Features Archive | 5/18/2009
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Nightmare Creatures of The Restless Shore
By Craig Campbell

In The Restless Shore, author James P. Davis tells the story of a group of adventurers questing through the dangerous and exotic Akanul wilderness in a quest to rescue the genasai, Tessaeril. Carving their way though spellplagued lands, the group encounters strange and dangerous creatures that hunt this twisted landscape.

To coincide with the release of The Restless Shore and Monster Manual 2, what follows are entries for several of the novel's dangerous beasts -- including concept sketches from the author himself. Use them the next time your player characters traverse Akanul… or whatever strange and dangerous wildlands fill your campaign!

Bone-Moth

Bone-moths are large, flying insects, six inches long with a wingspan of nearly a foot. They have mottled yellow and pale white exoskeletons, and sport long, sharp mandibles used to burrow into their prey… which, given a chance, they’ll strip to the bone.

Bone-Moth Swarm
Level 7 Brute
Medium natural beast (swarm)
XP 300
Initiative +9 Senses Perception +6; darkvision
HP 96; Bloodied 48
AC 19; Fortitude 18, Reflex 19, Will 18
Resist half damage from melee and ranged attacks; Vulnerable 10 against close and area attacks
Speed 2, fly 6 (hover)
Melee Bone-Gnawing Swarm (standard; at-will)
+10 vs. AC; 1d6 + 4 damage, and the target takes ongoing 5 damage (save ends).
Close Burst Swarming Frenzy (when first blooded)
Close burst 1; +10 vs. Fortitude; 2d6 + 4 and the target takes ongoing 5 damage (save ends).
Alignment Unaligned
Languages --
Str 8 (+2)
Dex 19 (+7)
Wis 16 (+6)
Con 16 (+6)
Int 2 (-1)
Cha 4 (+0)

Bone-Moth Swarm Tactics

Bone-moth swarms hunt in furious clouds of gnashing mandibles and fluttering wings. They are drawn to light and the body heat of potential prey, but are especially drawn to large fires around which they often lay their eggs. Once they’ve engaged their prey, they swarm around it, eating until the creature is no more than a jumble of skeletal remains.

Bone-Moth Lore

Nature DC 14: Bone-moths are ferocious predators that live only to feed and reproduce. They breed quickly and opportunistically around large fires, then deposit their eggs nearby before dying, their final task complete.

Encounter Groups

While bone-moths typically seek out prey in a great, swarming mass, evil wizards often breed and magically compel these creatures to serve them. Smaller, independent groups of bone-moths sometimes follow aberrant hunters and scavengers (whose flesh they find distasteful), creating unlikely but effective hunting teams.

Level 7 Encounter (XP 1,450)

  • 3 bone-moth swarms (level 7 brutes)
  • 1 half-orc death mage (level 6 controller)

Level 9 Encounter (XP 2,200)

  • 4 bone-moth swarms (level 7 brute)
  • 2 gricks (level 7 brute)
  • 1 grick alpha (level 9 brute)

Kaia

According to the folklore of the genasai of Airspur, kaia were once serpents from another plane transformed into nightmarish devourers by some foul god. Resembling fat, sickly yellow worms, kaia are covered with dozens of slimy tentacles. They feature multiple clawed arms, and a tooth-filled maw set in a vaguely skull-shaped head surrounded by glistening eyes. Their whip-like tails end in vicious stingers.

Kaia Spawn
Level 4 Soldier
Small aberrant beast
XP 175
Initiative +6 Senses Perception +6; darkvision
HP 54; Bloodied 27
AC 20; Fortitude 18, Reflex 16, Will 15
Resist 5 poison Vulnerable 5 radiant
Speed 5, burrow 3 (tunneling)
Melee Bite (standard; at-will)
+11 vs. AC; 1d10 + 3 damage.
Melee Stinging Tail Strike (immediate reaction, against an enemy that enters or leaves a square adjacent to the kaia spawn; at-will) Poison
+9 vs. Fortitude; 1d6 + 4 poison damage and the target is slowed (save ends).
Alignment Unaligned
Languages --
Str 18 (+6)
Dex 14 (+4)
Wis 12 (+3)
Con 14 (+4)
Int 3 (-2)
Cha 5 (-1)

Kaia Spawn Tactics

Kaia spawn are vicious hunters who move quickly into a fight to feed. Their tails flick and weave though enemies hoping to slow potential meals.

