An amalgam is two different monsters brought together into one being by either magic or selective breeding. The amalgam template can be used to create a new race to replace a standard one, or new creatures resulting from a crossbreeding experiment, or a series of monsters influenced by a god or demon, or even a unique creature created by a magical accident.
“Amalgam” is an acquired or inherited template that combines two creatures (referred to hereafter as base creatures). An amalgam uses all the statistics and special abilities of the two base creatures except as noted here.
Appearance: Several factors determine the amalgam’s appearance:
Body Form: The amalgam has the general body form of whichever base creature has the most total Hit Dice. In the case of a tie, the GM may choose which base creature’s form the amalgam has.
Limbs: The amalgam has the same kinds of limbs and attacking appendages as both base creatures do. If both base creatures have a particular kind of limb, the amalgam has the same number of such limbs as does the base creature with the higher character level or Hit Dice. If both base creatures have the same character level or Hit Dice, the amalgam has the greater number of limbs. The amalgam can attack with any appendage that either base creature can, even if the other base creature has no attack with that limb. All limbs are sized appropriately for the amalgam.
For example, a Huge monstrous scorpion combined with a stirge has the general body form, legs, claws, and tail of the scorpion, plus stirge-like wings and a stirge’s proboscis—both sized to fit its new body. A hill giant combined with a heavy warhorse has the body form, legs, and arms of a hill giant, plus a horse-like face and hoof-like feet to deliver the warhorse’s hoof and bite attacks.
The amalgam looks like a combination of both base creatures, even if its features do not retain the same functions. The GM may freely assign any appropriate physical characteristics to the creature within those parameters. In the example of the hill giant and horse amalgam above, the resulting creature might be hairy like a horse.
Challenge Rating: Compare the amalgam to both base creatures and select a challenge rating based on theirs. Then compare the amalgam to creatures with Challenge Ratings up to 3 higher to determine whether the CR you have assigned is reasonable using Table: Monster Statistics by CR and Table: Creature Hit Dice as a guide.
Alignment: The amalgam’s alignment includes elements of both base creatures’ alignments. For example, an amalgam created from chaotic neutral and lawful evil base creatures could be chaotic evil or lawful neutral, at your option.
Size: The amalgam is the same size as the larger of the two base creatures.
Type: Find the amalgam’s type by cross-referencing the two base creatures’ types on Table: Amalgam Size/Type. The creature retains the subtypes of both base creatures unless those subtypes directly conflict, e. g. fire and cold. In the case of such a conflict, the creature loses both subtypes.
Senses: An amalgam has the senses of both base creatures as well as those granted by the amalgam’s new type. If one of the ranges on a sense is higher for one base creature than the other (or the type), user the higher value.
Aura: The amalgam has the auras of both base creatures. If the aura was granted by the base creature’s type or subtype that the amalgam does not have, it loses that aura.
Armor Class: If the base creatures are the same size, average their natural armor bonuses and round down to determine the natural armor bonus of the amalgam. (A creature with no natural armor bonus has an effective natural armor bonus of +0. ) Otherwise, adjust the natural armor bonus of the smaller creature according to Table: Bonus to Natural AC For Averaging before averaging. Apply the modifiers stepwise to account for the size difference between the smaller base creature and the amalgam.
Hit Dice: The amalgam has the same number of racial Hit Dice as the base creature with the greatest number of racial HD. If the two base creatures have the same number of racial HD, the amalgam also has that number. Hit Dice gained through class levels do not count for this purpose. The amalgam’s racial Hit Dice are of a size appropriate to its new type. Recalculate the amalgam’s hit points based on the number of HD and type of HD.
Saving Throws: Recalculate the amalgam’s saving throws based on its new type, ability scores and hit dice. If the amalgam has the humanoid or outsider type, use the default good saves for those types (Reflex for Humanoid, Reflex and Will for Outsider) if neither base creature is the same type as the amalgam. If one of the base creatures has the same type as the amalgam, the amalgam’s good saves are the same as that creature. If both of the base creatures have the same type as the amalgam but different good saves choose which saves are good from the two base creatures.
