My favorite template, as you probably know from reading this feature, is the multiheaded template from Savage Species . More heads almost always improve a creature. Taking liberties with the template can also produce some really . . . er, powerful monsters. So, this month the Creature Incarnations zoo has assembled a collection of very strange creatures that have more than one head. Each uses the multiheaded template, and to make things fun each has a second template as well. Liven up your campaign with these weird creatures. The last creature is a bonus, and we have to view it magically because actually collecting it would be too dangerous. I don't recommend using it in your campaign, but it may be one of the very few Challenge Rating 40 creatures you'll ever see, and if your group prefers to experience a quick and terrible death when ending a campaign (maybe they'll get a few lucky hits in?) . . . use this creature to wipe out your player characters and start a new campaign.
Okay, so applying the chimeric template from Monster Manual II to a chimera may seem odd, but it's perfectly legal. You can add a template more than once to the same creature as long as it continues to qualify. Some serious magical genetic experimentation is required, so this might well be a unique creature.
Since the sample chimeric creature uses a magical beast as the base creature, the template must apply to magical beasts. Applying the chimeric template once to a chimera results in a creature with two goat heads, two dragon heads, and a lion head. Then use of the multiheaded template to add three dragon heads (you get to choose if the base creature has more than one head of different types) gives us an eight-headed creature with five dragon heads, two goat heads, and a lion head (kind of like a mutated aspect of Tiamat). The lion head is in charge, though the other heads offer opinions and try to assert authority from time to time. The dragon heads span the evil chromatic types for interest; if you're a purist you can give it four green heads and a red head.
The body looks like that of a chimera, and the creature fights like a chimera, but when it uses its breath weapon, all five dragon heads breathe at the same time.
Chimeric Chimera CR 12
CE Large magical beast
Init +6; Senses darkvision 90 ft., low-light vision, scent; Listen +17, Spot +17
AC 29, touch 11, flat-footed 27
(-1 size, +2 Dex, +18 natural)
hp 217 (15 HD)
Fort +18, Ref +11, Will +8
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares), fly 50 ft. (poor); Hover
Melee 5 dragon head bites +20 (3d6+6) and
lion head bite +20 (1d8+6) and
2 gores +20 (1d8+6) and
2 claws +20 (1d6+3)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +15; Grp +25
Atk Options Combat Reflexes
Abilities Str 23, Dex 14, Con 28, Int 6, Wis 13, Cha 10
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes[B], Hover, Improved Initiative[B], Improved Multiattack[B], Improved Natural Attack (dragon bite), Iron Will, Multiattack, Rapid Breath
Skills Hide +8 (+12 in brush or scrubland), Listen +17, Search +4, Spot +17
Breath Weapons (Su) Each dragon head can breathe a breath weapon that deals 3d8 points of damage, Reflex save DC 26 for half damage. The heads are: red -- 20-foot cone of fire, green -- 20-foot cone of gas (acid), blue -- 40-foot line of lightning, black -- 40-foot line of acid, white -- 20-foot cone of cold.
Anarchic-Axiomatic Dark Unicorn
This creature is technically illegal, unless you split hairs (and it probably still is). The rationale is that a two-headed creature has two brains and two personalities, so each head could have a different template applied to it. Thus, let's see what a two-headed unicorn with opposite alignment-based templates looks like. I am not sure how to breed one of these, and I don't want to know (so don't tell me). Maybe it is a magically fused creature, but more likely it was created by some deities for a specific purpose. Illegal or not, it's fun.
The two heads of this unicorn bicker constantly, each trying to assert its philosophy on whatever creatures it meets. Since one head cannot convince the other head to change alignments, the heads don't try that (though they argue about law-chaos philosophies and ways of doing things all the time). Its left side is the chaotic side, and the right side is the lawful side. Thus, it can smite chaos with the right horn and smite law with the left horn.
