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Persistent Soldier (Dread Codex Monster)

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Persistent Soldier
Size/Type: Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 5d12 (32 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 ft.
Armor Class: 21 (+5 natural, +4 scale mail, +2 shield), touch 10, flat-footed 21
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+5
Attack: Warhammer +6 melee (1d8+3) or javelin +2 ranged (1d6+3)
Full Attack: Warhammer +6 melee (1d8+3) or javelin +2 ranged (1d6+3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Finishing Blow
Special Qualities: Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 10, Con —, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 11
Skills: Climb +6, Intimidate +5, Jump +6, Listen +3, Ride +3, Search +3, Spot +3
Feats: Ability Focus (finishing blow), Weapon Focus (warhammer)
Environment: Any land
Organization: Solitary, strike team (2-5), fist (7-12), or company (15-48)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually lawful evil
Advancement: 6-15 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:

A humanoid, clearly of warrior status, regards you coldly. Discolored flesh peels from its twisted face and arms. The soldier's tarnished warhammer and dented armor show all onlookers that it is no stranger to combat.

Whether or not their respective units were victorious, persistent soldiers are those inevitable casualties of any war who perished on the battlefield. It is because of these monsters that visitors to a known battlefield site often speak in hushed reverent tones.

For it is said that those who mock the fallen military risk their eternal ire. Although they can be centuries perished, some wisp of the persistent soldier's soul still remains tied to his corporeal body. Accusations against the soldiers, be they in jest or truly malicious, have a chance of rousing that soul to action once again. The fractured personality and memories call their old body which crawls from the earth in the same condition it was in just moments after it died.

Persistent soldiers take up the same mission they followed upon their death, whatever that may have been. If confronted with irrefutable proof of their cause's futility (or they manage to accomplish their objective), persistent soldiers can be commanded like any other undead. They serve their new master unwaveringly, only too pleased to be of service to a greater cause. However, hatred of the living is an unfortunate side effect of the process by which they become animated. Thus, no matter their alignment in life, persistent soldiers are irredeemably evil.

Combat Edit

Although they lack conventional intelligence, persistent soldiers rely on whatever martial experience they had in life. They fight like trained soldiers, be it in close combat or during a coordinated siege. Most soldiers use whatever armor and weapons they carried in life (the statistics given above are likely for that of a temple guard; GMs are encouraged to change the persistent soldier's weapon and/or armor to bring the monster more into line with the flavor of his campaign setting).

Finishing Blow (Su): Any victim with 10 or fewer current hit points who is struck in combat by a persistence soldier must make a DC 14 Fortitude save or take double damage. This ability does not function against creatures protected by any defensive spell with the good or holy descriptor.

Treasure Edit

The treasure a persistent soldier has comes in the form of equipment it either can no longer use as an undead or it no longer remembers how to use. PCs find such items in pristine condition, for although the soldier carries it, he does so out of familiarity and ensures the items remain in static condition. Loose coin and gems are kept in a belt pouch.

  • Deep blue spinel (x2) [200 gp each]
  • Carved ivory statuette (depicting a king on a throne) [85 gp]
  • Masterwork dagger (pommel shaped like a frog head) [302 gp]
  • Potion of jump [50 gp]
  • 63 gp

In Your Campaign Edit

Persistent soldiers are yet another look at the classic "fallen soldier-turned-undead" model. Famous battlefields are the most obvious places to discover and summon these undead monsters but they are by no means the only ones. Any guard type position makes for good persistent soldier origins— caravan guards along a trade road, city watchmen (who may have their own special burial area inside the community's cemetery), or even more specialized army divisions (engineers, reconnaissance, strike team, etc.). Determining the specifics about the persistent soldiers you use aids in determining how many are summoned originally. Whether you use the blasphemy method given above to raise the soldiers or some other reason, the number of undead you bring into the game should follow the numbers given in the "Organization" statistics above—solitary, strike team (1d4+1), fist (1d6+6), or company (3d12+12).

A middle to high-magic campaign world likely sees the use of protective magics during battle. If it suits you, feel free to carry these spells over to the soldiers as if no time had elapsed between their deaths and the point in time they animate. As a general rule of thumb, have only a 5% chance per soldier for a spell to be active. To determine what spell is in effect and for what duration, consult the following table:

Roll d6 Spell Duration Remaining
1 bull's strength* 1d4 minutes
2-4 bless 1d4 minutes
5-6 prayer 1d4+1 rounds

*Unless this soldier’s battalion is well-documented as having numerous spellcasters, the likelihood of a persistent soldier bearing a bull's strength enhancement is not good. As always, this is at your discretion. Perhaps this particular soldier was a company commander and warranted the extra benefit.

The procedure behind a persistent soldier’s animation is left purposefully vague. Obviously if all it takes is a little bad mouthing to raise these dead, adventurers everywhere would have their hands full. If you choose to keep this activation method, feel free to limit the time period in which it is effective. If the soldier perished in the early morning, then only allow his animation as a persistent soldier at the same time of day.



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