Most of the time, when you apply a template to a creature, you are changing something about it biologically. It becomes part dragon, or undead, or a mutant, etc. But mechanically, a template works just as well to apply a certain type of attitude or behavior to a creature, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to explore. Today’s template allows you to quickly take any stat-block, and make it a bit better suited to be sneaky, deceptive, and treacherous.
Anyone can be sneaky and traitorous, but for some, treachery is simply a way of life. For these creatures, deceit is second nature, and loyalty is something they’ll never truly understand. These creatures often make use of their talent for lies and betrayal by preying upon their foes’ preconceptions in a wide variety of ways.
Creating a Treacherous Creature
“Treacherous” is an inherited or acquired template that can be added to any creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher (referred to hereafter as the base creature).
CR: As the base creature +1.
Alignment: If the base creature was lawful good, its alignment shifts one step towards chaotic. Otherwise, its alignment remains unaffected.
Type: The creature’s type does not change.
Senses: A treacherous creature gains the following special sense.
Find Mark (Ex): A treacherous creature has an innate knack for spotting those they can easily fool. By studying a creature for 1 round, a treacherous creature can learn whether an opponent is an easy mark (Sense Motive modifier at least 5 less than the treacherous creature’s Bluff modifier), a difficult mark (Sense Motive modifier at least 5 higher than the treacherous creature’s Bluff modifier), or somewhere in between.
Armor Class: A treacherous creature gains a +2 dodge bonus to AC.
Special Abilities: A treacherous creature gains a number of special abilities. The treacherous creature gains one of the following abilities of its choice, plus one additional special ability for every three CRs the creature possesses (after applying the template).
Ambush Fighter (Ex): The treacherous creature gains a +2 bonus on initiative rolls, can take a full round’s worth of actions during any surprise round in which it acts, and deals an additional 2d6 points of damage on all successful attacks made during a surprise round.
Betraying Blow (Ex): The treacherous creature gains a +4 bonus on attack rolls made against creatures that consider it an ally, and deals an additional amount of damage on attacks against such creatures equal to 1d6 per two CRs the treacherous creature possesses. Typically, a creature ceases to regard the treacherous creature as an ally after the first attack made against it.
Critical Riposte (Ex): Whenever an attack made against the treacherous creature results in a natural 1 on the attack roll, the treacherous creature can immediately make an attack of his own against the creature that made that attack, using his full base attack bonus.
Deceptive Reach (Ex): Once per round, the treacherous creature can increase the reach of one of its melee attacks by 5 feet. If this ability has not been used yet in a round, it allows the treacherous creature to make attacks of opportunity against creatures that would otherwise be considered to be out of its reach.
Dirty Fighter (Ex): The treacherous creature gains Improved Dirty Trick as a bonus feat. Additionally, the target must spend a standard action to remove the penalty of any dirty tricks the treacherous creature performs, rather than a move action.
False Demise (Su): When the treacherous creature is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points, it automatically vanishes in a burst of smoke. The body is teleported to a safe place designated by the treacherous creature in advance, where it is automatically stabilized. If the damage would be sufficient to outright kill the treacherous creature (typically reducing it to a number of negative hit points equal to or greater than its Constitution score), this ability does not apply. The treacherous creature can designate the spot it will teleport to by meditating quietly in that location for 10 minutes. The treacherous creature cannot use this ability more than once per day.
Feint Specialist (Ex): The treacherous creature gains Improved Feint as a bonus feat. Additionally, he deals an additional 2d6 points of damage on each successful attack made against creatures that are denied their Dexterity bonus to AC.
Glib (Sp): The treacherous creature is constantly affected as though by the spell glibness, except the bonus granted to Bluff checks is only +10.
Illusory Doubles (Sp): The treacherous creature can cast programmed image as a spell-like ability three times per day, but only to create images of himself performing various actions. If the treacherous creature is CR 9 or higher, it can also cast mirror image as a spell-like ability once per day. Its caster level for these effects is equal to its Hit Dice, and the saving throw DC to disbelieve the programmed image is based on the higher of the treacherous creature’s Intelligence or Charisma scores.
Inscrutable (Su): The treacherous creature has no aura, preventing it from being detected by spells such as detect evil, detect undead, and similar. Further, its aura cannot be read with analyze auraOA or similar effects. Finally, the DC of a Sense Motive check made to gain a hunch about the treacherous creature is increased to 25.
Instant Swap (Su): The treacherous creature must have the swap places special ability in order to select this special ability. Three times per day, the treacherous creature can use its swap places ability as an immediate action. If it does so in response to being attacked, the attack is made against the creature it swapped places with, instead, and that creature is flat-footed for the purposes of that attack.
Opportunist (Ex): The treacherous creature can make one additional attack of opportunity each round. Additionally, it gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls made as part of an attack of opportunity, and deals an additional 2d6 points of damage on each successful attack of opportunity.
Swap Places (Su): As a standard action, the treacherous creature can attempt to swap places with a single creature within 60 feet. The target is entitled to a Will save to resist this effect. This is a teleportation effect.
Skills: The treacherous creature gains a +4 racial bonus on Bluff and Diplomacy checks.
Ability Scores: Dex +2, Int +2, Cha +2.
Treacherous creatures are linked by nothing but a penchant for treachery, which is hardly any kind of grounds for cooperation. Most treacherous creatures feel no particular kinship for one another (or, for that matter, just about anyone else), and live their lives as loners, cheating and swindling their peers until eventually their misdeeds catch up to them.