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    Default MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    This is a creature that has a special place in my heart, as it was my first attempt at a Homebrewed monster ever. I entered it in Vorpal Tribble's "Fimbulwinter" MitP contest, and it came in second place, a fact which I blame largely on my lack of a drawing of the Herald and the less-than stellar Children of the End 'template' I had written at the time, and to a lesser extent the absolute genius behind the entry that won.

    So, if you would, please vote YES or NO on my submission, and also add any thoughts or suggestions you might have. Even if the Herald doesn't get published, I'd still like to know any ways I could make it even better.

    Herald of the End

    Large Undead (extraplanar, cold, evil)
    Hit Dice: 48d12+48 (360 hp)
    Initiative: +2 (-2 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
    Speed: 30 feet (6 squares)
    Armor Class: 42 (-1 size, -2 Dex, +35 natural), touch 7, flat-footed 42
    Base Attack/Grapple: +24/+48
    Attack: Slam +45 melee (2d8+20 plus 2d6 cold plus 2d6 vile, 19-20/x2)
    Full attack: 2 Slams +45 melee (2d8+20 plus 2d6 cold plus 2d6 vile)
    Space/Reach: 10ft by 10 ft/10ft
    Special Attacks: Dread winter, Children of the End, cold spikes, spell-like abilities
    Special Qualities: Damage reduction 40/epic, fast healing 20, immunity to cold, SR 45, blindsight 120ft, powerful step, turn resistance +20, undead traits, vulnerability to fire
    Saves: Fort +22, Ref +20, Will +41
    Abilities: Str 50, Dex 6, Con -, Int 22, Wis 28, Cha 35
    Skills: Climb +71, Concentration +63, Intimidate +63, Jump +64, Knowledge (arcana) +46, Knowledge (nature) +46, Knowledge (religion) +46, Knowledge (the planes) +46, Listen +62, Sense Motive +60, Spellcraft +57, Spot +62
    Feats: Alertness, Awesome Blow, Empower Spell-Like Ability, Epic Fortitude, Epic Reflexes, Epic Will, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Improved Toughness, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (slam)
    Environment: Any except underground
    Organization: Solitary or March (1 plus 2d6 Children of the End)
    Challenge Rating: 30
    Treasure: none
    Alignment: Always neutral evil
    Advancement: 49+ HD (Large)
    Level Adjustment: -

    Through the howl of the cutting winds and driving snow, you notice at the periphery of your senses a distant and horrible sound like the grinding moan of passing glaciers. The sound grows steadily louder as you make your way through the wintry darkness, rising to a deafening crescendo above the whistling storm just as you are able to make out a hulking, blocky silhouette trudging through a distant snow drift. The thing then begins to close on you with slow, deliberate steps, lurching forward through the icy dark with the inevitability of death.

    “Herald of the End” is a label applied to a group of enigmatic, malevolent beings who – fortunately for the rest of existence – are forever entombed inside the nightmarish ices of Cania, the eight layer of the Nine Hells. Rarely, however, some unfortunate wizard – typically on a mad quest for unearthly power – will accidentally transplant one of the Heralds of the End to the Prime Material Plane. Thus freed, and seething with an all-encompassing hatred beyond human reckoning, the Herald lashes out at all life and sentience around it, never ceasing until the entire world it was summoned to is reduced to a barren, frigid wasteland.
    The true story of the Heralds of the End is known only to a handful of scholars scattered across the multiverse, and begins with a slightly more well-known tale – that of the fall of Asmodeus, lord of all devils. During the very infancy of mortal life on the Prime Material Plane, when Asmodeus was cast from the deific realms, he landed on a nameless plane whose firmament shattered from his impact and formed the Nine Hells of Baator. However, one detail is never included in this tale – even before Asmodeus’s fall tore the plain of Baator asunder, it had already long been home to its own native populace.
    Who or what these creatures once were is no longer relevant, as there is no way of discovering their identities aside from asking the Lord of Nessus himself. Infuriated by his treatment at the hands of the deities he had once served so loyally and now desiring a domain of his own, Asmodeus used his tremendous powers to imprison Baator’s original inhabitants in tombs of ice grown from the moisture of their own bodies. The ice spread around the powerless beings and fused together, growing for miles in all directions and forming the frozen wasteland of Cania, the eight layer of Baator. Over the unfathomable span of time they have spent entombed beneath the surface of Cania they have become their curse, and while their frozen bodies died long ago, their malevolent spirits still boil with a bitter, jealous rage that would give even the most bloodthirsty tanar’ri pause.
    Though rarely seen in the darkened, snowblind domain that surrounds it, a Herald of the End appears as a rough, ogre-sized humanoid figure made of solid ice. Its forearms have no hands, but instead resemble massive cudgels, and its feet are flattened stumps with the ice continuously growing in a vain attempt to root the creature to whatever surface it stands on. A cacophonous grinding sound accompanies its every movement as its great strength snaps the ice at its joints to powder; at the same time the creature’s eternal curse constantly attempts to regrow the ice and seal it for all time. The Herald’s jagged surface has no facial features or distinguishing markings of any kind, but in the right light, one can glimpse the merest shadow of what appears to be a tall, gaunt humanoid deep inside the frozen mass.
    A Herald of the End stands at approximately 9-10 feet in height and, due to the dense ice encasing it, weighs in at between 8,000 and 10,000 pounds. Heralds have never been known to attempt communication with other intelligent beings, and seem to ignore others' attempts to communicate with them.

