Far Corners of the World11/23/2003

Fire and Ash: Monsters of the Volcano

Urborg Volcano - Tony SzczudloAlthough they are one of the most destructive regions in the far corners of the world, volcanoes are far from lifeless wastelands. In fact, many creatures thrive on the barren slopes and boiling cauldrons of these locations. Fire giants, red dragons, thoqquas, azers, magma mephitis, and magmins are some of the more infamous denizens of these regions, but here visitors can find other creatures that rarely leave their fiery homelands that are just as dangerous.

Medium Plant (Fire)
Hit Dice: 2d8+12 (21 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 5 ft. (1 square)
Armor Class: 14 (+3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-2
Attack: Tendril +4 melee (1d6-3) or lava spurt +4 ranged touch (2d6 fire)
Full Attack: 4 tendrils +4 melee (1d6-3) or lava spurt +4 ranged touch (2d6 fire)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Lava spurt
Special Qualities: Immunity to fire, low-light vision, plant traits, tremorsense 60 ft., vulnerability to cold
Saves: Fort +9, Ref +3, Will -4
Abilities: Str 4, Dex 16, Con 22, Int --, Wis 2, Cha 1
Skills: --
Feats: Weapon Finesse[B]
Environment: Warm mountains (volcanoes)
Organization: Solitary, pair, patch (3-4), or grove (5-12)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: 1/10th coins; 50% goods; 50% items (no flammable objects)
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 3-6 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: --

This plant has a thick tangle of black thorny fronds growing from a central bulbous mass. A single short stalk emerges from the center of this mass, ending in a large black flower that glows a faint red.

Lavabriars grow on the lower slopes of volcanoes, along active faultlines, or anywhere that pockets of magma are trapped near the surface of the world. The hardy plants thrive in regions where the sun is often blocked out by clouds of ash in the sky, and they actually draw their nourishment from the lava pockets below via a network of heat-resistant roots. If volcanic activity in an area subsides, the lavabriars can creep off to a new area, but they usually remain immobile when not in combat.


The lavabriar is an unintelligent plant, and unlike many other dangerous plant creatures, it does not prey on living flesh. It is nevertheless a dangerous creature, for it has developed a highly effective way to defend itself. When the plant senses intruders, it lashes out with its tendrils and sprays lava at anything it perceives as a threat.

Lava Spurt (Ex): Once per minute, a lavabriar can expel a gout of lava from its flower. The lavabriar makes a ranged touch attack (attack bonus +4) against any target within 60 feet. A successful hit deals 2d6 points of fire damage, and those hit take an additional 1d6 points of automatic fire damage on the next round unless the lava is scraped off (a full-round action).

Colossal Undead
Hit Dice: 50d12 (325 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), fly 80 ft. (perfect) (16 squares)
Armor Class: 29 (-8 size, +4 Dex, +20 natural, +3 deflection), touch 9, flat-footed 25
Base Attack/Grapple: +25/+58
Attack: Slam +34 melee (4d6+17/19-20)
Full Attack: 4 slams +34 melee (4d6+17/19-20)
Space/Reach: 30 ft./30 ft.
Special Attacks: Fiery aura, incineration, thunderous roar
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 15/good, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to electricity and fire, spell resistance 26, undead traits, vulnerability to cold
Saves: Fort +16, Ref +22, Will +27
Abilities: Str 44, Dex 18, Con --, Int 6, Wis 6, Cha 16
Skills: Balance +8, Intimidate +23, Jump +21, Listen +30, Spot +30, Tumble +30
Feats: Alertness, Ability Focus (thundrous roar), Awesome Blow, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Power Attack, Whirlwind Attack[B]
Environment: Any volcano
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 25
Treasure: Double standard (no flammable objects)
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 51+HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment: --

What at first appeared to be a fast-moving cloud of volcanic ash resolves into something far more terrible. Thousands of burning bodies and blackened skeletons tumble and roil in the cloud. Periodically, huge tentacles formed of ash and bodies emerge from the cloud to swipe away buildings and great swaths of trees. The unliving bodies emit a constant thunderous scream, as if a volcano had learned to wail in agony from the fire in its core.

The necroclasm is one of the largest forms of undead; fortunately, they are limited in range to the volcano that spawned them. A necroclasm forms when a large group of evil creatures are destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Typically, a city of evil-doers founded on the slopes of what was assumed to be a dormant volcano form the building blocks of a new necroclasm. The creature itself is, in some ways, similar to a swarm of burning undead bodies, although the creature displays few of the actual qualities of the swarm subtype.

Necroclasms possess some intelligence, but they have little interest in turning their evil outward into surrounding regions. They prefer to haunt a forty to sixty mile radius about the base of their parent volcano, and they constantly scour the landscape for living creatures to eradicate and absorb into their mass. A necroclasm must retreat to the cauldron of its parent volcano during the night; unlike most undead, these creatures are active only during the day. They retain their abilities and mobility at all times within the volcano itself, but they cannot physically move beyond the rim of its caldera until sunrise.

Necroclasms gain a deflection bonus to their AC equal to their Charisma bonus. Additionally, during the day they gain a +4 profane bonus to their AC.


A necroclasm's preferred mode of attack is to simply charge into the midst of its enemies and become surrounded, after which it uses whirlwind attack to punish all creatures within reach. It usually saves its incineration ability for particularly dangerous creatures, or against targets quick and canny enough to remain out of reach of its melee attacks.

