Friday, November 28, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Black Friday Edition

Hello, and welcome back to the latest Frightful Fridays post! Day job and freelance deadlines have kept me away from the blog, but I am delighted to bring you another seasonal monster, this one pointed out to me by my good friend Patrick. Since yesterday was Thanksgiving in America, and the usual tradition is turkey, a lot of turkey-themed images appeared on the internet. This one was too delightful to pass up, and so I present the griffurkey, one of the most ornery creatures from which to obtain delicious roasted meat.

I hope you enjoy today's monster, and I should be back next week with something different. Thanks for reading!

This strange creature has the body of a lion, and the head—complete with wattle—stumpy wings, and feathered fan belonging to a turkey.
Griffurkey CR 5
XP 1,600
N Large magical beast
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +17

AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +8 natural, –1 size)
hp 57 (6d10+24)
Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +4
Defensive Abilities ferocity

Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (average)
Melee bite +9 (1d8+4), 2 talons +9 (1d6+4/19–20)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks pounce, rake (2 claws +9, 1d6+4)

Str 18, Dex 13, Con 18, Int 4, Wis 15, Cha 7
Base Atk +6; CMB +11 (+13 overrun); CMD 22 (24 vs. overrun, 26 vs. trip)
Feats Flyby Attack, Improved Critical[B] (talon), Improved Overrun, Power Attack
Skills Fly +4, Perception +17

Environment temperate plains
Organization solitary, pair, or gang (3–8)
Treasure none

Some barbaric tribes feel that the thrill of the hunt and the potential for grievous injury at the teeth, claws, and talons of their prey makes the meat all the tastier. This definitely holds true for the beast known as the griffurkey, an aggressive and ill-tempered combination of lion the turkey. Considering their resemblance to the majestic griffon, it is curious that the barbarians describe the meat as a combination of fowl and horse flesh.

Griffurkeys certainly look less than regal compared to their griffon cousins, as their unimpressive wingspan makes them clumsier at flying. They are also less intelligent than griffons, and most people would agree that they are less aesthetically pleasing. However, griffurkeys are powerful and bellicose creatures that prefer to attack creatures with similar temperaments, such as boars and bears. They prefer to attack by flying through their intended prey, knocking their victims down before pouncing on them and attacking with their array of terrifying natural weapons.

Aficionados of griffurkey meat have met with failure in domesticating the creatures and raising them on farms. Even those griffurkeys raised from hatchlings turn their ire against those who have captured them well before they become a viable source of meat. The creatures attack those who attempt to handle them and repeatedly bash themselves against enclosures in their overwhelming desire to escape captivity. Likewise, efforts to training griffurkeys as mounts akin to griffons have met with the same bullheaded attitude.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Halloween Kaidas

Hello and welcome back to a new Frightful Fridays! Life got in the way of last week's entry, so I'm putting two monsters out this week. Since it's the two-year anniversary of the feature, I thought I'd go with my favorites—kaidas. They aren't exactly the friendly kaidas that have graced this blog before, especially the pale kaida, but the rot kaida may prove to be a valuable ally in the fight against undead monsters.


I hope you enjoy this week's monsters, and I'll be back next week with something else. Thanks for reading, and thanks for all the comments and suggestions over the past two year!

This illustration can be found here.

This dragon, not much larger than a dog, has scales the color of bleached bone.
Pale Kaida CR 7
XP 3,200
NE Small dragon
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +14

AC 19, touch 15, flat-footed 15 (+4 Dex, +4 natural, +1 size)
hp 76 (8d12+24)
Fort +9, Ref +10, Will +9
Defensive Abilities negative energy affinity; Immune cold, paralysis, sleep; SR 18

Speed 20 ft., fly 80 ft. (good)
Melee bite +14 (1d4–1 plus draining bite), 2 claws +14 (1d3–1 plus 1d2 Strength damage)
Special Attacks breath weapon, channel negative energy 7/day (DC 18, 4d6)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th; concentration +12)
At will—detect undead
3/day—lesser animate dead

Str 8, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 16, Wis 17, Cha 19
Base Atk +8; CMB +11 (+13 steal); CMD 20 (22 vs. steal, 24 vs. trip)
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Expertise, Improved Steal, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +15, Fly +21, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (religion) +14, Perception +14, Sense Motive +14, Sleight of Hand +15, Spellcraft +13, Stealth +19
Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Infernal

Environment any terrestrial or underground
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard

Special Abilities
Breath Weapon (Su) A pale kaida breathes a sickly pale cone that chills those caught in it to the bone. The cone deals 6d6 points of damage (half cold, half negative energy, DC 17 Reflex half). Creatures failing their saves are staggered for 1d4 rounds. The kaida can reuse its breath weapon after 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Draining Bite (Su) If a pale kaida succeeds at a critical hit with its bite attack, the target gains 1d4 negative levels. These negative levels last for 8 hours, at which time they are removed without requiring a save to avoid the negative levels becoming permanent.

Pale kaidas sprung into existence in locations dominated by undead creatures, such as ghoul empires and vampire-controlled nations. Twisted reflections of typical protector kaidas, they preserve undead creatures with an array of abilities that bolster and heal undead. During combat, they like to use the steal combat maneuver to divest opponents of their holy symbols, in the hope that they can considerably reduce their effectiveness. They are not physically powerful creatures, so they rely on channels and breath weapon attacks. If forced into melee, they use bite and claws to sap enough energy from opponents to make them manageable.

