D&D Fight Club
Galaisha Fiendish Medusa Shadowdancer/Blackguard Vampire
By Robert Wiese

Design notes: This month, I have played a little fast and loose with one of the templates to show you how you can modify things in the Dungeons & Dragons game to surprise your players. They read the rules too, and if things don't work quite the way they expect, you can scare them.

January's creature uses multiple classes and two templates. In addition, I have modified the vampire template to make this one unique. Vampires normally drain two levels, which results in an average loss of -2 to attacks, -1 to all saving throws, and effects on skills, spells, and class abilities. Galaisha drains 2d4 ability points of her choice, which could result in a loss of -1 to -4 to attacks and damage, and detrimental effects to some saving throws, some skills, bonus spells, or other ability-based class abilities. The impact on the victim is nearly equivalent overall, but the choosy nature of Galaisha's draining ability makes her a little more dangerous than a standard vampire. Thus, she cannot create vampire spawn.

Her classes were chosen as follows: ranger for two-weapon fighting, rogue for the skill ranks required to qualify for the shadowdancer prestige class, sorcerer to give her the change self spell (and the shield spell, which makes her Armor Class 30). Fighter was added to give her a bonus feat while qualifying for the blackguard prestige class. The shadowdancer prestige class was chosen solely for the Hide in Plain Sight ability. Then I settled her into her final class goal: the blackguard. Truly, this creature was developed along "power-gaming" lines.

Being raised on Infernal planes, among bloodthirsty creatures that fear you a little more than others, teaches one the harsh lesson of "kill or be killed." Galaisha learned the lesson early and well. As a youth she led a gang of fiends and drifted from interest to interest. Galaisha has plenty of ambition, but no focus, and does not persevere with plans. This is perhaps an effect of the mentality that says, "If that doesn't work, I can always turn them to stone." She jumped from class to class before finally hearing the call of the blackguard from a "relative" who saw potential for unbridled destruction in her. It was after she arrived on the Prime plane that she was attacked and killed by a vampire. She slew her creator shortly after, and now wanders the world as a vampiric medusa.

The combination of her abilities makes her a dangerous foe, and her various classes, though chosen haphazardly from her point of view, just make her more dangerous. When entering melee, she usually holds her petrifying gaze as a last resort, or as one attack among many. If given the chance, she'll stalk a foe using her vampiric abilities to drain ability points before destroying her foes utterly. Her vampiric abilities differ from those of a standard vampire in two ways: She drains ability points instead of energy (levels), and she cannot make vampire spawn. When draining ability points, she chooses which ability to drain during the attack -- flexibility that makes her much more dangerous than a standard vampire, as she can target weaknesses in foes. Lastly, as a vampire she can move in, attack, then turn gaseous and escape the scene . . . just to return when the adventurers have again let down their guard.

Here we offer three versions of Galaisha for varied challenge levels. She is presented with magic items equivalent to the value that a NPC of her level should have, and has a familiar (not detailed) in each version. At the DM's discretion, she could have fiendish versions of normal familiars, due to her origin on an infernal plane somewhere.

[6th-level medusa]/1st-level Ranger/1st-level Sorcerer [6th-level medusa]/1st-level Ranger/1st-level Sorcerer/2nd-level Rogue/3rd-level Fighter [6th-level medusa]/1st level Ranger/1st-level Sorcerer/2nd-level Rogue/3rd-level Fighter/1st-level Shadowdancer/4th-level Blackguard
Challenge Rating: 12 Challenge Rating: 17 Challenge Rating: 22
Hit Dice: 8d12 Hit Dice: 13d12 Hit Dice: 18d12
Hit Points: 52 Hit Points: 84 Hit Points: 117
Initiative Modifier: +8 Initiative Modifier: +9 Initiative Modifier: +9
Speed: 30 ft. Speed: 30 ft. Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 25 (touch 14, flat-footed 21) Armor Class: 28 (touch 15, flat-footed 23) Armor Class: 30 (touch 17, flat-footed 30)

Attacks:

  • 2 Short Swords +10/+5 and +10 melee (1d6+4 and 1d6+2 [crit 19-20]) and snakes +6 melee (1d4+2 and poison)

OR

  • Shortbow +11/+6 ranged (+12/+7 within 30 ft.) (1d6 [crit x3] or 1d6+1 within 30 ft.)

