Monster Mayhem10/18/2003


Abominations of Praetorius



Praetorius is the legendary alchemist, wizard, and cleric responsible for many of the unnatural creatures that exist in the world today. Employed by the largest and most powerful ancient empire in the campaign world, Praetorius spent decades experimenting with animals, magical creatures, and even sentient humanoids. At his emperor's behest, the mad Praetorius sought to create the ultimate race of slave-warriors to fight the empire's battles.

Most of Praetorius's creations died soon after their "births." Those experiments that survived, but were judged unsuitable for use in combat, were diverted to the capital city's arenas to struggle and die under the blades of the emperor's gladiators. Of his successful creations, most died in battle or in the blood pits of the empire. Some lived, though, and proved viable as species capable of reproducing. Since Praetorius's goal was to create a self-sustaining race, he made certain that the ability to breed and create viable offspring was among any creature's theoretical capabilities -- no matter how arcane, bizarre, or horrifying the original creation process might have been.

Today, Praetorius is commonly believed to be nothing more than a myth, a bogeyman to scare children into going to bed. This is a lie perpetuated by the current rulers of the area that once comprised the empire; they prefer to let sleeping fears lie. Only a select few know that Praetorius truly did exist; a few also suspect that any man so fiendishly capable of altering the forms of life also could find a means to extend his own. This suspicion is based on imperial records that state that Praetorius is presumed dead after a huge conflagration in his ancient home/laboratory/dungeon. His death is presumed, since no body was ever recovered.

Whatever the final fate of the insane Praetorius, fragmentary imperial records have recently been assembled that provide details of some few of the madman's creations. Two such fragments and the abominations they pertain to are described here.

Hybridization #4rkbi6-89

The biological template of the new specimen has stabilized. The latest magical infusion should also allow for reproduction (note reference REPoo9fnh3). As I predicted, combining the traits and biological mechanisms of the source creatures has resulted in a fine killing device. The aspects of the giant scorpion grant the device superior melee ability even against multiple targets, and the poison delivery system is far more efficient than that of the spider source creature. The magical powers infused into the specimen allow it to mimic much of the spider's instinctive behavior, a fact of which I am quite proud. In recent field tests, I've witnessed the device use terrain and even walls and ceilings as points from which to attack. When faced with many targets, the device efficiently used its web ability to immobilize several while its pincers crushed two more, and the stinger penetrated even the strongest armor.

Cildabrin
Large Aberration
Hit Dice: 11d8+55 (104 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares), climb 30 ft.
Armor Class: 19 (-1 size, +3 Dex, +7 natural,), touch 12, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+19
Attack: Claw +14 melee (1d8+7)
Full Attack: 2 claws +14 melee (1d8+7), tail stinger +12 melee (1d6+3 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Crush 1d8+7, improved grab, poison, spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +7
Abilities: Str 24, Dex 17, Con 21, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 13
Skills: Climb +15, Jump +21, Move Silently +17
Feats: Dodge, Mobility, Multiattack, Spring Attack
Environment: Underground
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 8
Treasure: 50% coins, 50% goods, 50% items
Alignment: Usually neutral evil
Advancement: 12-14 HD (Huge), 15-17 HD (Gargantuan), 18-22 (Colossal)
Level Adjustment: --

The body shape is that of a tarantulalike spider, but with the forelegs replaced by a set of long pincers and a very long scorpion's tail. The body itself is chitinous, but tufts of hair, again like those of a tarantula, grow out of the joints where the chitin plates meet. The creature's eight eyes are a dull black that seem to reflect no light at all.

A cildabrin looks much the creatures Praetorius tortured and transmogrified to create the first specimen: a giant spider related to a tarantula and monstrously big scorpion. Cildabrins are subterranean hunters that prefer warm underground regions. Incapable of spinning normal webs, cildabrins roam their territory, looking for any prey they can catch.

Cildabrins were considered a failure by Praetorius; they turned out to be too indiscriminate in choosing their targets when hungry, killing at least as many imperial soldiers and their own handlers as the empire's underground enemies that they were intended to slay. Consigned to the imperial arenas, a group of the remaining intelligent horrors soon escaped the pits and fled into the Underdark. In the centuries since then, they have spread far and wide in the darkness below. Cildabrins seem incapable of speech.

Combat

As a solitary hunter, a cildabrin prefers to stalk its prey. It slowly closes the distance to the quarry, then leaps to the attack. If hunting a lone figure or a small group, the cildabrin remains in melee, trying to kill or incapacitate as many targets as possible. If engaging a large or powerful group of prey, the cildabrin uses its Spring Attack ability to snatch up one or two targets, then flees to kill and consume its prey later in safety. Its long claws and tail give it exceptional reach.

Crush: A cildabrin inflicts 1d8+7 points of damage with a successful grapple check after a successful pincer attack. Each pincer can hold one target of not larger than Medium size. Using both pincers, a cildabrin inflicts double damage to one Large target.

