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View Full Version : [3.5] Unique Paladin Mount - Needle In Her Jealous Cracked Reflection



Xefas
2012-06-18, 04:41 AM
http://i.imgur.com/D1sZD.jpg
Name and picture (slightly cropped) from the works of Rhanite (http://rhanite.deviantart.com/), a deviantARTist deserving of kudos.

In life, this dread steed was known throughout the sylvan domain to which she belonged as a creature of incomparable beauty and grace. The mercy, generosity, and integrity she displayed towards both friend and foe was humbling and inspiring, and she was beloved and cherished by all of her fellow denizens of the forest. Unfortunately, her boundless compassion was also seldom tempered with prudence, and this would be her undoing. When the secret places of her domain were discovered by a Hextorite scouting party, the clever acolytes worked their lies and placed themselves at the unicorn's mercy, which she gladly extended, with the caveat that they give up their evil ways and repent. They did so, in both word and deed, humbly serving the fey which had spared them until their innocence had been suitably ascertained.

Not but a few weeks after their departure, one of the black warbands of Hextor marched over the horizon, and laid siege to the forest for the riches their scouts had reported. The battle was bloody, and hopeless. Woodland creatures, mundane and supernatural, fell into piles of the broken dead as their former home burned around them. The most beautiful unicorn in all the land died fighting the Champion of that dark god as he split her throat for her torso.

In her last moments of life, the maiden heard a voice. A dark whisper, from far off, almost soothing in its confidence and strength. It promised her another chance at life, another chance at vengeance, and an immortal beauty which would not fade with the years. If only she would sell the voice her name, her soul, and her obedience. And so it was that none now speak that name in this world.

However, it is not in the nature of fallen divinities to show their true hand, when a false one will do. As the unicorn rose, darkness knitting her shattered flesh together, her teeth bared in glee at the prospect of murdering the Champion before her who had stolen her life away, the paladin only grinned wickedly. The voice of Hextor came again, revealing itself for what it was, and bound the newly undead mare to his Champion, that they might both conquer in his name.

For years, the pair rode together, sowing bloodshed and horror across the land. The Needle In Her Jealous Cracked Reflection, as the unicorn came to be known, found solace in the dealing of death, from her utter humiliation at the forced servitude of her killer. But, though to all outward appearances, her spirit had been broken, a fire still burned within. Corrupted, wretched, defiled, her mind was still strong, and she hatched a plan. Whenever her knight turned his eyes from her, she would whisper to his lieutenants, seducing them with thoughts of power and position. In time, their loyalty was overcome, and they rose up to slay the Champion. Unbeknownst to them, his death released Needle from her bindings, and she relished in the murder of her confused minions, weakened from the battle with her former master.

Now, this unicorn, touched by death and the power of a dark god, roams freely, descending upon the worshipers of Hextor with unconscionable brutality. Beneath her lust for revenge, perhaps she seeks a greater purpose, to fill the hole where her former stewardship of the wilds rested. This purpose is likely of the blackest nature, given her deformed mind and soul. Although, to a true hero willing to undertake a task of monumental temperance and benevolence, redemption may not be an impossibility.

Needle In Her Jealous Cracked Reflection
Size/Type: Large Undead
Hit Dice: 4d12 + 3d6 (49hp)
Initiative: +9
Speed: 60 ft.
Armor Class: 25 (-1 size, +5 Dex, +6 natural, +5 armor), touch 14, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+13
Attack: Horn +8 (1d8+8)
Full Attack: Horn +8 (1d8+8) and 2 hooves +3 (1d4+2)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Spell-like Abilities, Eldritch Blast, Invocations
Special Qualities: Undead Traits, Scent, Magic Circle Against Good, DR 1/Cold Iron, Detect Magic, Mage-Hand Mastery
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +13
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 21, Con -, Int 14, Wis 22, Cha 29
Skills: Concentration +10 [10 ranks], Jump +22 [5 ranks], Move Silently +14 [5 ranks], Perform (Sing) +16 [7 ranks], Profession (Tailor) +16 [10 ranks], Spellcraft +12 [10 ranks], Use Magic Device +15 [6 ranks]
Feats: Lifebond (Libris Mortis), Improved Initiative, Improved Toughness
Challenge Rating: 4
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Equipment: Horseshoes of the Zephyr, +1 Glamered Mithril Chain Shirt Barding

A Paladin of Tyranny of at least 8th level may acquire Needle In Her Jealous Cracked Reflection as their Paladin Mount, as long as they do not already possess a special mount from that class, and provided they find a way to convince Needle to consent. Treat their effective Paladin level as 3 less for the purposes of the benefits granted to Needle by their Paladin Mount class feature. For every two levels above 8th, the Paladin may reduce their effective Paladin level for these purposes by another 2. For each time they choose this option, Needle may gain one level in a character class of her choice to represent her continued advancement.

If somehow redeemed, a standard Paladin could acquire Needle in a similar fashion.

Needle's broken and cursed horn, if severed from her corpse, may be used as a special component in the creation of a magic item which inflicts the power of undeath on the living, corrupts goodness and light with evil and darkness, or grants beauty, charisma, or vanity to the user. If used in such a way, it covers 2000 gold pieces in material cost, and 100xp usually expended by the crafter.

