The Gargoyle: more than a roof top decoration (multiple variants included)
Gargoyles have a rich history in out world- they decorate many religious establishments, and also some other grand statues. they have often been considered as either watchers/ sentinels or guardians of the structure they decorated, said to wake if a time of need calls them to. many were grafted to the images of devils, angles, and other creatures, representing the supernatural protectors.
DnD tried to draw inspiration from that, but as with many monsters- did that poorly. the gargoyle have been through several transformations through the DnD editions but it always failed to really, um, lift of the ground. i hope this thread will help rectify this, to a small extent at least.
the inspiration for the thread came from many places. (i never said i had utterly original ideas): from years of playing, from reading a bit about history, from Terry Pratchet's books, from the Notredame disney movie, and probably more that i can't think of. still, i hope i gave it all a more "DnD appropriate" feel, and made it more "game worthy".
Bad street Rep: first, Gargoyles are a one shtick monster- pretends to be statue, and then it attacks. the DR/ magic is supposed to make it "magical"... c'mon! this makes it even more boring than many common animals or beasts who lack any real tactic.
second- not only does it have one shtick, but it's a really, relaly bad one: most group finding statues will think of one of 4 possible threats immediately: traps, petrifying monsters, animated objects, or gargoyles. now, if you see the statue looks like a gargoyle (since in DnD it has only one form), most will immediately hack it, not waiting to see if it moves or not. the "freeze" ability is utterly ridiculous. so, this leaves the gargoyle as a boring, and a not very succesful encounter, which is why most DM just forget about it all together.
i care for it because: gargoyles have a rich history, and a strong connections to religions, which offered an interesting venue to explore. according to 1st edition, as well as Earth myths, they are crafted, but posses their own intelligence and driving force. the gargoyles seemed to exist in borders, so to speak: on the borders of the church perimeter, the border between being alive and not, the border between taken seriously and not, the border between divine and just stone, the border between disciples of the church, and the church itself. they were intriguing to say the least...
in turning this to DnD, where such things as gods, constructs, devils and angels existed, i thought the gargoyle could be made into much, much more than "statue leaps at you. grrrr!"
and now presenting to you, the new and improved gargoyle:
Perceptions and Concept
- perception: the changes i have made in the gargoyle all lead to it new roles in the game. the gargoyle is now a construct, with the living subtype. they were originally made creatures, but their intelligence have allowed them to break out as an independent "species" (as far as this term can be applied). this fundamental change is crucial to it's interactions in the world, and also explains part of their unique outlook. moreover, it means there are many, many forms and types of gargoyles, other than the most common ones. (it's not a template though)
the gargoyles were originally created to perform as sentinels, guardians, and protectors. this aspect of their character have prevailed to this day, and dictates much of the gargoyles personality and place in the environment. nearly all gargoyles watch or protect a place, in some way or another. they have developed certain powers to enhance their capabilities in this role. chief amongst these powers, are their abilities to "fade out" and their rebuilding powers (both will be discussed). the first enables them to divert the mind of whomever observes them, looks for them, and so on (this replaces the freeze, making the "statue surprises and attack" schtick far more viable, with added twists). the second enables them to survive after being destroyed, leading to far more extreme battle tactics, similar to fanaticism.
the last major change of role for the gargoyles, is with it's interactions. no more is it but a lonely predator with an odd method of stalking- the gargoyle has a strong connection to religions, history, architecture, and some even say the planes. gargoyles are not "just another monster", and interact with many different creatures based on their own character and the situation.