While too powerful to be taken as familiars, pale kaidas voluntarily serve powerful undead creatures with class levels, whom the dragons see as most worthy of their aid.



And this illustration can be found here.


Flies buzz around this putrescent brown dragon. Its watery eyes seem to take the measure of all creatures in view.
Rot Kaida CR 6
XP 2,400
N Small dragon
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, deathwatch; Perception +13
Aura stench (30 ft., DC 17, 1d6 rounds)

AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 17 (+2 Dex, +6 natural, +1 size)
hp 73 (7d12+28)
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +6
Immune negative energy, paralysis, sleep; SR 17

Speed 20 ft., fly 60 ft. (average)
Melee bite +11 (1d6+3 plus disease), claw +11 (1d4+3 plus 1d2 Charisma damage)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +7)
At will—disrupt undead
1/day—creeping doom (DC 15)
3/day—quickened disrupt undead

Str 17, Dex 15, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 10
Base Atk +7; CMB +9; CMD 21 (25 vs. trip)
Feats Alertness, Flyby Attack, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (disrupt undead)
Skills Diplomacy +10, Fly +14, Heal +11, Knowledge (religion) +12, Perception +13, Sense Motive +13, Spellcraft +12, Stealth +16
Languages Abyssal, Common, Draconic, Infernal

Environment any terrestrial
Organization solitary, pair, or dissolution (3–8)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities
Disease of Reclamation (Su) Disease—bite; save Fort DC 17; onset 1 hour; frequency 1/day; effect 1d6 Con (living creature) or 1d6 Cha (undead creature); cure 2 consecutive saves. While a victim suffers from this disease, it only gains half the hit points from natural and magical healing. Undead creatures do not benefit from immunity from disease against a rot kaida's disease of reclamation. A creature that is not undead nor returned to life through a spell or effect is immune to this disease. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Despite their appearance, rot kaidas are neither evil nor undead. They serve to offer finality for those creatures that have cheated death, which puts them at odds with undead creatures. Unfortunately, they can also bring suffering to those who have been returned to life. Rot kaidas dodge the question of whether they serve another power, but they seem to gravitate towards clerics and other followers of death deities who treat undead as abominations. The kaidas absolutely hate pale kaidas and will attack them in preference to any other opponents.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Nightmare Squirrel

Hello, and welcome back to Frightful Fridays! This makes two Fridays in a row now, but I promise not to let it go to my head. This week's monster is courtesy of a challenge by Jacob Trier on a Facebook thread featuring the delightful image below. I workshopped the stats a little on the thread (wherein I got crucial feedback about the squirrel needing a throw acorn attack), so it's all the better for it.


Two weeks until Frightful Fridays! turns two (on Halloween happily enough). I'm still looking for any suggestions for how I can celebrate this, er, momentous occasion. Feel free to leave a comment. At any rate, I certainly hope you enjoy the nightmare squirrel, and I appreciate you checking it out!

The inspiration for this charming creature can be found here.

"It's just a harmless squirrel. I'm not totally sure why it's surrounded by ghouls, though. Maybe it's in trouble."
Nightmare Squirrel CR 13
XP 25,600
NE Tiny magical beast
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +14

AC 29, touch 29, flat-footed 22 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 profane, +2 size)
hp 171 (18d10+72)
Fort +15, Ref +17, Will +10
Immune fear, negative energy

Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +26 (1d4–4 plus 2d6 negative energy and curse of broken sleep)
Ranged burred acorn +26 (1d6–4 piercing plus inflict negative energy weakness)
Space 2.5 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks curse of broken sleep
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 18th; concentration +22)
At will—fear (DC 17)
3/day—quickened phantasmal killer (DC 19)

Str 2, Dex 23, Con 19, Int 4, Wis 18, Cha 19
Base Atk +18; CMB +22; CMD 29 (33 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (phantasmal killer), Run, Spell Focus (illusion), Spring Attack, Underfoot[APG], Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +16, Climb +12, Intimidate +19, Perception +14, Stealth +18; Racial Modifiers +8 Climb, +8 Intimidate, +4 Perception

Environment any temperate
Organization solitary, pair, or jump scare (3–12)
Treasure whatever it has squirreled away

Special Abilities
Burred Acorn (Ex) A nightmare squirrel gnaws on acorns, which allows the acorns to imbed themselves in the flesh of the squirrel's foes. If an acorn deals lethal damage, it clings to its target, inflicting negative energy weakness. Removing the acorn deals 1d4 damage, but a character making a DC 15 Heal check removes the acorn without damage.
Curse of Broken Sleep (Su) Bite—injury; save Will DC 21; frequency 1 day; effect 1d4 Wis damage and fatigued for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based, and a nightmare squirrel has a –2 penalty on the save DC.
Inflict Negative Energy Weakness (Su) While at least one burred acorn is imbedded in a victim's flesh, the victim takes 50% more damage from spells and effects that deal negative energy damage to hit points or attributes. Additionally, the victim incurs a –4 penalty on saving throws against negative energy effects or to remove negative levels.

Nightmare squirrels are typical squirrels that somehow managed to survive a brush with negative energy or exposure to the Negative Energy Plane. After this event, they metamorphose into creatures with blue-tinged fur and black, soulless eyes (not terribly dissimilar to typical squirrels). They also become capable of reaching into their prey's darkest fears in order to break their prey, immediately or eventually through terrible dreams. While nightmare squirrels have no telepathic abilities of which anyone is aware, when they show their frightful forms to victims, the forms apply specifically to fears and anxieties possessed by their victims.

