Posts Tagged ‘ Pathfinder monsters ’

Drakobolds & Troglodrakes!

I retool two more reptilian humanoids.

Black Drakobold
CR 2; XP 600
LE Small dragon (reptilian)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7

AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 16 (+2 armor, +3 Dex, +3 natural, +1 size)
hp 8 (1d12+2)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +3
Defensive Ability acid evasion; Immune paralysis, sleep
Weaknesses light sensitivity

Speed 30 ft.
Melee spear +3 (1d6+1/x3), or
Ranged sling +5 (1d3+1, range increment 50 ft.)

Str 13, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 12
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD 14
Feats Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Bluff +5, Climb +5, Craft (trapmaking) +7, Intimidate +5, Perception +7, Profession (miner) +3, Stealth +11, Survival +5, Swim +9; Racial Modifiers +2 Craft (trapmaking), +2 Perception, +2 Profession (miner), +4 Swim
Languages Aquan, Common, Draconic
SQ crafty

Acid Evasion (Ex): If a drakobold makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an acid attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, it instead takes no damage. Acid evasion can be used only if the drakobold is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless drakobold does not gain the benefit of acid evasion.

Crafty (Ex): Craft (trapmaking) and Stealth are always class skills for a drakobold.

Environment temperate underground or swamp
Organization solitary, gang (2–4), or nest (5–30 plus equal number of noncombatants, 1 sergeant of 3rd level per 20 adults, and 1 leader of 4th–6th level)
Treasure NPC gear (leather armor, spear, sling, other treasure)

Drakobolds come in four colors: red, green, blue, or black. A drakobold’s coloration determines what energy type its evasion applies against as well as grants certain other abilities, as explained below:

Black: Widely dispersed in forests, swamps, and underground, the black-scaled drakobolds are better swimmers than their brethren and gain a +4 racial bonus on Swim checks.

Blue: The blue variant of drakobolds appears most often within tribes dominated by other scale colors. They are said to be among the best diabolists and schemers, and gain a +1 inherent bonus to their Wisdom. Many are powerful clerics of Asmodeus.

Green: These are the standard forest drakobolds, well camouflaged in leafy undergrowth. They gain an additional +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks.

Red: These drakobolds are pyromaniacs and make extensive use of fire, especially the alchemical and magical kinds. These kobolds gain a +2 bonus to the DC of any spell they cast with the fire subtype and a +2 bonus on saves made against fear effects. Most are a bit more arrogant than average drakobolds.

White: Like the blues, white-scaled drakobolds are a little less frequent than other types. They are often powerful sorcerers, gaining a +1 bonus to the DC of any spell they cast with the cold subtype and a +1 inherent bonus to their Charisma.

Black Troglodrake
CR 3; XP 800
CE Medium dragon (reptilian)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 90 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7
Aura stench (30 ft., DC 14, 10 rounds)

AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+1 Dex, +8 natural)
hp 19 (2d12+6)
Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +5
Immune acid, paralysis, sleep

Speed 30 ft.
Melee club +5 (1d6+3), claw +0 (1d4+1), bite +0 (1d4+1), or
Melee 2 claws +5 (1d4+3), bite +5 (1d4+3), or
Ranged javelin +3 (1d6+3)
Special Attacks tail sweep (1d6+4 plus trip)

Str 16, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 15
Base Atk +2; CMB +5 (+7 trip with tail); CMD 16
Feats Great Fortitude
Skills Bluff +7, Climb +8, Intimidate +7, Perception +7, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +9 (+13 in rocky areas), Survival +7; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth (+8 in rocky areas)
Languages Draconic, Undercommon

Tail Sweep (Ex): As a full attack, a troglodrake can sweep its tail through any two adjacent squares that touch each other. It makes separate attack rolls against targets in those squares. A successful tail attack inflicts 1d6 + 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus, plus the trip ability. It gains a +2 racial bonus to its trip attempts.

Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair, clutch (3–6), or squad (7–12 plus 1 cleric or druid of 3rd level and 1–2 monitor lizards)
Treasure NPC gear (club, 3 javelins, other treasure)

June 5th, 2012  in RPG 2 Comments »

A Short Essay & Black Dragonfolk

First some nongame-related news. My principal asked me to write a short essay about classical education. It’s now posted at my school’s website, and you can read it at this link.

Now for some game stuff.

Recreating monsters is one of my favorite parts of being a GM. The black dragonfolk is a retooled normal dragonfolk. I changed its type to dragon, respent skill points, and added the advanced template’s modifiers to natural AC and stats. A full-blown breath weapon seemed a bit much, so instead the new monster gets to spit gobs of acid. I topped it off with some acid resistance.

Black Dragonfolk
CR 3; XP 800
CE Medium dragon (reptilian)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7

AC 21, touch 12, flat-footed 19 (+2 Dex, +7 natural, +2 shield)
hp 19 (2d12+6)
Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +5
Immune paralysis, sleep; Resist acid 10

Speed 30 ft., swim 15 ft.
Melee morningstar +5 (1d8+3) and bite +3 (1d4+1), or
Melee 2 claws +5 (1d4+3) and bite +5 (1d4+3), or
Ranged javelin +4 (1d6+3), or
Ranged acid gob +4 touch (1d6+3 acid)

Str 17, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats Multiattack
Skills Acrobatics +4, Bluff +7 or Diplomacy +7, Climb +6, Intimidate +7, Perception +7, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +5, Survival +7, Swim +9; Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics, +8 Swim; Armor Check Penalty -2
Languages Common, Draconic
SQ hold breath

Acid Gob (Su): A black dragonfolk can spit a gob of acid as a ranged touch attack at a single target within 30 feet (no range increment). This touch attack inflicts 1d6 points of acid damage, plus an additional amount of acid damage equal to its Constitution modifier. This attack can be used once every 1d4 rounds.

Hold Breath (Ex): A black dragonfolk can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to 4 times its Constitution score before it risks drowning.

Environment temperate swamps
Organization solitary, pair, band (3–12), or tribe (13–60)
Treasure NPC gear (heavy wooden shield, morningstar, 3 javelins)

May 26th, 2012  in RPG No Comments »

Z Is for Zahia

And here I am, finishing up the A to Z blogging challenge. Huzzah! Since I’ve been doing an NPC a week, that seemed like a good way to wrap things up. The other NPCs (Gröd the Gorilla, Sultan Nagendra, and the Thriller) were all leader monsters, conquerors of sorts who seek to expand their ability to control and destroy. Zahia, however, wants to be left alone to play with her pets.

Zahia is a half-fiend mermaid, the child of an aquatic fiend and an extremely unfortunate mermaid. Under normal circumstances, the progeny of such a union would never permitted to be born, but the fiend kept its victim captive until its unholy offspring was delivered. It then fed Zahia’s mother to her as its first post-natal meal. Zahia’s father then transported her to a remote ocean chasm and abandoned her to fend for herself.

Fend she did, surviving by hunting and scavenging, roaming through the chasm alone. One fateful evening while she was stargazing among the waves, she spotted a passing ship. Curious, Zahia followed the vessel, catching her first glimpses of surface dwellers. The ship led her to a harbor and port, and the monstrous mermaid hid herself in some sea caves. Quite by accident, she was discovered by a witch, who taught Zahia to contact otherworldly powers that could teach her arcane arts. Zahia was a capable student with an affinity for wild things. When she learned all she could from the local witch, Zahia killed her and ate her, as befits a mother figure.

Zahia swam to a bigger harbor with a larger port near more extensive sea caves. She fortified her sea caves with devious traps and schools of predatory fish. She discovered the routes used by smugglers to enter the city’s substructures so that she can move about, watching what she regards as the amusing antics of the surface dwellers. Often, when a stray surface dweller catches her fancy, she takes him or her back to her watery lair. Zahia’s victims seldom live long, but that’s satisfactory for the mermaid. She enjoys playing with the drowned corpses almost as much as she enjoys her torturous games with them while they live. When the bodies are too decayed for play, Zahia eats them, sharing the remains with her fishy guards.