- concept: we shall begin with the theorized origins of Gargoyles: records show that several times through history, advanced cultures have created, or recreated gargoyles. dissatisfied with the constructs and golems, which were usually mindless and simple. crafters and various artificers (i do not mean the class) of old tried to create an intelligent construct, but have often failed.
it was divine magic rather than arcane that did the trick. priests channeled a massive amount of positive energy of an unknown quality, that both animated the various designated stone bodies, and imbued them with some sort of a core intelligence. the source of this intelligence was unclear at first, but soon enough the gargoyles themselves began to provide clues- they began to modify and sculpt their bodies to the memory of shapes and motifs in their mind- the faces usually became demonic, delivish or angelic. strange runes and writings appeared on the "skin", many of the symbols resembling languages of the outsiders planes. and nearly all gargoyles sprouted stone wings, of some sort or another (usually feathery or leathery looking). needless to say, this caused much speculation in the various religions...
but other than to peek the priests curiosity, the origins of the gargoyles intelligence seemed of little significance- these were independent thinkers, with minds, motivations, and interests of their own. many of them proved far more valuable than the older golems, being capable to reason, and carry out complex tasks. however, this intelligence proved to be a hindrance to the crafters as well- the gargoyles could not be so easily controlled and commanded as the older constructs were. many of them refused tasks, circumvented them, or even rebelled or ran away. though many gargoyles came to understandings with the various temples and other organizations, many also spread far and wide, finding new niches, new alliances, and new places to protect and guard.
many types and forms of gargoyles were created (usually by different species, religions, and so on), but some things are common to all gargoyles. (some of this will be discussed more broadly in the game mechanics part):
- living constructs: Gargoyles are made beings, like other constructs, they need not sleep, eat, they do not age and more. they do posses intelligence, constitution score and more. they are also capable of learning and improving themselves, by taking character levels.
- a gargoyle is a connection between the stone form, and the positive energy intelligence inside. the energy can expand and recede in the form, leading to three states of body and awareness- the stone sentinel, the half awakened gargoyle and the fully awakened one.
- the gargoyles posses a unique ability called "fade out" . this ability is active as long as the gargoyle remains motionless (in any of it's states). it affects the mind of whomever becomes aware of the gargoyle's presence, whether by just spotting it, seeing it, scrying upon it and so... if causes the subject to disregard/ overlook/ forget about the existence of the gargoyle, even if actively looking for it. this is a strong mind affecting effect, and an integral part of the gargoyle's essence. it does not need be aware of any potential targets, and is not aware that this power affects anyone as well. some theorize this power developed to protect the gargoyles from persecution, while other think it developed to help it in it's protective duties (how can you be sure there is nor gargoyle in this room? you might just be overlooking it, while it stares you right in the face). this power works well even against common divinations such as detect invisibility (it's not invisible, you just don't really "want to" see it), scrying, and more. some strong willed individuals are capable of noticing gargoyles while still, but most of the population doesn't (high will D). as soon as the gargoyles moves however, this effect is broken.
- positive energy link: gargoyles, being partly made of vivid positive energy, can draw upon other sources of it. this power can both hinder or help channelers of positive energy, and makes the gargoyles valuable allies or enemies to such individuals.
- Rebuilding: one of the best kept secrets of the gargoyles, and one of the reason they sometime seem so fierce. gargoyles in battle can often seem careless, without much regard to their personal well being. many times they make use of suicidal tactics to bring down formidable foes. the truth is that though much of the Gargoyle's body may be destroyed, even beyond recognition, the positive energy spirit within can rebuild it, if there are the right conditions. if these conditions are not present, (such as in the case of most roaming gargoyles and feral ones) the gargoyle acts far more cautiously.
- alter worked stone: this power works like Stoneshape, only it can work only on worked stone, and it takes it a long time to work... gargoyles everywhere slowly and methodically alter their surroundings- carvings new statues, making glyphs, writing and runes, and in the case of the more industrious gargoyles living in perilous places- traps. this power takes days, if not weeks or months to show it's effects though.
- Tongues: a gargoyle cannot speak, but it understand all languages. it communicates either by signals, actions, or scribbling on the earth/ walls. there are more complex forms of communication but that will be dealt with later.
- guardian powers: as part of their role, each gargoyle usually posses one or two powers that enhance its capabilities. these usually take the form of a constantly active divination spell/ sensory amplification, but at times have other applications. gargoyles can change these powers to different ones in order to fit their new purpose or role, but this too takes days, weeks, or months.
but these are all general characteristics, they give some insights into the gargoyles and their behavior, but for an in depth look, lets move on to the next section.
