Monster Mayhem05/30/2004

The O'bati: Carnivores from
the Deepest Swamps

"What was that?" whispered the elf cleric Zezbrin under his breath, sweeping the surrounding trees with his practiced gaze. A couple of low-voiced commands to his twin longswords caused one to erupt in flame and the other to crackle with lightning.

The diminutive barbarian Uma dropped into a crouch as she reached over her shoulder to pull her greataxe free from its sling. At the same time, Twitty, the gnome, reached for his spell component pouch. "I'm not sure," he whispered to Zezbrin, "but I don't see it now." The three had pursued their captured companions deep into the great swamp, deeper than they had ever been before. Since the only reply to their fervent whispers was the buzzing of insects, the trio crept forward, alert for danger.

Eventually, they relaxed enough to continue their trek along the narrow path, their feet growing wet and weary from walking. Just as they were about ready to call for a rest, the trees around them exploded with motion and color, and small, froglike creatures began to fire arrows at them from all directions. The stalwart adventurers moved quickly into defensive positions and began to cast protective spells, but it was too late. The reptilian hunters' arrows found their marks too soon, and the heroes' legs began to grow heavy and weak as the venom-tipped projectiles did their job. When the attack was over, Zezbrin, Uma, and Twitty lay face down in the marsh, unable to move. The brush near them parted, and the largest of the reptilian hunters approached the fallen group. "Who are you, and why do you trespass in o'bati hunting grounds?" it asked in a croaking voice. "Speak quickly, elf," it said, flipping Zezbrin over, "or you and your friends will be spitted and roasted before the light leaves the swamp this day."


O'bati, 1st-Level Warrior
Small Humanoid (Reptilian)
Hit Dice: 1d8+1 (5 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 20 ft.
Armor Class: 13 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +1 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-3
Attack: +2 melee (1d4, bite) or +2 melee (1d6/x3, longspear) or +4 ranged (1d6/x3, longbow)
Full Attack: +2 melee (1d4, bite) or +2 melee (1d6/x3, longspear) or +4 ranged (1d6/x3, longbow)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison
Special Qualities: Low-light vision
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +1, Will -1
Abilities: Str 11, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8
Skills: Climb +10, Jump +7, Swim +7
Feats: Weapon Focus (longbow)
Environment: Warm forest or marsh
Organization: Solitary, pair, band (3-4), cluster (6-12 plus 50% noncombatants plus 1 leader of 3rd-6th level), or tribe (20-50 plus 2 lieutenants of 3rd-6th level and 1 leader of 5th-10th level)
Challenge Rating: 1
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +2

This short humanoid resembles a 3-foot-tall, marsh-green tree frog with bright red skin covering the top of its head and back. It walks upright and carries a long spear, and a stout-looking bow hangs loosely from one hand. A quiver full of arrows is strapped to the creature's hip.

The carnivorous o'bati are deadly predators that hunt in small bands. They dwell in small communities known as clusters, which consist of low, mud-and-thatch dwellings that serve as entrances to larger burrows. The o'bati are dedicated archers, and indeed their culture is based on mastery of the bow -- both its use and its construction. The o'bati frequently trade with elves, who tend to share their appreciation for their chosen weapon.

A typical o'bati stands 3 to 4 feet tall and weighs between 30 and 50 pounds. Its face, underside, and limbs can be any shade from olive to jade green, but the skin on its back ranges from bright red to violet.

O'bati speak Draconic.


Whenever possible, o'bati coordinate their attacks, surrounding their opponents and peppering them with arrows tipped with poison harvested from their own skins. They prefer to move in, launch a couple of volleys of arrows, then fade back into the surrounding trees to allow their poison time to work. O'bati are extremely patient, and they are quite capable of employing such hit-and-run tactics for hours until their enemies are exhausted.

Poison (Ex): The brightly colored skin on an o'bati's back exudes a venom (contact and injury, Fortitude DC 10, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Dexterity) similar to that of certain poisonous tree frogs but considerably less deadly. As a standard action, an o'bati hunter may scrape an arrow across his back to envenom it and then fire it at an opponent. An o'bati archer with the Manyshot feat can envenom multiple arrows simultaneously and fire them all at once. Any creature that strikes an o'bati using natural weapons or unarmed strikes is also subject to the poison. Merely wearing gloves does not protect an attacker foolish enough to strike the o'bati in this manner.

Furthermore, the effectiveness of the o'bati's poison increases with its concentration in the body of the target. Every time a creature comes into contact with the venom (either via arrows or its own natural or through unarmed attacks) over the course of a 24-hour period, the save DC increases by +1 (max DC 10 + o'bati's racial HD + 4). The save DCs are Constitution-based.

Skills: The o'bati's strong legs grant it a +4 racial bonus on Jump and Swim checks. Furthermore, it receives a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

O'bati Society

These intelligent carnivores live in relative harmony with their surroundings. As a people, they work hard to ensure the ecological health of their habitat and help the animal populations around them thrive. They believe that the path to true enlightenment is through the mastery of the bow and the hunt, so they neither grow crops nor domesticate animals.

The o'bati refer to their humble villages as clusters, and several clusters in the same area constitute a tribe. Each cluster has a huntmaster -- typically a druid or ranger of some power -- who reports to the tribal chieftain. The chieftains have no established places of residence in any particular clusters; they simply roam the lands controlled by their tribes, serving as protectors and guides where needed.

O'bati as Characters

O'bati characters possess the following racial traits.

  • +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength.
  • Small size. +1 bonus to Armor Class, +1 bonus on attack rolls, +4 bonus on Hide checks, -4 penalty on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits 3/4 those of Medium characters.
  • An o'bati's base land speed is 30 feet, and it has a climb speed of 20 feet.
  • Weapon Proficiency: An o'bati is automatically proficient with the longspear and longbow.
  • +1 natural armor bonus.
  • Bite: An o'bati has a natural bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage. The damage bonus is 1-1/2 times its Str bonus (if any) or its full Str penalty (if any).
  • Poison (see above for details).
  • Low-light vision.
  • Automatic Languages: Draconic, Elven. Bonus Languages: Aquan, Common, Goblin, Orc.
  • Favored Class: Ranger.
  • Level Adjustment +2.

The o'bati warrior presented here had the following ability scores before racial adjustments: Strength 13, Dexterity 11, Constitution 12, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 9, Charisma 8.

About the Author

A new contributor to the website, Chris Lindsay plays at Wizards of the Coast, Inc. during the day and spends his evenings with his lovely wife and kids in not-so-sunny Renton, Washington. Any free time is devoted to D&D, and he is proud to be a developer for the RPGA's Legacy of the Green Regent campaign.

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