Needle speaks Sylvan, Common, Infernal, and Elven.

Magic Circle Against Good (Su): This ability continuously duplicates the effect of the spell of the same name. Needle may not suppress this ability.

Spell-like Abilities
At-will: Mage Hand
3/day: Inflict Light Wounds
1/day: Telekinesis, Eagle's Splendor, Animate Dead

Mage-Hand Mastery: Needle is highly adept at using her Mage Hand spell-like ability, and may use the supernatural force generated with the same dexterity as a human would use a pair of hands. This allows her to don her armor without assistance, work door handles, utilize her Profession skill, and a myriad of other conveniences. While the manual dexterity is present, she does not exert enough force to wield a weapon effectively.

Skills: Needle has a +4 racial bonus on Move Silently checks, and a +3 competence bonus on Survival checks in wooded areas (this latter bonus is not factored into the above stat block).

---
Needle possesses three Warlock levels, to represent the power she unwillingly gains from Hextor.

Eldritch Blast (Sp): As a standard action, Needle may focus her power into a ranged touch attack against a target within 60 feet. This deals 2d6 damage on a successful hit and, as per her "Frightful Blast" invocation, forces a DC 21 Will save on the target, else they become Shaken. Additional applications of the Shaken condition may result in higher degrees of fear.

Detect Magic (Sp): Needle may use 'Detect Magic' as the spell at will. Her caster level equals her Warlock class level.

Invocations
Least: Frightful Blast, Beauteous Pallor of the Grave (see below)

New Warlock Invocation

Beauteous Pallor of the Grave
Least; 2nd
You may lay hands upon a corpse, and preserve it as if by a Gentle Repose spell. If used on a corpse animated into Undeath, this provides +4 Turn Resistance, and Resistance to Positive Energy equal to your Charisma modifier. You may only have a number of corpses, undead or otherwise, empowered in this way equal to your Charisma modifier at any given time. If you wish to effect a new corpse, you must dismiss an earlier use, which is a free action.

Needle In Her Jealous Cracked Reflection always maintains an activation of this on herself, not just for the sizable defensive benefits she gains from it, but also to prevent her undead form from decaying, in order to satisfy her vanity.

Tactics

Long before combat arises, Needle likes to maintain her maximum of 16 dice of undead risen by her Animate Dead spell-like ability. If at all possible, she prefers two Large 8HD skeletons. Both for their greater maneuverability over zombies, but also because she finds their appearance a little less revolting. They will be enhanced with her Beauteous Pallor of the Grave invocation, as will she herself.

If there is a moment to spare before battle, Needle will buff herself with Eagle's Splendor, to increase the save DC of her Frightful Blast.

During an actual fight, she prefers to stay out of direct melee at all costs, using her high speed and her Horseshoes of the Zephyr to stay out of range, picking at foes with her Frightful Blast while her undead minions keep them busy.

If truly threatened, she will use her Telekinesis ability to hurl opponents away, before fleeing and patching herself up with Inflict Light Wounds as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Needle is a highly bitter and vengeful creature, and will likely return later if she may muster what she feels is a significant enough force to revenge herself against someone who defeated her in battle.

Amechra
2012-06-18, 01:57 PM
It's simply marvelous, darling.

I love it.

Do the rest of them. Please.

Plus, I now have to find the time to make a PrC that eventually allows you to use Mage Hand as if it were an actual 3rd/4th/5th/6th hand, weapon wielding and ring wearing included.

Xefas
2012-06-19, 02:46 AM
I love it.

Do the rest of them. Please.

Honestly, the only hesitance I have is due to the ponies' appearances. Rarity looks more or less like a stylized version of a D&D unicorn. Applejack could reasonably be a stylized horse of some kind. Pegasi, on the other hand, are rarely rainbow hued or pink+yellow, and so on.


http://i.imgur.com/5CzEn.jpg
Name and picture (slightly cropped) from the works of Rhanite (http://rhanite.deviantart.com/), a deviantARTist deserving of kudos.

When the necromantic armies of the sorceress demigod, Onyx Moon in Undying Night, spread across the land like a ravenous plague, it fell to every able-bodied citizen to take up arms to defend their home. The war was bloody, and costly for both sides, yielding no clear victor. However, unlike the mortal side of the conflict, Onyx Moon needed only to retreat for a time to replenish her forces from the ample dead that the conflict had provided, before returning in her wrath to conquer anew.

Still, not every tale from the war is a dark one. One humble farmer, in particular, armed with a large axe for clearing trees, some piecemeal scraps of armor, and his family's strongest work-horse, became something of an iconic war-hero during his service, appearing in nearly every major battle, and growing from a mere commoner into a decorated knight. As his legend and prowess grew, so did his armaments his axe being reforged time and again, as its form, originally unintended for combat purposes, shattered against the carapace of many undead abominations. At some point along the way, its service as a force of good gave it a magic all its own, and it became known, by war's end, as Grimcleaver a holy relic without peer. His armor, too, added to it a piece of every undead champion's panoply that the paladin slayed, thoroughly cleansed in holy fire, until it became an ashen patchwork memorial to his great deeds. His horse, ever the faithful companion, became elevated above its meager station for its valor, being blessed as a Celestial Steed by the heavens. And, together, horse and rider defended their land with strength and courage.