The dark template from Tome of Magic is required to change the unicorn's alignment away from good so that it can be a foe to your heroes. That gives it four total templates. If you want to dispense with the dark template, take away Hide in Plain Sight, +8 of its Hide skill, +6 of its Move Silently skill, 10 feet of movement (and +4 of its Jump skill), and reduce superior low-light vision to normal low-light vision.
Anarchic-Axiomatic Dark Unicorn CR 7
N (CN left head, LN right head) Large magical beast (extraplanar)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 90 ft., superior low-light vision, scent; Listen +13, Spot +13
Languages Common, Sylvan
AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 16
(-1 size, +3 Dex, +7 natural)
hp 69 (6 HD); fast heal 1
Immune charm, compulsion, petrification, poison, polymorph
Resist acid 5, cold 10, electricity 5, fire 5, sonic 5; SR 11
Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +7
Speed 70 ft. (14 squares)
Melee 2 horns +13 (1d8+8) and
2 hooves +10 (1d4+2)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +6; Grp +15
Atk Options Combat Reflexes
Special Actions smite chaos (right horn), smite law (left horn)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL varies):
At will -- detect evil (as free action)
3/day -- cure light wounds (CL 5th)
1/day -- cure moderate wounds (CL 5th), greater teleport (within home), neutralize poison (DC 21, CL 8th)
Abilities Str 20, Dex 17, Con 23, Int 10, Wis 21, Cha 24
SQ hide in plain sight, linked minds (right head only), magic circle against evil, wild empathy
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes[B], Improved Initiative[B], Improved Multiattack[B], Skill Focus (Hide), Skill Focus (Survival)
Skills Hide +14, Jump +25, Listen +13, Move Silently +15, Search +2, Spot +13, Survival +8
Smite Chaos (Su) Once per day, this creature's right head can make a normal horn attack to deal +6 extra damage against a chaotic opponent.
Smite Law (Su) Once per day, this creature's left head can make a normal horn attack to deal +6 extra damage against a lawful opponent.
Wild Empathy (Su) This power works like the druid's wild empathy class feature, except that a unicorn has a +6 racial bonus on the check.
Magic Circle against Evil (Su) This ability continuously duplicates the effect of the spell, and it cannot be suppressed.
Hide in Plain Sight (Su) Use the Hide skill even when being observed (except in natural daylight, the area of a daylight spell, or similar effect).
Linked Minds (Su) Should there be more than one of these creatures within 300 feet of each other, their lawful heads would be in constant communication. If one is aware of a particular danger, they all are. If one in the group is not flat-footed, none of them are. No creature in the group is considered flanked unless all of them are.
Four-Trunked Half-Fiend Treant
This creature has a couple of issues to consider. First, does a treant have a head? A distinctive head is required for the multiheaded template to be applicable. I say it does, or rather it has a trunk, and somewhere in the trunk it has facial features. So, if you treat each new head as a whole trunk, you get a tree with a lot of trunks (that still make only two slam attacks). Adding too many could create a bouquet-looking creature, but a few heads make for a cool weird creature. The second issue is that of half-fiend plants. They are allowed, but what demon is going to go around mating with plants? I am sure that Zuggtmoy was somehow involved.
Adventurers who run into this might also be a bit surprised if it's also under a curse of sorts. One such situation could be that it grows a new trunk (head) every day. Perhaps a collector has it for two days or even two weeks, and during that time it grows two new heads. One of the sages the player characters consult suggests that it will continue to grow heads until it reaches some maximum (12 heads for a Huge creature). While nobody is sure what will happen to it after that, everyone's quite positive that they don't want to be around when whatever that is happens. This variety is not an oak-based treant, but some kind of birch tree, so it looks very different from what we expect from treants. The more heads it gains, the more chaotic it becomes, as well.
