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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    This creature is based off of the yee naaldlooshii of Native American folklore.

    Skinwalker
    Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Shapechanger)
    Hit Die:
    5d8+20 (43 hp)
    Initiative: +3
    Speed: 50 ft. (10 squares)
    Armor Class: 17 (+3 Dex, +4 natural), touch 13, flatfooted 14
    Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+7
    Attack: Claw +7 melee (1d8+2 damage)
    Full Attack: 2 Claws +7 melee (1d8+2 damage), or cursing blowgun +8 ranged (1 damage plus curse)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
    Special Attacks: Flay
    Special Qualities: Skin-change, Detect Thoughts, Woodland Stride, Regeneration 5, Weakness to Ash, Mimic Sound, Cursing Blowgun, ScentLycanthropy Carrier
    Saves: Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +7
    Abilities: Str 15, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 6
    Skills: Listen +11, Hide +13, Move Silently +13
    Feats: Power Attack, Run(B), Stealthy
    Environment: Temperate Forests
    Organization: Solitary
    Challenge Rating: 7
    Treasure: Standard
    Alignment: Usually Neutral Evil
    Advancement: By Character Class
    Level Adjustment: +7

    This creature, almost completely naked except for a ring of pelts around its waist, looks very similar to a human with animalistic features. It has glowing yellow eyes, and large claws dripping with blood.

    Skinwalkers are nasty creatures, originally descended from humans. These beasts used dark and sinister magic to transform themselves into supernatural creatures. Skinwalkers are very dangerous monsters who have been hunted by humanoids for years. They despise their human relatives, and have been responsible for many brutal murders dedicated as sacrifices to woodland gods.

    Skinwalkers have many advantages that make them even more horrifying. They are incredibly fast, and have razor-sharp claws used to rip the skins off of targets. They also have the ability to mimic any sound they have ever heard, and have tricked many victims by mimicking loved ones. Some legends even tell that Skinwalkers can read the minds of their foes, gaining an even larger combat advantage. By far their most terrifying ability, however, is their ability to transform into animals.

    By wearing the skins of creatures they have killed, they turn into the animals while retaining their own intelligence. This has lead to the persecution of many druids, who some believe are on the verge of becoming Skinwalkers. The similarities are astounding, but most of the more well-researched people believe that the Skinwalkers’ ancestors used a different method to become monsters.

    Skinwalkers have proportions similar to that of humans, and speak both Common and Sylvan.

    Combat
    Skinwalkers usually enter combat in strong animal forms, before transforming back into its natural form to flay the enemy alive.

    Cursing Blowgun (Ex): Skinwalkers can make their blowguns shoot cursed needles without having levels in a spellcasting class. These needles are cursed using the bone dust of humanoids, and are described below.

    Detect Thoughts (Su): A Skinwalker can continuously use detect thoughts as the spell (caster level 10th; Will DC 13 negates). It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. The save DC is Wisdom-based.

    Flay (Ex): On passing a successful grapple check, the Skinwalker may rip chunks of skin off of an enemy within one size category of itself (small, medium, or large), dealing 1d4 constitution damage.

    Mimic Sound (Ex): A Skinchanger can mimic any sound it has heard with a successful bluff check (with a +5 modifier if it has heard the sound within the past week). Listeners are entitled to a sense motive check (DC Skinwalker’s result) to see past the ruse.

    Regeneration: Fire deals normal damage to a skinwalker. If a skinwalker loses a limb or body part, the lost portion regrows in 3d6 minutes. The creature can reattach the severed member instantly by holding it to the stump.

    Skin-change (Su): This ability functions like a 15th level druid’s wildshape ability (animals only), except they can stay in the animal form indefinitely and is usable at-will. In addition, the Skinwalker must be in possession of the skin of the animal it wants to change into. Skinchangers can only transform into creatures who have twice as many HD as the Skinchanger or less. This does not stack with the Druid's wildshape ability.

    Weakness to Ash: If the Skinwalker is shot with an arrow or crossbow bolt that has been dipped into a pile of ash within the past three hours, the Skinwalker must make a fortitude save (DC 10+damage dealt), or die instantly.

    Woodland Stride (Ex): A Skinwalker may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at his normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. However, thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that have been magically manipulated to impede motion still affect him.

