A huge eye opens in this conical creature’s front, just above a toothy mouth. Long strands of fibrous material whip from its sides.
Roper CR 12
Str 34, Dex 13, Con 29, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 12
Base Atk +9; CMB +22; CMD 33 (can’t be tripped)
Feats* Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Perception, Stealth), Weapon Focus (strand)
Skills Climb +27, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +16, Knowledge (religion) +13, Perception +24, Stealth +18 (+26 in stony or icy areas); Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in stony or icy areas
Languages Aklo, Undercommon
A roper can extend up to six thin, sticky strands from its body at a time, launching them to a maximum range of 50 feet. A roper’s attacks with its strands resolve as ranged touch attacks. These strands are quite strong, but can be severed by any amount of slashing damage (a strand is AC 20). A creature struck by a strand is numbed and weakened by the strange material, and must make a DC 25 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Strength damage. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair, or cluster (3–6)
The roper is an ambush hunter. Capable of altering the coloration and shape of its body, a roper in hiding looks remarkably like a stalagmite of stone or ice (or in low-ceilinged chambers, a stony or icy pillar). In areas without such features to hide among, a roper can compress its body into a much more squat, boulder-like shape. The strands it extrudes are not flesh but a thick, semi-liquid material similar to partially melted wax but with the strength of an iron chain and the ability to numb flesh and sap strength. The roper can manipulate these strands with great finesse, and can fling them as far as 50 feet to snatch objects that attract its attention.
Although alien and monstrous in shape, the roper is in fact one of the most intelligent denizens of the deep caverns of the world. They do not form large societies (although ropers can be found living among some deep-dwelling denizens like the intellect devourers or neothelids, with whom they have been known to sometimes ally), but often congregate in small clusters. Particularly interested in the philosophy of life and death and the finer points of the more cruel and sinister religions of the world, a roper can talk or argue for hours with those it initially sought merely to eat. Stories speak of particularly skilled debaters and philosophers who have been kept for days or even years as pets or conversational companions by roper clusters, but in the end, if such pets don’t eventually escape, a roper’s appetite always wins out over its intellectual curiosity—especially in cases where pets are constantly outmaneuvering their keeper’s wits and patience.
A roper is 9 feet tall and weighs 2,200 pounds.
You might want to consider some unique feats specifically for ropers in place of one or more of the standard feats given in the stat block.
Common ropers are merely the most often encountered. Their race is bizarrely diverse, perhaps due to the mysterious link to mimics in their origin.
Some ropers are far more mutable than their cousins. These ropers, sometimes called molting stranglers, shed their external rocky carapace every few months, sloughing it off like crusted dead skin. Each time their skin sheds, the ropers’ form becomes less permanent and more changeable. They gain the ability to assume other forms, taking on diverse shapes, even mimicking the appearance of other creatures (in the same manner as a mimic). Additionally, their shed skin sometimes clings to a miserable semblance of life, acting as a simulacrum of the roper for a short time before dying horribly. The molting stranglers often use these pathetic shed skins to lure enemies into traps, hastening the end of their sick half-life.
Common ropers are composed of a rock-like substance similar to granite or marble, but some varieties are composed of different stone. One of the more dangerous mutations is made of a stone similar to basalt. These ropers, also called vulkards, lack their cousins’ vulnerability to fire, and instead are immune to it. Additionally, these ropers feed on fire, growing stronger and healthier when exposed to it; any attack against a vulkard that deals fire damage heals 1 point of damage for every 4 points of fire damage it would otherwise deal. A vulkard gets no saving throw against attacks that deal fire damage.
Sigil crags are a strange and timeless race of ropers which manifest bizarre and powerful runes of crystal on their rocky exteriors. These sigils of power crystallize after a particularly interesting meal, which usually takes days instead of hours, and most often when the prey is a powerful spellcaster. Sigil crags often munch down the caster’s hands first, leaving him incapable of casting spells with somatic components, and then explore his secrets during a lengthy feast. The secrets coughed up in the crushing embrace of a sigil crag as the hideous thing slowly masticates a caster’s limbs are unthinkably powerful. Each sigil covering a sigil crag’s hide allows it to cast a symbol spell of the GM’s choosing once per day. Most sigil crags are only fortunate enough to enjoy a few sigil-worthy meals in the course of a lifetime, but particularly old and powerful ones are encrusted nearly completely in these dread runes.
A particularly gruesome breed of roper is the dreaded shardstriker. The strands of a shardstriker are jagged, stone-like threads which rend opponents to shreds even as they ensnare them. These brutish degenerates of the roper race are far less philosophical than the others, but they make up for this shortcoming with a healthy dose of sheer viciousness. These demented ropers slice victims to gory bits, often shredding them with all six of their strands. A strand attack by a shardstriker deals 1d8+4 slashing damage as well as dragging the foe. If a shardstriker hits a single foe with more than one strand, it also rends him for an additional 2d6+6 slashing damage.