Spawned by an unhealthy interest in the necromantic arts or perhaps a lifetime of proximity to significant necromantic energies, the deathleech is the bane of living creatures. Driven by an insatiable hunger for death, these malign horrors stalk the living, preying on the weak to boost their own power through foul and twisted means. Deathleeches are most often powerful necromancers, liches, or other intelligent and powerful undead. However, other creatures have become tainted with these evil powers from time to time. Deathleeches frequently live lives in secret, preying on the stragglers and easier marks until their powers are such that they can make themselves known. They hate all that is good and are willing to destroy its emissaries whenever possible.
Deathleeches appear much the same as the base creatures, only their countenances radiate a strange and unnerving energy. There is often a faint chill in the air within 5 feet of a deathleech.
“Deathleech” is an acquired template that can be added to any creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A deathleech retains all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here. All class abilities of the base creature (if applicable) are retained by the deathleech.
CR: Same as the base creature +3.
Alignment: A deathleech creature is always evil.
Size and Type: Size and type remain unchanged. A deathleech creature gains the evil subtype.
Senses: A deathleech retains all the senses of the base creature and also gains the following:
A deathleech can determine the condition of creatures near death within 30 feet. (This range doubles for every 10 HD a deathleech has.) This functions as a deathwatch spell with a caster level equal to the deathleech’s Hit Dice. This ability is always on, but can be suppressed or negated. A deathleech can restart it again as a free action on its next turn.
Aura: A deathleech retains any auras of the base creature, and also gains the following:
Deathleeches radiate an unnerving aura of death and destruction. Undead recognize this aura and the powerful necromantic energy that it represents. Mindless undead do not attack a deathleech unless attacked first. Intelligent undead with Hit Dice at least equal to the deathleech’s total Hit Dice plus class levels must succeed on a Will save to attack a deathleech. Once it makes a successful save, that undead creature never again has to make a save to attack that same deathleech. Intelligent undead with more Hit Dice than the deathleech are unaffected by this aura. This aura radiates in a 5-foot radius around the deathleech creature. The save DC is 10 + 1/2 the deathleech’s Hit Dice (including class levels) + the deathleech’s Charisma modifier.
Defensive Abilities: A deathleech retains all the defensive abilities of the base creature, and also gains the following:
Deathleeches are immune to negative energy effects, ability damage, ability drain, cold, and evil spells. (Note even though it is immune to ability damage and drain, a deathleech is still subject to Strength drain if its target succeeds on its save against the deathleech’s greater death knell ability.)
Attacks: The deathleech retains all the attacks of the base creature and gains 2 slam attacks if it does not already have a slam attack. A deathleech’s natural weapons, as well as any weapon it wields, are treated as evil–aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. A deathleech uses the damage values on the table below for its slam
|Tiny or smaller||1d2||Huge||2d6|
Attacks: Following text
Special Attacks: A deathleech retains all the special attacks of the base creature and gains the following. Saves have a DC of 10 + 1/2 deathleech’s HD + deathleech’s Chamodifier unless noted otherwise.
Living creatures hit by a deathleech’s slam attack gain one negative level. For each negative level bestowed, a deathleech gains 5 temporary hit points. A deathleech can use its energy drain ability once per round.
Once per day for each 3 Hit Dice plus class levels (if any) a deathleech has, it can draw forth the ebbing life force of a creature to fuel its own power. This functions as a death knell spell with a caster level equal to the deathleech’s total Hit Dice plus class levels (if any).
Once per month for each 8 Hit Dice plus class levels (if any) a deathleech has, it musters enough negative energy to perform a greater death knell. This ability functions as a death knell spell, except the hit points and Strength gained are permanent. If the target succeeds on its Will save, the deathleech actually loses 1d8 hit points permanently and takes 2 points of Strength drain.
Deathleech from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Author Scott Greene.