Place and Interactions
- Place in the world: Gargoyles posses a difficult mind to understand by most people. their interests seem partly connected to those of the intelligent species, but partly not. this might be to the origins of their mind- Gargoyles seem to be listening to some sort of hidden cross-planes-frequency, that no one else can hear. many of the priests, mages or others who tried to deal with them, found out that not only did gargoyles give their own interpretations to the communication, but they also came to entirely weird or insubstantial conclusions, which seemed to rely on all kind of information whose origins could not be confirmed..
another odd (if at times useful) behavior aspect of the gargoyles is their intimate connection and dependency on buildings, structures and other manufactured places.. the vast amount of gargoyles in the world lives in, on, or somehow attached to some structure or another. they seem to prefer older places, with more history, architecture, and importance to them (how gargoyles sense that, no one knows, but it is evident they do sense it). many landmarks have at least a few gargoyles connected to them, but due to their "fade out" ability, no one knows exactly how many, if they are the same or they change, or much else. sometime even the presence of gargoyles is hard to detect, until they begin affecting the place.
but why are they there? what do they want? it is unclear, but there are some facts that are known, or suspected... the first and most obvious thing, is that the gargoyles don't consider the structure/ building/ place just as a place, but they treat it as if it was a living thing! they care for it, repair it, improve it, and perhaps most importantly- they guard it. this is not to mean gargoyles attack anyone who just enter their place. gargoyles on the whole prefer to remain as anonymous as possible, making their presence known only when absolutely necessary. a gargoyle will confront someone only if the person's presence is either dangerous to the place, or stand in objection to the purpose and history of the building...
this might be the confusing part, but gargoyles obviously either sense, or determine for themselves of the purposes and "character" of the structure they are linked to. if someone acts against the code of a temple, he might find the temple gargoyle there. if someone wishes to interrupt an act at a theater, the same may apply. if someone wishes to steal from an old store house... what is more intriguing however is that the gargoyles themselves seems to personalize the "character" of the building- a place dedicated to a courageous and straight forward deity will be protected by similar acting gargoyles. an abandoned temple for the gods of death and torture will most likely have gargoyles that revel in causing pain, decorating themselves with skulls of former victims. an old messaging station of House Sivis on Eberron might have very serious, strict, and methodical gargoyles on it's roof.
not all gargoyles however live in populated places, or even have access to structures. there are 4 basic types of Gargoyles, divided by habitat:
- City gargoyles: this category encompasses all gargoyles who live in areas inhabited heavily by other creatures. gargoyles try to keep a fairly low key in these places, though they also tend to expand quite a bit. the gargoyles do not attach themselves to any structure however, but only places of history and/ or importance. gargoyles stay almost exclusively in their stone sentinel state in populated areas, to avoid a chance of getting caught. most temples and other places of import assume they have a gargoyle or two, and may communicate them (in the interactions sections). some places, which are more accepting of gargoyles use them as messengers, guardians and more (sharn and Droaam in Eberron, as well as many of the Khundarak major vaults). the city and ruin gargoyles (next category), are the most common communicators.
- Ruin Gargoyles: these are gargoyles who left more inhabited places either because of persecution, lack of space, or any other reason. the places they inhabit need not be utter ruins- the name refers merely to places not heavily populated. these gargoyles tend to take a more active role in defending their home, and may be found patrolling their places (usually in half awakened state). Ruin Gargoyles are far more likely than City gargoyles to refer to an entire street, small city or other large are as their structure (mostly due to the ability to move, and the vast amount of buildings that may need repair). due to the increased dangers of their local, ruin gargoyles usually make alliances with various creatures, for their combined defense. in some really old ruins, some gargoyles have stayed for ages, and has grown in strength and purpose (more HD or levels, and usually more Guardian powers).