Four-Headed Half-Fiend Treant CR 14
NE Huge outsider (native)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 90 ft., low-light vision; Listen +25, Spot +25
Languages Common, Sylvan, Treant
AC 26, touch 9, flat-footed 25
(-2 size, +1 Dex, +17 natural)
hp 175 (13 HD); DR 10/slashing and magic
Immune all critical hits, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, polymorph, sleep , stunning
Resist acid 10, cold 10, fire 10, electricity 10; SR 23
Fort +17, Ref +5, Will +9
Weakness vulnerability to fire
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares), fly 30 ft. (average)
Melee 2 claws +18 (1d8+11) and
4 bites +18 (2d6+5) or
2 slams +18 (3d6+11) and
4 bites +18 (2d6+5)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Base Atk +9; Grp +28
Atk Options Combat Reflexes, Empower Spell-like Ability (unholy blight), Improved Sunder, Power Attack, double damage against objects, smite good, trample 2d6+13
Special Actions animate trees
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th):
3/day -- darkness, poison (DC 18), unholy aura
1/day -- blasphemy, contagion (DC 16), desecrate, unhallow, unholy blight (DC 16)
Abilities Str 33, Dex 12, Con 29, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 14
Feats Combat Reflexes[B], Empower Spell-like Ability (unholy blight), Improved Initiative[B], Improved Multiattack[B], Improved Natural Attack (slam), Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack
Skills Diplomacy +4, Escape Artist +9, Hide +9 (+25 in forests), Intimidate +18, Knowledge (nature) +21, Knowledge (the planes) +11, Listen +25, Search +17, Sense Motive +19, Spellcraft +11, Spot +25, Survival +19 (+21 on other planes, +21 following tracks, +21 in aboveground natural environments), Use Rope +1(+3 bindings)
Smite Good (Su) Once per day this creature can make a normal melee attack to deal +13 extra damage against a good foe.
Animate Trees (Sp) A half-fiend treant can animate trees within 180 feet at will, controlling up to two trees at a time. It takes 1 full round for a normal tree to uproot itself. Thereafter it moves at a speed of 10 feet and fights as a treant in all respects. Animated trees lose their ability to move if the treant that animated them is incapacitated or moves out of range. The ability is otherwise similar to liveoak (caster level 12th). Animated trees have the same vulnerability to fire that a treant has.
Double Damage against Objects (Ex) A half-fiend treant or animated tree that makes a full attack against an object or structure deals double damage.
Trample (Ex) Reflex DC 27 half. The save DC is Strength-based.
The Bonus Creature: Thirty-Headed Tarrasque
This creature speaks for itself. The multiheaded template allows it to exist, but it's still just plain wrong. The multiheaded template says this guy should have a CR 29, but I used the added Hit Dice to recalculate the CR instead. It seemed more realistic, and it's still a TPK machine. I thought about adding the half-fiend template to it, but then it becomes an instant-kill machine (as if it isn't already) because its blasphemy caster level is 106. This is probably the most powerful creature I can come up with, but I may surprise myself some day and outdo it.
In melee, it uses Power Attack for 50, leaving it +70 melee on all its attacks. It has ninety head-based attacks in 1 round, thirty of which can be instant-kill attacks (since making a DC 80 Fort save is probably impossible to most everyone it would face).
I adjusted its spell resistance in an ad-hoc manner. One suggestion is to use 11 + CR as its spell resistance, but I compared the old spell resistance and what someone would have to roll to overcome it to get the new value.
