Today it’s using Eclipse to create variant beasties…
Minidrakes are small, winged, snakes that – thanks to a bit of inherent magic – can spit elemental energy instead of venom. While fragile, a group of them can actually inflict quite a bit of damage – enough to bring down prey larger than they can actually eat. In practice, they usually stick to mouse-sized prey, which their spittle will neatly reduce to “dying or dead” with a single hit. Larger stuff is both too dangerous and a waste of time.
Minidrakes usually nest on cliffs, in trees, and in crannies in the roofs of caves, and can be quite dangerous to adventurers because – if a character is resistant to their attacks – they will promptly switch to targeting ropes, hand- and foot-holds, and other supports. Characters who laugh at 2d6 fire damage often find 15d6 of falling damage a good deal harder to shrug off. While this is bothersome, the fact that they’re fragile, of animal intelligence, and generally don’t bother anything character-sized unless threatened is more than enough to keep them at CR 1.
To create a Minidrake in Eclipse I could start off with the point allotment for a L0 character and build a +1 ECL racial template, taking away the basic elements that a snakelike thing doesn’t need and adding in what it does – but that’s a lot of bother. Since Eclipse is back-compatible, all I really need to do is grab the statistics for a small, CR ½, venomous snake and tweak it a bit.
- Increasing the challenge rating from one-half to one would normally involve adding a few upgrades and making a guess. In Eclipse it’s quite easy; A +1 ECL template provides 32 CP, so a +1/2 ECL template provides +16.
- Removing their Poison (Trick with Bonus Use) saves another 12 CP. That leaves 28 to work with.
- Removing Finesse, since this will be a ranged attack creature that uses Dex to attack with anyway, saves another 6 CP.
- Mindrakes have rather pretty wings, but this doesn’t really count for anything in game terms. Some have four tiny legs as well, but these also really don’t do much of anything in game terms. No cost on either.
- Adding Celerity/Additional Movement Mode (Flight) at +20′ Movement (for a base of 40′) has a base cost of 21 CP. Flight is a major advantage after all, and so it’s rather expensive. This is Corrupted however – the creature has to have room to use it’s wings, can’t be entangled, will be forced down if reduced below 50% of it’s hit points, and is a larger and more obvious target in flight (14 CP).
- Innate Enchantment (5000 GP effective value, 6 CP). All spells Level ½ or 1, Caster Level One, Unlimited-Use Use-Activated.
- (Elemental) Spittle (Personal-Only, 1400 GP).
- Swift Wings (Personal-Only, 1400 GP).
- Resist Energy (2000 GP). Provides Energy Resistance 10 by shunting incoming energies back to the elemental planes – which is why a tamed Minidrake can resist all kinds of energies and even share that resistance with a companion.
- Immunity/the normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Minor, Trivial [only covers cantrips and first level effects at caster level one] 2 CP).
That leaves 12 CP to work with.
- Just for fun, and in the old Shao-lin tradition, lets give them a Dexterity-Martial Art that works with their spitting. For +4 SP that’s a +7 total – which we’ll take as a +2 AC bonus and an extra +2 to hit. That’s (4 CP).
- To make them a bit of a tougher challenge when operating in a group, I’ll give them the Legionary ability (6 CP).
- Finally, to make them just a bit harder to catch, I’ll buy them Good Fortune – that’s Luck, Specialized and Corrupted / only for saving throws, only usable once per week (2 CP).
Now, those are tolerably formidable little beasties – but when you come right down to it, anyone with a simple “Resist Energy” effect going is totally immune to them and a single hit is likely to leave them grounded and ready to be stepped on. They may fly, but with a thirty foot maximum on their ranged attack that’s hardly insurmountable. Overall, CR 1 works just fine.
(Elemental) Spittle: Conjuration. L1, Components: V, S, Casting Time: 1 Standard Action, Range: Touch, Target: Living Creature Touched: Duration: Up to One Minute or until expended, whichever comes first, Saving Throw: Will Negates, Spell Resistance: Yes.
- The targets mouth fills with enough elemental essence for two attacks, which he or she may either spit up to thirty feet or inflict upon whomever he or she bites (or drools on). This inflicts 2d4 damage on a successful ranged touch attack. The elemental essence is drawn from the elemental planes, and is entirely nonmagical – and so is not affected by spell resistance and allows no save.
- The spells target may save or resist normally if he or she does not want to be affected – say, if he or she does not want to be spitting acid, or fire, or whatever, or cannot open their mouth at the moment. Of course, if the target wishes to – say – get rid of a gag, this spell may be quite effective.
- While the elemental essence is real and permanent (although, for example, fire will dissipate normally), the temporary and localized resistance which allows the user to hold it in his or her mouth is NOT. It is wise to spit the stuff out before the one minute duration runs out – and unwise to dribble it on yourself.
- Each elemental variant is a separate spell. Thus you may have “Acid Spittle” while another spellcaster may have “Flame Spittle”.
Swift Wings: Transmutation, L1, Components V, S, Casting Time: 1 Standard Action, Range: Touch, Target: Living Creature Touched: Duration: One Minute per Level, Saving Throw: Will Negates, Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless).
- Swift Wings increases the target creatures winged flight movement speed by 50%, increases it’s maneuverability class by one, and provides the target creature with a +1 dodge bonus to it’s AC while in flight.
That gives us a statistics block that looks something like this…
Minidrakes are usually not aggressive and flee when confronted.
Skills: Minidrakes have a +4 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, and Spot checks and a +8 racial bonus on Balance and Climb checks. They can always choose to take 10 on a Climb check, even if rushed or threatened. They use either their Strength modifier or Dexterity modifier for Climb checks, whichever is higher, and have a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. They can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered and can use the run action while swimming, provided that they swim in a straight line.
|(Element) Minidrake||Small Animal|
|Hit Dice:||1d8 (4 hp)|
|Speed:||20 ft. (4 squares), climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft, fly 60 ft.|
|Armor Class:||19 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +3 natural, +2 martial), touch 16, flat-footed 14|
|Attack:||Spit +5 Ranged Touch Attack (2d6 elemental energy)|
|Full Attack:||Spit +5 Ranged Touch Attack (2d6 elemental energy)|
|Space/Reach:||5 ft./5 ft.|
|Special Attacks:||Elemental Energy|
|Saves:||Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +1. May either reroll or “take 20″ once per week.|
|Abilities:||Str 6, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2|
|Skills:||Balance +11, Climb +11, Hide +11, Listen +7, Spot +7, Swim +6|
|Organization:||Solitary or Flight (2-12).|
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