- Roaming Gargoyles: it is theorized that the gargoyles of each structure slowly create more gargoyles in some inexplicable way (sculpting the body, then animating it with combined positive energy). some buildings have been known to accumulate gargoyles, though no one know if it is due to creation of more, or migration (or perhaps they were always there. you can never know due to "fade out"). it is believed that when a structure reaches a certain capacity, new formed gargoyles must leave, till they find their own place. these "structureless" gargoyles do seem less experienced. they are however far more cautious, and usually prefer stealth over combat. many times these gargoyles make tense deals with some group or another, that allows it to use some of it's structures, in return for it's guardianship and added muscle. amongst all other categories, these spend their time in the fully awakened state the most, while searching for a place. sometime large groups of gargoyles were met in this manner, usually when their structure was destroyed or occupied.
- Feral Gargoyles: roaming gargoyles who don't find a structure soon enough, seem to lose some of their sanity, and become Feral- they usually align with various vicious beasts or creatures, and do prey on nearly everything. these things are menace, and though insane they are still cunning. the feral gargoyles are part of the reason many priests and scholars in the past called for the gargoyles destruction, claiming all gargoyles posses this madness, and that at one point or another they will turn on all the civilized species. there has been no proof , though these gargoyles usually alter their features to resemble demons even more.
another way to categorize gargoyles, is by form. the form mostly derives from the culture/s that created the gargoyles. all gargoyles however, as said before, alter their appearances, most notably their faces, runes on their "skin", and the sprouting of wings. the abilities and mechanics will be discussed later, but here are some of the more known forms:
- humanoid gargoyle: the basic one, based on the one in the MM. these gargoyles are the most common to gain class levels, though far from the only ones.. sometime the humanoid represent some race, sometime some ideal or outsider , or whatever. the differences usually mostly disappear by the time the gargoyle finishes altering it's appearance to it's own preference, though sometime some indication remains (a symbol of an era, and such).
- Lion gargoyles: whether these were created to imitate dragonnes, sphinx, lammasu, or some other creature is unknown. the majesty of these gargoyles is usually hindered by the face. they are most commonly the guardians of vast spaces, openings to buildings, arenas, great halls and more. created to inspire awe and fear ,they rarely survive as City gargoyles, but are fairly common in Ruins.
- Draconic Gargoyles: these were shaped in the image of dragons, and are amongst the rarest of all gargoyles. (the creation price is a severe). these gargoyles are always guardians of important places, and have rarely traveled a far. they are usually more powerful then the more common gargoyles. young dragons seem to like them (and create alliances with them), while older ones usually just tend to ignore...
- Serpentine gargoyle: the winged serpent gargoyles are usually fairly large to huge. the vast majority of these were created by the Yuan Ti. these gargoyles focus their powers to protect the Yuan Ti temples, mostly masking them from divinations. in a time of need however, they prove to be fierce combatants, and work well with the abomination priests. Serpent gargoyles have been found at other locals, the Ruin ones are fierce protectors, and far more aggressive than most gargoyles are. the Feral ones are a serious danger.
- Aquatic Gargoyles: created either by the Kuo-Toa, the sahuagin, or someone else (most think it was someone else, perhaps aquatic elves). these look very similiar to the humanoid ones, but they wings adapted to swimming, almost like a manta ray. nearly all of these live in submerged ruins.
- Spider/ Marilian gargoyle: these seem to be an aberration of the common gargoyle design (not the aberration type though) instead of wings they develop two extra pairs of arms (or perhaps the wings changed to arms). these gargoyles are mostly Feral, but some are not. they tend to be tool users far earlier then the rest. the feral ones seem to associate with ettercaps, monstrous spiders, driders and so on. one theory claims the dark elves or their goddess have created, or influenced their creation. another theory claims that these gargoyles have a fairly big chunk of a Marilith in their essence. the real reason is unknown.
