RPG Design – Monster Monday: Kroskling

Kroskling                             CR 5
A mysterious figure in a brown cloak reveals his true nature with three twitching blue-skinned tails that end in needle-sharp spines. 
XP 1,600
CE medium outsider (native)
Init +8; Senses Darkvision 60 ft; Perception +11 Aura darkshards 15 ft.
AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 15 (+4 Dex, +5 natural)
hp 57 (6d10+24)
Fort +6, Ref +9, Will +7
DR 5/silver; Resist fire 10
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 3 tentacle rakes +11 melee (1d4+4 plus darkshard poison)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)
At will–produce flame
           3/day–charm person, invisibility
           1/day–black tentacles
Str 19, Dex 19, Con 18, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 20
Base Atk +6; CMB +10, CMD 24
Feats Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (tentacle)
Skills  Climb + 13,  Bluff +11,Perception +11, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +11
Languages Celestial, Common, Abyssal, Infernal
Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or rustle (3-10)
Treasure standard
Special Abilities
 Darkshards (Su, aura): A kroskling’s magic tattoos cause it to be surrounded by a 15-ft. aura of whirling black shapes that can imprint themselves on a creature’s skin unless they make a will save. Creatures that fail this save take a -2 penalty on saves against the kroskling’s spell-like abilities and its darkshard poison. On a success, that creature cannot be affected by this kroskling’s darkshard aura for 24 hours.
Darkshard Poison (Ex): Tentacle–Injury: save Fort DC 17; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Dex, cure 1 save. This strange poison causes a victim’s skin to break out in dark shapes like tattoos. Creatures that become immobile due to losing all of their dexterity slowly become krosklings over the next 24 hours.
Mercurial and wholly evil, krosklings live to cause pain and discord. No one knows where they came from, though the oldest krosklings speak of dark fissures in the earth that lead to other, stranger worlds. Though they normally stalk the fringe of society looking for victims, krosklings occasionally band together to convert entire villages into places of suffering and madness. More than one ghost town lies in the wilderness with strange bloody marks on the walls of empty houses, painted by newly converted krosklings mad with the sadism of their new existence.


I love monsters that bewilder and bemuse the players, or make them squirm at strange forms of evil.

This monster’s art was created specially for me by my brother, Israel Pesach Porter Zasada! Doesn’t it look gorgeous?


-Max Porter Zasada


Monster Monday: Ravening Gragask

Ravening Gragask               CR 3

Covered in rusted armor, this slavering beast rushes forward, eager for blood.

XP 800

CE Medium outsider (Evil, exraplanar, chaotic)

Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft, low-light vision,  Perception +6


AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+6 armor, +3 Dex)

HP 30  (4d10 +8)

Fort +6 Ref +7 Will +1 (+3 vs fear effects)


Speed 30 ft

Melee 2 claws +5 (1d6+1), bite + 3 (1d4 +1)

Space 5 ft Reach 5 ft


STR 13, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 7, WIS 11, Cha 5

Base Atk +4; CMB +4, CMD 18

Feats Improved Initiative, Multiattack

Skills Acrobatics + 11, Climb +7, Perception +7, Survival + 7

Languages Abyssal

Special Abilities

Vicious Charge (EX): A ravening gragask can charge with its bite attack. If this bite attack hits, it may also make a claw attack. If that claw attack hits, it may make a second claw attack.


Environment any (Abyss)

Organization Solitary, pair, or rush (3-6)

Treasure standard plus breastplate

Screaming and slavering, the ravening gragask is a disgusting beast from the pits of the Abyss and other fiendish areas, feasting on the leavings of more powerful monsters. They have been known to charge at obviously superior opponents in a fit of mad rage.


This monster has a devastating combat opener on open ground, which you should encourage the players to figure out how to avoid. Make the players feel relieved when it misses, and upset when hit.