Improved Grab: To use this ability, a cildabrin must successfully attack with a pincer. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without invoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, the cildabrin establishes a hold and can constrict.

Poison: With a successful tail stinger attack, a cildabrin injects potent venom (Injury DC 20); Initial Effect: 1d6 Str; Secondary Effect: 1d6 Str.

Spell-Like Abilities: At will -- freedom of movement; 3/day -- jump,web.

Hybridization #13wlo0-41

The reptilian Marine template continued its field tests today. The current batch of devices shows the trogdilian's ruthlessness and the lizardian's savage cunning and bloodlust, while also displaying the marginal increase in intellect I strove for. (Note: May have to restrict reproduction to curb intellectual development.) A few even may be described as clever, using deceit, evasion, and even a simplistic ambush to track and eliminate the targets I had released into the marshes. Combining the trog's musk ability with the strength of the lizards makes these devices worthy infantry and marines. Without authoritative leadership, these creatures would revert to their animal-like ways, of course, but with structure and supervision such as that aboard ship and in our illustrious empire's warhouses, these devices will function well in the empire's warmer climes and in wetland environments where other humanoids falter.

Troglizard
Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Reptilian)
Hit Dice: 3d8+12 (25 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 17 (+1 Dex, +6 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+5
Attack: Claw +5 melee (1d4+2) or club +5 melee (1d6+3) or javelin +4 ranged (1d6+2)
Full Attack: 2 claws +5 melee (1d4+2) and bite +3 melee (1d4+1) or club +5 melee (1d6+3) and bite +3 melee (1d4+1), or javelin +4 ranged (1d6+2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Stench
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft.
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +3
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills: Balance +4, Climb +5, Hide +8, Swim +5
Feats: Multiattack, Power Attack
Environment: Temperate or warm marsh, underground
Organization: Pair, gang (3-4), Band (6-10 plus 50% noncombatants) or tribe (20-80 plus 50% noncombatants
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: 50% coins, 50% goods, 50% items
Alignment: Usually chaotic evil
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +2

This reptilian humanoid stands as tall as an average human, with lanky but muscular limbs, a long, thick tail, clawed hands and feet, sharp fangs, and bony frill atop its head.

Created by Praetorius as amphibious warriors for the empire, the first troglizards served as imperial marines aboard the Emperor's naval vessels. As slave-warriors, the troglizards were driven mercilessly by their imperial masters. After a fierce hurricane damaged and scattered an imperial naval squadron, the troglizards rose in mutiny. They killed their masters and managed to sail to a marshy area in a temperate region. Since then, they have expanded their range across the warm regions of the former empire and underground, typically near hot springs and other sources of warm water.

Bred for war, troglizards dominate any habitat they come to inhabit. Eventually, they exhaust the area's resources and are forced to move on to find new territory to conquer. Former slaves, they often employ slave labor themselves.

Technically omnivores, troglizards (or "tren," as they refer to themselves) prefer fresh meat when they can get it. Given their most common environments, this is usually fish. They will also consume rodents, insects, and other vermin.

Combat

While troglizards are not the brightest opponents adventurers are likely to face, they do combine the most useful assets of their parent races, plus a sound grasp of tactics and military planning. Their lairs are commonly surrounded by pit and water traps, and camouflaged lookouts monitor all approaches.

When entering a new region, troglizards often raid the settlements of other sentient races in the area. They do so for two reasons: (1) to drive the others off and thus have the area's resource to themselves, and (2) to gain a new slave-labor force, since transporting slaves from one locale to another, possibly distant one is viewed as not worth the effort by the reptiles. Troglizards usually launch raids at night, using their darkvision and ability to alter their coloration to their advantage.

Troglizards are also happy to work as mercenaries for any suitably impressive (and too powerful to easily kill or enslave) evil force or individual. Troglizards speak Draconic.

Stench: Like their troglodyte forebears, troglizards excrete an oily, noxious liquid when excited or agitated. This musklike scent is repellant to all creatures others than troglizards. All other living beings within 30 feet must make a DC 15 Fort save or be sickened for 10 rounds. Creatures that successfully save are not affected by the same troglizard's stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the sickened effect. Those creatures that are immune to poison are unaffected, and those resistant to poison enjoy their normal bonuses on the saving throw against the stench. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Skills: Troglizards have a +4 racial bonus on Hide checks due to the troglizard's ability to alter its coloration somewhat. This ability functions like that of a chameleon although not to the same extent.

Troglizard Society: Troglizard society, while chaotic, is organized along military lines. The strongest, smartest, and bravest warriors (of either gender) lead the tribes. Each tribe's captain has a cadre of followers that carry out the leader's wishes within the tribe. They also serve as leaders of war and scouting bands.

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