- Collosal/ ancient gargoyle: these are by far the rarest of any gargoyles that were either mentioned or not mentioned here! no one knows exactly how these creatures came to be, though there are some theories. a Collosal Gargoyle is usually the size of an enourmeous building/ small city! (many scholars in fact believe that the gargoyles purpose in attaching to buildings is to create these giants). these small fortresses are each fairly unique with it's own powers and statistics, and are known only to exist in legend (one exception is in Eberron, where a Daelkyr and it's court all reside in one of these gargoyles, who slowly crawls over in the depths of Khyber). theories of scholars who explored this field say a gargoyle of this size is cannot be created, but fragments of research from long gone cultures suggests otherwise...
- interactions: gargoyles usually prefer not to interact with those around them, much more content to just stay as they are, and think gargoylian thoughts... that said, gargoyles do interact with the world whenever something comes into the scope of their guardianship, or in matters of their own safety and protection. it is important to remember that though gargoyles have independent minds,city and ruin gargoyles incorporate into their character aspects of the structure/ area character. usually by dealing with a gargoyle you get a feeling of the place, as it is now, and as it was before.
the guarding of the place can be done with or without cooperation of any of the place inhabitants (if any). however. if the gargoyles find an appropriate representative (someone else who share their desires for the building, usually a head of a temple, a leader of a guild, a dragon that lies in the ruins and so on), they may try and communicate with it through the Gargoyle Script, letting it be aware of their presence. this opens the negotiation/ discussion and, perhaps letting the other side ask them to protect certain parts, watch certain people, choose specific guardian powers and so on. the communication is often difficult, and does not always get out the exact results desired. (though they are rarely off by much)
Gargoyle Script is both a way of communication, and a form of expression. gargoyles regularly use their alter stone powers to etch numerous writings on the walls, pillars and so of where they live. these are often cryptic, and written in a multitude of languages at once (usually a different language every 3-4 words). the topics can be many: their daily sightings, thoughts, and more. amongst these are also glimpses of the structures history, and that of the people who build it, and also various "messages" about matters that may matter to the "character" of the building (scholars believe this is how the gargoyles try and communicate with it).
the script can be used to learn about the place (more on that in the game mechanics part), but also as a way to learn the gargoyles answers to a person's questions. usually a representative goes to a part of the structure he knows the gargoyles reside in (where someone seen them, or more likely- the script), and asks a question loud and clear. next day, it's time to search the new scripts, and decipher the answer. due to the slowness of this method, and the complexity of translation, this is not a very reliable form, but it is the only one that enables long discussions, as gargoyles are very reluctant to reveal their presence for "normal" signal communication.
as to the normal requests and communications with gargoyles:
- guarding routine: the representative details his/ her list of priorities, what threats are expected, and perhaps what powers s/he asks the gargoyles to use (provided they know of it). the gargoyle response can be simple or complex, sometime adding information to the original analysis.
- query about the place's history, people or more:. gargoyles will be truthful only if this won't harm the place.
- religious or scholarly inquiry, about other subjects: gargoyles have a special connection to divinity, and they have lived long enough, in important enough places to have learned many things of many places. the answer to these questions may be the most obscure and cryptic, but sometime there are real gems of knowledge in the confusing babble.
- outgoing mission for a purpose: this is one of the most difficult services to get, since it means the gargoyle leaves it's structure. a gargoyle would tend to agree to missions that somehow serve either the place, or the place's "character" (some armies have been known to have Gargoyle squadrons, on a "holy mission"). roaming gargoyles usually agree to this if promised a safe lodging in the structure afterward.
note that with all of these, gargoyles still look out after their own interests, and might lie, conceal or more if needed. another important thing to keep in mind, is that when sending them away, gargoyles have their own interpretations of when the job was done.
though this covers the basic interactions with gargoyles (other then being attacked, or your plans foiled by their powers/ observance) with certain creatures, gargoyles usually have a special relationship:
- other types of gargoyles: gargoyles seem to care little about type, but mostly about purpose and allegiance (as these are influenced by the structure). leadership in a place is determined by seniority, and experience, not by type or power. gargoyles, as far as it can be estimated, care little for these matters anyway. the one exception is Marilian gargoyles- these are either outcasted, or raised to leadership. the reasons for this remain obscure, gargoyles refuse to script of it.
