Pulverize—injury; save Fort DC 15; onset 1d3 days; frequency 1/day; effect 1d6 Str damage; cure 2 consecutive saves.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the bloodbag, but no less ill-advised, meatshields resulted when a nascent necromancer attempted to raise undead creatures from an assemblage of meat scraps. She was successful to an extent and became the newly formed creatures’ first victim. The meatshields roamed the neighboring lands, instinctively aware that they needed to inflict their procreative disease on victims rather than outright slaughtering them. Those who hear victims describe an attack by a living mound of meat attribute the outrageous tales to fever brought on by the disease. Of course, very few people understand how victims transform into piles of meat when they succumb to the disease, and most run screaming when the piles coalesce and lurch into action.

While meatshields are constructs with nominal undead traits of creating spawn and inflicting disease, the secrets of making the creatures died with the original creator. No one has openly dared to recreate the experiment. However, those who can control meatshields use them as shock troops or as protection (as their namesake would imply).

Friday, June 24, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Bloodbag

Hello, and welcome to the return of Frightful Fridays! I'd claim that the previous entry haunted me too much, and it took me a while to recover, but it was actually real life that intervened. This week's monster is courtesy of my college-age child, who wanted a monster made entirely of blood that would run up to characters to hug them and then explode in a shower of blood. I either did a great or horrific job of parenting.

I hope you enjoy the bloodbag, and I should be back with a new monster next week. Thanks for reading!

This pool of blood coalesces into a vaguely humanoid form; a thin membrane contains the fluid.
Bloodbag      CR 6
XP 2,400
NE Medium ooze
Init +2; Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception +0
AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+2 Dex)
hp 85 (9d8+45)
Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +3
DR 5/slashing; Immune ooze traits; Resist fire 10
Weaknesses vulnerable to negative energy
Speed 20 ft.
Melee slam +12 (3d6+9 plus grab)
Special Attacks blood drain (1d2 Con), self-destruction
Str 23, Dex 14, Con 21, Int 5, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +6; CMB +12 (+16 grapple); CMD 24 (can't be tripped)
Skills Stealth +11
SQ camouflage, compression
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or blood bank (3–6)
Treasure none
Blood Drain (Ex) A bloodbag drains blood at the end of its turn if it grapples a foe, inflicting the listed Constitution damage. It also gains 5 temporary hit points as it incorporates the blood into its mass. These temporary hit points last for a maximum of 1 hour.
Camouflage (Ex) Since a bloodbag looks like a pool of blood what at rest, a DC 20 Perception check is required to notice it before it attacks for the first time. A creature with ranks in Heal can use that skill instead of Perception to notice the bloodbag.
Self-Destruction (Ex) As a standard action, a bloodbag can rupture its membrane and explosively release blood in a 10-foot radius. All creatures within range are afflicted with bloodbag hemorrhagia (which also affects undead creatures that drain blood) and must succeed at a DC 19 Reflex save or become blind for 1d4 rounds. The bloodbag is still alive after this self-destruction, albeit with half its current hp. To utterly destroy a discorporate bloodbag, it must take damage equal to its hp plus its current Con from area of effect spells or effects. Otherwise, the bloodbag returns 24 hours later fully healed.
Bloodbag Hemorrhagia Self-Destruction—contact; save Fort DC 19; onset 1 day; frequency 1/day; effect 1d4 Con damage, victim takes 1 point of bleed damage after taking damage from a piercing or slashing weapon; cure 2 consecutive saves.

The result of a misguided attempt to create a counter to blood-drinking undead by infecting them with a hemorrhagic disease, bloodbags proved ineffective at their intended objective. Instead, they compete with bloodsucking creatures in order to grow and reproduce. Bloodbags have a thin, coagulated membrane that protects them from all but the sharpest weapons. The membrane is porous enough to allow them to absorb blood from victims they have entangled in their mass.

