Home / Delve into the Depths in the Kobold Blog / Monday Monster: the Suffering Man

Monday Monster: the Suffering Man

Monday Monster: the Suffering Man

Here, then, is the source of the screams. A giant that has been stripped and burned, pierced and flayed until there is nothing left but a mass of weeping sores upon sores, cankers, and wounds. This suffering monstrosity stares at you with sad, lidless eyes and snorts through the hole where its nose once jutted. Its lower jaw has been removed and replaced with an iron vise of nails and a trio of narwhale horns pierce the thing’s head.

In its blistered hands is a huge great sword, its surface stained and aged. The giant leans on this huge weapon like a crutch, and over its should hangs a sack of flayed human skins.

It wheezes as it moves forward, its arthritic bones cracking as it gathers speed.

The suffering man’s only relief from his agony is to challenge opponents to the skittle game. He wagers his gold ingots against one of his opponent’s limbs.

The Suffering Man CR 9

Broken soul hill giant
CE Advanced large giant

Init -3; Senses low-light vision, Listen +2, Spot +5
Languages Giant
AC 22 (-1 size, -3 Dex, +13 natural, +3 hide armor), touch 6, flat-footed 22
hp 141 (12d8+84+toughness); DR 5/-
Fort +15, Ref +1, Will +3
Spd 20 ft.

Melee +20/+15 +3 unholy large greatsword (4d8+14/19-20×2) or
         2 slams +16/+16 (1d4+8)
Ranged +6 rock (2d6+8)
Base Atk +7; Grp +21

Atk Options throw rock
Str 27, Dex 4, Con 25, Int 6, Wis 8, Cha 1
SA agonized wail, baleful gaze, tortuous touch, rock throwing
SQ Damage reduction 5/-, low-light vision, resistances (5 acid, cold, electricity, fire and sonic), rock-catching

Feats Cleave, Diehard, Endurance, Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Improved Sunder, Toughness, Weapon Focus (great sword)
Skills Climb +8, Intimidation +3, Jump +8, Listen +2, Spot +5

Possessions The Punisher of Liars (+3 unholy large greatsword), sack made from sewn human flesh containing 6 gold ingots (worth 300 gp each), a game of skittles played using sewn human limbs and a boar skull, eight heavy rocks for throwing carved to look like screaming faces, rolls of wire with hefty cobbler’s needles pushed through, a large mattock covered in blood at one end, and an iron maiden.

Agonized Wail (Ex): As a standard action, the Suffering Man can emit an agonized wail that inspires terror in every creature within 120 feet that has fewer than 12 hit dice. Each opponent must make a DC 13 Will save or become shaken. This condition lasts until the affected opponent is out of range. A successful saving throw renders an opponent immune to the Suffering Man’s wail for 1 minute.

Baleful Gaze (Su): Any creature within 60 feet that meets the Suffering Man’s gaze must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or take 1d4 Strength drain, 1d4 points of Constitution drain, and 1d4 points of Charisma drain. The creature cannot be affected by the Suffering Man’s baleful gaze again for 1 minute.

Rock Throwing (Ex): The Suffering Man is an accomplished rock-thrower. He can hurl a rock up to five increments (increment range 120 feet).

Rock Catching (Ex): The Suffering Man can catch projectiles similar to those above. Once per round he can try to catch a rock thrown at him. This requires a DC 15 Reflex save for 40-50 pound rock, or a DC 20 Reflex save for one of 60 to 80 pounds. The Suffering Man must be aware of the attack to catch a rock.

Tortuous Touch (Su): The Suffering Man can deliver a tortuous touch with a successful melee touch attack. The creature struck by this attack must succeed a DC 13 Fortitude save or take 2d6 points of slashing damage and 1d6 points of Dexterity damage. Furthermore, the affected creature immediately falls prone and lies convulsing and helpless for 1d4 rounds.

The Suffering Man’s Game

The game is played using the character’s throwing ability – the skittles are set 60 feet away and the boar skull is used as the bowl. While the giant can easily hurl the skull, characters make attacks at –2, and its increment for them is 20 feet. Furthermore, the skittles are afraid of the giant and move away from attacks by others. Characters knock over one skittle if they hit AC 20, two if they hit AC 21 and so on up to 27, which knocks all 8 skittles over. For the giant, the skittles start at AC 18.

Using the Suffering Man in your adventures
The Suffering Man can be used in a variety of situations; a guardian in hell, a mascot of some terrible giant tribe or the some twisted city moneylender’s favorite debt collector for some twisted city moneylender. Here are a few other ideas:

The Twisted Servant
Broken by centuries of his mistresses’ cruelty, the Suffering Man wanders the lonely tors above her sunken labyrinthine halls and is her first line of defense.

