Friday, October 30, 2015

Frightful Fridays! Skull Spider

Hello, and thank you again for joining me in this celebration of three years of monster blogging. Today's post is on its rightful night, too. I couldn't let this mini run of monsters go by without including a spider monster. They're inherently creepy (at least to me), but I added a little more by having this spider drop its babies off in its victim, so they can gnaw on its brain and then make a home in the victim's skull and pretend to be him or her. That is a thing I could see sentient spiders doing, but that's just me.

I hope you enjoy the skull spider, and I'll be back tomorrow with the grand finale for this week's run. Thanks for reading!

Eight bristled, segmented legs support a humanoid skull with scraps of hair and rotting flesh making the victim’s features somewhat recognizable.
Skull Spider      CR 11
XP 12,800
LE Tiny aberration
Init +13; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +21
AC 26, touch 22, flat-footed 16 (+9 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, +2 size)
hp 136 (16d8+64)
Fort +9, Ref +14, Will +12
Defensive Abilities improved evasion, skull; Immune mind-affecting effects
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +23 (1d4–1 plus grab and poison)
Space 2½ ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks deposit spiders, grab (Large)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 16th; concentration +20)
Str 8, Dex 29, Con 18, Int 21, Wis 14, Cha 19
Base Atk +12; CMB +19 (+23 grapple); CMD 29 (37 vs. trip)
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Expertise, Deceitful, Dodge, Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +24, Climb +21, Disguise +24, Escape Artist +16, Knowledge (all) +13, Perception +20, Spellcraft +19, Stealth +21
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Halfling, Orc; telepathy 300 ft. (skull spiders only)
SQ hive mind
Environment any temperate
Organization solitary, pair, infiltration (3–6), hive (7–20)
Treasure incidental
Deposit Spiders (Ex) If a skull spider successfully grapples an opponent, it can deposit dozens of miniscule spiders in the victim as a swift action. At the beginning of the victim’s next turn and each minute thereafter, it must succeed at a DC 22 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Charisma drain. The victim is unaware of this drain, and a successful DC 20 Heal check is required to discover the infestation. When the victim reaches 0 Cha, one of the minute spiders grows to its adult size and takes control of the victim. The spider retains all of the victim’s knowledge, abilities, and skills as well as its own.
Removing the spiders requires area of effect damage equal to one-fourth the skull spider’s maximum hit points. Any spell or effect that harms vermin also works on the spiders.
Hive Mind (Ex) If within 300 feet of each other, no skull spider is considered flanked or flat-footed unless they all are.
Skull Spider Poison (Ex) Bite—Injury; save Fort DC 22; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Dex; cure 1 save. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Skull (Ex) A skull spider typically inhabits a humanoid skull when it begins combat. As long as it does so, it gains hardness 5, but all its movement rates decrease to 15 ft., it takes a –4 penalty to Dexterity, and it loses the benefit of improved evasion. The spider’s statistics with the skull are Ref +12; Defensive Abilities hardness 5; Speed 15 ft., climb 15 ft.; Melee bite +21 (1d4–1 plus grab and poison); Dex 25; CMB +17 (+21 grapple); CMD 27 (35 vs. trip); Skills Escape Artist +14, Stealth +19.

Hailing from a distant world where they destroyed its civilizations, skull spiders traveled to this planet to start their conquest anew. These aberrant creatures have a spider-like appearance, but they are not true spiders. They feast on brain tissue and prefer brains belonging to intelligent creatures. After feeding, they gain the memories and abilities of the creature they consume, and they roost in the victim’s skull and impersonate the victim. Their stolen memories fade over time, however. After a three- to five-year period, the spiders bud offspring and detach themselves from their host, using the skull as armor and leaving a gory, headless body behind. Until this time, skull spiders typically conduct themselves as their victims would behave and gain new experiences to share with other skull spiders, including their offspring.

Skull spiders gather in groups for mutual protection and information sharing. Small groups infiltrate a settlement and slowly convert the inhabitants. If skull spiders exclusively populate the settlement, the creatures send out a reconnaissance group to scout for a suitable spot to relocate. Mass exoduses of skull spiders leave baffling trails of headless corpses.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Frightful Fridays! Deadflesh Infester

Hello, and welcome back to the third-anniversary celebration of Frightful Fridays! Today's monster continues the theme of doing terrible things to characters. This one definitely wears its inspiration on its bloody sleeve.

I hope you enjoy the deadflesh infester, and I'll see you tomorrow with another terrifying monster. Thanks for reading!

