View Full Version : Please...please...KILL ME [Creature, 3.5]

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-11, 06:54 AM
Tall Man
Large Undead
HD 8d12 (52 hp)
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Init: +1
AC 20; touch 10; flat-footed 19
(+10 Natural, +1 Dex, -1 Size)
BAB +4; Grp +9
Attack Slam +4 melee (1d8+1 plus desperate contact/moment of freedom)
Full-Attack Slam +4 melee (1d8+1 plus desperate contact/moment of freedom)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks Desperate Contact, Haunting Moan, Moment of Freedom, Produce Holy Water
Special Qualities Absolute Obedience, Damage Reduction 10/bludgeoning, Darkvision 60 ft., Fast Healing 6, Immunity to Cold, Sense Life, Structural Instability, Undead Traits
Saves Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +6
Abilities Str 12, Dex 12, Con -, Int -, Wis 14, Cha 14
Skills -
Feats -
Environment Any and underground
Organization Solitary
Challenge Rating 6
Treasure None
Alignment Always Neutral
Advancement -
Level Adjustment -

A skeleton stands before you, mutilated into a thing of nightmares. Each bone has been cut lengthwise, hallowed out, and tied back together with wires to make each bone nearly twice as long. Many of the bones are covered in grooves and riddled with small holes.
The skull of this being lacks a lower jaw and a wicked smile is carved into it, leaving one more hole. Perhaps the most haunting detail is the eyes, a deep shade of saphire that glow with intelligence. As you look closer, you see that each eye is crying, silvery tears falling down its bony face.
As the thing moves, a low moan seems to issue from its body. Its movements are jerky with joints bending in odd ways and threatening to break free from their man-made joints.

There are many tales out there of necromancers who reanimate their sworn foes, using their once great nemeses as personal servants. Though this is enough for many, some necromancers crave more. Some necromancers seek to put their foes through eternal torment, or the nearest that they can muster. The end results for such ambitions are the Tall Men, among the most reprehensive of all known necromantic arts.
Unlike most undead, Tall Men retain their soul. Although it is prevented from controlling their bodies, a Tall Man`s creator uses this soul to lock out others who would claim it for themselves. Of course, this is just a happy side-effect. The true meaning of their souls is so that the Tall Man may truly anguish every moment of their tortured existence.
So far, only humanoid tall men have been found, with both small and medium humanoids being "stretched" to similar sizes. Though it is theoretical that other races could be used, such Tall Men are currently unknown of.

Combat If controlled, Tall Men are relatively clumsy combatants, relying on the fear and despair they encourage to keep things under control. If uncontrolled, however, Tall Men are locked in a state between innate mindlessness, only slightly altered by their soul`s influence. Such Tall Men wander mindlessly until they find a living being, at which point they attack until they hit their foe once. After this point, they wander onwards, neglecting to even defend themselves against their previous foes.

Absolute Obedience (Ex): thanks to the presence of a Tall Man`s soul, it recieves a buffer of sorts against outside influence. Tall Men can`t be turned or rebuked by any creature. Furthermore, necromantic spells or effects that control undead fail to function on Tall Men.
However, a Tall Man`s creator, having sealed its soul, can use a bit of his or her own life force to bypass their seal and gain control. Each night at midnight, a Tall Man`s creator can choose to take 3 damage, damage which cannot be healed for 24 hours. If they do so, they gain absolute control over the Tall Man during that time. Otherwise, the Tall Man becomes uncontrolled (or remains uncontrolled). If the creator possesses multiple Tall Men, they must take 3 damage for each one that they wish to control.

