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    Lightbulb [Template] Hi ho, hi ho...

    Tapper



    Tales are told amongst many miners, sightings of those long dead to cave-ins, who have appeared out of nowhere to save their former fellows. Others though tell of wrathful figures, seeking to take revenge upon those who left them for dead in the rubble.

    Tappers forever keep to the tunnels, cursed to walk the deepest depths. Many try cutting new tunnels to reach the surface but are never able to step outside again. They will then try other tunnels, never excepting the fact they are trapped beneath the crushing earth for eternity.

    Appearing much as they did in life, though with tattered clothing, their forms are horrendously twisted and crushed. Stone shards protrude from deep within the body, and hard cave dust is embedded within their skin. They normally wield a pick or other mining tool thatís pitted and cracked and seemingly ready to fall apart, but is just as whole as those who wield them.

    -=-=-=-=-

    Sample Tapper

    This man has seen better days, his face gray with rock dust and a great dent in his skull. From his chest several ribs jut out grotesquely, and as he moves gravel and dirt crumbles out of the wound...

    Human Commoner 3

    Medium Undead
    Hit Dice: 3d12 HD (19 hp)
    Initiative: +0
    Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), burrow 5 ft.
    Armor Class: 12 (+2 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 12
    Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+6
    Attack: Heavy Pick +6 melee (1d6+6)
    Full Attack: Heavy Pick +6 melee (1d6+6)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
    Special Attacks: Cave-in, fortuitous shove
    Special Qualities: darkvision 120 ft., earth glide, resistance to bludgeoning and sonics 10, stonecunning, tapping, trapped, tremor wary
    Saves: Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +3
    Abilities: Str 20, Dex 11, Con -, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8
    Skills: Knowledge (Architecture) +10, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +11, Listen +6, Move Silenty +6, Profession (mining) +13
    Feats: Improved Sunder, Power Attack
    Environment: Underground
    Organization: Solitary
    Challenge Rating: 5
    Treasure: Half standard goods
    Alignment: Neutral Evil
    Advancement: By character class
    Level Adjustment: +8

    Kyle Lutt was a young man who went to the mines to make some extra money to feed his wife and child. The first day on the job however he was sent into a dangerous cave by a rival for the woman's attention. In his inexperience he brought the entire area down on his head. Not quite dead, he shouted for help, but his rival ignored him, allowing him to die in the next wave of unstable rock.

    He now haunts the caverns beyond the rubble, waiting for another to come along so that he may have his revenge, seeing all that approach as his hated rival.

    Combat
    Kyle has long since cleared away the rubble that killed him and waits for another to approach, sending tapping sounds up the rock. He then waits for them to approach before collapsing the cave upon them.

    Cave In (Ex): A tapper instinctively senses the weaknesses in stone. As a full-round action, vengeful tappers may cause a cave-in by striking their picks into weakened supporting walls or ceilings with a successful DC 20 strength check or by taking out half the supports (no strength check required). Those in the bury zone of a cave-in take 8d6 damage (DC 15 reflex save negates) and are subsequently buried, taking 1d6 points of non-lethal damage per minute while buried. See Cave-Ins and Collapses, DMG p. 66 for further details.

    A tapper is immune to cave-in damage thanks to its earth glide ability.

    Earth Glide (Su): A tapper (and his equipment) can glide through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water. Its burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other signs of its presence. A move earth spell cast on an area containing a burrowing tapper flings the undead being back 30 feet.

    Fortuitous Shove (Ex): As a standard action a Tapper may rush forward at five times its base speed and make a Bull Rush attack without provoking an attack of opportunity. If the target is in danger of an emminent cave-in the Tapper may attempt a fortuitous shove even if it is not his turn. A Tapper gains a +4 bonus to his bull rush attack.

    Ore Sense (Su): A tapper's tie with the mines it inhabits allows it to detect unworked, metallic ores within 200 feet of its location and appraise its quality.

    Stonecunning (Ex): This ability grants a Tapper a +4 bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isnít stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A tapper who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if it were actively searching, and a tapper can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A tapper can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.