Intelligent undead keep nightmare squirrels as a mockery of familiar or animal companion. The squirrels act as spies for the undead who would might otherwise incur the wrath of paladins and other do-gooders. They also have a couple of abilities that nicely complement the abilities of many undead creatures. Additionally, these terrible animals are not susceptible to positive energy (their immunity to negative energy allows them to live among their masters), rendering the usual catch-all tactics against undead less effective.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Flechette Piranhawk

Welcome to a Friday (whaaat?) edition of Frightful Fridays! Today's monster is courtesy of Theodric the Obscure, and it's been in the archives for a while. This week I decided that I wanted to create a horrifying murderbeast, and this fit the bill. Considering the paladin (or perhaps cavalier) going up against the piranhawk, I wanted something in the high CR range.


This feature's two-year anniversary is coming up in three weeks (excitingly enough, on Halloween). Is there anything in particular you'd like to see in celebration of the anniversary? Let me know in the comments. For now, I hope you enjoy the flechette piranhawk, and I'll be back next week with a new monster. Thanks for reading!

You can find the illustration of this deadly creature here.


This gigantic bird has the wings of a hawk, featuring a mix of feathers and scales, and the head of a fish, mouth lined with razor-sharp teeth. Its bright plumage belies its fearsome demeanor.
Flechette Piranhawk CR 15
XP 51,200
CE Large magical beast (aquatic)
Init +7; Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 60 ft., keen scent, low-light vision; Perception +30

AC 30, touch 12, flat-footed 27 (+3 Dex, +18 natural, –1 size)
hp 230 (20d10+120); regeneration 10 (fire)
Fort +18, Ref +15, Will +10
Defensive Abilities ferocity; Immune cold, electricity, fear

Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft. (good), swim 80 ft.
Melee bite +25 (2d8+6/19-20 plus grab and 1d4 bleed), 2 talons +25 (2d6+6)
Ranged 4 flechettes +22 (1d8+6/19-20 plus 1d4 bleed)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks fast swallow, rend (2 talons, 3d6+9), swallow whole (5d6 acid damage, AC 19, 23 hp)

Str 22, Dex 17, Con 23, Int 5, Wis 18, Cha 8
Base Atk +20; CMB +27 (+31 grapple); CMD 40
Feats Devastating Strike, Greater Vital Strike, Impact Critical Shot, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Critical (flechette), Improved Initiative, Improved Vital Strike, Opening Volley, Point-Blank Shot, Vital Strike
Skills Fly +10, Perception +30, Swim +20; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
SQ amphibious

Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or flensing (3–8)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Flechettes (Ex) A flechette piranhawk can use its flechettes as part of a full-attack action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The flechettes deal piercing and slashing damage.

A transmuter working on a superior version of the owlbear cast the resulting creature out when it turned out to be smaller than expected. The wizard assumed the beast, dubbed the flechette piranhawk, would live out its life terrorizing those in its domain before experiencing an undignified death. Unfortunately, the first piranhawk proved capable of fertilizing fish eggs to create yet more piranhawks, eventually leading to a growing population of the foul beasts, as subsequent generations proved equally fecund. Piranhawks are fearless and voracious predators that eat anything with flesh.

When hunting prey, piranhawks open with a volley of flechettes from close range to injure and possibly knock down their prey. They then attack the creatures they injured in an attempt to swallow smaller prey whole or to tear apart larger prey. Piranhawk flechettes are fish-like scales honed to razor sharpness. Thanks to the creatures' regenerative capability, they readily grow these scales back, allowing for a near endless supply of ranged ammunition. In the rare cases where opponents prove too difficult to handle or when piranhawks suffer tremendous injury (reducing them below 0 HP), they escape to the air or the sea.

A character who succeeds at a DC 20 Heal or Survival check can extract 1d8+1 flechettes, Large exotic light weapons that deal 1d8 points of piercing and slashing damage, and which inflict 1d4 points of bleed the first time they strike an opponent.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Abductor Prawn

Hello, and welcome to another installment of the currently wildly misnamed Frightful Fridays! Today's monster is courtesy of Paris Crenshaw, and, for some reason, my imagination took me to the possibility of an extraplanar bounty hunter. The abductor prawn spends a considerable amount of time watching its opponent, and when it is ready to strike, it ususally grabs its target from invisibility. Once it latches onto its target, the prawn transports the target to the location of the creature that contracted it. It then disappears to the same location to collect its payment (or the remainder thereof).


I hope you enjoy the abductor prawn, and I'll be back sometime in the next seven days with another monster. As always, thanks for reading!


The abductor prawn is based on the skeleton shrimp, found here.

