Far Corners of the World05/31/2003


Toxic Paradise: Monsters
of the Rainforest



If one word can be used to describe a rainforest, that would be the word "alive." The rainforest is teeming with life, from the smallest ant that skitters across branches to the largest lumbering behemoth that plows through the forest with abandon. Many dangerous specimens lurk in the jungle, ranging from highly poisonous vermin to jaguars, but the true menaces of the deep rainforest are often as beautiful as they are deadly and strange. The verminvine is a unique plant that enslaves carpets of insects to serve as trained minions. Horrible undead creatures lurk in rainforests that have been plagued with hunters. And along the banks of rivers that wind through the deep jungle lurks the mysterious wharlysk, a creature that commands the very sounds of the jungle to its will.

Restless Prey Elephant
Huge Undead
Hit Dice: 11d12 (71 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 80 ft.
AC: 16 (-2 size, +8 natural), touch 8, flat-footed 16
Attacks: Slam +16 melee force touch, 2 stamps +11 melee force touch, or gore +16 melee force touch
Damage: Slam 2d6+11, stamp 2d6+6, gore 2d8+16/19-20
Face/Reach: 10 ft. by 20 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Energy drain, fear aura, trample 2d8+16 (force)
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 20/+2, preserved hide, low-light vision, restless prey symbiosis, scent, undead traits
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +4
Abilities: Str 30, Dex 10, Con --, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 13
Skills: Hide +0, Listen +14, Move Silently +8, Spot +14
Feats: Improved Critical (gore), Power Attack
Climate/Terrain: Warm forest and plains
Organization: Solitary, pair, or pack (3-10)
Challenge Rating: 10
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 12-22 HD (Huge)

Energy Drain (Su): Any living creature struck for damage by a restless prey elephant gains one negative level. For each negative level bestowed, the restless prey elephant heals 5 points of damage. If the amount of healing is more than the damage the creature has suffered, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. If the negative level has not been removed (with a spell such as restoration) before 24 hours have passed, the afflicted opponent must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 16) to remove it. Failure means the opponent's level (or HD) is reduced by one.

Fear Aura (Su): As a free action, a restless prey elephant can produce a fear effect. This ability functions exactly like a fear spell (caster level 11; save DC 16), except that it affects all creatures within a 15-foot radius around the restless prey elephant. Any creature that makes a successful saving throw against the effect cannot be affected again by that restless prey elephant's fear aura for one day.

Preserved Hide: A restless prey creature's natural armor toughens. In addition to its normal natural armor, it gains a bonus equal to the creature's Charisma modifier (minimum of +1; already figured into stats above).

Trample (Ex): A restless prey elephant can trample Medium-size or smaller creatures, dealing 2d8+16 points of bludgeoning damage. Opponents who do not make attacks of opportunity against the restless prey elephant can attempt a Reflex save (DC 25) to halve the damage. Damage done is force damage.

Restless Prey Symbiosis (Su): A restless prey elephant gains a +2 profane bonus to its Charisma score for each additional restless prey creature within 30 feet. This bonus persists as long as the creatures stay within 30 feet of each other.

Scent (Ex): A restless prey elephant can detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

Undead Traits: A restless prey elephant is immune to mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromantic effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects. It is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, or death from massive damage. A restless prey elephant cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if it is willing. The creature has darkvision (60-foot range).

The Restless Prey Creature Template

Poachers and hunters are naturally drawn to certain creatures whose body parts are valued as trophies. Unfortunately, beasts that are slain by hunters sometimes rise as undead monsters cursed to forever stalk those who inflicted such a distasteful end upon them. Restless prey creatures are filled with a burning hatred for all life, and their unholy energies gift them with intelligence far above that normally possessed by living creatures of the same type. Many restless prey creatures seek out the hunter who killed them to return the favor, but success in this endeavor does not bring release for the undead monster. Such creatures often remain to haunt the areas of their death or the homes of their victims.

Creating a Restless Prey Creature

"Restless prey" is a template that can be applied to any animal, vermin, or beast. The restless prey creature's type changes to undead. It uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Hit Dice: Hit Die type changes to d12.

Speed: A restless prey creature moves at twice the speed of the original creature. A restless prey creature with flight has average maneuverability.

Attacks: Although a restless prey creature has suffered from the brutal excision of its natural attacks, in its new form it has regrown these attacks as extensions of its once living body. A restless prey creature's natural attacks are composed of pure force and remain the same as those of the base creature, except that they are force attacks and they ignore armor, natural armor, and shield bonus, as touch attacks do. A restless prey creature's force attacks are not subject to damage reduction.

Damage: A restless prey creature's natural attacks deal force damage in the same amount of damage as the original creature's attacks, except that they gain a damage bonus equal to the creature's Charisma modifier (minimum +1). This bonus damage stacks with bonus damage from high Strength.

