Monster Mayhem
Hoardevil
By the Patrons of the Wizards of the Coast Website,
with the aid of Skip and Penny Williams

The strange tracks in the snow told a tale both familiar and peculiar, and the hunter frowned as he stooped to examine them more closely. Myriad tracks made by dainty hooves crisscrossed the area -- deer tracks. A small herd had been feeding here, but something -- almost certainly a predator -- had scattered the deer. Nothing unusual in that. The animals had fled in a body, bounding through the underbrush in graceful leaps. Nothing unusual in that, either. But the beast pursuing them -- now that was another matter. Its tracks were difficult to spot, but the hunter's trained eye found them with only a bit of effort. The creature seemed to move on two legs, leaving deep prints similar to those of a rabbit, though it obviously outsized the fleeing deer. Its tracks plunged deep into the snow and appeared nearly side-by-side, as though the creature had moved by crouching and leaping. Here and there, blurry marks paralleled the trail. To the hunter's experienced eye, they seemed reminiscent of a fox trail, since the fox's tail leaves shallow brush marks from time to time in deep snow. These marks, however, looked much deeper and quite crisp, as though they had been produced by a long and snaky appendage.

Intrigued, the hunter followed the tracks, intent on discovering just what sort of creature might have left such a trail. A short time later, he had his answer. The leaping predator had overtaken a doe in less than three dozen leaps, and there it stood, feeding on the carcass.

The predator was as white as the surrounding snow, except for small black spots randomly dotting its hide. Its body was long and lean, something like that of a great rat. The creature stood upright on massive hind feet and had a long, furred tail. And as if the oddly shaped body, feet, and tail weren't bizarre enough, the creature had a bony head shaped like that of a flesh-eating insect. Its powerful mandibles tore great chunks from the carcass, cutting though flesh and bone as cleanly as an axe.

But the hunter had only a moment to note these details. Suddenly, the feeding creature raised its head and loosed an angry hiss that sounded like a regiment of scalded cats. The hunter had never heard such a sound, but he recognized the action as a predator warning rivals to stay away from its kill. The hunter considered his few weapons and his thin armor and wisely decided to withdraw without annoying the strange creature any further.

Hoardevil

This bizarre creature is the size of a riding horse, with small forelegs, overdeveloped rear legs, and haunches like a rabbit's. It has a smooth, pale hide spotted with black, and a long, thick tail covered with short fur. A bony plate covers its chest like a discarded remnant of plate mail. Its head and neck resemble those of an insect, and its mouth is framed by deadly looking mandibles.

The kangaroolike hoardevil is an ill-tempered omnivore that can and will eat almost anything. Though it lives mostly on berries and leaves, it also scavenges and takes live prey when it can. Most hoardevils are solitary, though younger ones often form small companies. The creature's name derives from its predilection for cold environments and its nasty temperament.

The hoardevil is sexually dimorphic -- that is, the male and female have different appearances and abilities.

Combat

A hoardevil usually attacks with a vicious bite. It also can make a slam attack with its chestplate, but it cannot deliver both attacks during the same round.

Male Hoardevil

Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 5d10+10 (37 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: 17 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +6 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+14
Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d8+7) or slam +9 melee (1d8+7)
Full Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d8+7) or slam +9 melee (1d8+7)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Powerful charge 2d8+7, rage
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +1
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 7
Skills: Hide -2, Jump +15, Listen +10, Spot +4
Feats: Alertness, Power Attack
Environment: Cold forest and plains
Organization: Solitary, pair, or company (3-6)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 6-10 HD (Large); 11-15 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: --

An adult male hoardevil stands about 6 feet tall and weighs between 400 and 500 pounds. Its tail adds another 6 feet to its total length.

Combat

Usually, a male hoardevil begins a battle by using his powerful charge ability, slamming the opponent with his bony chestplate. Thereafter, he engages his foes in melee, attacking with his bite. The creature's rage ability usually ensures that he fights to the death.

Powerful Charge (Ex): A male hoardevil typically begins a battle by charging at an opponent and making a slam attack with his bony chest. In addition to the normal benefits and hazards of a charge, this tactic allows him to make a single slam attack that deals 2d8+7 points of damage.

Rage (Ex): A male hoardevil that takes damage in combat flies into a berserk rage on his next turn, biting madly until either he or his opponent is dead. He gains +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, and -2 to Armor Class. He cannot end his rage prematurely.

While the male hoardevil rages, the following changes to the above statistics are in effect: HD 5d10+20; hp 47; AC 15, touch 9, flat-footed 13; Grp +16; Atk +11 melee (1d8+10, bite); Full Atk +11 melee (1d8+10, bite); SA powerful charge 2d8+10; Fort +8, Str 25, Con 18; Jump +17.

Skills: A hoardevil has a +4 racial bonus on Jump and Listen checks.

Female Hoardevil

Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 5d10+10 (37 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares), fly 50 ft. (poor)
Armor Class: 17 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +6 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+14
Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d8+7) or slam +9 melee (1d8+7)
Full Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d8+7) or slam +9 melee (1d8+7)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Powerful charge 2d8+7
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +1
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 7
Skills: Hide -2, Jump +15, Listen +10, Spot +4
Feats: Alertness, Flyby AttackB, Power Attack
Environment: Cold forest and plains
Organization: Solitary, pair, or company (3-6)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 6-10 HD (Large), 11-15 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: --

The female hoardevil looks like a slightly smaller and lighter version of the male, except that a pair of gossamer wings sprouts from her back. Furthermore, the female's bony chestplate hides the opening of a pouch in her abdomen, which she uses to carry her young.

Combat

Like a male hoardevil, a female usually begins a battle by using her powerful charge ability to slam the opponent with her bony chestplate. Since the female can fly, however, she often uses the withdraw action to fly away, then swoop down to make another powerful charge.

Powerful Charge (Ex): A female hoardevil typically begins a battle by charging at an opponent and making a slam attack with her bony chest. In addition to the normal benefits and hazards of a charge, this tactic allows her to make a single slam attack that deals 2d8+7 points of damage.

Skills: A hoardevil has a +4 racial bonus on Jump and Listen checks.

About the Author

The hoardevil was created at Uncon '03 -- a live chat gaming convention on the Wizards of the Coast website. Penny Williams, formerly a managing editor in Wizards of the Coast's RPG R&D department, led a workshop-style seminar in which patrons built a monster, as a group, step-by-step. The finished product was playtested at the convention and featured in Knowledge Arcana, the website's newsletter. Skip Williams then took over, making a few changes with his developer's eye and adding a bit of history for the Monster Mayhem column.

Skip Williams keeps busy with freelance projects for several different game companies and has been Dragon Magazine's Sage since 1986. Skip is a codesigner of the D&D 3rd edition game and the chief architect of the Monster Manual. When not devising swift and cruel deaths for player characters, Skip putters in his kitchen or garden. (His borscht gets rave reviews.)


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