This creature appears to be a floating skeleton belonging to a gigantic shrimp, but the shrimp's near-invisible carapace soon reveals itself.
Abductor Prawn CR 12
XP 19,200
LN Large outsider (extraplanar, lawful)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +23

AC 27, touch 13, flat-footed 23 (+3 Dex, +1 dodge, +14 natural, –1 size)
hp 168 (16d10+80); fast healing 5
Fort +15, Ref +15, Will +9
DR 10/chaotic; Immune cold, mind-affecting effects; Resist acid 20, electricity 20; SR 21

Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee 4 pincers +20 (2d6+5 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (2d6+5), I have you now, learn routine
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 16th; concentration +19)
Constant—detect magic
At will—greater invisibility
3/day—plane shift (DC 20)
1/day—dimensional lock, discern location

Str 20, Dex 17, Con 20, Int 15, Wis 18, Cha 16
Base Atk +16; CMB +22 (+26 grapple); CMD 36 (44 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Disruptive, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Lunge, Spellbreaker, Teleport Tactician[APG]
Skills Bluff +22, Disable Device +20, Fly +20, Knowledge (planes) +21, Perception +23, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +21, Stealth +18, Survival +23 (+31 when tracking); Racial Modifiers +8 Survival when tracking
Languages Celestial, Common, Infernal
SQ complete the contract, lockout wake

Environment any
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure double

Special Abilities
Complete the Contract (Su) An abductor prawn can travel (or force an unwilling creature to travel) to its contractee's precise location when it uses plane shift.
I Have You Now (Su) If an abductor prawn succeeds at pinning its opponent, it can use plane shift as a swift action against its opponent and imposes a –8 penalty on the opponent's Will save.
Learn Routine (Ex) An abductor prawn that spends one hour studying its mark (including at least one combat) predicts how its target behaves. This grants the prawn a +4 bonus on all attack rolls against the target for 24 hours afterwards. The prawn cannot benefit from this ability against more than one creature.
Lockout Wake (Su) If an abductor prawn uses its plane shift spell-like ability on itself, it leaves a dimensional lock in its wake. It must have at least one use of its dimensional lock spell-like ability to create this effect, and this ability expends one use of dimensional lock.

Bizarre planar bounty hunters, abductor prawns have achieved a reputation for always collecting their targets. Once abductor prawns have received their assignments, only death will keep the prawns from completing them. This doggedness comes at a premium, of course, but many powerful outsiders that do not have the time to pursue someone themselves easily have the means to pay an abductor prawn to do the dirty work for them. Their inherent lawfulness attracts devils and archons alike, both of which seek to find targets due for some sort of punishment. Additionally, chaotic creatures, aware of the prawns' reputation, put aside their disdain for their lawful nature to contract them to hunt down targets.

Abductor prawns exert considerable patience when hunting their prey. They plane shift into the last known location of their targets and use discern location to gain a precise fix. If discern location fails, they use their prodigious tracking ability as a mundane substitute. Once they have acquired their target, the prawns follow it around invisibly to observe the target's actitivities, noting capabilities and vulnerabilities. If they can catch a target alone, they will attack at that moment, but they possess enough physical strength to ward off all but the most determined defenders. As a last resort, the prawns plane shift away without their quarry, but they are sure to attempt a capture again, after more observation.

A rare few abductor prawns apply their talents to the art of assassination. Since nearly all abductor prawns find tasks involving murder distasteful at best, finding one willing to carry out an assassination is difficult. However, these deadly prawns have an evil alignment, so a savvy creature with the ability to detect evil or otherwise discern another creature's alignment will have less trouble finding an assassin.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Manic Monsterdays! (nee Frightful Fridays!) Scaly-Foot Snail

Hello, and welcome to the official Frightful Friday entry! I hope the other five monsters held you over until today. This week's monster is courtesy of my friend Drejk, Wojciech Drejk Gruchała, and I thought this real-world creature had quite a bit of potential in a fantasy setting. So, it's kind of a scavenger that follows a rust monster around, eating leftover metal the rust monster might have missed, as well as adventurers who suddenly can't as effectively fight the snail thanks to said rust monster.

I hope to be back to my regular Friday posts this week, and I certainly hope you enjoy the scaly-foot snail. Thanks for reading!

You can read more about the snail here (maybe with some help from Google Translate)

This dark-shelled snail makes a scraping sound when it moves. Bits of metal protect its fleshy foot.
Scaly-Foot Snail CR 2
XP 600
N Small vermin
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +7

AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+1 Dex, +4 natural, +1 size)
hp 19 (3d8+6)
Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +0
Immune acid, mind-affecting effects, rusting effects; Resist fire 5

Speed 20 ft., climb 10 ft.
Melee slam +4 (2d6+1 plus disease)

Str 13, Dex 12, Con 15, Int —, Wis 9, Cha 4
Base Atk +2; CMB +2; CMD 13 (can't be tripped)
Skills Climb +9, Perception +7, Stealth +1; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception, –4 Stealth

Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair, or rout (3–12)
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities
Disease (Ex) Tetanus: Slam—injury; save Fort DC 13; onset 1 day; frequency 1/day; effect 1d4 Dex damage and 50% of loss of speech for 24 hours; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Scaly-foot snails are common dungeon inhabitants, but very few reports of them reach the outside world because they usually accompany rust monsters, who receive all the attention. The snails have a pseudo-symbiotic relationship with rust monsters, in which the snails clean up scraps of metal left behind by the aberrations. Since they eat flesh in addition to metal, they also attack creatures rendered defenseless by the lack of armor and weapons. These bits of metal incorporate into the snails, giving their typical weak spot—the fleshy part they extend from their shell for locomotion—as much protection as their shells. Due to the strange enzymes that allow them to incorporate metal, they also gain protection from the rust monster's rust attack. Unfortunately for the snails, the metal scrapes against most other surfaces, negating the creatures' chances to sneak up on prey. The pieces of rusted metal attract a host of anaerobic bacteria, thus providing scaly-foot snails with the ability to inflict tetanus on their victims.