Special Attacks: A restless prey creature retains the base creature's extraordinary abilities. In addition, it gains the following two special attacks.

Energy Drain (Su):Any living creature that takes damage from a restless prey creature's attack gains one negative level. For each negative level bestowed, the restless prey creature heals 5 points of damage. If the amount of healing is more than the damage the creature has suffered, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. If the negative level has not been removed (with a spell such as restoration) before 24 hours have passed, the afflicted opponent must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half the restless prey creature's Hit Dice + Charisma modifier) to remove it. Failure means the opponent's level (or HD) is reduced by one.

Fear Aura (Su): As a free action, a restless prey creature can produce a fear effect. This ability functions exactly like a fear spell (caster level equals the restless prey creature's Hit Dice; save DC 10 + half the restless prey creature's Hit Dice + Charisma modifier), except that it affects all creatures within a 15-foot radius around the restless prey creature. Any creature that makes a successful saving throw against the effect cannot be affected again by that restless prey creature's fear aura for one day.

Special Qualities: A restless prey creature gains all the traits normally possessed by creatures of the undead type. In addition, they gain the following special qualities as well.

Damage Reduction: A restless prey creature gains damage reduction 20/+2.

Preserved Hide: A restless prey creature's natural armor toughens. In addition to its normal natural armor, it gains a bonus equal to the creature's Charisma modifier (minimum of +1).

Restless Prey Symbiosis (Su): A restless prey creature gains a +2 profane bonus to its Charisma score for each additional restless prey creature within 30 feet. This bonus persists as long as the creatures stay within 30 feet of each other. Additional profane bonuses to Charisma scores from additional creatures within 30 feet stack with each other. For example, each member of a group of 3 restless prey rhinoceroses gain a total +4 profane bonus to their individual Charisma scores, as long as all three remain within 30 feet of each other.

Abilities: A restless prey creature gains +6 to its Intelligence and Charisma scores, but being undead, it has no Constitution score.

Skills: Restless prey creatures receive a +8 racial bonus to Hide, Listen, Move Silently, and Spot checks. Otherwise same as the base creature.

Feats: Restless prey creatures gain 1 feat for every 4 Hit Dice (minimum of 1 feat).
Climate/Terrain: As base creature
Organization: Solitary or pack (2-10 restless prey creatures)
Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: As base creature.

Verminvine
Large Plant
Hit Dice: 4d8+8 (26 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 10 ft., climb 10 ft.
AC: 14 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +4 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 13
Attacks: Slam +6 melee
Damage: Slam 1d8+6
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Constrict 1d8+6, improved grab, insect plague, vineswarm
Special Qualities: Plant traits, tremorsense, verminbond
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +1
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 5, Wis 11, Cha 10
Skills: Climb +12
Climate/Terrain: Warm forests
Organization: Solitary or patch (2-6), plus 50% chance of 1d4 miscellaneous vermin per plant
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 5-8 HD (Large); 9-12 HD (Huge)

A verminvine is a strange tropical plant that uses swarms of poisonous and carnivorous insects to gather nutrients and to defend itself.

A typical verminvine consists of a large mass of dark green foliage that grows on the base of a tree trunk or hangs from a tree's lowest limbs like sheets of thick moss. Large round leaves are tangled into this mossy mass, and the whole plant constantly sweats a runny red liquid that smells of fermenting fruit. Growing from the center of the mass is a long, fibrous, brown vine that can whip about like a tentacle when the plant is attacking.

Locals quickly learn to avoid places that smell of fermenting fruit in the jungle, for these regions are often the haunt of large patches of verminvine. The fluids the plant constantly weeps attract swarms of insects from the surrounding regions, which swarm all over the plant and drink the fluid. In so doing, the insects become little more than slaves of the verminvine and can be directed by the plant to attack its prey.

Verminvines cannot speak, but they understand and recognize simple words in the predominant local language and use knowledge gained in this manner to aid in securing food.

Combat

A verminvine lashes out at any creature that passes near it with its single vine, attempting to hold a creature motionless while its enslaved swarm of vermin kill it. The dead body is then allowed to drop over the mass of the plant, where the thick round leaves slowly absorb nutrients from the decomposing flesh. If faced with creatures that use reach or ranged attacks, the verminvine retaliates with its insect plague ability and tries to force such enemies within reach of its main attack.

Improved Grab (Ex): If a verminvine hits an opponent that is at least one size category smaller than itself with a slam attack, it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity (grapple bonus +11). If it gets a hold, it also constricts on the same round. Thereafter, the verminvine has the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use its vine tentacle to hold the opponent (-20 penalty on grapple check, but the verminvine is not considered grappled). In either case, each successful grapple check it makes during successive rounds automatically deals slam damage.

