In the foothills, a city stands on the bluffs above a river that snakes onwards through the plains. Above it the forested hills supply wood, spices, dyes, and other products of the wilds. Of course, without the opposition of an order of an ancient druids they might have been denuded long ago. Fortunately, there is a balance; the druids permit a little harvesting as long as the forest remains healthy – which they ensure.
Those druids – not surprisingly – control many secrets.
One of them was the existence of a weak point in reality, a nexus in a section of the forest known as the Wolf Wood (The Wolf Wood and it’s Keeper were covered earlier). Recently, a group of adventurers – for what seemed good and sufficient reasons at the time – battled and defeated it’s guardian.
The first visitors were the Unseelie Fey, who could once again ride in the wild hunt through the plains below – but, given time, the gate opened wider, touched on more distant realms – and a number of Dreamspawn bonded with local children ( Timothy and Verendior, Dunangylaz and Antaeus Varin, Lerona and Queen Yintor, Oridon and Yinsloth) and manifested in and around the city.
Now the gate has opened even wider – and the first Dreamhunter has come through.
Unless the gate is sealed once again, and a new guardian appointed, all too soon more – and even greater – Dreamhunters will arrive, in a procession of horrors that may never end.
Raaksasha-Grashishnu doesn’t care about that, at least as far as any comprehensible entity can tell (a Dreamspawn might be able to translate however). It’s here to hunt – and has manifested itself though a dream of a mighty bear.
It’s unearthly nature has severely distorted that dream, transforming it into a towering emaciated abomination of claws, talons, and blazing crimson light leaking from they eyes and from around the edges of the scaly plates beneath the writhing black fur. Given it’s habit of dissolving into a puff of mist and passing through walls, it’s often mistaken for some sort of undead. Oh, if only it was that simple…
Raaksasha-Grashishnu uses a Dire Bear base with the Dreamhunter Template, and so has a CR of 11-12 – depending on whether or not you feel like counting intelligence for a creature that really isn’t going to act like more than a cunning predator.
|Hit Dice:||12d8 +12 + 98 (Con Mod x 14) = 171|
|Speed:||70 ft. (14 squares)|
|Armor Class:||24 (–1 size, +3 Dex, +8 natural +4 Armor), touch 12, flat-footed 21|
|Attack:||Claw +20 melee (2d4+12) (Magic)|
|Full Attack:||2 claws +21 melee (2d4+12) and bite +15 melee (2d8+7) (Both considered magic).|
|Space/Reach:||10 ft./5 ft.|
|Special Attacks:||Improved grab, Use-Activated True Strike 3/Day, Weird Powers (See Below).|
|Special Qualities:||Low-light Vision, Scent, Returning, Dimensional Movement, Need not Eat, Drink, Breathe, or Sleep, DR 20/Psionics, Energy Resistance 20, 10 versus psionics, Link with Host, Spell Resistance 22, Amorphous, Immunity to Sneak Attacks and Critical Hits, Aura of Distortion, Fast Healing I up to 240 points/day, Immunity to Poison, and Protection from Law, Subsumption, and Binding.|
|Saves:||Fort +16, Ref +12, Will +11|
|Abilities:||Str 33, Dex 17, Con 25, Int 11, Wis 14, Cha 10|
|Skills:||Listen +11, Spot +11, Swim +14, Knowledge/The Planes +2|
|Feats:||Alertness, Weapon Focus (claw), Occult Sense / Dimensional Tracking, and Inherent Spell / Invisibility 2/Day with +4 Bonus Uses.|
Weird Powers: Bestow Curse, Animate Dead, Feeblemind, and Eyebite, each three times per day. When the horrific crimson radiance of Raaksasha-Grashishnu’s eyes falls upon a victim it can, if Raaksasha-Grashishnu so chooses, have a variety of terrible effects. Sadly for it, the creature is not especially aware of the difference between normal people and the undead – and hence tends to send the undead that keep randomly spawning around it out on errands. Of course, the fact that such errands make no sense by human standards, and that it keeps randomly spawning more (thus releasing the old ones), tends to confuse the issue anyway.
In combat, Raaksasha-Grashishnu tends to appear, strike, and vanish, taking full advantage of its regenerative powers and ability to shift across the dimensions to wear down opponents and to escape if things start to go badly for it. While the undead it spawns are too weak to be of much real value to it in battle – unless it happens to animate something far larger than usual – they do make good diversions sometimes. Fortunately, it tends to be unclear on the distinction between someone that it’s knocked out or Feebleminded and someone it’s killed; it’s not yet experienced enough with material creatures to realize that an inactive mind doesn’t equate to death. That will probably change all too soon.
Raaksasha-Grashishnu is probably a match for several combative Dreamspawn or a bunch of less combat oriented ones – at least until their young bondmates gain a level or two and invest more character points in upgrading their abilities. Even then, it’s extraordinarily dangerous, especially if it manages to take someone by surprise – which is all too likely, given it’s ability to conceal itself from easy observation (although it’s scent is still likely to provide SOME warning). Worst of all, of course, is the fact that its presence is a mere harbinger of things to come…
A party which wishes to stand up to a group of such creatures would be well advised to try and obtain Dreamspawn – or other powerful allies – of their own. Sealing the gate of the Wolf Wood again will be pretty difficult.