So, a while ago, I set the challenge of anyone coming up with a creature concept that I would have a go at making it and mapping it out. It was on a post called Creating Critters put out on the 8th of August. It has taken a while but I finally got someone that is putting me to the test by the name of J.C. and his idea was an interesting concept because there is little to nothing like it in Pathfinder to date. J.C. wrote (now I feel like an agony Aunt!);
Really? Nobody went for this? Ok.
I hate undead. Really don’t like them, even though as a GM, I pull them out from time to time. One thing that bothers me about them is that even though they’re so common it’s ridiculous in most campaigns, nothing has evolved to eat them. So, that’s my critter concept: carrion devourer, immune to negative energy or disease or ability drain, a monster that looks for necromancers and unholy ground like a food critic looks for restaurants. Solitary, pair, or pack, maybe they live in a dungeon and could be used to help adventurers get through an area swarming with zombies, maybe they hide and wait for the adventurers to die and rise before becoming dinner. In a setting where owls were magically combined with bears, something should be willing to hunt and eat ghouls, ghasts, and zombies.
So I started by mind mapping this out. I actually wanted the critter to be a devourer of most undead creatures, in fact a threat to even the vampires and liches of the world so I evolved it on up the evolutionary scale from the ghoul/ghast and zombie eater that J.C. detailed above. Let us have a look at the mind map (that I actually recreated in iMindMap as the sunburn made my writing atrocious!
It is a pretty simple mind map and after I had gotten this down I started working on the creature. It is to be called the Necromortis and is an abberation that has come from the space between the stars. A large creature twisted with apparently only a skeletal frame covered in short bristling hair, glowing violet eyes. It walks on all four legs with an uncomfortable gait, its front claws with two scythe like “thumbs” that it uses in its attack and a mouth filled with serrated rows of shark like teeth. It is most common in ruins and the underground but its hunting range is essentially anywhere you would find Undead. It does seem to be more numerous in temperate ranges but the creature has been spotted in arctic and tropical environments, just on much fewer occasions. These sightings tend to follow massive uprisings of undead.
The Necromortis is a powerful creature with one thing on its mind, killing undead. The more powerful the undead, the more the creature seems to gain nourishment from it. I set the creature at CR 15 to start with keeping in mind that I wanted it to be able to range amongst some of the most powerful undead whilst being able to gorge on hordes of the lesser undead. I also want to keep it bestial in nature as a creature like this can become involved in an adventure where perhaps a powerful undead needs the PC’s to protect it from the beast. If it were only interested in undead there is no threat to the PC’s but if it is bestial and the players stand between it and its food then there is a threat that they are going to have to deal with.
The nuts and bolts of building a creature are pretty easily handled using the rules in Appendix 1 of the Bestiary. It suggests that my creature should come out with a series of statistics by the CR and then leads me through creating the creature. In this I did have trouble getting the creatures physical attacks up but with one of its powers I felt that balances out OK so below I give you J.C.’s Necromortis…
A thick tangle of discolored black hair hangs from the canine form that appears to have chitinous skin dragged tight across its heavily alien appearance set off by glowing violet eyes.
Necromortis CR 15 XP 51,200
N Large aberration
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Blindsight 60 ft;
AC 23, touch 15, flat-footed 18 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural)
hp 209 (22d8+110); Fast Healing 5
Fort +17, Ref +12, Will +18
Immune negative energy;
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +21 (2d6+4), bite +21 (2d8+4 = Grab);
Special Attacks Positive Energy Burst (DC 23 (Cha) for half damage 30′ radius centered on Necromortis 10d6), Rend (1d8+6), Pounce, Ghost Touch, Grab;
Spell Like Abilities (CL 15)
Constant – Detect Undead (as if it had been studying subject for three rounds)
Str 18, Dex 8, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +17; CMB +21 ; CMD 31
Feats Dodge, Improved Natural Attack (Bite*2), Improved Natural Attack (Claw*2), Improved Initiative, Multi-attack, Toughness
Skills Climb +26, Perception +22, Stealth +21, Swim +26
Environment anywhere undead are found
Treasure standard – tends to be found in the stomach from eaten corpses
Ghost Touch Attacks (Su) All of the Necromortis’ natural attacks are considered to have the Ghost Touch weapon quality allowing the creature to effectively hunt and kill ghosts, spectres and other incorporeal undead
Positive Energy Burst (Su) The Necromortis can once per day let off a burst of positive energy that can only be used to damage undead. The positive energy burst recharges for the day if the Necromortis is able to kill and eat an undead creature capable of dealing negative energy damage. This can recharge as many times a day as the criteria is met. Otherwise the power recharges at midnight of every day.
Undead Killer (Su) If the Necromortis kills an undead in a round it gets 5 temporary hit points if this was done with its Positive Energy Burst, 10 temporary hit points if it were a claw attack that killed it or 15 temporary hit points if the creature was killed by a bite attack. The creature cannot benefit from this Feat more than once a turn and effects do not stack, if multiple occurrences apply in a single turn the Necromortis benefits from the highest effect received in the turn.
I hope you enjoy him J.C. and anyone else that decides to use the sickly little beast. I may even attempt some art later to see if I can get a likeness written up for you all!