Desperate Contact (Su): Though concentrated within their skull, a Tall Man`s soul flows through their entire body, much as blood through a living creature. Whenever they make contact with another being, it is assaulted by bits of memory, thought, and emotion, desperate to communicate with another individual. Considering what Tall Men are put through, this is almost always an unpleasant experience.
Whenever a Tall Man makes a successful melee touch attack or slam attack, the target must make a DC 16 Will Save as they are assaulted by brief recollections of the Tall Man`s endless torment and bottomless grief. If they fail, they take a-2 penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks until the end of the encounter. If they succeed, these penalties are halved. These penalties do not stack with themselves.
Furthermore, the Tall Man`s fractured psyche often tries to contact the touched creature for some cause. If the target failed their Will save, the mental cacophany is meaningless and dazes the target for 1 round. If the target succeeded, however, the Tall Men deliver a clear mental message up to 1d4 words long. Such messages may be warnings, clues, bits of insane rants, or simply moans and sobs.
This is a mind-affecting effect that does not function against the Tall Man`s creator. The Saving Throw is Charisma-based.

Haunting Moan (Ex): As a Tall Man moves, air is channeled through the many grooves and holes in their body, making an eerie moan that unsettles others. Whenever a Tall Man moves or attacks, all creatures within 30 feet must make a DC 16 will save or be shaken for 1d4 rounds. A creature that succeeds on its saving throw is immune to that Tall Man`s haunting moan for 24 hours.

Moment of Freedom (Su): When a Tall Man`s creator dies, they become uncontrolled, seeking the nearest living thing as normal. When they hit their foe with an attack, however, this ability activates in place of their normal desperate contact. Moment of freedom has 5 effects.
1. The target learns the basic course of the Tall Man`s life, imparted via memories.
2. The target learns the answer to one question they may mentally pose the Tall Man. If they ask a question that the Tall Man cannot answer, the question is wasted.
3. The Tall Man may deliver a single message, up to 25 words in length, to the target, imparted to the target`s mind.
4. The target takes 1d6 points of Wisdom Damage due to the massive influx of information.
5. the Tall Man is destroyed and its soul is snuffed out, incapable of being restored via means short of divine intevention. The Tall Man provides no XP if it is destroyed in such a way.
If the Tall Man is destroyed normally, it provides identical benefits if its remains are touched within 5 rounds of its destruction. Otherwise, its soul similarly fades into nothingness.
There is no saving throw to negate this effect. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Produce Holy Water (Su): As part of a Tall Man`s eternal torture, their body constantly tears itself apart. From its eyes weep tears of holy water, dealing the tall man 1d6 damage each round. Due to the Tall Man`s fast healing, this damage need not be tracked outside of combat. The Tall Man produces a full dose of holy water every other round (if somehow collected) but such holy water lasts for 10 minutes before drying into nothing.

Sense Life (Su): A Tall Man instinctively senses life in the surrounding area, making them a useful guard for necromancers. A Tall Man automatically pinpoints the location of all living creatures within 100 feet, even if hidden or invisible.

Structural Instability (Ex): Despite their magically reinhanced form, Tall Men are still more vulnerable and unstable than many other undead. The carrying capacity of Tall Men is calculated as if they were Small In size. Furthermore, Tall Men are vulnerable to critical hits, sneak attacks, and similar effects.

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-11, 06:55 AM
Why I Created Tall Men
Necromancy, when used to create undead, is an utter monstrosity. Necromancers make innately evil creatures that serve to perpetually defile their body as it works in their service. In fact, some necromancy spells make undead that remain beyond your control, some of which have the potential to spread as a plague across continents with their spawn.
Despite this, encounters with Necromancers are mundane. Few parties even raise an eyebrow when facing off against the unliving. Necromancers are given realistic goals, sane agendas, and they don`t even need to be evil or malevolant.
Tall Men were created (as homebrew) to point out to players that some necromancers aren`t misunderstood souls or bored liches. There are some sick and warped necromancers who will gladly rip apart their own creations for fun. They kill foes and decide that they haven`t suffered nearly enough. They awaken their zombies and torture them in plain sight... for giggles. Tall Men are created when all degrees of moral ambiguity are to be tossed out the window, to remind the PCs that they are dealing with a being who MUST BE KILLED.