-Max Porter Zasada

Monster Monday: Deathroot Mother

Deathroot Mother               CR 11
A  skull-faced creature made of twisted roots scuttles toward you on arachnid legs, trailing thorns and leaves. 
XP 12,800
NE Large Undead
Init +10; Senses Darkvision 60 ft; Tremorsense 60 ft; Perception +19 Aura Root Dream Spores
AC 31, touch 15, flat-footed 25 (+6 Dex, +26 natural, -1 size)
hp 114 (12d8+60)
Fort +9, Ref +13, Will +12
Defensive Abilities undead traits; SR 22; vulnerability to fire
Speed 50 ft, climb 50 ft
Melee 2 claws +14 (1d10+5 plus deathroot poison)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Str 20, Dex 22, Con -, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 20
Base Atk +8; CMB +14, CMD 30 (36 vs trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Weapon focus (Claw), Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (perception), Ability Focus: Deathroot Poison, Improved Natural Armor
Skills  Climb + 28,  Intimidate +20, Knowledge (arcana) +16, Perception +19, Stealth +20 (28 in a forest setting)
Languages Common
Special Abilities
Root Dream Spores (EX, aura): A death root mother is continually surrounded by a cloud of spores with hallucinogenic properties. Creatures which breathe within 30ft of the deathroot mother must make a DC 18 Will save each round or come to believe they have put down roots and become a tree. Creatures affected are dazed for 1 round. After making 2 consecutive saves, a creature becomes immune to the effects of the spores.
Deathroot Poison (EX): Claw–Injury: save Fort DC 20; frequency 1/ round for 6 rounds; effect 1d6 Con, cure 1 save. This horrifying poison causes growths to occur within the creature’s body. Creatures slain by this poison rise as zombies in 1d3 minutes.
Spindle Tree (SU): At will and as a swift action, a deathroot mother can use a Tree Stride effect, except without the restriction that the tree entered must be of big enough girth.
Environment temperate and warm forest
Organization solitary or brood (1 deathroot mother plus 2d8 zombies)
Treasure standard
Sometimes, when the necromantic winds of midnight align just right, a corpse abandoned in the forest becomes a deathroot mother. These terrifying creatures delight in stalking travelers through their dark domains, waiting for one or more of them to fall prey to their hallucinogenic spores. Then the deathroot mother begins a horrible feast, reaping the dead to create undead servants. Some say that deep within the most overgrown forests of the world, whole cities of these creatures walk the rotting trees, and we see only the loners and outcasts of their undead society.


This creature will be most exciting when you turn to one of the players and simply say, “You believe you have been turned into a tree. You’re dazed as a heady smell like rotten wood fills the air.” Then when the stealthy undead being steps forward to attack, the players will be primed for a truly horror-inspiring fight.


-Max Porter Zasada

Monster Monday: Death Dancer

Death Dancer               CR 12
The uncanny appearance of this horrific goatlike creature sends chills through all. 
XP 19,200
CE Large Outsider (evil, extraplanar)
Init +6; Senses Darkvision 60 ft; Perception +25
AC 30, touch 21, flat-footed 27 (+2 Dex, +1 dodge, +8 natural, deflection +9, -1 size)
hp 152 (16d10+64)
Fort +14, Ref +10, Will +11
Resist fire 10, cold 20, Immune poison
Speed 40 ft.
Melee Ram horn +21 (2d6+7), or 2 hooves +19 (1d8+7+enervating dance), or +1 unholy flail (2d6 +8 and +2d6 against good creatures, + enervating dance)
Str 20, Dex 15, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 28
Base Atk +16; CMB +21, CMD 34
Feats Improved Initiative, Dodge, Weapon focus (flail), lightning reflexes, mobility,
spring attack, skill focus (perception), weapon specialization (flail)
Skills  Bluff +26, Diplomacy +23,  Intimidate +23, Knowledge (arcana) +18, Knowledge (planes) +21, Knowledge (religion) +11, Perception +25, Perform (dance) +28, Spellcraft +18, Use Magic Device +23
Languages Common, Abyssal, Infernal, Telepathy 100 ft.
Special Abilities
Enervating Weapon (SU): When the death dancer hits with its hooves or flail, the enemy must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 27) or gain one negative level. If the enemy is slain by this attack, it rises as a death dancer lacking a magic weapon and with the young template in 1d3 minutes. The DC is Charisma-based and includes a +4 racial bonus.
Death Dance (SU): When using spring attack, the death dancer may attack with both hooves as it jumps on its opponent and leaps away.
Do Not Harm The Dancer (SU): as it dances across the battlefield, a death dancer gains a deflection bonus to AC equal to its Charisma bonus. This bonus ceases to function if the death dancer is immobilized by a spell or effect.
Environment any land (extraplanar)
Organization solitary or dancing pair
Treasure standard plus +1 unholy flail
The death dancer is a rare and horribly evil being whose purpose is to dispense death. Newly created dancers disappear into the void between planes, there to learn horrific rituals that will bring about death and madness in the entire world. These creatures rarely remain at the site of a kill, appearing and disappearing only to commit murder.
Intended as a frightening and enigmatic monster, the death dancer should be used carefully. It will work best as a macabre being stumbled upon in a remote location or as a hunter seeking the death of someone important. You just don’t want the beast to come off as silly instead of creepy.

