Draugr

Folklore holds that death by treachery, particularly if it is followed by improper burial rites or no rites at all (or if proper--and usually evil--burial rites are used, in some cultures), can cause a dead person to rise again to walk the night. The exact nature of the walking dead varies by culture; zombies, vampires, ghosts, and other undead creatures are purported to roam the night from New Orleans to London, and beyond. One of the less well known variations on the theme of unquiet corpses hails from Scandinavia, where a strange creature known as the draugr. Legend has it that murder victims, suicides, criminals, the irreligious, and the blasphemous can be expected to rise from death to torment the living. Ending the attacks often requires that a hero should find a way to kill a corpse. A draugr's appearance is similar to life, but its face is twisted by anger and hatred, and holds a grey pallor that makes it difficult to mistake the creature for a living person. Because most draugr are created through violence, it is usual for them to bear the wounds that killed them once they rise to living death. Their clothing and skin is often stained with earth from the burial mounds they prefer to inhabit. Draugr speak any languages they knew in life.

Sample Draugr

The burly, thickly bearded figure before you wears a shirt of steel links, rent in several places to expose deep, bloody stab wounds in his chest and abdomen. A grim scowl draws back his pale lips, showing his teeth as he lifts the shield and axe in his hands and advances upon you. A horrible light shines from his eyes.

This example uses a 5th-level human barbarian as the base creature.

Draugr, 5th-level Human Barbarian
Initiative: +7
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: 27 (+3 Dex, +8 natural, +4 masterwork chain shirt, +2 masterwork heavy wooden shield)
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+17
Attack: Slam +13 melee (1d6+12), or +1 battleaxe +14 melee (1d8+9/x3)
Full Attack: Slam +13 melee (1d6+12), or +1 battleaxe +14 melee (1d8+9/x3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Baleful gaze, rage 2/day
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 15/cold iron and magic, darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 5, fast movement, illiteracy, immunity to cold, improved uncanny dodge, resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, trap sense +1, turn resistance +4, uncanny dodge, undead traits
Saves: Fort +4, Reflex +4, Will +3
Abilities: Str 26, Dex 16, Con --, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 12.
Skills: Climb +12, Hide +9, Intimidate +9, Jump +12, Listen +11, Move Silently +9, Search +8, Spot +16, Survival +9, Swim +10
Feats: Alertness, Power Attack, Cleave, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike, Track
Environment: Cold marshes
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 7
Treasure: Double standard
Alignment: Always evil (non-lawful)
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +8

This draugr's slam attack is treated as a magical weapon for purposes of overcoming damage reduction. The DC is 13 for the Will save against the draugr's baleful gaze ability.

Possessions: +1 battleaxe, masterwork chain shirt, masterwork heavy wooden shield.

Sample Elite Draugr

This example uses a cloud giant bard 4 as the base creature.

Elite Draugr, 4th-level Cloud Giant Bard
Huge Undead (Air, Augmented Giant)
Hit Dice:
21d12 (146 hp)
Initiative: +6
Speed: 50 ft. (10 squares)
Armor Class: 27 (-2 size, +2 Dex, +20 natural, +7 mithral shirt)
Base Attack/Grapple: +15/+45
Attack: +1 anarchic Gargantuan morningstar +23 melee (4d6+26 plus 2d6 chaotic) or slam +22 melee (2d6+25) or rock +12 ranged (2d8+17)
Full Attack: +1 anarchic Gargantuan morningstar +23/+18/+13 melee (4d6+26 plus 2d6 chaotic) or slam +22 melee (2d6+25) or rock +12 ranged (2d8+17)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./15 ft.
Special Attacks: Baleful gaze, bardic music 4/day, rock throwing, spell-like abilities, spells
Special Qualities: Bardic knowledge +5, damage reduction 15/cold iron and magic, darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 5, immunity to cold, low-light vision, oversized weapon, resistance to fire 10 and electricity 10, rock catching, scent, turn resistance +4, undead traits
Saves: Fort +11, Reflex +11, Will +13
Abilities: Str 45, Dex 15, Con --, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 18
Skills: Climb +24, Concentration +10 (+4 to cast defensively), Craft (any one) +11, Diplomacy +11, Hide +0, Intimidate +25, Listen +26, Move Silently +10, Perform (harp) +22, Search +9, Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +9, Spot +26
Feats: Alertness, Awesome Blow, Cleave, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Improved Unarmed Strike, Iron Will, Power Attack
Environment: Temperate mountains
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 15
Treasure: Double standard
Alignment: Evil, non-lawful
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: --
Combat

This draugr's slam attack is treated as a magical weapon for purposes of overcoming damage reduction. The DC is 24 for the Will save against this draugr's baleful gaze ability.

Bardic Music: Once per day per bard level, a bard can use his song or poetics to produce magical effects on those around him (usually including himself, if desired).

Countersong (Su): A cloud giant draugr bard can use his music or poetics to counter magical effects that depend on sound (but not spells that simply have verbal components). Each round of the countersong, he makes a Perform check. Any creature within 30 feet of the bard (including the bard himself ) that is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack may use the bard’s Perform check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher. If a creature within range of the countersong is already under the effect of a non-instantaneous sonic or language-dependent magical attack, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it hears the countersong, but it must use the bard’s Perform check result for the save. Countersong has no effect against effects that don’t allow saves. The bard may keep up the countersong for 10 rounds.