In heavily trafficked areas, bloodbags remain near dead victims to add to the pretense as a pool of blood. They don’t take treasure, so they benefit from the curious or greedy who search the body for money or other items and pay little attention to the fact that the victims are nearly exsanguinated. Bloodbags self-destruct as a defense and reproduction mechanism, inflicting their attackers with a hemorrhagic disease, the bleeding from which typically spawns new bloodbags. If nothing is done about the blood droplets created by a self-destructed bloodbag, it reforms after a day to continue its hunt for blood.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fun at North Texas RPG Con

Why oh why did it take me so long to make it to this con in my home state?

The first night I sat in on the first half of tournament game with Bill Barsh where I earned the sobriquet "Steak Salad Guy."

The first whole day I had a blast with a group furn by Kelly Rowe through Strahd's Castle (pictures below.)

This morning I misread the schedule and got here early (sleep? Who needs it?) and will be in Matt Finch's Mythrus Tower.

Got my Expert books signed by Stephen R. Marsh, talked with New Big Dragon and picked up a few things from him. Great booths -- especially have to give a shout-out to David Donohoo of Ettin Games. Don't drive through the Houston area without visiting the best gaming store in the area.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

NTRPG CON, Here I Come!

This is the year folks! It's finally happening!

After years of not getting to go, tomorrow, I will head back up to my home grounds of DFW and game until I drop. Hopefully, there also will be a decent amount of shopping, meeting people I've known only online or through podcasts, and making new gaming friends.

Here's what I'm registered for:

AD&D 2e - Kelly Rowe The House of Strahd

S&W - Matt Finch Mythrus Tower

OD&D - Tim Kask    Sneak Peek/Test # 2

SAT AM 6/4
Swords & Wizardry - Jillian Webb    ???

SAT PM 6/4
Empire of the Petal Throne - Dr. Victor Raymond The Jakallan Underworld  

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Deciphering Dyson

I can't imagine there are any readers of my blog who are unfamiliar with Dyson's Dodecahedron. It's a must-read RPG blog -- and his lovely maps have gone isomorphic, which I simply adore as the most helpful kind of dungeon maps.

Recently as I was looking over one of Dyson's maps, I found a spot I couldn't rightly interpret, nor helpfully explain to Dyson my perception in the comments to get clarity. So I made some pictures to hopefully get across my problem to enable him to fix my understanding.

The map is found at the top of this post: Return to Durahn's Tomb. At the top of the stairs to the overlook above the elevated niche to the entry room is where my interpretation problem begins.

In the detail shot below, as I look at the right angle niche above the half-square dais or platform, the stairs appear to lead to an undifferentiated space. I can imagine that the red lines I've added below would differentiate the space, but they'd represent a sheer drop from the stairs which I doubt Dyson intended.

In the detail shot below, I have added a landing for the stairs in green lines that turn into a gallery above a lower overlook, but getting those two spaces to make sense together is also not exactly obvious.

Funny enough, if I flip the entire image (below) the problem with that intermediary space disappears entirely and the area becomes an octagon, and the only things that then would need fixing are the sarcophagi and the main entrance.

So, I look forward to Dyson's explanation, and I appreciate the time he spends sharing his labors with us foremost, but also in helping me get clarity.

If you have never supported Dyson's work before, now is as good a time as any. If you're looking for a one-time purchase, I've enjoyed his Dyson's Delves II, but you could also contribute to his Patreon account to keep these works coming and released into the wild.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Frightful Fridays! The Worst Monster Ever

Hello and welcome to another Frightful Fridays! This is one I've had on the back burner for a couple of months, but I couldn't bring myself to finish it. When I first experienced this horrific sight, I temporarily lost my arachnophobia and coulrophobia. Worse, this is something I witnessed along with several million people.

I hope you survive beholding this horrific monster. I'll be back next week with something more down-to-earth, like a giant polyp that shoots polyps that release spores infested with flesh-eating paramecia. Thanks for reading!