Unfortunately, even for all the valiant and glorious exploits this pair enacted during their time, there was no happy ending for them. When Onyx Moon in Undying Night returned, the war-hero was ready. He had every preparation, every advantage. He, and several of the greatest champions that the previous war had produced, all rode forth and did battle with the god, laying waste to her forces with ease.

But gods, even lesser ones, are not to be trifled with, and her cunning proved too great for the party. Though she was dealt many grievous wounds in the process, she eventually overwhelmed and smote each hero to the earth. Eternal night fell upon the land, and the sun never rose there again.

To heap blasphemy upon blasphemy, the godling then worked her evil magics upon the dead heroes, to raise them as powerful and intelligent undead champions under her command. The spell worked, and the heroes rose, and knelt to her all except one. The paladin and his mount were saved this final humiliation by the grace of the heavens. His first instinct was to make yet one more last stand against Onyx Moon, but some deeper wisdom prevailed. He knew of his steed's newfound intellect, as per the god's spell, and addressed her giving her a name, his axe, and an instruction. His last moments of unlife were spent buying her a moment's respite, so the horse might flee and carry out her mission-

That of finding a warrior worthy of Grimcleaver, to one day come back and reclaim the cursed lands, and put an end to Onyx Moon. Years later, she who has never spoken the name given to her by her master long consigned to oblivion, but calls herself Fruit of Ghostly Labour's End clings to this quest. The madness of undeath has broken her once righteous mind, and so her process often involves challenging any armed traveler to mortal combat, and commencing regardless of their consent. Their death is merely an inconvenience; one more in a long line of worthless rabble who mean only to waste her time.

Fruit of Ghostly Labour's End
Size/Type: Large Undead
Hit Dice: 6d12 + 3d8 (58hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 50 ft.
Armor Class: 23 (-1 size, +3 Dex, +4 Wis, +4 natural, +3 armor), touch 16, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+13
Attack: Hoof +10 (1d6+5)
Full Attack: 2 Hooves +10 (1d6+5) and bite +4 (1d4+3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Smite Evil, Maneuvers
Special Qualities: Undead Traits, Scent, DR 5/Magic, Acid/Cold/Electricity Resistance 10, Spell Resistance 14, AC Bonus, Quick to Act, Discipline Focus
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +11, Will +12
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 17, Con -, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 12
Skills: Intimidate +13 [12 ranks], Jump +25 [12 ranks], Knowledge (Religion) +6 [6 ranks], Profession (Farmer) +16 [12 ranks]
Feats: Lifebond, Adaptive Style, Martial Stance (Leading the Charge), Martial Study (Iron Heart Surge)
Challenge Rating: 6
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Equipment: Grimcleaver, Masterwork Studded Leather Barding

A Paladin of any variety, but of at least 8th level, may acquire Fruit of Ghostly Labour's End as their Paladin Mount, as long as they do not already possess a special mount from that class, and provided they find a way to acquire her consent (usually by defeating her in single combat, and agreeing to slay Onyx Moon). Treat their effective Paladin level as 3 less for the purposes of the benefits granted to Fruit by their Paladin Mount class feature. For every two levels above 8th, the Paladin may reduce their effective Paladin level for these purposes by another 2. For each time they choose this option, Fruit may gain one level in a character class of her choice to represent her continued advancement.

Grimcleaver is a +1 Undead Bane Greataxe of blackened steel, inlaid with white opals. Due to the circumstances of its creation, it also bears an additional specific quality. It ignores the Damage Reduction of Gods that have Undeath as part of their portfolio and, after dealing damage to one such being, allows all other attacks made against them for 1 minute to also ignore that Damage Reduction. Similarly, it cannot be broken by the spells, abilities, and attacks of a God of Undeath.

Fruit speaks Common.

Celestial: By some stroke of fate, Fruit has maintained the blessings granted to her when she was the mount of a paladin with the "Celestial Mount" feat (Book of Exalted Deeds). It may be that the heavens still have a plan for her, or perhaps not even undeath could wrest such a pure gift away. Regardless, this is the source of her Smite Evil, Energy Resistances, Damage Reduction, and Spell Resistance. As she gains hit dice through whatever means, these statistics may increase likewise.

Smite Evil (Su): Once per day, Fruit may turn one of her melee attacks into a Smite. If the attack is successful, and the target is of an Evil alignment, she deals an additional +9 damage.

---
Fruit possesses three Swordsage levels, to represent the martial prowess she derives from both her past as a warrior-steed and her new supernatural nature.

Quick to Act: Fruit gains a +1 bonus on all initiative rolls.

AC Bonus: While wearing light or no barding, Fruit adds her Wisdom modifier to her armor class.

Discipline Focus: Fruit has the benefits of Weapon Focus for all of the weapons associated with the Tiger Claw discipline. Due to her unique nature, she replaces "Claws" as an associated weapon for Tiger Claw with "Hooves".