Kaia Mother of Nightmares
Level 12 Solo Soldier
Huge aberrant beast
XP 3,500
Initiative +12 Senses Perception +9; darkvision, tremorsense 5
Writhing Tentacles aura 2; each enemy that starts its turn within the aura is slowed until the end of its turn.
HP 492; Bloodied 246
AC 28; Fortitude 26, Reflex 24, Will 23
Resist 10 poison; Vulnerable 10 radiant
Saving Throws +5
Speed 6, burrow 6 (tunneling)
Action Points 2
Melee Bite (standard; at-will)
Reach 2; +19 vs. AC; 2d10 + 5 damage, and the target is grabbed (until escape). The kaia mother cannot make bite attacks while grabbing a creature.
Melee Claw (standard; at-will)
+19 vs. AC; 2d8 + 5 damage.
Melee Furious Attack (standard; at-will)
The kaia mother makes two claw attacks and one bite or swallow attack, but each attack must be made against a different creature.
Melee Stinging Tail Strike (immediate reaction, against an enemy that enters or leaves a square adjacent to the kaia mother; at-will) Poison
+17 vs. Fortitude; 1d8 + 4 damage and the target is immobilized and takes ongoing 5 poison (save ends both).
Melee Swallow (standard against a creature grabbed by the kaia mother’s bite; at-will)
+25 vs. Fortitude; and a Medium or smaller target is no longer grabbed by the bite and is swallowed. A swallowed target is grabbed, restrained and takes a -4 penalty to escape checks. A swallowed creature has line of sight and line of effect only to the kaia mother, and no creature has line of sight or line of effect to it. A creature that escapes the grab is no longer swallowed and appears in a space adjacent to the kaia mother. A kaia mother can move normally while it has a target grabbed in this way. When the kaia mother dies, the target can escape as a move action, appearing in the kaia mother’s former space. Sustain Minor: The kaia mother sustains the grab, and the target takes 10 damage.
Alignment Unaligned
Languages --
Str 22 (+12)
Dex 18 (+10)
Wis 17 (+9)
Con 19 (+10)
Int 5 (+3)
Cha 7 (+4)

Kaia Mother Tactics

A kaia mother burrows to find its prey and attacks after erupting from the ground. Once it's trapped a creature in its maw, it wastes no time swallowing it so long as it has room in its gullet. A natural coward, it hates the light, and will typically save an action point to use in case escape is necessary.

Kaia Lore

Dungeoneering DC 16: Kaia mothers are solitary creatures that devour any prey that cross their path… including their own spawn, at times. They claim large tracts of forest land as their feeding grounds and are fiercely territorial. They retreat to underground warrens when confronted by sunlight, and tend to shy away from bright light.

Dungeoneering DC 21: Kaia mothers reproduce asexually, giving birth to dozens of spawn at a time. Only a few of these spawn will survive to maturity.

Encounter Groups

Kaia mothers are solitary hunters that consume all other creatures. However, kaia spawn are more cautious and are sometimes encountered with forest hunter to create fragile hunting relationships.

Level 6 Encounter (XP 1,275)

  • 3 kaia spawn (level 4 soldier)
  • 3 shadow hounds (level 6 skirmisher)

Oenath

Oenath, sometimes called dreamers, are strange creatures transformed by the fell magic of the spellplague. Lupine in appearance, they are covered with thick, tufted hair interspersed with areas of fish-like scales and patches of pale skin. They have crudely human arms, but run on all fours. Their toothy maws are dominated by large fangs.

Oenath Pack Mate
Level 6 Soldier
Medium natural beast
XP 250
Initiative +8 Senses Perception +6; low-light vision
Noxious Blood aura 1; while the oenath pack mate is bloodied, enemies within the aura take a -2 penalty to attack rolls.
HP 70; Bloodied 35
AC 22; Fortitude 19, Reflex 18, Will 18
Speed 6
Melee Bite (standard; at-will)
+13 vs. AC; 1d10 + 4 damage, and the target is knocked prone.
Close Burst Thundering Howl (standard; encounter) Thunder
Close blast 3; targets enemies; +9 vs. Fortitude; 2d6 + 4 thunder damage and the target is pushed 2 squares and knocked prone.
Pack Attack
The oenath pack mate deals an extra 1d6 damage with melee attacks against an enemy that has two or more of the oenath’s allies adjacent to it.
Alignment Unaligned
Languages --
Skills Athletics +10, Stealth +10
Str 19 (+7)
Dex 16 (+6)
Wis 16 (+6)
Con 14 (+5)
Int 8 (+2)
Cha 6 (+1)

Oenath Pack Mate Tactics

Oenath pack mates work together to take down an enemy. Their moderate intelligence leads them to attack what they perceive as the greatest threat first (usually a strong melee combatant), moving on to lesser threats afterwards. They use thundering howl early in combat, and then gang up and flank opponents in order to take advantage of their pack attack power.