    Combat

    The ungodly storm that constantly surrounds a Herald of the End and the frozen zombies that prowl its frigid darkness will typically bring a group of adventurers to their end long before they even set eyes on the Herald itself, let alone get a chance to engage it in melee. While most heroes would understandably mistake a Herald of the End for a mindless construct at first glance, it is an intelligent, if unsubtle, opponent.
    The Herald of the End will typically blast any intruders in its roving storm with an empowered cone of cold spell-like ability as soon as they step within range. When forced to engage in melee, the Herald will attempt to use its Power Attack to add as much of its base attack bonus as possible to its damage. If two or three attacks against any given target prove too difficult, it will adjust the Power Attack for subsequent slams, attempting to strike an ideal balance of accuracy and damage. The Herald also uses its Awesome Blow feat judiciously during combat, always trying to force enemies with inferior reach to its own to draw an attack of opportunity when closing back in on it.
    A Herald of the End will always attempt to identify the opponent that presents the greatest threat to its continued march of destruction, ignoring all other enemies to follow that individual and hammering away until its chosen target is nothing but a red smear in the snow. If in the midst of its pursuit another opponent proves to be more dangerous, the Herald will use its Awesome Blow feat to bat its original target 10 feet away, leaving it free from the risk of attacks of opportunity as it changes its focus to the new threat.

    Dread Winter (Su): Wherever a Herald of the End walks, it is surrounded by a horrid, unnatural storm of snow and darkness born of Cania itself. The severe winds and driving snow, combined with a magical darkness effect, make Listen, Search, and Spot checks and ranged attacks impossible in this area. The hellish cold deals 1d6 cold damage and 1d6 vile damage per minute to anyone caught in this storm, with no saves to prevent the environmental damage. The Dread Winter storm extends in a 1 mile radius sphere from wherever the Herald of the End stands. For more information on blizzard conditions, see page 94 of the DMG 3.5.
    In addition, the Dread Winter aura also has an effect identical to the desecrate spell, granting all undead within it a +1 profane bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls and saving throws, imbuing all undead created within the aura +1 hit point per HD, and severing the divine connection of any holy place that falls inside its radius.
    Children of the End (Su): Any living creature slain in the radius of a Herald of the End’s Dread Winter has a 20% chance of rising as a Child of the End (apply the Child of the End template, described below). Children of the End stalk the Herald’s Dread Winter aura or the blasted, snowbound wastes it leaves in its wake, attacking anything aside from other Children and the Herald itself.
    Cold Spikes (Su): The icy tomb that serves as the Herald of the End’s armored flesh bristles with thick, crystalline spikes, especially on the shoulders and the massive bludgeons that cover its hands. Anyone grappling a Herald of the End or attacking it with natural weaponry takes 1d6 piercing damage, 1d4 cold damage, and 1d4 vile damage.
    Powerful Step (Su): A Herald of the End’s frigid feet root it to the ground, and only the creature’s great strength allows it to tear itself free to take each step. A Herald treats icy floors and snow drifts as normal terrain rather than difficult terrain. It also receives a +8 racial bonus to avoid being tripped or bull-rushed.
    Spell-Like Abilities (Sp): At will – banishment (DC 28), blasphemy (DC 29), cone of cold (DC 27), flesh to ice (as flesh to stone, DC 28), spiked ice (as spike stones, DC 26), wall of ice (DC 26), waves of exhaustion (DC 29). 1/day – forbiddance (DC 28). All caster level 20th, save DC is Charisma-based.