Maneuvers:
Known Sudden Leap, Shadow Jaunt, Claw at the Moon, Rabid Wolf Strike, Mountain Hammer, Fire Riposte, Shadow Garrote, Flesh Ripper, Iron Heart Surge
Stances Child of Shadow, Leaping Dragon Stance, Leading the Charge

Tactics

Fruit of Ghostly Labor's End delights in melee combat, tearing foes apart with her teeth and hooves. Her default loadout of readied maneuvers consists of Sudden Leap, Claw at the Moon, Mountain Hammer, Fire Riposte, and Iron Heart Surge. However, if she is dealing with an opponent she believes to lack spellcasting ability (or similar), she may forgo Iron Heart Surge for Flesh Ripper or, in cases where range may become an issure, Shadow Garrote.

Her stance is usually Child of Shadow. However, against a fleeing or ranged opponent, she may switch to Leaping Dragon Stance in order to Sudden Leap at them (a minimum of 35 feet as a swift action), and finish them off with a Full Attack.

In cases where she is facing death that she may not outrun, Fruit has no qualms with using her Adaptive Style feat to swap in Shadow Jaunt and teleport to the other side of an obstacle, such as across a river, chasm, or onto a high ledge. Discretion is the better part of serial murder, and while petty revenge is not beyond her, it never takes precedence over her quest.

Doorhandle
2012-06-19, 04:54 AM
Normally I'm not a pony fan... but these things are AMAZING!

Also, their names sound more in tune with exalted rather than third edition, but that is neither here nor there.

edit: Looked at their origins: it ALL makes sense now. :smalltongue:

Also, there is a kind of weapon called either a mouthpick or mouthgrip weapon, which would allow fruit to wield her blade in her teeth like in the image.

Steward
2012-06-19, 06:22 AM
Quick question -- could a regular paladin have an evil-aligned mount without breaking the, "no associating with evil characters" thing?

Amechra
2012-06-19, 10:02 AM
Hmm... That is a good question...

Eh, it'll work itself out.

And if I remember correctly, Rhanite's pic of Twilight was close enough to what a Dark Unicorn looks like...

Plus, there is always magic to alter coloration... :sneaky:

One additional thing...

When are you going to stat out all your Angel avatars? Seriously, you've had how many Infernal Angel avatars?

Or, hell, just translate Angel's Devil Tiger version to DnD...

Xefas
2012-06-19, 01:25 PM
Quick question -- could a regular paladin have an evil-aligned mount without breaking the, "no associating with evil characters" thing?

I would take that line with a grain of salt. Your intent in the matter should be important. For instance, if associating with evil characters for an extended period of time, for any reason, would cause you to fall, then paladins could never try to redeem evil characters. Never try to lead by example. Never try to make the world a better place, except by murdering everyone they don't like.

So, my advice would be to ignore that bit of conduct, or to interpret it as allowing you to associate with evil characters as long as you're keeping their evil in check, and make some effort at reforming them.

That was my intention of having Fruit of Ghostly Labour's End be available to normal paladins. I think there are two obvious stories to tell here. In one, you're a good paladin - you find this horse, take up her quest, slay a dark god, free a land blighted by darkness, and find that last spark of goodness within her (represented by her maintaining the Celestial template), and use that to, eventually, free her - either by simple willpower - teaching her step by step how to be good again - or by finding some way to return her to life. The second, you're an evil paladin, and you take your doom-steed to go slay a dark god, take up the goddess's reign of terror over this dark land, rule with an iron fist, and slowly corrupt that last spark of goodness until she becomes something truly terrifying and beyond all redemption (maybe replace the Celestial template with Fiendish or even "Corrupted" from the Book of Vile Darkness).



Also, there is a kind of weapon called either a mouthpick or mouthgrip weapon, which would allow fruit to wield her blade in her teeth like in the image.

I could see a paladin who already has a weapon he likes, getting such a item for her - but I doubt those things are exactly common. She probably doesn't know they exist. Plus, I felt "Axe-wielding Horse" may have been a little bit overly gonzo for some people.



And if I remember correctly, Rhanite's pic of Twilight was close enough to what a Dark Unicorn looks like...

Hmmm. I'm not actually sure what book that's in. Are they similar to normal Unicorns, stat-wise?



Or, hell, just translate Angel's Devil Tiger version to DnD...

Do you mean, like, a big monster stat-block? Or a charm-set? I've been working on a Primordial Hero class, but I don't know when I'd post it.

Amechra
2012-06-19, 02:26 PM
Devil-Tiger Angel needs to be an Epic Destiny, man, especially one that can be taken pre-epic (there's a rule that, if the DM is willing, you can get the special stuff for your Epic Destiny at 12th, 15th, 18th, and 20th levels. That rule is awesome.)

Dark Unicorns...

Ah, here they are. Bottom creature. (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/eo/20061219a)

In other words, they aren't a "thing", per se, they are more along the lines of a Unicorn with the Dark template... which coincidentally makes them Purple.

Close enough for you?

Agrippa
2012-06-19, 02:43 PM
I would take that line with a grain of salt. Your intent in the matter should be important. For instance, if associating with evil characters for an extended period of time, for any reason, would cause you to fall, then paladins could never try to redeem evil characters. Never try to lead by example. Never try to make the world a better place, except by murdering everyone they don't like.