How Tall Men are treated:
Generally speaking, Tall Men are treated as well as one would expect, considering their master`s likely sadistic manner and the Tall Man`s previous status as a major enemy. As their Fast Healing eventually overtakes their self-inflicted wounds, Necromancers can and often do harm the Tall Men or order them to harm themselves.
Occasionally, to inflict more psychological torture, Necromancers perform the exact opposite. They dress the Tall Man in finery and make it go through the actions of eating fantastic feasts, lounging in piles of gold, or otherwise acting superior to the Necromancer. More than a couple adventurers have been confused by necromancers seemingly following the unspoken orders of a Tall Man, a grin on his face.
When not engaged in such activities, Tall Men are often kept close to the Necromancer, a "happy" reminder of past successes. They are very weak for their size but they are often made to perform light "housework" and otherwise act as a guard by detecting approaching life.
Though more social necromancers hide thier Tall Men away when visitors abound, a few choose to keep them around instead as a reminder to guests of just one potential fate for them. A few necromancers go so far as to insist that guests shake hands with the Tall Men. For each person given a tidbit of dangerous information, dozens more are simply terrified, a gambit that some are more than happy with.
Due to the investiture of life needed to keep Tall Men under control, there is a problem when they accumulate more than one. Some just choose to kill extras or release them as they accumulate. Others, however, choose to keep entire dungeons of Tall Men, keeping only one or two controlled at a time. There are stories of heroes who have slain necromancers, only to be reduced to mindless vegetables when they open the dungeons to save captives.

2010-01-11, 08:00 AM
Nice. Keep up the good work.

2010-01-11, 08:26 AM
That is rather unsettling. :smalleek:

I'm going to have to put these guys in my campaign at some point. :smallbiggrin:

Much more of a plot device monster than an actual foe I feel, the multiple debuffing features however make them very useful if encountered with the necromancer that spawned them, which would produce a very rich end encounter.

Encountered solo they'll be dispatched with fairly quickly without any prior knowledge of what they are however, more so if they're currently uncontrolled and pose no danger after the first hit. Although once identified it would be very interesting to see how various PC's deal with them in RP terms. All in all this is a very flavourful creation and I can see it making a large impact on players and creating memorable villains, well done!

2010-01-11, 08:47 AM
I was so hoping this was going to be this (http://chzo.wikia.com/wiki/Cabadath) tall man. Still, great idea, and seriously freaky. They'd make a great flavour enemy for a horror campaign. Oh, and you used the wrong "tale" in the flavour text.

2010-01-11, 08:48 AM
How can a creature born of evil create Holy Water? I know that it is for the torment, but it shouldn't be possible. Also is it necessary to make them unrezable? Other than that, pretty good, though in my campaigns I always treat souls as something that can't be affected by magic, even divine magic.

2010-01-11, 08:55 AM
Should be fairly high level to create, and require a reasonably high craft check (sawing bones in half length-wise sounds like a reasonably tricky task), Sculpture is probably the requisite skill, and I wouldn't go lower than DC 15 (but even that gives a better chance to pull it off untrained than I think is appropriate). As for RP, if someone makes the Knowledge Religion roll to realize the exact situation the order of the day may be "Restrain and Raise Dead"...

2010-01-11, 09:41 AM
It's an interesting monster. It's strange to see an undead creature, especially a skeletal creature, have eyes that cry holy water. I think it works for effect but has the potential of being used for express purpose of holy water collection.

Should be "tales" not "tails" in the 3rd paragraph. It is "obedience" and "existence" (no "a").

Structural instability weakens this creature a lot. I really don't like the idea that they are subject to critical attacks, sneak attacks, etc. since it violates the undead traits for no real reason other than to weaken them.


2010-01-11, 01:17 PM
Two minor typos:

desperate to communicated with another individual

That should be "communicate".

can not answer should be "cannot answer".

