Posts Tagged ‘ Pathfinder monsters ’

Balaam’s Ass

And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, “What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” And Balaam said unto the ass, “Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.” And the ass said unto Balaam, “Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto thee?” And he said, “Nay.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. (Numbers 22:28-31)

Balaam’s Ass
CR 2; XP 600
NG Medium outsider (native)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +5

AC 13, touch 12, flat-footed 11 (+2 Dex, +1 natural)
hp 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +3; +4 racial bonus vs. poison
DR 5/magic; Resist acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10; SR 13

Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft. (good)
Melee 2 hooves +0 (1d3+1)
Special Attacks smite evil (2/day)
Spell Abilities (CL 4th; concentration +6)
3/day – protection from evil
1/day – aid, bless, detect evil

Balaam’s Ass prefers to avoid combat. It lacks the proper training, and its gentle disposition makes the idea of shedding blood unpleasant. As such, it prefer to rely on its skills, spell-like abilities, and common sense. If forced to fight, Balaam’s Ass seeks to flee. If it cannot flee, it will fight with its hooves as well as it can.

Str 15, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 10
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 17 (21 vs. trip)
Feats Endurance, Persuasive, Run (B)
Skills Acrobatics +4 (+12 for running jumps), Diplomacy +6, Fly +13, Knowledge (nature) +7, Intimidate +2, Knowledge (planes) +7, Knowledge (religion) +7, Perception +9, Sense Motive +6, Stealth +9, Survival +6; Racial Modifier +4 Acrobatics for jumping
Languages Abyssal, Common, Celestial, Infernal

Docile (Ex): Balaam’s Ass has no specific training for combat. Its hooves are treated as secondary attacks.

Smite Evil (Su): As a swift action, Balaam’s Ass can smite evil twice per day as a 4th-level paladin. The smite persists until target is dead or Balaam’s Ass rests.

Nota Bene I used stats for the pony, applied adjustments as per the awaken spell, and then tacked on the half-celestial template. I tweaked things a bit here and there just because.

September 22nd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Ooh, That Smell!

Several weeks ago, I read a thread on the Paizo messageboards about the scent extraordinary ability. It was started by a poster confused by the assertion that scent isn’t some sort of automatic enemy detection power that operates in a 30-foot radius. The confusion increased when other posters observed that scent is a natural sense, and that natural senses operate according to the Perception skill.

First, let’s take the rules for scent, which are found in at least three different places in the reference document, and consolidate them into one set of rules:

The scent special quality allows a creature to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

When a creature detects a scent, the exact location of the source is not revealed—only its presence somewhere within range. The creature can take a move action to note the direction of the scent. When the creature is within 5 feet of the source, it pinpoints the source’s location.

A creature with the Survival skill and the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Survival check to find or follow a track. A creature with the scent ability can attempt to follow tracks using Survival untrained. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10. The DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill in regards to tracking. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.

Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

Water, particularly running water, ruins a trail for air-breathing creatures. Water-breathing creatures that have the scent ability, however, can use it in the water easily.

False, powerful odors can easily mask other scents. The presence of such an odor completely spoils the ability to properly detect or identify creatures, and the base Survival DC to track becomes 20 rather than 10.

Creatures with the scent special quality have a +8 bonus on Perception checks made to detect a scent.

As the Perception skill notes (emphasis added), “Perception covers all five senses, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.” The skill’s text further clarifies that “Perception is also used to notice fine details in the environment. The DC to notice such details varies depending upon distance, the environment, and how noticeable the detail is.” Thereafter in the rules follows a table with several guidelines. Let’s take those guidelines, and tweak them where necessary to apply to the scent extraordinary ability.

Table: Scent Perception Guidelines
Detail: Perception DC

Notice the stench of rotting garbage: -10
Detect the smell of smoke: 0
Determine if food is spoiled: 5
Identify a common smell: 10*
Detect a creature: 15
Identify an uncommon smell: 20*

Perception Modifiers: DC Modifier
Distance to the source, object, or creature: +1/10 feet
Through a closed door: +5
Through a wall: +10/foot of thickness
Favorable conditions (note 1): -2
Unfavorable conditions (note 1): +2
Terrible conditions (note 2): +5
Creature making the check is distracted: +5
Creature making the check is asleep: +10
Creature or object is odorless: +20

* This assumes the creature making the check has encountered the scent before. Otherwise, the GM is justified in requiring an appropriate Knowledge check.