For fear of summoning Elder Gods because I included the image, here is a link to the disturbing video.

A fusion of monkey, baby, and puppy dances jerkily instead of walking. It jabbers its own name as its obscene pink tongue probes for exposed flesh.
Puppymonkeybaby      CR 4
XP 1,200
CE Small aberration
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +1
AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+4 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 37 (5d8+15)
Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +1
Defensive Abilities dancing dodge; Immune mind-affecting effects; SR 15
Speed 30 ft., climb 10 ft.
Melee bite +8 (1d4), tongue +3 touch (befuddling lick)
Special Attacks babble, bewildering dance
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or “dear <insert deity name>, why?” (3–12)
Treasure incidental (potions of dubious quality)
Str 10, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 3, Wis 5, Cha 17
Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 16
Feats Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +8, Climb +8, Escape Artist +8, Perception +1, Perform (dance) +9
SQ confusion grace
Babble (Su) A puppymonkeybaby repeats its name continuously, battering its opponents’ mental defenses with its inanities. A creature within 60 feet of the puppymonkeybaby must succeed at a DC 15 Will save to avoid taking a –4 penalty on further Will saves against the puppymonkeybaby’s abilities. Regardless of the result, a creature cannot be affected by the same puppymonkeybaby’s babble for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting, sonic effect; the save DC is Charisma-based.
Befuddling Lick (Su) If a puppymonkeybaby succeeds at a touch attack with its tongue, the target creature must succeed at a DC 15 Will save or become confused for 1d6+1 rounds. This is a mind-affecting effect, and the save DC is Charisma-based.
Bewildering Dance (Su) A puppymonkeybaby can perplex opponents by performing a twitching dance. All creatures within 30 feet that can see the puppymonkeybaby when it uses its bewildering dance must succeed on a DC 15 Will save or be fascinated for 2d6 rounds. This is a mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
   Once per day, a puppymonkeybaby can make a Perform (dance) check to set the save DC for this ability. The puppymonkeybaby must accept the result of the Perform check even if its lower than the normal save DC.
Confusion Grace (Su) If a puppymonkeybaby attacks a confused creature, the creature will not attack the puppymonkeybaby in return. Likewise, if a confused creature gets "attack nearest creature" as a result on its confusion roll, the creature ignores the puppymonkeybaby.
Dancing Dodge (Ex) As an immediate action on a successful attack against it, if a puppymonkeybaby is not flat-footed or immobilized, it can make a Perform (dance) check to replace its AC against that attack. The puppymonkeybaby must accept the result, even if it is worse that its current AC. The resulting AC still suffers any penalties incurred by the puppymonkeybaby against its AC.

The dread kraken, Ith’qa’lool’pon, decided the best way to defeat the two-legged land dwellers that vexed it was to create innocuous spies that its enemies would accept in their midst. The infiltrators would telepathically gather information about enemy strength, plans, and other vital intel, and they would transmit that information to the dread kraken. Ith’qa’lool’pon set his aboleth fleshcrafters to the task, so the devious creatures tore images of beloved creature from the minds of humanoids they had been torturing. The result was the puppymonkeybaby. Pleased with the abominable amalgams, the dread kraken set them loose.

The creatures were not successful at their intended task, since they could not actually read humanoid minds. However, they created such incomprehension and dismay among people, that several locations they infested fell to rioting as a result of their baffling natures. With resistance softened as a result of infighting, the dread kraken could send its shock troops to finish off what the puppymonkeybabies started. Areas that managed to drive off the creatures learned to shoot one on sight if it reappeared.

Fortunately, for the world at large, the formula for creating puppymonkeybabies self-immolated (yes, even underwater) after the aboleths created the first batch. Unfortunately, through some depraved process, puppymonkeybabies bred true and continue to assault people with their nonsensicality.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Frightful Fridays! Katakirauwa

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Frightful Fridays!, after much too long of a break. Theodric the Obscure received some wonderful news (which I won't share, because I am protecting his obscurity), so I'm celebrating evil pig? Sure, why not?

