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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Templates for Monster Characters

    Like my Prestige Classes for Monster Characters thread, in this thread I'm seeking to create more options for monster characters. Unlike my previous thread, this thread will also contain some remakes of existing material. My remakes aren't necessarily attempts to "fix" or "improve" the template (my self-estimation is not high enough to think I'm capable of that), but mostly to make them fit more with my personal preferences or to provide a different range of options than the standard template.
    Spoiler: Index
    Show
    Aberrant Arm: For players who want their character to have a weird arm, but don't want to pay for a graft.
    Anthropomorphic: A more conservative approach than Savage Species did.
    Flying Head: For those weirdos who don't want their character to have a body.
    Multi-Armed: In case your monster doesn't have enough arms.
    Multi-Headed: In case your monster doesn't have enough heads.
    Multi-Legged: In case your monster doesn't have enough legs.
    Rokurokubi: For those weirdos who want a flying head, but don't want to give up their body for it.
    Symbiotic: My attempt to make this template more accessible, but less trouble-prone.
    Tauric: An alternate means of creating a simple "taur" creature by adding a humanoid torso to a base creature.
    Last edited by Blue Jay; 2019-05-24 at 02:58 PM.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
    Savage Progressions using Reassigned LAs: MM (complete), MM3 (in progress)

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    Symbiotic Template

    This template can be added to any two living, corporeal creatures. This template merges the two base creatures into a single, combined creature. One of the two base creatures must be at least two size categories larger than the other. The larger base creature is referred to as the "host creature," while the smaller base creature is referred to as the "guest creature."

    The guest creature cannot have more Hit Dice than the host creature. If you wish to use a combination in which the guest has more Hit Dice, give the host bonus Hit Dice until it has the same number of Hit Dice as the guest.

    At the time of creation, one of the two base creatures is chosen to be dominant, while the other is subordinate. Either the host or the guest can be selected as dominant, but once this decision is made, it cannot be reversed. The dominant symbiont represents the "control center" of the combined creature.

    Size and Type
    The combined creature has the host creature's type, and retains all the subtypes of both base creatures, with the exception of the swarm subtype. It retains all the features and traits of the host's type, and also gains most of the traits of the guest's type (but see "Special Qualities" below).

    For spells, effects and prerequisites, the combined creature counts as either the type of the host creature or the type of the guest creature, whichever is more beneficial to it in each specific circumstance. It retains the size of the host creature.

    Hit Dice
    The combined creature uses the host's Hit Dice and Con modifier. The combined creature retains the base attack bonus and base Fort and Ref save bonuses of the host creature. The combined creature retains the base Will save bonus of the dominant symbiont.

    Speed
    The combined creature uses the speeds and movement modes of the host creature.

    Armor Class
    Same as the host creature.

    Attacks and Damage
    The combined creature retains all the attacks of both the host and the guest. However, it acts as a single creature in combat, which means it must use the full attack action to attack with more than one weapon. It does not gain the ability to take additional actions, and penalties for attacking with multiple weapons apply as if the host and guest were one creature. All attack rolls use the host's base attack bonus, size modifier and ability modifiers. However, the guest creature's attacks retain the base damage appropriate for the guest's size, as well as the guest's reach. If a guest's attack has a reach of 0 ft, that attack may only be used against a grappled opponent, but it is considered an extra attack (in addition to the normal attacks a creature can make while grappling) and does not take the usual penalties for attacking in a grapple.

    Special Attacks
    The combined creature retains all the special attacks of the host creature and the guest creature, with a few exceptions:
    • If the guest creature has a reach of 0 ft, then any of its special attacks that rely on making physical contact with the target can only be used against a grappled opponent.
    • The combined creatures retains any racial spellcasting ability that the dominant symbiont had, but it does not retain any racial spellcasting ability of the subordinate symbiont.


    Special Qualities
    The combined creature retains all the special qualities of both the host creature and the guest creature, with a few exceptions:
    • The combined creature does not retain the Mindless special quality.
    • The combined creature does not retain swarm traits, or any other qualities that derive from being a swarm, such as half damage from piercing and slashing weapons for Tiny swarms.
    • If either base creature is subject to critical hits and/or flanking, the combined creature is also subject to critical hits and/or flanking.
    • Like qualities do not stack: take only the greater value. This applies to qualities such as Damage Reduction, Fast Healing, Energy Resistance, etc.


    Additionally, the combined creature does not retain conflicting qualities. For example:
    • If the combined creature inherits both immunity and vulnerability to the same type of energy damage (acid, cold, electricity, fire or sonic), it retains the immunity and loses the vulnerability.
    • If either symbiont has a quality that would reasonably nullify the benefits of a quality the other symbiont has, the combined creature does not retain the benefit. For example, a grimlock/stirge combination will not retain the grimlock's blindness or the accompanying immunity to vision-based effects, because the combined creature gains the stirge's vision. Tthe combination will retain Darkvision and Blindsight, however.
    • If one symbiont has Regeneration, and the other symbiont grants immunity to nonlethal damage, or to a damage type that bypasses Regeneration, it must choose whether to retain Regeneration or the immunitiy, but it cannot retain both.


    Ability Scores
    The combined creature is assigned ability scores as a single creature. It uses the physical ability score modifiers of the host creature. It uses the mental ability score modifiers of the dominant symbiont, except the combined creature's Intelligence score is at least 3 (treat this as a -8 modifier to the base ability score).

    Spoiler: Examples
    Show
    Host: Ethereal filcher (subordinate)
    Guest: Pseudodragon (dominant)
    This creature gains the physical ability score modifiers of the ethereal filcher --- +0 Str, +8 Dex, +0 Con --- and the mental ability score modifiers of the pseudodragon --- +0 Int, +2 Wis, +0 Cha. The character rolls or purchases his base ability scores once for the combined creature, and adds +8 Dex and +2 Wis.

    Host: Shambling mound (dominant)
    Guest: Small water elemental (subordinate)
    For this creature, the shambling mound is both the host and the dominant symbiont, so the combined creature will gain both the physical and mental ability-score modifiers of the shambling mound. The character rolls or assigns his base ability scores once for the combined creature, and adds +10 Str, +6 Con, -4 Int and -2 Cha.


    Skills
    The combined creature gains skill points as a creature of the dominant symbiont's type, using the host creature's Hit Dice. Its racial skills include all skills listed in the stat blocks of either of the component creatures. Do not include Hit Dice from class levels in the calculation --- the combined creature gains skills as normal for class levels.

    The combined creature also gains all racial skill bonuses of the host creature and the guest creature, including bonuses related to the guest's movement modes, even though it doesn't inherit those movement modes. These bonuses do not stack: take only the larger of the bonuses for any given skill.

    Feats
    The symbiotic creature retains the racial bonus feats (feats marked "B" in the stat block) of both base creatures, and gains feats as normal for level advancement.

    Level Adjustment
    Same as the base creatures (combined) +1.

    -----

    Variants
    Spoiler: Separable Symbionts
    Show
    In this variant of the symbiotic template, the two symbionts can detach from one another and reattach as they see fit. This requires a slightly different approach to building the character, and gives a the Detach ability below; but it otherwise uses the same rules as the standard Symbiotic template. This variant should only be used if the player actually intends for the two symbionts to spend at least some time apart, because it is otherwise just a way to boost stats above what the standard template allows.

    Special Qualities
    Detach
    As a move action, the host and guest can separate from one another, which deals 1d6 damage to each creature. When they separate, the combined creature's abilities are divided up between the host and guest in a manner that depends on the nature of the symbiosis, as explained here:
    • Each creature retains all the abilities it had prior to combining, including any bonus Hit Dice granted to the host prior to applying the template.
    • Any base creature that was Mindless prior to applying the template is Mindless after detaching. It has an instinct to seek out and recombine with its symbiont when it is safe to do so.
    • All abilities gained from class levels taken after combining go to the dominant symbiont[ooc=**]This may mean that the subordinate symbiont is well behind the dominant symbiont (and the rest of the party) in level. So, if you wish to facilitate frequent detaching, consider granting the subordinate symbiont 2 temporary bonus HD for every 3 class levels the dominant symbiont has. These will be racial hit dice, and will grant feats and ability-score increases as normal for advancing hit dice, but these hit dice and feats and ability-score bonuses go away again when the two creatures reattach.[/ooc]


    While they are separated, the subordinate symbiont is obedient to the dominant symbiont, though they do not share any special mental or telepathic bond. They instinctively recognize one another, and can automatically locate one another if they are within 100 feet of each other. The subordinate symbiont cannot advance in level while separated, but the dominant symbiont can advance as normal.

    The two creatures can reattach at any time. The process of reattaching takes a full round, during which the two creatures cannot perform any other actions, and are considered flat-footed. Initiating the process provokes an attack of opportunity. If the process is interrupted --- which is caused by any action that would require a Concentration check from a spelllcaster --- it fails, and both creatures take 2d6 damage. This has no further adverse affects for the creatures, but the process of reattaching must be started again.

    Ability Scores
    With this variant, the ability scores of the two creatures are tracked separately. The player assigns ability scores to the dominant symbiont using the standard method for assigning PC scores in the game (rolled scores, point-buy, etc). The subordinate symbiont gains the ability scores from the creature's stat block ([ooc=i.e.]10 or 11, plus racial bonuses[/ooc]), with no amendments. When the two symbionts are combined, use the physical ability scores of the host creature, and the mental ability scores of the dominant symbiont (but Intelligence is at least 3). Some of the assigned scores of the dominant symbiont may be overwritten[ooc=**]DM Note: If your game uses point-buy to assign ability scores, this variant allows for players to minmax their ability scores easily, by dumping stats that will be covered up when the creatures combine, and then never using the Detach ability.

    If you want to discourage this, consider mandating a minimum point-buy purchase for each ability score, or perhaps consider increasing the LA of this variant by 1.[/ooc]

    When the creatures detach, each creature regains its original ability scores.

    Spoiler: Examples
    Show
    Host: Ethereal filcher (subordinate)
    Guest: Pseudodragon (dominant)
    The pseudodragon is the dominant symbiont, so the player rolls or assigns base ability scores for the pseudodragon, and adds its racial modifiers. Then, when combined with the ethereal filcher host, the filcher's physical ability scores override the physical ability scores of the pseudodragon.

    Host: Shambling mound (dominant)
    Guest: Small water elemental (subordinate)
    Since the shambling mound is both the host and the dominant symbiont, all of this combined creature's ability scores will be determined by the shambling mound, so this does not differ from the standard template. However, when the two detach, the Small water elemental has the ability scores listed in its stat block.


    Level Adjustment
    Same as the standard Symbiotic template.


    -----

    Spoiler: Designer Commentary
    Show
    Okay, the goal here is to let the template be a bit more flexible than the original published in Savage Species, but also tighten up some of the loose ends that made it most vulnerable to abuses.

