View Full Version : [MitP2] The Shardfiend Template (PEACH)

2007-05-30, 11:16 PM
My first attempt. I stole Fax's format. As always any critiques or advice are welcome.

Announcement: With polls disabled, votes should be posted in the threads themselves or PMed to myself and Fax. Format your votes like this so that it will be easier to pick them out from the rest of your post: MitP Vote: Yes or MitP Vote: No. Thank you.

When their mage's spell misfired the Order of the Six expected, at worst, to end up in a pigsty in some god forsaken backwater. Finding themselves in the depths of the abyss came as something of a surprise. After days of constant battle they at last spotted something comforting: The unmistakable form of a solar silouhetted against the bloody horizon. The weary group called out a greeting and the creature turned, revealing not the anticipated beauty of a celestial but the broken and horrible visage of a fiend. The group's relief turned to horror and, as the angel called back a response in the thunderous voice of the heavens, it grinned at the party. Then, still grinning, it charged...

"Must have been an illusion." the fighter grumbled, commenting on the mage's quickly cast shout reducing the creature to dust. "Maybe a construct. I've seen a lot down here, but an evil solar is too much, even for this place. Tellin' ya m-" The fighter froze, staring intently at the cloud of debris that by now should have settled, but hadn't. "Should those remains be moving against the wind?"

Shardfiends are the vile byproducts of the constant collapse and rebirth of the infinite planes of the Abyss. They appear as the base creature, but as though the base creature were shattered and then reconstructed from jagged framents of mirrored glass. A Shardfiend's form constantly shifts, piece grinding against piece, endlessly, and futily, trying to fit together cleanly. There is a chance of a shardfiend being created any time a creature of more than one hit dice is present during the collapse of an Abyssal plane or demi-plane.

Creating a Shardfiend
Shardfiend is an aquired template that can be applied to any living creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

Size and Type
The creature’s type changes to Outsider, and it acquires the (Chaotic and Evil) subtypes. It uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Hit Dice
The base creature's racial hit dice (if any) become d8s.

Armor Class
The base creature receives a penalty to its armor class according to its size. A Small creature receives a -2 brittleness penalty to its natural armor class. Similarly, Medium receives a -3, Large a -4, Huge a -5, Gargantuan a -6, and Colossal and larger a -8.

The base creature retains all natural weapons and weapon proficiencies. The shardfiend's base attack bonus is as an outsider of the same hit dice.

Natural attacks used by the base creature are considered magic and evil for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction. Additionally all natural attacks do an additional 2d6 slashing damage (as per jagged form below). This damage is considered evil for the purposes of bypassing damage reduction.

Special Attacks
The base creature retains all special attacks.

Special Qualities
The base creature retains all previous special qualities and gains the following:

Demon Traits(Ex)
Immunity to electricity and poison.
Resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and fire 10.

Unstable Flesh(Ex)
Any time the shardfiend takes damage, including from this ability, there is a chance that a part of its body will break away with explosive force, dealing 1d8 damage to a random target. Roll a d4 to determine the landing point of the shard.

1| shard flies off harmlessly
2-3| shard hits the cause of the damage
4| shard hits the shardfiend itself, triggering this ability again

Any time the Shardfiend takes more than 1/5 of its remaining hitpoints in damage in a single round, or more than 5 points of sonic damage regardless of HP, it must make a save as though against death by massive damage. If it fails this save it is immediatly transformed into a shard swarm.

Shard swarm(Ex)
Anytime the Shardfiend fails a save that would lead to its death, it loses the ability to maintain its form and is reduced to a seething cloud of countless sentient motes of the abyss. These motes fill a 5 by 5 square for every three hit dice of the base creature remaining, round up, and behave as a swarm of fine demons, each a tiny replica of the base creature. Any creature within the swarm takes 2d12 damage every round.

Being in this form is torturous to the shardfiend, as different parts of his own will vie for control of the swarm. Each round it will attempt to return to its normal, assembled form. Doing so requires it to kill a number of creatures whose combined hit dice equal the shardfiends total hit dice. Once it has reached this number, the shardfiend reverts to its normal form, at full hit points, as a free action. It may choose to manifest in any square it currently occupies.

Though able to act intellegently in this form, the terrible pain of dispersal causes it to lash out at nearby characters regardless of whether or not they are friend or foe. It is also prevents the use of any spells or spell like abilities it may normally posess and immediatly ends any mind effect currently targeting the shardfiend.

