Beings from the deepest reaches of space and realms beyond the known planes, eldritch creatures are things that should not be. Horrific and lethal, eldritch creatures travel to the worlds of the Material Plane with purposes only known to them. They can sometimes be created or called via forbidden magic or rituals, but always at a terrible cost.
Each eldritch creature is unique in form and abilities. Their shape only vaguely hints at the creature they are patterned after. In every case, however, an eldritch is a horrific monster of flesh, bone, mucus, and fluids—one that should not exist.
“Eldritch” is an inherited or acquired template that can be added to any living creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). An eldritch creature uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: An eldritch’s CR adjustment depends on what abilities it has (see Special Abilities).
Alignment: Any non-good.
Type: The base creature’s type changes depending whether the eldritch creature comes from the deeper reaches of space or outside the known planes. If it is from space, the base creature’s type changes to aberration. Otherwise, the creature’s type changes to outsider, and it gains the extraplanar subtype.
Skills: The base creature loses all skill ranks except those gained as racial bonuses. Recalculate the creature’s total skill points as a creature of its new type, reassigning ranks as appropriate. Treat those skills that the base creature had ranks in before as class skills.
Special Abilities: An eldritch gains a number of special attacks and qualities depending on its Hit Dice. For each two Hit Dice an eldritch has, it gains one eldritch point (EP) with which it can buy abilities (minimum 1). Each ability costs or adds to the creature’s EP total and adds or subtracts from the eldritch’s CR adjustment (round up). Unless otherwise specified, once an eldritch creature gains an ability it cannot change it.
(-2 EP, +1/2 CR): One of the eldritch’s natural attack deals 1d2 points of ability damage. Which ability score the attack damages is chosen upon this ability’s selection and cannot be changed. This ability can be taken multiple times, with it either applying the damage to another natural attack, increasing the die of the damage by 1 or affecting a different ability score.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) Increase one ability score by +2. This can be taken multiple times.
(+1 EP, -1/4 CR) Decrease one ability score by -2. An ability score decreased to 0 or lower has no score. This can be taken multiple times.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) Increase the reach of one of the eldritch’s natural attacks by 5 ft. This ability may be taken multiple times.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) The eldritch gains a natural attack of the type it doesn’t already have. Damage for the attack is appropriate for its size. This ability can be taken multiple times.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) The eldritch gains an additional mode of movement equal to its base speed or 10 feet (whichever is higher). If it gains a fly speed, that speed has clumsy maneuverability. This ability can be taken multiple times, but each time a different mode of movement needs to be taken.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) The number of one of the eldritch’s natural attacks increases by one. This is accompanied by an appropriate change in the creature’s anatomy. This ability can be taken multiple times.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) An eldritch’s internal anatomy constantly shifts and changes. The eldritch is immune to precision damage such as from sneak attacks and critical hits.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) Gains +3 natural armor bonus. This can be taken multiple times.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) The eldritch gains the bleed ability for all natural attacks for 1d4 damage. This ability can be taken multiple times; each time it increases the number or type of dice the bleed damage does by 1.
(-2 EP, +1/2 CR) One of the eldritch’s attacks drains blood for 1d2 Con damage. This ability can be taken multiple times; each time increases the Constitution damage either increasing the number of dice or the kind of die by 1 or gives the blood drain ability at 1d2 Con to another attack.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) The eldritch gains a constrict attack with an appropriate limb. The damage done is equal to the creature’s slam attack or as a slam attack as one size category larger.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) The eldritch gains DR 5 with a specific bypass. This ability can be taken multiple times but no more than four times for any particular bypass; each time the DR increases by 5. Multiple DRs of the same amount default to “or” when stringing them together. To string two DRs of the same amount together with an “and” increase the CR by 1/4. If a DR with no bypass (DR x/—) is added, increase the cost to -2 EP, +1/2 CR.