    Relaxed permissions include:
    • The base creatures can be any living, corporeal creature, not just a small selection of specific types.
    • You can choose whether you want the mental ability scores of the host or the guest (that way, your character can have a bug as a symbiont without inheriting the bug's Intelligence score).


    Tightened loopholes:
    • You still use the host's HD, but if the guest has more Hit Dice, you have to increase the host's HD to match.
    • You have to absorb the Level Adjustments of both the host and the guest.
    • You don't get swarm traits if you're too big to be a swarm creature.


    I'm sure there are plenty of other issues and rough edges with this template, so please feel free to chip in and suggestions and commentaries.
    Last edited by Blue Jay; 2019-04-29 at 10:34 AM.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
    Savage Progressions using Reassigned LAs: MM (complete), MM3 (in progress)

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    With Symbiotic, I'd go with not having a generic version at all, so that a lot of the abusability doesn't come into the picture by confining the most valuable benefits to specific creature types, and there's much more in the way of "normal" niche accommodation by having specific Symbiote templates for various kinds of merged creature, and possibly making some creatures to fill in as "proxies" for such templates.

    One general thing for further templates would be having many of them act as "backfilling" to bring more PC-typical value to otherwise-low-value RHD, balancing around the exponential value of levels and using the power curves of Incarnum and Initiators as examples of scaling off non-dedicated levels. Another important note is to make sure that they all cover a good zone of level-like functions, because the biggest problem of LA is losing out on the scaling that ordinarily comes only with hit dice.
    My most liked class, thematically, is the Artificer. Make free items! (fail by RAW to)Hold up the setting! Have access to every magic item...
    My most liked class, mechanically, is the Bard. I sing the enemy to death! (at level 21)I talk you into a suicidal fanatic! I need to cheese rules that make me sing as I fight or talk to get things done...

    I prefer t2 over anything else, because t2 lets you become anything. I think Psionics is more versatile than magic.

    Homebrewer's sig

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    With Symbiotic, I'd go with not having a generic version at all, so that a lot of the abusability doesn't come into the picture by confining the most valuable benefits to specific creature types, and there's much more in the way of "normal" niche accommodation by having specific Symbiote templates for various kinds of merged creature, and possibly making some creatures to fill in as "proxies" for such templates.
    To me, the only really worrying abuse issues of Symbiotic characters arise from being able to completely "sink" the guest, along with all of its hit dice and Level Adjustment, beneath the +1 LA of the template. As long as that kind of loophole is covered, then I don't think the template is particularly prone to abuse.

    Making different templates for different types of symbioses seems like a good idea, but it also seems like a lot of work upfront for the designer. At this moment, I'm inclined to just leave that as an exercise for individual DMs who want to create such specific types of symbioses for their game worlds. This template would serve as a good guide for doing that; but making individual types of symbioses isn't something I'm prepared to do at the moment, because it seems like it would have a high rate of redundancy unless you have very specific abilities in mind for how each symbiosis works.

    I am curious what kinds of symbioses you would have imagined. The Hivenest template is one that I'd like to see usable with more host types. The Captured One from Monster Manual II is silly, because it basically makes a guy get mind-controlled by the underwear on his head, but the general idea of a construct using a living body as a host is kind of neat. And of course there are "possessor" creatures like demons, tsochar and hellwasp swarms; and the actual symbionts from Fiend Folio and other sources.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    One general thing for further templates would be having many of them act as "backfilling" to bring more PC-typical value to otherwise-low-value RHD, balancing around the exponential value of levels and using the power curves of Incarnum and Initiators as examples of scaling off non-dedicated levels. Another important note is to make sure that they all cover a good zone of level-like functions, because the biggest problem of LA is losing out on the scaling that ordinarily comes only with hit dice.
    The various templates that blend two creatures together are very good for "backfilling," since you're effectively granting two creatures' worth of racial traits for one set of racial hit dice.

    You'll also note, as I go along here, that many of my templates basically assume that Inevitability's Reassigned LAs are in use; and so I kind of assume that racial hit dice are at their proper level for all creatures except those that were assigned LA -0. My remade Tauric template is that one I'm going to post next, and it has notes about LA -0 creatures.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
    Savage Progressions using Reassigned LAs: MM (complete), MM3 (in progress)

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Tauric Creature

    Tauric Creature

    This template transforms a base creature into a Tauric Humanoid. The base creature can be any living creature with at least four legs (or other ambulatory appendages, such as tentacles) and lacks humanoid arms or similar manipulatory appendages. This template cannot be applied to creatures that already have the Tauric subtype (see the spoiler in the "Size and Type" sue below).

    In place of the base creature's neck and head, the Tauric Creature gains a humanoid torso, including arms and a roughly humanoid head. The exact appearance of the creature's head is left up to the player and/or DM to determine.

    The tauric creature uses all the stats of the base creature, except as described here:

    Size and Type
    The creature's type changes to Monstrous Humanoid. it also gains the "Tauric" subtype. This means it gains all traits and features of the Monstrous Humanoid type, but also counts as a Humanoid for spells, effects and requirements that depend on the Humanoid type. Size is unchanged, but it counts as one size category smaller for attack rolls and grapple checks.

    Recalculate base attack bonus, saving throws and skills as if the creature was always a Monstrous Humanoid.

    If the base creature has the Aquatic subtype, it retains that subtype, and gains the Amphibious special quality.

    Spoiler: The Tauric Subtype
    Show
    I decided to write up Tauric traits as a subtype, which does change the mechanics of some existing monsters. I like it this way, but you obviously don't have to use the subtype I created: you can just give the creature the traits listed below

    The Tauric subtype grants the following traits, in addition to the traits of the creature's type:
    • The creature counts as one size category smaller for attack rolls and grapple checks, and wields weapons as if one size category smaller than its actual size. For all other purposes, it counts as its usual size.
    • The creature has a humanoid torso and a humanoid-like mind. Therefore, it counts as a Humanoid for spells and effects that target it, and for requirements for feats and prestige classes

    Creatures that I have retroactively assigned the Tauric subtype to include: centaur, dracotaur, drider, lamia, lhosk, socrpionfolk, etc.


    Speed
    As the base creature.

    Armor Class
    As the base creature.

    Attacks and Damage
    The Tauric creature retains the natural attacks of the base creature, provided it retains the necessary body parts. It usually does not retain any natural attacks that rely on the mouth or head of the base creature. A tauric creature's natural weapons deal the same amount of base damage as they did for the base creature.

    The Tauric creature gains a humanoid torso, complete with two arms that can wield manufactured weapons. As a Monstrous Humanoid, it gains proficiency with all simple weapons. If the tauric creature wields manufactured weapons, the weapons are sized for a humanoid one size category smaller than the base creature. If the tauric creature later gains natural attacks on its head or arms, these attacks are also sized for a creature one size category smaller than the base creature.

    Special Attacks
    A Tauric creature retains the special attacks of the base creature, provided it retains the necessary anatomy to deliver the attacks. Tauric creatures do not usually retain breath weapons, gaze attacks, spit attacks or poisons delivered by a bite attack.

    Special Qualities
    A Tauric creature retains all the special qualities of the base creature, but gains the traits and features of the Monstrous Humanoid type. If the base creature has the Aquatic subtype, the tauric creature gains the Amphibious special quality.

    Ability Scores
    The Tauric creature retains the physical ability scores of the base creature. It also retains the Wisdom score of the base creature. The tauric creature gains Intelligence and Charisma scores of 3d6, unless the base creature already had a higher Intelligence or Charisma score.

    Skills
    As the Monstrous Humanoid type. Its racial class skills include all class skills for the base creature, plus Craft, Listen, Profession, Spot and Survival (if it doesn't already have them).

    Level Adjustment
    Same as the base creature (occasionally +1 for powerful creatures). All creatures with Reassigned LA of -0 will take LA +0 from this template.

    Variants
    Spoiler: Theriocephalous Tauric Creature
    Show
    In this variant of the Tauric template, the creature retains the head of the base creature instead of gaining a fully humanoid head. If the base creature lacked a true head, or had a head that wouldn't easily fit a humanoid torso, the Tauric creature's head instead resembles a hybrid of the base creature's head and a humanoid head. The exact appearance of the creature's head is left up to the player and/or DM to determine.

    The changes shown here are in addition to changes made by the basic Tauric template.

    Size and Type
    The creature's type changes as listed in the basic Tauric template. However, unlike a standard tauric creature, a Theriocephalous Tauric creature always counts as a Monstrous Humanoid for all effects, abilities and requirements.

    Attacks
    A Theriocephalous Tauric creature retains any head-based natural attacks from the base creature, including bite, gore or head butt attacks.

    Special Attacks
    A Theriocephalous Tauric creature retains any head-based special attacks from the base creature, including breath weapons, gaze attacks, poisons or spit attacks.

    Skills
    Add Intimidate (Str) to the creature's racial skill list if it is not already on the list.

    Level Adjustment
    Same as the basic Tauric template, unless the creature would retain a breath weapon, gaze attack or similarly powerful special attack. In that case, the Level Adjustment is 1 higher than the basic Tauric template.


    Spoiler: Fewer Legs
    Show
    This variant of the Tauric template can be added to any creature that lacks a humanoid-like body plan, regardless of the number of legs. Apply the basic Tauric template normally, but do not count the creature as one size category smaller for attack rolls, grapple checks or the size of its weapons.

    Creatures created with this variant will resemble kinnaras, nagas or satyrs. In general, I will prefer to allow this variant only with Medium-sized base creatures, to preserve the human sizing of the torso.


    -----

    Spoiler: Designer Commentary
    Show
    This version of the Tauric template doesn't blend two creatures together. Instead, it takes a non-Humanoid creature and gives it a humanoid torso, so it can wield weapons and manipulate items. I think it's a lot simpler and loss volatile this way, but it does lack the ability of the standard template to mix-and-match racial traits; so if that's what you want, stick with the old template. In general, this template really just makes an unplayable quadruped playable by turning it into a 'taur. It can be used for a whole lot more than that, but it should work quite well for generic 'taur types.

    In my game world, I used this template to create the basic Centaur that I'll use, applying the template to the light horse (but I also made a few tweaks to it):

    Kallawlands Centaur
    • +4 Str, +2 Dex, +4 Con, +2 Wis
    • Large Monstrous Humanoid (Tauric)
    • Speed 50 ft
    • 3 RHD
    • Skills (2+Int): Balance, Craft, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Spot, Survival
    • +3 natural armor
    • 2 hooves 1d4
    • LA +0


    Changes: I took away Scent and reduced speed, and I added Balance, Jump and Move Silently to racial skills. I've also got a racial class that grants a combat style (like a ranger), with options that allow it to count as a humanoid mounted on a horse for specific purposes.
    Last edited by Blue Jay; 2019-04-27 at 08:57 PM.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
    Savage Progressions using Reassigned LAs: MM (complete), MM3 (in progress)

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Jay View Post
    To me, the only really worrying abuse issues of Symbiotic characters arise from being able to completely "sink" the guest, along with all of its hit dice and Level Adjustment, beneath the +1 LA of the template. As long as that kind of loophole is covered, then I don't think the template is particularly prone to abuse.
    The abuses I'm worried about are more along the lines of Emerald Legion shenanigans, where you combine Regeneration with Immunity to the bypassing damage, something the full carryover of Special Qualities opens up a lot more of. A lot of this could be fixed by having a bit of text to have the Host and Guest somewhat separate, mechanically, such that you can't have full coverage by stacking defenses. Does mean needing to keep track of defensive statistics separately, and probably a large amount of clunky wording, but conversely ensures this cheese doesn't come up and gives some framework for the clauses needed for the target variance otherwise making varying corporeality and life status complicated.