Note 1: Favorable or unfavorable conditions include wind direction and the amount of background “noise” from competing odors. For example, if the sensing creature is downwind from the target, the favorable condition modifier would apply. If the sensing creature were in a perfumery, the unfavorable condition modifier might apply.

Note 2: Terrible conditions are like unfavorable conditions, but moreso. For example, an overpowering stench covering the area would apply the terrible conditions modifier.

Perception also notes that “the most common [Perception check] is an opposed check versus an opponent’s Stealth check to notice the opponent and avoid being surprised.” This, however, doesn’t seem appropriate when dealing with scent. Stealth’s description at least heavily implies it is limited to avoiding detection via sight and hearing. This prompts a question: How does a creature actively avoid detection by another creature using the scent extraordinary ability? Two skills seem most applicable: Knowledge and Survival. Let’s start with the latter.

Survival deals with “surviving in the wild”. It seems reasonable that this includes the knowing what needs to be done to avoid detection via scent. In most situations, avoiding scent detection is covered under the “hunting and foraging” application of Survival. A survivalist can be more proactive. Given appropriate equipment and 1 minute, the survivalist can make a Survival check. The result is treated as the base DC for scent-based Perception checks. These preparations fade at a rate of -2 DC per hour under normal conditions, but the survivalist can always reapply his scent countermeasures (making a new Survival check to set a new scent-based Perception check DC).

Knowledge skills can also give a survivalist an advantage in that the survivalist can tailor his scent to be more undetectable to a specific type of creature (such as animals or magical beasts). This requires the survivalist to have at least 1 rank in the applicable Knowledge skill, such as Knowledge (nature) for animals or Knowledge (arcana) for magical beasts. The survivalist must make a DC 15 Knowledge check. If successful, he adds +2 to his Survival check to mask his scent, +1 more for every 5 points over 15 he scores.

Now, let’s put all of this together.

Rob, a ranger, and his wolf animal companion Tejas explore a complex of caves and tunnels. The GM knows Rob and Tejas are nearing a cave in which several troglodytes have recently fought and killed an intruding ogre. The trogs pick over the ogre’s corpse while Rob and Tejas approach.

Tejas has the scent extraordinary quality. In this section of the caves, the trogs are downwind of Rob and Tejas as cooler surface air flows down into the warmer caverns. Downwind sets a scent range of 15 feet, but this is tripled to 45 feet due to the trogs’ stench.

The GM rules the base DC is -10 since the trogs’ stench is at least as noxious as rotting garbage. The air currents are not favorable to Tejas, increasing the DC to -8. At 45 feet, the closest range that Tejas can detect the trogs, a further +4 modifier is applied to the DC, yielding a final DC of -4, which is child’s play for the wolf’s keen nose. At a range of 45 feet, Tejas detects the trogs and growls a warning to Rob. At this time, Tejas only knows the scent is within range. If Tejas takes a move action, he can determine the direction of the scent.

Unfortunately for Rob and Tejas, they are also being stalked. A doppelganger has picked up their trail and follows at a range of about 90 feet. The doppleganger is upwind of Tejas, but it doesn’t have a particularly strong odor. Thus, the doppelganger is out of Tejas’s scent range of 60 feet (30 feet doubled for the target being upwind).

As Rob and Tejas approach the trogs, they slow down to move stealthily. The doppelganger is not immediately aware of this, but by the time it’s within 60 feet of Tejas, the adventurer and his wolf are also fairly close to the trogs.

The base DC to detect a creature is 15. A -2 modifier for favorable conditions applies since the doppelganger is upwind, but a +5 modifier for terrible conditions also applies due to the pervasive trog-stink. A range of 60 feet imposes a further +6 modifier, yielding an initial 24 DC. Tejas can probably make this Perception check. If he doesn’t and the doppelganger waits until Rob and Tejas fight the trogs, a further +5 DC modifier for being distracted might be applicable.

