Epigram

"God and other artists are always a little obscure." Oscar Wilde

Friday, January 18, 2013

Frightful Fridays! Page Kaida

Welcome back to Frightful Fridays! This not entirely frightening monster (in fact, this is the first Good monster I've done here) comes courtesy of a find by Theodric the Obscure, who knows of my weakness for small dragons. These tiny dragons didn't quite fit the drake design space, so I searched around for another name for dragons and stumbled across "kaida" (Japanese for "little dragon"). With that, I've got a class of dragons that a group of powerful spellcasters created (or perhaps called on some powerful curse to enslave chromatic dragons) to protect magical and artistic creations--books, pottery, scrolls, and even artfully crafted shields and weapons. I definitely plan to revisit these dragons in later Frightful Fridays! installments, but, in the meantime, I hope you like this week's monster.

What looked merely like an illustration of a juvenile blue dragon peels from the page, inflates into a three-dimensional dragon and breathes an incongruous blast of frost.
Page Kaida CR 1
XP 400
CG Diminutive dragon
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7

Defense
AC 17, touch 17, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +4 size)
hp 15 (2d12+2)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +5
Immune magic paralysis and sleep, dragon traits

Offense
Speed 10 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee bite +4 (1d3–2), 2 claws +4 (1d2–2)
Special Attacks emerge from page, breath weapon (20-ft. cone or 30-ft. line [see below], 1d6 damage [see below], Reflex half DC 12, usable every 1d4 rounds)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 2nd; concentration +5)
At will—detect magic

Statistics
Str 6, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 16
Base Atk +2; CMB +1; CMD 9
Feats Improved Initiative
Skills Diplomacy +7, Fly +17, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Linguistics +6, Perception +7, Sense Motive +6, Spellcraft +10, Stealth +20, Use Magic Device +11; Racial Modifiers +4 Knowledge (arcana), +4 Spellcraft, +4 Use Magic Device
Languages Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic; telepathy 60 ft.
SQ magical sensitivity, one with the page

Ecology
Environment any urban
Organization solitary, pair, or chapter (3–30)
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities
Breath Weapon (Ex) A page kaida has a breath weapon that varies by individual creature but has one of the following four effects: 1d6 acid damage in a 30-ft. line, 1d6 cold damage in a 20-ft. cone, 1d6 electricity damage in a 30-ft. line or 1d6 fire damage in a 20-ft. cone. The kaida’s breath weapon deals no damage to a work it protects (see one with the page).
Emerge from Page (Su) When a page kaida is within a book or scroll under its protection, it gains a +8 bonus to its Stealth check. If the kaida gets to act during a surprise round where it emerges from its page, it can make a full attack or use its breath weapon.
Magical Sensitivity (Su) A page kaida has +4 racial modifiers to Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft and Use Magic Device checks. It can also cast detect magic at will.
One with the Page (Su) As a full round action, a page kaida can merge with one of the works it protects, where it becomes an illustration on the page. The dragon has a +10 insight bonus to any Knowledge checks related to the works it protects, and it may make these Knowledge checks as if were trained in the skill. If the kaida inhabits a spell scroll, it may cast the spell on the scroll once per day at the spell’s minimum caster level. The kaida can attune itself as the protector of a number of books and/or scrolls equal to its Hit Dice, and it requires a week to attune itself to a new work.

The most common protector kaida, a page kaida loves the written word and strives to protect it from natural and humanoid-made mishaps. It may appear to be a miniature version of a chromatic dragon, with an oft-time mismatched breath weapon, but it is quite friendly...unless someone threatens its protected works. This tiny dragon measures 8 inches from snout to tail tip and weighs 10-15 ounces.

While a page kaida prefers spellbooks to any other book, it settles in nicely with any written work. Bonding with a book or scroll keeps the kaida sustained for its relatively long life of 200 years, but an “unbooked” kaida dies if it cannot find a work to bond with in two months. An individual kaida can spend its entire life with one or two written works and will essentially sleep while they are undisturbed. Forgotten libraries might contain dozens of slumbering page kaida that will awaken when someone finally peruses their protected books. A kaida initially acts standoffish, but it will yammer on about material it knows if someone shows any interest.  

A spellcaster can choose a page kaida as a familiar. The spellcaster must be at least caster level 4th, have the Improved Familiar feat, and provide a book or scroll worth at least 200 gp for the page kaida, which will attune to the book or scroll as one of its protected items.

5 comments:

  1. Petroglyph Kaida: Add the giant creature simple template to a standard page kaida. These creatures thrive where old ruins are covered in script. They bond with a single text on a wall or column, creating great colonies in larger buildings. They are much more aggressive than their "modern" cousins and most of them are true neutral in alignment. In still used temples of draconic gods they are sometimes encouraged to stay and live in friendly coexistence with the worshippers.
    ;)

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  2. Nice! Thanks, rorschachhamster!

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  3. These are neat little monsters, Mike. You're definitely inspiring me. Once I dig myself out from under a few deadlines, I intend to get to work on some creatures, myself. And thanks to Theo for roping you into this weekly gig...I definitely look forward to Frightful Fridays! :)

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  4. Thanks, Paris! I look forward to seeing your monster designs.

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  5. Folks, Blogger ate my response to the Page Kaida. I'd appreciate any body letting me know if they have trouble commenting on the blog, since this happened on the heels of my changing the settings for comments.

    Mike: This is my favorite Friday Fright so far. Obviously it plays to your pseudo-draconic predilections, but I'm also really excited by your promise of more to come and the fact that it is inspiring more ideas like Rorschachhamster's. He's making me think of the Water Serpent on New Mexican pottery. Those would make a cool kaida.

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