So, my advice would be to ignore that bit of conduct, or to interpret it as allowing you to associate with evil characters as long as you're keeping their evil in check, and make some effort at reforming them.

This is kind of funny but the "no association rule" only comes from 3.x. In 1st and 2nd Edition paladins were prohibited from adventuring with evilly aligned characters. Doesn't say that you can try to reform them, that's probably what penitentiaries are used for. Keeping evil, but redemable individuals from harming innocents while still reforming them.

Xefas
2013-04-10, 11:29 PM
http://i.imgur.com/8oMmzzI.jpg
Name and picture (slightly cropped) from the works of Rhanite (http://rhanite.deviantart.com/), a deviantARTist deserving of kudos.


Eachthighern is the benevolent god of Unicorn and Pegasi kind alike. He is an utterly pure symbol of healing, loyalty, and protection, and has many demigod children, who watch over the two races that revere him. His half-divine Pegasi children inherit his horn and, thus, gift for magic, while his Unicorn children inherit wings and a more powerful build.

This tale is of his children, and of his grand-children, who sadly did not inherit their sire's virtue along with his power.

The Queen of Dawn's Blessed Light was the second youngest of Eachthighern's children, mere centuries old when she carved out a kingdom for herself. Using her immense power, she promised protection to all who would kneel to her as subjects, and attracted many sylvan and Unicorn followers in this way, as she continued to demonstrate the force behind her words. Poachers, cultists, adventurers, and other evil things were brought to ruin time and again as they attempted to encroach on her territory. The kingdom seemed itself an unassailable bastion, and its citizens were happy and prosperous under their sorceress-lord.

But, while the Queen was certainly kind to her people, and vigilant in their defense, she loved power too much. She was a demigod, of course, and they? Just mortals. Of course she knew best for them and, so long as they did what she said, and her word was unquestionable, everything would be fine. This was her thinking, and it worked for a time. Right up until her own daughter was born, and began to grow into her maturity.

This young one's name is now lost to time those that knew her and still live cannot remember it, try as they might, and every record has her denomination curiously absent, a blank space left, as if consumed by an ancient shadow. Suffice it to say, she was gifted. Not a god, but gifted. As soon as she could read, she had a thirst for magic, and devoted all of her fierce intellect to the goal of learning as much as she could on the subject, to the neglect of all other things. Alone in the castle library she would sit, not a friend in the world, never speaking to another soul, consumed in formulae and theory. To her kind, she was as good as non-existent a lurking shade rarely noticed, even at the grand celebrations her mother would throw, dragging her out of her gloom to be forcibly joined into the festivities. "Princess? I didn't know the Queen had a daughter..." That was fine; she didn't care.

The Queen cared. And she noticed. And she analyzed. The girl was... unnatural. She felt no love for others. Was her heart secretly full of wickedness? She cared only for books and for magic. She said her fascination was merely academic. But the Queen knew power-lust when she saw it. Over years, this paranoia grew, and so did her daughter's mind. This creature must be up to no good, she thought. She is no threat now, but how many decades will pass until this is no longer true? How long until she surpasses me and makes a bid for the throne?

This continued until, one night, everything came to a head. An argument began over some triviality, and soon transitioned into old bitterness and, eventually to blows until, the Queen, with her godly might, slew her daughter in a moment of thoughtless rage. It might've been possible to use her divine connections and return the girl to life, but the thought of seeing her again of facing her, and admitting what she'd done... and, besides, she might've been plotting something wretched all along ... and, of course, no one would miss her...

The Queen of Dawn's Blessed Light banished her daughter's corpse into the Plane of Shadow, where she was certain none would find it. And none did.

However, the young one's soul could not be at peace, and her magical spark mingled with the darkness of that realm, and gave her an unlife unlike that of any mere ghoul or wraith. She retained her mind or, rather, the portion of it that she cared to. All those unnecessary thoughts; etiquette, friendship, family, emotions, morality they drifted off into the dark, and The Baleful Shimmer of Entropy was left. She wandered for a time, reveling in the solitude of that place until, as the Plane of Shadow often does, she was lead back into the Prime Material Realm, a world she had all but completely forgotten.

There, when she was seen, she was hated, and so she was rarely seen, venturing into civilization only when she required new magical materials to satisfy her curiosity and continue her research. To this day, an especially unlucky traveler may still find the midnight-colored remnants of the once-Princess, lurking about the ruins of old mage towers or sites of magical devastation, seeking to feed her insatiable hunger for mystic lore.