    Child of the End (template)

    Children of the End are the corpses of creatures who have died within the aura of dread winter that surrounds a Herald of the End, animated by the Herald’s poisonous hatred of all existence. Children of the End appear much as they did before the change, but their eyes become a blank, gleaming white and their bodies slowly develop an armored crust of frost that bristles with icy spikes and blades.
    Though normally slow and directionless, shambling mindlessly through the empty, snowy darkness of the Herald’s unholy aura or the lifeless wastelands left in its wake, Children of the End rapidly become feral and alert when they sense the presence of life nearby. While the Children seem to have the mentality of wild animals, they can be particularly cunning and seem to retain a vague grasp on the combat and hunting skills they possessed in life. And while they lack any need for nourishment or concern for their own survival, they utilize these skills simply for the sake of destroying life.

    “Child of the End” is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal, living or undead creature that has a skeletal system and does not have the fire subtype. It uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
    Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to undead, its alignment subtype changes to evil, and it gains the cold subtype. It does not gain the augmented subtype.
    Hit Dice: Drop any Hit Dice from class levels (to a minimum of 1), double the number of Hit Dice left, and raise them to d12s.
    Speed: The creature loses its ability to fly, through either mundane or magical means. If the creature does not have a walk or swim speed, it can only lurch along the ground at a speed equal to the size of its base (minimum 5 feet per round) and cannot run or charge.
    Armor Class: The creature’s ice-encrusted body and frozen flesh provide it with a natural armor bonus based on the creature’s size:
    Tiny or smaller +1
    Small +2
    Medium +3
    Large +4
    Huge +5
    Gargantuan +8
    Colossal +12
    Base Attack: A Child of the End has a base attack bonus equal to ½ its Hit Dice.
    Attacks: A Child of the End retains all natural weapons, manufactured weapons, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature. Due to the sharp, icy protrusions that build up around the creature’s fingers and mouth, the creature gains two claw attacks (if it has hands/forepaws) as primary weapons and a bite attack (if it has a mouth) as a secondary weapon.
    Damage: Natural and manufactured weapons deal an additional 1 point of cold damage and 1 point of vile damage per attack. If the creature has gained claw and/or bite attacks from this template, it deals damage depending on the base creature’s size (use the base creature’s claw or bite damage if it’s better):
    Size / Bite / Claw
    Fine / 1 / -
    Diminutive / 1d2 / 1
    Tiny / 1d3 / 1d2
    Small / 1d4 / 1d3
    Medium / 1d6 / 1d4
    Large / 1d8 / 1d6
    Huge / 2d6 / 1d8
    Gargantuan / 2d8 / 2d6
    Colossal / 4d6 / 2d8
    Special Attacks: A Child of the End retains only the base creature’s extraordinary (Ex) special attacks, losing any supernatural (Su) or spell-like (Sp) abilities. The Child of the End also gains the following special attacks:
    Pounce - The Child of the End can make a full attack action at the end of a charge.
    Cold Spikes (Su) - Any creature grappling with a Child of the End of at least small size, or attacking it with natural weaponry, takes 1d4 piercing damage, plus 1 point of cold damage and 1 point of vile damage. A Child of the End of tiny size or smaller deals only 1 point of piercing damage, but still deals the same cold and vile damage as a larger Child.
    Special Qualities: A Child of the End retains only the base creature’s extraordinary (Ex) special qualities, and gains the following special qualities:
    Scent
    Immunity to Cold
    Vulnerability to Fire
    Damage Reduction 10/epic
    Spell Resistance equal to the creature’s Hit Dice after the template has been applied.
    Blindsense 60 ft
    Saves: Base save bonuses are Fort 1/3 HD, Ref 1/3 HD, and Will ½ HD +2.
    Abilities: A Child of the End’s Strength increases by +4, its Dexterity decreases by 2, and it has no Constitution score. If the base creature had an Intelligence or Charisma score higher than 4, it drops to 4, otherwise the score remains unchanged. A Child of the End's Wisdom score remains unchanged, as its senses remain sharp.
    Skills: A Child of the End has no skill ranks.
    Feats: A Child of the End loses all feats except for weapon and armor proficiencies. It also gains Improved Toughness and Alertness as bonus feats.
    Environment: As base creature.
    Organization: Any.
    Challenge Rating: As base creature +3
    Treasure: As base creature.
    Advancement: As base creature.
    Level Adjustment: -
    Last edited by TheEscapist; 2007-07-15 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Minor tweaking
    "Playing D&D is a lot like having a venereal disease. Whenever I date a girl, there's always going to be that point in our relationship where I have to be up front and tell her that I play Dungeons & Dragons. And that will definitely have a lasting impact on how/if our relationship progresses."