OR

  • Slam +11 melee (1d6+4) and snakes +6 (1d4+2 and poison)

Attacks:

  • 2 Short Swords +15/+10/+5 and +15 melee (1d6+5 and 1d6+2 [crit 19-20]) and snakes +11 melee (1d4+2 and poison)

OR

  • Shortbow +16/+11/+6 ranged (+17/+11/+7 within 30 ft.) (1d6 [crit x3] or 1d6+1 within 30 ft.)

OR

  • Slam +16 melee (1d6+5) and snakes +11 (1d4+2 and poison)

Attacks:

  • 2 Short Swords +22/+17/+12 and +22 melee (1d6+9 and 1d6+6 [crit 15-20]) and snakes +16 melee (1d4+3 and poison)

OR

  • Shortbow +20/+15/+10 ranged (+21/+16/+11 within 30 ft.) (1d6 [crit x3])

OR

  • Slam +21 melee (1d6+3) and snakes +16 (1d4+2 and poison)
Face/Reach: 5 ft. x 5 ft./5 ft. Face/Reach: 5 ft. x 5 ft./5 ft. Face/Reach: 5 ft. x 5 ft./5 ft.

Special Attacks/Qualities:

  • Darkvision 60 ft.
  • Damage reduction 5/+2 and 15/+1
  • Cold and electricity resistance 20, fire resistance 15
  • Turn resistance +4
  • Spell Resistance 16
  • Immune to things requiring a Fort save unless they affect objects
  • Immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromantic effects. Ignore mind-influencing effects.
  • Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Not at risk of death from massive damage.
  • Fiendish Smite Good (Su) -- Once per day can make normal attack and deal +8 damage against a good foe
  • Petrifying Gaze (Su) -- Turn to stone permanently, 30 ft., Fort save DC 19
  • Poison (Ex) -- Snakes, Fort save DC 14 ; initial damage 1d6 temporary Strength, secondary damage 2d6 temporary Strength
  • Domination (Monster Manual page 221) -- Will save DC 19
  • Ability Drain (Su) -- Instead of draining energy levels, this vampire drains 2d4 temporary ability points on a successful melee touch attack, from whichever ability it chooses, though it must choose before the attack is made. Drained ability points return at the rate of one per hour starting 24 hours after the drain occurred. If it drains any ability to 0, the victim dies.
  • Blood Drain (Monster Manual page 221)
  • Children of the Night (Su) -- Command bats, dire rats, or wolves (see Monster Manual page 221).
  • Gaseous form (see Monster Manual page 222)
  • Spider Climb -- can climb sheer surfaces as though with a spider climb spell
  • Alternate form (see Monster Manual page 222)
  • Fast Healing (Ex) -- heals 5 points per round so long as it has at least 1 hit point. At 0 hit points, it is forced into gaseous form and must reach its coffin within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed.
  • Favored enemy (humans) +1 -- Gain bonus on melee damage and ranged damage within 30 ft., and on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Wilderness Lore checks when used against humans.
  • Sorcerer Spells: Can cast 5/4 spells per day from this list (base save DC = 15 + spell level):
    0 lvl -- dancing lights, prestidigitation, ray of frost, resistance
    1st lvl -- change self, shield
Note: This vampire does not create spawn.