Baleful Shimmer of Entropy
Size/Type: Large Undead (Extraplanar)
Hit Dice: 4d12 + 2d6 (46hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 70 ft.
Armor Class: 21 (-1 size, +1 armor, +5 Dex, +6 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+13
Attack: Horn +8 (1d8+9)
Full Attack: Horn +8 (1d8+9) and 2 hooves +3 (1d4+3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Spell-like Abilities, Infusions
Special Qualities: Undead Traits, Scent, Mage-Hand Mastery, Hide in Plain Sight, Cold Resistance 10, Artificer Abilities
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +6, Will +14
Abilities: Str 22, Dex 20, Con -, Int 29, Wis 25, Cha 8
Skills: Appraise +18, Jump +23, Hide +18, Knowledge (Arcana) +19, Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) +10, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +10, Knowledge (Geography) +10, Knowledge (History) +13, Knowledge (Local) +10, Knowledge (Nature) +17, Knowledge (Nobility) +10, Knowledge (Religion) +12, Knowledge (The Planes) +17, Listen +14, Move Silently +28, Search +10, Sense Motive +11, Spellcraft +18, Spot +14, Survival +12, Tumble +11, Use Magic Device +16
Feats: Education (Arcana + Nature), Skill Focus (Use Magic Device), Exceptional Artisan
Challenge Rating: 5
Alignment: True Neutral
Equipment: Robes of Caliginous Esoterica*, Scrolls (See Craft Reserve)

*These Robes grant a +1 enhancement bonus to armor class (as a +1 set of clothing), in addition to a +5 competence bonus to Hide, Move Silently, and Use Magic Device checks. While they are currently sized and stitched for an equine form, they're much more loose and easily modified than say, armor, would be. It wouldn't take a lot of time or ranks in Profession/Craft (Tailoring) to refit them for a more standard humanoid; enchantments intact.

A Paladin of at least 8th level, with an arcane-themed alternate class feature such as Divine Counterspell (Complete Mage) or Mystic Fire Knight (Champions of Valor), or 6 ranks in both Knowledge (Arcana) and Spellcraft, may acquire Baleful Shimmer of Entropy as their Paladin Mount, as long as they do not already posses a special mount from that class, and provided they find a way to convince Shimmer to consent. Treat their effective Paladin level as 3 less for the purposes of the benefits granted to Shimmer by their Paladin Mount class feature. For every two levels above 8th, the Paladin may reduce their effective Paladin level for these purposes by another 2. For each time they choose this option, Shimmer may gain one level in a character class of her choice to represent her continued advancement.

Shimmer's horn, defiled and corrupted as it is, can be used as a special component in the creation of a magical item, once acquired from her corpse, so long as the item's power lends itself to darkness, obfuscation, learning, intellect, or the creation or preservation of the written word. If used in such a way, it covers 2000 gold pieces in material cost, and 100xp usually expended by the caster.

Shimmer speaks Sylvan, Common, Draconic, Illumian, Celestial, Infernal, Terran, Treant, Modron, and Giant. In particular, she prefers to speak in Modron, as there exist no dialects, idioms, or colloquialisms for it, with every concept matched to a single word, and each word matched to a single concept, leaving very little room for misunderstanding. Unfortunately, it is a highly rare and difficult to learn language, so she has few chances to do so. A potential paladin could earn some favor with her by committing themselves to learning it. When Modron isn't practical, she settles for Draconic, for its association with the arcane. If that won't do, she moves on to Celestial, for its historical significance in the foundation of language itself, though its diversity irks her a bit. Illumian is a step up from Common, at least. And, Common, well, she considered anyone who can only speak Common to be quite the bore (and possibly a boar as well, damned homophones). Most of all, she disdains Sylvan, the words of her forsaken people.

Magical Circle Against Disjunction (Su): Allies, and their equipment, within 10ft of Shimmer, gain a +2 resistance bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities. In addition, spell effects and magical items in the area, belonging to allies, add 2 to their effective caster level to resist being dispelled or suppressed, such as by Dispel Magic.

Spell-like Abilities
At-will: Mage Hand
3/day: Identify
1/day: Telekinesis, Fox's Cunning, Dimension Door

Mage-Hand Mastery: Shimmer is highly adept at using her Mage Hand spell-like ability, and may use the supernatural force generated with the same dexterity as a human would use a pair of hands. This allows her to cloth herself, work door handles, flip through arcane tomes, and a myriad of other conveniences. While the manual dexterity is present, she does not exert enough force to wield a weapon effectively.

Hide in Plain Sight: Thanks to her spirit being steeped in the energies of the Plane of Shadow, Shimmer may use the Hide skill even while being observed; simply melting into the darkness at the corners of one's vision. She is robbed of this power in the presence of natural sunlight, the area of a daylight spell, or similar effects.

Skills: Shimmer gains a +8 racial bonus on Hide checks, and a +10 racial bonus on Move Silently checks, as well as a +3 racial bonus on Survival checks in wooded areas.

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Shimmer possesses two Artificer levels, to represent her study of arcane forces. She also has the "Dark" template (Tome of Magic), which provides her odd coloration, as well as her excellent stealth capabilities. Because of her transformation, her "home plane" is no longer the Prime Material, but rather the Plane of Shadow, rendering her an Extraplanar creature anywhere else.

Infusions: Shimmer may prepare a total of six 1st level infusions per day. Without any inclinations as to the trials she might face on a particular day, a generic loadout for her might be: Lesser Armor Enhancement, Magic Weapon, Shield of Faith, Skill Enhancement (x2), and Personal Weapon Augmentation.