All of this happens without the knowledge of almost everyone in the city. It isn’t uncommon for people to disappear in a big city, especially one so near to the lures of a life at sea. A few smugglers have seen Zahia flying slowly through the tunnels beneath the city, and then cower and hide until she passes. A few drunken sailors think they may have seen a mermaid slipping through the dark harbor waters at night, but who believes the tales of besotted salt dogs?

Female advanced half-fiend merfolk white hair witch 11
CR 15; XP 51,200
NE Medium outsider (aquatic, native)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +2

AC 27, touch 19, flat-footed 20 (+2 deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural)
hp 107 (11d6+66)
Fort +13, Ref +13, Will +10
DR 10/magic; Immune poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 25

Speed 5 ft., fly 10 ft. (good), swim 50 ft.
Melee 2 claws +11 (1d4+3), bite +11 (1d6+3), or
Melee hair +12 (1d6+7 plus grapple)
Reach (with hair) 15 ft.
Special Attacks cunning trigger, white hair
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 11th, concentration +17)
3/day- darkness, poison (Fort 20)
1/day- blasphemy (Will partial 23), contagion (Fort 19), desecrate, unholy blight (Will partial 20)
Spells Prepared (CL 11th, concentration +18)
6th- greater heroism, slay living (Fort partial 23)
5th- cure critical wounds, teleport, wreath of blades (Ref half 22)
4th- summon nature’s ally IV, spite (vampiric touch), threefold aspect
3rd- countless eyes, dispel magic, eruptive postules (Fort partial 20), ray of exhaustion (Fort partial 20), spit venom (Fort partial 20), vampiric touch (already cast)
2nd- cure moderate wounds, feast of ashes (Fort 19), glitterdust (Will 19), haunting mists (Will partial 19), pernicious poison (x2)
1st- bungle (Will 18), fumbletongue (Will 18), frostbite, infernal healing, mage armor, ray of enfeeblement
0th- detect magic, guidance, read magic, resistance

Str 16, Dex 23, Con 22, Int 25, Wis 14, Cha 22
Base Atk +5; CMB +8 (+14 grapple with hair); CMD 24 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Combat Expertise (-2 attacks/+2 dodge), Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Natural Attack (hair), Improved Trip, Weapon Finesse
Skills Craft (traps) +21, Fly +24, Handle Animal +17, Intimidate +20, Knowledge (arcana) +21, Knowledge (history) +21, Knowledge (nature) +21, Knowledge (the planes) +21, Spellcraft +21, Swim +22; Racial Modifiers +4 Fly, +8 Swim
Languages Aboleth, Abyssal, Aklo, Aquan, Common, Draconic, Elven, Sahuagin, Sylvan
SQ amphibious, witch’s familiar (king crab), witch’s patron (animals)

Cunning Trigger (Ex): Zahia can use a swift action to set off any trap within 30 feet that she constructed.

White Hair (Su): Zahia has the ability to use her hair as a weapon. Whenever the hair strikes a foe, the witch can attempt to grapple that foe with her hair as a swift action without provoking an attack of opportunity. When Zahia grapples a foe in this way, she does not gain the grappled condition. The hair cannot be sundered or attacked as a separate creature. In addition, Zahia’s hair has the following abilities:

Constrict (Ex): When Zahia’s hair successfully grapples an opponent, it can begin constricting her victim as a swift action, dealing damage equal to that of its attack.

Trip (Ex): When Zahia successfully strikes a foe with her hair, she can attempt a combat maneuver check to trip the creature as a swift action.

Pull (Ex): When Zahia successfully strikes a foe with her hair, she can attempt a combat maneuver check to pull the creature 5 feet closer to her as a swift action.

