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Ghostly Slasher (Dread Codex Monster)

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Ghostly Slasher
Size/Type: Medium Undead (Incorporeal)
Hit Dice: 3d12 (19 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 14 (+2 Dex, +2 deflection), touch 14, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/—
Attack: Spectral short sword +3 melee (1d6)
Full Attack: Spectral short sword +3 melee (1d6)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Fear
Special Qualities: Incorporeal Traits, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +1
Abilities: Str —, Dex 15, Con —, Int 10, Wis 7, Cha 14
Skills: Hide +6, Intimidate +8, Listen +2, Search +3, Spot +2
Feats: Ability Focus (fear)
Environment: Any land or underground
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 4-9 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:

An amorphous gathering of shadows hides a humanoid form within it. The face inside the shadows changes every few seconds, but all share the same crazed glare and obvious evil intent, evidenced further by the brief appearance of a pale sword blade.

Every region in a campaign world has its handful of crazed killers and other evil creatures whose only joy in life is to inflict fear and death on others. When these creatures are eventually hunted down and slain (commonly by brave adventurers), not all of their souls descend into the realm of the damned. The forces in charge of the hells decide to wad many of these murdering, irredeemable spirits together and then send them back onto the Material Plane as one creature—a ghostly slasher—to continue their evil work.

As many as a dozen former murderers inhabit a ghostly slasher. The area a particular slasher inhabits is dependent on the most powerful spirit's former life. Wherever it held dominion, be it urban or rural, that is where the slasher inhabits. Besides this determination, the individual souls inside a slasher do not surface as a single being. Rather the image others see always shifts from one spirit's former visage to the next even though all think as a collective mind.

Combat Edit

The ghostly slasher seeks to ambush its victims, and then dismembers them horribly to inspire as much fear and furor in a community as possible. It does not attack with its material shortsword (which remains under the slasher's cloak), but with a spectral version of the same weapon that deals spiritual damage as opposed to bodily wounds (but it all ends up as real damage in game terms—simply tell the player that his PC feels intense chills and a sense of sorrow when hit by a spectral sword).

Fear (Su): Three times per night, as a free action, a ghostly slasher may make a fear attack. Spectral winds fill its cape, making it resemble the wings of a vulture spread over a kill. From the shadows of the cape, the faces of the slasher's victims can be seen shrieking in horror. All within 30 feet who see the slasher must succeed at a DC 15 Will save or be frightened for 2d4 rounds.

Skills: Ghostly slashers gain a +8 racial bonus on Hide checks in dark or shadowy conditions.

Treasure Edit

None — Ghostly slashers exist only to frighten and kill others. Even if they could manipulate physical objects (thereby taking their victim's possessions as their spirits did in life), they would have no use for them, relying instead on their own abilities. Only if the PCs slay a slasher as it finishes killing another creature would the possibility of treasure exist (and then only if friends or family of the slain creature do not claim the possessions).

In Your Campaign Edit

Inspiring fear isn't the only reason ghostly slashers dismember their victims. The deeper meaning for this ritual is that the spirits inside the slasher are jealous of the bodies they slay. A victim's form represents the uniqueness which the slasher's component spirits can never again hope to attain. While the slasher may continue these murdering spirits' life works, there was always more involved than the act of killing itself. Each murderer gained his own measure of infamy, thus stoking the fires of ego. Now even that joy is gone from existence, making the slasher that much more intent on killing.

Despite the fact that a ghostly slasher operates as a single entity, there is a possibility that PCs can speak to just one of the spirits which inhabits it. A cleric can cast speak with dead on the slasher and, if it fails a Fortitude save, it is stunned for a number of rounds equal to the cleric's caster level. During this time, if the cleric speaks the name of one of the inhabiting spirits, he can ask questions as per the spell (but only for as long as the slasher is stunned). The knowledge of the spirit is limited to its own corporeal life before becoming part of the slasher. The party may need to find out where the killer hid one of his victim's bodies or perhaps even where his former lair was located.

The spirit receives a Will save for the first question. If it succeeds, it can answer the cleric however it likes (truth or a lie) or not at all. If it fails the Will save, the spirit must answer all questions put to it truthfully. A cleric who successfully questions a spirit within the slasher becomes its next target. Unless the undead is dispatched, the ghostly slasher hunts for the cleric and does not rest until one of them is slain. The violation of the slasher by the speak with dead spell is an unforgivable act.



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