Alternate versions of scaly-foot snails exist, particularly those that feast on exotic metals. For example, adamantine scaly-foot snails have DR 20/adamantine and can bypass DR and hardness as if they wielded adamantine weapons.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Frightful Fridays! (Manic Monsterdays) Siege Scorpion

Welcome to a laaate installment of Frightful Fridays! A siege scorpion is a not-so-mindless, yet still immune to mind-affecting effects, vermin-like creature, so their one-time masters had to train them somehow, but that knowledge has been lost to time. Most likely characters will encounter a scorpion as it lays siege to a castle or other fortification.


I hope you enjoy the siege scorpion, and I will be back in four days with a new monster. Thanks for reading!

This fun little monster can be found here.


This massive scorpion has a dark carapace with a dull metallic appearance. Its gigantic claws look like they could crush stone and its stinger could easily impale a person.
Siege Scorpion CR 17
XP 102,400
N Colossal magical beast
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +30

AC 32, touch 4, flat-footed 30 (+2 Dex, +28 natural, –8 size)
hp 287 (23d10+161)
Fort +20, Ref +15, Will +8
DR 20/adamantine; Immune acid, cold, fire, mind-affecting effects

Speed 60 ft., burrow 40 ft.
Melee 2 claws +27 (5d6+12 plus grab), sting +27 (4d8+12/19–20)
Ranged 4 stingers +21 (4d8+12/19–20)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 20 ft. (30 ft. with sting)
Special Attacks constrict (5d6+12), destructive weaponry, poison, sundering claws, volley of stingers

Str 34, Dex 15, Con 25, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 5
Base Atk +23; CMB +43 (+47 grapple); CMD 55 (63 vs. trip)
Feats Bleeding Critical, Combat Reflexes, Crippling Critical, Critical Focus, Critical Mastery[B], Deadly Finish, Diehard, Endurance, Hammer the Gap, Improved Critical (sting), Opening Volley, Power Attack
Skills Climb +20, Perception +30; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception

Special Abilities
Destructive Weaponry (Ex) A siege scorpion's attacks bypass hardness as if they were adamantine weapons.
Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save Fort DC 28; frequency 1/round for 8 rounds; initial effect paralysis for 1d6 rounds; secondary effect 1d6 Str and 1d6 Con; cure 3 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Sundering Claws (Ex) If a siege scorpion deals constrict damage to an opponent, it gains an automatic sunder attack against the opponent's armor without incurring attacks of opportunity.
Volley of Stingers (Ex) A siege scorpion regrows lost stingers in rapid succession, allowing it to fire a total of four per round as part of a full attack. It cannot make a melee attack with it stinger during this attack. The scorpion has a +4 racial bonus on its ranged attacks with the stingers.

Destructive engines of war used in ancient battles, siege scorpions were shelved when their masters no longer need them. The long-lived creatures, infused with barely sentient elemental spirits, bred in their forgotten underground hold. They recently escaped and dispersed to resume their tasks of leveling fortifications and dispatching defenders, but as masterless beasts. With no direction, and a dim recollection of their duty, the scorpions attack anything that looks remotely defensible. Fortunately, they spare poor villages without any obviously tall walls or forts.

The earth elemental infusion gives siege scorpions a nigh-impenetrable carapace and the capability to bypass all but the strongest materials. The fire elemental infusion grants siege scorpions a surprising grace for their size and bulk. Finally, the water elemental infusion allows them to rapidly regenerate lost stingers to fire a barrage at defenders. All three infusions provide immunity to the related energy types. The scorpions' ancient creators could never get an air elemental infusion to stick, but rumors hold that successful infusions allow their scorpions to charge their flung stingers with an explosive ball of energy when they strike a target.

Typical siege scorpions weigh 12 tons and live for 1,500 years.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Inspiration from things you drink

I ran across this as a single in the cold beer fridge at HEB.  The joint product of three breweries, it is really good.  Or more to the point, outstanding.  I recommend trying it even if you are not a big IPA fan, the way that the blackness of the malt really stands up to the hops.  It is the product of cooperation between three breweries, and apparently inspired by the metal band Vulgaari.

And when it comes to inspiration, I believe in getting inspiration anywhere and everywhere.  Whether you are a beer fan or not, the three-headed demon or devil on the label is worthy of some mythopoesis -- just look at the crazy mix of features!  So let's see what Mike and I can come up with.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

All in the cards

Tim Shorts over at Gothridge Manor has a short but interesting article up about using Tarot cards as game props.  And you know how I love cards!  Here, take a look.  Of particular interest is a link to an expansion he did some years back on the Deck of Many Things.

In the blog maintenance department, I've added a tag for Cards.  Take a look and see if you've missed any Rambles on gaming with cards.  Also, on the practical side, if you need boxes to store your cards in, try Hobby Lobby.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Delay Devil (no monster until Monday)

This week ended up being interesting and left me no time to work on a new monster for today (or even my fallback, tomorrow). However, I will have a monster out on Monday. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

In the meantime, I'll allow this bunny to sum up my feelings about this week.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

World Building with the Core Rulebooks

If you haven't seen this post by Rob Donoghue of The Walking Mind, then I highly recommend it: Inferred history of the world per the Monster Manual and a little from the Players Handbook.  This is the kind of exercise that I love for building the setting of a game, and that really inspires me to do the same.  This should be of interest to folks whether they are interested in the new edition of D&D or not, as reading game rule books for details or clues applicable to world building can be practiced across editions and games.  His schematization of the inferred history into those time periods he creates also indicates to me a kindred spirit.  Thanks, Rob!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Vampire Bunny

Welcome back to a new installment of Frightful Fridays! This week's entry is a fairly quick one thanks to some extra work with the day job and an attempt to get caught up on some freelance work. I didn't want to leave you without a monster for the week, but the super cellemental will have to wait, since that is going to be a gloriously high-CR beastie. In the meantime, I hope your PCs will soil their armors when confronted with a rabbit that latches onto somone's ankles (or calves) and just won't stop draining blood.
I hope you enjoy the vampire bunny, and I'll be back next week with another new monster. Thanks for reading!

