EDIT: This is an old post and, as such, it is against the forum rules to respond to it. If you have comments, then please PM me, or start a new thread with a link in it to this one.
Voting for MitP II is now over, this made it in, thank you all who supported it. Critiques still very much welcome. I can NOT speak for Victorious Press, but PERSONALLY I wouldn't mind seeing more examples of these creatures. PM for suggestions on posing.
The following image is copyright Susan Felice Folmer, and is used with permission. Do not use without permission.
Spoilered for 1756x1275 size.
These creatures should usually be employed for atmosphere. This should be the cat curled up on the decadently evil noble's bed or lap
, or the Unicorn pacing in a dead orchard in the courtyard of a vampire's castle, in a mockery of its purpose in life.
It appears to be a normal creature until you notice that there is only empty space behind the lids of the eyes and the lips(except for a moist tongue).
An Empty Skin is necromantic creation designed to be the perfect pet or animate decoration. At the creators option (chosen at the time of creation) it may appear to breath, be as warm as a living creature, and/or have a moist tongue and/or nose. In a sharp departure from the behavior of most undead (especially created undead) their default attitude toward most creatures is one of affection (but not cooperation per se). This can, however, be overridden by orders from someone they recognize as their owner. An Empty Skin can speak if the base creature could speak, and understands all languages it knew in life plus one language known by the creator.
A Empty Skin can be created by a spellcaster capable of casting Create Undead, or a single one may be created by a caster of at least caster level 15 using Animate Dead. In the second case it counts as quadrupedal its hitdice (but always as at least 4 HD) when calculating how many HD may be controlled under that spell. The corpse must be first be expertly prepared with a Craft[Taxidermist] (Heal may be substituted at a -5 penalty). The DC depends on the size and if the creator wishes to include a tongue. It must then be tanned using rare reagents and oils. The DCs (for the skinning only) and costs (for the tanning only) are given in the following table:
Fine..........DC 30 50 gp
Diminutive..DC 25 100 gp
Tiny..........DC 20 200 gp
Small.........DC 15 500 gp
Medium......DC 20 1,000 gp
Large.........DC 20* 2,000 gp
Huge.........DC 20* 5,000 gp
Gargantuan DC 20* 20,000 gp
Colossal.....DC 20* 80,000 gp
Tongue +3 DC
*Note that while the DC does not continue to increase above medium size the time required does.
Tanning requires 3 days regardless of size.
The remaining corpse can still be animated as a skeleton or incorporeal undead if desired and/or the intestines and/or stomach(s) can be extracted to create a gut snake, dark heart, pair of floating lungs, and/or Hopping Stomach(s). See the links in my signature for the listings for these.
Creating an Empty Skin
An animated skin is an acquired template that can be applied to any animal, or magical beast, or shapeshifter that died in the form of one of these. Rumors of aberrations, dragons, giants, fey, humanoids, and/or monstrous humanoids as animated skins are unconfirmed
Size and Type
The creature’s type changes to Undead. It uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here. The creature's size does not change, however its weight is reduced to 1/10. Some Empty skins are filled with sand, sawdust, or other such materials (usually kept from leaking out with a piece of cloth sewn just behind the eyes and mouth), these materials are not part of the creature, and having them leak out causes no damage to it. This material also does not count against the encumbrance limits of the creature (GM's discretion(sp) on trying to fill them with gold dust or the like for transport...).
The base creature's racial hit dice (if any) are halved in number and become d12s. It loses any class levels it had. If class levels were the only source of hitdice it becomes a 1/2 HD creature.
No change to existing forms of moment, but gains a special slither mode that has a speed of 5 ft [1 square] and a very limited gliding ability (See Deflate).
The base creature retains all natural weapons that deal bludgeoning damage. Other attacks may or may not be retained (see below). The animated skins base attack bonus is as the original creature. Poison is lost.
Bite attacks now do no damage unless the creature has a beak, in which case their damage is unchanged. Any other attacks that deal slashing and/or peircing now do subdual bludgeoning damage and decrease two die sizes (if this would decrease it past 1 hp damage then the attack deals no damage).
The base creatures special attacks (if present in each case) are modified as follows:
- Any ability drain or damage is lost, but attack forms that do these in addition to other
damage may be retained in the reduced state.
- Breath Weapon - Lost
- Constrict - Unchanged
- Energy Drain - Lost
- Fear Aura - DC halved
- Fear cone or ray - Lost
- Frightful Presence - DC halved
- Gaze - Lost
- Improved Grab - Unchanged
- Poison - Lost
- Psionics - Lost except for telepathic communication abilities which are unchanged.
