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96HD Colossal Fiendish Zombie

posted Saturday, December 17th 2005 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame MaterialThird Edition

CR16 thoroughly broken artifact of a bygone edition

Tired of throwing the party up against weak, lifeless undead? Feel like you wasted ten levels taking the Doomguide prestige-class, only to find one undead that’s even a decent challenge by that level? Try Vaelen’s Fiendish SuperZombieâ„¢ – your newest rotting friend!

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Creatures of Gensokyo I: Lake of Fog

posted Monday, November 17th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsFourth EditionGame Material

Today I’m presenting a series of fourth edition D&D monsters from the mystical land of Gensokyo. This realm forms the setting to the Touhou Project, a series of shoot-em-ups by Japanese amateur developers Team Shanghai Alice. The series has drawn a cult following both in Japan and internationally, and the gameplay can best be described as “Ikaruga, except with witches”.

The Gensokyo setting is full of great mythology ready to inspire Dungeons & Dragons game material. Part of Touhou’s appeal is its massive list of characters, a cast which includes fairies, vampires, poltergeists, ghosts, half-ghosts, vampires, witches, magicians, healers, oni and Shinto shrine maidens.

Lake of Fog

Visitors to Gensokyo’s Lake of Fog are in constant danger of losing their way. Although its fey residents are normally peaceful, the snowflake-winged ice fairies who populate the lake during the winter are not always friendly to uninvited guests.

Of the lake’s delicate ice fairies, one named Cirno claims to be the strongest. An innocent, whimsical creature, Cirno is prone to mischief and is easily roused to anger by visitors who don’t respect her self-claimed strength. She possesses several formidable methods of ice magic.

Cirno

Cirno — Level 5 Solo Artillery
Small fey humanoid (cold) — XP 1,000

Initiative +6 Senses Perception +6
Snowflake wind aura 2; any creature that begins its turn in the aura takes 5 cold damage and is pushed 2 squares.
HP 252; Bloodied 126; see also Diamond Blizzard
AC 19; Fortitude 19, Reflex 20, Will 17
Immune cold
Saving Throws +5
Speed 4, fly 6 (hover)
Action Points 2

Basic Melee Freezing Touch (standard; at-will) ♦ Cold
+12 vs AC; 1d10+4 cold damage

Basic Ranged Icy Barrage (standard; at-will) ♦ Cold
Ranged 20; +12 vs AC; 1d10+4 cold damage

Area Icicle Fall (standard; at will) ♦ Cold
Area blast 3 within 20; +10 vs Reflex; 1d6 damage and 1d6 cold damage. Squares adjacent to Cirno cannot be targeted.

Area Perfect Freeze (standard; recharge 5,6; recharges when first bloodied) ♦ Cold
Area blast 4 within 20; +10 vs Reflex; 1d10+9 cold damage, and target is slowed (save ends).

Area Diamond Blizzard (standard; usable only when Cirno is bloodied; at will) ♦ Cold
Cirno may make an Icicle Fall attack and an Icy Barrage. The same creature cannot be targeted by both.

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common, Elven
Skills Arcana +9, Endurance +7, Nature +9
Str 11 (+2) Dex 18 (+6) Wis 7 (+0)
Con 15 (+4) Int 9 (+1) Cha 15 (+4)

The Lake of Fog is inhabited in the winter by a great number of lesser ice fairies. Although individually timid, these creatures are dangerous in numbers.

Snowflight ice fairy — Level 1 Minion
Small fey humanoid (cold) — XP 25

Initiative +3 Senses Perception +2
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 15; Fortitude 13, Reflex 14, Will 13
Resist cold 10
Speed 4, fly 6 (hover)

Basic Melee Freezing Touch (standard; at-will) ♦ Cold
+6 vs AC; 4 cold damage

Basic Ranged Icicle (standard; at-will) ♦ Cold
Ranged 10; +6 vs AC; 4 cold damage

Alignment Unaligned Languages Elven
Skills Nature +4
Str 10 (+0) Dex 16 (+3) Wis 11 (+0)
Con 13 (+1) Int 11 (+0) Cha 13 (+1)

