The material below is designated as Open Game Content
Hit Dice: 24d12+3 (159 hp)
Speed: Burrow 10 ft. (2 squares)
Armour Class: 11 (–8 size, –1 Dex, +2 natural, +8 cover), touch 15 (7 without cover), flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +12/+13
Attack: One claw per 5 ft. x 5 ft. section +4 melee (1d8+1)
Full Attack: 1d4 claws per 5 ft. x 5 ft. +4 melee (1d8+1)
Space/Reach: 25 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Drown
Special Qualities: Damage resistance 5/slashing, tremorsense, undead traits
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +15 (+7 without cover), Will +14
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 8, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 1
Challenge Rating: 11
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Level Adjustment: —
A rotting hand reaches out of the mire, grasping blindly for your legs.
A patch of grasping hands is actually two dozen or so zombies, trapped beneath the mud of the swamp. They act with a single will, a single intent. They are, in essence, a swarm of zombies pushing out of the mire and trying to drag others down to join them in muddy death. All they expose is their bony, rotted, black-fingered hands, which reach out and grab onto passing feet.
Fighting a grasping hands patch is difficult – they stay hidden beneath the mud, which gives them full cover from attacks. When one hand is injured, it is withdrawn into the cool embrace of the mire and another half-dozen hands surge up to replace it. Grasping hands patches are usually spawned when a party of travellers goes off the path and die lost and wandering in the swamp, but they soon add to their numbers by killing other passers-by. The zombies often cluster around paths in the swamp, reaching up to grab unwary pilgrims and adventurers.
While under the mud, the zombies are functionally a single entity; but if dragged up into the light, they revert to being normal zombies. This makes them quite difficult to turn or fight unless their foes have access to earth-affecting magics. Flight (in both senses of the word) is the best response to grasping hands patches.
Each five-foot-by-five-foot section of the grasping hands can extend a single hand as part of a normal attack, making one claw attack or grapple attempt. If the hand takes more than 16 points of damage during an attack of opportunity made during a grapple attack, it is knocked away and cannot grapple this round. Each five-foot-by-five-foot section can attack, so a 25-foot-by-25-foot grasping hands can attack 25 different Medium creatures as a part of a single attack, as long as all the creatures are standing in a neat five-by- five grid above the grasping hands. In a full attack, 1d4 hands reach out of each square. The hands have no reach, so they cannot attack outside their square.
Cover (Ex): Grasping hands push their way through the mud of the marsh; this protective layer of mud gives them a +8 cover bonus to Armour Class and Reflex saves. If this cover is removed or negated, the grasping hands no longer get this bonus. A move earth or control water spell removes the cover; characters can also pull hands out of the mud and turn two Hit Dice of the grasping hands into a normal Medium zombie (see the MM for zombie rules).
Drown (Ex): The standard tactic of grasping hands is to pull victims into the mire. If the hands successfully grapple an opponent, they begin to pull him down. Each round, more hands clamp on automatically. The DC to escape the grapple increases by +2 each round; after three rounds of grappling, the victim is pulled under the mud and must hold his breath or start to drown.
Tremorsense (Ex): A grasping hands patch can detect any movement in the ground within a range of 60 feet.