Monday, January 31, 2011

Bestiarum vocabulum - The Seven Nightkings


Dark and sinuous feline shapes appear to form out of the night’s darkness. The creatures are little more than ghostly strands of darkness, pitch black, with glowing eyes and living of spectral white fire. Behind each beast’s savage visage glimmers an ancient and evil intelligence.

Nightking                                                CR 11 (12,800 XP)
NE large outsider (native)
Init +7; Senses see in darkness, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent, Perception +15

DEFENSE
AC 24, touch 15, flat-footed 18 (–1 size, +5 Dex, +1 Dodge, +9 natural)
hp 10d10+60 (115 hp)
Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +12
Defensive Abilities shadow body, evasion, uncanny dodge; DR 15/good and light; Immune negative energy, petrification, polymorph; Resist cold 10; SR 25
Weakness positive energy

OFFENSE
Spd 40 ft.
Melee bite +15 (1d8+5 +1d6 strength damage, plus grab), 2 claws +13 (1d6+5 +1d6 strength damage)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5ft.
Special Attacks channel negative energy (5d6, 6/day), pounce, rake (2 claws, 1d4+5)
Spells Prepared (CL 10th)
5th – Insect Plague, Summon Monster V, Righteous Might
4th – Unholy Blight (2) (DC 19), Lesser Planar Ally, Slay Living (DC 19)
3rd – Bestow Curse (DC 18), Deeper Darkness, Dispel Magic (2)
2nd – Darkness, Desecrate, Shatter (2) (DC 17), Undetectable Alignment
1st – Bane (DC 16), Cause Fear (DC 16), Protection from Good, Entropic Shield

STATISTICS
Str 21, Dex 20, Con 22, Int 13, Wis 21, Cha 17
Base Atk +10; CMB +16; CMD 32 (34 against trip)
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Run, Improved Natural Attack (Claws), Multiattack
Skills Acrobatics +14, Bluff +13, Diplomacy +13, Knowledge (Religion) +15, Perception +15, Spellcraft +11, Stealth +19, Survival +5; Racial Modifier +4 Acrobatics, +4 Stealth (+8 in undergrowth, +8 in dim light or darkness)
Languages Common, Infernal
Special Qualities cursed by the gods, grant unholy benediction, see in darkness, succor from death

ECOLOGY
Environment warm plains
Organization unique (solitary, pair or seven)
Treasure triple (at the Cavern of Stolen Idols)

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Cursed by the Gods A nightking is eternally trapped in its lion’s form and can’t be affected by any polymorph spell. It can speak, but is voice is feral and inhuman. It can’t enter any temple or area consecrated with spells like hallow (a nightking can’t attempt to dispel such kind of magic, but can order its followers to do so).
Damage Reduction This entry requires extra explanation. A nightking’s DR can only be ignored by good-aligned weapons inside an area of natural daylight (or the daylight similar spells).
Grant Unholy Benediction (Su) A nightking can grant a special atonement to a fallen priest by “blessing” her holy symbol. As long as the ex-priest follows the specific nightking’s commands and has the symbol with her, she has full access to all her class abilities, with the exception of her domains. The ex-cleric now has access only to the Darkness and Destruction domains. Each nightking can keep just one ex-priest empowered and can remove this gift at any time (as full round action). The nightking always knows the locations of his ex-cleric servant.
Shadow Body (Su) A nightking exudes raw darkness from its corrupted body, dropping the illumination level in an area of 20-ft. radius by one step. A nightking also gets total concealment even in dim light setting.
See in Darkness (Su) A nightking can see even in areas of deeper darkness.
Spells Each nightking cast spells and channel negative energy as a cleric of 10th level.
Succor from Death (Su) A nightking is healed by negative energy and wounded by positive energy. Each nightking also generates constantly a 20-ft. aura of negative energy similar to the death kneel spell (DC 20).


DESCRIPTION

The so called Nightkings are spirits of darkness and profanity that take the form of sinister lions made of shadows and white fire. Once they were old archpriests and heads of the holy orders of the Crimson Savannahs’ cities. Nevertheless it came to pass that the priests were seduced by the promise of true immortality found within an ancient scroll – a Ritual whose degraded form is known today as the Path of Lichdom.

The ritual required a massive sacrifice of believers and the Seven were thwarted before completing the ceremony. Cursed by the gods, the Seven are trapped in bestial forms, bound to the Savannah, unable to leave and barred from walking on holy ground.

Burning with eternal hatred for the gods, the Seven seek to find the one special ex-priest. This dark messiah will destroy the holy orders of the Crimson Savannahs in a bloody and savage war. To achieve that they attack caravans with holy items and steal relics, seeking to weaken the cults. The Nightkings also guide as false gods the barbarous races of the savannahs and serve as patrons to brigands and reavers. Such groups are usually led by ex-priests “touched” by the Seven.

Many question the gods’ wisdom in cursing the Seven, for they are today a threat perhaps as greater than during the time of the Ritual. A few sages and heretics claims (far from the ears of the holy orders) that prophecy surrounding the Dark Messiah is older than the Seven’s curse; that the olds actually want that the Nightkings find their nemesis for them. If true, it’s a dangerous game for the people of the Crimson Savannah.

Finally, it is worth to mention that any Nightking slain will raise again in seven nights, inside the Cavern of Stolen Idols – the place where the scroll of the Ritual was found. Only inside this dark abode can these spirits be permanently destroyed. However, the location of the Cavern is a secret. A few adventurers and explorers believe it is located inside the hotter regions of the savannahs, known as the Fiery Wastes – the heart of a forgotten cataclysm


In case any of you’re wondering, the inspiration for these monsters came from the movie The Ghost and the Darkness.