Speed: The amalgam possesses the speeds and movement modes of both base creatures. If both have a particular mode of movement, the amalgam’s speed for that mode is the higher of the two. If both base creatures have fly speeds, the amalgam has the better maneuverability rating.
Defensive Abilities: An amalgam keeps all the defensive abilities, immunities, resistances, DR and SR of both base creatures. If both base creatures have the same kind of defensive ability use the one with the larger value. With regards to immunities, immunity to an effect prevails over any type of damage over resistance to that effect. For damage reduction, use the higher value from both base creatures. For vulnerabilities that bypass a creature’s DR, if both creatures have DR combine both with an “or,” if one of the creature’s DR has a dash (no bypassing the DR) the amalgam has a dash after its DR as well.
Weaknesses: An amalgam has the weaknesses of both base creatures. If the base creatures has both an immunity and a weakness to the same effect, it loses both.
Attacks: The amalgam retains all the attacks of the base creature with the greater racial Hit Dice. It also gains any attacks the other base creature has that are associated with limbs it gained from that creature, and it retains the weapon and armor proficiencies of both base creatures.
Weapon attacks are always primary attacks, and natural attacks gained from the creature with fewer racial HD are always secondary attacks. Natural attacks gained from the base creature with more racial Hit Dice are either primary or secondary, as they were for that creature. If the base creatures have the same number of racial HD, the amalgam gains all the attacks of both, subject to the number of appropriate limbs it actually has. The GM chooses one kind of natural attack to be the primary one if more than one option exists.
Damage: If the base creatures are both the same size as the amalgam, the base damage for its attacks remains the same as it was for the base creatures. Otherwise, keep the damage for the larger base creature’s attacks the same. Scale the base damage for each of the smaller creature’s attacks to their new value based on the amalgam’s new size. Ability score damage or drain and energy damage also scale up in the same manner, but negative levels bestowed via attacks do not increase.
Space/Reach: The amalgam has a space and reach appropriate for its size, as given on Table: Creature Size and Scale. If the reach for a natural attack that the amalgam receives from one of the base creatures is greater than normal for its size, extend the reach of that attack by the same amount that it is extended from the original creature.
Special Attacks: An amalgam retains all the special attacks of both base creatures that do not depend on a specific limb and body form the amalgam does not possess. If two special attacks are similar, the amalgam has the better of the two.
For example, if both base creatures deal extra fire damage with their melee attacks, but one deals +1 point and the other deals +1d6 points, the amalgam deals +1d6 points of fire damage.
Recalculate the save DCs for all special attacks based on the amalgam creature’s Hit Dice and its ability scores. Evaluate the amalgam’s special attacks, keeping that it may get to use only two or three of them in a single combat. If it seems as if your amalgam has too many special attacks, pare them down until you are satisfied.
Spellcasting and Spell-like Abilities: An amalgam retains all the spellcasting and spell-like abilities of both creatures. The amalgam’s caster level is equal to its Hit Dice and the spell DCs are typically Charisma-based. If the spellcasting is of a fixed level, the amalgam casts spells at the same level. If one of the base creature’s spells or spell-like abilities use a different ability to calculate DCs use the higher score.
Abilities: For each mental ability score, take the average for the two base creatures, rounding down if the result is 10 or higher or up if it is below 10. If the base creatures are the same size, follow the same procedure for each physical ability score. Otherwise, adjust the ability score of the smaller creature according to Table: Bonuses To Ability Scores For Averaging before averaging. Apply the modifiers stepwise to account for the size difference between the smaller base creature and the amalgam.
Feats: The amalgam retains the bonus feats of both base creatures, but it loses all other feats that the base creatures had. Recalculate the number of feat slots the amalgam has based on its racial and class HD and assign feats as desired, giving preference to the feats that the base creatures possessed. The amalgam must still meet any prerequisites for feats chosen to fill vacant feat slots.