This delightful bunny was found here.

OK, so that little kitten turned out to be a horror show. This little bunny looks friendly, though, and it needs someone to hold it and pet it.
Vampire Bunny CR 7
XP 3,200
CE Tiny undead
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +14

AC 20, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+6 Dex, +2 natural, +2 size)
hp 85 (10d8+40); fast healing 3
Fort +7, Ref +11, Will +9
DR 5/silver; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10

Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +15 (2d6+6)
Space 2.5 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks attach, blood drain, create spawn, incisive bite
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +14)
Constantundetectable alignment (DC 16)
At willdominate animal (DC 17), gaseous form
3/daycharm person (DC 15)

Str 5, Dex 22, Con, Int 7, Wis 14, Cha 19
Base Atk +7; CMB +11 (+15 grapple); CMD 18 (22 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Run, Skill Focus (Acrobatics), Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +22 (+26 when jumping), Disguise +4 (Disguise to appear as a typical rabbit), Perception +14, Stealth +18; Racial Modifiers +16 Disguise to appear as a typical rabbit
Languages Common (can't speak)

Environment any terrestrial
Organization solitary, pair, or warren (1 vampire bunny plus 1–4 enslaved spawn)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Attach (Ex) A vampire bunny has a +4 racial bonus on grapple checks.
Create Spawn (Ex) A vampire bunny can only create spawn from other rabbits it has killed with its blood drain. The victim rises from death as a vampire bunny in 1d4 days. This undead rabbit is under the command of the vampire bunny that created it, and remains enslaved until its master's destruction. A vampire bunny may have no more enslaved spawn than its Charisma modifier; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit become free-willed undead. A vampire bunny may free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, it cannot be enslaved again.
Incisive Bite (Ex) A vampire bunny adds its Dexterity modifier to its damage rolls rather than its Strength modifier.

Occasionally, when a vampire recalls its former life, it remembers its fondness toward a pet it owned when it was a flesh and blood creature. While the vampire does not actually experience that feeling of fondness, the warped nostalgia drives it to create an undead mockery of its pet. Oddly, rabbits seem to be the only animals that spawn into vampires, while other animals merely die when subjected to the vampire's blood drain. Like many rabbits, these vampire rabbits escape their masters and wreak havoc on the surrounding land. Only instead of destroying crops, these rabbits destroy livestock and turn animals against their masters. Vampire bunnies can also spread their vampirism to other rabbits, with the potential to create a nightmarish situation in regions overrun by rabbits.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Kerberogryph

Hello and welcome to a new Frightful Fridays! on an actual Friday! This week's monster comes from the image archive and is one that my friend Patrick pointed out to me. There was a little discussion about what this could be, a griffon-hydra mix, a cerberic creature, etc., and I decided to go with all the above, and throw in the idea that this is a mythic creature. The image just screams mythic to me, and I am happy to have this be the first mythic creature to grace Frightful Fridays. I made sure to include all the mythic rules necessary to run this creature in your game, since not everyone has Paizo's Mythic Adventures.
I hope you enjoy the kerberogryph, and I'll be back next week with a new monster. As always, thanks for reading!

You can find the image for this mythic beastie here.


This three-headed silver-feathered griffon scrutinizes its surroundings carefully, each head looking in a different direction for signs for intruders.
Kerberogryph CR 9/MR 4
XP 6,400
NG Large magical beast (mythic)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +17

AC 24, touch 12, flat-footed 21 (+3 Dex, +12 natural, 1 size)
hp 124 (8d10+80); fast healing 6
Fort +11, Ref +9, Will +6; second save
Defensive Abilities block attacks, poisonous blood (wyvern poison); DR 5/epic

Speed 30 ft., fly 80 ft. (good)
Melee 3 bites +14 (1d8+6) and 2 talons +13 (1d6+6)
Space 10 ft., Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with bites)
Special Attacks breath weapon (30-ft. cone, 8d6 fire damage, Reflex DC 19 half, usable every 1d4 rounds), horrific rend, mythic power (4/day, surge +1d8), pounce, rake (2 claws +13, 1d4+6), rend (2 bites, 1d8+9)

Str 23, Dex 17, Con 20, Int 7, Wis 18, Cha 12
Base Atk +8; CMB +15; CMD 28 (32 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Reflexes[M], Intimidating Prowess[M], Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Acrobatics +13, Fly +10, Intimidate +14, Perception +17; Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics, +8 Intimidate, +4 Perception
Languages telepathy 1000 ft. (with employer only)
SQ hydra traits, regenerate head