Special Attacks/Qualities:

  • Darkvision 60 ft.
  • Damage reduction 10/+3 and 15/+1
  • Cold, electricity, and fire resistance 20
  • Turn resistance +4
  • Spell Resistance 25
  • Immune to things requiring a Fort save unless they affect objects
  • Immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromantic effects. Ignore mind-influencing effects.
  • Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Not at risk of death from massive damage.
  • Fiendish Smite Good (Su) -- Once per day can make normal attack and deal +13 damage against a good foe
  • Petrifying Gaze (Su) -- Turn to stone permanently, 30 ft., Fort save DC 21
  • Poison (Ex) -- Snakes, Fort save DC 16 ; initial damage 1d6 temporary Strength, secondary damage 2d6 temporary Strength
  • Domination (Monster Manual page 221) -- Will save DC 21
  • Ability Drain (Su) -- Instead of draining energy levels, this vampire drains 2d4 temporary ability points on a successful melee touch attack, from whichever ability it chooses, though it must choose before the attack is made. Drained ability points return at the rate of one per hour starting 24 hours after the drain occurred. If it drains any ability to 0, the victim dies.
  • Blood Drain (Monster Manual page 221)
  • Children of the Night (Su) -- Command bats, dire rats, or wolves (see Monster Manual page 221).
  • Gaseous form (see Monster Manual page 222)
  • Spider Climb -- can climb sheer surfaces as though with a spider climb spell
  • Alternate form (see Monster Manual page 222)
  • Fast Healing (Ex) -- heals 5 points per round so long as it has at least 1 hit point. At 0 hit points, it is forced into gaseous form and must reach its coffin within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed.
  • Favored enemy (humans) +1 -- Gain bonus on melee damage and ranged damage within 30 ft., and on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Wilderness Lore checks when used against humans.
  • Sorcerer Spells: Can cast 5/4 spells per day from this list (base save DC = 15 + spell level):
    0 lvl -- dancing lights, prestidigitation, ray of frost, resistance
    1st lvl -- change self, shield
  • Sneak Attack +1d6
  • Evasion (Ex) -- For magical attacks that allow a Ref save for half damage, she takes no damage on a successful save
  • Traps
Note: This vampire does not create spawn.

Special Attacks/Qualities:

  • Darkvision 60 ft.
  • Damage reduction 10/+3 and 15/+1
  • Cold, electricity, and fire resistance 20
  • Turn resistance +4
  • Spell Resistance 25
  • Immune to things requiring a Fort save unless they affect objects
  • Immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromantic effects. Ignore mind-influencing effects.
  • Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Not at risk of death from massive damage.
  • Fiendish Smite Good (Su) -- Once per day can make normal attack and deal +18 damage against a good foe
  • Petrifying Gaze (Su) -- Turn to stone permanently, 30 ft., Fort save DC 24
  • Poison (Ex) -- Snakes, Fort save DC 19 ; initial damage 1d6 temporary Strength, secondary damage 2d6 temporary Strength
  • Domination (Monster Manual page 221) -- Will save DC 24
  • Ability Drain (Su) -- Instead of draining energy levels, this vampire drains 2d4 temporary ability points on a successful melee touch attack, from whichever ability it chooses, though it must choose before the attack is made. Drained ability points return at the rate of one per hour starting 24 hours after the drain occurred. If it drains any ability to 0, the victim dies.
  • Blood Drain (Monster Manual page 221)
  • Children of the Night (Su) -- Command bats, dire rats, or wolves (see Monster Manual page 221).
  • Gaseous form (see Monster Manual page 222)
  • Spider Climb -- can climb sheer surfaces as though with a spider climb spell
  • Alternate form (see Monster Manual page 222)
  • Fast Healing (Ex) -- heals 5 points per round so long as it has at least 1 hit point. At 0 hit points, it is forced into gaseous form and must reach its coffin within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed.
  • Favored enemy (humans) +1 -- Gain bonus on melee damage and ranged damage within 30 ft., and on Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Wilderness Lore checks when used against humans.
  • Sorcerer Spells: Can cast 5/4 spells per day from this list (base save DC = 15 + spell level):
    0 lvl -- dancing lights, prestidigitation, ray of frost, resistance
    1st lvl -- change self, shield
  • Sneak Attack +2d6
  • Evasion (Ex) -- For magical attacks that allow a Ref save for half damage, she takes no damage on a successful save
  • Hide in Plain Sight (Su) -- Can use Hide skill even when being observed, if within 10 ft. of shadows (except her own)
  • Detect Good (Sp) -- At will detect good as spell
  • Poison Use -- No risk of poisoning herself
  • Dark Blessing -- Cha bonus applies to all saves (included)
  • Blackguard Smite Good (Su) -- Once per day can make normal attack at +5 to hit and deal +4 damage against a good foe
  • Command Undead -- Can command undead 8x/day as 2nd-level evil cleric
  • Aura of Despair (Su) -- Radiates malign aura that causes opponents within 10 ft. to suffer -2 morale penalty on all saving throws.
  • Blackguard Spells -- (2/2, base save DC = 13 + spell level) 1st -- cause fear, doom; 2nd -- bull's strength, darkness.
Note: This vampire does not create spawn.

