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    Lightbulb [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    This is my entry into this year's UnCon Monster competition over on the Wizards website. Basically supposed to take a low-level MM monster and make it more powerful. So I chose... a dog.

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-

    Xoloitzcuintle


    Enhanced, Divine Dog
    Medium Animal
    Hit Dice: 2d8+6 (22 hp)
    Initiative: +3
    Speed: 100 ft. (20 squares)
    Armor Class: 17 (-3 dex, +4 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 14
    Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
    Attack: Bite +4 melee (1d8+3)
    Full Attack: Bite +4 melee (1d8+3)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
    Special Attacks: Guide of the underworld
    Special Qualities: Damage reduction 10/ epic, darkvision 120 ft., divine traits, fire resistance 10, immortality, low-light vision, scent, soothing touch, spell resistance 22, spirit senses
    Saves: Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +4
    Abilities: Str 15, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 18, Cha 8
    Skills: Jump +12, Listen +8, Spot +8, Swim +3, Survival +4*
    Feats: Alertness, Improved Natural Attack(B), Track(B)
    Environment: Any land
    Organization: Solitary or pack (5–12)
    Challenge Rating: 5
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always neutral
    Advancement: 3+ HD (Medium)
    Level Adjustment: -

    This appears as a completely hairless dog with dark greyish-blue or black skin whose almost comically ugly features shows the humbleness of their spirit. They are lean and compact with great agility and energy. They have large, alert ears and squinting slits for eyes that seem both wise and alert. Its snout holds only a few teeth, though those they do possess are of unusual sharpness.

    Xoloitzcuintli is a canine of the gods, given as a gift to mankind to protect them from beings of the underworld and guide their souls when they die. They are simultaneously beast and deific, their mortal form living in flesh and blood while their spiritual form prowls the afterlife. As such their mortal form is alike to an avatar, though of the animal type despite their supernatural abilities.

    A xolo weighs about 40 lbs and stands around two and a half feet tall at the shoulder.

    Combat
    A xoloitzcuintle is always alert of danger to the humans it watches over. It tends to bark ferociously, baring its razor teeth to drive off the intruder. If this is unsuccessful it leaps forward to bite and tear.

    Divine Ranks: A xolo is considered to be a Rank 0 deity.

    Guide of the Underworld (Ex): A xolo gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against the Undead and evil Outsiders. Likewise, they get a +2 bonus on weapon damage rolls against such creatures.

    As well, a xolo's natural attacks are considered ghost touch weapons and if they bite a possessed (ghostly or demonic) being the spirit or demon takes half the damage.

    Immortality: Xolos are naturally immortal and cannot die from natural causes. They do not age, and though they do not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, they go into a comatose state if they would otherwise die from the lack. If their physical body is killed they reincarnate within the womb of a pregnant xolo.

    Immunities: Xolos have the following immunities. These immunities do not apply if the attacker is a deity of 0 or higher rank.

    Transmutation: A xolo is immune to polymorphing, petrification, or any other attack that alters its form.

    Damage and Drain: A xolo is not subject to energy drain, ability drain, or ability damage.

    Mind-Affecting Effects: A xolo is immune to mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).

    Soothing Touch (Su): A xolo can use Cure Light wounds and heal 1d4 points of ability damage to any one ability once per day. As well, it may remove any ongoing pain and pain effects to those its attitude is Friendly towards, filling them with a warm, soothing sensation.

    Spirit Senses (Ex): A xolo can use its scent ability to smell incorporeal creatures and can detect one possessed by ghost or fiend. As well it gains the benefits of the Blindfight, Hear the Unseen and Spirit Sense feat.

    Skills: Xolos have a +8 racial bonus on Jump checks.
    *Xolos have a +8 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent.

    -=-=-=-=-=-

    Sample Encounters

    Good Boy (EL 5): A xolo is protecting an abandoned barn in the midst of a dead field and seeks to drive off anyone who approaches it. The reason for this could be one of two things.

    #1. A demon-worshiping cult has taken to using it as a secluded area for performing their horrible rituals.
    #2. The ghost of a wandering farm hand was hung in this barn for murdering the master of the house and has come back for revenge.

    Howling at the Devil (EL 15): All the xolos in the area have come together to form a great feral pack, attacking any who ventures outside their doors. Several children have gone missing as well and are said to have been eaten by the pack. Unbeknownst to the adventurers is that nearly the entire town has become possessed by demons and the child sacrifice caused the dogs to rise up against them.

