Far Corners of the World11/26/2004

Monsters of the Lost City
(Shadows of Glory)

Deserted Temple - Rob AlexanderIn the far corners of the world, extremes of terrain are the rule. Vast burning deserts, trackless insect-filled swamps, frozen wastelands, and desolate volcanic peaks present dangers of their own. As a result, lost cities located in these remote areas are often seen as shelters from the dangers of the environment by explorers. Unfortunately, the monsters of the region often have the same reaction, and worse, strange creatures that have survived prior ages (or perhaps were even spawned in the cataclysm that left the lost city abandoned) lurk in the ruins.

Brood Monkey
Small Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice:
2d8+4 (13 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 20 ft.
Armor Class:
15 (+1 size, +2 Dex, +1 natural, +1 buckler), touch 13, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/-3
Club +2 melee (1d4-1)
Full Attack:
Club +0/+0 melee (1d4-1) and bite -3 melee (1d3-1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Flurry of blows, spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Darkvision 120 ft., immune to enchantment, low-light vision
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +7
Str 8, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 5, Wis 14, Cha 12
Skills: Balance +6, Climb +6, Hide +6, Jump +2, Listen +5, Spot +5, Tumble +6
Feats: AlertnessB, Iron Will
Any ruins
Organization: Solitary, pair, hunting party (2-5), brood (6-12 plus 1 leader of 1st-3rd level), or tribe (13-40 plus 1 cleric or druid of 5th-7th level and 1 3rd-5th level leader per 10 adults)
Challenge Rating:
Treasure: Standard
Usually chaotic neutral
By character class
Level Adjustment: +2

The creature clambers face-first down the ruined wall, a small buckler strapped to one arm and a crooked wooden club clutched in a hand. Its legs and arms are unusually long, and its feet look similar to its hands, yet don't quite have opposable thumbs. It looks vaguely like a bald, tailless monkey with large ears and eyes, and its wide mouth is filled with tangled sharp teeth.

Often when civilizations collapse, a fraction of the populace remains behind. Usually members of the lower class that others simply forgot or ignored find themselves reduced to the roles of scavengers in the ages to come. As the years turn to centuries, they grow more and more feral. The exact results of this regression can vary from civilization to civilization; the unhappy creature known as the brood monkey is an example of what might become of a civilization of highly religious humans that falls into decline.

A brood monkey, while once human, decreased in size and in mental faculties over many generations. Yet each one has retained its fierce loyalty to the priests and gods during its decline. However, while the desires and goals of brood monkeys may have narrowed over this time, their focus on achieving these goals only strengthened. Brood monkeys have no name for their own race; they can barely grasp the concept of society. Their skill at using crude tools, their frightening alacrity, and their faith are their greatest assets, and these factors alone often prove enough to grant them the tenacity to keep fairly large territories in many lost cities.

Some brood monkeys communicate among themselves with a crude language that consists of a few words of Common augmented with hoots, hollers, and wild gesticulations. Their leaders can often recite long and complex prayers to their ancient deities (in Common), yet few of them can grasp the actual meaning of the words, having learned them phonetically from their elders at a young age.


Brood monkeys prefer to fight with clubs, since these weapons are plentiful and easy to use. Nevertheless, a brood monkey isn't above using other weapons it can scavenge; they are proficient in all simple melee weapons. In combat, a brood monkey attacks with a shocking burst of flailing weaponry and savage bites. In larger groups, one or two of them typically hang back to support the others with their spell-like abilities.

Flurry of Blows (Ex): A brood monkey can flail wildly with any simple melee weapon or unarmed attack as a full attack action. This grants the brood monkey an additional attack with his melee weapon, but all melee weapon attacks suffer a -2 penalty as a result. This penalty applies for 1 round, so it also affects attacks of opportunity the brood monkey might make before its next action. A brood monkey with at least 5 Hit Dice becomes more adept with his flurry of blows attack, and the penalty for using it drops to -1. A brood monkey with at least 9 Hit Dice has no penalty at all to his flurry of blows attacks. A brood monkey may attack with his bite as a secondary weapon in a round he performs a flurry of blows -- any penalties from his flurry of blows do not apply to his bite attack.

Spell-Like Abilities: 3/day -- cure minor wounds, doom (DC 12); 1/day -- cause fear (DC 12), cure light wounds, shield of faith. Caster level 2.

Immune to Enchantment (Ex): The brood monkey's fantastic faith and focus grant it complete immunity to all spells and spell-like effects of the school of enchantment. This extends to supernatural attacks and effects that duplicate spells of these schools, such as a vampire's domination gaze.