I agree that the holy water thing doesn't quite make sense. Maybe instead have acid leak from their eyes?

This should be an interesting way of keeping enemies from resurrecting especially given the Moment of Freedom aspect.

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-12, 05:12 AM
Yup, this thing is a pretty disturbing creature. It is, after all, the second-most disrespectful thing that can be done to a person`s remains. Definitely for a horror campain, or at least for a campaign with darker tones.

The holy water is more of a product of their living soul being forcefully held in such close contact with their undead body (the soul is trying to reject the body just as a human might reject a graft).
The original Tall Men were destroyed very quickly until someone figured out how to keep them healing fast enough. That it causes unbearable and ceaseless pain is only a side-affect, actually. :smallbiggrin:

As for structural stability, don`t forget that the bones are half as thin (or thinner in the case of originally small tall men) and are bound together with wire. There is a very real chance that their bones or joints will snap if hit in the right way, explaining why they are vulnerable to critical hits.

I finally put some information in the second post, including why I created this abomination and how necromancers typically treat them (good info for using them).

Edit: To make for an extra-special end encounter, give the necromancer a second Tall Man that doesn`t fight, one locked in a dungeon and wearing the torn robes of a defeated emperor or similarly important NPC that the PCs were sent to save. It touches one of them, confirming the Tall Man`s identity, answering a question (probably leading to a magical maguffin to prevent a larger collamity), gives a final message (to its wife, family, country, etc.), and the target feels the soul crumble away into nothingness.
Though the PCs win, they still manage to lose. As I`ve said, darker tones.

2010-01-12, 07:26 AM
There should be a lore section. I don't believe that every undead creature needs to be destroyed. I actually prefer undead creatures who need to be laid to rest to be defeated. Ghosts often fit that category. The more tortured the soul, the less I want to see it destroyed.

This may come from all of my years playing Chill, a Gothic horror game from the 1980s. Ghosts of all the supernatural creatures were ones that kept reanimating until their focus was destroyed, their quest completed, etc. and they could be "laid to rest." D&D eventually succumbed to this idea as well. From the SRD:

As a rule, the only way to get rid of a ghost for sure is to determine the reason for its existence and set right whatever prevents it from resting in peace. The exact means varies with each spirit and may require a good deal of research.

So with a Tall Man, I want to see a way to put it out of its misery. Killing it does it, but that's hardly satisfying.


2010-01-12, 11:41 AM
As I said: "Restrain and Resurrect/Raise Dead"

2010-01-12, 12:38 PM
I like the idea of having a person forced watch themselves kill and murder as an abomination. Imagine what a paladin would do if this happened to one. Anyways, I think that the eyes, Seeing as they create holy water, should be enchanted gems with an permanent Create Holy Water and the Soul Bind spells on it. That way, just destroying the body won't free the person, you'll either have to destroy the creator of it or destroy the gem. Plus, because it can send a message when destroyed, it can tell the party what to do. What do you think?

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-13, 02:05 AM
I personally like the soul-snuffing version but I do admit that your approach has its own merits.

Also, it seems that I was a bit misunderstood. The purpose of a Tall Man is to get the point across that the NECROMANCER must be destroyed.

2010-01-13, 02:59 AM
This is awesome, I love really creepy undead, they're a lot of fun to toss at my players. :smallcool:

2010-01-13, 04:27 AM
Thank you for saying that! You're right, necromancers have become way too mundane. This is very creepy and awesome.

2010-01-13, 07:12 AM
I personally like the soul-snuffing version but I do admit that your approach has its own merits.

Also, it seems that I was a bit misunderstood. The purpose of a Tall Man is to get the point across that the NECROMANCER must be destroyed.

