Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stonestrider

Something fantastic for underground transport and war from Malevolent & Benign... Art by John Bingham

STONESTRIDER

SIZE: Large (8 ft. wide)
MOVE: 30 ft.
ARMOR CLASS: 2
HIT DICE: 4
ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE: 2-8
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Ethereal push
SPECIAL DEFENSES: None
MAGIC RESISTANCE: None
RARITY: Very rare
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 2-5
LAIR PROBABILITY: 5%
TREASURE: None
INTELLIGENCE: Semi
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
LEVEL/X.P.: 3 / 135 + 3/hp

General information: Stonestriders are unusual elementals that travel through the subterranean world, seldom attacking anything but fighting back if threatened. Any creature hit by one of the legs of a stonestrider, is pushed into the ethereal plane for 1-4 rounds, during which it is are unable to interact with the material world. Stonestriders can move back and forth at will between the ethereal and material planes and, if greatly angered, a stonestrider may follow the target into the ethereal plane, where a hit from one of its legs causes triple damage.

Stonestriders get their name from their ability to move through stone as if it were not there, yet still treat it as a surface to rest their weight upon. This allows stonestriders unlimited directional movement underground, as hanging from ceilings is no different than standing on floors for these elementals. Stonestriders are occasionally used by elite dwarven cavalry. How these dwarven clans have “tamed” stonestriders is a closely guarded secret.

Stonestriders are not ridden like normal mounts but flow their semi-malleable bodies around a trusted rider. The stonestrider can initiate or end this ability in one round. While enveloped, the rider gains a +4 bonus to armor class. An attack that misses the rider within the margin provided by cover instead hits the stonestrider, provided that the attack roll is at least equal to the stonestriders armor class. The rider must depend on the stonestrider for movement just as if riding a more conventional mount, but needs no saddle. When carrying a rider, stonestriders are unable to enter the ethereal plane. Stonestriders are often used to ferry messengers or undertake scouting missions though dangerous areas, especially those in danger of collapsing. When in combat, dwarves riding stonestriders try to meld into stone and wait for a chance to strike at the leader of their foes. They often set ambushes at strange angles, dropping on foes from above, appearing suddenly out of cliff faces or reaching up from a featureless cavern floor.

The stonestrider’s strange legs allow it to navigate narrow areas as if it were a medium-sized creature (the approximate size of its ovoid body) in the rare instances when it cannot simply meld into stone or turn ethereal.

Languages: Stonestriders have a primitive telepathic ability, allowing them to communicate very limited concepts with any creature within 10 feet that has language. They have unusual minds, and any creature telepathically communicating for more than 2 turns becomes dumbfounded and unable to perform any actions for 5 rounds before regaining normal cognizance. Dwarves that continually ride stonestriders can double this duration and halve the consequences, but are inevitably considered “odd” by their peers - yet, some of the greatest dwarven leaps of genius come from those minds most touched by the unusual stonestriders.

Physical description: A stonestrider looks much like a four-legged stone spider with one featureless, ovoid body section. Although it can navigate in any direction with ease, it generally keeps the long axis of its body oriented “forward”. A stonestrider has no head, mouth, or other appreciable features, although some specimens appear pitted and worn down. The top of a stonestrider’s body stands about five feet off the ground, but its five-jointed legs arch up an additional foot or so.

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