My Greatest Monster Hits

I’m going to start this post by asking you to bear with me and the walls of roughly formatted text.  Monster Builder (the original, not the awful new one) doesn’t play nice with WordPress.

I was going through some of my notes from my current and past campaigns and thought I’d share some of the monsters I’m particularly proud of and the stories behind them.  First up is Black Claw. I’ve written a lot about him here, here’s how he was when I used him for the first time (the first session of the Eberron Campaign):

Black Claw of the Red Jackals

Level 2 Elite Controller (Leader)

Medium natural humanoid (shifter)

XP 250

HP 70; Bloodied 35

AC 18; Fortitude 16; Reflex 13; Will 18

Speed 6

Saving Throws +2; Action Points 1

Initiative +3

Perception +5

Low-Light Vision

Traits
O Bloodlust • Aura 2
Each ally within the aura gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls.
Standard Actions
m Claw • At-Will
Attack: +7 vs. AC
Hit: 2d8 + 1 damage.
m Quarterstaff (weapon) • At-Will
Attack: +7 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 + 5 damage, and the warshaper slides the target 2 squares.
M Claw Flurry • At-Will
Effect: The Ashbound warshaper makes two claw attacks.
Minor Actions
R Unleash the Beast (charm) • At-Will
Attack: Ranged 10; +6 vs. Will
Hit: The target makes a melee basic attack against an adjacent creature of the Ashbound warshaper’s choice as a free action.
Aspect of the Beast (healing, polymorph) • Encounter
Effect: The Ashbound warshaper assumes the form of a primal beast. Until the end of the encounter, the warshaper gains regeneration 5, its speed increases by 2, and it can make claw attacks. While in this form, the Ashbound warshaper cannot make quarterstaff attacks and cannot use unleash the beast.
Razorclaw Shifting • Encounter
Effect: Until the end of the encounter, the warshaper’s speed increases by 2 and it gains a +1 bonus to AC and Reflex.
Skills Endurance +6, Intimidate +7, Nature +10
Str 16 (+4) Dex 14 (+3) Wis 19 (+5)
Con 11 (+1) Int 9 (+0) Cha 12 (+2)
Alignment unaligned     Languages Common

For this, I just renamed and dropped the Ashbound Warshaper on page 136 of the Eberron Campaign Guide three levels.  When they fought him again, he had just fallen under the possession of an otherworldly entity.  Here’s that version:

Black Claw of the Red Jackals

Level 4 Elite Controller (Leader)

Medium natural humanoid (shifter)

XP 350

HP 104; Bloodied 52

AC 20; Fortitude 18; Reflex 15; Will 20

Speed 6

Saving Throws +2; Action Points 1

Initiative +4

Perception +7

Low-Light Vision

Traits
O Bloodlust • Aura 2
Each ally within the aura gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls.
Standard Actions
m Claw • At-Will
Attack: +9 vs. AC
Hit: 2d8 + 2 damage.
m Quarterstaff (weapon) • At-Will
Attack: +9 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 + 6 damage, and the warshaper slides the target 2 squares.
M Claw Flurry • At-Will
Effect: The Ashbound warshaper makes two claw attacks.
Minor Actions
R Emergency Healing (healing) • At-Will
Attack: Ranged 10 (targets one ally); +9 vs. AC
Effect: The target regains 5 hit points and can make a saving throw.
R The Eyes Have It (weapon) • Recharge
Effect: Black Claw makes an eye ray attack chosen randomly from the following list. Using an eye ray does not provoke opportunity attacks.1—Fire Ray (Fire): Ranged 5; +4 vs. Reflex; 1d6 + 3 fire damage.2—Exhaustion Ray (Necrotic): Ranged 5; +4 vs. Fortitude; 1d6 necrotic damage, and the target is weakened until the end of Black Claw’s next turn.
R Unleash the Beast (charm) • At-Will
Attack: Ranged 10; +8 vs. Will
Hit: The target makes a melee basic attack against an adjacent creature of the Ashbound warshaper’s choice as a free action.
Aspect of the Beast (healing, polymorph) • Encounter
Effect: The Ashbound warshaper assumes the form of a primal beast. Until the end of the encounter, the warshaper gains regeneration 5, its speed increases by 2, and it can make claw attacks. While in this form, the Ashbound warshaper cannot make quarterstaff attacks and cannot use unleash the beast.
Razorclaw Shifting • Encounter
Effect: Until the end of the encounter, the warshaper’s speed increases by 2 and it gains a +1 bonus to AC and Reflex.
Skills Endurance +8, Intimidate +8, Nature +12
Str 17 (+5) Dex 15 (+4) Wis 20 (+7)
Con 12 (+3) Int 10 (+2) Cha 13 (+3)
Alignment unaligned     Languages Common

