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Author Topic: The Shadow Thief  (Read 6841 times)
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Kane
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Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715


« on: April 13, 2010, 04:50:02 AM »

I'm back with this week's monster, the Shadow Thief.  After going very normal and low level with the Karchan, I've amped it into the very dangerous this week.  Enjoy.

Kane

Shadow Thief

18th of Simra/Baden's Bluff: I received my orders today.  I was to travel to a site some thirty miles east of the Burning Line. Almost two months ago, the Dark Tower sent over a hundred troops, five legates, and three hundred slaves to establish a new black mirror. By now the corith should be rich with the blood of all those slaves and slowly leaching the power away from the Witch Queen's enchantments. There's been no contact in well over a month and none of the four scouting parties dispatched to the site have returned. Now it's my turn. I've gathered my team and we leave tomorrow at first light.

5th of Obares: I arrived with my guards today and found a partially built town in the midst of a much older ruin that must have been uncovered when the forest was burned away. The ruin was littered with dead. The bodies were in various states of decomposition, but there were no visible wounds. Hundreds dead but the bodies were untouched.  Where were the carrion eaters, why were they passing up such a feast? Nothing moved in the ruin; there were no animals, not even the sound of insects. Nothing lived here.

Cautiously we sought out the site of the dark mirror. Near the center of the ruin was a partially built temple, the roof still incomplete. The temple was built of stone scavenged from the rest of the ruins. All of the stones were ancient and covered in a script that I'd never seen before. As we got closer to the temple, it was clear that here was where the legates had made their stand, defending the corith. All five legates died within feet of the mirror.  The corith itself was dull and still, whatever power it had had, was gone or lay dormant. The altar showed signs of use, so at some point the mirror was fed and had been active.

6th of Obares: The camp was awoken to screams from guards posted at the entrance of the town. They were dead before we got to them.  The guards were very experienced fighters, all veterans and hand picked, yet they died in minutes.  Their weapons were out but there was no blood on them. There was no sign of what attacked them or how they'd been surprised. I pulled the remaining guards in toward the building I believed was a barracks and had them pile wood on the fires. We would all stand watch until the morning.

Come daylight, I took more time to examine the writing and the area around the corith. They had placed the mirror over a large, flat piece of marble engraved in runes and more of that strange script. I've copied as much as I could in the few hours before noon.  I plan to be far away by nightfall.

7th of Obares: I think I know the cause of my death. The fools placed the corith on a tomb the eldethar sealed with runes that had held for thousands of years. As the corith gained strength it weakened the runes and let loose what was imprisoned within. The creatures are beings of pure darkness that flow like a river until they touch the shadow of a man or beast. Then they steal your shadow and strike at you. I saw them kill Anders, wielding a sword of darkness that passed through his armor with ease. He screamed even though I saw no wound. We struck at the shadow with our weapons and fire, but it had no effect. Once Anders was dead, the shadow kept his form just a few moments more before collapsing back into a pool.  We ran and three of us found refuge in the barracks.  The rest are probably dead. We'll try to flee before moonrise, but I have little hope that we'll survive.

If this journal makes it back to the Order, heed this warning and stay away. I don't know how to harm these creatures or even if they can be killed. I believe that they're somehow still tied to this site, as if the old wards prevent them from leaving. If those wards fail and they can spread out across Eredane, thousands, if not tens of thousands will die.

Shadow Thief
Medium Outsider (incorporeal)
Hit Dice: 8d8 +8 (48 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: 30 ft.
AC: 15 (+3 Dex, +1 deflection, +1 Dodge), touch 15, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/-
Full Attack: Incorporeal Touch +11 melee (Leach Life 2d6+3)
Space Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Leach Life, Shadow Theft
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60’, Incorporeal Traits, One with Darkness
Saves: Fort 9, Ref 9, Will 11
Abilities: Str 0, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 10
Feats: Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will
Skills: Decipher Script 12,  Knowledge (eldethar) 12, Knowledge (religion) 14, Knowledge (planes) 12, Listen 14, Search 14, Spellcraft 10, Spot 14
Environment: Western Eredane, Erethor
Organization: Solitary, Guard (2-5), Cabal (8-12)
Challenge Rating: 10
Alignment: NE
Advancement: -

A tendril of inky darkness reaches out to touch your shadow. In moments, your own shadow rises up and strikes at you. No sword or shield can ward its blows.

