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KotM2 Fight! Palaver

Posted In Articles, Front Page, Monsters | 8 comments

palaverWelcome to the King of the Monsters 2 finals (see the list of finalists): the palaver is random finalist 2 of 10. These submissions are left almost entirely as they were received with the exceptions that all submissions are posted with an image and are standardized to KoboldQuarterly.com style. Let the fight commence!

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This pale snake has three heads and three human faces, each a mask of sincerity. Its breath reeks of manure.

Palaver are pathetic demons formed from the souls of shameless flatterers; evil courtiers, self-serving advisors, and vile bureaucrats. Their powers are dangerous to mortals, yet useless before other fiends, who find their eloquent pleas for mercy hilarious. They cower in great pools of boiling excrement, hoping for some mischievous glabrezu or hapless summoner to pluck them out and whisk them away to the material plane, where their forked tongues might hold sway over living hearts once more…

Palaver (CR 4)

XP 1,200
CE Small outsider (chaotic, demon, evil, extraplanar)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10

DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 14 (+2 dex, +1 dodge, +3 natural, +1 size)
hp 45 (6d10+12)
Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +6
Defensive Abilities DR 5/cold iron or good; Immune electricity, poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10, fire 10

OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee 3 bites +7 (1d4 plus poison)
Special Attacks fiendish appeal, insidious tongue
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)
At will—detect good, glibness, undetectable alignment

STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 16
Base Atk +6; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Toughness
Skills Acrobatics +10, Bluff +16, Diplomacy +16, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (planes) +12, Knowledge (any one other) +12, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +19, Swim +11; Racial Modifier: +8 Acrobatics, +4 Bluff, +4 Diplomacy, +4 Stealth; modifies Swim with Dexterity
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Elven; telepathy 100 ft.

TACTICS
Before Combat Palaver can rarely resist coaxing friendly creatures into combat. If uncertain of the outcome, they will watch the battle from hiding (fully prepared to bemoan their cowardice later on).

During Combat A palaver leaps at the chance to bore deeper into a mortal’s psyche by offering “assistance” in battle. It tries to stay behind allies but bares its fangs to defend itself.

Morale A palaver flees as soon as it is alone or injured. If it can, it tries to switch sides in a losing battle, using its powers to benefit its foes.

ECOLOGY
Environment any marsh or swamp (abyss)
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Fiendish Appeal (Su) As a standard action, a palaver may beseech an adjacent creature with persuasion and praise, combined with vigorous undulations meant to approximate some sort of bowing. This effect, which varies depending on which head is speaking, can be resisted with a DC 16 Will save (but remember that any creature can fail a save voluntarily). All are mind-affecting, language-dependant compulsions and work only on mortal humanoids.

Flattery—The first head heaps extravagant praise upon the subject’s virtues, providing a +4 morale bonus to one ability score for 1 round (or longer, if the palaver keeps using this ability). However, once the flattery stops the target not only loses this bonus but takes 4 points of ability damage to that score.

Ill Council—Murmuring what seems like profound advice, the second head convinces its target to attempt a specific action. This works like the suggestion spell, except that the effect lasts only one round, and the target also gains a +2 morale bonus to any d20 rolls made in pursuit of that action.

Lies—Weeping, groveling, and swearing loyalty, the third head convinces a hostile target to spare its pitiful existence (treat this as a sanctuary effect).

Insidious Tongues (Sp) Any creature who fails 10 consecutive saves against the palaver’s fiendish appeal ability becomes charmed, as the spell charm person. This effect lasts until dispelled or until the palaver is destroyed.

Poison (Su) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 14; frequency 1/round for 3 rounds; effect 1d4 Wis (first head) or 1d4 Int (second head) or blinded 1 round (third head); cure 1 save

Typical Characteristics

Once on the material plane, a palaver seeks the trust and pity of mortals. When faced with an educated mind, it does not deny its abyssal origins; in fact, it describes how horrible the lower planes are, and how wonderful it is to be back in the presence of the glorious living. They portray themselves as victims, damned through elaborate accident and tragedy, and if that doesn’t work, they confess their deceitful nature and howl for forgiveness. They are the most craven of liars, blubbering and apologizing profusely for falsehoods abandoned even as they invent fresh ones to take their place.

Once in a position of such power, malice wars with cowardice. Palaver crave security and loath being alone, yet the more trust it earns the more tempting betrayal becomes. Often, a palaver’s thralls are driven into combat with adventurers just so it can watch them die from the shadows and then introduce itself to its new potential companions.

(This post is Product Identity.)

    8 Comments

  1. Wow, this one is pretty original. Good stuff.

    Glen H

    August 23, 2010

  2. I like it as well. There must be a circle of hell for bureacrats 🙂

    Darkjoy

    August 23, 2010

  3. Love this. Very well rendered, unique creature. Already thinking of ways to use this one.

    David Nett

    August 23, 2010

  4. This is great. No town office in Katapesh and Kaer Maga will be complete without one.

    Trevor Gulliver

    August 23, 2010

  5. Nice story to this. Unique and interesting.

    Matthew A. Cicci

    August 23, 2010

  6. This is a damn good demon.

    Phillip Larwood

    August 23, 2010

  7. Wow, I’m glad people are digging this!! I knew it was a little odd (not a direct combat threat) and wasn’t sure how it would be received. Thanks for the kind words everyone.

    Nic Quimby

    August 24, 2010

  8. Hey Darkjoy! I think this circle in hell also includes a lot of politicians…

    Interesting monster… poisonous for both body and mind… insidious!

    Jarrod Camiré

    August 24, 2010

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