This blood-red zombie moves much more quickly than others of its kind. It has a wicked grin in anticipation of mayhem.
Deadflesh Infester      CR 10
XP 9,600
CE Medium undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +17
AC 24, touch 16, flat-footed 18 (+6 Dex, +8 natural)
hp 127 (15d8+60); fast healing 5
Fort +9, Ref +13, Will +10
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; DR 10/slashing; Immune cold, fire, undead traits; SR 20
Weaknesses vulnerable to positive energy
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +18 (2d8+6 plus deadflesh infestation), 2 claws +18 (2d6+6 plus deadflesh infestation)
Special Attacks create spawn, smite good 1/day (+4 attack and AC, +15 damage)
Str 23, Dex 22, Con —, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 19
Base Atk +11; CMB +18; CMD 34
Feats Combat Reflexes, Dazzling Display, Deadly FinishUC, Gory FinishUC, Lightning Reflexes, Lunge, Weapon Focus (bite, claw)
Skills Bluff +16, Climb +14, Disguise +18, Intimidate +26, Perception +17, Stealth +17; Racial Modifiers +8 Intimidate
Languages Abyssal, Common
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or mob (3–16)
Treasure none
Create Spawn (Su) A creature that dies while suffering from deadflesh infestation rises as a deadflesh infester, as an independent creature, 1 round later.
Deadflesh Infestation (Su) When a deadflesh infester damages an opponent, it leaves some of its flesh in the wound. The target must succeed at a DC 21 Fortitude save to avoid this infestation. If the target fails, it moves at half its base speed and takes a –2 on attack rolls, damage rolls, and skill checks. The infesting flesh starts with hit points equal to the damage dealt. An infested victim must attempt a DC 21 Fortitude save at the beginning of each of its turns. If it fails, it takes damage as if struck by the deadflesh infester’s claw attack, and the infesting flesh gains hit points equal to the damage inflicted. If the infestation’s hit points exceeds its victim’s current hit points, the victim is staggered. The save DCs are Charisma-based. This is a curse effect.
Removing the infestation requires dealing positive energy damage equal to the infesting flesh’s hit points. The infesting flesh uses the deadflesh infester’s SR and Will saves. A successful use of remove curse or more powerful spell also removes the infestation.
Deadflesh infestation is not cumulative. A victim currently suffering from an infestation cannot be affected by this ability again.

Deadflesh infesters are zombies infused with Abyssal energies, giving them intelligence, speed, and an overwhelming desire to create more zombies in the most gruesome way possible. In combat, they break off teeth or fingers and imbed them into their opponents’ flesh. These fragments take on a life of their own and eventually turn the victim’s body against itself. Powerful infesters can detach fragments of their bodies and direct them to force themselves down victims’ throats.

A creature with access to create greater undead and caster level 20 can create a deadflesh infester. Demons with an affinity for the undead also seed skin-bound texts containing a ritual to create a deadflesh infester in deserted locations for the gullible or insane to discover.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Frightful Fridays! Fleshroil

Hello, and welcome back to Frightful Fridays, celebrating its third anniversary on this blog (plus maybe a little catch up from missing weeks). The next monster "rolls" in to grab PCs' arms and legs...permanently. I couldn't find an image I was happy with, but I'm sure that my searching put my household on a few federal watchlists. So, I am providing a somewhat related image that I will eventually create a monster for instead.

By the way, for sadistic or sinister GMs, note that the fleshroil cannot use the treasure it obtains incidentally when it takes arms and legs. However, there's nothing saying you can't allow it to benefit from rings of protection and other passive magical items.

I hope you enjoy the fleshroil, and I'll see you tomorrow with another seasonal monster. Thanks for reading!

This creature looks like a tumbleweed composed of dismembered arms and legs.
Fleshroil      CR 7
XP 3,200
CE Large undead
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +12
AC 20, touch 8, flat-footed 20 (–1 Dex, +12 natural, –1 size)
hp 85 (10d8+40); regeneration 5 (acid)
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +7
Defensive Abilities amorphous; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10, fire 5
Speed 50 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +13 (2d6+7 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks dismember, rend (2 slams, 2d6+10)
Str 24, Dex 9, Con —, Int 7, Wis 10, Cha 19
Base Atk +7; CMB +15 (+20 grapple, +17 sunder); CMD 24 (26 vs. sunder, can't be tripped)
Feats Improved Sunder, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception), Step Up, Weapon Focus (grapple)
Skills Acrobatics +10 (+18 to jump), Climb +19, Perception +12; Racial Modifiers +8 Acrobatics
Environment any land
Organization solitary, pair, or malignancy (3–6)
Treasure standard (magic rings, gloves, boots, etc.)
Consume (Ex) As a full round action, a fleshroil can tear apart and harvest the limbs of a helpless creature of its size or smaller, killing the creature. It is treated as fighting defensively while using this ability. After it has consumed a creature, it gains hit points equal to the creature’s Constitution score and a 10-foot increase to its base speed. If it has consumed one Medium creature (or the equivalent), it applies the advanced creature template. If it has consumed four Medium creatures (or the equivalent), it applies the giant creature template. It cannot gain more than one of each template.
Within 1 minute of consuming four Medium creatures, a fleshroil splits into two identical creatures, both with the same statistics as the original fleshroil (thus losing the templates).
Dismember (Ex) If a fleshroil deals rending damage to an opponent or pins its opponent, it makes a sunder attempt against that opponent as a swift action. If the attempt succeeds, the fleshroil tears off one of the opponent’s arms or legs. The target takes 1d6 points of bleed damage and cannot perform actions requiring two arms (with the loss of an arm) or cannot walk or run (with the loss of a leg).

Speculation about the fleshroil, also known as the fleshwheel or limbroll, focuses on two possible origins: it grew from a troll’s (or multiple trolls’) severed limbs or it derives from partially ooze-digested victims. It shares odd traits with both trolls and oozes, making either theory possible. However, it is an undead creature, animated by malign energies created by the trauma of losing limbs. The dim intelligence it possesses drives it to add more limbs to its mass, eventually “reproducing” once it has added enough to its collective.

Ghouls and other creatures with a taste for humanoid flesh farm fleshroils and send them out to wreak terror in the surrounding lands while gathering meals for the fleshroils’ masters. A creature with a minimum caster level of 18 that can cast create undead may use that spell to create a fleshroil, but this requires at least two corpses.

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.