- divine casters, mostly "civilized" ones: gargoyles acknowledge the religions part in their creation, but are not willing to fully submit to them. gargoyles have a preference to temples and other religious sites, and are usually more open towards clerics and their similar. this is however a very close, and very intimate relationship, as many clerics in the past tried to destroy them. the gargoyle's link to positive energy, makes them both an ally and an enemy to positive energy channelers, and so views vary. most often, the gargoyles view of the cleric is colored mostly by it's own character, and the character of the place it is attached to. gargoyles have been known to be the closest allies of temples, and the worst enemies.
- mindless undead, mindless constructs, and anything that is immune to their "fade out" power: gargoyles are weary of all of them, often en devouring to either destroy these, or find their master and broker a deal with him/ her. the gargoyles are used to live in a state where no one really sees them, and it is deeply disturbing to them when that is not the case.
- Yuan- Ti: the makers the serpentine gargoyles. this specific type are fiercely loyal to their makers and ideals. as to other variants- though many gargoyles shun the oppressive nature of the Yuan Ti culture, their need for secrecy always ensure that a gargoyle can find a place there, with it's skills.
- outsiders: oddly enough, the gargoyles have no particular response to the outsiders, though some legends and rumors say that certain outsiders can bend gargoyles to their will like an evil cleric can rebuke undead (i didn't touch this idea, feel free to expand on it).
- petrifying creatures (medusas, gorgons and the like): gargoyles quite often work with these creatures- if they get petrified, they just "awaken" in the next round. more importantly for the gargoyle however, are the various statues and more in the place, they give it more "character". a disturbing side effect of petrifications, and the gargoyles ability to create more of their own in time, is that given enough time, the petrified creature, (already altered superficially by the "alter stone" powers), will wake as a superbly crafted gargoyle. there is no turning back from that...
- warforged (as they are in Eberron): though these are the rare two examples of living constructs, very little else binds them together. neither their history, mode of creation, view of the world... some warforged tried to find gargoyles and maybe learn from the more about their existence, but these efforts have been futile at best. the gargoyle either ignore them, or eventually get hostile if they keep to persist (that is if the warforged could even sense the presence of the gargoyles at all!) a very small group of warforged tries to gather gargoyles scripts from major locations (especially temple of the sovereign or Onatar or the traveler), believing there may be messages from their creators in them.
Game mechanics and Mysteries
- game mechanics: much of this section is not numbered (i'm crap at that), but it does give the basic idea of most things, as well as a general aspired difficulty level.
1) type: construct. subtype: living. most of what is to follow is similar to the warforged, but there are some differences:
- it has a constitution score.
- it begins with 4 HD and are treated as construct for all purposes of HP, BAB and so on for these HD. any further HD are gained by class levels...
- immune to sleep, poison, paralisys, disease and so on... (check the list where needed) not immune to mind effecting spells and abilities, subject to critical hits in varying degrees (will be explained), stunning, ability drain and so on...
- as a live construct, the gargoyle can be affected by spells that affect objects as well as creatures. unlike the warforged though, the gargoyle is made out of stone, and is unaffected by any influences that specifically target metal or wood.
- unlike the warforged, due to their link to positive energy, gargoyles are fully healed by either "repair" spells or "cure " spells.
- gargoyles do posses dark vision to 60 ft.
- gargoyles usually gain levels as favored souls, cleric, fighters or whatever fits the theme of their structure. the clerics usually become leaders.
- unlike other constructs, the knowledge skill needed to learn information about the gargoyles is knowledge (religion) and not (arcana).