That is true. However, you could make it so the gems can't be destroyed until the necromancer is killed, and because the gems still contains the soul of their enemy, they could remake the Tall Man, causing the PCs to fight it again. Imagine how they would react once they found out that this was the same Tall man they had destroyed earlier. Keep in mind this is just a suggestion, and your version is still awesome enough without any modification.

2010-01-13, 09:05 AM
It seems to me that destroying the Tall Man's eye gems would release the soul much like a trap the soul spell.


2010-01-13, 10:51 AM
You do have a point. Maybe while the nercromancer who created the Tall Man is still alive, the gems are virtually indestructable. When you kill the necromancer, the gems turn into ordinary soul gems again and can be destroyed. The hollow man could easily send this PCs a massage if they kill him beforehand or even after the necromancer is dead. Also, the Tall Man I'm suggesting could just be a variant of this Tall Man, if you want to give the PCs some sense of accomplishment by killing this type of Tall Man. I mean, With this one, if you don't take the gems, the necromancer could easily get them back and make a new body for it, causing the soul unimaginable pain each and every time it is killed. If/When the PCs relize that, they will know they are dealing with a monster of the likes they have never seen.

2010-01-13, 11:27 AM
Now this is creepy. I'd use one of these on my group without hesitation. I already turned an ex-party member into a zombie to disturb the group (the player that used that character before switching to another was particularly freaked out) if I had this version it would awesome.
I just think that the soul destroying is a bit... too much. In the same way that a destroyed soul needs deity-power to restore it, I also think that no mortal caster should have the power to destroy a soul. You just built-in a more powerful version than Trap the Soul. Need to absolutely destroy an enemy, and be sure he won't be raised? Trap him into a Tall Man, and destroy it. Sure, much more effort and expenses than just trapping the soul, but much, much more effective.

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-15, 02:40 AM
I didn`t actually include soul gems as I have no idea what would happen if the PCs a) obtained them or b) destryed them.

Perhaps utter destruction of the soul is a bit too far, I`ll admit. What I really wanted to do was basically subject the soul to a barghest`s feast (or is it barghest fire, that spell from the spell compendium). The problem with this is that I don`t have the spell compendium with me and I forgot what that spell specifically does. :smallredface:

The reason I "destroy" the soul instead of freeing it is because it sets a mood. Let`s look at 2 scenarios.

1. Tall Man uses moment of freedom, thanks PCs for their help, and proceeds onwards to its rightful reward. This is an almost heart-warming experience for the players and raises their hopes.

2. Tall Man uses moment of freedom and tells PCs that it knows its soul is about to be snuffed out and to say goodbye to its loved ones. Then, nothingness. This is a very grim experience, making death all the more real in the world.

Killing this is meant to be a bittersweet victory at best, alas. :smallfrown:

2010-01-15, 10:38 AM
Barghest's feast destroys the corpse preventing raising and resurrection. However, that doesn't destroy the soul, which presumably goes to reside in the appropriate outer plane. What happens to dead characters can be found on page 89 of the Manual of the Planes. Destroying a soul is much more difficult than just killing the body it inhabits.

Soul gems just trap the soul. When the gem is broken, the soul is released. A better question is: what happens to the soul of a Tall Man when it dies. If it just goes on to a neutral outer plane, then the morality of killing it can be justified.


2010-01-15, 05:45 PM
I truly love the idea of these creature. Just reading the beautifully painted description made me want to use them. I wish I had read about them before I ran my "Asylum" game. The whole game was messed up to the extreme (see curtains made of blood and players gaining demonic appendages) but finally ended in a massive padded cell fighting skeletons before fighting the final necromancer. I actually very much liked the ending I wrote on that one BUT.... I would entirely re-write the ending to fit in one of these if I ever ran it again.
The idea of evil necromancers taunting there deceased enemies with finary, meals and gold is wonderful. and I actually like the idea of the destruction of the soul. it feels SO wrong that it makes me uncomfortable, but having the creature communicate to the party "This is what i want, I would rather have my soul destroyed then live like this" seems a wonderful yet horrible place to put the players in.