Constrict (Ex): With a successful grapple check, a verminvine can crush a grabbed opponent, dealing 1d8+6 points of bludgeoning damage.

Insect Plague (Su): As a full round action, the verminvine can direct its attending swarm of vermin to form a horde of creeping, hopping, and flying insects. This horde forms a cloud of vermin that acts differently than the normal attending vineswarm. First of all, it fills four 5-foot squares; the verminvine can shape the cloud into whatever continuous shape it wishes. The cloud can travel at a speed of 10 feet in any direction (not all of the vermin the swarm can fly, even though a fair portion of the cloud may be made of flying insects), to a limit of 60 feet from the originating verminvine. The cloud returns to the originating verminvine at top speed by the shortest possible route once the latter stops controlling it. This cloud blocks vision, and spellcasting within the cloud is impossible. Each creature inside the cloud takes 1 point of damage at the end of each round spent within it from the bites and stings. Invisibility offers no protection against this effect. In addition, every creature within the cloud must make a Will save (DC 12) each round or flee at its fastest possible speed in a random direction from the cloud; this is an extraordinary fear effect. Heavy smoke drives off the insects, as does fire or high wind. A single torch is ineffective against the insect plague, but any magical fire effect or nonmagical fire of at least Medium-size can disperse the cloud. If the plague is dispersed, it retreats to the verminvine.

Plant Traits (Ex): A verminvine is immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, and polymorphing. It is not subject to critical hits or mind-affecting effects. The creature also has low-light vision.

Tremorsense (Ex): A verminvine can automatically sense the location of any creature or object within 60 feet that is in contact with the ground.

Verminbond (Ex): The odor exuded by a verminvine causes all creatures of the vermin type to interpret the plant as an ally. Any vermin that comes within 15 feet of the verminvine must make a Will save (DC 12) or become attracted to the plant and remain in the immediate area for 1d3 hours before moving on. Each time a verminvine is encountered, there is a 50% chance that it is attended by 1d4 Medium-size vermin (usually giant ants). These vermin are present in addition to the vineswarm, though they act as individual creatures and should be accounted for as such in the encounter.

Vineswarm (Su): The verminvine is constantly surrounded by swarms of biting and stinging insects. Any creature that occupies a square that is threatened by the verminvine is attacked by this swarm, even when the verminvine itself cannot attack or threaten targets. Once a swarm is dispersed, it takes the verminvine 1 hour to attract a new swarm. See the vineswarm below for more information about a sample swarm.

Sample Vineswarm
Medium-Size Vermin (Swarm of Fine Creatures)
Hit Dice: 4d8+4 (22 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 10 ft.
AC: 14 (+3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 11
Attacks: Swarm
Damage: Swarm 1d4
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Distraction (DC 13)
Special Qualities: Swarm traits, vermin traits
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1
Abilities: Str 1, Dex 16, Con 13, Int --, Wis 10, Cha 2
Climate/Terrain: Warm forests
Organization: Swarm
Challenge Rating: 1
Treasure: --
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: --

The vineswarm gathers due to the will of the verminvine (see above).

Combat

A vineswarm attacks to defend the verminvine or to assist the verminvine in gaining the nutrients it requires. See the verminvine for more about the vineswarm.

Swarm Traits:A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernable anatomy, so it is not subject to critical hits or flanking. A swarm composed of Fine creatures is immune to all weapon damage.

Reducing a swarm to 0 hit points or fewer causes the swarm to break up, though damage taken until that point does not degrade its ability to attack or resist attack. Swarms are never staggered or reduced to a dying state by damage. Also, they cannot be tripped, grappled, or bull rushed, and they cannot grapple another.

A swarm is immune to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures (including single-target spells such as disintegrate), with the exception of mind-affecting effects if the swarm has an Intelligence score and a hive mind. A swarm takes a -10 penalty on saving throws against spells or effects that affect an area, such as many evocation spells or grenadelike weapons. If the area effect attack does not allow a saving throw, the swarm takes double damage instead.

Swarms made up of Diminutive or Fine creatures are susceptible to high winds such as that created by a gust of wind spell. For purposes of determining the effects of wind on a swarm, treat the swarm as a creature of the same size as its constituent creatures. Wind effects deal 1d6 points of subdual damage to the swarm per spell level (or Hit Die of the originating creature, in the case of effects such as an air elemental's whirlwind).

A swarm rendered unconscious by means of subdual damage becomes disorganized and dispersed, and does not re-form until its hit points exceed its subdual damage.

A creature in the swarm who takes no actions other than fighting the swarm off takes 1 point of damage on its turn. A creature in the swarm who takes any other action, including leaving the swarm, takes 1d4 points of damage (as noted above).

