Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Monster—The Balekin

I have weird inspiration at times. Wesley Schneider's Bastardhall has been a locale that I've been itching to visit for years. I didn't get a chance to do so at PaizoCon 2013, but maybe this year. I've been wanting to investigate this place so much, that I even came up with a fictional product description in hopes of inspiring Wes to get to writing an adventure for it. In the description, I made up a creature called the balekin just for fun. It's something that has been sitting in my mind for a while and I figured I should stat it up. Let me present to you, the rancorous balekin, after the jump.

Stumbling from the shadows is a gnarled, snarling form of what once was a man. Its body bulges with muscle as it lets loose a scornful roar.

XP 1,200
CE Medium undead
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception –1
AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 11 (+3 Dex, +3 natural, –2 rage)
hp 45 (6d8+18)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +7
Immune undead traits
Speed 30 ft.; four-footed run
Melee bite +8 (1d6+4 plus enrage), 2 claws +8 (1d4+4)
Str 19, Dex 17, Con —, Int 1, Wis 11, Cha 16
Base Atk +4; CMB +8; CMD 21
Feats Blind Fight, Combat Reflexes, Skill Focus (Survival)
Skills Survival +8
SQ seething rage
Environment Any land
Organization solitary, pair, or grievance (3–6)
Treasure standard
Four-Footed Run (Ex) A balekin can run on all fours at speed of 50 feet if it doesn't hold or carry anything in its hands. When running on all fours, it is treated as if it had the Run feat. 
Enrage (Ex) A balekin's bite has the power to let forth its rancor into another creature, instilling it with a portion of the balekin's rage. A creature bit by the balekin must succeed on a DC 16 Will save or enter a rage as per the barbarian class ability. The rage persists for 1d4 rounds, during which time the creature is treated as if it were under the effects of confusion.  A creature that successfully saves is not subject to the same balekin's enrage for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting compulsion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Seething Rage (Ex) A balekin's anger is a mainstay in it's physiology. It is in a constant rage, granting it a +4 morale bonus to  Strength, as well as a +2 morale bonus on Will saves. In addition, it takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class. A calm emotions spell does not suppress this rage, but does slow the balekin (as the slow spell) for 3 rounds, with no saving throw.

A balekin is an undead monstrosity spawned when a creature is killed by a hated enemy or in a moment of violent, explosive anger. The festering spite for their killer twists their form, fueling their rebirth as a creature of pure rage. Blinded by their fury, a balekin becomes intent on killing any living creature it encounters, usually leading to their ultimate destruction against a foe that greatly outclasses it. A balekin becomes especially resentful of any creature that eludes its destruction. It will hunt after the creature, ignoring all others until it can finally destroy its mark.

Although most creatures are attacked on sight, a balekin will occasionally join with other balekin and form a pack, seething together and attacking any creatures they find. These packs are generally fleeting, though, as their hatred eventually erupts into infighting, resulting in the death of most of the pack. The packs tend to take up residence near well-traveled areas, content to attack anything that comes near their territory.

I imagined the balekin as something crafted from pure hate. I took the festrog as an inspiration, as the picture in the Bestiary 3 is what imagined the balekin to look like, although bulkier. I wanted it to be tough and I wanted it to make PCs enter a berserker rage. It's a pretty scary monster as a pack as multiple bites can make an entire party enter a rage and attack each other. It's damage is a little higher than the recommend for its CR, but it's made up for by its lower AC. Originally, it also had a rend attack, but that proved to be too much damage. The aspect I like most about it is its Survival skill. The though of an NPC fleeing to a town with balekin on its trail is a fun one to me. The fact that any character ever could have a balekin, or even an entire pack, just a few hours away, ready to stroll into town and cause mayhem. 

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