2) shifting states: the gargoyle's positive energy can expand and recede within the stone form, leading to 3 states. the gargoyle needs a standard action to become more awakened, but only a move action to become less... remember however that gargoyles can remain still in any state (a gargoyle planning an ambush will most likely be still in one of the awakened states) :
- Stone sentinel: the gargoyle is indeed a statue for all purposes. all senses other than it's Guardian power are diminished (-10 to all such checks), but its "fade out" power is at it's strongest (a really high will DC). It has the hardness of a stone statue of it's size for all purposes of attacks, if by any chance it's presence was Ascertained)
- half- awakened: if still, it still looks like a statue (if someone senses it). when in motion, it looks like an animated object, though it acts with a bit more speed and intelligence. compared to the fully awakened, the movement and senses in this form are reduced (about -20ft for all forms of movement, one worse level of flying maneuverability, about -5 to senses checks, low initiative bonus). the gargoyle does retain some hardness from the Sentinel stage (hardness 8? hardness 10?) and the DC for his "fade out" power decreases. has moderate fortification. higher AC than fully awakened.
- fully awakened: with the positive energy at the fore, the gargoyle looks like a creature with the color of stone, with fast mobility. (senses at normal, speed at normal, high initiative bonus) the gargoyle loses it's hardness as this stage, but it gains DR/ magic from the bursting energy. the DC for the "fade out" ability is the lowest here (though still challenging. for what levels? didn't try and figure this out, depending on the campaign i suppose). has light fortification.
3)"fade out": this power was described mostly in the concept section. the main differences from the freeze ability are:
- it is a mind effecting ability, which is resisted by a will save, not a spot.
if you fail the save, you don't realize the gargoyle (in whatever state it is) is there at all! you don't "see a statue that doesn't seem alive"- you don't see a statue at all!
- this isn't invisibility, as it doesn't affect the gargoyle at all. you cannot find it by throwing bags of flower, see invisibility, or anything of the sort. it is in your mind, and your mind alone.
- the power is always active, and requires but that the gargoyle stays still. the gargoyle need not be aware that it is being watched. this of course, led to the gargoyles default position- still as a statue. (better safe than sorry).
- this effect works through scrying devices and so on.
4) rebuilding: this power has more influence on the long term, than on a single encounter. it might be relevant to explaining gargoyles battling behavior, and to locations which the party may visit several times during the campaign.
if a gargoyle is "killed", the energy inside it can still restore it (after all, that was just the form that was destroyed) in time. if the following conditions are met, the energy rebuilds the form at about 1-3 HP a day. the conditions are as follows:
- a gargoyle that reaches 0Hp immediately turns to half awakened (if its fully awakened). at -1HP or less it turns into a stone statue (not a sentinel form!) all it's powers other than this, and the "fade out" cease to function.
- the gargoyle can sustain damage up to it's full HP+10 under the zero, before actually dying (a gargoyle with 27 HP can go down to -37 HP before dying). as long as the gargoyle is above that limit, the energy can rebuild it.
- for any reconstruction to succeed, the gargoyle must be in contact with worked stone.
- f the gargoyle is not repaired in a set time (several days? weeks? depending on it's injury?) it dies.
this power is the gargoyles most kept secret, and one that kept them alive many times. relying on this powers and their fellow gargoyles putting them somewhere safe to rebuild after the battle is over (allies get scripted warning to do so, without explanation), gargoyles often use suicidal tactics. one of the favorite ones is to grapple an opponent in a precarious situation (on a ledge, grapple a flier or a swimmer, or someone being chased, or running away from a swarm or something), and then just turn to stone... the grappled (or worse- pinned) opponent is now trapped by the statue, which may plummet from the sky, into the depths, to the side of the building or whatever, and crash, taking it's victim with it.
5) guardian power: every gargoyle sustains one such power, while more powerful gargoyles (one power for every 3 or 4 HD?), can sustain more. gargoyles seem to be able to change their powers, but the process takes time (days to weeks. this should again be relevant if the party visits the same place several times) the powers are active as long as the gargoyles is (as long as it has not been reduced to negative HP). most of the powers mimic detection or abjuration spells. sample powers (i haven't assigned CL or DC for any appropriate ones):
- detect alignment/ creature type/ invisibility/ magic...
- improved senses: the gargoyle gets a +10 on his spot, listen and search checks, and it's dark vision improves to 120 ft. unlike the other powers, these works fully in sentinel and half awakened forms.