Creatures of Gensokyo II: Shrine of the Netherworld

posted Wednesday, December 3rd 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsFourth EditionGame Material

The fey-inhabited realm of Gensokyo is separated by a mystical border from the netherworld, the land where its spirits travel after death. Arguably the most beautiful realm of Gensokyo’s netherworld is Hakugyokurou, known for its cherry blossom gardens which are said to be over a thousand miles long or even infinite. Hakugyokurou takes its name from a tall ghost shrine overlooking the gardens, and means “tower of white jade”.

One of the shrine’s most unusual residents is a white-haired girl named Konpaku Youmu, half ghost and half human. Despite her youthful appearance, Youmu is over sixty years old and has spent most of that time mastering the two-sword style of combat. Youmu is a formidable opponent, and serves the realm’s princess as bodyguard and gardener.

Konpaku Youmu wields two blades whose legendary status in the netherworld exceeds her own. Roukan Blade, the “Tower-Watching Sword”, is believed to have been forged by spirits and is too long for a normal human to wield. Hakurou Blade, the “White Tower Sword”, is the ancestral sword of the Konpaku family and is said to have the power to dispel confusion.

Konpaku Youmu

Konpaku Youmu — Level 22 Elite Soldier (Leader)
Medium undead humanoid — XP 8,300

Initiative +19 Senses Perception +17; darkvision
Spirit Gardener aura 10; undead allies within the aura gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls
HP 380; Bloodied 190
AC 38; Fortitude 40, Reflex 37, Will 34
Immune Disease, poison
Resist 15 necrotic
Vulnerable 10 radiant
Saving Throws +2
Action Point 1
Speed 10, fly 10 (hover)

Basic Melee Roukan Blade (standard; at-will)
Reach 2; +29 vs AC; 1d10+5 damage. Roukan deals normal damage against insubstantial creatures.

Basic Melee Hakurou Blade (standard; at-will) ♦ Radiant
+29 vs AC; 1d8+5 plus 5 radiant damage

Melee Two Swords (standard; at-will) ♦ Radiant
Youmu can make one attack each with Roukan and Hakurou.

Burst Delusion of Enlightenment (standard; encounter) ♦ Radiant
Close burst 1; Youmu can make one attack with Hakurou against each target within the area. Each hit leaves the creature immobilized and knocked prone until the end of Youmu’s next turn.

Melee Karmic Punishment (standard; encounter) ♦ Radiant
Youmu can attack one target alternately with Roukan and Hakurou until one misses or five hits.

Burst Thousand Mile Slash (standard; recharge 5,6) ♦ Radiant
Close burst 2; +27 vs Reflex; 6d8+2 radiant damage

Swift Movement (move; recharge 4,5,6) ♦ Teleportation
Youmu can teleport 10 squares.

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Athletics +21, Endurance +17, Religion +18
Str 20 (+16) Dex 22 (+17) Wis 14 (+13)
Con 15 (+12) Int 13 (+12) Cha 12 (+12)

Equipment Roukan blade, Hakurou blade

Youmu’s martial prowess attracts the attention of the more powerful spirits who have retired to the flower gardens of Hakugyokurou. She is frequently accompanied in battle by around twelve ghostly warriors.

Towerbound Spirit — Level 18 Minion
Medium undead humanoid — XP 500

Initiative +16 Senses Perception +9; darkvision
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 32; Fortitude 30, Reflex 31, Will 30
Speed fly 6

Basic Melee Touch of Unlife (standard; at-will)
+21 vs Will; 8 damage

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Str 22 (+15) Dex 25 (+16) Wis 22 (+15)
Con 16 (+12) Int 23 (+14) Cha 17 (+12)

See Also

Creatures of Gensokyo III: Phantom Ensemble

posted Wednesday, December 17th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsFourth EditionGame Material

This is the third and final part of Creatures of Gensokyo, a series of D&D monster statistics based on characters from cult Japanese game series Touhou.