    Lycanthropy Carrier: Whatever gave these creatures their unique ability to shapeshift also gave them a terrible disease. Skinwalkers are believed to be the original carriers of lycanthropy, but, oddly enough, they cannot spread it. If a Skinwalker was to have a child with a humanoid, however, the child is born as a natural lycanthrope (based off of the last animal the Skinwalker changed into before its conception).
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    New Magical Weapon

    Cursed Blowguns of Death
    These blowguns are made by Skinwalkers. They cover the needles in the dust of humanoid bones. Twice a day, when the needles are covered by the dust, they curse those shot with them with one of two effects: paralysis for 1d10 rounds, or instant death. The Fort save DC is 18.

    Strong necromancy; CL 18th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor; Finger of Death; Price 16,602 gp; Cost 8,301 gp +665 XP

    Does anyone have any suggestions on the CR? Do any improvements need to be made?
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2010-12-07 at 05:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    I like everything except the Near-Invulnerability ability. It's overpowered for the number of HD. I'd recommend either increasing the HD to justify this power or toning down this ability.

    Debby
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Alright, then, I'll get rid of the power. Thanks for the advice.

    EDIT: On second thought, how about regeneration vs. fire only, seeing as they already have vulnerability to ash?

    EDIT II: Alright, well I added it in before I forget, if anyone has issues with this please say so.
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2010-11-02 at 09:04 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Is the special ability Cursing Blowgun or Cursing Needles? You have it as cursing needles in the statblock but as cursing blowgun in the combat section.

    Detect Thoughts is a 2nd level spell. Giving them access as CL 18 is grossly overpowered. This should be equal to their HD, CL 5. 5 minutes is plenty of time. I also recommend changing this to a spell-like ability 3/day rather than an at will ability. With Int of 12 they should have 2 languages (likely Common and Sylvan).

    I see no reason why these shouldn't advance by class and most likely as neutral evil druids or any evil ranger.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-11-03 at 05:22 AM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    Giving them access as CL 18 is grossly overpowered.
    In what way is this grossly overpowered? Though I know that caster levels are a pretty big deal around here, giving this particular spell at CL 18 is barely more powerful than giving true strike at CL 18. This monster is incapable of taking class levels according to the progression and they don't don't even have any feats to exchange for others like Quicken SLA. It's harder to dispel. That's the only difference and it doesn't seem to be that overpowering.

    Though I realize that giving such a high CL is unconventional, how is it "overpowered"?

    Edit: Actually, I just realized that this ability can't be dispelled at all as it's Supernatural to begin with. The only difference, then, is the duration. This guy is completely and utterly unable to abuse its caster level so what's wrong with possessing a high one? I am really curious, now.

    Edit Edit: Also, this guy is probably fine with at will detect thoughts. The doppelganger, a weaker creature with a similar concept, has it as well.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-11-03 at 12:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    You are right that in that this particular spell isn't going to break the game if you give it out at CL 18. It's still limited to the 60-foot range. Rather, I see it as it will probably never be used to its potential. These creatures lack the subtlety of infiltration that is the basis of the doppelganger. They are far more bestial and bent on intent on wanton destruction rather than fitting in. In role-playing this creature, it's going to attack after 5 minutes of detecting thoughts and not waste 18 on it. It's more likely to eavesdrop than to detect thoughts (and it can eavesdrop with a Listen check at +1 for every 10 feet from the subject).

    Speaking of a Listen check, where are this creature's skills? I didn't notice that earlier but it doesn't have it on the stat block. It should have skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1) per Hit Die, with quadruple skill points for the first Hit Die. With Int 12 (+1) that's 3 per HD with 12 for the first HD for a total of 24 skill points [12 +3 +3 +3 +3]. It should have 2 feats and you can make a case for giving it the Human bonus feat as well (a racial leftover). The only creatures that don't get skills and feats are Mindless creatures. The skinwalker has Int 12.

    The fact that this creature comes from human stock suggests that it should advance by class. It qualifies certainly. There's really no reason that it couldn't take a class. As a PC, it has its drawbacks; but there are a lot of people who play PCs much weirder than this.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-11-03 at 04:37 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    I knew I forgot something. Skills and feats, how could I forget?

    I'll change caster level to 10, but I agree with Realms of Chaos. Doppelgangers do get caster level 18, and they have one less Hit Die.

    All change the advancement to "by character class." What would the LA on these things be? I'll probably look through Savage Species later to get an estimate.

    The ability is Cursing Blowgun. I was originally going to go with Cursing Needles, but changed it mid-creation.

    Their favored class will probably be ranger. I'm probably going to change the languages to COmmon and Druidic, though.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Rather than giving out Druidic, give it Sylvan. Druidic is a special language that only druids should know. Sylvan makes a bit more sense.