Environment any terrestrial
Organization solitary
Treasure twice standard

Special Abilities
Block Attacks (Ex) Once per round, when a kerberogryph is hit by a melee or ranged attack, it can attempt a melee attack using its highest attack bonus. If this result exceed the result from the attack against it, the creature is unaffected by the attack, as if the attack had missed.
Fast Healing (Ex) A kerberogryph's fast healing ability is equal to twice its current number of heads (minimum fast healing 6). This fast healing applies only to damage inflicted on the creature's body.
Horrific Rend (Ex) If a kerberogryph hits an opponent with three or more bite attacks, it deals double damage with its rend.
When a kerberogryph performs a horrific rend, it may expend 1 use of mythic power as a free action to demoralize foes with a +8 circumstance bonus on its Intimidate check, and it is treated as if it possessed the Shatter Defenses feat.
Hydra Traits (Ex) A kerberogryph 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 0 and hit points equal to the kerberogryph'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 kerberogryph's body equal to the kerberogryph's current HD. A kerberogryph can't attack with a severed head, but takes no other penalties.
Mythic Combat Reflexes (Ex) A kerberogryph can make any number of additional attacks of opportunity per round. As a swift action, a kerberogryph can expend one use of mythic power to, until the start of its next turn, make attacks of opportunity against foes it has already made attacks of opportunity against this round if they provoke attacks of opportunity from it by moving.
Mythic Intimidating Prowess (Ex) A kerberogryph gains a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks against non-mythic creatures, or +2 against mythic creatures.
Mythic Power (Su) A kerberogryph can draw upon a wellspring of power to accomplish amazing deeds and cheat fate. Each day, it can expend a number of uses of mythic power equal to its mythic rank. The creature has the surge ability and can use this mythic power to activate it.
Poisonous Blood (Ex) Any creature that confirms a critical hit against the kerberogryph with a piercing or slashing melee weapon without reach is sprayed with poison.
Regenerate Head (Ex) When a kerberogryph's head is destroyed, two heads regrow in 1d4 rounds. A kerberogryph cannot have more than twice its original number of heads at any one time. To prevent new heads from growing, at least 10 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 kerberogryph doesn't die from losing its heads until all are cut off and the stumps seared by acid or fire.
If a kerberogryph reaches its maximum number of heads (6 for the typical creature), its maneuverability while flying drops to average.
Second Save (Ex) Whenever a kerberogryph fails a saving throw against an effect with a duration greater than 1 round, it can keep trying to shake of the effect. At the start of its turn, if it's still affected, it can attempt the save one more time as a free action. If this save succeeds, the effect affects the creature as if it had succeeded at its initial saving throw. If the affect already allows another saving throw on a later turn to break the effect (hold monster, gltterdust, etc.), this ability is in addition to the extra saving throw from the effect.
Surge (Su) A kerberogryph can call upon its mythic power to overcome difficult challenges. It can expend one use of mythic power to increase any d20 roll it just made by rolling 1d8 and adding it to the result. Using this ability is an immediate action taken after the original roll is made and the results are revealed.

A kerberogryph is an extremely rare terrestrial creature that combines the traits of a griffon and a hydra, with some draconic traits thrown in for good measure. It serves as a guardian for those powerful enough to perform a ritual, known only to select mages, to call it for that purpose. The summoner who calls a kerberogryph does not gain control of it, but instead must negotiate for its service. A kerberogryph accepts no less than 100 gp, 10 pounds of fresh raw meat, or some combination of the two, per day of service. Once the employer and the kerberogryph have agreed to terms, the creature remains in its assigned location for the duration of its contract. A guardian kerberogryph relishes battle, and since most employers who obtain a kerberogryph's services expect trouble, the creature does not typically spend this time in boredom.

During a kerberogryph's "downtime," it likes to prowl the territory surrounding its lair in search of food. It prefers livestock, particularly horses, but it will eat any animal. During these hunts, it eschews the use of its breath weapon, since it prefers raw meat to cooked flesh.

At least three kerberogryphs exist, one for each alignment along the good-evil axis. They stay neutral with respect to law and chaos, and this reflects in their adherence to a contract while serving as guardians counterbalanced by their sense of freedom when released from duty. A good kerberogryph has silver or gold feathers, a neutral kerberogryph has blue or gray feathers, and an evil kerberogryph has red or black feathers. The kerberogryph summoning ritual calls a kerberogryph with an alignment appropriate to the one performing the ritual.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Suits for Decks of Many Things

 Lately, I have been thinking about how the Deck of Many Things would play into mythopoesis of the game world and not play and mechanics only.  You can see one result of my thoughts here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Frightful Fridays! (Spooky Saturday!) Tattered Shroud

Hello, and welcome back to another slightly delayed Frightful Fridays! My friend Patrick asked for a spooky undead monster, and I hope I delivered something suitable for his purposes. The tattrered shroud is the result of a funeral shroud collecting the negative energy that animates the body it covers as an undead creature. The shroud then goes about creating more versions of that undead creature from nearby victims. It uses a surprising amount of cunning and stealth to accomplish this task. The next time a character reaches for a cloak at the inn, or pulls up the blanket that seems unnaturally chilly, it might be too late as the shroud engulfs the PC.
I hope you enjoy the tattered shroud, and I'll be back next week with a new monster (hopefully, on the day for which this feature is named). Thanks for reading!

The illustration for the shroud can be found here.

