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Death hunters are a special form of mighty undead created by evil druids via a secret ritual. They are former evilaligned rangers who consecrate their immortal soul to vengeful spirits of nature, so they may return after death to stalk and murder the enemies of their land. They look like skeletal tribal rangers, dressed with rotten furs and crude hide or leather armour. They wear an assortment of fierce-looking magical weapons, particularly swords, axes and longbows. A ghostly blue flame shines within the creature’s eye sockets.
A death hunter may speak any language it knew in life.
Sample Death Hunter
This death hunter uses a 10th level human ranger as the base creature.
Death Hunter, 10th Level Human Ranger
Medium Undead (Augmented Humanoid)
Hit Dice: 10d12 (65 hp)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
AC: 24 (+5 Dex, +5 natural , +4 armour), touch 15, flat-footed 19
Base Attack/Grapple: +10/+13
Attack: +1 handaxe +17 melee (1d6+4/19-20/x3 plus 1d6 fire) or touch +15 melee (1d8 plus 1d8 Str) or +1 composite longbow (+3 Str bonus) +16 ranged (1d8+4/x3 plus 1d6 fire)
Full Attack: +1 handaxe +15/+10 melee (1d6+4/19-20/x3 plus 1d6 fire) and +1 handaxe +15/+10 melee (1d6+2/19-20/x3 plus 1d6 fire) or touch +15 melee (1d8 plus 1d8 Str) or +1 composite longbow (+3 Str bonus) +16/+11 ranged (1d8+4/x3 plus 1d6 fire)
Space/Reach: 5 ft. /5 ft.
Special Attacks: Combat style, favoured enemies (humans +6, elves +4, dwarves +2), flaming weapons, spells, weakening touch
Special Qualities: Animal companion, damage reduction 10/ good, immunity to cold and electricity, darkvision 60 ft., evasion, fell familiars, spell resistance 25, swift tracker, turn immunity, undead traits, wild empathy, woodland stride
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +6
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 20, Con –, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 11
Skills: Hide +25, Knowledge (nature) +25, Listen +25, Move Silently +25, Search +25, Spot +24, Survival +24 (+26 outdoors or following tracks)
Feats: Dodge, EnduranceB, Improved Critical (handaxe), Improved Initiative, TrackB, Leadership, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (handaxe)
Environment: Any Cold
Organisation: Solitary or troupe (1 plus animal companion and fell familiars)
Challenge Rating: 13
Treasure: Standard plus 2 +1 handaxes and +1 composite longbow (+3 Str bonus)
Alignment: Always evil (any)
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +6
Amidst the blizzard, you make out the silhouette of what appears to be a northern ranger or huntsman. He is heavily armed and bedecked with furs, leather and a number of what seem to be grisly hunting trophies, such as severed human and animal heads. Then he turns his ghastly, glowing blue eyes towards you and you feel an uncontrollable chill down your spine as you realise the warrior has no skin or muscles at all, whether on his face or his limbs. The creature’s long blonde hair and beard come out of a dry, fleshless skull; it grips its hunting bow and sword with sharp bony fingers. Even the furs it is dressed in are rotting and diseased – this is no live wilderness hunter; this is one of the undead. Its graceful and expert movements, though, have little to do with the stumbling gait of common zombies or skeletons – this undead hunter has the experience and skill of a true slayer… and intends to test them against you.
A death hunter prefers to strike at its prey with flaming arrows and then send its undead animals after it. In melee, it fights with two flaming handaxes. This death hunter wears a masterwork chain shirt.
Combat Style (Ex): A death hunter gains the benefits of the Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feats when wearing light or no armour.
Favoured Enemies: A death hunter gains a +6 bonus to damage rolls and opposed skill checks made against humans. This same bonus also works against elves, but only at +4, and against dwarves at +2.
Flaming Weapons (Su): Any weapon wielded by a death hunter gains the flaming special quality for as long as the death hunter is wielding it. The death hunter must take a free action to activate this power.
Spells: A death hunter casts spells as a 10th level ranger. Save DCs are Wisdom based. Typical Spells Memorised (2/2; save DC 13 + spell level):
1st–entangle, magic fang; 2nd–spike growth, wind wall.
Weakening Touch (Su): Any creature successfully hit by a death hunter’s touch attack must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 18, Strength based) or suffer 1d8 points of Strength damage. Any creature reduced to 0 Strength by a death hunter dies on the spot, its bones and muscles congealed by the creature’s life draining power.
Animal Companion (Ex): A death hunter is accompanied by an animal (usually a wolf) with the ghost template. In addition to the modifications for the ghost template, the death hunter’s animal companion has +2 Hit Dice, a +2 bonus to its natural armour, a +1 bonus to its Strength and Dexterity scores and the evasion special ability. In addition, the death hunter can order and push its animal companion as a free action, with a +4 bonus on the Handle Animal check. Any spells cast by the death hunter on itself affect the animal companion as well.