Thirty-Headed Tarrasque CR 40
N Colossal magical beast
Init +16; Senses darkvision 90 ft., low-light vision, scent; Listen +94, Spot +94
Aura frightful presence
AC 69, touch 10, flat-footed 61; Dodge, Mobility
(-8 size, +8 Dex, +59 natural)
hp 4,947 (106 HD); regeneration 40; DR 15/epic
Immune ability damage, disease, energy drain, fire, poison
Resist acid 10, cold 10, fire 10, electricity 10; SR 52
Fort +100, Ref +67, Will +43
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares); rush
Melee 30 bites +121 (4d8+20/18-20/x3 plus 2d6 on crit plus Fort save DC 80 or die on crit) and
60 horns +120 (1d10+10) and
2 claws +120 (1d12+10) and
tail slap +120 (3d8+10)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Base Atk +106; Grp +142
Atk Options Awesome Blow, Dire Charge, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Combat Reflexes, Large and In Charge, Power Attack, Prone Attack, improved grab, rush, swallow whole
Abilities Str 50, Dex 26, Con 93, Int 3, Wis 14, Cha 14
SQ augmented critical, carapace
Feats Alertness, Awesome Blow, Blind-Fight, Cleave, Combat Reflexes[B], Devastating Critical (bite, Fort DC 80), Dire Charge, Dodge, Elusive Target, Epic Fortitude, Epic Prowess (2), Epic Reflexes, Epic Will, Eyes in the Back of Your Head, Great Cleave, Great Strength, Hold the Line, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative[B], Improved Multiattack[B], Iron Will, Large and In Charge, Mobility, Overwhelming Critical (bite), Power Attack, Prone Attack, Spellcasting Harrier (+53 to foe's Concentration check DC to cast in its threatened area), Superior Initiative, Toughness (6), Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Hide -8, Jump +14, Listen +94, Search +84, Spot +94, Survival +33 (+37 following tracks)
Improved Grab (Ex) To use this ability, the thirty-headed tarrasque must hit a Huge or smaller opponent with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the foe the following round.
Swallow Whole (Ex) The thirty-headed tarrasque can try to swallow a grabbed opponent of Huge or smaller size by making a successful grapple check. Once inside, the opponent takes 2d8+8 points of crushing damage plus 2d8+6 points of acid damage per round from the tarrasque's digestive juices. A swallowed creature can cut its way out by dealing 50 points of damage to the tarrasque's digestive tract (AC 54). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out. The tarrasque's gullet can hold 2 Huge, 8 Large, 32 Medium, 128 Small, or 512 Tiny or smaller creatures.
Rush (Ex) Once per minute, the normally slow-moving tarrasque can move at a speed of 150 feet.
Carapace (Su) The thirty-headed tarrasque's armorlike carapace is exceptionally tough and highly reflective, deflecting all rays, lines, cones, and even magic missile spells. There is a 30% chance of reflecting any such effect back at the caster; otherwise, it is merely negated. Check for reflection before rolling to overcome the creature's spell resistance.
Frightful Presence (Su) The thirty-headed tarrasque can inspire terror by charging or attacking. Affected creatures must succeed on a DC 65 Will save or become shaken, remaining in that condition as long as they remain with 60 feet of the tarrasque. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Regeneration (Ex) No form of attack deals lethal damage to the thirty-headed tarrasque. The tarrasque regenerates even if it fails a saving throw against a disintegrate spell or a death effect. If the tarrasque fails its save against a spell or effect that would kill it instantly (such as those mentioned above), the spell or effect instead deals nonlethal damage equal to the creature's full normal hit points +10. The tarrasque is immune to effects that produce incurable or bleeding wounds, such as mummy rot, a sword with the wounding special ability, or a clay golem's cursed wound ability. The tarrasque can be slain only by raising its nonlethal damage total to its full normal hit points +10 (or 4,957 hit points) and using a wish or miracle spell to keep it dead. If the tarrasque loses a limb or body part, the lost portion regrows in 1d6 minutes (the detached piece dies and decays normally). The creature can reattach the severed member instantly by holding it to the stump.
These feats are not presented in the Player's Handbook or Monster Manual .
Devastating Critical (from Epic Level Handbook ): When using the weapon you have selected, whenever you score a critical hit the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Strength modifier) or die instantly. (Creatures immune to critical hits can't be affected by this feat.)
Dire Charge (from Epic Level Handbook ): If you charge a foe during the first round of combat (or the surprise round, if you are allowed to act in it), you can make a full attack against the opponent you charge.
Elusive Target (from Complete Warrior ): The Elusive Target feat enables the use of three tactical maneuvers.
Negate Power Attack: To use this maneuver, you must designate a specific foe to be affected by your Dodge feat. If that foe uses the Power Attack feat against you, the foe gains no bonus on the damage roll but still takes the corresponding penalty on the attack roll.
