Dread Fiddler (Template)

A dread fiddler is a musical form of undead. The exact way they are created is unknown, some seeming to spontaneously rise from among dead bards, others rising as herald to something far worse.

The dead fiddler is an inherited template that can be applied to any Skeleton (as in the template) made from a creature with at least 2 arms.

Hit Dice: A dread fiddler gains 6 hit dice increasing BAB by +3, Will saves by +3, and Fort and Ref saves by +2. They gain (2) additional feats and (12 + 6 x Int) skill points for these hit dice as normal. A dread fiddler also adds its Charisma modifier to its hit points for each hit die. All references to hit dice later in the template refers to the total after this.

Speed: A dread fiddler gains a +10 ft increase to its land speed and a fly speed (perfect maneuverability) equal to ˝ its land speed.

Armor Class: A dread fiddler gains a deflection bonus to AC equal to its Charisma modifier.

Attacks: A dread fiddler retains its attacks and gains the ability to use a fiddle bow as if it were a masterwork rapier which deals slashing damage.

Special Attacks: A dread fiddler gains Cackle, Dance of the Dead, and 1 Music of Dread ability plus 1 per 4 hit dice.

Cackle (Su): A dread fiddler gains the ability to rear back their head and release a horrendous cackle as a standard action. When it does so it conjures a wind (15 mph) alive with dark energies which strikes at the living as if to strip them of life. Living creatures within 10 ft of the dread fiddler, + 5 ft per size category larger than medium the fiddler is, take 1d6 damage per 3 hit dice the fiddler possesses. Half of this damage is sonic damage and half is pure malign force which ignores energy resistance and immunity. A successful Fortitude save (DC 10 + ˝ the dread fiddler’s HD + its Charisma modifier) halves this damage.

Dance of the Dead (Su): As long as a dread fiddler plays their fiddle other undead creatures within 90 ft gain a +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity, and a +10 ft enhancement to their land speed. Skeletons within the area gain an additional +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity , an additional +20 ft enhancement to their speed, an additional attack with their primary natural weapon each round, and +2 to their hit dice for the purposes of turn undead and for the number of hit dice they are considered for control via Rebuke Undead or Animate Dead; this may cause a cleric to lose control of some of their controlled undead by increasing their effective hit dice. In addition the non-animate skeletons of human-shaped or tauric creatures within the area animate as undead. Any unintelligent skeleton in the area instantly falls under the dread fiddler’s control for as long as the music is played.

Music of Dread (Su): A dread fiddler may play a variety of songs of dread upon their bone fiddle. Each of these songs require a standard action each round to be performed . A dread fiddler knows one song plus one per 4 hit dice it possesses.

  • Entrancing Dance: Living creatures within 30 ft must make a Will save (DC 10 + ˝ HD + Cha modifier) or be compelled to do nothing but dance in a circle around the dread fiddler for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting compulsion.
  • Countersong: As the bardic music of the same name.
  • Noisebane Song: The song seems to suck away at sound within the area silencing everything within 30 ft of the dread fiddler except its song.
  • Song of Terror: Living creatures with less hit dice than the Dread Piper within 30 ft must make a Will save (DC 10 + ˝ HD + Cha modifier) or be frightened for 1d6 rounds +1 round per 5 hit dice the dread fiddler possesses. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.
  • Draining Dirge: The woeful tones of this song hang heavy in the air sapping away at the very essence of those who listen to them. Living creatures within 30 ft must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ˝ HD + Cha modifier) or gain 1 negative level. This negative level remains for 8 hours, never resulting in permanent level loss.
  • De-animating Tune: The hollow echo of the strings strips movement from the artificial creations of mages. Constructs within 30 ft must make a Will save (DC 10 + ˝ HD + Cha modifier) or be rendered helpless for 1d4+1 rounds.
  • Sickening Song: The screeching off key tune turns the stomach of even the heartiest warrior. Living creatures within 30 ft must make a Fortitude save or be sickened for 1 minute.

Special Qualities: A dread fiddler retains all the special qualities of the base skeleton, and gains the following abilities.

Bone Fiddle: A dread fiddler has a violin made of bone and strung with sinew. If this fiddle is lost or destroyed a dread fiddler may create another with 8 hours of work. This violin functions as a masterwork instrument and a dark fiddler may use its bow as a rapier of their size with which they are proficient.

Damage Reduction: A dread fiddler with 15 or less hit dice gains DR 5/magic and bludgeoning, a dread fiddler with 16 or more hit dice gains 10/magic and bludgeoning.

Immunity to Sonic (Ex): A dread fiddler is immune to sonic damage.

Soundless Spell Resistance (Su): A dread fiddler gains Spell Resistance 10 + ˝ HD against any spell, spell-like ability, or psionic power which lacks a verbal component.

Saves: A dread fiddler’s saving throws increase due to its increased hit dice (see above) but are otherwise unaffected.

Abilities: A dread fiddler’s Dexterity increases by +4, its Intelligence becomes 14, its Wisdom becomes 14, a dread fiddler’s Charisma becomes 13 + ˝ its hit dice.

Skills: A dread fiddler being no longer mindless gains skill points equal to 12 + 4 times its hit dice. A dread fiddler puts maximum ranks in Knowledge (any one), Listen, Perform (String Instruments), and Sense Motive.

Feats: A dread fiddler gains feats as appropriate for a creature with an Int score and has 1 feat + 1 per 3 hit dice as well as any bonus feats it possessed previously.

Environment: Any, usually same as base creature.

Organization: Solitary or Solitary plus Ensemble (2-12 skeletons).

Challenge Rating: As base skeleton + 3.

Treasure: 1/2 value in musical instruments (including magical ones).

Alignment: Always Chaotic Evil.

Advancement: As base creature or by character class.

Level Adjustment: None.