The Shadow Thieves are outsiders that arrived on Aerth at the dawn of creation. They are beings of darkness, without form, who serve powerful masters from a different plane. Their arrival threatened all of creation, and every living creature, from the smallest rodent to the mightiest dragon felt their hatred. Scattered and unprepared, the early elthedar were almost overwhelmed by the invaders.

As city after city was lost or abandoned, the elthedar appealed to the Lost Gods for aid. The gods united to preserve their creation and gifted the elthedar with the power and lore necessary to fight the Shadow Thieves. Cities were warded and skilled hunters tracked and destroyed the Shadow Thieves across the surface of Eredane. The creatures retreated to the depths of the Aerth and areas of permanent darkness. Untouchable in the dark, they were safe. The eldethar turned the Shadow Thieves’ refuges into prisons; erecting mighty wards, establishing watchposts, and leaving dire warnings to keep the dread creatures from escaping.

The eldethar wards have survived the Ages and protected every living creature. Now, the Order of Shadow, through their dark mirrors, are weakening those wards. In western Eredane, the wards on one prison have been weakened enough for the Shadow Thieves to venture a short distance from their prison tomb. Their hatred and hunger know no bounds; and in this Last Age, there is only one crippled God and the weakened offspring of the elthedar to oppose them.

Combat: A Shadow Thief hides in the darkness until it is able to strike quickly and steal the shadow of its victim.The creatures are highly intelligent, and when faced with multiple foes will seek to attack scouts or rear guards before committing to combat with a prepared enemy. With their ability to merge with shadow, they often surprise their foes (1-5 on a d6).  Once it has selected a target, it will ignore all others until its first victim is dead. If reduced to 25% of its hit points, it will try to get back to the shadows, where it is safe from damage.  It will use it’s leach life ability to restore lost hit points and then continue to attack every living target in range.

Incorporeal (Su): Immune to all nonmagical attack forms.  Even when hit by spells or
magical weapons it has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source (except for positive energy, negative energy, force effects such as magic missile, or attacks made with ghost touch weapons). An incorporeal creature’s attacks pass through (ignore) natural armor, armor, and shields, although deflection bonuses (such as Mage Armor) work normally against it.
Leach Life (Su): Regardless of whatever weapon (even unarmed) that the Shadow Thief appears to be wielding, a successful hit does 2d6 damage. The Shadow Thief absorbs that life, healing its own damage. The Shadow Thief can not exceed its starting hit points.
One with the Darkness (Su): In its natural form, the Shadow Thief can not be detected or attacked as long as it remains in the darkness. At any time that it’s in contact with darkness, the Shadow Thief can revert to its natural form and merge with the shadows.
Shadow Theft (Su): The Shadow Thief can only attack a living creature when it steals its shadow.  One the Shadow Thief makes contact with a person’s shadow it becomes that shadow; a dark image of its target. The shadow becomes three dimensional and attacks with the image of whatever weapon the victim was carrying (the weapon doesn’t matter, damage is always the same).  The stolen shadow remains tied to its victim, moving with it, regardless of the victim’s speed or mode of travel.

Fighting a Shadow Thief: The only way to destroy a Shadow Thief, is to allow it to steal a shadow and kill it in that shadow form before it can retreat to the safety of darkness. Once a Shadow Thief has stolen a shadow, it is tied to its victim until the victim is killed or it retreats to darkness.  Moving away from any form of darkness will give you more time to kill the Shadow Thief.