    My Homebrewed Creations:
    The Eight Brothers, Herald of the End, Mherephess, Battle Master, Nemesis Paragon, Scholar's Blade, Weapons of the Big Folk

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    That is spectacular. Unreserved mitp vote: yes

    EDIT: to be a bit more specific, I especially love the fact that it comes across as truly epic as it is not just a monster but an entire envrionment, a moving part of the eighth layer. The description is also particularly evocative.


    Questions: Where did you get the idea for this guy? Does it speak? Are their any mechanical effects, aside from the noise, of the constant refreezing? and have you given any thought to stating out the original creatures from which these derive?
    Last edited by Poppatomus; 2007-07-01 at 04:27 PM.
    Recent Ancient Attempts at homebrewing :

    Daoist(Prc), Kinderhorror (MitP:8-0), Gribble(MitP: 11-1), Shardfiend(MitP:8-0), Sun Tyrant(MitP:6-0), Sunworshiper(MitP: 3-0),Spidaren (MitP: 7-0), Movie Themed Feats

    Any & all advice and opinions, and votes, are welcome

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    MitP: Yes

    Pretty much for the same reasons as Poppatomus.

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    Thank you, the kind words mean a lot especially coming from someone with such an impressive stable of monsters under his belt (awkwardly-mixed figures of speech, anyone?). I've editted the creature to answer the question regarding language. Also height and weight, since that's another basic item that I realized I had forgotten to include. I was considering making the constant refreezing give a chance that any weapon striking the ice would get caught, but I think I need a little more time to figure out the game mechanics for that.

    The idea for the Herald of the End originated from a bit of flavor text from one of the 2nd Edition Planescape sourcebooks, which mentioned strange shapes frozen deep inside the ice of Cania. I've always been a huge fan of those sorts of 'throwaway mentions' in flavor text that are never expanded upon. I feel they add an air of mystery to a universe in which the unbelievable is already commonplace. When Vorpal Tribble announced the 'Fimbulwinter' contest, with the themes of cold and evil, that insignificant bit of 2nd edition text immediately popped into my mind and I just ran with it.

    It's largely for that same reason that I doubt I'll ever elaborate on the origin race of the Heralds of the End - I want to leave a bit of mystery behind them. What were they? What sort of society did they have? What was Baator like before the Fall? Barring some sort of absurdly epic time-travelling effort to bring PCs back to the origins of the multiverse, no one will ever know. I think some things are much more effective when they're left to the imagination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppatomus View Post
    That is spectacular. Unreserved mitp vote: yes

    EDIT: to be a bit more specific, I especially love the fact that it comes across as truly epic as it is not just a monster but an entire envrionment, a moving part of the eighth layer. The description is also particularly evocative.


    Questions: Where did you get the idea for this guy? Does it speak? Are their any mechanical effects, aside from the noise, of the constant refreezing? and have you given any thought to stating out the original creatures from which these derive?
    "Playing D&D is a lot like having a venereal disease. Whenever I date a girl, there's always going to be that point in our relationship where I have to be up front and tell her that I play Dungeons & Dragons. And that will definitely have a lasting impact on how/if our relationship progresses."

    My Homebrewed Creations:
    The Eight Brothers, Herald of the End, Mherephess, Battle Master, Nemesis Paragon, Scholar's Blade, Weapons of the Big Folk

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    Okay, maybe the Herald of the End isn't ready to go to print just yet. I could use some feedback on the Child of the End template I added. Also possibly coming soon - a drawing!
    "Playing D&D is a lot like having a venereal disease. Whenever I date a girl, there's always going to be that point in our relationship where I have to be up front and tell her that I play Dungeons & Dragons. And that will definitely have a lasting impact on how/if our relationship progresses."