A shardfiend's saving throws change to that of an outsider of the same hit dice.

The base creature modifies its ability scores as follows: +6 Str, -2 Con, -2 Wis

The base creature does not receive any bonus skills.

Feats and Spells
The base creature retains all feats and spellcasting ability.

Always Chaotic Evil

As outsider, plus effects of the template. Alternatively, by class, if the base creature advanced by class, plus the effects of the template.

1-6 HD +1;
7-12 HD +2;
13-18 HD +3;
19+ HD +4


Greater Shardfiend

Greater shardfiends are rare even in the endless abyss. No one is quite sure how they are created, whether they reprsent a development of the normal shardfiend over time, the corruption of some particularly powerful, or unlucky creature, or the influence of dark magic. Some even suggest that, despite the similarities between the two creatures, there may exist no connection at all.

Greater shardfiends gain all the traits of lesser shardfiends. They also gain the following two additional special abilities. At each stage, their CR is increased by an additional +2 on top of the increase the shardfiend template normally causes.

Jagged Form(Ex)
The roiling fragments that make up the horrible form of the greater shardfiend wreak havoc on nearby flesh. Any creature that touches a greater shardfiend takes 2d6 damage per round. Any creature involved in a grapple takes 4d6 damage per round. This damage is considered evil for the purposes of bypassing damage reduction.

Horrible Binding(Ex)
Sometimes the desperate effort to regain some semblence of stability leads the dispersed form to try something truly drastic. If a creature has been within a greater shardfiend's swarm continuously for more then 5 rounds the dispersed demon automatically attempts to bind to that creature. the creature makes a FORT save at DC 16 + 2 for each 5 ft square the shardfiend currently occupies. during this round the swarm is considered to only occupy that single square.

If they fail the save, the swarm covers every part of the target creature, inside and out. For 1d6+1 rounds the greater shardfiend is able to retain control of the creature, behaving as though polymorphed into a creature of that type. At the end of that time the shardfiend loses control of the target creature reverting to its swarm state and killing the creature, leaving no remains. Even If the save is made the creature takes double the normal damage for being within the swarm. Whether successful or unsuccessful this can not be attempted again for 10 rounds.

Any shardfiend that successfully binds a creature becomes stable enough that they momentarily regain their previous alignment. Any Non Evil creature doing so is immediatly rendered catatonic and considered helpless.

2007-05-30, 11:34 PM
I vote yes for this, although I haven't read it incredibly carefully.
MAY want to give a type to the AC reduction... I also note that it can self-destruct easily if you get lucky with that first '4' which is a nice hook...

2007-05-30, 11:39 PM
I vote yes for this, although I haven't read it incredibly carefully.
MAY want to give a type to the AC reduction... I also note that it can self-destruct easily if you get lucky with that first '4' which is a nice hook...

Glad you liked it, and that's precisely the hook I was going for. What kind of type would you suggest for the AC?

[by the way, I love the Empty Skin.]

2007-05-30, 11:54 PM
"Fragility" AC penalty? Just as long as it isn't called 'size' you are avoiding a lot of confusion while making plain that it stacks with everything.

[Did you send in a vote for it?]

2007-05-31, 12:00 AM
went with brittleness. Didn't realize I could make them up.

[i didn't realize it was for the competition the first time around. I just add the vote to the end of the thread yea?]

2007-05-31, 10:26 AM
Let's call this the not two in the morning bump.

2007-05-31, 03:14 PM
Beginning to think CR might be too low. Is it possible to have a CR that shifts based on the number of HD of the base creature? Is that just adding more complexity to something that is already too complex.

2007-05-31, 08:38 PM
Yikes. death by abstension.

2007-05-31, 09:02 PM
Beginning to think CR might be too low. Is it possible to have a CR that shifts based on the number of HD of the base creature? Is that just adding more complexity to something that is already too complex.

I think you will find that the half-celestial, half-fiend, celestial, and fiendish templates all include such.

As for 'death by abstention'... yeah, tell me about it. I hope it is just going slow until Lord Iames updates the list, and/or polls are re-instated, but it is hard to say.

2007-06-01, 09:39 AM
I'm likeing the look of this, I think yuo should do a HD varient CR adjust, My vote is Yes. This looks realy good

2007-06-01, 10:45 AM
Inventive. I give it my vote.

2007-06-01, 02:08 PM
Should I take the lack of critique by the world's wisest draught beverage as a sign of failure on my part?