Strangle (Ex): When Zahia’s hair is grappling with an opponent, that creature is considered strangled, and cannot speak or cast spells with verbal components.

cauldron of the dead, cloak of resistance +4, ring of invisibility, ring of protection +2, staff of dread (50 charges), wand of vision of hell (50 charges), plus 92,350 gp for traps in her lair, other equipment, et cetera

Staff of Dread
Aura moderate necromancy; CL 8th
Slot none; Price 18,400 gp; Weight 5 lbs.

Description: This twisted, dark gray staff allows use of the following spells:

* cause fear (1 charge)
* qualm (1 charge)
* cackling skull (1 charge)
* fear (2 charges)

Construction Requirements: Craft Staff, cackling skull, cause fear, fear, qualm; Cost 9,200 gp

April 30th, 2012  in RPG 2 Comments »

V Is for Vampires & Energy Drain

For as long as I can remember, the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game has included energy drain as a special attack for various monsters, especially certain iconic undead such as vampires. Regardless of edition, energy drain invokes fear from players as well as a degree of frustration from everyone since the mechanics have often been cumbersome.

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game defines energy drain’s game effects as follows:

This attack saps a living opponent’s vital energy and happens automatically when a melee or ranged attack hits. Each successful energy drain bestows one or more negative levels (the creature’s description specifies how many). If an attack that includes an energy drain scores a critical hit, it bestows twice the listed number of negative levels.

Unless otherwise specified in the creature’s description, a draining creature gains 5 temporary hit points for each negative level it bestows on an opponent. These temporary hit points last for a maximum of 1 hour.

For each negative level a creature has, it suffers the following:

* A cumulative -1 penalty on all ability checks, attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, Combat Maneuver Defense, saving throws, and skill checks.
* In addition, the creature reduces its current and total hit points by 5 for each negative level it possesses.
* The creature is also treated as one level lower for the purpose of level-dependent variables (such as spellcasting) for each negative level possessed. Spellcasters do not lose any prepared spells or slots as a result of negative levels.
* If a creature’s negative levels equal or exceed its total Hit Dice, it dies.

Negative levels remain until 24 hours have passed or until they are removed with a spell such as restoration. If a negative level is not removed before 24 hours have passed, the affected creature must attempt a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the draining creature’s racial HD + the draining creature’s Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature’s descriptive text). On a success, the negative level goes away with no harm to the creature. On a failure, the negative level becomes permanent. A separate saving throw is required for each negative level.

A Problem: Energy Drain & Sameness

The core rules for energy drain do an adequate job of making energy-draining monsters fearsomer, but the rules themselves lack something I as a GM desire, namely variety. Other than differing save DCs and differing numbers of negative levels inflicted, all energy drain is pretty much the same. This seems a shame. After all, there isn’t just one type of poison or disease, even though almost all poisons and diseases use the same basic mechanics.

Feeling the lack of energy drain variety unacceptable, I said to myself, “Self, let’s see if we can ‘fix’ this ‘problem’.”

A Solution: Energy Drain as Inflicted Conditions

To use these optional rules, you don’t have to change the energy-draining monster. Use the same save DC, the same attack mode, and the same number of negative levels inflicted. Instead of using the energy drain rules explained above, give these are whirl.

Each negative level inflicts a condition. Additional negative levels increase the severity of the effect. Conditions are tracked by degree of severity, and can be immediately resisted by a saving throw. Degrees of severity (DoS) above the first DoS fade after 1 round per Hit Die of the inflicting monster, but the first DoS remains and the higher degrees may reassert themselves under the right conditions.

The inflicting monster still benefits from condition-causing energy drain as outlined above. Thus, the monster gains 5 temporary hit points for each negative level it bestows on an opponent. These temporary hit points last for a maximum of 1 hour.

To get a grip on what this means, let’s look at one increasing scale of conditions:

Fear Condition Degrees of Seriousness

1st Degree 2nd Degree 3rd Degree 4th Degree
shaken frightened panicked cowering

Now imagine your PCs are facing a vampire spawn. This is a 4 Hit Die monster that inflicts one negative level with a 14 save DC. This particular vampire spawn, however, doesn’t actually inflict negative levels. Instead, it inflicts fear conditions of increasing severity.

