Old Hat Monsters: Divinely Monstrous
Last week, a colleague of mine tackled the paper tiger nature that a lot of monster gods have. It had me thinking about how many monsters are intelligent enough to worship a deity (Intelligence 3 or better) but generally lack the statistics to have clerics, inquisitors, druids, or oracles.
Where there’s a gap in monster design, there’s a template. Join me after the jump as we discuss the god-touched template (CR +1).
The idea is a simple one: Give your monster a cleric domain. Take a monster’s Hit Dice and use that number as cleric levels for the purpose of granted powers and spells. Spells count as spell-like abilities and granted powers should be added as a special ability. Since the god in question likely has mostly monstrous followers, pick a physical attribute that works with the god’s backstory or values to use for the purpose of casting. If no physical attributes stand out, Constitution tends to work well.
This template should not be applied to monsters that have Wisdom scores above 13 and it does not stack with any clerical power. Although it is possible to redo the stat array of any monster, this is a quick and easy way to add divine without the hassle of such a heavy rewrite.
The concept works well in the fluff, too. Having a percentage of a god’s followers be divine in nature creates the classic contract between god and mortal. The monsters with the template enforce the god’s will in exchange for power, and they also provide a reason for worship. For the monsters in question, those empowered help protect and propagate the species.
In the example below, I took a merrow and gave it the Ocean subdomain from Poseidon. The Greek god of the seas has a long history of creating and fathering monsters.
Saltwater Poseidon-Touched Merrow CR 6
NE Large humanoid (aquatic, giant)
Init +4; Senses low-light vision; Perception +5
AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+4 Dex, +4 natural, –1 size)
hp 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +3
Speed 40 ft., swim 40 ft.
Melee 2 claws +6 (1d6+4 plus grab)
Ranged javelin +6 (1d8+4)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
1/day—obscuring mist, slipstream
Str 19, Dex 18, Con 17, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +3; CMB +8 (+12 grapple); CMD 22
Feats Iron Will, Power Attack
Skills Perception +5, Stealth +2 (+6 in water), Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth in water, +8 Swim
Surge (Su): As a standard action, you can cause a mighty wave to appear that pushes or pulls a single creature. Make a combat maneuver check against the target, with a CMB of +7. If successful, you may pull or push the creature as if using the bull rush or drag combat maneuver. You can use this ability six times per day.