Let’s say the doppelganger has ranks in Knowledge (nature) and Survival. It takes time to mask its scent before tracking Rob and Tejas. It gets a 25 on its Survival check and a 20 on its Knowledge (nature) check. This latter check grants a +3 bonus to the Survival check result. In this scenario, instead of a base scent Perception DC of 15, Tejas confronts a base DC of 28, not including modifiers for conditions, range, et cetera. Suddenly, Tejas’s ability to warn Rob of the doppelganger’s presence doesn’t look so promising.

These rules helps define scent’s limitations while at the same time leaving creatures with the scent extraordinary ability an impressive level of awareness of their environment. Allowing Knowledge and Survival to work as scent countermeasures adds new tactical options that reward investment in these skills not only for PCs but also for NPCs and monsters.

August 3rd, 2012  in Man-Day Adventures, RPG 1 Comment »

Brain Fiends!

Several grotesque monsters swarm over the body. Each appears to be an oversized brain with a single tentacle and snail-like eyestalks. They scurry about on spindly, insect-like legs.

Brain Fiend
CR 2; XP 600
LE Small aberration (aquatic, psionic)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect hostile intent; Perception +8

AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 11 (+2 Dex, +1 size)
hp 13 (3d8)
Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +6

Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee tentacle +5 (1d4 plus grab)
Special Attacks constrict (1d4 plus strangle), powerful tentacle
Psi-Like Abilities (ML 3rd; concentration +6)
Constant – detect hostile intent
At will – detect psionics, read thoughts (Will 15)
3/day – cloud mind (Will 15)
1/day – brain lock (Will 15), inertial armor (+5 armor)

A brain fiend prefers to attack by surprise against a lone victim. It uses a combination of cloud mind and Stealth to avoid detection. When ready to attack, it opens with brain lock since this power has the potential to make a fight against a solitary target a rather short conflict. Against a victim who can fight back, a brain fiend protects itself with inertial armor, and then it tries to constrict its foe to death.

Str 6, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 16
Base Atk +2; CMB -1 (+5 grapple); CMD 11
Feats Mental Leap, Stealthy, Weapon Finesse (B)
Skills Acrobatics +8 (+10 to jump with Mental Leap), Autohypnosis +8, Climb +16, Escape Artist +10, Knowledge (any one) +9, Perception +8, Stealth +14, Swim +11; Racial Modifiers +8 Climb, +4 Stealth, +8 Swim
Languages telepathy (100 ft.)
SQ amphibious, compression, water dependency

Powerful Tentacle (Ex): A brain fiend’s tentacle is remarkably strong. Its Strength modifier for damage and grapple attacks enjoys a +2 racial bonus.

Skills: Brain fiends use their Dexterity modifier for Climb and Swim checks.

Environment any swamps or underground
Organization solitary, pair, or cortex (3-9)
Treasure standard

Brain fiends are amphibious monsters that resemble disembodied brains with snail-like eyestalks. These creatures scurry about on four insectile legs. Their bulbous, soft bodies terminate in a powerful, bony tentacle that it uses for combat, swimming, and manipulation of simple tools. All brain fiends possess impressive telepathic powers. These monsters are carnivorous, and they prefer to feast on the soft organs of their victims. They feel as if an organ’s flavorfulness increases as does the intelligence of the creature from which the organ is taken. The average brain fiend is about a foot in diameter with a two-foot-long tail, and it weighs about 30 pounds.

Brain fiend cortexes function as a cohesive, disciplined unit. The creatures’ constant detect hostile intent and ability to read thoughts make it so that dishonesty and treachery within the brain fiends’ collectivist society is almost unknown.

June 20th, 2012  in RPG 1 Comment »

“You want to find an outlaw, hire an outlaw.”

“Name’s Smalls. Leonard Smalls. My friends call me Lenny…only I ain’t got no friends.”

