View Full Version : 3.5E Monster Template Balance Check

2010-01-27, 06:39 PM
First off, potential players in my game, keep out, since figuring this out is supposed to be a big part of your first campaign. You know who you are.

The PCS are going to be level 15, presumably caster-heavy. I'm going to be throwing large numbers of monsters at them with this template:

The Template

The following template can be applied to any undead creature.

Creature Template: Spellbound Undead
Attack Bonus: +1 (morale/hivemind)
AC: +1 bonus to AC
SA: Haste as a SLA1/d CL == HD; Mindbond
SQ: Mindbound, Spell-healing, Mage-eater, Fast Healing 3, Spell Resistance 5+HD, Spell-sense
Abilities: +2 STR, +2 CHA
CR/LA: +2

Mindbond: On a successful touch attack, a Spellbound Undead creature can attempt to Mindbond another undead creature. If the attacked creature fails a DC 15 Will save, it is disabled as if by the spell Hold Undead for two hours. Two further Will saves are forced upon it, once every hour (DC15). If it fails either of these will saves, it acquired the Spellbound Undead template and is dominated by the Hive (no save, duration 1 week). Incorporeal Undead take a -5 penalty on their Will saves.

Mindbound: If the creature is sentient, it maintains free will for most actions. Its actions and thoughts are fully transmitted to the Hivemind, however, and the Hive can extend itself and dominate the creature (DC 30 Will) once per hour if it so chooses. Mindless undead are under the complete control of the Hive, and so might engage in tactics and strategy if the Hive is so inclined. Mindbound undead have a unique glowing glyph on their heads that gives off about the same illumination as a candle flame unless suppressed as a standard action. Positive energy from a Turn Undead attempt or a cure spell disrupts this effect for 24 hours.

Spell-Healing: If a spell is blocked by the creature's spell resistance, the creature is healed 1pt of damage for every spell level of the spell blocked.

Mage-eater: Creatures with arcane spellcasting classes slain by a Spellbound Undead rise 24 hours later as a Spellbound Undead, retaining their class levels and spellcasting abilities. Casting Bless, Hallow, or another suitable spell over the corpse prevents this reincarnation. A Spellbound creatures always knows if the creature it has slain is an arcane spellcaster.

FH 3: Heals 3 HP per round so long as it has >0 hp.

Spell Resistance: Spellbound Undead has SR equal to 5 plus their hit dice.

Spell-Sense: Spellbound Undead can sense arcane magic used nearby. A cast spell gives off an aura of 20' per spell level inside which a Spellbound Undead creature can pinpoint the caster. Spells with a duration greater than instantaneous, or permanent/passive magic items do not give off this aura. Translocation effects give off this aura at both the target and origin locations. This effect can be disrupted by positive energy expenditure like a Turn Undead attempt or cure spell.

Plot justification/Background

The base template was Libris Mortis' Evolved Undead Template (LM 99), plus a number of features to create the effect of a hive-minded undead that can spread its connection virally to other undead.

The first of these undead were members of an elite zombie legion commanded by a lich in a Undead-controlled city-state. After swallowing (at great cost) a neighboring state, the military asked the lich in question to adapt the enemy's Link Magic to his control over his warriors to make them more effective, instead of just being a body of rotting corpses flailing against the enemy.

As a result, he accidentally died and became "The Hive," an intelligent horde that was driven by the endless hunger of the mindless undead. The Hive spent the following two decades taking out nearby city states one by one, killing off mortals and raising them before "infecting" them with this template. It has a number of sapient undead running about under its control as somewhat-unwilling generals and the like, using its own intelligence (and that of a few more slain liches) to keep everything in line.

The Hive wants to take over the rest of the continent before crossing the Planar Barrier. Preventing that by any means necessary is going to be the mission of the PCs.

The Spell-sense ability is going to be especially relevant, even with its somewhat short range, since I expect the party to be mage-heavy. Should I extend the range? Change the mechanic? Scrap it and give them all lifesense?

I'm open to all suggestions. This will be a big part of the group's first campaign arc, and it's my first time GMing a group with homebrew material, and the first time GMing in a long time period. I'd like to make it both fun and memorable for the group.