Psionic Bestiary11/28/2003

Sand Drummer

This month's theme is travel, so we came up with few new powers and psionic items, including a cool new arctic cat saddle. To round it all out, we also have an interesting a new mount: the sand drummer.

Sand Drummer
Large Magical Beast (Psionic)
Hit Dice: 7d10+35 (73 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), burrow 5 ft.
Armor Class: 17 (-1 size, -2 Dex, +10 natural), touch 7, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+19
Attack: Slam +14 (1d8+12)
Full Attack: Slam +14 (1d8+12)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Psionics
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/blunt, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, tremorsense 60 ft.
Saves: Fort+10, Ref+3, Will+2
Abilities: Str 26, Dex 6, Con 21, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 9
Skills: Listen +10
Feats: Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Power Attack
Environment: Warm desert
Organization: Solitary or herd (3-18)
Challenge Rating: 5
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 8-11 HD (Large); 12-16 HD (Huge); 17-21 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: --

A 6-foot-high mound of rock shaded in tones that match the environment around it shifts slightly, and sand slides off of it revealing its roughly hemispherical shape and multitude of legs.

Sand drummers are best described as a moving mound of rock. Roughly hemispherical in shape, the typical sand drummer is 9 feet across and 6 feet high, with a 3-foot circle at the top of its shell that is relatively flat. Their shell colors range from various sand shades to almost black. The sand drummer is a carrion feeder, and it can smell dead flesh up to a half mile away. Also, their psionic abilities allow them to find water when they need it.

Each sand drummer has tens of legs and wide flat feet (average is 10 feet per HD). They use these feet to maintain their balance over the shifting sands (they treat this as normal terrain). They also can turn these feet into digging paddles, which gives them the ability to burrow to the sources of water they find.

Sand drummers communicate with each other by making various beats on the inside of their shell with their outer feet. The cacophony created by a herd is unsettling to those who have never experienced it before.

Desert peoples have learned to use these creatures as mounts and as water beacons. Warriors follow the herds and wait for the sand drummers to create sand plumes as they begin to burrow for water. Those that use them as mounts use a special stick to guide the creatures. By rapping on the shell at certain places in a particular pattern, they have learned to direct the drummer in the direction they wish to go.


For the most part, sand drummers don't participate in combat. Being a scavenger, they don't actively hunt anything, and few creatures see the drummer as food. On the rare occasions sand drummers are provoked, they use bull rushes and their psionics to drive off the opponent. If this proves to be unsuccessful, they attempt to flee.

Psionics (Sp): 3/day -- concussion (DC 17), dowsing. The save DCs are Constitution-based. (Dowsing can be found in the article "Psionic Monster Mayhem: Not Quite 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.")

Attack/Defense Modes (Sp): At will -- id insinuation/thought shield

Tremorsense (Ex): Sand drummers can detect any motion within 60 feet of themselves, so long as the motion is in contact with the ground.

Sand Drummer Carriages

Sand Drummer Carriage: Composed primarily of wood and leather, these platforms make up the majority of the items used to ride a sand drummer. There is space for the driver and 2 Medium passengers, and hooks are used to hang baggage from the sides. Passenger seats range from simple wooden planks to fine upholstered fabrics with full backs and arm rests. Access to the platform is gained through the use of a rope and wood ladder which forms steps the passengers and driver can climb to reach the back of the beast. The driver uses a long wooden stick with a leather-wrapped weighted end to direct the drummer.

Prices vary, with the simplest being 100 gp and ranging up from there.

Sand Drummer War Carriage: These specially designed platforms can be fitted only to a huge sand drummer or larger, due to the weight and size of the item. These platforms come in three types, depending on the role it will serve in battle. They are constructed of steel, wood, and leather and are packed with mud to help prevent fires.

Ram Carriage: This version has a specially fitted battering ram set to gain full advantage of the sand drummer's bull rush capabilities. It has seating only for a driver, but a steel shell surrounds the area, giving improved cover versus ranged attacks (+8 AC). This carriage costs 1,000 gp.

Ram Carriage: 2 in. thick; hardness 10; hp 30; break DC 28.

Ballista Carriage: This version moves the driver to the back of the carriage, since the front section mounts a standard ballista. A crew of three operates the ballista, and from six to ten shots are usually carried. This carriage also has metal grates and a partial metal roof to provide cover for the crew (+6 AC). This carriage costs 2,000 gp.

Ballista Carriage: 2 in. thick; hardness 10; hp 30; break DC 28.

Archer Platform: The archer platform is the standard version of war carriage. The carriage driver is located in the front, while a partially enclosed shell dominates the rest of the space. This enclosure can hold eight archers and it provides cover from opposing ranged attacks (+4 AC). This version costs 1,500 gp.

Archer Platform: 2 in. thick; hardness 5; hp 20; break DC 23.

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