    -=-=-=-=-

    Xolo in 3.75 stat block
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    Xoloitzcuintle


    Xoloitzcuintle (show-low-eats-quint-lee) (CR 5)
    Enhanced, Divine Rank 0 Riding Dog
    Always N Medium animal
    Init +3; Senses darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision, scent, spirit senses; Listen +8, Spot +8
    Languages None
    ________________________________________

    AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14; (-3 dex, +4 natural)
    HP 22 (2 HD); DR 10/epic
    Immune ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, polymorphing, petrification
    Resist fire 10, spells 22
    Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +4
    ________________________________________

    Speed 100 ft. (20 squares)
    Melee 1 bite +4 (1d8+3)
    Space 5 ft; Reach 5 ft.
    Base Atk +2; Grp +4
    Atk Options guide of the underworld
    Special Actions -
    ________________________________________

    Abilities Str 15, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 18, Cha 8
    SQ divine traits, immortality, soothing touch
    Feats alertness, improved natural attack(B), track(B)
    Skills Jump +12, Listen +8, Spot +8, Swim +3, Survival +4*
    ________________________________________

    Divine Ranks: A xolo is considered to be a Rank 0 deity.

    Guide of the Underworld (Ex): A xolo gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against the Undead and evil Outsiders. Likewise, they get a +2 bonus on weapon damage rolls against such creatures.

    As well, a xolo's natural attacks are considered ghost touch weapons and if they bite a possessed (ghostly or demonic) being the spirit or demon takes half the damage.

    Immortality: Xolos are naturally immortal and cannot die from natural causes. They do not age, and though they do not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, they go into a comatose state if they would otherwise die from the lack. If their physical body is killed they reincarnate within the womb of a pregnant xolo.

    Immunities: Xolos have the following immunities. These immunities do not apply if the attacker is a deity of 0 or higher rank.

    Transmutation: A xolo is immune to polymorphing, petrification, or any other attack that alters its form.

    Damage and Drain: A xolo is not subject to energy drain, ability drain, or ability damage.

    Mind-Affecting Effects: A xolo is immune to mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).

    Soothing Touch (Su): A xolo can use Cure Light wounds and heal 1d4 points of ability damage to any one ability once per day. As well, it may remove any ongoing pain and pain effects to those its attitude is Friendly towards, filling them with a warm, soothing sensation.

    Spirit Senses (Ex): A xolo can use its scent ability to smell incorporeal creatures and can detect one possessed by ghost or fiend. As well it gains the benefits of the Blindfight, Hear the Unseen and Spirit Sense feat.

    Skills: Xolos have a +8 racial bonus on Jump checks.
    *Xolos have a +8 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent.
    ________________________________________

    Strategies and Tactics
    A xoloitzcuintle is always alert of danger to the humans it watches over. It tends to bark ferociously, baring its razor teeth to drive off the intruder. If this is unsuccessful it leaps forward to bite and tear.

    Sample Encounters

    Good Boy (EL 5): A xolo is protecting an abandoned barn in the midst of a dead field and seeks to drive off anyone who approaches it. The reason for this could be one of two things.

    #1. A demon-worshiping cult has taken to using it as a secluded area for performing their horrible rituals.
    #2. The ghost of a wandering farm hand was hung in this barn for murdering the master of the house and has come back for revenge.

    Howling at the Devil (EL 15): All the xolos in the area have come together to form a great feral pack, attacking any who ventures outside their doors. Several children have gone missing as well and are said to have been eaten by the pack. Unbeknownst to the adventurers is that nearly the entire town has become possessed by demons and the child sacrifice caused the dogs to rise up against them.

    Ecology
    Xoloitzcuintli is a canine of the gods, given as a gift to mankind to protect them from beings of the underworld and guide their souls when they die. They are simultaneously beast and deific, their mortal form living in flesh and blood while their spiritual form prowls the afterlife. As such their mortal form is alike to an avatar, though of the animal type despite their supernatural abilities.
    Environment: Xolos are found anywhere human beings are.
    Typical Physical Characteristics: A xolo appears as a completely hairless dog with dark greyish-blue or black skin whose almost comically ugly features shows the humbleness of their spirit. They are lean and compact with great agility and energy. They have large, alert ears and squinting slits for eyes that seem both wise and alert. Its snout holds only a few teeth, though those they do possess are of unusual sharpness.
    Alignment: A xolo has little understanding of good or evil, chaos or law except for basic instincts. As such they are always true neutral.

