Monday, January 3, 2011

General Rules: Monsters - Drowned Lady

Drowned Lady (from the Creature Collection)
Tiny Animal

Hit Dice: 1d8-1 (3 hit points)
Initiative: +0
Speed: Swim 90 feet
Armor Class: 12 (+2 size); touch 12, flat-footed 12
BAB/Grapple: +0/-8
Attack: Bite +2 melee (1d2, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing, 20 x2)
Full Attack: Bite +2 melee (1d2, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing, 20 x2)
Space/Reach: 2½ feet by 2½ feet/0 feet
Special Attacks: Envelop, improved grab
Special Qualities: Low-light vision
Saves: Fortitude +1, Reflex +0, Will -1
Abilities: Str 10, Int 2, Wis 9, Dex 10, Con 9, Cha 4
Skills: Listen +5, Spot +3
Feats: Skill Augmentation (Listen and Spot)
Environment: Temperate aquatic
Organization: School (1 - 6)
Challenge Rating: ¼
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 2 Hit Dice (Tiny)

The drowned lady is a moderately sized fresh-water fish that appears tall and thin when its bladders are empty. The fish has a large mouth that can expand horizontally to fit around an object as much as a third larger than the fish itself. The fish is a dark, grayish-brown in color, a natural camouflage that helps it blend in with the muddy river floor.

The drowned lady is an unusual creature that lingers in the water's depths, constantly eyeing the brighter depths above for movement and likely prey. When a fish - or even a swimmer - passes overhead, the drowned lady rises from the depths and locks its jaws around the victim. once it has enveloped part of its prey, the fish sucks water into five bladders located around its body, swelling it into a large, ovoid shape and consequently increasing its weight. Then the drowned lady sinks back to the river floor, pulling its victim along with it. It sits there for days, slowly digesting its meal.

Drowned ladies are favorites of nobles whose strongholds incorporate moats or lakes as part of their defenses. The fish eagerly attack swimmers as well as other fish, making the waters hazardous for attackers or potential escapees.

The drowned lady's method of attack is almost entirely passive, with it acting as a millstone and dragging a victim to a watery grave. Its jaws are mostly cartilage, making them elastic, very strong, and very difficult to remove once they have closed around a hand or foot. To make matters worse, a thrashing victim often attracts other drowned ladies in the area hoping for a meal of their own.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the drowned lady must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, the blood established a hold on the opponent. The drowned lady's grip is very elastic and it gains a +8 bonus on this grapple check.

Envelop (Ex): If a drowned lady successfully grapples a larger opponent, it envelops the creature's hand or foot. The victim must then make a DC 16 Swim check each turn the drowned lady maintains its hold to stay above water.

Notes: I changed the drowned lady's Envelop attack to make it an Improved Grab followed by a grapple check to bring it into line with other 3.5e D&D creatures with similar abilities. I also gave the creature the Skill Augmentation (Listen and Spot) feat.

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