Craft Reserve: Shimmer has used up all 40 points of her level 2 Artificer craft reserve, prior to her being met. While she has the capability to brew potions, she much prefers scribing scrolls. One can assume Shimmer has something like the following scrolls on her person when met.
0th level, CL 1 - Amanuensis (x2) (SC)
1st level, CL 1 - Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Detect Secret Doors, Disguise Self, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Mage Armor, Obscuring Mist, Protection from Good, Shield, Silent Image, Spontaneous Search (SC), Unseen Servant, Ventriloquism
1st level, CL 2 - Grease
2nd level, CL 2 - Arcane Turmoil (CM), Desecrate, Gust of Wind, Heart of Air (CM)

Tactics

Baleful Shimmer of Entropy does not seek out combat, nor does she enjoy it, avoiding even those opponents that would be easily defeated. If she cannot simply bypass them with her stealthy skills, she will flee violence, via her Dimension Door spell like ability, or one of her scrolls designed for that purpose (Expeditious Retreat, Heart of Air, etc). Failing that, she will try to communicate, offering some of her vast and varied knowledge in exchange for solitude, possibly augmenting her parley with her Charm Person scroll or, if it is the only thing that will avoid a conflict, barter one or more of her scrolls.

If pressed for combat, she fights defensively. If she anticipates an unavoidable confrontation, she will use her weapon infusions to turn her mundane horseshoes into +1 Defending Horseshoes, and augment her armor with whatever property seems like it will be the most useful for the situation. In the thick of battle, she lacks any bloodlust, prioritizing survival far more than damage.

If harmed, and given the chance to surrender, she will do so, using her powerful intellect to assess the best opportunity to flee or otherwise obtain her freedom, and take it. She does not hold grudges, and will not seek revenge. Though, if the optimal path to freedom involves crushing her captors' windpipes in their helpless sleep, she won't hesitate to do so. Cold-blooded murder is much easier for her to accept than the heat of a real fight.

Amechra
2013-04-11, 12:12 AM
You... you're BACK!

All sing praise!

I like her; the fluff is great, and I can see taking her as a mount.

Xefas
2013-04-11, 03:21 AM
All sing praise!


Now, this is going to seem unrelated. But it's actually laying the foundation for another entry. I've had to get creative with templates to get the odd colors of the last three.

So, here's an iteration of the God-blooded template from the Monster Manual 5.

Peryroyl-Blooded (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheela_Peryroyl)

"Peryroyl-Blooded" is an acquired template that can be added to any intelligent non-evil creature. When a person takes up the task of protecting the natural world in and around a halfling settlement, not through dedication to a deity, not through obligation or contract, not for the protection of friends or family, and not through any conscious oath or decision, they might be visited by the Green Sister.

The Goddess, Sheela Peryroyl, is aloof and impartial, and rewards those who enter her service by pure intuition and happenstance, doing what is right and noble without even realizing they are doing it. With her right hand, she weaves beautiful and fragrant flowers into the prospective servant's hair, and with her left, she weaves wickedly thorned brambles amongst the flowers. Quietly, she departs, flowing into the earth and sky without a word spoken.

Peryroyl bears no grudge if the steward discards the laurel. However, if they continue about their normal life, wearing the token as they work, eat, sleep, and play, then, the moment that they forget about it - forget the painful pricks of the thorns, forget the pleasing scent of the flowers - in favor of continuing about their normal, honest existence as they must, thinking no greater about themselves than they did previously, the laurel dissolves into their flesh. Their hair and skin shimmer and shift, changing to match the colors of flowers native to the region the steward is protecting, and they become Peryroyl-Blooded.

Special Actions

Peryroyl's Weal (Su): Once per day, a Peryroyl-Blooded can call upon the undirected pleasure of the Green Sister. She, and all creatures within 10 feet, friend or foe, are blessed with vitality for a number of rounds equal to the God-Blooded's character level. While blessed, they recover 1 hit point at the beginning of their turn. At the end of this blessing, they become nourished for 24 hours as if they were eating and drinking plentifully throughout the day. When this ability is activated, wilted plants within the area are revitalized and barren ground sprouts hardy scrub brush.

Peryroyl's Woe (Su): Once per day, a Peryroyl-Blooded can call upon the undirected displeasure of the Green Sister. She, and all creatures within 10 feet, friend or foe, must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 character level + highest mental ability modifier) or be Sickened for a number of rounds equal to the God-Blooded's character level. At the end of a character's period of sickness, they feel as if they haven't eaten all day, having had a portion of the nourishment in their body obliterated from them. When this ability is activated, plants within the area begin to wilt, healthy soil dries and cracks, and food loses its flavor.

Special Qualities

Divine Endurance: All God-blooded possess Damage Reduction 5/Magic.

Right of Hospitality: As an adopted son or daughter of Sheela Peryroyl, one of her God-Blooded may ask of any Halfling that acknowledges the Halfling Pantheon, or any member therein, for their hospitality, at the same time as they confide that they are, indeed, a Green Son or Green Daughter. If the Halfling accepts, the following rules must be adhered to for 24 hours.

On the part of the host: They must supply the God-blooded with shelter equivalent in quality to that which the host is usually accustomed. They must supply the God-blooded with a portion of food equal to their own at meal times. They must not harm, nor plot to do harm, nor aid in the actions of another to do harm, nor reveal their location to one who intends to do harm towards the God-blooded.

