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    Bugbear in the Playground
    gr8artist's Avatar

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    Sep 2012

    Default The Suffering Specter

    Creator's note
    So, this is the third iteration of a monster template that has won some awards in the Giants in the Playground Pathfinder Grab Bag Competition, or the PGBC for short. It began as the Gallows Ghost, which was part of a competition based around particular spells (Limp Lash was my chosen spell). Later, when a contest based on previous entries came up, I revisited the Gallows Ghost and made it part of a wider concept, the Suffering Specter. Each Suffering Specter is based on a method of execution, and seeks to impart the suffering of its last moments on the living.
    Now, I've decided to expand the origin of the Suffering Specters to include a wider variety of deaths.
    The problem is that I need to make all of their powers and weaknesses equivalent. As it currently stands, each Specter has a unique weakness and power, that is not necessarily proportionate to the powers and weaknesses of another.
    So, I would like some input on new origins/deaths, the powers they could grant, and how to make all the powers and weaknesses part of the greater template.
    I'm most familiar with Pathfinder, and will be using a variant of the Pathfinder creature template template, though insight from other editions and games is welcome.

    Suffering Specter

    Ghosts are naught but emotion and soul made manifest through suffering, and no ghost exemplifies this better than the suffering specter. Dying in a particularly cruel and painful way, the last moments a would-be specter experiences are rife with pain and torment. Consumed by this anguish, the soul of such a creature arises as a suffering specter, forever trapped in the memory of its last moments, and finding its only solace in the agony of others.

    Creating a Suffering Specter

    "Suffering Specter" is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature who dies from torture, execution, or a particularly horrendous death (hereafter known as the base creature). A suffering specter uses the base creature's stats and abilities except as noted here.

    CR: Same as the base creature +3.

    AL: Always chaotic, usually evil.

    Type: The creature's type changes to undead. Do not recalculate the creature's base attack bonus, saves, or skill ranks. It gains the incorporeal subtype.

    Armor Class: A suffering specter gains a deflection bonus equal to its charisma modifier. It loses the base creature's natural armor bonus, as well as any armor or shield bonuses not from force effects or ghost touch items.

    Hit Dice: Change all of the creature's racial hit dice to d8's. All hit dice gained from class levels remain unchanged. Suffering specters use their charisma modifier to determine bonus hit points (rather than their constitution).

    Defensive Abilities: A suffering specter retains all of the defensive abilities of the base creature save those that rely on a corporeal form to function. Suffering specters gain channel resistance +4, darkvision 60 ft., the incorporeal ability, and all of the immunities granted by its undead traits. Suffering specters also gain the rejuvenation ability.
    Rejuvenation (Su)
    In most cases, it's difficult to destroy a suffering specter through simple combat: the “destroyed” spirit restores itself in 2d4 days. Even the most powerful spells are usually only temporary solutions. The only way to permanently destroy a suffering specter is to determine the reason for its existence and set right whatever prevents it from resting in peace. The exact means varies with each spirit, and always include the destruction of whatever device or executioner was responsible for its death.

    Weaknesses: Each suffering specter possesses at least one weakness, referred to as its bane. A specter's bane is usually a weapon or attack type, or some type of physical object, though other banes are possible. A suffering specter loses some of its defensive abilities against attacks and actions that employ its bane. Most noticeable of these weaknesses, a suffering specter loses its immunity to fear and morale effects while within 15 feet of its bane.

    Speed: Suffering specters lose their previous speeds and gain a fly speed of 30 feet (perfect), unless the base creature has a higher fly speed.

    Attacks: A suffering specter loses all of the base creature's attacks. If it could wield weapons in life, it may wield ghost touch weapons as a specter.

    Special Attacks: A suffering specter retains all the special attacks of the base creature, but any relying on physical contact do not function. In addition, a suffering specter gains the suffering touch special attack, as well as other special attacks or spell like abilities specific to its origin.
    Suffering Touch (Su)
    All suffering specters gain this incorporeal touch attack. By making contact with the victim's flesh as a standard action, the suffering specter is able to share a portion of its eternal suffering with the victim. This attack deals 1d4 damage per hit die the suffering specter possesses, though the damage type varies from specter to specter. Additionally, the victim becomes subject to a condition or effect specific to the specter that wounded him (such as choking for a breathless specter). A successful fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 specter's HD + specter's charisma modifier) halves this damage and negates the additional effect.

    Spell-Like Abilities: Suffering specters may gain one or more spell-like abilities specific to their origin. The DC for any such ability is 10 + effective spell level + specter's charisma modifier, and the caster level for such an ability is equal to the specter's hit dice, or twice the level of the strongest spell it possesses, whichever is greater.

    Special Qualities: Suffering specters may gain one or more special qualities specific to their origin.

    Ability Scores: Cha +6, Wis –2; suffering specters are driven mad by their anguish and torment. As an incorporeal undead creature, a suffering specter has no Strength or Constitution score.

    Skills: Suffering specters have a +4 racial bonus on Perception and Stealth skill checks. A specter always treats Climb, Disguise, Fly, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Perception, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, and Stealth as class skills. Otherwise, skills are the same as the base creature.

    Feats: Suffering specters may gain bonus feats specific to their origin.

