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.
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.