Publication:Dread Codex/Monsters/Soulless One
|This material is published under the OGL|
This eerie form is like living shadows cloaked in tattered scarlet shrouds. Flashing eyes highlight an otherwise dark face with indistinguishable features.
Soulless ones are powerful undead spirits driven by lament and hatred of the living. They are surrounded by bitterly-chilling auras, but generate no frost or other visual manifestations of cold. They move slowly and gracefully, passing confidently through objects and touching their fingertips to their enemies.
Soulless ones are the products of unbearable lament, the spirits of stillborn children who were taken by darkness. These spirits are raised by evil entities, learning to hate the living and grant strength to undead. They search for other spirits to capture, and protect the interests of the dead. Some act as elite agents of the beings who raised them, sent to slay hunters of undead, retrieve artifacts of evil power, or otherwise fulfill dangerous tasks.
Soulless ones speak no languages.
A soulless one rarely needs to enter melee, slaying opponents with its gaze before they have a chance to engage it. When forced into a genuine fight, a soulless one relies on its auras to weaken or kill its foes, but can only rarely inflict serious damage with its touch attack. Therefore, a soulless one who fights powerful opponents will usually retreat and gather undead allies before fighting again.
Hypothermia (Ex): A creature who takes damage from a soulless ones touch attack must succeed on a DC 18 Fortitude save or suffer the effects of hypothermia. Treat the creature as fatigued. The penalties end when the creature is healed of all cold damage caused by the soulless one (including damage from its frigid aura, and damage taken after the creature succumbs to hypothermia). The save DC is Charisma-based.
Death Gaze (Su): Death, 30 feet, Fortitude DC 18 negates. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Frigid Aura (Ex): A soulless one constantly radiates a field of extreme cold in a 25-ft. radius. Each round a creature is within this area, it must succeed on a DC 18 Fortitude save or suffer 1d6 points of cold damage. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Unholy Aura (Su): Evil creatures within a 25-ft. radius of a soulless one (including the soulless one itself) are protected by the effects of an unholy aura spell (caster level 15th). The deflection and resistance bonuses from the aura are calculated into the soulless one's statistics. The unholy aura can be dispelled, but the soulless one can create it again on its next turn as a free action.
Unhallowed Presence (Su): A soulless one exudes an unholy effect similar to that of an unhallow spell. Within 25 feet of the soulless one, all turning checks to turn undead suffer a -4 profane penalty and turning checks to rebuke undead gain a +4 profane bonus. This is in addition to the soulless one's turn resistance.
None — Soulless ones are less likely to have treasure around it than most encountered undead. If the soulless one has a habit of staying in one place, then the corpses that litter its lair might be sources of treasure.
In Your Campaign
Some undead are powerful, others are creepy, and then there are those like the soulless ones that cover both categories. This monster is guaranteed to throw fear into the hearts of players and characters alike if used under the right conditions. These undead need an appropriately spooky place to hang out in order to do so. You should feel free to turn the lights down low for an adventure featuring a soulless one. And while they don't speak languages (which in itself can be creepy), it might serve the fear factor more if they had some kind of shared noise. If you hunker down behind the GM's screen and whisper something like, "Shanasss" as the soulless one manifests (or attacks), it can give you that extra fear-inspiring mile.
The origins of the soulless one lie with a young woman who once carried the child of a purportedly-celibate priest. Angry that his sin might be exposed to his superiors, the priest attacked and nearly killed the young woman. Days later, she gave premature birth to a stillborn child, who was taken by the "Dark Ones" to become the very first soulless one. Every hundred years, it returns to the material plane and slays three of the same priest's clergy in a random temple over the course of three nights.
The Dark Ones can be whatever you want them to be — extraplanar baddies, an undead deity (and its secretive cult), or even other undead like liches. This sinister group takes in not only stillborn children but other wayward souls in their efforts to produce powerfully evil undead minions. Whether left on their own (like the soulless ones) or given specific missions, these products of the Dark Ones' power are still susceptible to being recalled to their master's side at a moment's notice.
Perfect Recall (Int)
For creatures that live thousands of years, it is essential that they learn how to remember things clearly, and how to sort through a lifetime of memories.
Check: A creature can make a Perfect Recall check to remember an event from long ago in vivid detail, with incredible accuracy.
|Remember an Event From...||DC|
|1 year ago||10|
|4 years ago||15|
|20 years ago||20|
|100 years ago||25|
|500 years ago||30|
The importance of the memory can make it easier or harder to recall.
|Perfect Recall Importance||DC|
|Trivial; the food at a particular, but uneventful breakfast||+10|
|Minor; the name of an acquaintance or co-worker||+5|
|Somewhat; the name of a casual friend or the layout of a previous home||+0|
|Very; the name of a lover or a close friend, or the circumstances of a life-altering battle||-5|
|Extreme; the exact words of a mortal enemy’s dying curse, or the hiding place of an artifact||-10|