    Xoloitzcuintle Lore
    Characters with ranks in Knowledge (religion) can learn more about xolos. When the character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

    Knowledge (religion)
    DC - Result
    15 - This is a Xoloitzcuintle, said to be a dog of the gods. This reveals its animal type.
    20 - The xolo is said to be able to heal and remove pain. This reveals its soothing touch ability.
    25 - The xolo was gifted to mankind to protect them from beings of the underworld and guide their souls when they die. This reveals its Guide of the Underworld and Spirit Senses abilities.
    30 - The xolo is said to have a tough of the deity to it. This reveals its divine ranks, immunities and immortality.
    Last edited by The Vorpal Tribble; 2008-10-15 at 09:36 PM.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble View Post
    This is my entry into this year's UnCon Monster competition over on the Wizards website. Basically supposed to take a low-level MM monster and make it more powerful. So I chose... a dog.
    Quite awesome.
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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    A CR 5 deity? That's... different. Don't get me wrong, I like it, it just seems a bit weak for something divine...
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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    I'm perplexed...

    why does it eat Quint Lee?

    Looks pretty interesting, Tribble. Shame I can't analyze 4E for beans.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    A CR 5 deity? That's... different. Don't get me wrong, I like it, it just seems a bit weak for something divine...
    Well, 0-level deities are more often called 'Heroes'. This is from an actual mexican legend where they think they are both gods and animals so that they are holy yet they still eat them. Very strange.

    Looks pretty interesting, Tribble. Shame I can't analyze 4E for beans.
    Believe it or not but this is 3rd ed. 3.75 to be exact. It's what all the monsters started using about a year before 4th ed came around. I don't like it much myself.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Concur. Smells like 4E. That said, I now know I can take a stare at it.

    And I love the idea of quasi-deitying a low-level monster. For many real-world mythologies, it's quite fitting.

    But again, I must ask you: what of Quint Lee?

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Wow, that really cool. It's a demidog... I mean demigod... uh, dog. I really like this. It's certainly unusual.

    BTW, I always thought it was pronounced "CHO-low-its-QUINT-lee."

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    BTW, I always thought it was pronounced "CHO-low-its-QUINT-lee."
    I just know how the site I was researching them for said to pronounce it.

    But again, I must ask you: what of Quint Lee?
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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Poor Quint....*sigh*

    But yes, it's quite good. Also very killable, which is important, and I love the ability to heal ability damage.

    Shame about 3.75 formatting though

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by afroakuma View Post
    I love the ability to heal ability damage.
    I first heard of these while watching a show on Animal Planet. There was literally this little ole mexican grandma sticking puppies up her skirt to heal her aching hips.


    Shame about 3.75 formatting though
    I know

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble View Post
    Believe it or not but this is 3rd ed. 3.75 to be exact. It's what all the monsters started using about a year before 4th ed came around. I don't like it much myself.
    Yeah, Monster Manuals IV and V made me sad that way... -_-
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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble
    There was literally this little ole mexican grandma sticking puppies up her skirt


    um... didn't need to know that one, champ.

    And yes, it made me sad to see 3.75 formatting return for 4E. Of course, there were worse things in that particular MM...

    Quote Originally Posted by 4E Monster Manual
    HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion
    I had a BSOD on that... I believe my exact rant went along the lines of "So their one redeeming feature is that if you don't hit them, they don't die? They actually have to spell that out? Are there monsters that die regardless of what you do?"

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
    Yeah, Monster Manuals IV and V made me sad that way... -_-
    yep. i can't ever find anything i want in that formatting. i don't even use my mm4, and am never going to get the mm5, primarily for those reasons alone. even the fact that a good number of the monsters are just rehashes of other books doesn't phase me as much as the formatting.

    incidentally, cool canid. i really like the idea of low-level semi-deities. makes for some awesome game flavor.
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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    In found a few monsters in MM4 & MM5 that are worth using (more in 5 than in 4; its like the Star Trek movie curse, on for even-numbered books). I've actually taken to re-typing the ones I use in the old format.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Same. Not that I use too many, but it was cool that they made the Frostwind Virago... that particular HCA story doesn't get enough love. I'm wondering why Disney didn't cover it instead of going after...

    Off-topicked.

    Tribble, your dog is awesome.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Tribble, your dog is ugly. I mean seriously, that's a hideous dog in that image there. Makes me shudder both because it's ugly, and because it reminds me that there's actually a movie about chihuahuas out right now...which is terrifying all its own.

    Anyhow.

    The alignment seems a bit unmatched with the fluff and with its abilities. This definitely seems like a good-aligned creature:
    • It defends others, probably to its detriment
    • It can heal others
    • They're specially keyed to hurt undead and evil outsiders more
    • It can sense possession by ghosts and demons, and goes out of its way to drive out such possessing spirits (based on the EL 15 encounter)

    I know that it's only got an Int of 2, but it seems like it's a creature born of good energies to begin with, and should accordingly still be a good creature.