This moth-eaten, black shroud floats serenely, but an aura of menace emanates from the piece of cloth.
Tattered Shroud CR 4
XP 1,200
NE Medium undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +1

AC 17, touch 17, flat-footed 10 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 42 (5d8+20)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +5
DR 5/slashing; Immune undead traits

Speed fly 40 ft. (perfect)
Melee slam +9 (1d6-3 plus 2d6 negative energy damage and grab)
Special Attacks create spawn
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th; concentration +9)

Str 4, Dex 23, Con, Int 5, Wis 13, Cha 18
Base Atk +3; CMB +9 (+13 grapple); CMD 17
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Dodge, Weapon Finesse
Skills Disguise +10 (+18 to appear as a cloak or similar object), Fly +14, Stealth +11; Racial Modifiers +8 Disguise to appear as a cloak or similar object)

Special Abilities
Create Spawn (Su) A humanoid creature killed by tattered shroud becomes a free-willed ghoul in 1d4 rounds.
Grab (Ex) If a tattered shroud maintains a grapple against its opponent, it deals no physical damage, but it deals 2d6 negative damage to that opponent. Attacks that hit a grappling shroud deal half their damage to the shroud and half to the grappled victim.

A funerary shroud for a humanoid sometimes absorbs the negative energy surrounding the undead creature's spawning and gains an unlife of its own. The most typical example of a tattered shroud derives from a victim of ghoul fever, whom his or her family and friends bury before the victim rises as a ghoul. The shroud assumes its new existence an hour or so after the undead creature it covered. A newly created shroud seems to absorb all light around itself, generating an eerie gloom.

Driven to create more ghouls, a tattered shroud flies to the nearest population center to begin its depredations. While the creature has a dim intelligence, it is clever enough to suppress its darkness spell-like ability to ensure it does not give itself away. It finds a suitable location to carry out its ruse as a cloak, bedspread, or blanket, so it can take a lone victim completely unaware. The shroud envelops its victim and will not let go until its victim dies. If the victim manages to break free, the shroud usually retargets that opponent.

Ghouls too impatient to wait for their disease to fill their ranks employ known tattered shrouds to speed up the process. More powerful tattered shrouds originate from the creation of strong undead creatures, such as ghasts, vampires, and even the odd lich that has undertaken a burial service before arising.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Frightful Fridays! (Saturnine Saturdays?) Giant Bola Beetle

Hello, and welcome back to a late edition of Frightful Fridays! I didn't catch a bad case of con crud, so I can't use that as an excuse. Instead my day job decided it would be nice to welcome me back from GenCon with an already huge assignment that gathered requirements as the week went along. It didn't stop me from putting out a monster this week, though. Admittedly, I went the vermin route, so nothing super fancy in terms of spell-like abilities and whatnot, but check out those bolas!

I hope you enjoy the giant bola beetle, and I'll be back on Friday with a new monster. Thanks for reading!

Four massive chitinous orbs sprout from the top of this enormous, dark brown beetle's carapace.
Giant Bola Beetle CR 6
XP 2,400
N Large vermin
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +7

AC 19, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+6 Dex, +4 natural, –1 size)
hp 67 (9d8+27)
Fort +9, Ref +9, Will +2
Resist acid 10

Speed 40 ft., burrow 20 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee bite +9 (1d4+4)
Ranged 4 bolas +12 (1d6+4 nonlethal/19–20 plus trip or entangle)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks concussive bolas, entangling bolas

Str 18, Dex 22, Con 17, Int —, Wis 9, Cha 7
Base Atk +6; CMB +11; CMD 27 (35 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Critical (bola)[B], Weapon Focus (bola)[B]
Skills Acrobatics +14, Climb +12, Perception +7, Stealth +2 (+10 in forests and swamps); Racial Modifiers +8 Acrobatics, +8 Perception, +8 Stealth in forests and swamps

Environment warm forests and swamps
Organization solitary, pair, or sling (3–8)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Concussive Bolas (Ex) A giant bola beetle can fire concussive bolas up to a maximum of 30 feet. In addition to hitting an opponent for bludgeoning damage, a concussive bola can make a trip attempt that does not allow a trip attempt in return. Finally, if the beetle succeeds at a critical hit with a concussive bola, the target must attempt a DC 17 Fortitude save to avoid becoming stunned for 1d4 rounds. Success reduces this effect to dazed for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Entangling Bolas (Ex) Instead of firing a concussive bola, a giant bola beetle can shoot a detachable bola with a range increment of 30 feet (maximum range of 90 feet). This bola deals half damage on a successful strike and makes a trip attempt (with a +4 racial bonus). Additionally, an opponent struck by an entangling bola must succeed at a DC 17 Reflex save; failure causes the opponent to become entangled, while success reduces the opponent's movement to half. A flying creature struck by an entangling bola that fails the Reflex save can no longer fly and falls to the ground. An entangled creature can break free by succeeding at a DC 17 Strength check or by dealing 6 points of damage to the entangling strands with a slashing weapon. If the beetle uses an entangling bola, it loses one of its bola attacks for 1d6 rounds while it regrows a new bola. The DCs above are Constitution-based.

Scourge of tropical jungles and marshes, a giant bola beetle has evolved an unusual hunting style to accompany the bola-like growths held in place by strands similar to a spider's web. It typically uses its bolas to strike at prey within reach to knock them out, after which it feeds on the still living prey. As the bola near-instantaneously returns to the beetle, it has a fair chance of tripping its target. For an escaping victim, the beetle detaches a "thrown" bola for greater range, allowing the sticky strands to immobilize the victim so the beetle can advance on it. The beetle regrows its bolas at a prodigious rate, but it shows surprising reluctance to use an entangling bola, especially against prey within range of its normal striking distance.

With a successful DC 20 Heal check, a character can harvest an intact bola from a giant bola beetle. Each bola acts similarly to Large bolas (using the beetle's damage dice instead) and can entangle an opponent once before its stickiness wears off.