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Old Hat Monsters: Tapestry-Tainted Template

Old Hat Monsters: Tapestry-Tainted Template

The Night's Sky“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

Inspiration can be drawn from many places. In fantasy, Tolkien gets all the press, but I’ve always had a thing for the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. H.P. Lovecraft was a master of horror. As a storyteller, he understood that what lurks in the dark unseen is more terrible when it remains unknown. When that unknown is encountered, the character is inexorably altered and often marked by a form of madness. The price of confronting unknown horror is that you might just become a part of that horror.

As an old hat gamer, nothing piques my interest more then when gamers start talking about either old Call of Cthulhu or Ravenloft campaigns. These campaigns broke the formula that the players always had to “win.” A character with a memorable death or a notable descent into darkness makes a far better story than the same old paladin facing the same kind of threats into perpetuity.

The Dark Tapestry in the Pathfinder setting has potential to capture some of that mystique.  Unfortunately, it’s all potential and little crunch. Perhaps as a nod to H.P. Lovecraft, we get very little to no information on what kind of creatures dwell in that endless void aside from names like Yog-Sothoth. That isn’t going to change by my hand.

Today’s Old Hat Monsters article is about creatures that have witnessed or been exposed to powers from the Dark Tapestry. Tapestry-tainted monsters have been broken and remolded into a paradox: They are broken yet strong, they are more and less, they are clever and mad. This template works well with the advanced simple template or the mutated template. Join me after the jump if you dare—after all, the mind is a fragile thing unprepared for certain truths.

Tapestry-tainted is a (CR +2) template available to any creature that has an Intelligence score and that is not an outsider. Tapestry-tainted is an acquired template that strengthens what shall be referred to as the base creature. The template can be gained by reading tomes with certain connections to the Dark Tapestry, through a cult of a Dark Tapestry god that has sacrificed to their deity for such a purpose, though exposure to the death of a tapestry-tainted creature, or by divining into corners of the unknown that are better left unexplored.

CR: Same as the base creature +2.

Alignment: Changes to chaotic neutral.

Type: The base creature’s type changes to outsider. It gains the augmented subtype. Do not recalculate BAB, saves, or skill ranks.

Size: A tapestry-tainted creature is treated as a creature the same size as the base creature, even when using its size is meaningless ability.

Senses: As the base creature, plus darkvision 60 ft. and blindsight 30 ft.

AC: A tapestry-tainted creature gains a +4 to natural armor due to extensive scar tissue.

Hit Dice: Change the base creature’s racial Hit Dice to d8s. All Hit Dice derived from class levels remain unchanged.

Defensive Abilities: A tapestry-tainted creature retains all of the base creature’s defensive abilities and special qualities. It also gains the following additional defensive abilities.

Size is meaningless: A tapestry-tainted creature has seen how meaningless and small they are compared to the vast Dark Tapestry and thus it can gain the benefits of a creature up to 2 size categories larger or smaller without changing size. This is a magical effect that can last up to 1 minute per Hit Dice of the base creature.

Existence is a lie: A tapestry-tainted creature can become ethereal as a supernatural ability at will. The creature simply refuses to acknowledge existence.

Immunities: The tapestry-tainted are immune to mind-affecting spells.

Special Attacks: A tapestry-tainted creature retains all of the base creature’s special attacks. It also gains the following additional special attacks.

Gibbering Truths (Ex): A tapestry-tainted creature can speak nonsense that is infectious and causes an effect similar to confusion. This attack is Will-based with the DC being determined by 10 +1 per Hit Dice of the base creature. The tapestry-tainted creature can also become confused by this effect and must also make a saving throw.

Rage (Ex): A tapestry-tainted creature may rage as a barbarian of equal level. If the base creature was already a barbarian, the number of rounds to rage is effectively doubled.

Abilities: Str +4, Con +4, Int +2, Cha –4, Wis –2

Skills: Tapestry-tainted creatures gain a +8 racial bonus to Perception and to all Knowledge checks.

Feats: Tapestry-tainted creatures gain Diehard, Iron Will, and Improved Sunder as bonus feats.

15 thoughts on “Old Hat Monsters: Tapestry-Tainted Template”

  1. This. This is what I want. I shall have to actively resist creating entire tribes of thing with this template.

    Did you look at the Dark Tapestry Oracle Mystery at all in your creation of this?

  2. Oh very cool. How about a tainted dwarf?

    “You fear to go into those mines. The dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame.” ~Saruman (The Fellowship of the Ring)

  3. Love it! The dark tapestry/great beyond/time outside of space have always been favorites of mine. I love the idea of truths to terrible for the mortal mind to stand. How about an example with racial hit dice to show us a complicated example…an ogre mage that found a blasphemous book and foolishly read what he should not have.