    Lemures, for example, have no intelligence yet are still Lawful Evil; dretches and vargouilles only have an Int of 5 yet are still evil, and any creature you apply the Fiendish or Half-Fiend templates to get a minimum Int of 3 but are (usually) considered evil.

    It just seems like this should be good by virtue of its origins and intended purpose, regardless of whether or not it understands those origins and purpose.

    Also: Apparently I'm the only person besides the WoTC guy(s) who designed it who doesn't hate the "3.75" method of stat blocks. I'm more used to the old ones, sure, and will keep using them because I know them...but there's definitely some ways that this stat block is an improvement. For starters, I think it's a bit more accessible; it doesn't look like such a wall of text.
    Last edited by Magnor Criol; 2008-10-10 at 12:57 PM.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnor Criol View Post
    Apparently I'm the only person besides the WoTC guy(s) who designed it who doesn't hate the "3.75" method of stat blocks. I'm more used to the old ones, sure, and will keep using them because I know them...but there's definitely some ways that this stat block is an improvement. For starters, I think it's a bit more accessible; it doesn't look like such a wall of text.
    I, like most people, didn't consider it to be a problem to begin with, & only thought about it when they made it an issue by "fixing" it. If it ain't broke, go fix something that is, like epic spellcasting or the Truenamer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    I, like most people, didn't consider it to be a problem to begin with, & only thought about it when they made it an issue by "fixing" it. If it ain't broke, go fix something that is, like epic spellcasting or the Truenamer.
    Muchly agreed there. There's plenty of things that should be tweaked up before the stat block that works fine. Many things that could be called "problems" with the 3.5 stat block really are problems with the mechanics the blocks represent.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by afroakuma View Post
    I had a BSOD on that... I believe my exact rant went along the lines of "So their one redeeming feature is that if you don't hit them, they don't die? They actually have to spell that out? Are there monsters that die regardless of what you do?"
    Some powers in 4e still deal (drastically reduced) damage if they miss. This protects minions from getting sure-killed by someone using a power like that.
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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnor Criol View Post
    Tribble, your dog is ugly. I mean seriously, that's a hideous dog in that image there. Makes me shudder both because it's ugly, and because it reminds me that there's actually a movie about chihuahuas out right now...which is terrifying all its own.
    You mean you don't look at that pic and have the incredible urge to rub yourself down with it?


    And, eh, I might make it Good aligned. Was thinking more along the lines of the deity that sent it is good and so it acts that way, but dretches are a good example of the opposite of that.

    For starters, I think it's a bit more accessible; it doesn't look like such a wall of text.
    No... more like a disjointed pile of rubble that used to be a wall.

    I like the lore sections though.
    Last edited by The Vorpal Tribble; 2008-10-10 at 10:36 PM.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble View Post
    You mean you don't look at that pic and have the incredible urge to rub yourself down with it?
    Yes. Yes, that's exactly the urge I get. Except slightly different, like the COMPLETE OPPOSITE.

    I like the way it's organized better, I think. Grouping things like all the senses together at the top, then there's sort of a 'defensive' section, then an 'offensive' section, then the skills and abilities - it just groups things in a bit easier-to-quickly-access way, I think, which is better for the flow of the game (less time spent looking at whether or not that last attack hit or what its save is).

    But if you're incredibly accustomed to the older style, (as someone as prolific a homebrewer as you would be) that's a nonissue; once someone knows it well enough, there's no time spent searching, you know precisely where to look.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    I like the later MMs' format for one reason... CR at the top in bold. It just makes browsing easier when you immediately know the general power level of the thing you're looking at. Granted, CR isn't fully reliable, but ehh, it's something.
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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    I like the later MMs' format for one reason... CR at the top in bold. It just makes browsing easier when you immediately know the general power level of the thing you're looking at. Granted, CR isn't fully reliable, but ehh, it's something.
    I'd be quite willing to instead of adopting a new format stick the CR up top and leave the rest.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Vorpal Tribble View Post
    I'd be quite willing to instead of adopting a new format stick the CR up top and leave the rest.
    Could you post this in the older, better, format? If it's not too much trouble. I don't know how easy it is to do so, but I know I'd be able to better judge its mechanics in that format.

    But I assume they're solid - you're amazing.
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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Obrysii View Post
    Could you post this in the older, better, format? If it's not too much trouble. I don't know how easy it is to do so, but I know I'd be able to better judge its mechanics in that format.
    There you go.

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    Default Re: [Creature] Chewing on the bones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    A CR 5 deity? That's... different. Don't get me wrong, I like it, it just seems a bit weak for something divine...
    I think it is more like a gods servant
    from
    EE

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