(-2 EP, +1 CR) The eldritch sucks away part of a target’s soul with one of its natural attacks. The eldritch gains energy drain (1 level). This ability can be taken up to three times; each time the number of levels drained increases by 1. The DC to regain drained levels is Charisma-based.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) One of the eldritch’s attacks transmits a disease, either on injury or contact. The disease affects one ability score chosen at the time of selection. This ability can be taken multiple times, upon which it gains another disease applied to a different attack or augments an existing disease by one of the following effects:
- Disease applies to another attack.
- Increase damage of chosen ability score as if it was a natural attack.
- Disease affects another ability score. Damage for this ability score starts as 1d4 but can be increased by further applications of this ability.
- Increase the number of saves required by 1 (maximum 3).
- Saving throw for disease has a +1 racial bonus. This bonus cannot exceed the eldritch’s total Hit Dice.
(-2 EP, +1 CR) The eldritch retains the defenses, spell-like abilities, special attacks, and special qualities of its former type, as well as its new type. It counts as both its original and current type for the purposes of spell effects.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) The eldritch gains energy resistance 5 to one kind of energy (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). This ability can be taken multiple times. Each time add a new energy type or increase a current damage reduction by 5 (maximum 30).
(+1 EP, -1/2 CR) A specific type of attack, e. g. fire, good, etc., bypasses an eldritch’s fast healing or regeneration. This ability can be taken multiple times, each time it applies a new kind of bypass as an “or. ”
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) The eldritch creature can use manufactured weapons of one size category larger that its size. This ability does not grant proficiency with the weapon.
(+1 EP, -1/4 CR) Abrupt exposure to bright light blinds an eldritch for 1 round. On subsequent rounds, the eldritch is dazzled as long as it remains in the affected area.
(+1 EP, -1/4 CR) The eldritch is dazzled as long as it remains in an area of bright light.
(-2 EP, +1 CR) The very presence of the eldritch confuses and causes insanity. All those within 30 feet of the eldritch go permanently insane (as the insanity spell). A successful Will save reduces this to a confusion effect (as the confusion spell) that lasts 1d6 rounds. A creature that succeeds on the save is immune to the maddening presence effect from this eldritch creature for one day. This is a mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
(see text): If the eldritch has a fly speed, increase or decrease its maneuverability by one step. Increasing the creature’s maneuverability costs 1 EP and increases the CR by 1/4. Decreasing the creature’s maneuverability adds 1 EP to the creature’s total and decreases its CR by 1/4. This ability can be taken multiple times.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) The eldritch does not breathe and is immune to any effect that requires breathing (such as inhaled poison). This does not give immunity to cloud or gas attacks that do not require breathing.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) One of the eldritch’s attacks inflicts the poison Eldritch Essence on either injury or contact. The poison affects one ability score, chosen at the time of selection. If the score the poison damages is a physical score (STR, DEX, or CON), the save is a Fortitude save and is Constitution-based. For mental score damage (INT, WIS, CHA), the save is a Will save and is Charisma-based. This ability can be taken multiple times; each time, one of the following effects can be applied:
- Increase the amount of damage the poison does as a natural attack (see Improved Natural Attack feat for progression).
- Increase the number of saves required (maximum 3).
- Increase the frequency by 1 round (maximum 6).
- Add a second ability score that takes 1 point damage.
- Add a +1 natural bonus to the DC.
- Same poison is delivered by a second natural attack.
(-1 EP, +1/8 CR) The selected skill is a racial skill for the eldritch. Double the CR cost to apply to a skill group. This ability can be taken multiple times; each time it applies to a different skill or skill group.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) The eldritch gains a racial bonus to saves vs. a specific type of attack, e. g. poison, disease, spell effect, etc. The bonus is equal to one-third the eldritch’s total Hit Dice (minimum +1). This ability can be taken multiple times. Each time it is taken, increase the bonus by 1/3 of the eldritch’s Hit Dice, or gain resistance to another specific attack type.
