A fearsome chittering heralds the approach of this morbid monstrosity. A giant headless scorpion-like thing of blackened bone and chitin rounds the corner ahead, scuttling along the wall as its two pincers snap ominously. A long, grisly tail composed of dozens of chattering skulls arches up over its back. Some of the skulls are ancient and bleached white, while others are recent trophies still shrouded in rotting cheeks, their jellied eyes rolling madly in their sockets. A curved bony tip protrudes from the last skull of its tail, its deadly point smeared with poison.
Skull Ripper CR 9
Str 22, Dex 16, Con —, Int 5, Wis 13, Cha 12
Base Atk +15; CMB +22 (+26 grapple); CMD 35 (47 vs. trip)
Feats Bleeding Critical, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Improved Critical (claw), Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth), Vital Strike
Skills Climb +19, Stealth +15
Languages Common (cannot speak)
A skull ripper is an expert at collecting its favorite trophies—skulls. Once it has pinned a foe, it can attempt to behead the victim with a single gut-wrenching rip of its claws. This attempt is made as part of the grapple check to maintain an existing pin, and if successful, deals 4d6+18 points of damage to the victim. If this damage is enough to bring the target below 0 hit points, the victim must succeed at a DC 23 Fortitude save to resist having its head torn from its body, which results in instant death for most creatures. The save DC is Strength-based.
All creatures within 30 feet that can see a skull ripper must make a DC 18 Will save at the start of their turn in order to avoid becoming frightened for 1 round. If the victim recognizes any of the heads affixed to the skull ripper’s body as having once belonged to friends or allies, that victim takes a –4 penalty on the save.
A skull ripper is made from the carcasses of dead vermin and skulls, either harvested by the creator or purchased from shady adventurers for roughly 500 gp in total.
CL 13th; Price 30,500 gp
Organization solitary, pair, or nest (3–8)
Skull rippers were once guardians of the dead, the grim custodians of great ossuaries. Although most skull rippers are discovered in ancient tombs and sepulchers, occasionally a geological upheaval or massive flood destroys a given catacomb or leaves a skull ripper stranded. In these cases, the construct emerges and ventures forth into the world above, harvesting skulls and causing widespread panic as it searches for a new tomb to guard.
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Wolfgang Baur, Stephen S. Greer, James Jacobs, Nicolas Logue, Richard Pett, and Greg A. Vaughan.