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This humanoid form skips towards you hungrily, thin claws extended. Its feet barely touch the ground, and it sways drunkenly in the slightest breeze. Its pale, translucent skin inflates and deflates with each breath that it sucks into its gaping mouth.
This eerie, fast moving undead is often found haunting the marshes around the nest of stirges that inadvertently created it.
Hit Dice 1d12 (6 hp)
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares), swim 20 ft.
Armor Class 15 (+5 Dex), touch 15, flat-footed 10
Base Attack/Grapple +0/+1
Attack Claw +5 melee (1d4+1)
Full Attack 2 claws +5 melee (1d4+1)
Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks —
Special Qualities Blindsight 60 ft., hollow, undead traits, water walk
Saves Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +2
Abilities Str 12, Dex 21, Con –, Int 3, Wis 10, Cha 11
Skills Hide +5†, Jump +1*, Listen +0, Move Silently +7†, Spot +0, Tumble +7*
Feats Weapon Finesse
Challenge Rating 1⁄3
Alignment Always neutral evil
Variant: Small Hollow Husk
The skins of small humanoids may be animated as Small hollow husks. Small hollow husks have the following changes to their statistics:
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares), swim 20 ft.
Armor Class 16 (+5 Dex, +1 size), touch 16, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple +0/-3
Attack Claw +6 melee (1d3+1)
Full Attack 2 claws +6 melee (1d3+1)
Skills Hide +9†, Jump +1*, Listen +0, Move Silently +7†, Spot +0, Tumble +7*
Hollow husks usually stand between four and six feet tall but weigh only a few ounces. Their physical form is composed of nothing more than a shell of dead skin, like a paper lantern, which is animated by negative energy. Some features of the humanoid the hollow husk once was can be discerned, but they are invariably hairless, and because of its extreme thinness their skin tends to be pale regardless of its original color. Hollow husks understand the languages they spoke in their mortal existence, but they lack the lips and tongue— and the mental clarity—to produce intelligible speech of their own.
Hollow husks attempt to surprise their enemies whenever possible. On land, they prefer to advance under cover of cloud, darkness, or obstruction, ghosting silently towards their prey; if water is present, they will take advantage of their increased ability to hide while swimming. Once engaged in battle, a hollow husk is constantly in motion, tumbling to take a flanking position or to attack the weakest enemies.
Blindsight (Ex): The eyes of a hollow husk are nothing more than gaping holes in the skin of its face. However, it is able to pinpoint the location of all living creatures within 60 ft. by sensing their vital force. Beyond this distance, the hollow husk is considered blind.
Hollow (Ex): Hollow husks are able to fill themselves by inhaling either water or air; changing between the two requires a standard action. *When filled with air, hollow husks have a land movement of 40 ft. and receive a +8 racial bonus to Tumble checks and a +10 racial bonus to Jump checks. However, they are treated as Fine creatures for the sake of resisting wind effects. †When filled with water, hollow husks have a swim movement of 20 ft. and receive a +5 racial bonus to Move Silently and Hide checks as long as they are submerged in water.
Water Walk (Sp): At will, a hollow husk can walk on water, mud, or any other unsteady ground by skipping across its surface, borne on air. is ability functions as a water walk spell cast by a fifth-level cleric.
Variant: Filled Husks
Ashmalkins often use hollow husks as shock troops to aid in the defense of their nests. Ashmalkin ingenuity has come up with three ways to increase the effectiveness of this tactic by filling the hollow husk with dangerous materials. These are known as the huskbomb, the sporebomb, and the rotbomb.
To fill a hollow husk, ashmalkin craftsmen fit a membrane in its throat to hold in the desired substance. Huskbombs and sporebombs are always considered to be filled with air; they lose the ability to fill themselves with water. A DC 15 Spot check can tell a filled hollow husk from an unmodified husk, by noticing either the membrane in its throat or the difference it creates in the husk’s “breathing.” However, until they are split open, only creatures with the scent ability can distinguish between a huskbomb, a sporebomb, and a rotbomb.
Huskbomb: A huskbomb is created by forcing a hollow husk to fill itself with marsh gas. If the huskbomb has any contact with flames or takes even a single point of fire damage, the marsh gas will explode, instantly destroying the hollow husk. Any creature unfortunate enough to be in the huskbomb’s square receives 1d8 points of fire damage, and all creatures in adjacent squares receive 1d4 points of fire damage.
The canister of marsh gas required to create a huskbomb costs 50 gp and can be created with Craft (Alchemy), DC 25. A canister of marsh gas will explode as if it were a huskbomb if it receives a single point of fire damage. Canisters have a hardness of 1 and 1 hit point. Because they are Fine targets, unattended canisters have an AC of 13.
Because a huskbomb’s special qualities are as much of a vulnerability to itself as a threat to its foes, a huskbomb does not differ from a hollow husk in CR or experience points awarded.