    Making different templates for different types of symbioses seems like a good idea, but it also seems like a lot of work upfront for the designer. At this moment, I'm inclined to just leave that as an exercise for individual DMs who want to create such specific types of symbioses for their game worlds. This template would serve as a good guide for doing that; but making individual types of symbioses isn't something I'm prepared to do at the moment, because it seems like it would have a high rate of redundancy unless you have very specific abilities in mind for how each symbiosis works.
    Perfectly understandable, and having a generic one ensures that you don't have to deal with the big complication. The fact that both have to be living and corporeal is a bit of an issue to it being generic, when you could instead have the exceptions ruled appropriately, such as the Host being incorporeal while the Guest is corporeal leading to the obvious case of the Guest being rather directly targetable by non-Incorporeal stuff and not getting to just walk through obstacles, or a toned-down version of this as you deem fitting.

    Another trick to the variations is that some of them, such as possession, work a lot better as PRCs for monster characters than as templates, because of their non-permanent Host.

    I am curious what kinds of symbioses you would have imagined. The Hivenest template is one that I'd like to see usable with more host types. The Captured One from Monster Manual II is silly, because it basically makes a guy get mind-controlled by the underwear on his head, but the general idea of a construct using a living body as a host is kind of neat. And of course there are "possessor" creatures like demons, tsochar and hellwasp swarms; and the actual symbionts from Fiend Folio and other sources.
    I was going to give an example "Awakened Animus" template, for Constructs that have the Elemental powering them in control, thus enabling the Elemental's various abilities and Con score, and there's also the Skitterhaunt template, which is an Ooze controlling a Vermin not-quite-corpse.

    The various templates that blend two creatures together are very good for "backfilling," since you're effectively granting two creatures' worth of racial traits for one set of racial hit dice.
    The issue then becomes the fact that you're now needing to balance it as if it were Gestalt for the overlapping levels, which ought to mean an LA formula. By using the pre-existing backfilling subsystems, you're not taking nearly as much of a gamble.

    You'll also note, as I go along here, that many of my templates basically assume that Inevitability's Reassigned LAs are in use; and so I kind of assume that racial hit dice are at their proper level for all creatures except those that were assigned LA -0. My remade Tauric template is that one I'm going to post next, and it has notes about LA -0 creatures.
    Understandable, though I don't recall you making a post there mentioning such a thing, and it isn't mentioned in these two threads either. Maybe put that in the opening posts so that people are coming in with the correct expectations of the pre-existing LA the templates are working with.
    My most liked class, thematically, is the Artificer. Make free items! (fail by RAW to)Hold up the setting! Have access to every magic item...
    My most liked class, mechanically, is the Bard. I sing the enemy to death! (at level 21)I talk you into a suicidal fanatic! I need to cheese rules that make me sing as I fight or talk to get things done...

    I prefer t2 over anything else, because t2 lets you become anything. I think Psionics is more versatile than magic.

    Homebrewer's sig

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The abuses I'm worried about are more along the lines of Emerald Legion shenanigans, where you combine Regeneration with Immunity to the bypassing damage, something the full carryover of Special Qualities opens up a lot more of. A lot of this could be fixed by having a bit of text to have the Host and Guest somewhat separate, mechanically, such that you can't have full coverage by stacking defenses. Does mean needing to keep track of defensive statistics separately, and probably a large amount of clunky wording, but conversely ensures this cheese doesn't come up and gives some framework for the clauses needed for the target variance otherwise making varying corporeality and life status complicated.
    Oh yeah, that can get annoying. I guess I've never had a player give me grief when I say, "don't do that" to this kind of thing; so I tend to overlook obvious cheese as a non-issue. But, you're right: there should be some effort to address it.

    For the specific example (Regeneration cheese), I could just add Regeneration to the blacklist, maybe replacing it with Fast Healing so it's not too much of a drawback. And maybe I should revisit the clause I put about Immunities and Vulnerabilities. Perhaps immunities are only retained if both hosts share the same immunity, and are otherwise translated into resistances (or resistance bonuses on saves)? And maybe Immunity and Vulnerability cancel out?

    Can you think of any other cheese problems like this?

    And I also do think it would be possible to track the two symbionts as separate creatures, if we used a Leadership or Wild Cohort paradigm; but it would be a bit more complicated, and probably not much better than the standard symbiont rules. I might toy around with that concept a bit, just to see if it makes any sense. Right now I'm imagining something like this:

    • Each time the dominant symbiont gains a level, the subordinate symbiont gains a racial HD.
    • The two symbionts share a single set of actions.
    • If one symbiont is incapacitated, they both are. If one dies, the other is incapacitated.
    • Some mechanic for "covering" one symbiont with the other's defenses temporarily.


    I don't know, that keeps the symbiotic template from turning into a generic "hybrid" template (I actually have one of those, too); but it does seem like a lot of work. But, now I'm intrigued, so I imagine I'll probably end up doing something like that anyway. We'll see how it goes, I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Perfectly understandable, and having a generic one ensures that you don't have to deal with the big complication. The fact that both have to be living and corporeal is a bit of an issue to it being generic, when you could instead have the exceptions ruled appropriately, such as the Host being incorporeal while the Guest is corporeal leading to the obvious case of the Guest being rather directly targetable by non-Incorporeal stuff and not getting to just walk through obstacles, or a toned-down version of this as you deem fitting.
    For sure. The main issue I have with using non-living creatures in this template is indecision about how to handle "blurring the lines" between living and nonliving. I guess it could be done, but it seems like construct symbiosis is more likely to be treated as a mechanical graft on a living creature, and the blending of living and undead is better handled with the traditional undead templates, rather than trying to fuse two creatures together. I have a template for adding an unusual arm to a creature, which is meant as an alternative to the graft rules; but it didn't really turn out to be nearly as exciting as I was hoping it would. Maybe I'll share that one next.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Another trick to the variations is that some of them, such as possession, work a lot better as PRCs for monster characters than as templates, because of their non-permanent Host.
    Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary actually made templates for Demon-Possessed, Devil-Bound and Celestial-Blessed. I agree with you that that sort of thing is better served by the existing possession rules (confusing as they can be), rather than specially-constructed templates. Although, temporary templates aren't always that hard to deal with, as long as you're not building your character around them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    I was going to give an example "Awakened Animus" template, for Constructs that have the Elemental powering them in control, thus enabling the Elemental's various abilities and Con score, and there's also the Skitterhaunt template, which is an Ooze controlling a Vermin not-quite-corpse.
    The elemental/construct thing is kind of cool, but I'm imagining that it would basically work exactly the same as the generic template, but with some altered requirements and fewer contingencies to address with specific text clauses. The main reason why I wanted to make a single generic Symbiotic template instead of multiple specific ones is because the specific ones would probably usually amount to reinventing the same template over and over again. If that's where this will ultimately need to go, then we're probably still better off inventing the generic template as the starting point for the specific ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The issue then becomes the fact that you're now needing to balance it as if it were Gestalt for the overlapping levels, which ought to mean an LA formula. By using the pre-existing backfilling subsystems, you're not taking nearly as much of a gamble.
    What are the pre-existing backfilling subsystems you're talking about? Incarnum and ToB? I'm not entirely clear on how you see that as an alternative to the way the Symbiotic template functions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Understandable, though I don't recall you making a post there mentioning such a thing, and it isn't mentioned in these two threads either. Maybe put that in the opening posts so that people are coming in with the correct expectations of the pre-existing LA the templates are working with.
    I suppose I can do that, but I don't think it's going to make much difference at all. Maybe I'll put links whenever I mentioned Reassigned LAs, so I can do it both ways at once.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Jay View Post
    Can you think of any other cheese problems like this?
    The other big bugbear to pay attention to is racial spellcasting, as it's a mess of possible scaling interactions with some really nasty options.

    And I also do think it would be possible to track the two symbionts as separate creatures, if we used a Leadership or Wild Cohort paradigm; but it would be a bit more complicated, and probably not much better than the standard symbiont rules. I might toy around with that concept a bit, just to see if it makes any sense. Right now I'm imagining something like this:

    • Each time the dominant symbiont gains a level, the subordinate symbiont gains a racial HD.
    • The two symbionts share a single set of actions.
    • If one symbiont is incapacitated, they both are. If one dies, the other is incapacitated.
    • Some mechanic for "covering" one symbiont with the other's defenses temporarily.


    I don't know, that keeps the symbiotic template from turning into a generic "hybrid" template (I actually have one of those, too); but it does seem like a lot of work. But, now I'm intrigued, so I imagine I'll probably end up doing something like that anyway. We'll see how it goes, I guess.
    The big point of this chunk of complexity is that it can be made to work for all the various subsets of differing defensive properties for parts of a creature, which means being able to model a lot of varieties of weak points, which can be useful if you have templates that give large amounts of DR for little investment. This is a good start, particularly as having the Host be the default target then means using the Guest as the dominant symbiote on a frail Host with poor RHD means the issue persists. Conversely, a Host with good RHD (such as a Dragon) makes for a significant benefit to the character.

    For the third point, using Touch AC and/or Reflex saves would be the easiest way to go about it. Can be phrased in such a way that it's part of the same roll normally made, adding no dice-based time and situational added bookkeeping time from the separate HP pools, mostly with regards to AoE damage and however healing is handled.

    For sure. The main issue I have with using non-living creatures in this template is indecision about how to handle "blurring the lines" between living and nonliving. I guess it could be done, but it seems like construct symbiosis is more likely to be treated as a mechanical graft on a living creature, and the blending of living and undead is better handled with the traditional undead templates, rather than trying to fuse two creatures together. I have a template for adding an unusual arm to a creature, which is meant as an alternative to the graft rules; but it didn't really turn out to be nearly as exciting as I was hoping it would. Maybe I'll share that one next.
    As mentioned, having the two creatures track defenses separately for the sake of Immunities, Regeneration and such also means you have a framework for differing life status. It's complicated, but do it once and you can repurpose it for most things involving weak points.

    Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary actually made templates for Demon-Possessed, Devil-Bound and Celestial-Blessed. I agree with you that that sort of thing is better served by the existing possession rules (confusing as they can be), rather than specially-constructed templates. Although, temporary templates aren't always that hard to deal with, as long as you're not building your character around them.
    The big issue with temporary templates is that it means ECL may routinely shift. By using PRCs (or feats, or skill tricks, or whatever other build resource) instead, there's more control over the power to build investment ratio so that the high-level stuff isn't soaking build resources when you just want to be a Succubus hiding in a Goblin, rather than ending up with a bundle of extra build cost because the ability permits stacking racial spellcasting or something else balance-breaking.

    The elemental/construct thing is kind of cool, but I'm imagining that it would basically work exactly the same as the generic template, but with some altered requirements and fewer contingencies to address with specific text clauses. The main reason why I wanted to make a single generic Symbiotic template instead of multiple specific ones is because the specific ones would probably usually amount to reinventing the same template over and over again. If that's where this will ultimately need to go, then we're probably still better off inventing the generic template as the starting point for the specific ones.
    The idea with the Awakend Animus is that the Construct can use the Elemental's powers, but the body remains solely that of the Construct, therefor having many of the abilities, but not much of the chassis. Dialing down the transparency based on the kind of thing being done, helping to have more balanced options with flat LA amounts, rather than being confined to just genuine, but partial, gestalting of the two creatures.

    What are the pre-existing backfilling subsystems you're talking about? Incarnum and ToB? I'm not entirely clear on how you see that as an alternative to the way the Symbiotic template functions.
    The "backfilling" in them is that they have a good chunk of their scaling come from overall hit dice (Initiator Level counting non-Initiator classes as half-levels for maximum Maneuver level, Incarnum's maximum Essentia investment, both having a lot of "frontloaded" utility and power due to these mechanics), rather than the classes, so small dips at high levels tend to be able to make up for a lack of features from the first chunk of levels. Scaling off of total hit dice, whether racial or not, means that otherwise-"empty" hit dice are still contributing to character scaling.

    Gestalting is a lot harder to balance as a way of "backfilling" for racial hit dice, because of how easy it is to fill in the gaps to get a near-perfect chassis and just how much power can end up being gotten.
    My most liked class, thematically, is the Artificer. Make free items! (fail by RAW to)Hold up the setting! Have access to every magic item...
    My most liked class, mechanically, is the Bard. I sing the enemy to death! (at level 21)I talk you into a suicidal fanatic! I need to cheese rules that make me sing as I fight or talk to get things done...

    I prefer t2 over anything else, because t2 lets you become anything. I think Psionics is more versatile than magic.

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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The other big bugbear to pay attention to is racial spellcasting, as it's a mess of possible scaling interactions with some really nasty options.
    I think all racial spellcasting comes in pretty discreet bundles that don't scale with hit dice, so the main concerns with racial spellcasting seem to be (1) the potential for dual-progression abuse (though I'm not entirely sure how racial spellcasting interacts with PrC requirements and advancements); and (2) concerns that exist even without this template.

    You're right, though: I need to consider some of this carefully. Obviously, caster levels will not stack, so putting two creatures with racial sorcerer casting in symbiosis will not grant two sorcerer progressions, nor would it grant a cumulative sorcerer level. Maybe a clause that says only the dominant symbiont's racial spellcasting is retained.

    My hybrid template has a mechanic that reduces the CL and uses of racial SLAs that might be somewhat applicable here. Basically, CL is halved (with a minimum CL equal to the minimum CL required to cast the given ability), and uses per day decrease from "at will" --> "3/day" --> "1/day" --> "not retained." Racial spellcasting would be easier: just make them cast as a {fill in class} of half the base creature's CL. But, I'm not really sure that that fits the Symbiosis flavor, so I think I'd prefer only retaining the dominant symbiont's spellcasting ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The big point of this chunk of complexity is that it can be made to work for all the various subsets of differing defensive properties for parts of a creature, which means being able to model a lot of varieties of weak points, which can be useful if you have templates that give large amounts of DR for little investment. This is a good start, particularly as having the Host be the default target then means using the Guest as the dominant symbiote on a frail Host with poor RHD means the issue persists. Conversely, a Host with good RHD (such as a Dragon) makes for a significant benefit to the character.
    I personally would like to limit the complexity as much as possible here, and leave this kind of nuance for templates that are designed for specific game worlds. I've not decided what kinds of symbioses are going to be available in my gameworlds, so I'm not entirely sure which specific types I'd want. But, I'm sure ideas will come up if we keep this discussion going.

    Dragon symbiosis seems like something that could be easily made into a specialist Symbiotic template. But then, it also doesn't seem like the kind of thing that dragons actually do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    For the third point, using Touch AC and/or Reflex saves would be the easiest way to go about it. Can be phrased in such a way that it's part of the same roll normally made, adding no dice-based time and situational added bookkeeping time from the separate HP pools, mostly with regards to AoE damage and however healing is handled.
    Oh, you mean the point about "covering" each other with their defenses. I was imagining a kind of shield other effect, so if the troll/magmin was hit with a fireball, the magmin takes no damage, and can also cover half of the damage the troll would have taken (probably with a Ref save). I also thought that maybe there could simply be an action cost: e.g., the Symbiotic creature can take a move action to grant one of a symbiont's defensive abilities to the other symbiont for 1 round.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    As mentioned, having the two creatures track defenses separately for the sake of Immunities, Regeneration and such also means you have a framework for differing life status. It's complicated, but do it once and you can repurpose it for most things involving weak points.
    Yeah, I guess I hadn't thought about it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The idea with the Awakend Animus is that the Construct can use the Elemental's powers, but the body remains solely that of the Construct, therefor having many of the abilities, but not much of the chassis. Dialing down the transparency based on the kind of thing being done, helping to have more balanced options with flat LA amounts, rather than being confined to just genuine, but partial, gestalting of the two creatures.
    I'm really not seeing much of a distinction there. It sounds like the idea you're going for is modeled pretty much exactly by using my template, with the "living" requirement waived, and designating the Construct as both the host and the dominant symbiont. In that situation, the only things it will inherit from the Elemental will be its special abilities and its subtypes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    The "backfilling" in them is that they have a good chunk of their scaling come from overall hit dice (Initiator Level counting non-Initiator classes as half-levels for maximum Maneuver level, Incarnum's maximum Essentia investment, both having a lot of "frontloaded" utility and power due to these mechanics), rather than the classes, so small dips at high levels tend to be able to make up for a lack of features from the first chunk of levels. Scaling off of total hit dice, whether racial or not, means that otherwise-"empty" hit dice are still contributing to character scaling.

    Gestalting is a lot harder to balance as a way of "backfilling" for racial hit dice, because of how easy it is to fill in the gaps to get a near-perfect chassis and just how much power can end up being gotten.
    I know what you mean by "backfilling"; I just don't understand how that could be used as a viable alternative to my semi-gestalt system for a Symbiotic template. In my mind, any template that blends two creatures requires something akin to a gestalt approach. That's kind of the entire point of a template like this, isn't it?
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
    Savage Progressions using Reassigned LAs: MM (complete), MM3 (in progress)

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    Aberrant Arm

    Fantasy and science fiction are full of characters with one weird arm that has some unique or special abilities. There are several types of grafts that allow you to play a character like that in D&D 3.5, but they tend to be rather expensive for what they give. So this template is an alternative to the grafts: instead of purchasing a graft with your wealth, you can have a weird, special arm for LA +1.

    This template can be added to any creature that has arms. The creature retains all of its normal statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

    When you select this template, you choose one of the aberrant arms described in the spoilers below, and that arm replaces one of the character's existing arms. The character gains all abilities described in the chosen spoiler (in addition to the general abilities listed here). In most cases, an aberrant arm cannot wear a ring or a hand-slot item (exceptions will be noted): a character with an aberrant arm therefore must sacrifice one ring slot, but he can still benefit from hand-slot or ring-slot items worn on his other hand(s). Even items that must normally be worn in pairs (e.g., gloves of Dexterity) can function properly when an aberrant-arm character wears only one of the pair. This does not reduce the cost of the item.

    Additionally, NPCs tend to react negatively to aberrant arms, so a DM may choose to impose penalties on social checks if the character makes no effort to hide his aberrant arm. Some types of aberrant arm are easier to hide than others.

    General changes:

    Armor Class
    The character's natural armor bonus to AC increases by 1.

    Ability Scores: +2 Str, +2 Con

    Level Adjustment
    As the base creature +1.

    -----

    Arm Selection
    Each application of this template grants the abilities listed in one (and only one) of the spoilers below. Many of these arms are quite generic, and can be flavored in a variety of different ways using the same game mechanics. This is to allow maximum customizability around a simple, unified set of mechanics. Players are allowed to rename and reflavor these arms as they see fit.

    You may apply this template more than once, and you may select any type of arm each time you apply it. You may even select the same type of arm multiple times, in which case, the untyped benefits and penalties are cumulative. The character must have an unmodified arm in order to take this template, so no character can have more iterations of this template than he has arms.

    Spoiler: Clawed Arm
    Show
    This is the simplest of aberrant arms that can be grafted onto a creature. It is simply an arm with claws at the tips of the fingers. The exact nature and appearance of the arm is left up to the player and/or DM to decide. It may be the arm of a beast, a skeletal arm, or just a normal-looking arm with elongated nails or artificial claws.

    The claws do not interfere with the normal use of the hand, so the grafted character can use a clawed hand normally, and she does not suffer any penalties to skill checks or ability checks. Unilke other aberrant arms, this arm can still wear a ring or hand-slot item, and such items do not interfere with the claw attack. This aberrant arm is relatively easy to conceal with a glove or a pocket or simple discretion on the character's part. Depending on the chosen appearance, it may or may not evoke negative reactions from humanoid NPCs.

    Attacks
    This arm grants a single natural claw attack that deals 1d6 piercing and slashing damage (for a Medium creature).

    Special Attacks
    Pounce
    A character with a clawed arm can make a full attack at the end of a charge, as long as at least one attack is made with her claw.

    Skills
    This arm does not interfere with skill usage. In fact, the claws grant a +2 bonus on Climb checks


    Spoiler: Fiery Arm
    Show
    This aberrant arm is taken from a fire elemental or other similar creature of flame. The exact appearance of the arm may vary: it may appear mostly normal, or have an unusual color, or it may even be comprised of cracked lava or semisolid flame. Regardless of its appearance, it is always very hot to the touch.

    A fiery arm can be used to wield weapons and manipulate objects for 2 rounds (provided the objects are not flammable), but any item held longer will automatically take the character's Burn damage (see below) each round thereafter. This aberrant arm is moderately easy to conceal with some discretion, though it will tend to burn through a glove or other covering that isn't properly protected. It tends to evoke negative reactions from humanoid NPCs.

    Attacks
    This arm grants a single natural slam attack that deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage.

    Special Attacks
    Burn
    As a free action, a character with a fiery arm can ignite the arm with roaring flames that do not harm her or her gear. When the arm is ignited, it casts light as a torch. Additionally, a slam attack or unarmed strike made with the ignited arm deals an additional 1d6 points of fire damage on a successful hit.

