Publication:Dread Codex/Monsters/Canine Skulker
|This material is published under the OGL|
|Hit Dice:||3d12 (19 hp)|
|Armor Class:||16 (+2 Dex, +4 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 14|
|Attack:||Bite +4 melee (1d6+4 plus paralysis)|
|Full Attack:||Bite +4 melee (1d6+4 plus paralysis)|
|Space/Reach:||5 ft./5 ft.|
|Special Attacks:||Ghoul Fever, Howl, Paralysis, Trip|
|Special Qualities:||Darkvision 60 ft, Low-Light Vision, Scent, Undead Traits|
|Saves:||Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +5|
|Abilities:||Str 15, Dex 15, Con —, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12|
|Skills:||Hide +5, Jump +4, Listen +10, Move Silently +10, Search +5, Spot +7, Survival +6*, Swim +3|
|Feats:||Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (bite)|
|Alignment:||Always chaotic evil|
|Advancement:||4-9 HD (Medium)|
This creature was clearly once a living dog, but that time is long past. A pale glow emanates from its eye sockets and whitebrown fur is stuck in scruffy tufts across its mostly skeletal body. Jagged, sharp teeth are bared as the canine growls loudly. Canine skulkers prowl the lands of the living in an eternal hunt for prey. The first skulkers were actual hunting dogs buried with their master. When a lich was slain atop their burial ground, the creature’s necromantic energies seeped into the ground and animated the dogs as skulkers. Since that day centuries past, the canine skulkers have done the only thing they were trained to do — hunt and kill. Their improved mental faculties and special powers are a direct result of the lich energies which accidentally birthed them.
Canine skulkers are a great deal more intelligent than their living counterparts, and arrange to attack from surprise whenever possible. They secretly shadow their chosen victims for days, waiting for the right moment to strike. When they are ready to attack, they unleash their fearsome howls and rush their victims en masse.
Canine skulkers are utterly fearless, attacking no matter how large and dangerous their opponents. Once they have caught the scent of prey, nothing short of their own destruction can deter them from the hunt. Much like humanoid ghouls, the bite of a canine skulker causes paralysis. Those paralyzed are quickly overwhelmed by the undead pack and torn to pieces.
Ghoul Fever (Su): In most cases, packs of canine skulkers devour their victims. One the occasion that they do not, however, their victims run the risk of being exposed to the terrible disease carried by their bite.
Ghoul fever — bite, Fortitude DC 12, incubation 1 day, damage 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Con. The save DC is Charisma-based.
An afflicted humanoid or canine that dies of ghoul fever rises as a Ghoul or a canine skulker, respectively, at the next midnight. A creature that becomes a ghoul or a canine skulker in this way retains none of the abilities it possessed in life. It is not under the control of any other ghouls or canine stalkers, but it hungers for the flesh of the living and behaves like other ghouls or canine skulkers in all respects.
Howl (Su): When a canine skulker howls, all living creatures within a 180-foot spread must succeed at a DC 12 Will save or be stunned for 1 round and shaken for 2d4 rounds thereafter. Whether or not the save is successful, an affected creature is immune to the same canine skulker’s howl for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Trip (Ex): A canine skulker that hits with its bite attack can attempt to trip its opponent (+3 check modifier) as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the trip attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the canine skulker.
Skills: Canine skulkers have a +2 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks and a +4 racial bonus on Move Silently and Search checks. *When tracking by scent, they have a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks.
None — As undead dogs, canine skulkers have no need or desire for money or equipment of any kind, preferring to use their own abilities to rend victims limb from limb.
In Your Campaign
A successful Knowledge (arcana) check (DC 20) allows a character to know that properly treating a canine skulker’s tail bone (at least a one-inch fragment) grants the bearer a +2 resistance bonus to saves against paralysis by a Ghoul, Ghast, or Canine Skulker. This magic item is called an anti-paralysis pendant: CL 6th; Craft Wondrous Item, creator must have a canine skulker tail bone; Price 4,000 gp.
The canine skulker’s lichly origins may grant more than elevated mental faculties. Perhaps a few skulkers have limited spell ability. Adding a spell-like ability like "3/day — obscuring mist (as 3rd-level caster)" enhances the skulker's hunting prowess and does not affect the CR.