Excerpts 10/07/2005

Heroes of Horror Excerpt
By James Wyatt, Ari Marmell, C.A. Suleiman

Add a frisson of fear to your game with Heroes of Horror. This supplement goes over the techniques of terror within D&D and can become a valuable resource to both DMs and players who prefer a more chilling side to their adventures. Heroes of Horror provides everything players and Dungeon Masters need to play and run a horror-oriented campaign or integrate elements of creepiness and tension into their existing campaigns. Players can develop heroes or antiheroes using new feats, new spells, new base classes and prestige classes, and new magic items. The book presents new mechanics for different types of horror, including rules for dread and tainted characters, as well as plenty of new horrific monsters and adventure seeds. Different types and genres of horror are discussed in detail. Our sneak peek gives you a look at villains, the archivist class, deformity feats, summon undead spells, and the cadaver golem.

Golem, Cadaver

Cadaver Golem

Large Construct
Hit Dice: 10d10+30 (85 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 20 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +10 natural), touch 10, flatfooted 19
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+16
Attack: Slam +11 melee (2d8+5) or large bastard sword +11 melee (2d8+7)
Full Attack: 2 slams +11 melee (2d8+5) or large bastard sword +11/+6 melee (2d8+7)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: See below
Special Qualities: Assimilate flesh, construct traits, damage reduction 5/adamantine, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to magic, low-light vision
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +3
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 13, Con --, Int 12, Wis 11, Cha 10
Skills: Cadaver golems' skills not only vary from golem to golem, but the skill ranks of a specific golem change as the golem assimilates new body parts. A standard cadaver golem (Int 12) has 39 skill points. Sample skill set: Jump +12, Hide +8, Intimidate +7, Move Silently +7, Spot +7
Feats: Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Sunder, Power Attack
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-4)
Challenge Rating: 8
Treasure: 50% coins; no goods; 1/10th items
Alignment: Always neutral or chaotic, usually evil
Advancement: 11-20 HD (Large); 21-30 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: --

A humanoid form, but far larger than any human, shambles forward. It smells faintly of decay and appears to be stitched together from the remains of multiple bodies. A malevolent intelligence burns in its eyes, and it surveys the area with remarkable intensity.

The so-called cadaver golem is easily mistaken for a standard flesh golem, but it is more intelligent -- indeed, sentient -- and far more dangerous. Capable of making use of the skills and abilities of those who contributed to its body, the cadaver golem constantly seeks out humanoids who boast talents that it wishes to possess.

The first cadaver golem is believed to have been the result of a mistake during the creation of a flesh golem. They usually wear whatever clothes they can find or steal that will fit their massive forms. A cadaver golem stands 8 feet tall and weighs around 500 pounds. They speak Common and any other single language, depending on race and region, and they can learn other languages in the course of their existence.


Cadaver golems do not hesitate to destroy anyone or anything that threatens them or stands between them and their goals. Some develop ambitions for power or wealth, while others simply wish to be left alone. All are murderous. Cadaver golems seek out humanoids who possess abilities they want in order to kill their targets and steal those abilities.

A cadaver golem tends not to use its Power Attack feat on the first few attacks, instead calling it into play once it is certain that it has a good chance to hit its chosen target(s).

Assimilate Flesh (Ex): A cadaver golem can choose to replace one of its limbs, sense organs, or other parts with a similar part taken from a living or recently deceased humanoid. Doing so grants the golem skills and abilities associated with that particular body part. The golem cannot, however, gain skill points in excess of its HD +3. Thus, if the golem acquires the hands of a rogue and wishes to assimilate some of the rogue's Open Lock skill ranks, the golem will have to lose some of its current skill ranks. The golem can never gain more ranks from a body part than that individual possessed; thus, if the rogue had 4 ranks in Open Lock, the golem can gain no more than 4 ranks from his hands, even if it's willing to lose more than 4 previously acquired skill points.

Additionally, the golem can acquire certain extraordinary and supernatural abilities, if it takes body parts from members of the proper classes or races. It can only have one such ability at a time and can choose when assimilating parts if it wishes to keep its current ability or gain the new one. The following table shows some possible skills and abilities the golem can acquire; the DM can add additional skills and abilities to the list as she sees fit.

Finally, a cadaver golem heals 2d8+5 points of damage anytime it acquires a new part. Adding a new body part is a full-round action.

Body Part PossibleNew Skills PossibleNew Abilities[1]
Eyes Search, Spot Darkvision (if better than golem's own)
Ears Listen Blindsense
Tongue Diplomacy, Perform (sing), Speak Language --
Hands Climb, Open Lock, Sleight of Hand Favored enemy, flurry of blows, smite, sneak attack
Brain[2] Knowledge (any) --
Heart -- Rage
Legs Hide, Jump, Move Silently Evasion, fast movement

[1] The part must come from a character or race that possesses this ability. A cadaver golem can have only one such ability at any time.

[2] A cadaver golem's personality is mystically bound to its form. Switching brains does not alter the golem's identity.

Construct Traits: A cadaver golem has immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromancy effects, mind-affecting spells and abilities (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects or is harmless. It is not subject to extra damage from critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, energy drain, or death from massive damage. It cannot heal damage (except as noted above), but it can be repaired. It has darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision.

Immunity to Magic (Ex): A cadaver golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below.

A cure or heal spell affects a cadaver golem as if a slow spell had been cast upon it, with a duration in rounds equal to twice the spell level. An infl ict or harm spell dispels any such slow effect.

Regenerate deals damage equal to 4d8 plus caster level, as the golem's body battles against recently assimilated parts. It also prevents the golem from making use of any special abilities gained from acquiring parts for 2d4 rounds. The golem can attempt a Fortitude save to halve the damage and maintain its special ability.


The pieces of a cadaver golem must come from normal humanoid corpses that have not decayed significantly. Assembly requires a minimum of six different bodies -- one for each limb, the torso (including head), and the brain. In some cases, more bodies might be necessary. Special unguents and bindings worth 750 gp are also required. Creating a flesh golem requires casting a spell with the evil descriptor. This rite is used very infrequently, since few spellcasters care to create a homicidal, sentient golem they cannot control.

Assembling the body requires a DC 16 Craft (leatherworking) check or a DC 16 Heal check.

CL 12th; Craft Construct, bull's strength, create undead, geas/quest, limited wish, caster must be at least 12th level; Price 30,000 gp; Cost 15,750 gp + 1,170 XP.

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