The broken soul hill giant guards the upper caverns above the Well of Dark Wishes, beyond whose terrible depths she lives in undeath. While she lived, the Mistress of Long Suffering (female lich wizard 19) was held captive by giants, and her sickening half-giant children — now long since dead — still attend to her every whim. Scores of tormented and broken soul giants, ettins and titans prostrate themselves at her feet and carry out her every wish. Scores of impaled zombie giants line the walls of her dark lair as testament to her short temper and hatred.
Information on half-giants is contained within Kobold Ecologies Volume 1.

The Leader
The orcs follow it. They dare not, in truth, do anything else. Mounting their owlbear steeds they march to war behind the banner of the Suffering King. The army is growing, and giants are now flocking to the Suffering King’s banner – believing him to be the incarnation of the ancient giant hero Jarl Wolfgrim.

As the army spreads across the land it soon leaves the wilderness behind and begins to encounter the villages of men and gnomes that lie on the edges of the wilds.

The Outcast
Achray Forest spreads across the whole of the North – cloaking the upper flanks of the Great Mountain in its impenetrable green folds.

The beasts stay away from this forest. Even the birds do not venture there, for, hiding from the sight of all things is the Suffering Man – a parody of life that escaped some hellish prison decades ago and who has made the forest its home.

The forest offers by far the quickest way across the North, and to be sure of reaching the port before winter to complete their mission, the brave heroes have but one choice – face the journey through Acray or fail.

The Suffering Man is derived from the “Ecology of the Hill Giant” article in Kobold Quarterly #10: Pick up your copy today.

Open Game License for Suffering Man

9 thoughts on “Monday Monster: the Suffering Man”

  1. Wolfgang/Richard – Possibly the coolest monster (and encounter) I have (ever?) seen. This is what makes KQ rock. Thanks for this.

    (oh and wolfgang, I did notice you mentioning the site on paizo, thanks!)

  2. Alexander Kuhl

    I absolutely love this kind of writeup — an cool premise with three ways to use it in a campaign. Best of all, the Suffering King’s got an interesting angle regardless of whether I use him as a combat or roleplaying encounter, which is really useful to me as a DM.

    He’s enticing enough to build an adventure around, and that’s really all I care about. This is awesome and I would like to see more like this.

  3. On a semi-related note, I had an idea a while ago to include a truly gigantic giant in a campaign, I mean 60-80′ or more tall, that is extremely umm challenged. His intellect is barely above animal intelligence but he was used by evil humanoids to wreak havok on other races. He, however, is not evil, more neutral with good tendencies but it has always existed in giant lands and so it only knew to get along with others you do as told. The PC’s would encounter it on accident, as it slept in the forest, hiding from other giants. One or more PC’s in the party would have a strong motivation for killing giants but this one would be a whole different can of worms because as the encounter progressed it would become apparent it did not want to hurt anyone and it itself was covered in scars and wounds. I love coming up with strange moral encounters where PC’s have to think about what to do instead of just killing things. Not that every encounter is that way but their good now and then for a deeper thinking moral challenge type of encounter. The Suffering Man made me think of this encounter I had planned but never used.

  4. I think I’d been eating a lot of cheese the night I dreamt up this poor fellow. That’s a nice idea John, love it, I’m also a big fan of giants being well, really giant:) It’s also a nicemoral take and like you, I’m a big fan of monsters having motivation (don’t get me wrong, I love making orcs completely unscrupulous as well and you can’t beat the odd mindlessly bad baddie.
    If you haven’t voted at the Ennies yet, I think you may still have time, this website is in with a chance of an award and I know Wolfgang is hoping everyone will spread the word about the mighty kobold so please help him if you can.

  5. And just to prove the point that you are not alone in making post errors, I can see at least 3 gramatical errors in my last post:)

    Time for breakfast kedgeree I fear to get the brainbox working…

  6. Richard – Already voted and KQ always gets my vote. Something unfortunate though is that I only realized late in the game that you can vote more than once? It seems somehow, unfair to vote more than once. Whether its true or not I only voted once because I didn’t want to get into the game of seeing who is more dedicated to hitting submit more than anyone else. Now, onto the subject of my unused giant encounter, thanks :) I probably would have to add something else to the encounter, either to the giant himself (some other ability or some importance he has somehow) in order to add another layer to it. Otherwise I might end up with the players going “huh” and then just trying to kill it. I was thinking how cool the impact would be on the players if I described to them that one of the pc’s climbs up over a large rock and then discovers he is standing on the giants misshapen forehead as it sleeps. That might be a stunner! lol

  7. Richard Pett, you are so delightfully twisted, I love your work. Keep it up, and i dont harp on grammer mistakes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Join the Kobold Courier and Earn Loot!

Stay informed with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox weekly. Join now and receive a PDF copy of Prepared 2!

Ghouls in a graveyard, the cover of Prepared 2

Join The Kobold Courier


Be like Swolbold. Stay up to date with the newest Kobold Press news and updates delivered to your inbox twice a month.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Scroll to Top