Fascinate (Sp): A cloud giant draugr bard can use his music or poetics to cause one or more creatures to become fascinated with him. Each creature to be fascinated must be within 90 feet, able to see and hear the bard, and able to pay attention to him. The bard must also be able to see the creature. The distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working. The cloud giant draugr bard can affect up to 2 creatures with this ability. To use the ability, a bard makes a Perform check. His check result is the DC for each affected creature’s Will save against the effect. If a creature’s saving throw succeeds, the bard cannot attempt to fascinate that creature again for 24 hours. If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and listens to the song, taking no other actions, for as long as the bard continues to play and concentrate (up to a maximum of 1 round per bard level). While fascinated, a target takes a -4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Listen and Spot checks. Any potential threat requires the bard to make another Perform check and allows the creature a new saving throw against a DC equal to the new Perform check result. Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a ranged weapon at the target, automatically breaks the effect. Fascinate is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability.

Inspire Courage (Su): A cloud giant draugr bard can use song or poetics to inspire courage in his allies (including himself ), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. To be affected, an ally must be able to hear the bard sing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 morale bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. Inspire courage is a mind-affecting ability.

Inspire Competence (Su): A cloud giant draugr can use his music or poetics to help an ally succeed at a task. The ally must be within 30 feet and able to see and hear the bard. The bard must also be able to see the ally. The ally gets a +2 competence bonus on skill checks with a particular skill as long as he or she continues to hear the bard’s music. Certain uses of this ability are infeasible. The effect lasts as long as the bard concentrates, up to a maximum of 2 minutes. The bard can’t inspire competence in himself. Inspire competence is a mind-affecting ability.

Rock Throwing (Ex): The range increment is 140 feet for a cloud giant draugr’s thrown rocks.

Oversized Weapon (Ex): A cloud giant draugr wields a great, two-handed morningstar (big enough for Gargantuan creatures) without penalty.

Spell-Like Abilities: Caster level 15th. 3/day--levitate (self plus 2,000 pounds), obscuring mist; 1/day--fog cloud.

Typical Spells Known (3/3/1; save DC 14 + spell level): 0--detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic, summon instrument; 1st--charm person, expeditious retreat, silent image; 2nd--blur, mirror image.

Possessions: +1 anarchic Gargantuan morningstar, +3 Gargantuan mithral shirt, circlet of persuasion, ring of evasion.

Creating a Draugr

"Draugr" is an acquired template that can be added to any giant, humanoid, or monstrous humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A draugr uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted below.

Size and Type: The creature's type changes to undead (augmented giant, humanoid, or monstrous humanoid). Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice: Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.

Speed: Same as the base creature.

Armor Class: The base creature's natural armor bonus improves by +8.

Attack: A draugr retains all of the attacks of the base creature and also gains a slam attack if it didn't already have one. If he base creature can use weapons, the draugr retains this ability. A creature with natural weapons retains those natural weapons. A draugr fighting without weapons uses either its slam attack or its primary natural weapon (if it has any). A draugr armed with a weapon uses its slam or a weapon, as it desires.

Full Attack: A draugr fighting without weapons uses either its slam attack (see above) or its natural weapons (if it has any). If armed with a weapon, it usually uses the weapon as its primary attack along with a slam or other natural weapon as a natural secondary attack.

Damage: Draugr have slam attacks. If the base creature does not have this attack form, use the appropriate damage value from the table below according to the draugr's size. Creatures that have other kinds of natural weapons retain their old damage values or use the appropriate value from the table below, whichever is better.

Size
Damage
Fine 1
Diminutive 1d2
Tiny 1d3
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large 1d8
Huge 2d6
Gargantuan 2d8
Colossal 4d6

Special Attacks A draugr retains all the special attacks of the base creature and gains those described below. Saves have a DC of 10 + 1/2 draugr's HD + draugr's Cha modifier unless noted otherwise.

Baleful Gaze (Su): A draugr's gaze carries the taint of ill fortune for those who meet it. Creatures within 30 feet of a draugr must make a successful Will save or be subject to a bestow curse effect (caster level 12th). The possible range of effects extends to the following:

  • -6 decrease to an ability score (minimum 1)
  • -4 penalty on attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks
  • Each turn, the target has a 50% chance to act normally; otherwise, it takes no action.

This is a gaze attack; each opponent in range must attempt a saving throw each round at the beginning of his or her turn, and may avert his or her eyes or close his or her eyes entirely to avoid the need for a saving throw, as normal. A draugr can actively gaze as an attack action by choosing a target in range. That opponent must attempt a saving throw, but can also avert its eyes or close its eyes, as above. The effects of multiple curses overlap, but do not stack.

Special Qualities A draugr retains all the special qualities of the base creature and gains those described below.

Damage Reduction (Su): A draugr has damage reduction 15/cold iron and magic. A draugr's natural weapons are treated as magical weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Fast Healing (Ex): A draugr heals 5 points of damage per round so long as it has at least 1 hit point.

Immunities (Ex): A draugr is immune to cold damage.

Resistances (Ex): A draugr has resistance to fire 10 and electricity 10.

Turn Resistance (Ex): A draugr has +4 turn resistance.

Abilities Increase from the base creature as follows: Str +10, Dex +2, Int +0, Wis +2, Cha +4. As an undead creature, a draugr has no Constitution score.

Skills: Draugr have a +8 racial bonus on Hide, Intimidate, Listen, Move Silently, Search, and Spot checks.

Feats: Draugr gain Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, and Improved Unarmed Strike assuming the base creature meets the prerequisites and doesn't already have these feats.

Environment: Any, usually the same as the base creature.

Organization: Solitary or pair.

Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +2

Treasure: Double standard.

Alignment: Always evil (any).

Advancement: By character class.

Level Adjustment: Same as the base creature +8.