Fiery Aura (Su): The air around a necroclasm is heated to abysmal temperatures by the undead creature's burning body. All creatures within 30 feet of a necroclasm suffer 6d6 points of fire damage per round (no saving throw). This is continuous damage for purposes of disrupting spellcasting.

Incineration (Su): As a full-round action, a necroclasm can emit a line of white-hot ash to a range of 120 feet. All creatures affected by this line suffer 20d6 points of fire damage; a successful Reflex save (DC 38) halves the damage done. A creature slain by this damage is reduced to ashes and immediately drawn into the necroclasm's body, healing the necroclasm an amount of damage equal to that creature's normal maximum hit point total. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Thunderous Roar (Su): A necroclasm constantly emits a thunderous roar of rage, despair, and fear as the thousands of damned souls that constitute its body are forced to constantly relive the terror of their volcanic death. This roar drowns out all conversation within 60 feet of the necroclasm, deafening all creatures for as long as they remain in the area. Additionally, all creatures in this area must make a successful Will saving throw (DC 40) or become shaken for as long as they remain in the area. A successful save makes a creature immune to the necroclasm's thunderous roar for one day. Thunderous roar is a mind-affecting fear effect, and the save DC is Charisma-based.

Undead Traits: A necroclasm is immune to mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects or is harmless. It is not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage to its physical ability scores, ability drain, energy drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or death from massive damage. It cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if it is willing. Darkvision 60 ft.

Obsidian Ooze
Large Ooze (Fire)
Hit Dice: 12d10+60 (126 hp)
Initiative: -5
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), burrow 20 ft. (4 squares)
Armor Class: 19 (-1 size, -5 Dex, +15 natural), touch 4, flat-footed 19
Base Attack/Grapple: +9/+18
Attack: Spine +13 melee (1d8+5/15-20 plus 1d6 fire)
Full Attack: 3 spines +13 melee (1d8+5/15-20 plus 1d6 fire)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Engulf, improved grab, skewer
Special Qualities: Blindsight 60 ft., immunity to fire and piercing and slashing weapons, molten core, ooze traits, vulnerability to cold
Saves: Fort +9, Ref -1, Will -1
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 1, Con 20, Int --, Wis 1, Cha 1
Skills: --
Feats: Improved Critical (spine)[B]
Environment: Underground (volcanoes)
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 9
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 13-16 HD (Large), 17-26 HD (Huge), 27-36 HD (Gargantuan), 37+ HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment: --

This creature looks like a mass of obsidian with its edges polished and smooth. Yet when it moves, it gives the impression of a mobile snake made of glistening tar, with numerous razor-sharp lances of flexible obsidian writhing chaotically out of its mass.

An obsidian ooze is a dangerous predator that lurks in lava tubes and other underground chambers near volcanic regions. The creature can burrow through solid rock with ease by melting its way through the ground; the tunnels formed remain stable for several days and resemble perfectly round lava tubes in shape. Obsidian oozes feed on the ash of organic matter.

A typical obsidian ooze resembles a 3-foot-wide, 14-foot-long snake. It weighs 35,000 pounds. They usually split into two to three smaller oozes upon growing to 36 Hit Dice, although rumors of colossal obsidian oozes that live in the heart of active volcanoes persist.


An obsidian ooze coils like a snake when it locates prey but it does not strike when it attacks. Rather, it grows long lances of razor-sharp but flexible obsidian spines with shocking speed, skewers creatures in range, and then flows up these spines to engulf captured prey.

Engulf (Ex): As a standard action, an obsidian ooze can engulf any creature that it is currently grappling or being grappled by it. Once a creature is engulfed, the creature takes 4d6 points of fire damage per round from the ooze's molten interior. An engulfed creature can try to pound its way out with any natural or light bludgeoning weapons. Dealing a total of at least 30 points of damage to the interior of the ooze (AC 15) in this way creates an opening large enough to permit escape, but causes the molten interior to spill out in a 5-foot radius. All creatures in this range take 2d6 points of fire damage, or half on a successful Reflex save (DC 21). Once a single engulfed creature exits, the hole quickly hardens over; thus, another engulfed opponent must pound its own way out. An obsidian ooze can hold 2 Medium or 8 Small or smaller opponents. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Improved Grab (Ex): If an obsidian ooze hits an opponent that is at least one size category smaller than itself with a spine attack, it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Sharp Spines (Ex): An obsidian ooze's spines have a critical threat range of 18-20, which the creature's Improved Critical feat increases to 15-20.

Molten Core (Ex): Piercing and slashing weapons deal no damage on a successful hit to an obsidian ooze, but they do have a chance of being damaged by the creature. Any weapon that inflicts damage to an obsidian ooze must make a Reflex saving throw (DC 21) or take 4d6 points of fire damage. If the weapon was a natural weapon, the attacking creature suffers this damage. The save DC is Constitution-based. Worse, the attack causes the creature's lava-like core to spray out in a gout. The attacking creature takes 2d6 points of fire damage, or half on a successful Reflex save (DC 21). The save DC is Constitution-based.

Ooze Traits: An obsidian ooze is blind (blindsight 60 ft.) and immune to gaze attacks, visual effects, illusions, and other attack forms that rely on sight. It is immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, and polymorphing. It is not subject to critical hits or flanking.

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