As we wrap up the first year of Exotic Encounters as an article here at Necromancers of the Northwest, I must say I’m very happy with what we’ve been able to do with it. We have a pretty impressive list of baddies from this year’s articles, and no small number of player races, as well. But there’s one thing we don’t have, and that’s a monster above CR 20. So, without further ado, I give you the skittering behemoth.
A hairy, bulbous black body sits atop eight spider-like legs, which move with surprising speed, despite being as thick around as tree-trunks. A pair of immense pincers, which look large enough to cut a galleon in two, extend from the front of its body, flanking a mouth-like orifice that constantly drips a sizzling grey ichor. Most unsettling of all, what appears to be a black-scaled serpent of incredible size emerges from the back of the creature like a tail. This serpentine head bobs and weaves in the air, looking for prey to crunch down on with its eight-foot fangs.
BEHEMOTH, SKITTERING CR 23
N Colossal magical beast
Init +8; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 120 ft.; Perception +30
AC 40, touch 6, flat-footed 36 (+4 Dex, +34 natural, -8 size)
hp 507 (35d10+315); regeneration 20
Fort +29, Ref +25, Will +16
Defensive Abilities unstoppable; DR 15/epic; Immune ability damage, ability drain, aging, bleed, disease, energy drain, fire, mind-affecting effects, negative levels, paralysis, permanent wounds, petrification, poison, polymorph; SR 34
Weaknesses vulnerable to miracles and wishes
Speed 30 ft., burrow 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee 2 pincers +34 (4d8+12 plus grab/17-20), bite +34 (5d8+6 plus grab and poison)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 30 ft. (50 ft. with bite)
Special Attacks acid web (+31 ranged, DC 35, 70 hp, 10d6 acid), ruinous, swallow whole (12d6 acid damage and 12d6 bludgeoning damage, AC 44, 101 hp)
Str 22, Dex 18, Con 26, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 19
Base Atk +35; CMB +49 (+51 sunder); CMD 63 (75 vs. trip)
Feats Ability Focus (poison), Combat Reflexes, Constricting Throat*, Great Fortitude, Improved Critical (pincer), Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Intimidating Prowess, Iron Gullet*, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Intimidate, Perception), Swift Swallow*, Toughness, Weapon Focus (bite, pincer)
Skills Climb +34, Intimidate +34 (+54 in dim light or darkness), Perception +30, Stealth +8 (+28 in dim light or darkness); Racial +8 Climb, +20 Intimidate in dim light or darkness, +20 Stealth in dim light or darkness
Languages Aklo (can’t speak)
SQ massive pincers, skittering surge
Environment any underground
Organization solitary or pair
Acid Web (Ex): A skittering behemoth is capable of spitting nets made of spider-like webbing from its lower mouth. This functions similarly to the web universal monster ability, with a few exceptions. The webs have a range increment of 50 feet, and a maximum range of 500 feet. The number of hit points that a 5-foot-square section of webbing has is equal to twice the skittering behemoth’s Hit Dice, rather than being equal to its Hit Dice, and the DR of a 5- foot.-square section of webbing is equal to 10/—, instead of the normal amount. Finally, the web is acidic, as well as sticky, and any creature that is entangled in the web at the end of its turn suffers 10d6 points of acid damage. Simply touching the web inflicts 1d6 points of acid damage. The skittering behemoth can spit webs in this way up to 8 times per hour, rather than 8 times per day.
Massive Pincers (Ex): A skittering behemoth’s two massive pincers are razor sharp, and incredibly lethal. The skittering behemoth adds twice its Strength modifier to the damage dealt by the pincers, and their critical multiplier is increased to 19-20 (before being further adjusted by Improved Critical).
Poison (Ex): A skittering behemoth’s fangs deliver a hallucinogenic poison, which causes its victims to suffer horrible waking nightmares.
Poison: Bite—injury; save Fort DC 37; frequency 1/minute for 6 minutes; effect 1d4 Wisdom damage, and the target must succeed on a Will save (DC 37) or be panicked for 1 minute; cure 2 consecutive saves. The panic is treated as a mind-affecting fear effect.
Skittering Surge (Ex): Once per minute, a skittering behemoth can move up to 5 times its movement speed as a single move action.
Like other behemoths, the skittering behemoth is a force of divine retribution, sent out by the gods to strike against those that have sufficiently angered them. This particular behemoth seems to be made up of several of the creatures most feared in human minds: the spider, the scorpion, and the snake, and while other behemoths may have their place as undisputed masters of the land, sea, and sky, these horrible monstrosities are perhaps the most horrifying of all of the behemoths.
While they appear to have two mouths, only the serpent head on the creature’s “tail” possesses an actual mouth (or an actual head, for that matter). The opening on the front of the creature’s body serves only to allow it to spin webs (and, when the need arises, spit them). It cannot bite or swallow victims with this opening, and anyone foolish enough to try to make his way inside finds nothing but a large cavity filled with highly acidic and sticky webbing.
Very few have suffered the skittering behemoth’s venom and survived (in large part because those who are injected with the poison are almost always swallowed at the same time, and spend their last few moments in a panic-induced helplessness before they are digested), but those who do claim that the venom shows a creature’s very worst fears. Supposedly, the venom helps overcome these fears, if the victim survives, and has been sought as a cure for this purpose, although in the few cases where a sample has been successfully collected (at great cost and peril), administering the poison led the subject to fall into a sleep from which he never awoke, leaving some to question the truthfulness of these claims.