- Rend - Lost
- Ray - Lost
- Sonic Attacks - Lost
- Spells - Lost
- Swallow whole - holding capacity doubles. Deals no damage and the amount of damage required to cut ones way out is reduced to one quarter (the hollowness special quality does not reduce damage dealt from piercing weapons in this case).
- Trample - Unless filled with sand or similar substance then due to greatly reduced weight dice reduced by 2 sizes and does subdual damage.
- Trip - Unchanged
The base creature loses any previous special qualities and gains the following:
Destruction Resistance (Su)
An Empty skin has turn resistance equal to its original HD, but ONLY in cases where it would otherwise be destroyed. If it is not destroyed in such a case it is instead turned.
As long as the insides are not visible it requires a spot check of DC 20 + the amount the original Craft[Taxidermy] or Heal check was beaten by to discern that the Empty Skin is not alive. Examples of such situations include but are not limited to: being viewed from behind, curled up with head under tail or rear leg, or eyes and mouth closed, etc. An observer gets a +5 bonus on this check if the creature is not simulating breathing. The continued production of natural oils/sweat that keeps the skin in perfect condition means that DC of a Survival or Wisdom check to distinguish an Empty Skin from a living animal by the Scent Feat is a straight DC 20.
Immune to bludgeoning damage, takes only one point of damage from any successful piercing attack, normal damage from slashing. An Empty Skin also counts as two sizes smaller for purposes of bull-rushes and the effect winds have on it. They take only one quarter falling damage, even if they fall on something sharp. Being filled with something that adds the weight back negates all of this except the resistance to piercing and immunity to Bludgeoning.
They may go limp and 'deflate' at will allowing them to be packed away when not needed or for transporting (including smuggling) them. Deflating is a swift action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity, re-inflating is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. When deflated then can fold themselves up, or unfold themselves (both Move actions that provoke attacks of opportunity), when unfolded they lose there normal forms of movement but can slither around (looking a little like a manta ray and functionally similar to a slug's motion works both over the ground and as a swim speed) at a speed of 5 ft [1 square] and fit through a crack of the following size provided that no horns or hooves are large enough to prevent this. If so, add the diameter of the horns or the height of the hooves, whichever is greater, to the minimum thickness of the crack.
Fine 1/16th inch
Diminutive 1/8th inch
Tiny 1/4 inch
Small 1/2 inch
Medium 1 inch
Large 2 inches
Huge 4 inches
Gargantuan 8 inches
Colossal 16 inches
While deflated they take no falling damage (which they would normally be immune to anyway due to their immunity to bludgeoning damage), and they may move sideways 5' (1 square) for each 20' they fall.
Being filled like sand or sawdust negates the deflation ability, but having taken on water or other liquid simply means that the fluid flows out as the Empty Skin deflates. If no barrier is sewn in an empty skin can cough up particulate contents at the GMs discretion.
Vulnerability to Fire (Ex)
Empty Skins take one extra point from every damage die done from a fire source.
Fast Healing 1 (Su)
- The spells that maintain the Empty Skin in perfectly groomed condition despite wear and tear are so strong that they will repair it even in the midst of a battle. Some owners enjoy being able to let off emotional energy abusing their Empty Skins, who will never turn against them no matter how many times they are thrown about or even slashed and stabbed almost to destruction.
An Empty Skins Base saving throws are unchanged from the original creature. Recalculate Fortitude and Will based on statistic changes.
The base creature modifies its ability scores as follows:
Strength halved to a minimum of 1.
Dexterity is unchanged
Constitution changes to -.
Intelligence changes to 5.
Wisdom increases to 10 if lower than that, otherwise unchanged.
Charisma increases by 4 points.
The base creature does not receive any bonus skills. It loses all Intelligence based skills, and Survival. It retains all racial skill bonuses. It gains a +10 bonus to jump checks for its lightness (provided it is not filled with sand, sawdust, etc).
Feats and Spells
The base creature retains all feats except Scent, but loses all spellcasting ability. In addition, it also gains the Negotiator Feat but only with respect to its owner.
Usually True Neutral
-2 if this reduces it to zero or lower use 1/2 the original creatures CR.
EDIT: Linking these for cross-referencing purposes, although I am not sure if the Spell is a good idea at all since it reduces the flavor by bypassing the skill checks.
by The Vorpal Tribble
Cat Skinning Blade