Random Encounters
The Cult of Tharizdun
By Darrin Drader

Elhoriads

Encountered within the strongholds of Tharizdun's followers are elhoriads, which serve as an undead force for the cultists. Though many adventurers often dismiss elhoriads as trivial when they first encounter the creatures, they quickly discover that these undead foes are not as easily dispatched as most first surmise. As a result, elhoriads serve as one of the cult's secret weapons against those who seek to destroy them. To preserve the element of surprise, the cult keeps a tight rein on these creatures.

Elhoriads are not allowed to wander, and they are not sent to mindlessly terrorize the surrounding countryside. The cult uses them for protection and for attack whenever they move against a selected target. The cultists remain near them in battle, and they ensure that all elhoriads either return with them to their temple or are utterly destroyed. They fear that one of these creatures will fall into the hands of their enemies, allowing their foes to better prepare the next time they encounter the undead creatures.

Elhoriad
Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 5d12 (32 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 18 (+3 Dex, +5 natural), touch 13, flat footed 15
Base Attack/ Grapple: +2/+5
Attack: Longsword +5 melee (1d8+4/19-20) or claw +5 melee (1d4+3 plus entropic touch)
Full Attack: Longsword +5 melee (1d8+4/19-20) or 2 claws +5 melee (1d4+3 plus entropic touch)
Special Attacks: Entropic touch
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/bludgeoning, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to cold, undead traits
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +4
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 17, Con --, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 12
Skills: Hide +11, Listen +8, Move Silently +11, Spot +8
Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack
Environment: Any land and underground
Organization: Solitary or gang (3-10)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral evil
Advancement: 6-15 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: --

The creature looks like the blackened skeletal remains of a human. Its eyes are such a deep shade of inky black that they stand out against their ebony remains.

The cult of Tharizdun created the elhoriads to act as guardians. The cult researched the various methods of undead creation for several years and even went so far as to recruit accomplished necromancers into their ranks to unlock the secrets that would allow them to manipulate the various forms of undead. Cultists produced elhoriads by taking the base skeleton and infusing them with the very power of entropy channeled from unearthed remnants of Tharizdun's once-mighty artifacts. This grants these creatures their above average intelligence and their deadly entropic touch ability.

Elhoriads are intelligent creatures, but they derive their power from Tharizdun, so they remain fiercely loyal to him and his followers. Elhoriads are the foot soldiers whenever the cult takes action against the outside world. Within their hidden temples, they serve as guards who protect the clergy in the event that their sanctuary is attacked.

The appearance of the elhoriads is not entirely unlike that of typical animated skeletons. Many who encounter them simply dismiss them as blackened skeletons, so they often make the mistake of employing the same tactics that they would against these all-too common undead. The inky blackness within the elhoriads' eye sockets and the constant shadow that surrounds their claws are the only outward characteristics that they display that cause them to appear as anything but common skeletons. These differences are subtle and have cost numerous adventurers their lives.

Combat

Elhoriads are used primarily for melee combat. Their job is to weaken opponents before their foes can reach the cultists whom they protect. Elhoriads typically use longswords to cut through less powerful enemies, but if they are pitted against higher level foes, they instead use their claw attacks to deliver their entropic touch, which quickly weakens their opponents.

Entropic Touch (Su): An elhoriad's touch disrupts most living tissue. Whenever an elhoriad successfully strikes an aberration, animal, dragon, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, outsider, plant, or vermin with a claw attack, the creature struck must make a Fortitude save (DC 13) or take 1d4 points of permanent Constitution drain and 1d4 points of permanent Strength drain. The save DC is Charisma based.

Undead Traits: An elhoriad is immune to mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects or is harmless. It is not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage to its physical ability scores, ability drain, energy drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or death from massive damage. It cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if it is willing.

Bringing the Parts Together

If the party is sent to deal with a cult plaguing an area or with some specific cultists who are looking for an artifact, elhoriads are present to guard the temple or the cultist group if the group is extremely close to acquiring their item (and need to bolster their numbers). Likewise, if the cult attacks an area where the PCs are staying, the PCs may encounter the elhoriads as they try to defend the region.

Coming in Part 4 of the Cult of Tharizdun

Meet the leader of the temple -- the one who gives the order to sow seeds of destruction amid the surrounding area.

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