    Common Suffering Specter Origins

    The Beheaded
    There is a horror that awaits those who can see the moment of their death that no other will ever know. They might call it a mercy to sit, waiting, never knowing when death may come, rather than being forced to face it outright as they have. The panic and anguish that fill them in the last moments of their life are as potent and surreal as any suffering a creature has ever known.
    A beheaded appears as a bloody, headless frame, shimmering like light off a razors edge.
    Spoiler: Template Adjustments - Beheaded
    Bane: A beheaded loses its immunity to fear while within 15 feet of an unsheathed blade or slashing weapon other than its own. All slashing weapons gain the ghost touch property when used against a beheaded, and the beheaded must succeed a DC 15 will save after taking damage from a slashing weapon or it becomes shaken for 1d6 rounds. If it was already shaken, it instead becomes frightened for 1d4 rounds. If a frightened beheaded fails its will save after taking damage from a slashing weapon, it is destroyed until it rejuvenates 2d4 days later.

    Senses: A beheaded suffering specter is blind and deaf, losing its darkvision trait, as well as any other senses that require ears, eyes, a nose or mouth. It gains lifesense 60 feet, and can sense the presence of unsheathed blades within 30 feet as though using blindsense. Additionally, the beheaded is mute, and cannot speak or use command word items.

    Attacks: A beheaded wielding a ghost touch weapon of its own gives that weapon the keen and vorpal special abilities.

    Special Attacks: A beheaded loses all special attacks requiring a head, mouth, or voice. Additionally, a beheaded's suffering touch deals damage as though from a slashing weapon. Furthermore, his suffering touch has a critical threat range of 19-20, and opponents who fail their save against it become shaken for 1d6 rounds.

    Spell-Like Abilities: A beheaded gains the following spell like abilities (minimum caster level 8th)
    1/day - aura of doom
    At will - blindness/deafness, vanish

    Skills: A beheaded gains a +8 racial bonus to intimidate checks.

    Feats: A beheaded gains dastardly finish as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites for it.

    The Breathless
    Whether it be strangulation at the hands of a mighty opponent, choking in an assassin's garrote, or gasping for one last breath as its body dangles from a noose, a breathless is spawned from the burning in its lungs as it tries desperately to breath on last time.
    A breathless appears as a bluish-purple carcass with a crushed-in chest cavity and thin, taught jaws.
    Spoiler: Template Adjustments - Breathless
    Bane: A breathless suffering specter loses its immunity to fear while within 15 feet of an object which could obviously be employed to strangle it, including any creature who has attempted to choke or strangle it within the last minute. All devices (including a person's hands) gain the ghost touch property when used to grab the neck of a breathless. The breathless must succeed a DC 15 will save each time the grappling creature succeeds on such a check, or it becomes frightened for 1d6 rounds. A frightened specter that fails such a save is instead destroyed until it rejuvenates 2d4 days later. Additionally, if the breathless is subjected to any mundane effect that would prevent a mortal creature from breathing (strangulation, drowning, etc.), it must succeed a DC 15 will save after each round of exposure or it becomes frightened for 1d6 rounds. If a frightened specter fails such a save, it is instead destroyed until it can rejuvenate in 2d4 days.

    Senses: A breathless is mute, and unable to talk or use command word items.

    Special Attacks: A breathless loses any special attacks that require breath or a voice. Additionally, a breathless' suffering touch deals nonlethal damage, and opponents who fail their save against it are rendered unable to speak or breathe for 1d4 rounds.

    Spell-like Abilities: A breathless gains the following spell-like abilities (minimum caster level 6th)
    1/day - call the void
    At will - limp lash (death by hanging only), steal breath

    Skills: A breathless gains a +8 racial bonus to escape artist checks.

    The Charred
    Engulfed in flames and with lungs filled with ash, the charred undergo some of the most excruciatingly painful transitions into unlife. Violent and short-tempered as the substance of their death, these souls are doomed to spend eternity in burning agony and unthinkable pain.
    A charred appears as a blackened, emaciated husk with embers glowing in its body and smoke seeping from its pores.
    Spoiler: Template Adjustments - Charred
    Bane: A charred loses its immunity to fear while within 15 feet of an open fire or burning object (including the flaming weapon property) other than creatures burning as a result of its attacks. Additionally, a charred must succeed a DC 15 will save after taking fire damage from any source or it becomes frightened for 1d4 rounds. If a frightened charred fails its save after taking fire damage, it is immediately destroyed until it rejuvenates 2d4 days later.

    Senses: A charred can see clearly through fire and smoke of any kind.

    Attacks: A charred wielding a ghost touch weapon gives that weapon the flaming burst special ability.

    Special Attacks: A charred's suffering touch deals fire damage, and any creature which fails its save against it catches fire, taking 1d6 damage per round until the flames are extinguished. The flames caused by this attack are ghostly and gray, and give off no heat other than to burn the defending creature. The burning creature may attempt a reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 specter's HD + specter's charisma modifier) as a full-round action to extinguish the flames, gaining a +4 bonus on the check if he drops to the ground to begin rolling. If the burning creature submerges in water, the flames die after 1 round.

    Spell-Like Abilities: A charred gains the following spell-like abilities (minimum caster level 6th). All flames he manifests in this way are ghostly and gray, and give off no heat other than against the creatures that take damage.
    1/day - fireball
    At will - scorching ray, burning disarm

    Skills: A charred gains a +4 racial bonus on intimidate and spellcraft checks.

    Feats: A charred gains ability focus (suffering touch) as a bonus feat.

    The Consumed
    (eaten alive)
    The Drowned
    (drowned, obviously)
    The Entombed
    (buried alive)
    The Sanguine
    (exsanguinated, or death by blood loss)
    Last edited by gr8artist; 2014-09-24 at 02:54 PM.
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