Leonard Smalls is an outlaw bounty hunter from another dimension. He claims to have arrived in this dimension after being “exploded” in a fight over a kidnapped infant. Somehow, the explosion ripped a hole in the fabric of reality, and Leonard was sucked through. He has since honed his skills as a manhunter and criminal, adapting well to his new world. Leonard specializes in hunting bounties, killing animals (the smaller and cuter the better), and trafficking in human misery.

N.B. Leonard treats all firearms as martial weapons.

The Warthog from Hell
CR 9; XP 6,400
Advanced fiendish human ranger (trapper|trophy hunter) 5/alchemist 2
CE Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., Perception +13 (+15 to find traps)

AC 22, touch 14, flat-footed 18 (+6 armor, +2 deflection, +2 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 81 (5d10+30 plus 2d8+10)
Fort +12, Ref +9, Will +6; +2 vs. poison
Defensive Ability gunslinger’s dodge; DR 5/good; Resist cold 10, fire 10; SR 13

Speed 40 ft. (30 ft. without boots of striding and springing)
Melee +1 heavy flail +11/+6 (1d10+7/19-20) (+2 disarm with flail), or
Ranged bomb +9 touch (1d6+3 fire, range 20 feet), or
Ranged masterwork double-barreled pistol +9/+4 (1d8+1/x4, 20 ft. range increment)
Special Attacks explosive bomb (1d6+3 fire, 4 points splash, Ref 14, 5/day), favored enemy (animal) +2, favored enemy (human) +4
Extracts Known (CL 2nd, concentration +5)
1st (3/day) – disguise self, jump, longshot, see alignment, shield, stone fist

Str 18, Dex 14, Con 21, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 13
Base Atk +6; CMB +10 (+12 dirty trick & disarm); CMD 22 (24 vs. dirty trick & disarm)
Feats Amateur Gunslinger (B), Brew Potion (B), Combat Expertise, Endurance (B), Gunsmithing, Improved Dirty Trick, Improved Disarm, Iron Will (B), No Name (B), Throw Anything (B)
Skills Acrobatics +0 (+7 jumping), Bluff +10*, Climb +7, Craft (alchemy) +15, Disable Device +7, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (geography) +11*, Knowledge (local) +8*, Knowledge (nature) +13*, Perception +13* (+15 to find traps), Sense Motive +11*, Sleight of Hand +5, Stealth +8*, Survival +13* (+15 to follow or identify tracks), Swim +7; Armor Check -2; N.B. Skills marked with an asterisk can be modified by favored enemy and/or favored terrain.
Languages Abyssal, Common, Giant, Goblin, Spanish
SQ alchemy +2, favored terrain (desert) +2, grit (up to 3), mutagen, poison use, track +2, trapfinding +2

Class Skills: Leonard adds Disable Device to his list of class skills in addition to the normal ranger class skills.

Explosive Bomb: Leonard’s bombs have a splash radius of 10 feet rather than 5 feet. Creatures that take a direct hit from an explosive bomb catch fire, taking 1d6 points of fire damage each round until the fire is extinguished. Extinguishing the flames is a full-round action that requires a Reflex save. Rolling on the ground provides the target with a +2 to the save. Dousing the target with at least 2 gallons of water automatically extinguishes the flames.

Firearm Style: Leonard gains the Amateur Gunslinger feat gains a 1st-level Gunslinger deed. At every four levels after 1st, he can take a grit feat or select a Gunslinger deed of his level or lower, his choice.

Gunslinger’s Dodge (Ex): Leonard has an uncanny knack for getting out of the way of ranged attacks. When a ranged attack is made against him, he can spend 1 grit point to move 5 feet as an immediate action; doing so grants Leonard a +2 bonus to AC against the triggering attack. This movement is not a 5-foot step, and provokes attacks of opportunity. Alternatively, Leonard can drop prone to gain a +4 bonus to AC against the triggering attack. He can only perform this deed while wearing medium or light armor, and while carrying no more than a light load.

