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Lector (Dread Codex Monster)

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Lector
Size/Type: Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 10d12 (65 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 30 ft., climb 20 ft.
Armor Class: 26 (+5 Dex, +6 natural, +5 profane), touch 15, flat-footed 21
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+9
Attack: Claw +14 melee (1d8+9)
Full Attack: 2 claws +14 melee (1d8+9) and bite +12 melee (1d6+7)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Curse
Special Qualities: Greater Darksight 60 Ft., Profane Aura, Sense Bad Ju-ju, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +13, Will +13
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 20, Con —, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 17
Skills: Hide +8, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Listen +13, Move Silently +8, Open Lock +10, Search +12, Spellcraft +10, Spot +11
Feats: Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Multiattack
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 12
Treasure: Special (see text)
Alignment: Usually neutral evil
Advancement: 11-20 HD

(Medium); 21-30 HD (Large)

Level Adjustment:

A skeleton of red-hued bone crouches slightly in an attack posture. Knives and other bric-abrac jut from the monster at wicked angles, making the skeleton appear quite patchwork. Its cranium is ablaze with a hellish crimson radiance.

Lectors are intelligent undead creatures that scour the cities of the world looking for items with powerful negative auras to augment their physical bodies. It is not entirely known how a lector forms, though it is believed that a lector is created when an ordinary skeletal undead creature comes into contact with a powerful evil object. When such an event occurs, the skeleton is endowed with a powerful intelligence and a desire to seek out and find other such items and absorb them into itself. The items that the lector acquires bestow it with intense power, making it a dangerous and frightening opponent.

The objects that lectors seek are unique, and need not be magical in nature; they must simply have histories involving evil acts. A lector may be attracted to a kitchen knife that a woman used to murder her husband, a teddy bear that was used to smother a child, a manacle that kept a slave imprisoned for 40 years, or a toy that caused one child to push another out of a high window in a fit of greed. Weapons are the most common types of objects sought, especially those that have been used to kill good creatures.

Once a lector acquires such an item, it attaches it to its grotesque body somehow. Lectors often add knives and blades to their claws and teeth, embellishing their already cruel and wicked nature. Other items are tied on or wedged between bones, left dangling strangely. As a lector acquires objects, it takes on their evil energies, becoming more and more powerful.

Combat Edit

A lector roams at random about the cityscape's underbelly, following its ability to sense powerful magic items of evil taint. When it picks up on an aura, it moves towards it, attacking and killing anything that makes an effort to prevent it from getting what it wants. It slices its foes to bits with its sharp claws and pierces and curses them with its jagged teeth. A lector fights to the finish and never retreats or flees once battle is engaged. Lectors are not stupid, however, and if they feel greatly outmatched by an opponent they can be quite patient, remaining in hiding and waiting for the right opportunity to strike.

Curse (Su): The profane aura that surrounds a lector's head empowers its bite attack with deadly magic. Anyone bit by a lector must make a Will save (DC 18) or be cursed (as bestow curse). The lector may choose what type of curse to bestow, but it is usually the "befuddlement" curse — opponents are unable to act 50% of the time.

Greater Darksight (Su): A lector receives the effect of a permanent darksight spell from its profane aura, giving it darkvision to a range of 60 ft. as well as the ability to see in all forms of magical darkness, including deeper darkness.

Profane Aura (Su): As a lector gathers items of power around it, it begins to acquire an aura of profane energy. In appearance, this aura makes it look as if the creature's head is engulfed in flames. The aura serves both to protect the creature as well as to empower its attacks and damage rolls. The strength of the aura is equal to half the lector's HD, rounded down, and is added to all attack rolls, damage rolls, saves, and to the creature's AC.

Sense Bad Ju-Ju (Su): If a lector comes within 100 feet of an object considered by the GM to have an evil taint, it feels a mental tug in the direction of the item. The range of this ability may be extended with particularly evil objects or artifacts.

Treasure Edit

Special — A lector has no lair, but if it is ever destroyed, it leaves its objects behind as a form of treasure. These items are equivalent to standard treasure for the creature, but all magical items in the hoard are cursed, and all nonmagical items—if not cursed as well—are sure to bring bad luck to anyone that takes them.

In Your Campaign Edit

The statistics above represent a typical lector's profane power. This power is dependant on the number of evil items it has affixed to its body (in this case, five). For every evilly tainted item removed (or added) to its body, the profane bonus is reduced (or strengthened) by 1.

Characters who have done their homework on these undead might attempt to weaken the lector's profane power by ripping off the tainted items. This requires a successful disarm attempt to cut a bound item or, alternately, the character can try grabbing an item that is simply wedged into the skeletal structure. In either case, the lector receives a +4 bonus to its opposed attack roll and cannot attempt to disarm the PC if they fail. A character who successfully grabs one of the profane items takes 1 point of damage per round until it is dropped.

Lectors are often used by more powerful undead to locate missing artifacts and other miscellaneous magic of evil origins. For when the lector returns to the lord's lair, it is plucked of all interesting magical wares, usually reducing its profane bonus back to the typical level. Interestingly enough, more than one adventuring party has discovered that a lector has been shadowing it for months, acquiring tainted items the characters left behind as "unworthy" mundane items.



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