Combat starts, the vampire hits a PC, and the PC must make a DC 14 Fortitude save. The PC fails the save, becomes shaken for 4 rounds, and the vampire spawn gains 5 temporary hit points. Another round starts. The PC is hit again, fails the Fortitude save again, and is now frightened for 4 rounds. The vampire spawn is defeated despite the 10 temporary hit points it gained. The PC is no longer frightened, but he remains shaken.

Now here’s where things get interesting. The PC stays shaken until 24 hours have passed or until the shaken condition is removed with an appropriate spell. (I recommend the spell be of at least 4th level even if you don’t opt to let restoration work.) If the shaken condition is not removed before 24 hours have passed, the PC must attempt another DC 14 Fortitude save. On a success, the shaken condition goes away with no harm to the PC. On a failure, the shaken condition becomes permanent (albeit only in the sense that it now requires magic to dispel, as mentioned above).

What’s worse, as long as the PC remains shaken, he is more vulnerable to fear effects. Should the PC be affected by any effect that inflicts a fear condition, he automatically gains the fear condition that is equal to highest DoS caused by the energy-draining creature (unless the fear-causing attack would normally inflict a more serious condition).

Imagine our shaken PC. The vampire spawn encounter is over and done with, but he still can’t pull himself together. A gnawing dread nibbles at the fraying edges of his imagination. Several hours later, the PC is still shaken when he encounters a hill giant. The hill giant uses Intimidate to demoralize the PC and succeeds. Normally, this would cause the PC to become shaken, but he’s already shaken. Instead, he automatically becomes frightened, since this was the highest DoS inflicted by the vampire spawn.

DoS for Other Conditions

With some thought (and descriptive refluffing where necessary), energy drain could inflict other conditions with varying DoS. For example:

Fatigue Condition Degrees of Seriousness

1st Degree 2nd Degree 3rd Degree
fatigued exhausted unconscious

Lethargy Condition Degrees of Seriousness

1st Degree 2nd Degree 3rd Degree
entangled staggered paralyzed

The fatigue condition DoS represents energy drain that saps physical vitality. An affected PC is winded as from great exertion, and more susceptible to effects that cause fatigue. The lethargy condition DoS simulates energy drain making a PC’s movements slower. The entangled condition doesn’t prevent movement, but has its other normal effects, which are that the entangled creature moves at half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and a -4 penalty to Dexterity. Also, an entangled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) or lose the spell.

When using monsters that inflict more than one negative level with an attack (such as vampires and spectres), consider combining the core rules with these optional rules. A vampire that inflicts both a negative level and forces a Fortitude save to resist fatigue condition DoS presents a different threat than players would normally expect.

And how could shaking up too comfortable players be a bad thing?

April 25th, 2012  in RPG No Comments »

T Is for the Thriller

Darkness falls across the land. The midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of blood to terrorize y’all’s neighborhood. The foulest stench is in the air. The funk of forty thousand years and grizzly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal your doom. Though you fight to stay alive, your body starts to shiver, for no mere mortal can resist the evil of the Thriller.

Design Notes: The Thriller is a town killer of a monster. With its skills, spells, and native Charisma, it can easily infiltrate a community. Once there, it can quickly transform dozens of residents into dancing ghouls and ghasts, which further spreads the undead plague. Drop the Thriller into any of your campaign’s population centers and you have the makings for an undead apocalypse scenario.

The Thriller
Unique ghast dirge bard 10
CR 15; XP 51,200
CE Medium undead
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +15

AC 28, touch 19, flat-footed 22 (+5 armor, +3 deflection, +6 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 141 (12d8+84); fast healing 10
Fort +13, Ref +16, Will +21
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; Resist fire 10; Immune undead traits

Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +16 (1d6+5 plus disease and paralysis) and 2 claws +16 (1d8+5 plus paralysis), or
Ranged +2 human bane shortbow (1d6+2 plus 1d6 electricity, x3) N.B. Add +2 to attack rolls against humans. Damage versus humans is 1d6+4 plus 2d6 plus 1d6 electricity.
Special Attacks irresistible dance, dance of the dead, haunting refrain, paralysis (1d4+1 rounds, DC 25), stench
Spells per Day (CL 10th; concentration +19):
4th (2/day)- dance of a hundred cuts, freedom of movement, greater false life
3rd (5/day)- dispel magic, displacement, fear (Will DC 22 with -3 penalty), mass feather step
2nd (6/day)- cat’s grace, detect thoughts (Will DC 21), distressing tone (Fort DC 21), enthrall (Will DC 21), seducer’s eyes, unshakable chill (Fort DC 21)
1st (7/day)- charm person (Will DC 20), chord of shards (Ref DC 20), disguise self, ear-piercing scream (Fort partial 20), innocence, interrogation (Fort 20)
0th- dancing lights, detect magic, lullaby, mage hand, read magic, summon instrument

Str 17, Dex 23, Con —, Int 19, Wis 20, Cha 29 (25)
Base Atk +8; CMB +11; CMD 27
Feats Brain Eater, Civilized Ghoulishness, Improved Natural Attack, Lingering Performance, Spellsong, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +24 (+28 jumping), Bluff +22, Climb +8, Diplomacy +22, Disguise +34, Knowledge (arcana) +14, Knowledge (religion) +14 (+19 to identify undead), Perception +15, Perform (dance) +22, Perform (percussion) +22, Perform (sing) +22, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +9, Stealth +21, Use Magic Device +22; Racial Modifiers +10 Disguise
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Necril
SQ command ghasts and ghouls, haunted eyes, secrets of the grave

Bardic Knowledge (Ex): The Thriller adds half its bard level (+5) to all Knowledge skill checks and may make all Knowledge skill checks untrained.

Bardic Performance: The Thriller is trained to use the Perform skill to create magical effects on those around it, including itself if desired. It can use this ability for a 29 number of rounds per day. Each round, the Thriller can produce any one of the types of bardic performance that it has mastered. Starting a bardic performance is a move action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. Changing a bardic performance from one effect to another requires the Thriller to stop the previous performance and start a new one as a standard action. A bardic performance cannot be disrupted, but it ends immediately if the Thriller is killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action to maintain it each round. The Thriller cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

Each bardic performance has audible components, visual components, or both. If a bardic performance has audible components, the targets must be able to hear the Thriller for the performance to have any effect, and such performances are language dependent. A deaf Thriller has a 20% change to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with an audible component. If it fails this check, the attempt still counts against its daily limit. Deaf creatures are immune to bardic performances with audible components.

If a bardic performance has a visual component, the targets must have line of sight to the Thriller for the performance to have any effect. A blind Thriller has a 50% chance to fail when attempting to use a bardic performance with a visual component. If it fails this check, the attempt still counts against its daily limit. Blind creatures are immune to bardic performances with visual components.

* Countersong (Su): The Thriller can counter magic effects that depend on sound (but not spells that have verbal components.) Each round of the countersong it makes a Perform (percussion or sing) skill check. Any creature within 30 feet of the Thriller (including the Thriller itself) that is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack may use the Thriller’s Perform check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher. If a creature within range of the countersong is already under the effect of a non-instantaneous sonic or language-dependent magical attack, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it hears the countersong, but it must use the Thriller’s Perform skill check result for the save. Countersong does not work on effects that don’t allow saves. Countersong relies on audible components.

* Distraction (Su): The Thriller can use its performance to counter magic effects that depend on sight. Each round of the distraction, it makes a Perform (dance) skill check. Any creature within 30 feet of the Thriller (including the Thriller itself) that is affected by an illusion (pattern) or illusion (figment) magical attack may use the Thriller’s Perform check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher. If a creature within range of the distraction is already under the effect of a non-instantaneous illusion (pattern) or illusion (figment) magical attack, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it sees the distraction, but it must use the Thriller’s Perform check result for the save. Distraction does not work on effects that don’t allow saves. Distraction relies on visual components.