I hope you enjoy this week's monster, and I hope to be back next week with something else. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading!

This pig is missing its left ear and its eyes glow red. Adding to its eerie appearance, it casts no shadow.
Katakirauwa      CR 5
XP 1,600
CE Small magical beast
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +14
AC 19, touch 15, flat-footed 15 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, +1 size)
hp 57 (6d10+24)
Fort +9, Ref +8, Will +4
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +11 (1d6+6)
Special Attacks create, soul-draining charge
Str 19, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 5, Wis 14, Cha 9
Base Atk +6; CMB +9 (+11 bull rush); CMD 23 (25 vs. bull rush, 27 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Improved Bull Rush, Mobility, Power Attack, Spring Attack
Skills Acrobatics +10 (+14 to jump), Perception +14, Stealth +11; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
Environment temperate forests and plains
Organization solitary, pair, or sounder (3–6)
Treasure none
Create Spawn (Su) If a humanoid creature dies as a result of a katakirauwa’s soul-draining charge, the slain creature rises as a zombie 2d4 rounds later. The katakirauwa has no control over the zombie, but it does not attack the katakirauwa.
Soul-Draining Charge (Su) If a katakirauwa succeeds at a bull rush attack during a charge, it passes through its opponent’s legs, dealing 1d4 Cha damage. If the katakirauwa scores a natural 20 on its CMB roll, it instead deals 1d4 Cha drain. A creature reduced to 0 Charisma dies as a result.

Frightful stories tell of one or more unnatural pigs running rampant through a large population center, and, merely by charging between the legs of their victims, destroying their souls and leaving shambling husks in their wake. These creatures are difficult to bring down for the average townsfolk who also have to deal with friends and family turning into zombies. While katakirauwa are not highly intelligent, they are clever enough to attack at night when their lack of shadows will not give them away. Katakirauwa also make an initial attack in an outlying area to create a small pack of zombies they then lure to a settlement, allowing them to prey on people in the chaos.

Katakirauwa spontaneously generate piglet versions of themselves after they destroy four souls, but their increased numbers generally reduce their overall threat. Uncooperative creatures among themselves, an overly large group of katakirauwa falls into disarray as individuals attack each other to prevent them from stealing souls.

Powerful undead creatures often “raise” a katakirauwa and use it to soften up resistance and to bolster its ranks of undead minions.

Monday, March 28, 2016

It's going to be Legen...wait for it...

DARY. As in Legendary Games.

Now I might be a wee bit prejudiced. Staff blogger Mike Welham is coauthor of the last volume. Sometime guest blogger and all-the-time friend-of-the-blog Paris Crenshaw is the lead designer and author.  But it would be wrong to blame me for having awesome friends, and even more wrong to deny yourself based on wrong.

And what would you be denying yourself? A stellar adventure perfect for introducing young players to fantasy tabletop role-playing. This adventure will be available in both a Pathfinder Beginner version and a D&D 5e version.

Give a listen to the Tome Show episode that interviews Paris and Jason Nelson about the adventure (this portion starts about 45 minutes into the program, if you want to skip the Tolkien stuff for now). Then head over to Kickstarter to find a level of support that will give you want you want for your game. Based on my relationship of many years with Paris (and Mike) and my previous dealings with Legendary Games, I feel confident in recommending this KS without reservation. Also note the unique flavor you will be getting in this adventure, which is more colonial fantasy than it is medieval fantasy. (I wish this was reflected more in some of the illustrations that I've seen so far, but when I find an RPG product in which I can't find something to criticize, I'll let you know.) Both Pathfinder's Beginners game and 5e a great rules sets to use to introduce new and young gamers, and well-written, appropriate pre-written adventures for those of us who do so hit the spot. Hats off to all involved, and to Legendary Games for stepping in and taking over Paris' labor of love that I have had the pleasure of seeing go from its inception years ago to this.