(So much more than just another bloke in a dress.)
“It is true, is it not, leechling, that we take after our pets?”
“A dog for example picks up my habits and serves me, and for my part, my habits sometimes reflect his. I feel he knows what I am thinking. In short, we grow close.”
“I do not understand master. Let me stop sucking this boiled finger and give you my full attention.”
“Let us suppose this closeness could take a step further. Could pets eventually take after their masters in more ways than one?”
“Mmm. An interesting conjecture lord sire great one.”
“Your habits revolt me, stitchling. Take yourself out of my sight, and strap yourself to the punishment chair whilst I think further upon this issue. I will deal with you in due course.”
It is true that we are the product of our environment, and taking a high fantasy theory to its extreme, it is possible that prolonged exposure to a specific race or type of creature could eventually rub off on those around it. A salamander’s followers, for example, would grow unnaturally used to heat; thralls kept in a frost giant steading could grow immune to the effects of the cold; and so on…
Take this idea one step further, and we have an interesting possibility for exploration: that of creatures over generations becoming like their followers or vice versa.
This example uses trolls as its base creature. Over generations of exposure, the animals and other creatures they keep grow similar to them, inheriting their habits and ways as well as a little of the trollishness that makes them what they are.
Using this idea, we can create a simple template that can be inherited by creatures that have lived in close proximity. The first example below details a wolverine from an ancient troll line of pet wolverines whose race has grown trollish over the centuries. The second gives a method to use this simple template in an adventure, and the third expands this into a potential adventure path.
Perhaps, instead, it is more than simple proximity that causes this and that such templates occur more readily in areas of wild magic and at the boundaries of strong elemental junctions.
As ever, use this simple template to spice up an encounter, to create a fun new sub-race of creatures, or as the basis for further adventures—perhaps to discover why this is happening…
Simple Template: Troll-Touched Creature (+1CR)
Creatures with the troll-touched template are uglier and stronger than their normal kin. Their skin takes on a greenish tinge, and their mouths may develop tusks.
Quick Rules: +2 to all rolls based on Str or Con, +2 hp/HD, −1 penalty on all rolls made for Dex. Regeneration 3.
Rebuild Rules: AC increase natural armor by +2; Attacks increase dice rolled by 1 step; Ability Scores +4 size bonus to Str and Con, −2 Dex. Regeneration 3.
Encounter: The Troll Poachers
Use the troll-touched template for an unexpected twist to an encounter. Two trolls, Festwin and Grath, poach venison in this region of wilderness. They have set up a series of traps (whatever type you wish, but bear-traps make a good choice) and wander a well-trod path between simple resting places that are, in essence, little more than ruined barns. These barns, however, have plenty of clues that trolls are about and perhaps even the odd, well-hidden piece of treasure.
The troll brothers do everything together and hunt with the aid of a troll-touched wolverine named the Scar of Trabe, a vicious little horror that has some troll blood in it.
Trolls (2) CR 5
hp 63 (see Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary)
The Scar of Trabe: Troll-Touched Wolverine (CR 3)
This wolverine is huge and has a most peculiar greenish tinge to the skin beneath its mangy fur. A pair of tusks juts from its crooked maw, and its eyes look at you with the look of something deranged.
N Medium animal
Init +2; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +10
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (+1 Dex, +4 natural, −1 size)
hp 28 (3d8+15); regeneration 3
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +2
Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft., climb 10 ft.
Melee 2 claws +5 (1d8+4), bite +5 (1d6+4)
Special Attacks rage
Str 19, Dex 13, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 18 (22 vs. trip)
Feats Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness
Skills Climb +12, Perception +10
Rage (Ex) When the Scar takes damage in combat, it flies into a rage on its next turn, clawing and biting madly until either it or its opponent is dead. It gains +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, and −2 to AC. The creature cannot end its rage voluntarily.
(This post is Product Identity.)