Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Frightful Fridays! Skull of Ill Omen

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of Frightful Fridays! Real life brought the monster production to a halt, so I'm making up for lost time and publishing a monster a day until Halloween. I also wanted to celebrate this feature's 3-year anniversary with some creepy and/or scary monsters, like this curse-generating skull. I think a lot of players will be unhappy after an encounter with this monster, so I'd suggest using it sparingly.

I hope you enjoy(?) the skull of ill omen, and I'll see you tomorrow with a new monster. Thanks for your patience during the delay, and thanks for reading!

This jade skull floats just above the ground and radiates a sickly green light.
Skull of Ill Omen      CR 13
XP 25,600
NE Diminutive undead
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +29
AC 28, touch 24, flat-footed 22 (+5 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, +4 profane, +4 size)
hp 180 (19d8+95); fast healing 5
Fort +11, Ref +13, Will +12
DR 10/bludgeoning; Immune cold, electricity, undead traits; Resist fire 10; SR 24
Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Ranged 2 cursed touches +23 touch (2d6 negative energy plus bestow curse)
Space 1 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks create spawn, cursed backlash, escalating curse, final curse, spellwarp
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 19th; concentration +24)
   At will—dimension door (DC 19), telekinesis
   11/day—bestow curse (DC 20)
   3/day—major curseUM (DC 23)
   1/day—beguiling giftAPG (DC 16), telekinetic sphere (DC 23)
   1/month—cursed earthUM
Str 1, Dex 20, Con —, Int 18, Wis 13, Cha 21
Base Atk +14; CMB +15; CMD 25 (can't be tripped)
Feats Combat Expertise, Deceitful, Dodge, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Point-Blank Shot, Skill Focus (Perception), Spell Focus (necromancy)
Skills Bluff +28, Disguise +28, Fly +25, Knowledge (arcana, religion) +26, Knowledge (planes) +23, Perception +29, Spellcraft +26, Stealth +39
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Common, Infernal
Environment any land
Organization solitary
Treasure normal (inert skull)
Create Spawn (Su) A creature that dies while suffering from a curse (from bestow curse or major curse) inflicted by a skull of ill omen becomes a new skull of ill omen after 13 days. The new skull is not under the control of its creator.
Cursed Backlash (Su) When a creature deals physical damage to a skull of ill omen, the attacker must succeed at a DC 24 Will save or take half the inflicted damage as negative energy damage. An opponent successfully dealing energy damage to the skull must also succeed at a DC 24 Will save or take half the energy damage (damage type does not change). The save DCs are Charisma-based.
Cursed Touch (Su) The bestow curse effect on a successful ranged touch attack counts against the skull of ill omen’s uses of its bestow curse spell-like ability.
Escalating Curse (Su) If a victim of a skull of ill omen’s bestow curse spell-like ability makes its save, the DC for subsequent uses of its bestow curse increases by 1.
For each failed attempt to remove a curse (from bestow curse or major curse) inflicted by the skull, the DC to remove the curse increases by 1.
Final Curse (Su) When a skull of ill omen is destroyed, it creates an effect as per cursed earthUM, except it inflicts all effects. Additionally, the creature dealing the fatal blow to the skull must succeed at a DC 26 Will save or be afflicted as if by a double-strength bestow curse (–6 decrease to two ability scores or 12 decrease to one ability score, or –8 penalty on attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks). The curse cannot be removed with anything less powerful than a miracle or wish spell. The save DC is Charisma-based and includes a +2 racial bonus.
Spellwarp (Su) If a caster fails to penetrate a skull of ill omen’s spell resistance and the skull has successfully identified the spell, it can choose the spell’s parameters (target(s), area, etc.). It cannot maintain concentration on a spell it warps in this manner.

A skull of ill omen results when a creature dies while under the effects of a powerful curse. Embittered by its death, the victim retains the cursed energy and its body quickly withers away. The skull animates and travels the land to afflict the living with terrible curses of its own devising. It finds a graveyard or other appropriate location and disguises itself as a moss-covered humanoid skull. From its new home, it surreptitiously casts cursed earth, and relishes in the misfortunes wiping out most of the inhabitants. It then moves on to the next settlement to repeat the process. It prefers not to directly harm people, since its curses create more skulls of ill omen, but it will make exceptions for particularly dogged meddlers.

A skull of ill omen enjoys collecting cursed items and it researches legends surrounding such items when it travels to a large settlement. It hires evil or gullible adventurers to retrieve the items. Rarely, the skull will use beguiling gift to force an opponent to take a cursed item. It will then falsely promise to remove the curse if the victim does the skull’s bidding.

An inert skull is worth 12,000 gp, but it imposes a 20% chance of cursing magic items produced within 200 feet of it.

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