    Alternately, while the arm is ignited, the character can make a melee touch attack against an opponent as an attack action. If this attack hits, the opponent does not take Burn damage, but must make a Ref save or catch fire. The fire burns for 1d4 rounds. The saving throw is Con-based.

    Special Qualities
    Fire Resistance
    A character with a fiery arm gains Resistance to fire 10.

    Skills
    Although the fiery arm can be used to wield weapons or manipulate objects, the character must be cautious to avoid burning or melting things he touches. This gives him a -2 penalty on all skill checks that require fine motor skills.


    Spoiler: Incorporeal Arm
    Show
    This aberrant arm is taken from or copied from an incorporeal creature, such as a ghost or wraith. It is completely incorporeal, so it cannot wield a corporeal weapon or shield, and it cannot manipulate corporeal objects. However, it can do anything that an incorporeal appendage could be expected to do, such as pass through walls and objects unimpeded, and touch objects without setting off traps or spells that are triggered by touch.

    This aberrant arm is moderately easy to conceal with baggy clothing, but it can be tricky. It tends to evoke negative reactions from humanoid NPCs.

    Armor Class
    A character with an incorporeal arm does not gain the +1 natural armor bonus this template normally grants. Instead, he gains a +1 deflection bonus to his Armor Class.

    Special Attacks
    This arm grants a single incorporeal touch attack that deals either 1d6 untyped damage, or 1d4 Str damage. The player may choose which effect his incorporeal touch has with each attack he makes. Additionally, the character can qualify for feats and other options that can improve an incorporeal touch attack as if he were incorporeal (e.g. he qualifies for some Ghost feats from Ghostwalk (Path of the Corrupter), and the Improved Ability Damage feat from Libris Mortis).

    Ability Scores
    A character with an incorporeal arm does not gain the +2 Str bonus this template normally grants.

    Skills
    Due to the inability of the arm to interact with most physical objects, the character is slightly handicapped when it comes to manual tasks. The character takes a -2 penalty on all skill checks that require fine motor skills.


    Spoiler: Morphing Arm
    Show
    This aberrant arm is made from a semi-fluid substance or other shapeable material that can be molded into various simple shapes by mental action, allowing it to be used as a utility item for a wide range of different purposes (see the "Shaping" special quality below).

    Anybody who sees the hand up close can tell that it is not a normal, natural hand, but it likely only evokes minor negative reactions from humanoid NPCs. However, an NPC who witnesses the arm changing shape is likely to respond negatively, potentially strongly so. The arm is quite easy to hide with a glove or a pocket, so care on the part of the character can ease these problems.

    Attacks
    A morphing arm can be shifted into a simple structure suitable for use in combat as a natural weapon. In weaponized form, the arm deals 1d6 points of damage (for a Medium character), it threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20, and it deals double damage on a successful critical hit. It is treated as a natural attack, and as a mastework weapon. It cannot be shaped to mimic the properties or abilities of a specific weapon (such as a scimitar or a spiked chain), and cannot mimic the properties of any special material; but it can be shaped to deal either bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage (only one at a time, chosen independently each time the arm is shaped). The exact shape is not important, and the player may choose any shape appropriate to the damage type selected each time the arm is weaponized. However, the arm cannot increase the character's reach, function as a ranged weapon of any kind, or be wielded as a two-handed weapon.

    A character with this arm can take a weapon-specific feat, such as Weapon Focus, with its morphing arm, and the benefit will apply to the arm in any weaponized shape, regardless of which type of damage it is dealing. Similarly, the weapon can be enchanted as any other weapon, and the enhancements and magical properties apply regardless of the current shape of the arm (though some properties, such as keen, will only work for certain shapes the arm has taken).

    Special Qualities
    Shaping (Ex)
    In its standard form, a morphing arm is similar in shape to a normal arm for the character's race, and it can perform any task a normal hand for the character's race could perform with no difficulties. It can even wear magic items as normal for a creature of the character's race.

    However, this arm can be mentally commanded to take on different shapes. Altering the arm's shape takes the same kind of action as drawing a weapon, and the arm remains in the chosen shape until the character chooses to change it again. In any form other than its standard from, the arm can no longer accommodate any wearable items, and any items worn on the hand or arm fall off.

    If the character dies or is knocked unconscious, or the arm is severed from the body, the arm reverts to its standard form. This is not a magical effect, so the arm always looks like its current form under the effect of true seeing or similar magic.

    Morphic Tools (Ex)
    A morphing arm can also be molded into various shapes that allow it to function as a masterwork tool for any of the following skills: Balance, Climb, Craft, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Forgery, Open Lock, Sleight of Hand, Swim or Use Rope. When used this way, it takes a shape appropriate for the task, such as a walking stick for a Balance check, a lock pick for an Open Lock check, etc. While the arm is in the shape of a tool for a particular skill, the character takes a -2 penalty on all other checks that require fine-motor skills except checks related to the particular skill, which gain the usual +2 circumstance bonus granted by a masterwork tool.

    The arm can also be molded into various other simple shapes, which may allow it to be useful for other minor purposes. For example, it could potentially be shaped to function as a crowbar, a hammer or even an inkpen; or could be formed into an eyelet through which a rope could be fed, or a bowl or cup shape to hold a small amount (perhaps a few handfuls) of liquid or douse a lantern, etc. But it cannot provide any kind of skill or check bonus other than for the specific skills listed above. It cannot take shapes with moving parts, flexible shapes (such as a rope or chain), shapes with specific material properties (such as a magnifying glass) or shapes that extend beyond the character's normal reach, and no portion of the arm can be detached from the character's body unless forcefully removed (in which case, it cannot be reattached without a regenerate spell or specialized surgery).


    Spoiler: Pincer Arm
    Show
    This aberrant arm is a large, powerful pincer, like that of a crab or scorpion. It is too large and ungainly to wield a weapon or shield, or to manipulate objects., but it has a strong grip.

    This aberrant arm is difficult to conceal, due to its bulk. It tends to evoke strongly negative reactions from humanoid NPCs.

    Armor Class
    The pincer arm can be used much like a shield, granting a +1 shield bonus to AC. The character does not lose this bonus when using her arm to make a pincer attack.

    Attacks
    This arm grants a single natural pincer attack that deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage (for a Medium creature).

    Special Attacks
    Improved Grab
    If the character hits with her pincer attack, she can immediately attempt a Grapple check as a free action. This Grapple check does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the character successfully establishes a hold, she deals automatic pincer damage with every successful grapple check until the opponent escapes. The character gains a +2 racial bonus on Grapple checks made using the pincer.

    Constrict
    In each round in which the character maintains a Grapple with its pincer, she deals automatic pincer damage each time she grapples to deal damage. This is in addition to the damage she deals from her Improved Grab ability.

    Skills
    Due to the size and rigidity of the pincer arm, the character takes a -2 penalty on all skill checks that require fine motor skills.


    Spoiler: Serpent Arm
    Show
    This aberrant arm is actually the anterior portion of a viper, with the snake's head and mouth instead of a hand. This arm is flexible and dexterous, but cannot be used to wield a weapon or shield, or to manipulate objects.

    This aberrant arm is somewhat difficult to conceal, but can be readily concealed with baggy clothing. It tends to evoke strong negative reactions from humanoid NPCs.

    Initiative
    This arm grants a +1 bonus on all Initiative checks, due to the increased alertness and rapid-striking ability of the serpent head.

    Attacks
    This arm grants a single natural bite attack that deals 1d4 piercing damage (for a Medium creature) and delivers a necrotizing venom.

    Special Attacks
    Poison
    Initial and secondary damage is 1d6 Con, and the Fort save DC is Con-based, with a +2 racial bonus.

    Skills
    The character gains a +2 bonus on all Escape Artist checks, due to the flexibility and dexterity of the serpent arm. She also gains a +2 bonus on all Spot checks, due to the extra pair of eyes on her serpent arm. However, since the arm lacks a hand capable of fine manipulation, the character takes a -2 penalty on all skill checks that require fine motor skills.


    Spoiler: Spinneret Arm
    Show
    This aberrant arm is mostly normal, except that the forearm is swollen in an odd (and sometimes grotesque) fashion to accommodate the silk gland of a monstrous spider, along with a valve to propel the silk out at the speed of a crossbow bolt.

    This arm is somewhat difficult to conceal, but can be partially concealed with baggy clothing. It tends to evoke negative or even strongly negative reactions from humanoid NPCs.

    Special Attacks
    Web
    A number of times per day equal to 2 + its Con modifier, a creature with this aberrant arm can throw a web like a monstrous spider. This is similar to an attack with a net but has a range increment of 10 feet (maximum 5 increments), and is effective against targets of up to one size larger than the creature with the spinneret. The web anchors the target in place, allowing no movement.

    An entangled creature can escape with a DC 13 Escape Artist check or burst the web with a DC 17 Strength check. The check DCs are Constitution-based, and the Strength check DC includes a +4 racial bonus. The web has 6 hit points, hardness 0, and takes double damage from fire.


    Spoiler: Strong Arm
    Show
    This aberrant arm is massive and heavy. The exact nature and appearance of the arm is left up to the player and/or DM to decide. It may be a massive appendage made of stone or wood, or just an overly large mutant arm. This arm is not dexterous, and cannot be used to wield a weapon or shield, or to manipulate objects.

    This aberrant arm is difficult to conceal, though it can be partially concealed with baggy clothing. It may evoke negative reactions (or even strongly negative reactions) from NPCs, especially if it has a grotesque appearance.

    Armor Class
    The strong arm can be used much like a shield, granting a +1 shield bonus to AC. The character does not lose this bonus when using his arm to make a slam attack.

    Attacks
    This arm grants a single natural slam attack that deals 1d10 bludgeoning damage (for a Medium creature).

    Special Attacks
    A character with a strong arm counts as one size category larger on opposed Str checks (including Bull Rush, Grapple, Overrun, Sunder and Trip attempts).

    Ability Scores: +4 Str, -2 Dex (in addition to the ability score modifiers from the base template)

    Skills
    Due to the size and rigidity of the strong arm, the character takes a -2 penalty on all skill checks that require fine motor skills.


    Spoiler: Tentacle
    Show
    This aberrant arm is a long, highly flexible appendage with a powerful grip, like a tentacle or a vine. The tentacle cannot be used to wield weapons, but it is dexterous enough that the character does not take a penalty to skill checks involving manual dexterity. In addition, the tentacle can be used to help load (but not shoot) a ranged weapon, so the character can load crossbows and slings as if he had two proper hands.

    This aberrant arm is difficult to conceal, and it tends to evoke strongly negative reactions from humanoid NPCs.

    Attacks
    This arm grants a single natural tentacle attack that deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage (for a Medium creature). The tentacle has a natural reach 5 ft longer than the base creature's usual reach.

    Special Attacks
    Improved Grab
    If the character hits with his tentacle attack, he can immediately attempt a Grapple check as a free action. This Grapple check does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the character successfully establishes a hold, he deals automatic tentacle damage with every successful grapple check until the opponent escapes.