    Tapping (Su): Tappers often try to aid living miners by giving them subtle directions to veins of rich metals. They can send supernatural sound waves directly through the stone, or may have the tapping follow along passages that lead to the ores. Evil tappers often use this ability to lead miners into unstable tunnels or to make them lose their way in the mines. Tappers can cause this tapping to be heard up to 100 feet away from themselves.

    Trapped (Su): A tapper is forever cursed to remain underground and cannot come within 20 feet of an opening to the surface. A tapper that goes closer instantly triggers a cave-in directly before him that even he may not use his earth glide through. A tapper forced to the surface in some fashion, such as by a teleportation spell, immediately crumbles into dust.

    Tremor Wary (Ex): Tappers have tremorsense out to 60 feet and can sense a cave-in within 1,000 feet.


    -=-=-=-=-

    Creating A Tapper

    "Tapper" is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal, human-shaped fey, giant, humanoid, or monstrous humanoid without the air subtype, hereafter referred to as the base creature. A tapper uses all the base creatureís statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

    Size and Type: The creature's type changes to undead. Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.
    Hit Dice: Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.
    Speed: The base creature loses its fly speed. A tapper gains a burrow speed of 5 feet.
    Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +2.
    Special Attacks: A tapper retains all the extraordinary attacks of the base creature and also gains the following attacks.

    Cave In (Ex): A tapper instinctively senses the weaknesses in stone. As a full-round action, vengeful tappers may cause a cave-in by striking their picks into weakened supporting walls or ceilings with a successful DC 20 strength check or by taking out half the supports (no strength check required). Those in the bury zone of a cave-in take 8d6 damage (DC 15 reflex save negates) and are subsequently buried, taking 1d6 points of non-lethal damage per minute while buried. See Cave-Ins and Collapses, DMG p. 66 for further details.

    A tapper is immune to cave-in damage thanks to its earth glide ability.

    Fortuitous Shove (Ex): As a standard action a Tapper may rush forward at five times its base speed and make a Bull Rush attack without provoking an attack of opportunity. If the target is in danger of an eminent cave-in the Tapper may attempt a fortuitous shove even if it is not his turn. A Tapper gains a +4 bonus to his bull rush attack.

    Special Qualities: A tapper retains all the special qualities of the base creature and also gains the following qualities.

    Darkvision (Ex): Tappers gain darkvision out to 120 ft.

    Earth Glide (Su): A tapper (and his equipment) can glide through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water. Its burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other signs of its presence. A move earth spell cast on an area containing a burrowing tapper flings the undead being back 30 feet.

    Ore Sense (Su): A tapper's tie with the mines it inhabits allows it to detect unworked, metallic ores within 200 feet of their location and appraise its quality.

    Resistances: A tapper gains resistance to bludgeoning and sonics 10.

    Stonecunning (Ex): This ability grants a Tapper a +4 bonus on Search checks to notice unusual stonework, such as sliding walls, stonework traps, new construction (even when built to match the old), unsafe stone surfaces, shaky stone ceilings, and the like. Something that isnít stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A tapper who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a Search check as if it were actively searching, and a tapper can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A tapper can also intuit depth, sensing his approximate depth underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.

    Tapping (Su): Tappers often try to aid living miners by giving them subtle directions to veins of rich metals. They can send supernatural sound waves directly through the stone, or may have the tapping follow along passages that lead to the ores. Evil tappers often use this ability to lead miners into unstable tunnels or to make them lose their way in the mines. Tappers can cause this tapping to be heard up to 100 feet away from themselves.

    Trapped (Su): A tapper is forever cursed to remain underground and cannot come within 20 feet of an opening to the surface. A tapper that goes closer instantly triggers a cave-in directly before him that even he may not use his earth glide through. A tapper forced to the surface in some fashion, such as by a teleportation spell, immediately crumbles into dust.

    Tremor Wary (Ex): Tappers have tremorsense out to 60 feet and can sense a cave-in within 1,000 feet.

    Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Strength +6, Wis +2. As an undead creature, a Tapper has no Constitution score.
    Skills: Tappers have a +6 racial bonus on Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (architecture and engineering), and Profession (miner) checks. Otherwise same as the base creature.
    Environment: Underground
    Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +4.
    Alignment: Any
    Advancement: By character class.
    Level Adjustment: +8
    Last edited by The Vorpal Tribble; 2010-03-20 at 02:30 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Tormsskull's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Template] Hi ho, hi ho...

    I would clarify the fluff to explain how a guy killed in a cave in becomes an undead creature, perhaps a dark spirit or god that picks and chooses victims based on some particular specific attribute of the victim (hatred, revenge, whatever).

    I don't usually critique mechanics because I think they are difficult to measure (and frankly take too much time to compare/contrast with other "balanced" creations), but level adjusment +8 seems incredibly high to me.

    Seeing as level adjustment is meant for Players, I think it should be much lower as playing one of these tappers would require that the entire campaign be underground. That significantly lowers the number of times this template is even remotely viable.

    Secondly, it has a insta-kill clause in the fact of being teleported, another significant weakness in high level play (and with a level adjusment of +8 you'd be very close to 'high-level play' even at the lowest possible end.)

    Thirdly, it just doesn't seem that powerful (even with its special abilities).

    Good Luck.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    The Vorpal Tribble's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Template] Hi ho, hi ho...

    Gave it high LA because of the CR. The challenge rating is so high because a cave-in is considered a CR 8 in the DMG. These guys can practically do one at will.

    I would clarify the fluff to explain how a guy killed in a cave in becomes an undead creature, perhaps a dark spirit or god that picks and chooses victims based on some particular specific attribute of the victim (hatred, revenge, whatever).
    That'd be up to the DM. Just too many possibilities these guys can come into being.
    Last edited by The Vorpal Tribble; 2007-06-06 at 10:29 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: [Template] Hi ho, hi ho...

    It is very cool, adds something to the game that doesn't exist elsewhere and would really flesh out an underground universe. (note to self, make the orta later.)

    one question (was gonna be two, but realized that undead is the most fitting template):

    1. As Torms has already mentioned, the teleport to destruction ability seems a bit severe, especially for its level. Rather than causing the creature to be destroyed by removal from the cave, why not make it impossible for the creature to be removed? the tapper already automatically seals all natural openings, why not cause any spell that would remove the trapper from its natural setting to automatically fizzle? It's not unreasonable to think that the undead's connection to the earth is strong enough that the ground itself holds its essence in place.

    It could be an almost lich like component:

    Dust to Dust
    If the Tapper is somehow removed from the earth the body is divested of all magical energy, transforming into a mundane corpse. However, the spirit of the tapper remains connected to the ground, and the tapper's body will reform 1d10 days later in an underground complex no more than 5 miles from the underground location the tapper last occupied. If the tappers actual location of death is within range, and underground, the tapper is will always appear there. Every time this takes place, the tapper gains a +1 natural armor bonus to AC, reflecting the remnants of the earth from which the new form was hewn. This only occurs if the tapper is destroyed by reaching the surface, other means of destroying the tapper follow the normal rules for destroying the undead.
    Last edited by Poppatomus; 2007-06-06 at 11:42 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    DracoDei's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Template] Hi ho, hi ho...

    In the example one you didn't mention Ore Sense in the SQ section of the stat block.
    Best homebrew:
    Running: Ruceeglaelsktinag IC OOC Active Map
    Power Rangers:"BIG TWIST!!" (working title) IC OOC Active Map:None.
    For everything else (including my homebrew) see: Full list of Homebrew.
    My Homebrew is meant to be used, but, if you do, PLEASE tell me how it goes.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: [Template] Hi ho, hi ho...

    Why's the fortuitous shove speed so great?

    5x the speed is something he couldn't normally reach without a run feat, so that seems a tad excessive.

    Otherwise, great template!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    DracoDei's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Template] Hi ho, hi ho...

    Gives half a chance of actually getting there in time...
    Best homebrew:
    Running: Ruceeglaelsktinag IC OOC Active Map
    Power Rangers:"BIG TWIST!!" (working title) IC OOC Active Map:None.
    For everything else (including my homebrew) see: Full list of Homebrew.
    My Homebrew is meant to be used, but, if you do, PLEASE tell me how it goes.

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