Oenath Prowler
Level 8 Skirmisher
Medium natural beast
XP 350
Initiative +10 Senses Perception +7; low-light vision
Noxious Blood aura 1; while the oenath prowler is bloodied, enemies within the aura take a -2 penalty to attack rolls.
HP 86; Bloodied 43
AC 22; Fortitude 19, Reflex 20, Will 20
Speed 8
Melee Claw (standard; at-will)
+13 vs. AC; 2d6 + 5 damage.
Close Burst Thundering Howl (standard; encounter) Thunder
Close blast 3; targets enemies; +11 vs. Fortitude; 2d6 + 6 thunder damage and the target is pushed 2 squares and knocked prone.
Pack Attack
The oenath prowler deals an extra 2d6 damage with melee attacks against an enemy that has two or more of the oenath’s allies adjacent to it.
Prowler's Circling (standard; recharge 56)
The oenath prowler can shift its speed and make a single melee basic attack at any point during that movement.
Alignment Unaligned
Languages --
Skills Athletics +12, Stealth +13
Str 16 (+7)
Dex 19 (+8)
Wis 16 (+7)
Con 14 (+6)
Int 8 (+3)
Cha 6 (+2)

Oenath Prowler Tactics

Oenath prowlers move ahead of their pack to seek out prey alone, stealthily approaching a foe before charging. If other oenath are nearby, they use prowler’s circling to attack and then move to lure their prey toward another oenath. They wait to use thundering howl until they have lured their prey closer to their pack.

Oenath Pack Leader
Level 9 Brute (Leader)
Large natural beast
XP 400
Initiative +7 Senses Perception +7; low-light vision
Noxious Blood aura 1; while the oenath pack leader is bloodied, enemies within the aura take a -2 penalty to attack rolls.
HP 116; Bloodied 58
AC 22; Fortitude 22, Reflex 20, Will 20
Speed 8
Melee Bite (standard; at-will)
+12 vs. AC; 2d10 + 5 damage, and knock the target prone.
Close Burst Thundering Howl (standard; encounter) Thunder
Close blast 3; targets enemies; +12 vs. Fortitude; 3d6 + 6 thunder damage and the target is pushed 2 squares and knocked prone.
Pack Attack
The oenath pack leader deals an extra 1d6 damage with melee attacks against an enemy that has two or more of the oenath’s allies adjacent to it.
Blood Howl (minor; recharge 6)
One oenath within 5 squares can make a melee basic attack as a free action.
Alignment Unaligned
Languages --
Skills Athletics +14, Stealth +12
Str 20 (+9)
Dex 17 (+7)
Wis 17 (+7)
Con 16 (+7)
Int 10 (+4)
Cha 6 (+2)

Oenath Pack Leader Tactics

More intelligent than other dreamers, an oenath pack leader seeks out an opponent that seems to be the greatest overall threat and leads the pack to attack en masse. It will use thundering howl to soften enemies and then call its pack mates with blood howl.

Oenath Lore

Nature DC 14: Members of an oenath pack will growl, howl, and bark at each other to communicate in very specific ways. Oenath are lupine in many aspects, and share an intelligence that makes them very devious pack hunters.

Nature DC 29: Some oenath specialize in luring prey into situations where they can be attacked by the entire pack. Oenath pack leaders, which are larger than other oenath, are able to call their oenath pack mates to aid them with simple guttural growls and yelps.

Encounter Groups

Due to their advanced intelligence, oenath are very difficult to train, but are sometimes compelled to serve a powerful master. They roam in packs, often led by a pack leader.

Level 6 Encounter (XP 1,400)

  • 3 oenath pack mates (level 6 soldier)
  • 1 oenath prowler (level 8 skirmisher)
  • 1 human hexer (level 7 controller)

Level 9 Encounter (XP 2,100)

  • 4 oenath pack mates (level 6 soldier)
  • 2 oenath prowlers (level 8 skirmisher)
  • 1 oenath pack leader (level 9 brute)

About the Author

Craig Campbell was suckered into playing D&D in 1990 when some of his college friends told him he needed to get out less. In the time since, he's devoured many sourcebooks, transforming himself into a zombie-like creature that constantly seeks to tell amazing stories and eat the brains of his players. Hailing from northeastern Wisconsin (go Packers!), he currently lives in Marietta, Georgia with his all-consuming love of bad movies.