    Skills
    A character with a grafted tentacle gains a +4 bonus on Escape Artist checks, due to the extremely flexible nature of the tentacle.


    Spoiler: Weapon Graft
    Show
    This aberrant arm is a mostly normal, except that the hand has been replaced by a single manufactured weapon. Because the character lacks a hand on this arm, he cannot use this arm to wield other weapons or manipulate objects.

    This aberrant arm is difficult to conceal. It may evoke negative reactions (or possibly even strongly negative reactions) from humanoid NPCs.

    Attacks
    The grafted weapon can be any light or one-handed weapon of the player's choice. The player may also select a hand crossbow or a shield (but not a tower shield), if he wishes. If he selects a hand crossbow, he does not need a free hand to reload it, and he can reload it as a free action. If he selects a shield, it grants its usual shield bonus, and he does not incur an armor check penalty.

    The character must purchase the weapon and any ammunition, but the weapon is automatically considered masterwork, with no need to pay the masterwork price. If the player chooses a shield, it counts as a masterwork weapon for bashing, and he retains his shield bonus when using the shield to bash; but it does not count as a masterwork shield for defense: the character must pay the cost of masterwork for the shield separately. The weapon can be magically enhanced as any other manufactured weapon.

    Special Qualities
    Weapon Bond
    A character with a grafted weapon is intimately familiar with his weapon, because it is as much a part of his body as his own hand. He may treat the weapon as a manufactured weapon or as a natural weapon, interchangeably, as he sees fit (though he cannot give himself additional attacks by choosing both in the same round). His grafted weapon counts as a light weapon whenever it would be beneficial for him, such as when fighting with two weapons or using the Weapon Finesse feat, but he can never wield it with two hands. The grafted weapon cannot be disarmed.

    Skills
    Lacking a hand on one of his arms, the character takes a -2 penalty on all skill checks that require fine motor skills.

    Feats
    A character with a weapon graft is automatically proficient with his grafted weapon. Additionally, he gains Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization with his grafted weapon as bonus feats, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.

    Variant: Modular Weapon Graft
    A character with this variant can attach or detach his grafted weapon with 1 minute of work. This allows him to switch out his grafted weapon, so he may keep multiple different weapon grafts, and he can easily hide his aberrant arm when no weapon is attached. However, each weapon graft must be modified to attach to his arm nub, which costs an extra 300 gp. Such weapons cannot only be wielded as weapons when attached to his arm nub. The Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization features he gained from this template apply to whichever weapon he has attached at the time.


    Spoiler: Webbed Hand
    Show
    This aberrant arm is relatively normal, though it bears large webbing between the fingers. Although the webbing does hinder the mobility of the fingers, the fingers are still capable of operating mostly normally. A character with a webbed hand can wear hand-slot items normally, but must still sacrifice a ring slot.

    Attacks
    This arm grants a single slam attack that deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage (for a Medium creature).

    Special Attacks
    Slippery Touch (Ex)
    A creature with this arm can choose to coat its webbed hand with a slippery, mucousy substance. Any creature struck by a webbed hand has one arm (or other appendage) covered in grease (as the grease spell). The creature with the webbed hand must declare which arm will be struck prior to making the attack roll. It can also deliver this attack as a touch attack, targeting a creature's arm or a specific item carried by another creature. If the attack succeeds, the targeted arm or item becomes slippery, and the target creature must succeed on a Ref save (DC = 10 + HD/2 + Con modifier) or drop the greased item or any item held in the greased hand.

    Special Qualities
    Aquatic Action (Ex)
    This arm functions efficiently underwater. Whenever the creature performs an action with this arm that would be hindered underwater, it may ignore the hindrance as if it were under a continuous freedom of movement effect.

    Skills
    A webbed hand does not interfere with a creature's fine-motor activities. Due to the smooth and slick nature of the scales on the arm, the creature gains a +2 bonus on all Escape Artist checks.

    Additionally, the arm is an effective swimming aid, granting the creature a +4 bonus on all Swim checks, and allowing the creature to Swim at its full speed instead of half speed.

    Multiple Webbed Hands
    A creature can choose to make both hands into webbed hands. This gives her added benefits, but also some added drawbacks. She forfeits both ring sloths, and takes a -2 penalty on all fine motor tasks. In exchange, she gains a racial Swim speed equal to her base land speed, a +8 racial bonus on all Swim checks, and can take 10 on any Swim check, even when rushed or threatened. And, it can use the run action while swimming. She also gains a +2 bonus to her Con score (in addition to the +2 Con granted by the base template).


    -----

    Spoiler: Designer Commentary
    Show
    I thought it would be nice to have a template that supports this classic concept, but the template itself seems pretty weak and bland overall, mechanically speaking.
    Last edited by Blue Jay; 2019-04-30 at 11:14 AM.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    I would really like some feedback on the Aberrant Arm template. I worry that it's not giving enough for LA +1, and that the various arm options are not balanced with one another. If anybody has insights or ideas, I would love to hear them.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Flying Head

    Flying Head

    From time to time, I've tried to find an interesting way to use a vargouille, but the monster is just so unsatisfying. So for kicks, I thought I'd invent this template, so I could choose the monster head I get to work with.

    -----

    "Flying Head" is a template that can be added to any creature that has a distinct head. The creature's head is separated from its body, and the head remains alive.

    Size and Type
    If the base creature is a living creature, its type changes to aberration. Otherwise, its type does not change. The creature's size decreases by 2 size categories, but do not adjust its ability scores or natural armor for this size change.

    Anatomy
    A Flying Head has only a head, and generally lacks any other body parts. As such, it has fewer body slots for magic items. It retains its head, face and throat slots, but has no other body slots. It likewise retains the brow, crown, soul, throat and totem chakras. The Flying Head may or may not have wings, at the player's and/or DM's option; and it will also retain any other limbs or body parts that are attached to its head (which could potentially offer additional body slots).

    Speed
    A Flying Head loses its existing land speed, and gains a Fly speed of 40 feet (good maneuverability), which replaces any Fly speed the base creature has. If the player and/or DM chooses not to give the Flying Head wings, it still gains this Fly speed, but its flight ability is considered supernatural and it has perfect maneuverability.

    If the base creature is aquatic or has a racial Water Breathing ability, it can also Swim at a speed of 40 feet (this replaces any Swim speed the creature has). The creature loses any Climb speed it has.

    Armor Class
    The Flying Head retains all its existing bonuses to Armor Class, except that its size modifier to Armor Class changes based on its size.

    Attacks
    A Flying Head retains all the natural attacks of the base creature that use its head, including bite attacks and (usually) gore attacks. Even though the creature decreases in size, its natural attacks deal the same damage as the base creature's natural attacks. If the creature lacks a natural attack with its head, it gains a bite attack that deals 1d6 damage (if the base creature was Medium size).

    A Flying Head usually cannot wield manufactured weapons unless the base creature has some kind of manipulatory appendage on its head, in which case it can use those appendages to wield weapons sized for the base creature without penalty. If it has a bite attack, it can also wield a mouthpick weapon.

    Special Attacks
    A Flying Head retains all the special attacks of the base creature that use its head, including breath weapons and gaze attacks. It retains any spellcasting ability the base creature had, but is no longer capable of providing material components on its own, unless the base creature was capable of doing so with its head. Additionally, it gains the following special attack:

    Fear Gaze (Su)
    Flying Heads are very good at being spooky, and can frighten creatures with a glance. When its gaze attack is active, all creatures within 30 feet must make a Will save (DC = 10 + HD/2 + Cha modifier) or be shaken for 1 minute. Against creature's of the same type as the base creature, the save DC increases by 1 (this is considered a racial bonus). Success on the saving throw renders a creature immune to that Flying Head's Fear Gaze for 24 hours.

    Special Qualities
    A Flying Head retains all the special qualities of the base creature, and gains Darkvision out to 60 feet.

    Ability Scores: -2 Str, +4 Dex (do not adjust ability scores based on size change)

    Level Adjustment
    As the base creature.

    Spoiler: Variant: Detachable Head
    Show
    With this variant, the base creature retains its normal body and all its regular abilities, but gains the ability to detach and reattach its head at will. Treat this as an Alternate Form (Su) ability. Usually, creatures using this variant do not grow wings on their heads, though this is still left up to the player and/or DM to decide.

    While its head and body are separated, the creature's head retains all of the base creature's class levels and racial abilities (assuming it is capable of using them as a detached head), and it also gains the abilities of the Flying Head template. Meanwhile, the creature's body becomes lifeless and inert. Treat its body as an object of the base creature's size category, except that it retains the base creature's natural armor bonus, and has the same number of hit points as the base creature.

    If the creature's body is destroyed, the head continues living, but can no longer reattach to the body until a raise dead spell (or similar magic) is cast on the body. For raise dead (or another effect that requires an intact body), the head must be in position on the dead body, and when life is restored, the head automatically reattaches. For the purposes of the resurrection spell and similar effects that require a part of the body to restore life, the head itself can count as the requisite body part. The regenerate spell can also be used to recreate the creature's destroyed body.

    Level Adjustment
    As the base creature, +1.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Anthropomorphic Creature

    Anthropomorphic Creature

    Spoiler: Designer Commentary
    Show
    This is meant to be a remake of the Anthropomorphic Creature template from Savage Species. I wanted to make it applicable to more creatures, instead of just animals. And I also wanted to reduce the template's reliance on the "Stat Changes by Size" table, because that tended to make the creatures' abilities too erratic and non-intuitive. For just a few examples:
    • The cheetah had a bigger Str bonus than the lion or tiger.
    • The horses and the mule had Str penalties, while the ponies had Str bonuses.
    • Several large, powerful creatures, like the giant octopus, Large shark and giant constrictor, had penalties to Con.
    • Anthropomorphic creatures made from smaller vipers always had higher Str bonuses than ones made from larger vipers.


    My version of the template should produce anthropomorphic creatures with a narrower range of variation, and it prevents a lot of the ability-score bloat that made the original template unpalatable.

    For now, I'm just forbidding base creatures with Supernatural or Spell-Like abilities, but I could use a scaling factor for things like breath weapons or other attacks. I'm not presenting that variant for now: this version is just for mundane creatures.


    "Anthropomorphic Creature" is a template that can be added to any Animal or Vermin that lacks humanoid-like anatomy and manipulatory appendages. Magical Beasts with no spells, spell-like abilities or supernatural abilities can also take this template.

    This template is a little different from most others. Applying this template is more like creating an entirely new creature with some abilities based loosely on the base creature, rather than making a few modifications to the chassis of the base creature. So, unlike most templates, you generally do not retain the stats of the base creature unless specifically stated.

    Size and Type
    Type is Monstrous Humanoid. The anthropomorphic creature retains any subtypes from the base creature, and gains the "Augmented" subtype. Recalculate hit dice, base attack bonus, base saving throw bonus, and skill points as if the creature was always a Monstrous Humanoid.