  4. I like the Gibbering Truths special attack, and particularly that it can affect the tapestry-tainted creature itself.

    Smooth move. :D

  5. Morgan Boehringer

    Nice work! My only problem is with the Size is Meaningless ability. I have no idea how this works. How does the creature “gain the benefits of a creature up to 2 size categories larger or smaller without changing size”; and how does the creature use this “magical effect that can last up to 1 minute per Hit Dice of the base creature.” What exactly is the effect, and is it conscious or reflex?

    Can you give an example?

  6. @John I didn’t base it off the oracle mystery which is better than I recalled when I wrote this.
    @ David that’s my favorite of the abilities as well.
    @Morgan the power means you can take the benefits of being 2 size categories larger or smaller without the flaws or even actually changing size. For example the character could gain +2 to hit, +2 to AC, and +8 to stealth without taking the -2 to combat maneuvers or having to use smaller weapons. The character would also fit thru the smaller space without appearing to be able to. It’s an intentionally weird and abusable power. Sometimes the way to horror is creating something that breaks the rules a little.

    As for the Crunch, I owe you guys 2:
    Ogre Mage and Dragon will be coming soon. I might do the kobolds and the Dwarf too we’ll see how the day goes…

  7. Following up on Morgan’s question, I presume reach and threatened area are included under the umbrella of this space-bending ability? And getting things off of high shelves? It’s cool, though taking a bit of doing to get my head around it in the non-mechanical fiction of the game.

  8. Wow. Such fun goodness. Thanks. The C-mythos has always been a favorite of mine. And i currently have a wizard in my home game who is fascinated by the Dark Tapestry. This might be fun to use in conjecture with a story and him.

    I like the dwarf idea p[resented above… mmmm, my imagination is picking up speed.

  9. Here’s the Dragon:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-y9wkqBMUcXlk1wujqxSDyiHuoDSEmR8rYoLp1wp3fc/edit?usp=sharing

    Notes: Stats reflect using size is meaningless to be treated as having the statistical advantages of a small creature and the dragon can fit into small spaces. The stats also reflect the dragon using rage. !st round it should use stealth to hide into something small then dramatically attack in full rage mode against the strongest fighter. Once the fighter is down go for the backline.

    Here’s the Ogre Mage:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ORJP0uV5jOskYxXm4JAhof9a8p9ZDK73E79d-esdF-M/edit?usp=sharing

    The Oni is being treated as 2 sizes larger but is not immediately raging. It will use grapple and flight to drop foes, rage to gain additional strength and trample, but first it likes to cone of cold to soften then some arrow fire before closing.

    With 9 comments and counting I’ll get to the dwarf soon

  10. It’s really too bad that this template has such a huge hit to Cha, and even to Wis. I mean, the most perfect NPC to put this one is an oracle of the dark tapestry. Maybe he or she tapped into it too much, and was cursed. However, with the -4 Cha, you most definitely wouldn’t want to do that because they’d essentially become useless by that same amount seeing as how oracles are Charisma-based.

  11. @ Morgan, I like the idea of small creatures using the reach of large or large creatures with a good stealth bonus and the ability to occupy small spaces. It is indeed the big guns in this template because it can throw off a party’s expectations.

    @Derek, for game balance reasons I threw some flaws. Cha made sense to me because of the idea that at least a person is going to get withdrawn have crazy wide eyes and mutter allot to themselves. Wis made sense because the mundane common sense stuff is unimportant once you’ve seen something so beyond yourself. Plus they are a little insane.

    I pictured a wizard finding the necronomicon or a captured monster being infused with power by a cult of the old gods and released on an unsuspecting city. A fighter killing a cultist who speaks a curse with his death and the fighter gets haunted with dreams until he goes mad. Oracle never really crossed my mind, they strike me more as the ones in charge and this being more of a minion trap, or pathway to power for a wizard or witch (this template would be awesome on a witch.)

    Crunchwise- I owe this section a dwarf which I’ll deliver later today. I’m also considering making more tapestry themed templates like perhaps a tapestry enlightened template? Would the crowd like a sequel?

  12. I for one would love to see your take on someone enlightened by the Dark Tapestry. Might someone be broken by the brutal law found between the stars as well? Absolute zero cold, the opposite when unprotected from the sun, no air, instant death.

  13. Thank you for the monster write-ups! Oh my that Oni is a killer. Between the “size manipulation”, invis at will and ethereal at will, that is one tough BBG. Great job!

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