Sporebomb: Sporebombs are made by germinating toxic spores within the skin of a hollow husk. When the hollow husk is destroyed, the rupturing of its skin will release the spores, forcing all creatures in or adjacent to the sporebomb’s square to make a Fort save (DC 12) or be nauseated for one round.
Sporebombs can be created using Craft (Trapmaking), DC 25. Collecting and germinating the molds requires the expenditure of raw materials worth 50 gp. Because an encounter with a sporebomb is more dangerous than one with an ordinary hollow husk, sporebombs have a CR of 1/2.
Rotbomb: Rotbombs are made by infecting the inside of a hollow husk with a flesh-eating bacteria. When the hollow husk is destroyed, all creatures in or adjacent to the rotbomb’s square may be affected by the bacteria, which deals 1d6 points of Constitution damage to those who fail a Fort save (DC 15). Creatures which are immune to disease are immune to the effects of a rotbomb.
Rotbombs can be created using Craft (Trapmaking), DC 25. Breeding and handling the bacteria requires the expenditure of raw materials worth 100 gp. Because an encounter with a rotbomb is more dangerous than one with an ordinary hollow husk, sporebombs have a CR of 1.
A hollow husk begins its existence as a humanoid that has been bled to death by another creature. If the victim’s mortal throes have attracted the attention of an evil spirit known to sages as an usthulag, its corpse may rise again as a hollow husk. Usthulags are insubstantial wisps of appetite and madness native to the Negative Energy Plane. They are attracted to suffering of all kinds, but an exsanguination draws them especially near. If an usthulag is close enough, it may be sucked into the mortal realm by the vacuum that is created when the humanoid’s last drop of blood is drained and its soul leaves its body.
Once inside the victim’s corpse, an usthulag begins feeding on its internal organs and converting them into negative energy. Eventually even the bones are dissolved, leaving nothing but the skin that will serve as the usthulag’s home on the Material Plane. This process requires seven days, and is not irreversible until the morning of the eighth day, when the usthulag-haunted body rises as an undead hollow husk. During this time, the corpse will show the signs of having been bled dry by stirges, but the remains tend to be even more desiccated than this would account for. Near the end of the process, the body begins collapsing in on itself like a decaying jack-o’-lantern.
The mind of a hollow husk is simple, and it retains little knowledge from its mortal existence. It does remember that it was once filled with blood, and in its deranged state, it imagines that it can restore this terrible lack by making other creatures bleed. When a hollow husk downs a living opponent, it often pauses for a second, entranced by the sight of fresh blood, and then tries to fill itself with the vital fluid. The attempt is always futile, sometimes pathetic, and invariably gory. A hollow husk also remembers enough about having been bled to death to fear the creatures responsible. This fear makes the hollow husk shy away from creatures of that type (such as stirges), keeping its distance as much as possible. This cringing is quite different from the result of a successful turn attempt: positive energy will act like an invisible wind emanating from the holy symbol, blowing back all affected hollow husks.
Because hollow husks form spontaneously under the proper conditions, and because their fear usually prevents them from turning on the one that created those conditions, they might seem ideal for the purpose of raising a horde of undead on the cheap. However, such experiments tend to attract the attention of more sinister denizens of the Negative Energy Plane that feed on usthulags as if they were krill. ese greater entities are always glad for an opportunity to follow their usual prey into the material realm, where they can add mortals to their diet. Reputable necromantic tomes agree that it is far better to stick with methods of creating undead which will not attract such predators; even allowing ghouls or vampires to spawn is ultimately less dangerous.
If a hollow husk feeds on enough life energy, it may become able to shed its dependence on its shell of skin and exist independently on the Material Plane as an incorporeal undead. e advanced form of a hollow husk is a shadow.
|Hollow Husk Trait Generator|
|ROLL||GENDER & AGE||RACE (CIVILIZED)||RACE (SAVAGE)||PHYSICAL TRAIT||BEHAVIORAL TRAIT|
|1||male child (S)||gnome (S)||goblin (S)||obese||frisky|
|2||female child (S)||halfling (S)||goblin (S)||slender||hesitant|
|3||male adolescent||dwarf||kobold (S)||freckled||huffing|
|5||male adult||human||gnoll||drooping limbs||lightfooted|
|7||male adult||human||lizardfolk||full head of hair||brash|
|8||female adult||half-elf||orc||hairy skin||erratic|
|9||male elder||half-orc||orc||bloody mouth||deep-breathing|
|10||female elder||half-giant||troglodyte||bloody claws||lifelike|
To use this table, decide or roll randomly whether the original victim was a civilized or savage humanoid (column 3 or 4), and then roll 1d10 for each characteristic. Gender, age, and race refer to the original owner of the skin which formed the hollow husk, while the physical and behavioral traits refer to the hollow husk itself. The (S) notation indicates that the hollow husk has a size of Small rather than Medium.