Saving Throws:
Fortitude +4
Reflex +11
Will +9

Saving Throws:
Fortitude +7
Reflex +16
Will +10

Saving Throws:
Fortitude +16
Reflex +24
Will +17

Strength: 18 Strength: 20 Strength: 22
Dexterity: 19 Dexterity: 20 Dexterity: 20
Constitution: -- Constitution: -- Constitution: --
Intelligence: 14 Intelligence: 14 Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 15 Wisdom: 15 Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 20 Charisma: 20 Charisma: 20
Skills : Bluff +22, Diplomacy +7, Disguise +14, Hide +12, Intimidate +7, Listen +12, Move Silently +19, Search +10, Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +6, Spot +21, Wilderness Lore +8 Skills : Bluff +22, Diplomacy +7, Disguise +18, Hide +33, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (religion) +4, Listen +12, Move Silently +21, Perform +10, Search +10, Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +6, Spot +21, Wilderness Lore +12 Skills : Bluff +22, Diplomacy +11, Disguise +18, Hide +35, Intimidate +17, Knowledge (religion) +10, Listen +13, Move Silently +21, Perform +10, Search +10, Sense Motive +11, Spellcraft +6, Spot +22, Tumble +7, Wilderness Lore +13
Feats : Alertness, Ambidexterity (virtual), Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Track, Two-weapon Fighting (virtual), Weapon Finesse (snakes) Feats : Alertness, Ambidexterity (virtual), Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Sunder, Track, Two-weapon Fighting (virtual), Weapon Finesse (snakes) Feats : Alertness, Ambidexterity (virtual), Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Critical (short sword), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Spring Attack, Sunder, Track, Two-weapon Fighting (virtual), Weapon Finesse (snakes)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil Alignment: Chaotic Evil Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Languages: Common Languages: Common Languages: Common
Equipment: The bonuses for these items are included in the statistics above. Bracers of armor +2, gauntlets of ogre power, two masterwork short swords, shortbow, 20 arrows, potion of cat's grace, potion of bull's strength, potion of hiding. Equipment: The bonuses for these items are included in the statistics above. Bracers of armor +4, belt of giant strength +4, cloak of elvenkind, two masterwork short swords, shortbow, 20 arrows, potion of bull's strength. Equipment: The bonuses for these items are included in the statistics above. Bracers of armor +4, ring of protection +2, belt of giant strength +6, cloak of elvenkind,hat of disguise, two +3 keen short swords, shortbow, 20 arrows, wand of alter self (50 charges, 1st level caster).

About the Author

Robert Wiese never knew his parents. He was raised by kindly middle-class people, and grew up on the mean streets of suburbia. There, he learned important life lessons, such as the quickest route to the mall on a bicycle, how to borrow the car, and how to hang Christmas lights on a two-story house. Later in life, he discovered D&D, and gave up on all outdoor activities. Now he lives like a hermit, coming out of his cave only to fix the Internet connection or go to work at Wizards of the Coast.


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