Publication:Dread Codex/Monsters/Flame Servant
|This material is published under the OGL|
|Size/Type:||Medium Undead (Fire)|
|Hit Dice:||8d12 (52 hp)|
|Armor Class:||16 (+6 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 16|
|Attack:||Slam +7 melee (1d6+4 plus 1d6 fire)|
|Full Attack:||Slam +7 melee (1d6+4 plus 1d6 fire)|
|Space/Reach:||5 ft./5 ft.|
|Special Attacks:||Burn Item, Fire Cone, Heat Aura|
|Special Qualities:||Darkvision 60 Ft., Immunity to Fire, Undead Traits, Vulnerability To Cold|
|Saves:||Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +6|
|Abilities:||Str 16, Dex 10, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 3|
|Advancement:||9-12 HD (Medium); 13-18 HD (Large)|
This humanoid figure resembles a burning corpse, painted with runes and wrapped with cloth around its arms and torso. Its skin is black and charred, its scent is oily and thick, and black smoke pours constantly from its extremities. The creature walks slowly, flaking off dark ashes and leaving scorched earth in its wake.
Born from dark necromancy, flame servants are tools of violence and hatred. Every flame servant is created by a spellcaster to complete a particular task. The task is set when the flame servant is created, and even its master cannot alter its instructions. The task must be straightforward, involve a particular person, object, or location, and have a specific end goal. Thus, a flame servant could not be told to guard a room against intruders indefinitely, or to seek out and destroy all members of a particular race, but it could be asked to retrieve an object, destroy a building, or to stop a specific individual from entering an area.
Its creator imbues the flame servant with the knowledge necessary to complete its task, and the flame servant mindlessly acts as instructed. Once a flame servant succeeds its task, it crumbles into ash.
A flame servant is driven by its appointed task, and does not tolerate interference. Anyone who impedes the servant in achieving its goal is attacked. Usually, a flame servant uses its fire cone to open combat, then proceeds to enter melee. A flame servant ends its attack as soon as its opponents flee or are destroyed.
Burn Item (Su): A flame servant can burn or melt any weapon or item of Large size or smaller by grasping the item in its hands. The flame servant must make a successful disarm attempt to grab an item held by an opponent. The item is entitled to a DC 14 Fortitude save to resist destruction. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Fire Cone (Su): Every 4 rounds, a flame servant can produce a 30-foot cone of ash, smoke, and flames from its hands. Creatures within the cone when it erupts take 8d6 points of fire damage (Reflex DC 14 half). The smoke and ash remain in the air for 1d4 rounds thereafter, granting creatures within the area concealment against creatures 5 feet away, and total concealment against creatures 10 or more feet away. The smoke does not obscure the flame servant's vision. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Heat Aura (Su): A flame servant exudes an enormous amount of heat. Any creature within 5 feet of a flame servant takes 1d6 points of fire damage per round (Fortitude DC 14 half). The save DC is Constitution-based. In addition, a flame servant's slam attack deals 1d6 points of fire damage per hit.
The creation of a flame servant is a long and taxing process and must begin no later than seven nights after the host body's death. The body is prepared by replacing its innards with leaves and wet mud, stuffing its throat with dried insect larvae, pouring fresh blood into its mouth, painting it with runes, and soaking it in oils. These special materials cost 500 gp. Preparing the body requires a DC 13 Craft (leatherworking) or Heal check, and can be done by the spellcaster or another party. After the body is readied, it must be animated through an extended magical ritual that requires a specially prepared laboratory similar to an embalmer's workshop and costing 200 gp to establish. If personally preparing the body, the creator can perform the preparations and ritual together.
The cost to create listed below includes the cost of all the materials and spell components that are consumed or become a permanent part of the flame servant.
A flame servant with more than 8 Hit Dice can be created, but each additional Hit Die adds 4,000 gp to the base price and another 50 gp to the market price. The price increases by 20,000 gp if the creature's size increases to Large, or 50,000 gp if the creature's size increases to Huge. The cost to create is modified accordingly.
CL 14th; Craft Construct, Spell Focus (necromancy), burning hands, create undead, fire shield, caster must be at least 14th level; Price 60,900 gp; Cost to Create 30,900 gp + 2,400 XP.
None — flame servants do not carry treasure (for obvious reasons). However, enterprising PCs who can discover the construction method for the flame servant could be paid quite a bit by necromancers who have just learned of the creature's existence.
In Your Campaign
Arguably more expensive and costly than a standard golem, the flame servant is the necromancer's answer to constructs. Unfortunately, it is a very poor answer. Used only by those infatuated with death and/or fire, the flame servant requires a high level caster, can only perform a single task, and is not universally effective in any terrain like standard golems. While a flame servant is cheaper in terms of raw materials, the price increases dramatically due to the necessary spells. So, why would a necromancer create one? That's a question you, as GM, need to answer before inserting one into a campaign. There are a few missions where a flame servant can come in handy:
- Wholesale destruction: While golems can effectively smash their way through obstacles, the flame servant can light them on fire with a touch. Should the necromancer (or his employer) want to eradicate trees, crops, homes, or merchandise-filled warehouses, the flame servant is a good buy.
- Fiery retrieval: Sometimes treasures are hidden where no creature would waste effort looking for it — active volcanoes, lava tubes, etc. The flame servant has the luxury of time when searching such locations for the treasure. Spells, equipment, and even patience fade during a search, but the flame servant's singular mind and fire immunity do not.
- Anonymous assassination: When someone wants a person eliminated, they commonly turn to a thieves' guild or trained assassin. Such entities, while effective at their trade, all too often leave a clue that can be traced back to the source. Words misspoken or identifying markings on the part of the assassin all potentially endanger his employer. On the other hand, a flame servant, successful or not, leaves only a pile of ash and many questions.
Maybe your campaign is currently distanced from hot or tropical locales. Fortunately, the flame servant's powers are easily enough turned to the opposite extreme. For more arctic climates, you can use the above statistics with the modifications below to unleash the "chill servant" on your PCs.
- The basics stay the same (Hit Dice, AC, attack, and damage mounts), but all references to fire are replaced with cold. A chill servant gains the cold subtype (instead of fire) and thus cold immunity and fire vulnerability.
- To preserve the same cost to create, a cold-related 1st-level spell must replace burning hands. This is called torpor and can be found in the Spells section later in this supplement. Also, in the construction section of the entry, replace "wet mud" with "wet snow."
- The Fire Cone (Su) ability changes to Chill Cone (Su): Every 4 rounds, a chill servant can produce a 30-foot cone of numbing arctic winds and snow from its hands. Creatures within the cone when it erupts suffer a -1d3-5 penalty to Dexterity (Fortitude DC 14 half). The snow squall remain in the air for 1d4 rounds thereafter, granting creatures within the area concealment against creatures 5 feet away, and total concealment against creatures 10 or more feet away. The snow does not obscure the chill servant's vision. The save DC is Constitution-based.
- The Heat Aura (Su) ability changes to Cold Aura (Su): A chill servant exudes an enormous amount of cold. Any creature within 5 feet of a chill servant takes 1d6 points of cold damage per round (Fortitude DC 14 half). The save DC is Constitution-based. In addition, a chill servant's slam attack deals 1d6 points of cold damage per hit.
- The Burn Item (Su) ability changes to Freeze Item (Su): A chill servant can freeze and shatter any weapon or item of Large size or smaller by grasping the item in its hands. The chill servant must make a successful disarm attempt to grab an item held by an opponent. The item is entitled to a DC 14 Fortitude save to resist destruction. The save DC is Constitution-based.