The ghostly Prismriver sisters are the best known musicians in Gensokyo, attracting fans from distant realms. As poltergeists, the sisters can play their instruments without touching, or even necessarily appearing within sight. In fact, the instruments themselves are phantoms, and create sounds not only audiable to the ear, but which resonate with the spirit.

However, their origin is a sad tale. Long ago, Count Prismriver died suddenly, leaving four orphaned daughters – Lunasa, Merlin, Lyrica and Layla. Whether the three eldest sisters died soon after or left home, the youngest, Layla, could not bear to leave, and prayed for her sisters to return. Three poltergeists took pity on her and assumed the form of the sisters, who cared for Layla until she too died. The phantom sisters can still be heard in the mansion to this day, invisibly practicing their music.

The eldest sister is Lunasa, a violinist. She dresses in black, with white trim. Lunasa’s music matches her gloomy demeanour, and possesses the ability to overwhelm weak-minded listeners with depression. Her violin is a phantom of an instrument said to outclass any crafted by human hands.

Lunasa Prismriver

Lunasa Prismriver — Level 15 Controller
Medium undead humanoid — XP 1,200

Initiative +12 Senses Perception +15; darkvision
HP 148; Bloodied 74
AC 29; Fortitude 27, Reflex 27, Will 28
Immune Disease, poison
Speed 6, fly 6 (hover); phasing

Basic Melee Phantom Din (standard; at-will) ♦ Thunder
+20 vs AC; 1d10+6 thunder damage.

Ranged Spirit Strings (standard; at-will) ♦ Psychic
Ranged 5; +19 vs. Will; 2d8+6 psychic damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls (save ends).

Blast String Performance (standard; recharge 5,6) ♦ Psychic
Close burst 5; targets enemies; +19 vs Will, 2d8+6 psychic damage, and the target is weakened (save ends).

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Stealth +15
Str 14 (+9) Dex 21 (+12) Wis 17 (+10)
Con 21 (+12) Int 17 (+10) Cha 23 (+13)

Merlin, a trumpeter, often takes center stage at performances. She dresses in pink, with blue and black trim. Merlin’s music has the power to uplift the spirit, sometimes to the point of inspiring mania. Her instrument is said to be the phantom of a trumpet that has taken the blood of many musicians, but it’s not known if this is true.

Merlin Prismriver

Merlin Prismriver — Level 15 Controller
Medium undead humanoid — XP 1,200

Initiative +12 Senses Perception +15; darkvision
HP 148; Bloodied 74
AC 29; Fortitude 27, Reflex 27, Will 28
Immune Disease, poison
Speed 6, fly 6 (hover); phasing

Basic Melee Phantom Din (standard; at-will) ♦ Thunder
+20 vs AC; 1d10+6 thunder damage.

Ranged Trumpet Ghost (standard; at-will) ♦ Psychic
Ranged 5; +19 vs. Will; 2d8+6 psychic damage; the target slides 5 squares and is dazed (save ends).

Blast Dark Trumpet (standard; recharge 5,6) ♦ Psychic
Close burst 5; targets enemies; +19 vs Will, 2d8+6 psychic damage; the target moves 5 squares and makes a basic attack against its nearest ally.

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Stealth +15
Str 14 (+9) Dex 21 (+12) Wis 15 (+9)
Con 20 (+12) Int 14 (+9) Cha 23 (+13)

The youngest sister is Lyrica, a keyboardist. She dresses in red, with pink and black trim. Merlin’s winged instrument possesses the ability to create incredible illusory sounds unlike any natural instrument. However, they do not resonate with the spirit like those of her sisters.

Lyrica Prismriver

Lyrica Prismriver — Level 15 Controller
Medium undead humanoid — XP 1,200

Initiative +12 Senses Perception +15; darkvision
HP 148; Bloodied 74
AC 29; Fortitude 27, Reflex 27, Will 28
Immune Disease, poison
Speed 6, fly 6 (hover); phasing

Basic Melee Phantom Din (standard; at-will) ♦ Thunder
+20 vs AC; 1d10+6 thunder damage.