On the part of the god-blooded: They must treat their host with respect and courtesy. Should their host, or their host's property, or their host's family within the premises of the host's property, be harmed by their unintended actions or the actions of their companions, they must offer appropriate restitution (including defending the host's house should it be under attack by outsiders). They must not directly harm, or plot to do harm, nor aid in the actions of another to do harm, nor reveal their location to one who intends to do harm towards their host.

Should the Host comply, and fulfill their obligation, they and their immediate family need not fear starvation or thirst for a full year, as they become incapable of dying from such (though discomfort is not prevented). Should the Host decline, or break their agreement, they immediately become sickened and starved just as if they had failed a Fortitude save against Peryroyl's Woe (see above).

Should the God-blooded break their agreement, they lose this ability for a full year, they lose the other benefits of this template for a full day, and they become sickened and starved just as if they had failed a Fortitude save against Peryroyl's Woe.

A particular family of Halflings is only obligated to provide hospitality to a given Peryroyl-Blooded one day per year, with their obligation renewing itself on the day of the Spring Equinox (Halflings raised in a community that worships the standard Halfling Pantheon would know this with only a DC 10 Knowledge (Religion) check or a single rank in Knowledge (Religion)).

Level Adjustment: +1

Debihuman
2013-04-11, 08:31 PM
These are excellent. About the only thing I'd say is Size and Type is missing information. Needle is a Large Undead Unicorn, Warlock 3 and Shimmer is a Large Dark Undead Unicorn (Extraplanar), Artificer 2. Shimmer's environment should be Plane of Shadow as per the Dark Template.

What base creature is Fruit? I can't figure out how you got 6 racial HD for her.

Debby

Amechra
2013-04-11, 08:54 PM
Fruit has 3 Swordsage levels and I think is a Heavy Horse with some extras.

Xefas
2013-04-11, 09:27 PM
These are excellent.

Glad you like them! Hush After Carrion Wings is on the way.


About the only thing I'd say is Size and Type is missing information. Needle is a Large Undead Unicorn, Warlock 3 and Shimmer is a Large Dark Undead Unicorn (Extraplanar), Artificer 2. Shimmer's environment should be Plane of Shadow as per the Dark Template.


This was an intentional decision on my part. Maybe its just because I've spent years looking at D&D builds, y'know- Human Bard/Blahblah/Sublime Chord/BlahBlah, Strongheart Halfling Wizard/Master Specialist/Incantrix/Blahblah/Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil, etc, etc. - but when I see those kinds of blocks of data, I stop looking at the character as a fictional entity, and more as a spreadsheet of capabilities. The statblock doesn't do that for me for whatever reason; just the [Race] [Class] [Level] / [Class] [Level] / [Class] [Level] thing. I look at those and go 'Oh, so his gimmick must be XYZ!'.

It's a problem I also have while watching most Superhero media. Any time a new character is introduced, I'm just wondering 'What's his gimmick?', or referring to Superboy as "Generic Brick" and Kid Flash as "Generic Speedster", rather than any of their personality traits or unique qualities.
I want each mount to give the impression of an individual. The Baleful Shimmer of Entropy should be 'A fallen unicorn corrupted by magic and broken by death', not 'A Unicorn with the Dark Template and Two Levels of Artificer'. And, maybe most people can totally separate those two things and be fine. Maybe I'm just weird. But I have trouble with that, so I noted the parts of their mechanical chassis later in their entry. Quite intentionally.

Really, the main reason I included classes and templates and such, as opposed to just writing a whole creature entry whole-cloth based on the fluff, was because Paladin Mounts are built to be advanced in play alongside the Paladin. Short of writing a whole unique pseudo-class for each one, the only way to precipitate such a thing was to give them a class that could be easily advanced by a potential player (and, hopefully, one that could, even at a low level, provide some manner of utility to a higher level paladin). Either that, or leave them to be advanced by hit dice via the Paladin's Special Mount class feature scaling dealy... which is boring!

(The other reason being that applying constraints makes the homebrewing more fun sometimes.)



What base creature is Fruit? I can't figure out how you got 6 racial HD for her.

I believe she's just been advanced two hit dice from a Heavy Warhorse. I made her almost a year ago, so I might be forgetting something, but I'm pretty sure they're just advanced hit dice.

Debihuman
2013-04-12, 12:22 AM
Fruit would be Large Celestial Undead Warhorse, Swordsage 3. It should be noted that Fruit has also kept 2 bonus HD from when she was a paladin's mount. It just took me a while to figure it out too. :smallamused:

I can see why you don't like the pigeonholing with names, but it doesn't actually constrain what you do with the creatures. "Corrupting by magic" just lets you break the rules in a way that gives other DMs a chance to understand how and what you've done.

Making a change on purpose is different from making a mistake. If something's off about a stat block, it helps to know whether it's an error or on purpose. If it's an error, it should be corrected; but if it's on purpose then I know to keep it regardless of whether it looks wrong or not. This is sometimes hard to figure out when playing with another DM's homebrew. In your case, having all the rules in place actually makes this rather easy.

I've been editing and proofing stat blocks for so long that it's refreshing to see the rules tweaked on purpose. Even experienced DMs aren't always good at it. Bravo on doing it so well.

Debby