    Edit: CL 10 sounds reasonable for these for the detect thoughts ability. They may lack the patience to wait that long before attacking. This has potential for so much good role-playing. The long it waits, the antsier it gets. :-)

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-11-03 at 05:03 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Alright, then. So far, I've calculated a CR of about 4 (originally 5, I subtracted one because of the weakness to ash). Does that seem right?

    EDIT: Run. I was debating whether it should be a bonus feat of the creature's choice, but run makes more sense, especially when compared with the unstoppable, incredibly fast monster of Navejo myth.
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2010-11-03 at 05:07 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    It's probably a high CR 6. You gave it a bonus feat too but didn't indicate which one it is. It should have 2 feats for its HD and the other is the bonus feat. [Ninja'd by my own post!]

    Last thing, it probably shouldn't speak Druidic, it should probably be Sylvan.

    Otherwise, it looks very good. I applaud your effort on this.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-11-03 at 05:35 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    I already edited all those changes in.

    Does anything else need fixing?

    I don't have Savage Species on me right now, but I'm guessing LA at least +4, maybe +5. Thoughts?

    EDIT: Thank you.
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2010-11-03 at 05:14 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Using VT's CR estimator, I'm getting CR 6 for this.

    #1. Divide creature's average HP by 4.5 to 6.5.
    4.5 for 5 HD or lower, 5 for 6-10 HD, 5.5 for 11-15 HD, 6 for 16-20 HD., 6.5 for 20-25 HD. 43/4.5=9.5 rounds down to 9

    #2. Add 1 for each five points above 10 its AC is, subtracting 1 for every 5 below. 3

    #3. Add 1 for each special attack (+2 to +5 or more if it has a decent number of spells in its spell-like abilities). 1

    #4. Add 1 for each quality unless you deem it worthy of more. Add 1 for each resistance and 10 points of DR it has, and 2 for each immunity. Subtract 1 for each vulnerability. 7-1=6

    #5. Add 1 for every two bonus feats it has. 0

    #6. Divide total by 3. This should be its rough CR.

    9 +3 +1 +6 +0 = 19/3=6.33. CR 6 using this method.

    LA is at least +4 (same as doppleganger).

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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Oh, thanks. This calculator seems to be better than the one over at the Creature Catalog. Any chance you have a link to it?

    EDIT: Never mind, I can probably find. Its on this website, correct?
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2010-11-03 at 05:50 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    That IS the whole calculator. It's just those 6 steps.

    Vorpal Tribble’s CR estimator

    #1. Divide creature's average HP by 4.5 to 6.5.
    4.5 for 5 HD or lower, 5 for 6-10 HD, 5.5 for 11-15 HD, 6 for 16-20 HD., 6.5 for 20-25 HD.

    #2. Add 1 for each five points above 10 its AC is, subtracting 1 for every 5 below.

    #3. Add 1 for each special attack (+2 to +5 or more if it has a decent number of spells in its spell-like abilities).

    #4. Add 1 for each quality unless you deem it worthy of more. Add 1 for each resistance and 10 points of DR it has, and 2 for each immunity. Subtract 1 for each vulnerability.

    #5. Add 1 for every two bonus feats it has.

    #6. Divide total by 3. This should be its rough CR.


    I think it is stickied somewhere in first entry on the first page, but I just keep a copy on my computer as a Word document.

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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    The CR of this creatures is very hard to calculate (at least for me) due to its home environment.

    I don't know of any animals in temperate forests that are above CR 6 but if certain Dire animals, Dinosaurs, Giant Squids, and so forth end up in the temperate forest of a skinwalker through some means (thus allowing it to steal their skins), the CR of this thing could easily be pumped up to 9 without any change in the actual monster itself.

    Just kind of wierd like that.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-11-03 at 06:08 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Creatures with levels in druid don't change CR when transforming. Why would these be different?
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    I think the base CR is fine. There are some critters which will add to the CR but I don't think it's likely to a problem. At worst, you could limit the HD of the animals to no more than double that of the skinwalker.

    If the skinwalker had 15 HD as the druid in question, it wouldn't be a problem. Again it's a matter of the low HD of the skinwalker in conjunction with the abilities bestowed. Giving it access to something druids don't get until level 15 is the issue. I didn't even think about that ability. Maybe you should limit this further. Also, if the skinwalker takes levels in druid does this ability stack?

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-11-03 at 06:37 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by LOTRfan View Post
    Creatures with levels in druid don't change CR when transforming. Why would these be different?
    Because a CR 6 creature wildshaped into a CR 9 Giant Squid is in no way an EL 6 encounter?