I added a power from Boontah, Goblin Champion (found in issue 177 of Dragon) to reflect the influence of the entity within Black Claw.  Both versions were challenging and fun according to my group.  The new power really hooked them.  When he started shooting lasers from his eyes, my players were confused, but intrigued.

Next up is a creation of mine only known as the Murderball.  The Murderball is all me from the ground up.  It’s a massive construct that transforms into a spiked ball.  Here it is:

The Murderball

Level 7 Solo Brute

Huge natural animate

XP 1,500

Initiative +6                          Senses Perception +3
Whirling Blades aura 1; Creatures that start their turn within the aura take 5 damage.
HP 425; Bloodied 212
AC 22; Fortitude 26; Reflex 20; Will 19
Immune fear; poison; disease
Saving Throws +5
Speed 6 (8 while in ball form)
Action Points 2
m Fist Slam (standard; at-will)
Reach 2; +10 vs AC; 2d6 + 5
M Grab (standard; at-will)
The Murderball grabs an enemy and places them in itself to be ripped up by internal blades. A grabbed enemy is immune to murderball’s aura.  Only one enemy can be grabbed at a time.
Reach 2; +8 vs Reflex; target is grabbed -2 to escape checks
 Frenzy (standard; at-will)
The murderball may make 1 grab and 1 fist slam attack or 2 fist slam attacks per turn.
 Internal Blades (free; at-will)
The murderball tears apart a grabbed enemy once per turn.
+12 vs AC; 3d8 + 5
 Tranform! (standard; at-will)
The Murderball transforms from body form to ball form or vice versa.  In ball form, grab cannot be escape and murderball gains a +2 bonus to ac.  It can no longer make Grab or Fist slam attacks if in ball form.  It cannot make a trample attack in body form.
M Rolling Trample (standard; recharge 6)
murderball moves its speed, through enemy spaces.  Each enemy moved through takes the following attack
+10 vs AC; 3d6 + 5 and the target is knocked prone. Miss: Half damage and the target is slide 1 square.
 Reinforcements (immediate reaction; encounter)
When the murderball is first bloodied, he releases 4 Incomplete Forge Drakes to assist in the battle.
Alignment Evil Languages Common
Str 19 (+7) Dex 16 (+6) Wis10 (+3)
Con 25 (+10) Int 10 (+3) Cha 13 (+4)

Paul still talks about this one.  All of its abilities were extremely active, meaning he’d grab a player, move a player, or roll through a group.  I’m still proud of this one.

Finally here’s the villain of my last campaign.  She fought that group four times over the course of the heroic tier.  She increased in power right along with them.  She was always a bit different but had the same core group of abilities.  Here she is when they encountered the first time:

Sorena

Level 5 Elite Controller

Medium shadow humanoid

XP 400

Initiative +6                          Senses Perception +3
HP 126; Bloodied 63
AC 19; Fortitude 21; Reflex 19; Will 20
Saving Throws +2
Speed 6
Action Points 1
m Scythe (at-will; standard) • Weapon
Reach 2; +10 vs AC; 2d4 + 3
M Life Sapping Scythe (at-will; standard) • Necrotic, Weapon
Reach 2; +10 vs AC; 2d4 + 3 necrotic damage, and the target is slowed until the end of the hobgoblin warcaster’s next turn
M Cage of Gloom (recharge 5 6; standard)
Sorena makes a scythe attack. If the attack hits, Sorena makes a secondary attack as strands of shadow coil around the target.
+7 vs Reflex; the target is restrained (save ends)
C Deep Shadow (encounter; standard; sustain minor) • Necrotic
Aura 2; thick, writhing shadows surround Sorena. Sorena and any other shadow creatures in the aura gain concealment. In addition, enemies that enter or start their turns in the aura take 5 necrotic damage, and enemies (including flying ones) also treat the area within the aura as difficult terrain. Sorena can sustain the aura as a minor action. However, the effect ends if she uses shadow jaunt or moves more than half her speed on her turn.
 Shadow Jaunt (encounter; move) • Teleportation
Sorena teleports 3 squares and becomes insubstantial until the start of her next turn.
Alignment Unaligned Languages Common, Abyssal
Skills Acrobatics +11, Stealth +11, Thievery +11
Str 12 (+3) Dex 18 (+6) Wis 12 (+3)
Con 15 (+4) Int 18 (+6) Cha 15 (+4)
Equipment Scythe, Leather Armor

And here’s what she looked like when they fought her for the last time:

Sorena Darkfeather, Mistress of Shadows

Level 13 Solo Controller

Medium shadow humanoid

XP 4,000

Initiative +12                        Senses Perception +9
HP 524; Bloodied 262
AC 27; Fortitude 29; Reflex 27; Will 28
Saving Throws +5
Speed  6
Action Points 2
m Scythe (standard; at-will) • Weapon
Reach 2; +18 vs AC; 2d4 + 5
M Life Sapping Scythe (standard; at-will) • Necrotic, Weapon
Reach 2; +18 vs AC; 2d4 + 5 necrotic damage, and the target is shrouded in gloom
 Come to my Aid! (minor; recharge when minions are dead)
Sorena summons 4 Shadar-kai grunts.  When all are dead, she’ll use this power again.  They act immediately after her in the initiative order.
M Cage of Gloom (standard; recharge 5 6)
Sorena makes a scythe attack. If the attack hits, Sorena makes a secondary attack as strands of shadow coil around the target.; 2
+15 vs Reflex; 2 the target is restrained (save ends)
 Shadow Burst (minor; encounter) • Cold, Necrotic
Close blast 3; +17 vs Reflex; cold or necrotic damage, Sorena chooses for each attack, and the target takes ongoing 10 damage (save ends); 2d8 + 6
C Frightful Presence (standard; encounter) • Fear
Close burst 5; targets enemies; +15 vs Will; the target is stunned until the end of Sorena’s next turn. Aftereffect: The target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls (save ends)
C Mark of Terror’s Grasp (free, when first bloodied; encounter) • Necrotic
Close blast 3; +16 vs Fortitude; 3d6 + 6 necrotic damage, and the target is immobilized (save ends)
 Fearful Pulse (minor; recharge 5 6) • Cold, Necrotic
Targets only those under the effects of Frightful Presence, Shadow Burst and Mark of Terror.  Target takes 10 cold and Necrotic damage.
C Deep Shadow (standard; sustain minor; encounter) • Necrotic
Aura 2; thick, writhing shadows surround Sorena. Sorena and any other shadow creatures in the aura gain concealment. In addition, enemies that enter or start their turns in the aura take 5 necrotic damage, and enemies (including flying ones) also treat the area within the aura as difficult terrain. Sorena can sustain the aura as a minor action. However, the effect ends if she uses shadow jaunt or moves more than half her speed on her turn.; 2
 Shadow Jaunt (move; recharge 4 5 6) • Teleportation
Sorena teleports 5 squares and becomes insubstantial until the start of her next turn.
 Shrouded in Gloom
While shrouded in gloom, a creature takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls and gains only half the benefit of healing effects.
Alignment Unaligned Languages Common, Abyssal
Skills Acrobatics +17, Stealth +17, Thievery +17
Str 16 (+9) Dex 22 (+12) Wis16 (+9)
Con 19 (+10) Int 22 (+12) Cha 19 (+10)
Equipment Scythe, Leather Armor

Feel free to use any of these monsters in your campaigns and let me know how they work out for you.  If you make any changes or improvements, I’d love to hear about it.

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