2010-01-15, 06:09 PM
Dude, this is some straight up Ravenloft-esque shizz. Total thumbs up though, really demonstrates how awful necromancy is supposed to be. I personally love the idea of the soul being utterly destroyed, as it suggests how horrible the necromancer is and demonstrates how utterly pissed they were at whoever was turned into the Tall Man. It also is utter torture for the soul involved, as it would blow to be in the Tall Man state, yet at the same time, it's only other option is utter oblivion (though I thought there was a way to even bring back a "destroyed" soul, will be off to check the demilich entry shortly.)

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-15, 09:18 PM
One point of note to make is that the Tall Men do not instictively know that their souls are headed for oblivion (unless they have high ranks in knowledge [religion]). When the necromancer dies, their soul feels a chance to escape their cursed form but does not know their ultimate fate.
Some necromancers may flat-out tell the Tall Man that they're destined for oblivion, adding more psychological torture into the mix. Others may lie to Tall Men for ages, telling them that they'll be free once their body is destroyed, forever feeding them false hope and getting one last laugh.
Even if the Tall Man knows their fate and is unwilling to die, however, the action of searching for someone to use Moment of Freedom on is an "instinct" built into their bodies, not something that they can fight.

As things stand, resurrection cast while the Tall Man is... un-alive... does indeed bring them back. That is the one window of hope that I am giving PCs, the one chance to save someone.

Otherwise, complete and total oblivion.

Edit: and, for the record, this is only the second-most disrespectful thing that can be done to one's remains. I have statted up the most disrespectful but I doubt that I shall be posting it. Suffice it to say that it is called the Offalus.

Edit Edit: I'm happy to have created the concept of lavishing false rewards on undead as torment. Seriously, I have never heard of that being done anywhere else... ever. It just seemed... right (by which I mean so very wrong).

2010-01-15, 09:28 PM
I have created mindless undead intestines that fight like constricting snakes... from your description I suspect the Offalus might be something along those lines, but more a heap of internal organs?

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-15, 09:41 PM
A basic description of the offalus:
A necromantically preserved and self aware head is placed within a rough sphere stitched from their skin and the flesh of a couple others. Along with the head are stuffed in large amounts of offal and feces until the offalus is a nearly perfect sphere. The hole is than stitched up and the offalus is left to roll around, under the direction of the head (which is completely blind, of course).

2010-01-15, 09:47 PM
Sounds like a undead disease time bomb. That is a horrid thing to do to someone. Perfect in the regard for what you are trying to do.

2010-01-16, 10:05 AM
Yeah, as I said in another thread: I wouldn't allow it outside of epic, because an effect that permanently shuts off ressurrection is, in my opinion, too much powerful to just give any character, specially to something "easy" to build (as Tall Men may be a bit harder to make than others zombies and golems).

2010-01-16, 10:44 AM
Well, I think it would be up to the DM of the game. For the hardcore games this would be perfect, because of the setting this monster would be in. However, for the less hardcore games, you could do something along the lines of what I suggested.
I think that the eyes, Seeing as they create holy water, should be enchanted gems with an permanent Create Holy Water and the Soul Bind spells on it. That way, just destroying the body won't free the person, you'll either have to destroy the creator of it or destroy the gem. Plus, because it can send a message when destroyed, it can tell the party what to do.

2010-01-16, 12:01 PM
Alternatively, say that the ritual that that creates a Tall Man includes a step that takes a week (or a month), not necessarily involving the creator... the bones can simply have to soak in urine for that long, while the Necromancer is off doing other things. The point is any party that can't get a fallen comrade back in that time-span (including by True Resurrection) probably isn't going to get them back at all, so it becomes a moot point for PCs.

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-16, 06:56 PM
That's probably a good way to handle it. Disrupt the creation process and the soul goes freeeeee!

Witty Username
2010-01-16, 08:19 PM