    Anthropomorphic creatures created from Tiny or smaller base creatures become Small-sized Monstrous Humanoids. Those created from Small, Medium or Large base creatures become Medium-sized Monstrous Humanoids. Those created from Huge or larger base creatures become Large-sized Monstrous Humanoids.

    Body form is variable, but is usually bipedal, with at least one pair of humanoid arms. Some anthropomorphic creatures can have slightly different body plans that suit them better, but all anthropomorphic creatures are at least vaguely humanoid-like in body plan.

    Hit Dice
    Do not use the base creature's hit dice. The anthropomorphic creature has a number of HD determined by its size instead (note that this is the size of the Anthropomorphic creature, not the size of the base creature):
    Small = 1d8
    Medium = 2d8
    Large = 3d8

    Speed
    Same as the base creature, subject to the following limits:
    • An anthropomorphic creature's base land speed is equal to the base creature's land speed or 40 feet, whichever is lower. All anthropomorphic creatures have a base land speed of at least 20 feet, even if the base creature did not have a land speed.
    • If the base creature has a Climb speed, the anthropomorphic creature also has a Climb speed equal to the base creature's Climb speed or 30 feet, whichever is lower.
    • If the base creature has a Swim speed, the anthropomorphic creature also has a Swim speed equal to the base creature's Swim speed or 40 feet, whichever is lower.
    • If the base creature has a Fly speed, the anthropomorphic creature also has a Fly speed equal to the base creature's Fly speed or 60 feet, whichever is lower. Maneuverability is unchanged.
    • If the base creature has a Burrow speed, the anthropomorphic creature also has a Burrow speed equal to the base creature's Burrow speed or 10 feet, whichever is lower.


    Armor Class
    An anthropomorphic creature always has a natural armor bonus of at least +1.

    If the base creature is size Large or larger, the anthropomorphic creature will be one or more size categories smaller than the base creature. Decrease natural armor by 2 for each decrease in size category. Do not decrease natural armor lower than +1.

    Otherwise, natural armor remains unchanged.

    Attacks
    The anthropomorphic creature generally retains all the base creature's natural attacks, with damage values adjusted for size, if needed. "Stamp" attacks are not retained.

    Some animals have no natural attacks, such as most diminutive animals. Anthropomorphic creatures based on such base creatures gain one natural attack as appropriate for the type of animal (often a bite attack). Use the damage values listed in the Monster Manual (Table 5-1, p. 296).

    Additionally, an anthropomorphic creature gains the ability to wield manufactured weapons. As Monstrous Humanoids, they are proficient with all simple weapons, but not with armor or shields.

    Special Attacks
    The creature loses any spell-like abilities and any racial spellcasting abilitiy. It retains the extraordinary special attacks of the base creature. Any size-dependent effects use the new creature's size. Some restrictions apply:

    Rake: Anthropomorphic creatures do not retain the rake attacks of the base creature.

    Swallow Whole: Only Large-sized anthropomorphic creatures retain this ability, and only opponents of Small size or smaller can be Swallowed Whole.

    Trample: Only Large-sized anthropomorphic creatures retain this ability.

    Special Qualities
    An anthropomorphic creature retains the special qualities of the base creature, and gains [ooc=Monstrous Humanoid traits]
    • Darkvision 60 ft
    • Proficiency with all simple weapons
    [/ooc]. If the base creature has the Aquatic subtype, the anthropomorphic creature gains the Amphibious special quality. If the base creature has the Mindless trait, it loses that ability, but gains a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects.

    Ability Scores
    Spoiler: Strength
    Show
    If the base creature is Tiny or smaller, the anthropomorphic creature has a -2 Str penalty.

    If the base creature is Small or larger, the anthropomorphic creature has a Str bonus/penalty equal to the base creature's Str bonus/penalty or the value listed below, whichever is lower (minimum -2 for Small anthropomorphic creatures, and +0 for Medium or Large anthropomorphic creatures):
    +2 (for Small anthropomorphic creatures)
    +4 (for Medium anthropomorphic creatures)
    +6 (for Large anthropomorphic creatures)


    Spoiler: Dexterity
    Show
    If the base creature has a Dex bonus, the anthropomorphic creature has a Dex bonus equal to the base creature's Dex bonus or the value listed below, whichever is lower.

    +6 (for Small anthropomorphic creatures)
    +4 (for Medium anthropomorphic creatures)
    +2 (for Large anthropomorphic creatures)

    If the base creature has a Dex penalty, the anthropomorphic creature has a -2 penalty to Dex.

    Otherwise, Dex is unchanged.


    Spoiler: Constitution
    Show
    An anthropomorphic creature has a Con bonus/penalty equal to the base creature's Con bonus/penalty or +4, whichever is smaller (minimum -2).


    Spoiler: Intelligence
    Show
    An anthropomorphic creature has no bonus or penalty to its Int score.


    Spoiler: Wisdom
    Show
    If the base creature has a Wis bonus of +4 or greater, the anthropomorphic creature has a Wis bonus of +2 instead.

    Otherwise, an anthropomorphic creature has no bonus or penalty to its Wis score.


    Spoiler: Charisma
    Show
    If the base creature has a Cha bonus of +4 or greater, the anthropomorphic creature has a Cha bonus of +2 instead.

    Otherwise, an anthropomorphic creature has no bonus or penalty to its Cha score.


    Skills
    An anthropomorphic creature gains skills as a Monstrous Humanoid (2 + Int modifier / level, quadruple at 1st level). An anthropomorphic creature always has at least six class skills. Its class skills always include Craft, Listen, Spot and Survival, in addition to the skills listed in the base creature's stat block, plus some number of skills that are reasonable for an animal of that type to have.

    Feats
    The anthropomorphic creature retains any racial bonus feats from the base creature's stat block, as long as those feats are still useful to it. An anthropomorphic creature of Small size always has Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.

    Level Adjustment
    The Level Adjustment varies by creature. Many anthropomorphic creatures will have LA +0 or +1.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Rokurokubi

    Rokurokubi

    Spoiler: Designer Commentary
    Show
    I'm not sure why this creature from Japanese mythology appeals to me, but it does. And I'm not very satisfied with the version from Oriental Adventures: I would like the creature's head to actually display some amount of independence from the body. Here's an attempt at that.


    "Rokurokubi" is a template can be added to any humanoid creature. It can also be added to any fey or monstrous humanoid that basically looks humanoid.

    Size and Type
    A rokurokubi retains the type and subtypes of the base creature, and gains the Shapechanger subtype. Size is unchanged.

    Armor Class
    The rokurokubi's natural armor bonus increases by 1.

    Attacks
    While in her monstrous form (see below), a rokurokubi gains a bite attack which deals 1d6 bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage (for a Medium rokurokubi).

    Special Attacks
    The rokurokubi retains all the special attacks of the base creature, and also gains the following special attacks:

    Malevolent Gaze (Su)
    While in her monstrous form (see below), a rokurokubi's countenance can inspire dread in her enemies. When she activates this ability (a free action), all enemies within 30 feet must succeed on a Will save (DC = 10 + HD/2 + Cha modifier) or be shaken for 1 minute. This is a mind-affecting (fear) effect that does not stack with itself, but does stack with other fear effects. A creature that succeeds on the Will save is immune to that rokurokubi's Malevolent Gaze for 24 hours.

    Rokurokubi Curse (Su)
    A rokurokubi can transmit her curse to others by a supernatural substance in her saliva. A humanoid, monstrous humanoid or fey who is dealt damage by the rokurokubi's bite attack must succeed on a Fort save (DC = 10 + HD/2 + Con modifier) or contract the rokurokubi curse. After 2d4+1 days, the individual will begin undergoing involuntary transformations in the nighttime (see the "Rokurokubi Curse" section below for details).

    The rokurokubi can suppress this effect on her bite attack if she wishes.

    Special Qualities
    A rokurokubi retains all the special qualities of the base creature, and also gains Darkvision out to 60 ft. She also gains the following special abilities:

    Alternate Form (Su)
    At will as a standard action, a rokurokubi can take on a monstrous form in which her neck extends up to 20 feet in length, and her head can float freely in the air. While in this form, a rokurokubi can function in some ways as two separate creatures. The body retains all the rokurokubi's base statistics. The head counts as a creature two size categories smaller than the body, with 1/5th the rokurokubi's hit points (the rokurokubi's body retains its full hit point count). The head can fly at a speed of 50 ft with perfect maneuverability, but it must remain within 20 ft of the body at all times. The head retains all the base creature's bonuses to Armor Class, except for armor or shield bonuses, and gains a new size modifier for its new, smaller size.

    While the rokurokubi is in her monstrous form, her head and body may each move up to their speed as a single move action, though they must remain within 20 feet of one another at all times. Either the head or the body may take attack actions, but both cannot attack in the same round unless the rokurokubi uses the full attack action. She does not otherwise gain any ability to take extra actions. If her head is a Tiny creature, it does not threaten an area and cannot make attacks of opportunity. However, it can still count as threatening adjacent squares for the purposes of flanking an opponent, and can even grant a flanking bonus to the rokurokubi's body. The head can make one bite attack as part of a full attack, but it must enter the target's space (provoking an attack of opportunity) to do so. It retains the same modifiers to its attack roll as the body, and gains a +2 bonus for its Tiny size.

    Damage Reduction
    A rokurokubi gains DR 5 / cold iron

    Ability Scores: +2 Dex, +2 Cha

    Level Adjustment
    Same as the base creature +1.

    ----

    The Rokurokubi Curse
    When a character first contracts the rokurokubi curse, no symptoms appear for the first 2d4+1 days. After that period has passed, anytime the rokurokubi sleeps, she may involuntarily assume her monstrous form. She can roll a Will save (DC 20) each night to avoid the involuntary transformation. Success means she does not undergo the involuntary transformation that night. The DM will usually roll this Will save in secret.

    Failure on the Will save means there is a 30% chance that she will undergo the transformation at some point during the night. When she changes form involuntarily, her head floats about freely for 2d4 minutes, and behaves as an NPC that is not under her control; while her body remains asleep and immobile. Generally, her head's actions are indiscriminately malevolent: her Malevolent Gaze is continuously active for the duration of the transformation, and it attempts to bite any creatures it can reach (though her head will never attack her own body). Afterwards, her head returns to her shoulders and she remains asleep. She will retain no memories of these actions when she awakes, but her sleep will be disrupted (which will have implications for her spell preparation), and she wakes up fatigued.

    A rokurokubi who has become aware of her affliction gains a +1 bonus on all Will saves to resist involuntary transformation. She can also willingly undergo the transformation as a standard action.

    NPCs who are aware of her affliction or have observed her will look on her less favorably than they otherwise would. Increase the DC of any Diplomacy or Bluff check she rolls against them by 5. Or, if you use the standard "changing NPC attitudes" rules: the NPC starts out with an attitude towards her one step worse than it otherwise would be.

