Found skittering through forgotten tombs, crawling through deep forests, and filling damp caverns, exoskeletons are animated carapaces of arthropods and other vermin. Most exoskeletons are the intentional creations of necromancers, but some of these undead monstrosities arise spontaneously from places awash with negative energy or are created by malfunctioning artifacts. Sometimes, the simple act of feeding on freshly destroyed undead creatures is enough to transform an insect into an exoskeleton upon its eventual death. Though exoskeletons are just as mindless as they were when they were living, they have become infused with an evil instinct in their new unlife that drives them to relentlessly attack all living creatures on sight, exploding in a burst of dusty remains when destroyed.
A spellcaster can create an exoskeleton using animate dead. An exoskeleton can be created from a mostly intact dead vermin that has an exoskeleton. This includes arachnids, crustaceans, insects, and even some mollusks, but not soft-bodied vermin such as jellyfish and leeches.
Creating an Exoskeleton
“Exoskeleton” is an acquired template that can be added to any corporeal vermin that has an exoskeleton (referred to hereafter as the base creature).
Challenge Rating: Depends on Hit Dice, as follows.
Alignment: Always neutral evil.
Type: The creature’s type changes to undead. It retains any subtype except for alignment subtypes and subtypes that indicate kind. It does not gain the augmented subtype. It uses the base creature’s abilities except as noted below.
Armor Class: The base creature’s natural armor changes as follows.
|Exoskeleton Size||Natural Armor Bonus|
|Tiny or smaller||+0|
Hit Dice: An exoskeleton retains the number of Hit Dice the base creature had, and gains a number of additional Hit Dice as noted on the following table. If the base creature has more than 20 Hit Dice, it can’t be made into an exoskeleton by the animate dead spell. An exoskeleton uses its Charisma modifier (instead of its Constitution modifier) to determine bonus hit points.
|Exoskeleton Size||Bonus Hit Dice|
|Tiny or smaller||—|
|Small or Medium||+1|
Speed: Exoskeletons retain all movement speeds. They can still fly but their maneuverability drops to clumsy.
Attacks: An exoskeleton retains all of its natural weapons. If the base creature didn’t have any natural weapons, it gains a slam attack that deals damage as if it were one size category larger than its actual size.
Special Attacks: An exoskeleton loses all of its special attacks that rely on a living biology (such as poison), but it retains any others.
Skills: Though most vermin are mindless and have no skill ranks, the exoskeleton loses all skill ranks if it had any, and it doesn’t retain any racial bonuses it had.
Special Qualities: An exoskeleton loses most special qualities of the base creature. It retains any extraordinary special qualities that improve its melee or ranged attacks. An exoskeleton gains the following special quality.
When an exoskeleton is destroyed, its desiccated husk bursts, releasing the dusty remains of the vermin’s insides into the surrounding air. Any creature adjacent to an exoskeleton when it bursts must succeed at a Fortitude save or become staggered for 1 round as it coughs and sneezes. Creatures that don’t need to breathe are immune to this effect. If the exoskeleton has 10 or more Hit Dice, the victim is instead nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is equal to 10 + half the exoskeleton’s Hit Dice + its Charisma modifier.
Rarely, an exoskeleton is haunted by the lost spirit of a stubborn soul. This wreaks havoc on the spirit, wiping away most of its memories but giving the exoskeleton an Intelligence score of 10, along with all of the feats and skill ranks its Hit Dice would afford. Climb, Fly, Perception, and Swim are class skills for haunted exoskeletons. A haunted exoskeleton typically understands one language (usually Common) but cannot speak.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 6 © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Robert Brookes, Benjamin Bruck, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, James Jacobs, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, Jason Nelson, Tim Nightengale, F. Wesley Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Todd Stewart, Josh Vogt, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.