Thursday, July 28, 2016

Creatures of Freeport: Skulldugger

(Column 1 of 2 for this week!)

Skullduggers are undead creatures fashioned in the Abyss by a demon prince possessing vast necromantic lore. These minions are used to communicate with the arch-fiend's cult in the Material Plane as well as to spy upon mortals and demons alike.

More information on skullduggers can be found in The Book of Fiends, by Green Ronin Publishing. An advanced skulldugger stat block appears in the "Call Forth the Fiend" sidebar on page 158 of the d20 Freeport Companion (AKA 3rd Era Freeport Companion). I will be updating that ritual spell to Pathfinder's occult ritual rules in the next column, so am providing a Pathfinder conversion of the skulldugger here first.

This skeletal creature has bat-like wings, horns atop its bestial head, bony claws, and a jointed tail.

XP 1,200
CE Medium undead (extraplanar)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +6
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+2 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 16 (3d8+3)
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +3
DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, immunity to turning, undead traits; Resist acid 5, fire 5
Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft. (average)
Melee 2 claws +3 (1d4+1), gore +3 (1d6+1)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +7)
3/day--burning hands (DC 12), clairaudience/clairvoyance, invisibility, locate object
1/day--greater teleport (self only), see invisibility
1/week--plane shift (self only)
Str 12, Dex 14, Con --, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative
Skills Acrobatics +5, Fly +8, Perception +6, Stealth +8
Languages Abyssal; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ eyes of the master
Environment The Abyss
Organization solitary, gang (2-5), or swarm (5-20)
Treasure none
Special Abilities
Eyes of the Master (Su) The soul that animates a skulldugger is forever bound to its demon prince. Through this unholy bond, the creating demon prince can see with the eyes of the skulldugger at will. Normally, there is a 1% chance that the demon prince is watching at any given time. For skullduggers on important missions, this chance rises to 25%.
Immunity to Turning (Ex) While most undead are animated with negative energy, a skulldugger is powered by an evil soul. It is thus unharmed by positive energy channeling, and is unaffected by turning effects such as the Turn Undead and Command Undead feats. 

Conversion Notes: 

Note that in Pathfinder, undead have d8 Hit Dice rather than d12, but gain bonus hit points based on Charisma.

The skulldugger's immunity to turning requires the most dramatic change between systems. In Pathfinder, clerics can channel energy to directly harm or heal undead, but must spend a feat in order to turn or command them. I have therefore rewritten this ability to account for that change.

In Pathfinder, the skulldugger's gore attack is also be considered a primary weapon (cf. the gargoyle), negating the need for the Multiattack feat. That has been replaced with one of the feats from the advanced skulldugger's list: Improved Initiative.

With Pathfinder merging the Balance, Jump, and Tumbling skills into Acrobatics, and of Listen and Spot into Perception, several skill ranks are freed up for other uses. I added Fly to complement its Flyby Attack feat, and Stealth to aid in the skulldugger's role as a spy. 

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