(-1 EP, +1/8 CR) Gain +2 racial bonus to one specific skill. For skill groups, such as Knowledge, this applies to one specific skill from the group, e. g. Knowledge (arcana). Double the CR cost to apply a +2 bonus to an entire skill group. This ability can be taken multiple times by either adding to the bonus or applying a bonus to a new skill or skill group.
(-1 EP, +1/4 CR) The eldritch creature can use manufactured weapons of one size category smaller that its size. This ability does not grant proficiency with the weapon.
(variable, variable): The eldritch can use a number of spells as spell-like abilities. The caster level is equal to the eldritch’s total Hit Dice. The EP and CR depend on a number of factors, as follows:
- EP for spell-like abilities is equal to 1/3 of the sum of the levels of all spell-like abilities. Spell-like abilities are automatically 1/day.
- Decrease an individual spell’s level for the purpose of calculating EP by 1/2 for downgrading the times per day to per week, per week to per month, or per month to per year.
- Increase an individual spell’s level for the purpose of calculating EP by 1/2 for increasing the number of times a day a spell can be used.
- Increase an individual spell’s level for the purpose of calculating EP by 1 to increase the casting time to At Will from times per day, or Constant from At Will.
- The CR adjustment for an eldritch’s spell like abilities is 1/4 the total EP spent on these abilities (minimum +0).
The above modifiers to a spell’s level are only for the calculation of the EP cost and do not affect the actual spell level when cast.
(-4 EP, +2 CR) The eldritch can cast spells as a cleric, druid, oracle, sorcerer, witch, or wizard of a level equal to its racial Hit Dice (20 max). The eldritch must have a high enough ability score appropriate to the class to cast spells of the appropriate level.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) The eldritch can survive in the void of outer space and does not need to breathe when in the void. It fly through space at an incredible speed. Although exact travel times vary, a trip within a single solar system normally takes 3d20 months, while a trip beyond should take 3d20 years (or more, at the GM’s discretion).
(-2 EP, +1/2 CR) The eldritch gains an elemental (air, fire, etc. ) or alignment (chaotic, evil, etc. ) subtype it does not already have. It cannot gain an elemental subtype that conflicts with one it already has, e. g. fire and cold. Nor can it gain an alignment subtype that is in conflict with its alignment.
(-1 EP, special) Swap one of your modes of movement with one you do not have. If the eldritch gains fly its maneuverability is average. If the eldritch gains fly, the CR adjustment is +1/4; otherwise, it is +1/8.
(-2 EP, +1/2 CR) The eldritch gains the trample special attack. The damage done is equal to the eldritch’s slam damage plus 1-1/2 its Str bonus. If the eldritch does not have a slam attack, the trample does damage as a slam attack appropriate for its size plus 1-1/2 its Str bonus. The save DC is Strength-based.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) One of the eldritch’s natural attacks changes to a different type each round. The damage the attack does doesn’t change, just the kind of the attack, e. g. claw, slam, bite, etc.
(+2 EP, -1/2 CR) The eldritch takes 1 point of Con damage each round it is exposed to sunlight.
(+1 EP, -1/4 CR) The eldritch gains vulnerability to one energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). This ability can be applied multiple times.
(-1 EP, +1/2 CR) At will, the eldritch can whistle a hypnotic tune. All those within 30 feet of the eldritch must make a Will save or be fascinated. This is a sonic, mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based if supernatural, or Constitution-based if extraordinary.
The eldritch template allows a GM to create unique cosmic horrors, but it can be tricky to apply while keeping a creature balanced. Due to the variability of available abilities, gauge the final creature’s CR against other creatures of similar CR. If the eldritch is too weak or powerful, adjust the CR as appropriate.
If you wish to add your own abilities to an eldritch, use the above as a guide for the EP cost and the CR adjustment. No ability should cost more than 2 EP, and a CR adjustment should be plus or minus 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, or 1. For a good list of possible abilities that can be added.
Advanced Bestiary, Copyright 2014, Green Ronin Publishing, LLC; Author Jeff Hersh, Developer Owen K.C. Stephens