Ranged Dark Keys (standard; at-will) ♦ Psychic
Ranged 5; +19 vs. Will; 2d8+6 psychic damage, and the target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls (save ends).

Blast Fazioli Dark Performance (standard; recharge 5,6) ♦ Psychic
Close burst 5; targets enemies; +19 vs Will, 2d8+6 psychic damage, the target is deafened and dazed (save ends).

Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Stealth +15
Str 14 (+9) Dex 21 (+12) Wis 14 (+19)
Con 21 (+12) Int 20 (+12) Cha 23 (+13)

See Also

Deep Crow

posted Thursday, October 11th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame MaterialThird Edition

The following game statistics are inspired by this Penny Arcade strip.

DEEP CROW

This vile feathered creature appears at first a massive, corrupted crow. A disgusting multitude of eyes are mounted above a powerful antlike beak, and four lethal talons ready themselves before a heavy, swinging tail.

This terrifying creature is responsible for night raids on farms that are often mistakenly blamed on dragons or common cattle thieves. Swooping down out of the darkness on massive wings, the powerful bird simply lifts off with livestock in its talons. Its roost is frequently littered with the smashed skeletons of former meals, with recognisable skulls evidencing that the terrible creature has no compunctions about eating human flesh. Growing ever larger with age, truly ancient deep crows are fearsome creatures indeed.

(Game statistics follow behind the cut.) Continue reading this article »

Final Fantasy Chocobo

posted Saturday, December 17th 2005 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame MaterialThird Edition

CR1 magical beast

I once asked my DM if my summoner character could find or summon a Chocobo from Final Fantasy, to which he agreed on the condition that I could come up with stats for one. The following is my own take on the Chocobo as a creature in Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition. Wark!

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Kill Gleemax!

posted Tuesday, June 19th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsDungeon Mastering AdviceGame MaterialThird Edition

Tempers flared when Dungeons & Dragons players started to fear that their two favourite magazines had been replaced by some kind of brain in a jar website. It turns out that’s not quite the case, but I figured that if enough players have an axe to grind with Gleemax, that they might as well do it accompanied by a mage, thief and cleric.

I’m told it’s some kind of Magic: The Gathering in-joke.

Gleemax, CR20
Advanced brain in a jar psion20 (telepath)
NE Tiny undead
Libris Mortis 90
Init +3; Senses blindsight 60ft., darkvision 60ft; Listen +14, Spot +14
Telepathy 100ft, language-dependant


AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11
hp 311 (29HD; turn resistance +8)
Immune undead traits
Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +20


Spd fly 30ft (good)
Space 1ft.; Reach
Psionic powers known (CL 20th, 403pp/day);
    9th–affinity field, assimilate, psionic etherealness, microcosm, psychic chirurgery, reality revision
    8th–mind seed, recall death, true metabolism
    7th–crisis of life, decerebrate, insanity
    6th–mind switch, mass cloud mind, psionic disintegrate
    5th–mind probe, leech field, psychic crush, psionic true seeing
    4th–mind wipe, psionic dominate, psionic modify memory, telekinetic maneuver
    3rd–dispel psionics, false sensory input, psionic blast, time hop
    2nd–ego whip, brain lock, read thoughts, psionic suggestion
    1st–conceal thoughts, distract, inertial armor, mind thrust, psionic charm
Special Atk mind thrust, psionics, rebuke undead


Abilities Str —, Dex 16, Con —, Int 20, Wis 10, Cha 25
SQ Madness, +8 turn resistance
Feats Ability Focus (mind thrust), Alertness, Delay Power, Dodge, Force of Will, Greater Power Penetration, Improved Turn Resistance, Iron Will, Overchannel, Power Penetration, Psionic Dodge, Quicken Power, Skill Focus (Bluff), Skill Focus (Diplomacy)
Skills Concentration +20, Bluff +42, Diplomacy +42, Knowledge (history) +37, Knowledge (psionics) +37, Knowledge (religion) +37, Listen +14, Profession (game designer) +12, Psicraft +25, Spot +14