    My Homebrewed Creations:
    The Eight Brothers, Herald of the End, Mherephess, Battle Master, Nemesis Paragon, Scholar's Blade, Weapons of the Big Folk

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    Bumping for additional... what's the word... vote-itude.
    Recent Ancient Attempts at homebrewing :

    Daoist(Prc), Kinderhorror (MitP:8-0), Gribble(MitP: 11-1), Shardfiend(MitP:8-0), Sun Tyrant(MitP:6-0), Sunworshiper(MitP: 3-0),Spidaren (MitP: 7-0), Movie Themed Feats

    Any & all advice and opinions, and votes, are welcome

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    MitP Vote: Very yes.

    I voted for this in the Fimbulwinter month, too. I think.

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    MiTP Vote: Hell Yes

    And I must thank you, just reading the creature has started my creative juices flowing into a campaign based around 1 or more of these things instead of an Elder Evil (My players have gotten used to me sending those or an agent of them at the PCs)
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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    MitP Vote: Yeah!

    I like it, it doesn't just feel like an ordinary epic monster, it feels like an epic monster.
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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    Wow, I'd be honored to have my baby make an appearance in someone's campaign. Please, if you do end up using it, I'd love to hear how it goes.
    Quote Originally Posted by terror_drone View Post
    MiTP Vote: Hell Yes

    And I must thank you, just reading the creature has started my creative juices flowing into a campaign based around 1 or more of these things instead of an Elder Evil (My players have gotten used to me sending those or an agent of them at the PCs)
    "Playing D&D is a lot like having a venereal disease. Whenever I date a girl, there's always going to be that point in our relationship where I have to be up front and tell her that I play Dungeons & Dragons. And that will definitely have a lasting impact on how/if our relationship progresses."

    My Homebrewed Creations:
    The Eight Brothers, Herald of the End, Mherephess, Battle Master, Nemesis Paragon, Scholar's Blade, Weapons of the Big Folk

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    I was gonna say give it Unholy Toughness, but that would just make it too powerful. Cool epic monster! Mitp: Yes

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    Thank you for the kind words, everyone. One more vote and it's in!
    "Playing D&D is a lot like having a venereal disease. Whenever I date a girl, there's always going to be that point in our relationship where I have to be up front and tell her that I play Dungeons & Dragons. And that will definitely have a lasting impact on how/if our relationship progresses."

    My Homebrewed Creations:
    The Eight Brothers, Herald of the End, Mherephess, Battle Master, Nemesis Paragon, Scholar's Blade, Weapons of the Big Folk

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    I'll hand you that last vote, this is awesome.

    Good world, I like any detail I can get as I hope to involve large amounts of planar travel in my campaign, and I would DEFINITELY use this if not for the whole CR 30 part. Maybe I will eventually.

    Mitp vote: yes
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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    Thank you!

    And, with regard to using a CR 30 creature in a lower-level campaign, I think it would work well as a mobile hazard, and perhaps a foreshadowing of what the PCs are leveling up to eventually deal with. Or maybe, since it's so far above their power level, there could be some sort of ritual or artifact that could send the Herald back to Cania, or trap it in a demiplane or something. And in the meantime, while they're trying to get the alternate means for defeating it, they also have to work damage control - moving villages and evacuating cities who are in the path of the Herald's march. They could also fight some stray Children of the End that the Herald leaves in its wake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Icewalker View Post
    I'll hand you that last vote, this is awesome.

    Good world, I like any detail I can get as I hope to involve large amounts of planar travel in my campaign, and I would DEFINITELY use this if not for the whole CR 30 part. Maybe I will eventually.

    Mitp vote: yes
    Last edited by TheEscapist; 2007-07-04 at 03:05 PM.
    "Playing D&D is a lot like having a venereal disease. Whenever I date a girl, there's always going to be that point in our relationship where I have to be up front and tell her that I play Dungeons & Dragons. And that will definitely have a lasting impact on how/if our relationship progresses."

    My Homebrewed Creations:
    The Eight Brothers, Herald of the End, Mherephess, Battle Master, Nemesis Paragon, Scholar's Blade, Weapons of the Big Folk

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    A possible way, not sure if there would be a spell or if the lower level PCs could beat it's SR, but to shift it to the Elemental Plane of Fire, that would probably get rid of it.
    Harry Potter d20

    Its a rule of the Net, the more arguments you get into revolving around politics or religion is inversely related to how hard you try not to get involved with them.

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    "Me? Why I'm insane!"

    Thanks to Deimy for the Shinji pic

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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    MitP Vote: YEEEES
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    Default Re: MitP2- The Herald of the End, revisitted

    If it still means anything...

    MitP Vote: Yes

    I thought this was pretty cool.
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