Distraction (Ex): Any living creature vulnerable to the swarm's damage that begins its turn with a swarm in its square is nauseated for 1 round; a DC 13 Fortitude save negates the effect. Even with a successful save, spellcasting or concentrating on spells within the area of a swarm requires a Concentration check (DC 20 + spell level). Using skills requiring patience and concentration requires a Concentration check (DC 20). The save DC is Constitution-based.

Vermin Traits: A vineswarm is immune to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects). It also has darkvision (60-foot range).

Wharlysk
Huge Aberration
Hit Dice: 20d8+140 (230 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 ft., climb 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
AC: 22 (-2 size, -2 Dex, +16 natural), touch 6, flat-footed 22
Attacks: Bite +19 melee and 6 claws +14 melee
Damage: Bite 2d10+6/19-20, claw 1d6+3
Face/Reach: 10 ft. by 10 ft./15 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath weapon, spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Control sound, damage reduction 20/+2, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to sonics, regeneration 20, spell resistance 27
Saves: Fort +13, Ref +6, Will +14
Abilities: Str 22, Dex 7, Con 25, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 16
Skills: Climb +22, Concentration +22, Hide -10*, Listen +15, Spellcraft +18, Spot +15, Swim +14
Feats: Expertise, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Lightning Reflexes, Quicken Spell-Like Ability
Climate/Terrain: Warm forest and aquatic
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 16
Treasure: Double standard
Alignment: Usually neutral evil
Advancement: 21-40 HD (Gargantuan); 41-60 HD (Colossal)

The semireptilian wharlysk lurks deep in the hearts of particularly moist jungles, often near rivers, where it uses its mastery over sound to capture prey.

A wharlysk's head combines the worst aspects of a warthog's and a viper's, down to the razor-sharp tusks and the forked tongue. It has a long, powerful neck attached to a bulbous, newtlike body, and a single row of six long tentacles tipped with scorpionlike pinchers writhe down the length of its striped back. The wharlysk's skin is always slimy, and its six legs end in powerful webbed feat armed with sharp claws to aid in climbs through the canopy above, when it can find trees large enough to support its weight.

Although fairly intelligent, wharlysks have little interest in forming societies with others of their kind. They do adore adulation and worship, and they often subjugate nearby intelligent races and force them to attend its debased needs and to gather food and treasure for it.

A wharlysk is usually about 25 feet long, but it coils up on itself when in combat. The standard wharlysk weighs nearly 18,000 lbs.

Wharlysks speak Draconic, but they can use tongues as a spell-like ability at will.

Combat

The wharlysk prefers to engage enemies from hiding, using its spell-like abilities to keep them from closing to melee range as a group so it can pick off its enemies one at a time with its bite or breath weapon. When fighting multiple creatures in melee, it always uses its Expertise feat to gain the maximum increase to its Armor Class (+5), and it often uses half its claw attacks to trip or disarm opponents they perceive as particularly dangerous. The creature is almost fearless, except when confronted by enemies that use electricity attacks. A wharlysk often flees before such attacks if its enemies look to be well organized and powerful, but it won't let the victors rest long before tracking them down and extracting vengeance for the previous humiliation.

Breath Weapon (Su): Once every 1d4 rounds, a wharlysk can emit a blast of sound from its maw in a 60-foot-long cone. Every creature caught in this area takes 10d6 points of sonic damage (Reflex DC 27 half). A creature that fails to save is also nauseated by the sound for 1d4 rounds.

Spell-Like Abilities: At will -- ghost sound, message, shatter, silence, sound burst, tongues, ventriloquism; 3/day -- shout. Caster level 20th; save DC 13 + spell level.

Control Sound (Su): A wharlysk is in constant control of all sound it can hear within 120 feet. This ability serves two functions. First, the wharlysk may use sculpt sound (as the bard spell of the same name) at will as a standard action. It can sculpt up to three different sounds simultaneously. A creature targeted by this ability may resist with a successful Will save (DC 26). Second, whenever the wharlysk is subjected to a sonic attack (other than its own breath weapon or that of another wharlysk), it absorbs the energy and can instantly redirect it as a ranged touch attack (+11 on attack rolls) against any one target within 120 feet. A successful hit inflicts the same amount of sonic damage on the target that would have normally been inflicted on the Wharlysk.

Regeneration (Ex): A wharlysk takes normal damage from electricity.

Skills: *In forested regions, the wharlysk's natural coloration grants it a +16 competence bonus on all Hide checks.

Recent Far Corners of the World
(MORE)
Recent Articles
(MORE)

About Us Jobs New to the Game? Inside Wizards Find a Store Press Help Sitemap

©1995- Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use-Privacy Statement

Home > Games > D&D > Articles 
You have found a Secret Door!
Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
Email A Friend Email A Friend
Discuss This ArticleDiscuss This Article