Hunter’s Aim (Ex): Leonard has a specific understanding of the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of his favored enemies, and his careful study of these enemies reveals the best way to hurt them. When Leonard makes a firearm attack against a favored enemy, he can target touch AC in the first two range increments of his firearm. This ability stacks with other effects that increase the range increments to target touch AC, adding one range increment to the effect.

Improved Tracking (Ex): Leonard gains a +2 bonus on Survival skill checks when following or identifying tracks. When he tracks, he can also attempt a Knowledge (nature) check at DC 15. On a success, Leonard can discern the type and condition of any animals or magical beasts he tracks. By studying their tracks, Leonard is able to identify a rough approximation of their health, maneuverability, and their general behavior as compared to the norm.

Smite Good (Su): Once per day, Leonard may smite a good-aligned creature. As a swift action, Leonard chooses one target within sight to smite. If this target is good, Leonard adds his Charisma bonus (+1) to attack rolls and gains a +7 damage bonus against that foe. This effect persists until the target is dead or the creature rests.

Ranger Traps: Leonard knows how to create a snare trap and swarm trap. He can use these traps a total 5 times per day.

Trapfinding: Leonard adds 1/2 his ranger level on Perception skill checks made to locate traps and on Disable Device skill checks. He can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.

+1 heavy flail, +1 bullet (x20), +2 hide shirt, boots of striding and springing, gloves of swimming and climbing, ring of protection +2, masterwork double-barreled pistol (x2), black powder (20 doses), formula book, gunsmith’s kit, powder horn (x2), plus 814 gp

N.B. Leonard has equipment equal to a PC of his level instead of NPC-equivalent equipment. This bumps his CR by +1 (included above).

June 14th, 2012  in RPG No Comments »

Oh, Snap!

First, an announcement: A to Z is a collection of Spes Magna Games blogposts written during the April 2012 A to Z blogging challenge. All 26 blogposts have been subjected to revisions, edits, and other improvements. The end result is a 40-plus-page, printer-friendly PDF featuring fluff and crunch such as:

* Alternate rules for channeling energy, energy drain, exploding dice, jumping, monks, outsiders, and x-ray vision
* Bromantic poetry
* GM advice about how to motivate your players to be more invested in your game
* Luck, a new ability score
* New archetypes, one each for the magus and the rogue
* NPC villains such as an awakened psionic gorilla

All of this and more can be yours for less than a cup of gourmet coffee at both DriveThruRPG and

Next, a big turtle!

The methoataske is a truly enormous ambush predator, very much resembling an alligator snapping turtle larger than a house. It tends to strike from camouflage, lunging forward to swallow its prey whole. If harrassed after gulping down a victim, a methoataske is likely to retreat to deeper water.

CR 13; XP 25,600
N Colossal animal
Init +4; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +32

AC 26, touch 2, flat-footed 26 (+24 natural, –8 size)
hp 319 (22d8+220)
Fort +20, Ref +11, Will +12

Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +24 (4d8+22 plus grab)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Special Attacks swallow whole (4d6+22 bludgeoning, AC 26, 62 hp)

Str 40, Dex 10, Con 29, Int 1, Wis 17, Cha 10
Base Atk +16; CMB +39 (+43 grapple); CMD 49 (53 vs. trip)
Feats Blind-Fight, Improved Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Lunge, Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Perception +32, Swim +29; Racial Modifiers +8 Swim
SQ armored stomach, camouflage, hold breath, shell

Camouflage (Ex): The rough shell of a methoataske is particularly well adapted to camouflage the creature in its native environment. Creatures must succeed on a DC 28 Perception check to notice an unmoving methoataske. Anyone with ranks in Survival or Knowledge (nature) can use one of those skills instead of Perception to notice the methoataske.

Armored Stomach (Ex): A methoataske’s body is difficult to cut through—its stomach gains a +4 bonus to its AC and has double the normal hit points when determining the success of a creature attempting to cut its way free.

Shell (Ex): As a move action, a methoataske can pull its extremities and head into its shell. It cannot move or attack as long as it remains in this state, but its armor bonus from natural armor increases by +4 as long as it does.

Environment temperate or warm water or shore
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure none

June 8th, 2012  in RPG, Spes Magna News 2 Comments »