Monster Monday: Lurking Tusker

Lurking Tusker               CR 6
XP 2,400
NE Medium Magical Beast
Init +10; Senses Darkvision 60 ft; low-light vision, Perception +11
AC 20, touch 16, flat-footed 14 (+6 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 80 (10d10+30)
Fort +12, Ref +13, Will +7
Speed 30 ft, climb 20 ft, swim 20 ft
Melee Gore +16 (1d12+5)
Space 5 ft Reach 5 ft
Special Attacks powerful charge (2d12+10), sneak attack +1d6
Str 20, Dex 22, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 7
Base Atk +10; CMB +15 , CMD 31 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Improved Initiative, Weapon focus, Iron Will, Alertness, Skill Focus (stealth)
Skills Acrobatics +13, Stealth +22, Perception +11
Languages Understands Common but cannot speak
Special Abilities
Slithering Charge (EX): A lurking tusker does not have to charge in a straight line.
Powerful charge, sneak attack +1d6.
Environment Underground
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard
A lurking tusker waits in dark dungeon corridors before bursting out and puncturing passing creatures for food. They are referred to by odd names by adventurers in far corners of the world, earning the moniker “tusked idiots” for their headlong tactics. These creatures can be quite dangerous when their attacks are unexpected, and they take an evil delight in the splash of blood before they feast on their fallen foes. Lurking tuskers sometimes form alliances with snakes or snake-like creatures in the area, sharing scraps of food in lean times.
A monster based on an old game I played with friends long ago. It is very useful as a jump-out-and-scare-you monster, and can make players very wary of dark side-tunnels. Worth using in pairs to set up a really tough fight, when the creatures charge from opposite sides and then grant one another flanking.
Put those cocky players in their places!

Monster Monday: Deepdown Goblin

Deepdown Goblin               CR 10
XP 9,600
CE Huge goblinoid
Init +4; Senses Darkvision 120 ft; scent; Perception +20
AC 20, touch 8, flat-footed 20 (+12 natural, -2 size)
hp 200 (16d8+128)
Fort +18, Ref +5, Will +5
Speed 60 ft.
Melee 2 claws +20 (2d8+8 plus grab), bite +15 (2d6+8 plus Chomp)
Str 26, Dex 10, Con 24, Int 8, Wis 9, Cha 8
Base Atk +12; CMB +22 (+24 on grapple), CMD 32
Feats Improved Initiative, Toughness, Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Awesome Blow, Improved Grapple
Skills Acrobatics +11, Climb +24, Perception +20, Stealth +11,
Languages a few words in Goblin
Special Abilities
Chomp: When a deepdown goblin’s bite hits a creature it has grappled, the deepdown goblin can attempt to crack bones. When struck, enemies must make a Fortitude save (DC 24, strength-based) or take an additional 2d6+8 damage. The cracking sound delights the deepdown goblin, who gets a +2 morale bonus on attacks, saves, and skill checks for 1d4 rounds.
Light Blindness: Deepdown goblins are blinded in direct sunlight or in the area of daylight spell.
Environment underground
Organization Solitary
Treasure standard
Dwelling in the most horrible of deep, dark holes, the deepdown goblin is little more than a legend to their smaller surface relatives. It is a creature dreamed of in goblin nightmares, for it feeds delightedly upon them as on everything else. The mad creatures have no name for themselves, and most of their noises consist of smacking and crunching. They are freakish and pale in appearance, having no love for the sun, and continuously eat to keep their crazy bulk. They wade into combat with little care for injuries, hoping only to mash and eat before rolling off back to the thick darkness below the earth.
A brute of a monster that is there to terrorize the players, as the goblins fear this beast more than any surface dweller. Let them hear the stupid goblin legends and then find some other monster and laugh, thinking it’s merely goblin exaggeration. Then hit them with the horrible truth.
Think ye that the CR is appropriate?