Skills: A brood monkey has a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can choose to take 10 on a Climb check even when rushed or threatened. A brood monkey's natural agility gives it a +4 racial bonus on Balance, Jump, and Tumble checks.

Golem Remnant
Large Undead (Incorporeal)
Hit Dice:
16d12 (104 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: Fly 40 ft. (perfect) (8 squares)
Armor Class:
15 (-1 size, +4 Dex, +2 deflection), touch 15, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/--
Attack: Incorporeal touch +11 melee (1d6 Wisdom damage)
Full Attack:
4 incorporeal touches +11 melee (1d6 Wisdom damage)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks:
Possess object, touch of madness
Special Qualities:
Darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 5, incorporeal traits, madness, spell resistance 18, undead traits
Fort +5, Ref +11, Will +6
Abilities: Str --, Dex 18, Con --, Int 2, Wis 3, Cha 15
Listen +8, Spot +7
Feats: Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility
Environment: Any ruins
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 8
Treasure: None
Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 17-48 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment:

A strange, shimmering sheet of vapor rises out of the ground -- a shapeless cloud of what could be steam or fog were it not for the burning eyes that lurk deep in the creature's core. Four tendrils of mist extrude from the nearest facing of the creature, questing hungrily for prey.

With the passage of countless ages, the majority of any guardians and sentinels that survived the ancient cataclysm long since died or moved to different regions. Yet one category of creature in particular remained at their posts: constructs. The golems and other animated guardians created by the ancients simply remained at their posts, patient and silent, awaiting new orders that would never come. Eventually, the elements wore down even these ancient constructs, and their bodies fell apart from disuse.

Yet so strong was the binding magic that anchored the animating elemental spirits to these ancient golems that when the bodies died, their elemental "souls" died as well -- yet they did not return to the elemental planes once their bodies wasted away. Still bound to a body that no longer existed, these disembodied elemental spirits transformed into strange undead known today as golem remnants.

A golem remnant is a particularly unusual undead creature. The elemental spirits that create them are no longer bound to the Material Plane, yet their ages of idle torment that ended with dissolution universally leave them insane, and once freed, they seek out other statues, suits of armor, even dead bodies to inhabit and animate. With each new "body," their original programming becomes more and more corrupted, and the eventual fate of all golem remnants is to become a nearly-mindless killer locked into a ruined city by a purely psychological cage of insanity.


A golem remnant prefers to spend its time within a solid object, and it uses this "body" to attack mindlessly. Once its body is destroyed, the remnant momentarily cannot inhabit a new body, and until it refocuses its animating energies, it lashes out at anything living with tendrils of vapor that infuse the mind with visions of madness and anguish. Golem remnants modify their melee attacks with their Dexterity modifier rather than their Strength modifier.

Possess Object (Su): As a standard action, a golem remnant can move into a square occupied by any Large or Huge object. This object immediately animates as an animated object (see Monster Manual, page 13). Damage done to the animated object is not transferred to the golem remnant. While animated, the object's natural attacks gain the benefit of the golem remnant's touch of madness (see below). The object does not gain the benefit of the golem remant's fast healing, but if a golem remnant is damaged before it possesses an object, its fast healing continues to work on its own hit point total, so that when it is eventually forced out of the animated object it has likely healed most or all of the damage it may have already suffered. The possessed object does gain the benefit of the golem remnant's spell resistance.

A golem remnant can be forced to vacate its possessed body in one of two ways. Successfully targeting a possessed object with dispel chaos or dispel evil forces the golem remnant to vacate the object if it penetrates the creature's spell resistance and it fails a Will save (use the golem remnant's Will save, not the animated object's Will save). A golem remnant is also driven out of its possessed object if the animated object is destroyed. Once a golem remnant is driven out of a body, its animating powers are momentarily drained. It must wait for 1d4 rounds before using the power again.

Touch of Madness (Su): The golem remant's touch inflicts 1d6 points of Wisdom damage, or 2d6 points of Wisdom damage on a successful critical hit. While the golem remnant is possessing an object, the animated object's natural attacks deal this additional Wisdom damage as well.

Madness (Ex): A golem remnant uses its Charisma modifier to adjust its Will saving throw rather than its Wisdom modifier.