    Edit: That said, Debihuman has a point. This shouldn't be much of a problem.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-11-03 at 06:34 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Oh, yeah, they have Wildshape like a 15th level druid. Yeah, that could lead to some broken encounters. I'll edit in the Hit Die limit right now.

    EDIT: Alright, how about as a 5th level druid, except it also has the ability to transform into tiny and huge (although I don't think there are any huge animals with 5 HD) creatures?

    This ability replaces the Druid's normal Wildshape ability until 6th level, at which point it can assume plant and elemental shapes as it progresses like normal druids can. Sounds fair?
    Last edited by LOTRfan; 2010-11-03 at 06:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Thanks for taking our suggestions into consideration. In the end, I think you'll have a much better creature for all the editing you are doing. And thanks for being such a good sport. I know how hard it can be to change things.

    [Edit] I think it was okay to say that it can only change into animals with a maximum number of hit dice equal to double that of the skinchanger. I don't think this ability should stack with the druid ability. That's a lot easier.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2010-11-03 at 07:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Alright, I'll re-edit it.

    And I was expecting to do a lot of editing, thats why I posted it. No reason to thank me.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    You should give it scent as well.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    I'm not liking the regeneration [fire] and the instant death [ash] thing. Far simpler to give them Regeneration [Ash] and allow for it to be applied to spells where it seems reasonable.

    Also, it's a CR 6 creature that spams DC 18 insta-kill effects? And hands over a weapon with a WBL of twice its CR when killed? I'd call that bad. Debbi's calculation is off anyway as there's another 2 points worth of ability with the blowgun that puts it up to CR 7.

    I'd tone down the blowgun some to make them a bit more Controller-ish. The normal Bestow Curse is nasty enough and in many ways more fearsome than death anyway [put too much instant death in a campaign and you end up with people not giving two hoots about their characters, in my experience].
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    I'll add scent, but keep in mind that it will increase the Level Adjustment and possibly the challenge rating.

    Mulletman, thank you for bringing up the mistake in Challenge Rating. I'll recalculate for the scent (and keep the +2 modifier for the blow gun).

    As for the blowgun, I'll modify it to change how many times a day it can be used. In addition, for the instant-kill affect to work, the needles must be covered in the bone dust of humanoids to work (something that will hopefully keep good-aligned parties from using it). Once again, though, it is a valid point and I shall modify it accordingly.

    As for the ash part, I disagree. It is quite clear in most yee naaldooshii myths that ash is instant death to the creatures. Plus, it rewards groups that invest their skill points to Knowledge (Nature).
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Not really feeling any link to fire though.

    This is one of those issues where I know why you picked Regeneration but it would probably make more sense with Fast Healing and Rejuvenation rather than being vulnerable only to fire.

    I'll agree happily on the Ash thing though
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Alright. Where can the rejuvenation special quality be found? I'll gladly swap 'em.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Rejevenation is a ghost ability. might need a little twiddling but really all it needs is "it comes back to life x amount of time after being killed. Here is the longer value if they destroy the body."

    I'm trying to think where i've seen that ability on a corporeal creature because i know i have...
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Interesting... first thing that sprung to mind when I read your comment was "Ghost ability?", but it seemed odd compared to the creature. If there is precedent, however, I'll add it in. I'll probably have to up the CR by one, no? As for Level Adjustment, is +7 fine, or will it have to increase by one as well?
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Well, defeating the creature in each encounter isn't any more difficult so really, there is no need for a CR increase. It was called "Soul-locked" in Heroes of Horror and Pathfinder Trolls have basically the same bility.

    Edit: Heck, i'm actually starting to wonder if making the thing just Regenerate with no weakness as it was originally [by Debi's earliest post] might have been fine [beat them unconscious and smother them in a fire-pit...]
    Last edited by Mulletmanalive; 2010-12-07 at 06:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Skinwalkers (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by LOTRfan View Post
    I'll add scent, but keep in mind that it will increase the Level Adjustment and possibly the challenge rating.

    Mulletman, thank you for bringing up the mistake in Challenge Rating. I'll recalculate for the scent (and keep the +2 modifier for the blow gun).

    As for the blowgun, I'll modify it to change how many times a day it can be used. In addition, for the instant-kill affect to work, the needles must be covered in the bone dust of humanoids to work (something that will hopefully keep good-aligned parties from using it). Once again, though, it is a valid point and I shall modify it accordingly.

    As for the ash part, I disagree. It is quite clear in most yee naaldooshii myths that ash is instant death to the creatures. Plus, it rewards groups that invest their skill points to Knowledge (Nature).
    Ah, well scent makes sense. Maybe give them some sort of "attracted to the smell of blood/death" fluff to back it up.
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