Evasion (Ex): A death hunter that successfully saves against an attack allowing a Reflex save for half damage suffers instead no damage from the attack.
Fell Familiars (Su): The followers and cohorts attracted by a death hunter’s Leadership feat are always normal or dire animals of the appropriate Hit Dice, augmented by the skeleton or zombie template. In the case of a death hunter with a leadership score of 11, this allows for a 7th level cohort (such as a skeletal dire boar) and six 1st level followers (such as skeletal dogs).
Swift Tracker (Ex): A death hunter can move at its normal speed while tracking, and takes only a –10 (as opposed to –20) penalty when tracking at twice its normal speed.
Turn Immunity (Ex): A death hunter cannot be affected by turn/rebuke undead abilities or effects.
Woodland Stride (Ex): A death hunter can move through any kind of undergrowth at its normal speed without suffering damage or penalties to its speed. Magically created undergrowth or terrain still affects the death hunter normally.
Skills: A death hunter gains a +8 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Spot and Survival checks.
Creating a Death Hunter
‘Death hunter’ is an acquired template that can be added to any non-monstrous, evil aligned humanoid creature with six or more levels of ranger, heretofore referred to as the ‘base creature’. The base creature acquires a skeletal appearance, with cold points of blue flame burning inside its eye sockets.
A death hunter has all the special abilities and traits of the base creature, except as follows:
Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented humanoid). Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves or skill points. Size is unchanged.
Hit Dice: Change all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.
Armour Class: Increase the base creature’s natural armour bonus by +5.
Attack: A death hunter gains a touch attack in addition to any other attacks it had previously. It retains the ability to use any weapons it was proficient with. If given the choice, a death hunter usually prefers to attack with a weapon, rather than using a touch attack.
Damage: A death hunter’s touch attack deals 1d8 points of negative energy damage, plus it delivers a weakening touch effect (see below).
Add the following special attacks to any already possessed by the base creature:
Flaming Weapons (Su): As a free action, a death hunter can cause any weapon it is wielding to be enveloped in blue flames, giving it the flaming special ability (as described in theSRD) until it is sheathed or the death hunter stops touching it. There is no limit to the times per day a death hunter can use this ability.
Weakening Touch (Su): The touch of a death hunter forces the target to succeed at a Fortitude save (DC equal to 10 + ½ the death hunter’s Hit Dice + the death hunter’s Strength modifier) or suffer 1d8 points of Strength damage.
Add the following to any special qualities already possessed by the base creature:
Damage Reduction (Su): A death hunter gains damage reduction 10/good.
Detect Good (Su): A death hunter gains the supernatural ability to use detect good at will, as the spell at caster level 6th, as a standard action.
Immunities (Su): A death hunter gains cold and electrical immunity in addition to the immunities gained from becoming undead (see below).
Fell Familiars (Su): All followers and cohorts gained by the death hunter’s Leadership feat (see below) are undead beasts – animals or dire animals of a Hit Dice equivalent to the corresponding follower or cohort level, augmented by the skeleton or zombie template.
Spell Resistance (Su): A death hunter gains spell resistance equal to 15+its Hit Dice.
Spells: A death hunter retains any spellcasting abilities it had in life, excluding the ability to cast cure or healing spells, as well as spells with the good descriptor.
Turn Immunity: A death hunter is completely unaffected by all kinds of turn/rebuke undead effects.
Undead Traits: A death hunter becomes immune to ability damage, critical hits, death effects, death from massive damage, disease, energy drain, exhaustion and fatigue effects, healing spells and effects, mind-affecting effects, natural healing, nonlethal damage, paralysis, poison, raise dead, reincarnation, resurrection, sleep effects, stunning and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects or is harmless. The death hunter also gains darkvision out to 60 feet. It loses its Constitution score, using its Charisma modifier for Concentration checks; it also loses the need and ability to eat, breathe or sleep.
Saves: Same as the base creature.
Abilities: Adjust the base creature’s abilities as follows: +2 Str, +4 Dex, +2 Wis. Being undead, a death hunter has no Constitution score.
Skills: Death hunters gain a +8 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Spot and Survival checks. Otherwise same as the base creature.
Feats: A death hunter gains the following bonus feats in addition to any possessed by the base creature, if the base creature did not have them already: Dodge, EnduranceB, Improved Critical (any), Improved Initiative, TrackB, Leadership, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (any).
Environment: Same as base creature, usually cold lands.
Organisation: Solitary or troupe (the death hunter plus its followers)
Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +3.
Alignment: Same as base creature (always evil).
Advancement: By character class (usually ranger).
Level Adjustment: Same as the base creature +6.
Death Hunter Characters
All death hunters were evil rangers once. Usually, they choose humans or other humanoid subtype as their favoured enemy and two-weapon fighting as their combat style. If the base creature used to have a familiar or animal companion, the animal gains the ghost template and an evil alignment. If the base creature had the ability to turn undead, it loses this ability but gains rebuke undead instead. The death hunter loses the Wild Empathy class ability, since all living creatures are now frightened of it.