    The affliction can be removed with a remove curse spell, but the rokurokubi must be willing, and must also succeed on a DC 20 Will save after the spell is cast.

    In the Kallawlands setting, it is also possible for the rokurokubi curse to be inflicted upon an individual for misdeeds or actions deemed offensive to the spirits. Frequently, the spirits of Yodun punish an unfaithful father by afflicting his wife or daughter(s) with the rokurokubi curse, instead of him; the spirits' reasoning behind this behavior is not entirely clear. However, teh consequence is that women are much more likely to receive this curse than men. When the curse is inflicted by spirits in this manner, the curse is not transmitted by the rokurokubi's bite, and supplication to the spirits that were offended may convince them to remove the curse.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
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    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Multi-Armed Creature

    Multi-Armed Creature

    Spoiler: Designer Commentary
    Show
    I like creatures with extra arms, so even though it's probably going to just be used for a total cheese-fest, I want a template for this. DMG2 has the Aberrant Limbs "trait" for NPCs, but that one is pretty weak. Dungeon #136 has the Obah-Blessed template, but that one is to pretty munchkin-y. Savage Species has Insectile, but that one explicitly doesn't give extra attacks. So, I wanted to make a Multi-Armed template that's simple, generic and strikes a good balance between the weak Aberrant Arms and the overpowered Obah-Blessed.


    "Multi-Armed" is a template that can be added to any creature that has arms or comparable manipulatory appendages. A multi-armed creature retains all the abilities of the base creature, except as noted here.

    Size and Type:
    Same as the base creature.

    Attacks
    A multi-armed creature gains one or more extra pairs of arms (or comparable manipulatory appendages, such as tentacles or vines, if it has no arms). These extra arms grant additional attacks in proportion to the number of attacks the base creature's arms grant. For example, if the base creature has two arms with claw attacks, it gains two additional claw attacks per pair of arms gained. If the creature has two arms, but one slam attack, it gains one additional slam attack per pair of arms gained. If the creature has the ability to wield manufactured weapons, it can now wield additional weapons in its extra arms (the usual penalties for fighting with multiple weapons still apply).

    Some creatures have unusual numbers of limbs. A creature that has only a single limb will gain only one additional limb from this template, instead of one additional pair of limbs. However, a creature that has at least some of its limbs in pairs will gain limbs in pairs. For example, a multi-armed assassin vine would gain one additional vine and one additional slam attack, while a multi-armed athach would gain an extra pair of arms, giving it a total of five arms.

    Special Attacks
    A multi-armed creature retains all the special attacks of the base creature, and also gains the following:

    Grapple Bonus
    A multi-armed creature gains a +2 racial bonus on Grapple checks per pair of arms gained.

    Ability Scores: +2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con

    Feats
    A multi-armed creature qualifies for the Multi-Weapon Fighting feat. This is not a bonus feat. However, if the creature already has the Two-Weapon Fighting feat, it may immediately exchange it for Multi-Weapon Fighting. Any other Two-Weapon feats can likewise be exchanged immediately for a Multi-Weapon version of the same feat.

    Level Adjustment
    Same as the base creature, +1 per extra pair of arms gained. In general, limit creatures to two extra pairs of arms, though some unusual exceptions may apply.
    Last edited by Blue Jay; 2019-05-24 at 02:31 PM.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
    Savage Progressions using Reassigned LAs: MM (complete), MM3 (in progress)

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Multi-Headed Creature

    Multi-Headed Creature

    Spoiler: Designer Commentary
    Show
    Since I had Multi-Armed, I also needed Multi-Headed. The one from Savage Species is annoying because it adds racial hit dice.


    "Multi-Headed" is a template can be added to any creature with a discernible head. The creature uses all the base creature's statistics, except that it gains one or more additional heads.

    Size and Type:
    Animals and Vermin become Magical Beasts. Humanoids become Monstrous Humanoids. Otherwise, size and type are unchanged.

    Heads
    A multi-headed creature gains some number of extra heads, chosen by the player and/or DM at the time the template is taken. Some of the template's abilities scale with the number of heads added, and the template's Level Adjustment (see below) is determined by the number of heads added.

    Attacks
    A multi-headed creature has a natural attack associated with its head (such as a bite, gore or tongue attack), it gains additional attacks in proportion to the number of attacks the base creature's head grants. For example, a minotaur has a gore attack, so a two-headed minotaur has 2 gore attacks. The tarrasque has a bite attack and 2 horn attacks, so a two-headed tarrasque has 2 bite attacks and 4 horn attacks.

    Special Attacks
    A multi-headed creature retains all the special attacks of the base creature, with amendments as follows:

    Breath Weapons
    If the base creature has a breath weapon, the multi-headed creature gains an additional breath weapon for each additional head. The creature may breathe with any number of heads simultaneously. Each head can aim in a different direction, but areas of overlap are redundant (i.e., this ability cannot cause a single creature to take breath weapon damage more than once each round). If the base creature has multiple different breath weapons, the multi-headed creature can only use one of them at a time.

    If the base creature must wait a specified amount of time between uses of its breath weapon, the wait period remains the same regardless of the number of heads that breathe in a given round. If the creature breathes with any number of heads in a round, it must wait for the allotted time before breathing with any head again.

    These rules also apply to other area attacks that originate from the creature's head.

    Gaze Attacks
    Gaze attacks work the same for multi-headed creatures as for the base creature. However, while a gaze attack can normally be used actively against a single target as a standard action, a multi-headed creature can target one additional creature per extra head as part of the same standard action. For example, a two-headed medusa can actively target two creatures with its gaze attack as a standard action. She simply selects two targets within range, and both selected creatures must immediately make a save or become petrified. It cannot target the same creature twice in the same round.

    Spit Attacks
    If the base creature has a spit attack or other comparable attack, it gains one additional attack of that type for each additional head. Each head may attack separately, and has its own set of uses or wait periods. For example, a two-headed ankheg can Spit Acid twice per hour, once with each head, and a two-headed dracotaur can Spit Fire twice per minute, once with each head.

    This rule also applies to other single-target special attacks, such as ray attacks.

    Superior Multi-Weapon Fighting
    If the base creature has the ability to wield manufactured weapons, the multi-headed creature suffers no penalties for fighting with multiple weapons, provided the number of weapons wielded does not exceed the total number of heads the creature has.

    Special Qualities
    All-Around Vision
    A multi-headed creature cannot be flanked.

    Skills
    Each additional head grants a cumulative +2 bonus on Intimidate, Listen, Search and Spot checks.

    Level Adjustment
    Same as the base creature, +1 per additional head. In general, limit creatures to a total of no more than three heads, though some unusual exceptions may apply.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
    Savage Progressions using Reassigned LAs: MM (complete), MM3 (in progress)

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Re: Templates for Monster Characters

    Multi-Legged Creature

    Spoiler: Designer Commentary
    Show
    I made Multi-Armed and Multi-Headed, so I figured I should just complete the set and make a Multi-Legged template too.


    "Multi-Legged" is an inherited template can be added to any creature that has legs. The creature gains one or more additional pairs of legs of the same type as the legs it already has. The number of legs added can vary, and will affect the bonuses and abilities granted by the template, as well as its Level Adjustment (see the individual sections for details).

    Size and Type
    If the base creature is an Animal or Vermin, its type changes to Magical Beast. If it is a Humanoid, its type changes to Monstrous Humanoid, it grows one size category, and it gains the Tauric subtype. For those who don't use my homebrew "Tauric subtype," just give the traits of the subtype (in the spoiler below). Otherwise, size and type are unchanged.

    Spoiler: Tauric Traits
    Show
    • A Tauric creature has the reach of a long creature of its size.
    • It counts as one size category smaller (relative to its new size) for weapon damage, attack rolls and grapple checks.
    • It is affected by spells and effects as if it were a Humanoid


    Speed
    The creature's base land speed increases by 10 feet for every pair of legs added.

    Armor Class
    The creature's natural armor bonus to AC increases by 1.

    Attacks
    A Multi-Legged creature retains all the natural weapons, manufactured weapon attacks and weapon proficiencies of the base creature. If the base creature has natural attacks based on its legs, such as hoof, kick or stamp attacks, it gains 2 additional attacks of the same type, plus 2 more for every two pairs of legs added beyond the first. For example, an elephant has 2 stamp attacks, so a multi-legged elephant has 4 stamps if it adds one or two pairs of legs, 6 stamps if it adds three or four pairs, etc.

    A creature that lacks leg-based natural attacks gains 2 kick or slam attacks (player's choice, but there's no mechanical difference between them), plus 2 more attacks of the same kind for every two pairs of legs added beyond the first. For example, a baboon has no leg-based natural attacks. A multi-legged baboon has 2 slams if it adds one or two pairs of legs, or 4 slams if it adds three or four pairs of legs, etc. These attacks deal 1d4 damage for a Medium creature, or 1d6 for a Large creature.

    Special Attacks
    A Multi-Legged creature retains all the special attacks of the base creature, and may gain the following special attack:

    Rake
    If the base creature has claw or rake attacks, it gains a pair of hind limb rake attacks, plus one additional pair of rake attacks for every two pairs of legs added beyond the first. For example, a lizardfolk has 2 claw attacks. A multi-legged lizardfolk has 2 rake attacks if it adds one or two pairs of legs, or 4 rake attacks if it adds three or four pairs of legs, etc. If it already has rake attacks, these new rake attacks are in addition to its existing rake attacks, and deal the same damage. Otherwise, these rakes deal 1d4 damage for a Medium creature, or 1d6 for a Large creature. Unless otherwise stated in the base creature's entry, rake attacks can only be used against a grappled opponent or in conjunction with a Pounce attack.

    Special Qualities
    A multi-legged creature retains all the special qualities of the base creature, and also gains the benefits of being a quadruped (i.e., +50% carrying capacity), if it did not already have them. If its type changes to Magical Beast or Monstrous Humanoid, it gains Darkvision out to 60 ft. It also gains the following special quality:

    Stability (Ex)
    A multi-legged creature is exceptionally sturdy. It gains a +4 bonus on any check or save made to resist being moved or knocked prone. This bonus increases by 2 for each pair of legs added beyond the first.

    It also gains a +2 bonus on the opposed Strength check during a Bull Rush attempt, +1 for each pair of legs it gains beyond the first.

    Ability Scores: +2 Str, +2 Con

    Skills
    A Multi-Legged creature gains a +4 racial bonus on all Balance checks. For each pair of legs added beyond the first, this bonus increases by 2. That is, a creature that gains only 1 pair of legs has a +4 racial bonus to Balance, and a creature that gains 2 pairs of legs has a +6 racial bonus to Balance, etc.

    Level Adjustment
    Same as the base creature, +1. For every two pair of legs added beyond the first, the LA increases by 1.
    Blue Jay's Homebrew:
    Prestige Classes for Monsters
    Templates for Monster Characters

    Work Related to Inevitability's Reassigned LAs:
    Savage Progressions using Reassigned LAs: MM (complete), MM3 (in progress)

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