Mind Thrust (Su): As a standard action, Gleemax can deliver an assault on the mental pathways of one creature, dealing 2d10 points of damage to any creature which fails a DC 20 Will save.
Madness (Su): Anyone targetting Gleemax with thought detection, mind control or any sort of telepathic or psionic ability that makes direct contact with its tortured mind takes 1d4 points of Wisdom damage.
Psionics (Sp): 3/day–suggestion (DC20), telekinesis (DC22); 1/day–dominate person (DC20). Manifester level 20th.
Rebuke Undead (Su): Gleemax can rebuke or command undead as a level 9 cleric.
Unholy Toughness, aka Dragotha Rule (Ex): Gleemax gains a bonus to its hit points equal to its Charisma modifier x its Hit Dice, just because.

More Powerful Planetouched

posted Thursday, April 20th 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame DesignGame Material

We all know that tiefling and aasimar are a shade underpowered for +1 level adjustment. Sean K Reynolds has admitted this in the past, pointing out that everyone would play them if they were +0 level adjustment but some people would still play them at +1, and that a better solution than the level adjustment system couldn’t be found.

If you want to encourage the planetouched races in your game by giving them a little boost, here’s my house rules on the topic.

First, make the race a template – why should only humans get to have extraplanar ancestors? Thus there now exist in your world aasimar elves and tiefling dwarves. The character gains both the benefits of the base creature as well as the planetouched race, and these stack – for example, a tiefling elf has (amongst other things) +4 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, and -2 Charisma, and treats both rogue and wizard as his favoured class. He retains the Outsider (native) type regardless of the base creature.

A “plain” aasimar or tiefling in this variant is simply a planetouched human. He is as the standard tiefling but with the bonus feat, the bonus skill point per level and can treat any class as his favoured class. An alternative to this is that

The effect of this on your game world is that planetouched should be more common to fit with how often players choose them, and there should be some explanation for this such as planar war in the world’s history. This also means that you will have planetouched monsters – good-aligned aasimar minotaurs guarding holy sites, well-organized bands of tiefling orcs with devil ancestors – but don’t overuse this! Remember that planetouched races have resistance 5 to several elements, which at low levels can make opponents immune to most of the wizard’s offensive spells.

In truth I haven’t worked out yet how tiefling-as-a-template affects a creature’s challenge rating – perhaps it brings a CR1/2 creature up to CR1, but then perhaps it’s not even worth that much. It’s probably something best decided on a case-by-case basis.

Stalagmen

posted Thursday, October 11th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame MaterialThird Edition

The following game statistics are inspired by this Penny Arcade strip.

STALAGMAN
This short, stocky creature resembles an angry, humanoid stalagmite. Furrowed eyes rest above a massive, jagged maw as its short arms clutch a crude stone spear.

Stalagmen are tenacious, vicious creatures. Stalagmen subsist chiefly on rock, with a special taste for rare ores. They inevitably come into conflict with any nearby underground societies such as dwarves, who compete with the stalagmen’s voracious appetite for metals and precious stones. Stone-destroying oozes are the stalagman’s natural enemy, although more resourceful tribes are known to cultivate gelatinous cubes as door guards.

(Game statistics follow behind the cut.) Continue reading this article »

The Cairn

posted Saturday, December 17th 2005 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame MaterialThird Edition

evil humanoid race

Selfish and malicious, the Cairn are an obscure white-skinned subterranean race with a penchant for the undead. Devout worshippers of The Lich God of Secrets, their leaders are exclusively clerics and are usually followed without question by those who dare not risk becoming their leader’s next undead slave.

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The Rabbit of Caerbannog (from The Holy Grail)

posted Saturday, December 17th 2005 by Jonathan Drain
Creatures & NPCsGame MaterialThird Edition

CR18 paragon animal

I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail again and was inspired to write up this monster. The Holy Grail is a comedy film, however, so this creature probably shouldn’t be taken seriously. The Paragon template is from the Epic Level Handbook.

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