* Fascinate (Su): The Thriller can use its performance to cause three creatures to become fascinated with it. Each creature to be fascinated must be within 90 feet, able to see and hear the Thriller, and capable of paying attention to it. The Thriller must also be able to see the creatures affected. The distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working.

Each creature within range receives a Will save (DC 24) to negate the effect. If a creature’s saving throw succeeds, the Thriller cannot attempt to fascinate that creature again for 24 hours. If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and observes the performance for as long as the Thriller continues to maintain it. While fascinated, a target takes a –4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Perception checks. Any potential threat to the target allows the target to make a new saving throw against the effect. Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a weapon at the target, automatically breaks the effect. Fascinate is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability. Fascinate relies on audible and visual components in order to function.

* Inspire Courage (Su): The Thriller can use its performance to inspire courage in its allies (including itself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to perceive the Thriller’s performance. An affected ally receives a +2 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +2 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability. Inspire courage can use audible or visual components. The Thriller must choose which component to use when starting its performance.

* Inspire Competence (Su): The Thriller can use its performance to help an ally succeed at a task. The ally must be within 30 feet and able to see and hear the Thriller. The ally gets a +3 competence bonus on skill checks with a particular skill as long as she continues to hear the Thriller’s performance. Certain uses of this ability are infeasible, such as Stealth, and may be disallowed at the GM’s discretion. The Thriller can’t inspire competence in itself. Inspire competence relies on audible components.

* Suggestion (Sp): The Thriller can use its performance to make a suggestion (as per the spell) to a creature that it has already fascinated (see above). Using this ability does not disrupt the fascinate effect, but it does require a standard action to activate (in addition to the free action to continue the fascinate effect). The Thriller can use this ability more than once against an individual creature during an individual performance. A Will saving throw (DC 24) negates the effect. This ability affects only a single creature. Suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting, language-dependent ability and relies on audible components.

* Dirge of Doom (Su): The Thriller can use its performance to foster a sense of growing dread in its enemies, causing them to take become shaken. To be affected, an enemy must be within 30 feet and able to see and hear the Thriller’s performance. The effect persists for as long as the enemy is within 30 feet and the Thriller continues the performance. The performance cannot cause a creature to become frightened or panicked, even if the targets are already shaken from another effect. Dirge of doom is a mind-affecting fear effect, and it relies on audible and visual components.

* Inspire Greatness (Su): The Thriller can use its performance to inspire greatness in itself or a single willing ally within 30 feet, granting extra fighting capability. To inspire greatness, all of the targets must be able to see and hear the Thriller. A creature inspired with greatness gains 2 bonus Hit Dice (d10s), the commensurate number of temporary hit points (apply the target’s Constitution modifier, if any, to these bonus Hit Dice), a +2 competence bonus on attack rolls, and a +1 competence bonus on Fortitude saves. The bonus Hit Dice count as regular Hit Dice for determining the effect of spells that are Hit Dice dependent. Inspire greatness is a mind-affecting ability and it relies on audible and visual components.

* Dance of the Dead (Su): The Thriller can use its bardic performance to cause dead bones or bodies to rise up and move or fight at its command. This ability functions like animate dead, but the created skeletons or zombies remain fully animate only as long as the Thriller continues the performance. Once it stops, any created undead collapse into carrion. Bodies or bones cannot be animated more than once using this ability. Unlike animate dead, dance of the dead requires no components and does not have the evil descriptor.

Brain Eater: If the Thriller eats a portion of the brain of a creature with Intelligence 3 or higher, it gains a +2 insight bonus on all skill checks and Will saving throws for 1 hour. Eating a brain is a full-round action, and the target must be dead or helpless. If the target is living, the Thriller may attempt to eat its brain as a coup de grace attack on the target, but the Thriller gains the insight bonus only if its attempt results in the victim’s death.

Command Ghasts and Ghouls (Su): The Thriller can automatically command all normal ghasts and ghouls within 30 feet as a free action. Normal ghasts and ghouls never attack a dread ghast unless compelled.

