Far Corners of the World05/09/2004

Foundations of Stone:
Monster of the Mountains

Mountain - Rob AlexanderNumerous dangerous creatures lurk in the remote mountains of the world. This terrain favors creatures that can move with ease across vertical surfaces or that can climb or fly. This month, we look at three such denizens: the ravenous cliff raptor, the mysterious glitterhaunt, and the noxious and equally dangerous uloriax.

Cliff Raptor
Medium Animal
Hit Dice: 4d8+12 (30 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares), climb 60 ft.
Armor Class: 15 (+3 Dex, +2 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+4
Attack: Talons +6 melee (1d6+1)
Full Attack: Talons +6 melee (1d6+1) and bite +4 melee (1d6) and 2 claws +4 melee (1d4)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Leap
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, surefooted
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +3
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 11
Skills: Balance +13, Climb +17, Jump +15, Tumble +18
Feats: Multiattack, Weapon Finesse
Environment: Temperate mountains
Organization: Solitary, pair, or pack (3-8)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 5-8 HD (Medium), 9-12 (Large)
Level Adjustment: --

The creature looks like a long-legged lizard, save that it sports fairly brilliant plumage on its back and long thin tail. Each of its two hind feet are armed with a prodigiously oversized talon that almost overshadows its sharp teeth and razor-sharp claws in terms of intimidating natural weapons.

A cliff raptor is a form of velociraptor that has adapted to a life on the sheer mountain faces of rugged badlands and cliffs. They skitter along the faces of these cliffs with shocking and almost terrifying ease. Cliff raptors hunt in packs, like wolves, and have little fear of humanoids.

A cliff raptor makes an excellent animal companion for characters from mountainous regions. A druid of 7th level or higher can take a cliff raptor as an animal companion.


Cliff raptors prefer to begin combat with their leap, and they jump down upon their prey from above. If the victim of such a leap survives the next few rounds of combat, the raptor usually tries to clamber up above and leap down again to finish the prey off.

Leap (Ex): A cliff raptor that drops at least 10 feet before making an attack against a target gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls with its talons. If it hits, it deals an additional 2d6 points of damage.

Surefooted (Ex): The cliff raptor is especially surefooted, and it always lands upright and on its feet after taking a fall. Additionally, cliff raptors treat any fall as being 20 feet shorter than the actual height fallen for the purposes of determining falling damage. A cliff raptor gains a +4 racial bonus to resist being bull-rushed or tripped.

Skills: Cliff raptors gain a +8 racial bonus on all Balance and Tumble checks. They gain a +16 racial bonus (+8 for having a climb speed plus an extra +8 bonus) on all Climb checks. In addition, they can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

Medium Fey (Earth)
Hit Dice: 12d6+60 (102 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), burrow 30 ft.
Armor Class: 21 (-1 Dex, +12 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 21
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+11
Attack: Gemlance +12 melee (1d6+5/x4)
Full Attack: 4 gemlances +12 melee (1d6+5/x4)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Prismatic flash, shardburst
Special Qualities: Absorb metal, damage reduction 10/cold iron, earth glide, immunity to acid and fire, resistance to cold 10, spell resistance 19
Saves: Fort +11, Ref +7, Will +8
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 8, Con 20, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 21
Skills: Climb +20, Diplomacy +7, Hide +14, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +17, Knowledge (geography) +17, Knowledge (nature) +17, Listen +15, Sense Motive +15, Spot +15
Feats: Blind-Fight, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (gemlance)
Environment: Any mountain
Organization: Solitary, pair, or cluster (3-8)
Challenge Rating: 8
Treasure: Standard coins, triple gems, standard magic
Alignment: Usually chaotic neutral
Advancement: 13-16 HD (Medium), 17-28 HD (Large), 29-36 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: --

It rises up out of the stony ground. Its overall shape is humanoid, except its skin appears to shimmer, almost as if quicksilver dusted with a layer of sparkling powder undulated gently. Its eyes are large for its face, and they glisten like molten emerald. Tiny shards of multicolored crystals protrude from its body at random places and at random intervals. The creature glows with light of many hues.

A glitterhaunt is a seldom-encountered spirit of the gemstone lode -- a physical embodiment of the beauty and mystery of all that glitters. They prefer to cavort and play along veins of gemstones hidden deep in the mountains, but where these crystal veins are exposed to the surface (often in mines), they sometimes gather to protect the crystals from those who would take them. Glitterhaunts often come into conflict with miners -- dwarves and gnomes in particular.

A glitterhaunt is about the height and weight of a human. It speaks Common, Sylvan, and Terran.


A glitterhaunt attacks by forming long, thin crystalline spines from its body with sudden and powerful force. As a full attack action, a glitterhaunt can strike with four of these gemlances; a successful critical hit with a gemlance inflicts x4 damage. Against more powerful foes, a glitterhaunt prefers to use its spells or special attacks.

