Ravid


AKA: more proof that WotC designs their monsters using random tables.

With 3 outsider HD, medium size, stat boosts almost everywhere (though the intelligence penalty stings), sky-high natural armor and a fly speed, the ravid has a pretty decent chassis. Its claw and tail slap attacks are odd, but not very powerful, unless you happen to be facing undead.

The centerpiece of the monster is its Animate Objects ability, which is honestly a pain to rate. Potentially, it is very strong, as it could mean getting a CR 7 bodyguard that sticks around for two minutes every turn without having to spend an action on it: that's a lot of beatsticks.

However, the ability suffers from a number of drawbacks. First of all, it is random, meaning that you're just as likely to animate the pebble twenty feet over as the awesome adamantine statue this room just happens to contain (and with small objects being more common than large ones, the odds aren't in your favor). You can't even skew the balance in your favor by carrying lots of desirable animatees, because the spell explicitly can't affect carried items (and if this version can, that brings its own host of problems, such as your allies' gear animating).

Furthermore, it is continuous. That means that everything you're near runs the risk of getting animated. In dungeons and wilderness environments this is annoying, in civilized areas you're pretty much a public menace.

Finally, one could reasonably interpret the text to mean that the objects don't actually follow your commands: they just 'defend' you, most likely by interposing them between you and opponents. Even if the normal text applies, you can just make the objects attack a target of your choice, nothing more, and by strict RAW you can't even make them fight tactically.

Considering the potential benefits and drawbacks of a ravid, I'll be going with a moderate LA of +1.