- tremor sense.
- block scrying in 60 ft radius.
- block dimensional travel in 60 ft radius.
- dispel illusions 60 ft.
6) positive energy link: gargoyles feel any channeling of positive energy within 60 ft. of them. a gargoyle can try to draw that energy to itself as an immediate action (the gargoyle fort save against the channeler's will save). a gargoyle aware of the presence of a channeler, can ready it's action to draw upon the energy. if that is the case the attempt succeeds immediately. the gargoyle must have line of sight to the channeler. if the drawing attempt succeeds:
- if it was a cure spell, it heals the gargoyle instead of the intended target. the gargoyle can gain temporary HP in this manner, beyond it's regular limit.
- if it was any other spell using positive energy, it heals the gargoyle as if it was a cure spell of the same level, instead of it's normal affect on the target.
- if it was a use of "turn undead", it is instead converted to a healing spell of a level equal to half of the strongest undead turned. the turning attempt is nullified of course.
7) gargoyle script: as mentioned before, it is extremely difficult to decipher this. if the gargoyle/s were asked a specific question about the structure/ place it/ they are attached to, the answer is the equivalent of a Legend Lore spell. if the questions is about some other topic, the answer could also mimic the concept of Legend Lore, but with less accurate results (as the DM sees fit). the problem comes when trying to decipher it:
the DC to the check should be fairly high, but some information can be gained from less than a perfect result. the check is an intelligence check, where 5 points in any relevant knowledge skill grant +2, and knowledge of any sufficiently "archaic/ mysterious" language grants a +1. (for the DM discretion). or if the DM wish, give them a coded message, in several codes, interchanging- an appropriate language breaks one of the codes.
8) variant forms: i only dealt with the main issues i could think of- movement (the figures refer to the awakened state), size, and what makes them different:
- Humanoid gargoyles: speed 40 ft. fly 60 (average). those with class levels usually use tools, though not many. (sword, wands and so on)
- Lion Gargoyles: speed 60 ft. large size (as a horse), fly 40 ft. (poor). Pounce. Roar (burst radius, save fort or be stunned for 1-4 rounds).
- Draconic Gargoyles: size large- huge. speed 60 ft. fly 150 poor. can use any dragon attacks for their size. Spell Resistance, perhaps also resistance 10 to some sort of energy.
- Serpentine Gargoyles: size large- huge speed 60 ft. fly 100 (poor). tremor sense, swallow whole, improved grapple and constrict.
- Aquatic Gargoyles: usually similar to humanoid or draconic gargoyles. the same except having a swim speed equal to their base speed.
- Spider/ Marilian gargoyles: based solely on the humanoid version. speed 60,climb 40 . can use all hands without hindrance.
- Collosal/ Ancient Gargoyles: i have no stats to them (it would be like stating a fortress) my suggestions are to make each fairly unique, it's Guardian powers affecting all of it. maybe have creatures living it it/ on it. i imagine its hardness and other powers should be considerably higher, except for may the "fade out", which shouldn't really come into play with this kind of creature.
- mysteries and the unknown: gargoyles, and there pieced-together mind are themselves a mystery. their strange connection to buildings and areas is a bit creepy, and worrying, but so is their seeming connection with other sources of information, or consciousness.
gargoyles however are also a reservoir of information and mysteries. their wealth of information made many a scholar loose his bearing and original purpose. their enigmatic scribbling and writing maybe holding secrets in itself.
gargoyles in a way present an achievement gone too far- a skillful slave that wouldn't stay a slave. some even speculate that these former servants, are not as innocent and disinterested in the world as some may think. infiltrating everywhere, slowly building more, and more, sending themselves everywhere...how many gargoyles are out there? hundreds? thousands? hundreds of thousands? how would you know exactly, when you can't even count the ones in your roof? why are you staring at me like that! i saw at least.. wait a minute, i though i saw... i was sure... hey, weren't there some statues up there? ah, forget about it! just been a long day, i forgot what i was talking about...