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Red Jester (Dread Codex Monster)

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Red Jester
Size/Type: Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 15d12 (97 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 24 (+4 Dex, +10 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+9
Attack: +2 light mace of merriment +13 melee (1d6+4) or slam +11 melee (1d4+2) or jester's deck +11 ranged touch (see below)
Full Attack: +2 light mace of merriment +13 melee (1d6+4) or 2 slams +11 melee (1d4+2) or jester's deck +11 ranged touch (see below)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Fear Cackle, Jester's Deck, Merriment
Special Qualities: Damage Reduction 10/magic, Darkvision 60 ft., Spell Resistance 21, Unassailable Mind, Turn Immunity, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +9, Will +11
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 18, Con —, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 16
Skills: Balance +16, Hide +10, Listen +16, Move Silently +16, Perform (act) +21, Perform (comedy) +25, Perform (oratory) +21, Spot +16
Feats: Ability Focus (fear cackle), Alertness, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Weapon Finesse
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 10
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually chaotic neutral
Advancement: 16-45 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:

This hideous and rotting humanoid is arrayed in brightly colored clothes, floppy shoes, and a bright red jester's cap complete with jingling bells. The monster has a never-changing smirk or smile on its rotting visage.

Red jesters are thought to be the remains of court jesters put to death for telling bad puns, making fun of the local ruler, or dying in an untimely manner (which could be attributed to one or both of the first two). Another tale speaks of the red jesters as being the court jesters of a god of undeath, sent to the Material Plane to "entertain" those the deity has taken a liking to. The actual truth to their origin remains a mystery.

While they can be encountered from the coldest to the warmest regions of the world and on any type of terrain, a red jester is generally encountered near civilized areas. Though it is undead now, the creature still delights in entertaining living creatures through its humor.

Red jesters speak Common and at least two other languages and often engage in humor during combat, spilling bad puns and riddles at their opponents. Some red jesters, in an effort to disguise their undead nature, don masks or wear heavy makeup.

Combat Edit

A red jester opens combat using its fear cackle attempting to affect as many opponents as possible. Those that resist its effects are assailed with its magical playing cards and mace. During the entire combat, the red jester talks, laughs, and tells jokes and riddles.

Fear Cackle (Su): A red jester can unleash a fear-inducing cackle as a free action. Anyone within 60 feet that hears it must succeed a DC 22 Will save or become panicked for 2d4 rounds. Whether or not the save is successful, an affected creature is immune to the same red jester's fear cackle for one day. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Jester's Deck (Su): The red jester uses a deck of playing cards in combat that functions as a deck of many things (see the SRD for details). Once per round, as a standard action, the red jester can draw a single card and throw it at an opponent to a range of 20 feet. This requires a successful ranged touch attack. If successful, the card takes effect that round and affects the target just as if he had drawn a card from the deck of many things. A red jester can draw the same card more than once. The playing cards only function in the hands of a red jester. To anyone else, they are merely normal playing cards.

Merriment (Su): If a red jester strikes an opponent with its mace, the creature must succeed on a DC 20 Will save or fall to the ground laughing for 1d3 rounds. The opponent is not helpless, but cannot take any action. A mace of merriment functions only in the hands of a red jester. In the hands of any other creature it functions as a masterwork light mace.

Unassailable Mind (Ex): Anyone targeting a red jester with a thought detection, mind control, or telepathic ability must succeed on a DC 20 Will save or suffer the effects of an insanity spell (caster level 15th). The save DC is Charisma-based. Skills: A red jester has a +4 racial bonus on Perform (comedy) checks.

Treasure Edit

Standard — A red jester collects treasure which either aids its Perform skill or is simply to amusing to let anyone else possess.

  • Eyepatch with mock eye of sapphire and moonstone [1,700 gp]
  • Silver crown with profanity written across front [1,750 gp]
  • Salve of slipperiness [1,000 gp]
  • 1,350 gp

In Your Campaign Edit

There are several phrases a red jester can use in combat with the PCs to make it memorable. Below a few examples, but you'll likely need to see how your own combat progresses and make bad puns off the cuff:

  • "Is that a dent in your codpiece or are you just happy to see me?"
  • "Seems the pen is mightier than the sword!" (on stabbing someone in the eye with a quill)
  • "This will hurt you more than it hurts me."
  • (singing) "When you swim in a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a moray!"
  • "Don't worry. Laughter is the best medicine!" (after striking a PC with its mace)

If ever an undead reminded you of a class, the red jester does this for the bard. As a variant to the origins listed above, perhaps bards that reach 10th level become red jesters if animated properly (say, if a deck of many things is placed on the corpse during the ritual). A red jester isn't interested in destroying the living, but rather making them laugh. It will not, however, give quarter to those seeking its destruction.



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