Friday, August 3, 2018

Frightful Fridays! Deathstrike Hydra

Hello and welcome back to another Frightful Fridays! I'm currently in Indianapolis for GenCon, but my past self was nice enough to remember to post this, so I didn't panic upon realizing I hadn't posted it. Hearkening back to the "Extreme" days of the 1990s, today's monster uses one of those supercool names gracing every other comic book cover put out by Image Comics. The deathstrike hydra is a terrible opponent at CR 14, and it can make multiple strikes with its cobra-like heads, even allowing it to make two attacks of opportunity for a single trigger.

I hope you enjoy the deathstrike hydra, and I'll see you next week with another monster. Thanks for reading!

Several lightning-quick serpentine heads, with fangs dripping green and sizzling venom, extend from this creature’s powerful body.
Deathstrike Hydra      CR 14
XP 38,400
CE Huge magical beast
Init +12; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +17 (+2 per additional head)
AC 29, touch 17, flat-footed 20 (+8 Dex, +1 dodge, +12 natural, –2 size)
hp 199 (19d10+95); fast healing 12
Fort +16, Ref +19, Will +12; –4 vs. mind-affecting effects or spells originating from serpentine creatures
Defensive Abilities all-around vision, poisonous blood (deathstrike hydra venom); Immunities poison
Speed 40 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee 7 bites +23 (2d6+6/18–20 plus poison)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks pounce, quick strike, vicious bite
Str 22, Dex 27, Con 20, Int 3, Wis 19, Cha 10
Base Atk +19; CMB +27; CMD 46 (can't be tripped)
Feats Acrobatic Steps, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Greater Spring Attack[UW], Improved Initiative, Improved Spring Attack[UW], Iron Will, Mobility, Nimble Moves, Spring Attack
Skills Acrobatics +19 (+23 to jump), Perception +17 (+2 per additional head), Swim +18; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception per additional head
SQ hydra traits, regenerate head
Environment temperate and warm marshes
Organization solitary
Treasure standard
All-Around Vision (Ex) A deathstrike hydra loses this ability if it only has one head remaining.
Deathstrike Hydra Venom (Ex) Bite—Injury or Contact—Poisonous Blood; save Fort DC 24; frequency 1/round for 8 rounds; effect 1d6 Con; cure 3 consecutive saves.
Fast Healing (Ex) A deathstrike hydra’s fast healing ability is equal to its current number of heads (minimum fast healing 10). This fast healing applies only to damage inflicted on the hydra’s body.
Hydra Traits (Ex) A deathstrike hydra can be killed by severing all of its heads or slaying its body. Any attack that is not an attempt to sever a head affects the body, including area attacks or attacks that cause piercing or bludgeoning damage. To sever a head, an opponent must make a sunder attempt with a slashing weapon targeting a head. A head is considered a separate weapon with hardness 5 and hit points equal to the hydra’s HD. To sever a head, an opponent must inflict enough damage to reduce the head’s hit points to 0 or less. Severing a head deals damage to the hydra’s body equal to the hydra’s current HD. A hydra can’t attack with a severed head, has its Perception modifier reduced by 2, and potentially loses its all-around vision, but it takes no other penalties.
Poisonous Blood (Ex) In addition to the usual ways to invoke this ability, an opponent that severs a deathstrike hydra’s head is sprayed with deathstrike hydra venom.
Quick Strike (Ex) A deathstrike hydra with at least two heads can make an additional attack for a given opportunity. A second attack counts as two attacks for purposes of Combat Reflexes. The hydra can make an attack of opportunity against an opponent that misses a melee attack or fails to sunder one of the hydra’s heads.
Additionally, if a deathstrike hydra succeeds on a bite attack, it can make an additional attack with that head at a –5 penalty. This counts against the attacks it receives with Combat Reflexes, and it only receives one such additional attack per head.
Regenerate Head (Ex) When a deathstrike hydra’s head is destroyed, two heads regrow in 1d4 rounds. The hydra cannot have more than twice its original number of heads at any one time. To prevent new heads from growing, at least 20 points of acid or fire damage must be dealt to the stump (a touch attack to hit) before they appear. Acid or fire damage from area attacks can affect stumps and the body simultaneously. A hydra doesn’t die from losing its heads until all are cut off and the stumps seared by acid or fire.
Vicious Bite (Ex) A deathstrike hydra's bite attacks threaten a critical hit on a roll of 18–20. If the hydra scores a critical hit on a target, it deals 2d6 bleed in addition to twice its bite damage.

Modified from standard hydra stock by druidic serpentfolk transmuters, deathstrike hydras marry a king cobra’s deadliness to the hydra’s formidability. The resulting creatures are supremely quick, even more foul-tempered, and highly venomous. Their heads lash out with incredible speed, allowing them to attack opponents twice in rapid succession with a single head. While they can become impatient in their attacks and strike speedily on the offensive, they are cunning enough to recognize when foes attempt to maneuver around them and reserve some of their attacks to thwart opponents trying to do so.

Deathstrike hydras respect intelligent serpentine creatures and often ally themselves with such creatures. The hydras’ serpentfolk creators left safeguards in place to control them, since the irritable creatures often lose sight of who their allies are and attack everything in sight.

A typical deathstrike hydra stands 12 feet tall and measures 25 feet from head to tail.

Variant Deathstrike Hydras

Caustic Deathstrike Hydra (+2 CR): A caustic deathstrike hydra’s heads each have a breath weapon (30-ft. line, 6d6 acid damage, Reflex half) usable in place of a bite attack every 1d4 rounds. The save DC is 10 + 1/2 the hydra’s HD + the hydra’s Con modifier. The hydra also adds 1d6 acid damage to its bite attacks. Additionally, the hydra is immune to acid, so only 20 points of fire damage can prevent its neck stump from growing new heads. Finally, the hydra’s poisonous blood also deals 4d6 points of acid damage.

Snakehead Deathstrike Hydra (+1 CR): When a snakehead deathstrike hydra’s head is severed, the head becomes an independent advanced king cobra (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2), which has DR 5/—. Additionally, if the hydra dies, all its current heads detach and become advanced king cobras with DR 5/—.

The above variants can be combined. The snakehead deathstrike hydra’s independently created king cobras retain the caustic deathsrike hydra’s breath weapon.

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