Skills: The amalgam retains the racial skill bonuses described in the Skills section of the creature descriptions for both base creatures, but it loses all skill ranks the base creatures possessed. Recalculate skill points for the amalgam’s racial Hit Dice according to its type then purchase its skills afresh, treating both base creatures’ skills as class skills. The amalgam retains any skill points gained from class levels.
Languages: If the amalgam can speak, it can speak the languages of both base creatures. If one of the base creatures has a spell-like or supernatural ability to communicate, such as telepathy, the amalgam has that as well (at the greater value if both creatures have the same ability).
Special Qualities: An amalgam retains all the special qualities of both base creatures that do not depend on a limb or body form that the amalgam does not possess. If two special qualities are similar, the amalgam has the better of the two.
Environment: The amalgam can exist in any environment that either base creature could.
Organization: An amalgam is often a wholly new and strange being. Assign whatever organization you wish. .
Treasure: Standard if both base creatures have standard treasure, or as the base creature with the most treasure, if both have poorer than standard, or as the base creature with the least treasure if they both have better than standard.
|Size Change||Natural AC Bonus|
|Fine to Diminutive||+0|
|Diminutive to Tiny||+0|
|Tiny to Small||+0|
|Small to Medium||+0|
|Medium to Large||+2|
|Large to Huge||+3|
|Huge to Gargantuan||+4|
|Gargantuan to Colossal||+5|
|Fine to Diminutive||+0||-2*||+0|
|Diminutive to Tiny||+2||-2*||+0|
|Tiny to Small||+4||-2*||+0|
|Small to Medium||+4||-2*||+2|
|Medium to Large||+8||-2*||+4|
|Large to Huge||+8||-2*||+4|
|Huge to Gargantuan||+8||+0||+4|
|Gargantuan to Colossal||+8||+0||+4|
* minimum 1
Amalgam is one of the most complicated templates (and thus fairly difficult to apply) because it gives the mechanics for taking any two monsters and mashing them together into a single creature. The amalgam template exists to provide a game mechanic for GMs who want to make creatures similar to owlbears, but it can also be used to create earth elemental succubi, bodak stone golems, and other odd combinations. The result is often a strange and unique creature that might deserve its own place in your world.
The template is complicated because it has to encompass all the variables. Many other templates combine different creatures, and they do so in very different ways, but none are expansive enough to account for any combination of monsters.
This template might be more than you need to create the monster combination you have in mind. If you want to create a human with an octopus’s tentacle attacks, for example, you can always just give a human those characteristics. But if you’d like a formal structure for combining any two monsters according to the rules, this template does the job.
As you apply the template, you can make minor alterations based on how you want your two monsters to combine. For instance, if you were hoping that the combination of an ogre and a bear would make a giant, centaur-like bear-ogre rather than an ogre with bear-like features, you can alter how the template works to ensure the creature takes the right form.
Ultimately, this template provides a fun new way to think about monsters and create new creatures. With it, you can create interesting encounters and adventures without designing a new monster from scratch—just as you can with any other template.
If one of the base creatures has score of “—“ for one of its abilities the amalgam can either have no score in that ability as well or the value of the other creature that makes up the amalgam. If both creatures have no score in an ability, the amalgam has no score as well. If an amalgam’s new type or subtype give it no score in an ability, for example constructs having no Constitution score, it maintains having no score in that ability.
When you think about creatures to combine with the amalgam template, keep the following in mind.
The amalgam template was created to let you mix and match any two monsters. Don’t ignore a combination just because it seems silly or contradictory at first glance. Once you’ve put the monsters through the template, you might be surprised by the result. Look for compromises between conflicting abilities so that the monster can keep as many pieces of the base creatures as possible.
An amalgam need not be simply a combination of the two base creatures. Think of it as a wholly new monster. Examining its abilities and how they interact might suggest a new culture, psychology, ecology, and tactics.
With multiple applications of this template, you can add a third, fourth, or fifth creature to the mix. Such combinations can be a lot of fun to create and play, but continual addition of special attacks and special qualities makes the resulting monsters both more complicated and less balanced.