Adventure Seed: Why did the Shadow Thieves chose to retreat to the locations that became their prisons? Is there something they were protecting? Could there be artifacts of the Time of Years still hidden, still powerful, still deadly hidden in these prisons.  Could these artifacts, if they exist, be from another plane and beyond the Dark God’s power?
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sshagent
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2010, 05:35:09 AM »

I love it Smiley  Although its not going to help me fight off this midnight campaign thats been trying to fight its way out of my head onto paper!

thanks for sharing
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Alwyn7
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2010, 12:12:58 PM »

Excellent creature, Kane. Nice to know there have been confirmed encounters of enemies beyond the Shadow's control, and that are a danger to all.
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Kane
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Posts: 715


« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 02:42:34 PM »

Glad you liked it.  I wanted to make something seriously dangerous.  My theme for most of the creatures is that they can be a threat to both sides.  Even creatures who "work" ith or for the shadow will have a downside or another agenda.  I've got a few more banked but my inspiration after that is getting shakey.

Kane
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Harrowed
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 06:37:53 PM »

Yeah, that creature is certainly nasty. Anything with insubstantial is an ass kicker on Midnight.
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arnon
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2010, 09:33:25 PM »

Very good indeed. I like it.
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smeagol
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Hiding from Shadow


« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2010, 07:26:04 AM »

Very nice. And the legate's journal makes a good adventure seed!

There's a lot of potential with remnants of pre-Sundering "races". I'm looking into Dawnforge for inspiration myself (the last Doppelganger is actually a Sharuun crimeboss in my campaign, and there remain in hidden areas "uncorrupted" ogres and surviving Minotaurs). I have to warn that "my" Aryth was once, at the dawn of its creation, even before the Time of Yeard, the world of Dawnforge. And I plan an epic campaign with a possible ending being a new cataclysm, caused by an ancient and legendary artifact left by the gods after creating the world (Aradar, anyone?), that has an effect of "reshaping" the world as it first was (I like time-loop effects).

I just had this idea that, when Aryth was created by the gods, they left on their creation an artefact used as a "control panel" for any of the world's parameters (weather, magic level, temperatures, etc, and even a "reboot" function). In my campaign, Aradar is just that. Anyone putting their hands on it and able to control it actually has a grasp on the whole world. This could be used with multiple purposes, the most obvious ones being, depending on who is wielding it:
- shredding the Veil (then someone might be able to join the old gods and plead for their help, but perhaps they are satisfied of containing their evil brother in a "prison-world" like Aryth?),
- killing all who possess the fey "gene" (including orcs... a good "doomsday weapon" and the heralding of the new age of Man)
- dissipating all magic from the world (effectively preventing Izrador's Ascension at the cost of forever keeping him on Aryth...) or directly sucking it into Izrador (allowing him to instantly leave Eredane and once again join his fight against the Old Gods in other planes)
- gigantic tectonic movements (possibly allowing the seas to devour Eredane, drowning the orcs and all others, and making Izrador a sleeping and powerless deity in a deep-sunken city under the sea, like any good old one...)

Just rambling...
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"Il n'est pas besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre ni de réussir pour persévérer" - Devise de la famille d'Orange
Kane
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Posts: 715


« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2010, 11:33:06 AM »

Smeagol,

I like rambles.  For the Shadow Thief (and all the other creatures) I was looking for something that affected the Shadow as much or more then then the players. Specifically for the Shadow Thief, I wanted something primordial that was imprisoned and released by error; a threat that few even know exists. I'm starting to run out of inspiration for the monsters but I'll try to get a few more out before I stop.

I like the idea of "uncorrupted" creatures, especially giants. I took my name from Karl Edward Wagner's "Kane" series of stories.  One of my favorites is about Kane meeting one of the last of the giants and helping him try to regain the crown of his ancestor. The giant believes he can rally his few remaining people if he can regain that crown.  A good story with a dark but still somewhat uplifting ending.

Kane
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mit_2k
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Posts: 30


« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2010, 04:08:16 AM »

Awesome monster, I love the idea of a party confronting one somewhere dark, having them jumping at their own shadows for a few sessions, good stuff!
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But would I run today just to die another day,
Give up now and every fight has been in vain.

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