Ruin Wyrm
Huge Dragon
Hit Dice:
18d12+126 (243 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares), fly 100 ft. (poor)
Armor Class: 33 (-2 size, +3 Dex, +22 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 30
Base Attack/Grapple: +18/+34
Tail +24 melee (2d6+8/19-20)
Full Attack: Tail +24 melee (2d6+8/19-20) and bite +22 melee (2d6+8) and 4 claws +22 melee (1d8+4) and 2 wings +22 melee (1d8+4)
15 ft./10 ft. (20 ft. with tail)
Special Attacks: Breath weapon, constrict 2d6+8, improved grab, spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Blindsense 30 ft., damage reduction 10/magic, darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 10, immune to electricity, immunity to sleep and paralysis, low-light vision, resistance to fire 10, scent
Fort +18, Ref +14, Will +15
Abilities: Str 27, Dex 17, Con 24, Int 17, Wis 14, Cha 20
Skills: Appraise +24, Decipher Script +24, Jump +24, Knowledge (arcana) +24, Knowledge (history) +24, Knowledge (any one other) +24, Listen +25, Search +24, Spellcraft +5, Spot +25, Use Magic Device +26
Feats: Alertness, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Critical (tail), Iron Will, Multiattack, Power Attack
Any ruins
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 16
Treasure: Triple standard
Alignment: Usually lawful neutral
Advancement: 19-26 HD (Huge), 27-42 HD (Gargantuan), 43-54 HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment: --

This six-legged pale red lizardlike beast is the size of a small building. Its hook-shaped face resembles a beak, and tiny red, intelligent eyes peek out from under a spiny brow. Its neck is short and powerful, with a pair of massive bat wings and six limber legs with seven-toed talons. The creature's tail is surprisingly long and prehensile, ending in a whiplike lash.

These massive dragons seem drawn to lost cities, and they often make their lairs within. A ruin wyrm's territory can span several city blocks, often in excess of a mile radius, so only the largest of ruined cities can support more than one of these monsters without one killing the other over some perceived incursion. Ruin wyrms have little interest in creatures smaller than Large size, and they often dwell in relative peace with large tribes of humanoids who live in the ruins as well.

Much speculation as to the source of the ruin wyrm has bandied about explorers' circles, universities, and museums. Many believe that the ruin wyrm seems drawn to ruined cities simply to gather together what loot it can from the abandoned vaults and treasuries, and the size of the average ruin wyrm hoard definitely speaks in support of these claims. Yet others believe that the ruin wyrms represent some sort of ancient guardians of these ancient cities; certainly they seem to have little interest in the cruelty exhibited by many other dragons.

Adventurers often seek out ruin wyrms as allies. A ruin wyrm made helpful with Diplomacy (normally, ruin wyrms are unfriendly toward adventurers) or other means usually lets the adventurers take shelter in its territory, providing a safe place to rest on extended forays into the lost city. For the right price (usually the same price it would cost to have a spellcaster cast the spells in question), a ruin wyrm may even acquiesce to using its spell-like abilities to aid the PCs.

Ruin wyrms speak Common, Draconic, and at least one other language (usually Giant).


Although a ruin wyrm is just as likely to use diplomacy to solve conflicts, it has no true fear of combat, and when fighting becomes necessary, they seem to relish the battle. The wyrm's greatest attack is its tail, which is a highly prehensile member that has surprising reach. They can also attack with four of their six talons, their bite, and a buffet from each of their wings if necessary. A ruin wyrm's bite attack always receives the creature's full Strength bonus to damage rolls, even though it is normally a secondary attack.

Breath Weapon (Su): Once every 1d4 rounds, a ruin wyrm can breathe out a sphere of brilliant electricity, launching the sphere to any point up to a range of 100 feet. When the sphere reaches its target, it explodes into a 20-foot radius burst of dazzling energy, inflicting 14d8 points of electricity damage to all creatures in the area. A successful Reflex save (DC 26) halves the damage; a creature who fails this saving throw takes full damage and is blinded for 1d4 rounds unless it makes a successful Fortitude save (DC 26). The save DC is Constitution based.

If the ruin wyrm wishes, it can instead breathe out four spheres, aiming each at different locations. Each of these spheres deals 3d8 points of electrical damage, exploding in a 20-foot-radius burst and possibly causing blindness as well.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a ruin wyrm must hit with its tail. 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 constrict.

Spell-Like Abilities (Sp): At will -- arcane sight, detect secret doors, identify, summon monster I, tongues; 3/day -- dimension door, greater scrying, prying eyes, sending, summon monster V, vision; 1/day -- demand, spell resistance, summon monster VIII.

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