Diverting Defense: To use this maneuver, you must be flanked and you must designate one of the flanking attackers to be affected by your Dodge feat. The first attack of the round from the designated attacker automatically misses you and may strike the other flanking foe instead; the attacking creature makes an attack roll normally, and its ally is considered flat-footed. If the designated attacker is making a full attack against you, its second and subsequent attacks function normally.
Cause Overreach: To use this maneuver, you must provoke an attack of opportunity from a foe by moving out of a threatened square. If the foe misses you, you can make a free trip attempt against this foe, and the foe does not get a chance to trip you if your attempt fails.
Epic Fortitude, Epic Reflexes, Epic Will (from Epic Level Handbook ): Gain a +4 bonus to the appropriate saving throw.
Eyes in the Back of Your Head (from Complete Warrior ): Attackers do not gain the usual +2 bonus on their attack rolls when flanking you. This feat grants no effect whenever you are attacked without benefit of your Dexterity modifier to Armor Class, such as when you are flat-footed. You may still be sneak attacked when flanked.
Great Strength (from Epic Level Handbook ): Your Strength increases by 1 point.
Hold the Line (from Complete Warrior ): You may make an attack of opportunity against a charging opponent who enters an area you threaten. Your attack of opportunity happens immediately before the charge attack is resolved.
Improved Combat Reflexes (from Epic Level Handbook ): There is no limit to the number of attacks of opportunity you can make in 1 round.
Improved Multiattack (from Savage Species ): In addition to the single extra attack you get each round with each off-hand weapon from Multiweapon Fighting, you get a second extra attack with each such weapon, albeit at a -5 penalty.
Large and In Charge (from Draconomicon ): When you make a successful attack of opportunity against an opponent that is moving inside your threatened area, you can force the opponent back to the 5-foot space it was in before it provoked the attack of opportunity. After you hit with your attack of opportunity, make an opposed Strength check against your opponent. You gain a +4 bonus for each size category larger than your opponent you are, and an additional +1 bonus for every 5 points of damage you dealt with your attack of opportunity. If you win the opposed check, your opponent is pushed back 5 feet into the space it just left. An opponent you push cannot move any farther in this round.
Prone Attack (from Complete Warrior ): You can make an attack from the prone position and take no penalty on your attack roll. If your attack roll is successful, you may regain your feet immediately as a free action. Opponents gain no bonus on melee attacks against you while you are prone.
Rapid Breath (from Savage Species ): The required interval between uses of your breath weapon is reduced by 1 round. For instance, a dragon with this feat can use its breath weapon once every 1d4-1 rounds instead of every 1d4 rounds. If the 1d4-1 result is 0, the dragon can breathe again in the following round (but not twice in the same round). If the interval is a fixed period of time, such as once per hour, the interval is halved. If you have multiple heads with breath weapons, all your breath weapons use the new interval.
Spellcasting Harrier (from Epic Level Handbook ): Any spellcaster you threaten in melee takes a penalty on Concentration checks made to cast defensively equal to 1/2 your level.
Superior Initiative (from Epic Level Handbook ): Gain a +8 bonus to initiative that overlaps with Improved Initiative.
Have any scary stories about stirge attacks or do you have cool stirge-defeating tactic? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Robert Wiese has been playing D&D since 1978 after he watched a game played in the car on the way home from a Boy Scouts meeting. He was fascinated, and delved into this strange world of dragons and magic and sourcebooks. Years later, he was hired to edit tournaments for the RPGA Network, and from there progressed to running the network after his boss was assassinated in the great Christmas purge of 1996. Times were tough, but he persevered and brought the RPGA into a shining new era. Eventually he met a girl who liked to play D&D too, and he left Renton for the warmth and casinos of Reno, Nevada. Now, he works in the Pharmacology department of UNR studying mouse foot muscles and the effects of RF emissions on same. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Rhonda and son Owen.