In today's preview, we peek at two undead champions that can be found in Dungeons of Dread. As you expect, these two monsters can be found in the 4th Edition Monster Manual. What you don't expect is that these monsters can also be found in another 4th Edition book.
The new Dungeon Master's Guide presents almost two dozen templates that can be applied to monsters. Thanks to the template, the monster is transformed into something … different. Instead of being a normal monster, it is now treated as an elite -- it counts as two creatures for the purpose of building roleplaying encounters. Both of the monsters below are examples of a templated human.
The Death Knight has been a staple in Dungeons & Dragons ever since it was published in the original Fiend Folio. For 4th Edition, the Death Knight template upgrades a late Paragon or Epic level creature, usually one in a soldier role. More details on the template must wait until the books are published.
Miniatures players, however, won't need to wait as long. In the miniatures battle game, the Death Knight is a master of undead. It can bring in any evil undead into the game as well as grant a slight attack bonus. It has a champion power to boost the damage of other undead by granting a 20-point damage bonus on a successful hit.
Fans of the Death Knight are already familiar with the blast of unholy flames. This guy can cover up to a 25-square area with twenty points of necrotic or fire damage. Just like the radiant energy mentioned last week, no special rules are attached to necrotic damage.
The second template is the Vampire Lord, and the Vampire Vizier is an example of this template being applied on a controller or lurker role. Templates manage the soul of the creature: the roleplaying side of the Vizier includes abilities such as "Hurt by Sunlight" and "Scent of Blood" -- abilities that all Vampire Lords have.
One difference from 3rd Edition D&D deals with the Vampire's life drain. A victim of a life-draining attack no longer suffers from negative levels. Instead, the target is weakened and the vampire heals a sizable number of hit points. The Miniatures Game statistics distill the Vampire Lord's abilities to a tight core -- it doesn't include the weakened state on the victim, but the Vampire Vizier does heal an impressive 25 hit points.
Next week -- two monsters with double letters and a digraph.
It's mystery silhouette time. Shown below are all the figures that we'll feature in these previews. Can you guess their identities? Feel free to try!
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