2007-06-01, 04:15 PM
My gut instinct is that you should not take it as a sign of failure.

2007-06-02, 10:33 PM
It's just hard to comment because the template is so complicated. It's got what, 6 special qualities, 5 of which (all except demonic traits) are completely unique, all of which have multiple sophisticated effects (not straightforward stuff like "Immune to bludgeoning"), and that doesn't include stuff like the brittleness AC penalty. If people are passing on commenting, it's not because they aren't interested, it's because it's hard to know what to think.

2007-06-02, 11:28 PM
Thanks Surly. I always seem to have that problem. (If you think this is overly complicated, look at the daoist (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45573).) I've tried to address it, at least cosmetically, by breaking the template into two parts and adding a chart for easier viewing. The Shadfiend now represents the original idea for the class, while the greater shardfiend includes the abilities that I added later to make the template more interesting/powerful. I know this really doesn't reduce the overall complexity of the post, but maybe it will help.

Do you think there's stuff that can or should be cut? Please let me know.

Thanks for the response.

2007-06-03, 12:51 AM
There is no substitute for playtesting, and the weirder and more complex the thing gets the more this will be true. Don't reduce an intricate sculpture to a bare skeleton just for the sake of being able to tell how it is balanced just by looking at it... if you have created something so wonderous that its implications can only be measured by field trials, then field trials it should be!

2007-06-06, 10:05 AM
In honor of the debates, bumping in the hopes of further refinement/voting opportunities. (also, I just learned what PEACH means and changes the title)

Dracodei: Considered what you said, but decided to stick with basic and greater. You're right that complexity is a poor reason to take something unique and make it generic, but breaking it apart as above lets it be examined piece by piece while also preserving the original creature in the former of the greater template. Nothing is lost, but something is gained.

2007-06-06, 11:09 AM
It's a very good creature model, you can count with my vote.

One question, the demon traits you say it gets, it's Tanar'ri traits you mean right? because not all demons get these traits.

Btw, what does PEACH means?

2007-06-06, 11:20 AM
Thanks, glad you liked it.

As for the demon traits, Basically my only resource at this point is D20 SRD. I remember it being Tanari traits in the MM, but not having access to it I went with what it says on d20. (these guys might actually be better fit by the MM2 alternate demon template, but I honeslty remember almost none of that and loaned that book into oblivion years ago) It should be whatever traits the Tanari have, since there's no difference between that and "demon traits" right? As a side note, before I checked on d20, I had a line specifically mentioning that they can't summon other demonds. The summoning ability is common to tanari, but sperate from their traits, correct?

PEACH, as I learned from Vorpal Tribble's sig on the Wizard boards, stands for Please Examine And Critique Honestly. I had previously thought it was some wierd alternate rule set that certain monsters were designed to fit. (that sig and a search also led me to this (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=543861))
EDIT: I should add as well that Vorpal Tribble's avatar on the wiz bords is actually quite terrifying, much more in keeping with the twisted nature of many of his proposals than the somewhat incongrously cartoonish avatar on these boards.

Lord Iames Osari
2007-06-07, 08:56 AM
Outsider type grants d8 Hit Dice, so I'd advise changing that. If you really, really, really want them to have low HP, give them a bigger penalty to Con or something.

Overall this seems fairly solid. I'm withholding my vote until you get back to me about the HD.

2007-06-07, 12:43 PM
Outsider type grants d8 Hit Dice, so I'd advise changing that. If you really, really, really want them to have low HP, give them a bigger penalty to Con or something.

Overall this seems fairly solid. I'm withholding my vote until you get back to me about the HD.

Had to think about this one for a while actually. Decided to change it because maximized d4s is really the same, meaning all that using d4s does is add a needless complexity that can only serve to increase confusion.

Lord Iames Osari
2007-06-07, 03:16 PM
Then congrats, you are the proud recipient of a MitP Vote: Yes.

2007-06-11, 02:04 AM
Looks a bit low LA to me, but I know little about templates. I love the idea, very cool, and good flavor text. Considering everyone else here thinks that it's balanced, I'll put in my Mitp vote: yes.

2007-06-15, 05:28 PM
Looks okay to me.

MitP Vote: Yes

2007-06-18, 01:56 PM
a "so close but yet so far" bump.

2007-06-27, 11:49 PM
MitP Vote: Yes

2007-06-30, 08:48 AM
Cool stuff. Mitp: Yes