Prismatic Flash (Su): Once per day, as a standard action, a glitterhaunt can create a flash of multicolored energy that duplicates the effects of a prismatic spray. All creatures in a 20-foot burst centered on the glitterhaunt are affected. Saving throws, when applicable, are DC 21; this save DC is Constitution-based.

Shardburst (Su): Once every 1d4 rounds, a glitterhaunt can generate a lacerating spray of jagged, razor-sharp crystals from its body. The crystals explode in a 40-foot burst around the glitterhaunt, dealing 6d6 points of slashing damage to all creatures in the area. A successful Reflex save (DC 21) halves the damage done. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Absorb Metal (Su): As a free action once a round, a glitterhaunt can absorb forged metal into its body to heal damage. The glitterhaunt can either make a touch attack to absorb metal or it can attune its body to absorb the first forged metal weapon that strikes its body. In the latter case, the effect lasts until the beginning of the glitterhaunt's next turn, or until it is discharged. In either case the object takes 4d6 points of sonic damage. If the object is destroyed, it shatters into thousands of pieces that immediately melt and merge with the glitterhaunt, restoring damage equal to the object's maximum hit points. The glitterhaunt can use this ability only once per round, and it cannot affect an object that weighs more than 10 pounds.

Earth Glide (Ex): A glitterhaunt can glide through stone, dirt, or almost any other sort of earth -- including metal -- as easily as a fish swims through water. Its burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other signs of its presence. A move earth spell cast on an area containing a burrowing glitterhaunt flings the fey back 30 feet, stunning it for 1 round unless it succeeds on a DC 15 Fortitude save.

Gargantuan Plant
Hit Dice: 23d8+184 (287 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), climb 20 ft., fly 40 ft. (perfect)
Armor Class: 33 (-4 size, -3 Dex, +30 natural), touch 3, flat-footed 33
Base Attack/Grapple: +17/+43
Attack: Bite +28 melee (2d8+14/19-20)
Full Attack: 3 bites +28 melee (2d8+14/19-20)
Space/Reach: 20 ft./20 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath weapon, spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Immunity to electricity and sonic, plant traits, regeneration 20, wand mastery
Saves: Fort +21, Ref +4, Will +7
Abilities: Str 38, Dex 4, Con 26, Int 15, Wis 11, Cha 16
Skills: Climb +38, Concentration +22, Jump +8, Knowledge (arcana) +28, Spellcraft +28, Spot +26
Feats: Blind-Fight, Flyby Attack, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (lightning bolt), Snatch, Weapon Focus (bite)
Environment: Warm mountains
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 17
Treasure: No coins, no goods, triple magic (at least half wands)
Alignment: Usually neutral evil
Advancement: 24-35 HD (Gargantuan), 36-69 HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment: --

This massive plantlike creature has a rubbery, almost spherical body that trundles across the mountainside, resembling a massive toadstool that has learned to walk on a dozen long spines. Suddenly, its back inflates with a thunderous boom, and the creature lifts off the face of the mountain and into the air with shocking grace. Trailing below it are four long, thin, brown tendrils, and three thick branches. The tendrils end in a tiny handlike shape, while the branches end in massive jaws.

Several sages believe that powerful and insane druids created the first Uloriaxes ages ago. Although alien and strange in shape, a uloriax is in fact a rather intelligent creature. They have little interest in society or civilization, but they sometimes drift down into the foothills to raid settlements to add to their collection of magic. Uloriaxes seem to enjoy these raids as much as the plunder; sometimes they return to finish of the slaughter of a village once they have mastered the use of any stolen magic wands and items.

Uloriaxes have numerous mouthlike openings hidden along its body through which they can converse. Their voices are loud and earthshaking, as if a thundercloud had learned to speak. They fly through the air by the generation of prodigious amounts of buoyant gasses that are then vented from these openings to provide propulsion.

The uloriax speaks Common, Auran, and Druidic.


An uloriax prefers to use its spell-like abilities to assault targets from afar before swooping in for the kill. In combat, it utilizes any wands it owns and attacks with its three stalked maws. Against particularly troublesome opponents, an uloriax uses its Snatch feat, then lifts up into the air to drop its foe.

Breath Weapon (Su): 60-foot cone, once every 1d4 rounds, damage 12d6 sonic, Reflex DC 29 half. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Spell-Like Abilities (Sp): At will -- fog cloud, gust of wind (DC 15), wind wall; 3/day -- control weather, control winds (DC 18), lightning bolt (DC 16), whirlwind (DC 21); 1/day -- call lightning storm (DC 18), reverse gravity (DC 20), storm of vengeance (DC 22). Caster level 23rd. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Regeneration (Ex): Cold and fire deal lethal damage to an uloriax.

Wand Mastery (Su): The uloriax can use wands and other spell trigger items as if it had access to the druid spell list. Additionally, it can wield a wand in each of its four tendrils, and it can activate each wand simultaneously as a free action, up to once per round per wand. The uloriax can activate up to four wands per round in this manner.

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