Monday, January 3, 2011

General Rules: Monsters - Stonestrider

Stonestrider (from Hammer & Helm: A Guidebook to Dwarves)
Large Elemental (Earth)

Hit Dice: 8d8+24 (60 hit points)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 feet, climb 20 feet
Armor Class: 19 (-1 size, +10 natural); touch 9, flat-footed 19
BAB/Grapple: +6/+17
Attack: Slam +12 melee (1d8+10 and etherealness, bludgeoning, 20 x2)
Full Attack: Slam +12 melee (1d8+10 and etherealness, bludgeoning, 20 x2)
Space/Reach: 5 feet by 10 feet/5 feet
Special Attacks: Ethereal push
Special Qualities: Darkvision 90 feet, elemental, enveloping mount, ethereal stride, meld into stone
Saves: Fortitude +9, Reflex +2, Will +3
Abilities: Str 24, Int 2, Wis 12, Dex 10, Con 16, Cha 10
Skills: Listen +7, Spot +7
Feats: Power Attack
Environment: Any underground
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 9 - 16 Hit Dice (Huge); 17 - 25 Hit Dice (Gargantuan)

Stonestriders are elemental creatures often used by elite dwarven cavalry. Their strange connection to the Shadow Realm also makes them excellent mounts for scouts and ambush parties despite their slow speed. Dwarves have long used stonestriders to carry messages or undertake scouting missions through dangerous areas, especially those in danger of collapsing.
A stonestrider looks much like a four-legged stone spider with one featureless ovoid body section. Although it can navigate in any direction with ease, it generally keeps the long axis of its body oriented "forward". A stonestrider has no head, mouth, or other appreciable features, although some specimens appear pitted and worn down after long absence from the Elemental Plane of Earth. the top of a stonestrider's body stands about 5 feet off the ground, but its five-jointed legs arch up an additional foot or so.
The stonestrider's strange legs allow it to navigate narrow areas as if it were a Medium creature (the approximate size of its ovoid body) in the rare instances wen it cannot simply meld into stone or turn elemental.

Stonestriders are almost never encountered without dwarven riders or a band of dwarf scouts. Those few that are found alone seldom attack, but fight back if threatened. When in combat, dwarves riding stonestriders try to meld into stone and wait for a chance to strike at the leader of their foes. They often set ambushes at strange angles, dropping on foes from above, appearing suddenly out of cliff faces, or reaching up from a featureless cavern floor.

Ethereal Push (Su): An opponent hit by a stonestrider's slam attack must succeed at a DC 15 Fortitude save or be forced into the Shadow Realm. The opponent remains in the Shadow Realm for 1d4 rounds, unable to interact with the physical world; follow the restrictions described in the ethereal jaunt spell.

Enveloping Mount (Su): Stonestriders are not ridden like normal mounts, but flow their semi-malleable bodies around a trusted rider. The stonestrider must take a full round actions to initiate or end this ability. While enveloped, the rider gains a +4 cover bonus to Armor Class. An attack that misses the rider within the margin provided by the cover bonus instead hits the stonestrider provided that the attack roll is at least equal to the stonestrider's Armor Class. The rider must depend upon the stonestrider for movement, just as if riding a normal mount, but needs no saddle. The rider follows all the other normal rules for mounted combat, including making Concentration checks to cast spells if the stonestrider moves more than its speed, being limited to partial actions if it moves more than 5 feet, and suffering penalties to ranged attacks while moving. A stonestrider can use its meld into stone ability only twice per day while enveloping a rider, as the spell cast by a 6th level cleric. It can make no physical attacks of its own while enveloping a rider.

Ethereal Stride (Su): Once per day, a stonestrider can become ethereal as the ethereal jaunt spell cast by a 10th level cleric. A stonestrider may use this ability while carrying a rider with its enveloping mount ability.

Meld into Stone (Sp): Stonestriders can meld into stone as the spell as a standard action. A stonestrider can use this ability at will and maintain its melded state indefinitely unless it is using is enveloping mount ability.

Elemental: Immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, and stunning; not subject to critical hits or flanking. Elementals do not eat, sleep, or breathe. Cannot be raised, reincarnated, or resurrected except by limited wish, wish, miracle, or true resurrection.

Training a Stonestrider
Even though it is an elemental, it is possible to train a stonestrider like an animal. Training a stonestrider as a mount requires a successful Handle Animal check with a DC of 34 for a young creatures or a DC of 39 for an adult. Dwarves gain a +4 racial bonus on Handle Animal and Ride checks made to control or strain a stonestrider.

Stonestriders are formed of the magical essence of earth, but are not necessarily native to the Elemental Plane of Earth. those native to the Three Worlds are trainable but difficult to locate. Each is worth 7,000 shillings. Professional trainers charge 3,000 shillings to rear or train a stonestrider.

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