Disease (Su): Thriller Fever: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 25; onset 1 day; frequency 1 day; effect 1d4 Con and 1d4 Dex damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Charisma-based. A humanoid who dies of Thriller fever rises as a dancing ghoul at the next midnight. A humanoid who becomes a dancing ghoul in this way retains none of the abilities it possessed in life. It is not under the control of any other ghouls, but it hungers for the flesh of the living and behaves like a normal ghoul in all respects. A humanoid of 4 Hit Dice or more rises as a dancing ghast.

Haunted Eyes (Ex): The Thriller gains a +4 bonus on saves against fear, energy drain, death effects, and necromantic effects, even though, as an undead monster, he’s immune to most of this.

Haunting Refrain (Su): The Thriller is able to stir primal terrors in the hearts of listeners. It can use a Perform (percussion) check in place of an Intimidate check to demoralize an opponent, with a +5 bonus. In addition, saving throws against any fear effect it creates are made with a –3 penalty.

Irresistible Dance (Su): Any living, intelligent creature that witnesses the Thriller’s uncanny dance moves may be overwhelmed with the urge to join in. To trigger this ability, the Thriller must spend a full round dancing. Any affectable creature within 30 feet of the Thriller who sees its dance must make a DC 25 Will save. If a creature’s saving throw succeeds, the Thriller cannot attempt to affect that creature again with this ability for 24 hours. If this save fails, the victim must use a move action every round for the next 1d4+3 rounds to make a Perform (dance) check. If the victim meets or beats a DC 20 on its Perform (dance) check, it looks really good. Otherwise, it is found without the soul for getting down and suffers 1d4 points of ability damage to Constitution and Dexterity. A humanoid who dies from irresistible dance rises as a dancing ghoul or dancing ghast 1d4+3 minutes later, just as if he had died from Thriller fever.

Paralysis (Su): Creatures damaged by the Thriller’s natural attacks must make a successful DC 25 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Paralyzed creatures cannot move, speak, or take any physical actions. The creature is rooted to the spot, frozen and helpless. Unlike ghouls, the Thriller’s paralysis even affects elves. Unlike hold person and similar effects, a paralysis effect does not allow a new save each round. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it is paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A swimmer can’t swim and may drown.

Secrets of the Grave (Ex): The Thriller gains a bonus equal to half its bard level on Knowledge (religion) checks made to identify undead creatures and their abilities. The Thriller may use mind-affecting spells to affect undead as if they were living creatures, even if they are mindless (though spells that affect only humanoids do not affect them, even if they were humanoids in life).

Stench (Ex): The Thriller exudes an overwhelming stink of death and corruption in a 10-foot radius. Those within the stench must succeed at a DC 25 Fortitude save, or be sickened for 1d6+4 minutes. The Thriller can suppress this ability as a free action.

Undead Inspiration (Su): The Thriller’s bardic performance abilities can affect undead creatures even if the bardic performance ability is a mind-affecting effect.

+4 light fortification padded armor, +2 human bane shortbow, +1 shock arrows (x50), amulet of mighty fists +2, boots of striding and springing, cloak of resistance +3, gloves of arrow snaring, headband of alluring charisma +4, ring of minor fire resistance, ring of protection +3, wand of magic circle against good (50 charges), wand of major image (50 charges), plus another 23,000 gp

Dancing Ghouls and Dancing Ghasts
To create a dancing ghoul or dancing ghast, replace the 2 ranks in Climb with 2 ranks in Perform (dance), or Perform (dance) +7 for dancing ghouls Perform (dance) +9 for dancing ghasts. Add this special ability:

Chorus Attack (Ex): As part of a move action, a dancing ghoul or dancing ghast can attempt a DC 20 Perform (dance) check. If successful, the monster gains a +1 bonus on its first attack roll, with an additional +1 per every adjacent dancing ghoul or dancing ghast that also succeeds in its Perform (dance) check that turn. This bonus lasts until the end of the monster’s next turn, or until it attacks, whichever comes first.

April 23rd, 2012  in RPG No Comments »