Welcome to the first installment of our new article series, Exotic Encounters. Some of you may be aware that, until fairly recently, Exotic Encounters was actually a series of books that were released each week, for the low price of $0.99, each of which contained three “variant” versions of an existing monster. I put variant in quotations there because each of these individual variants was a complete stat-block unto itself, at a wide range of CRs, each with several unique abilities not seen in any other product, making them much more than the simple paint-jobs and template add-ons that one might normally think of when thinking of a “variant” monster.
We decided late last year to shake up our article lineup a bit, and are moving Exotic Encounters into the Thursday slot (Obscure Arcana has been bumped up to Wednesday, and Magic Market is being discontinued for the time being).
Now, as a free article, Exotic Encounters is going to get a bit of a trim: while each book featured three monsters, now that it’s in article form, you can expect about one monster a week (I’m sure there will be exceptions where we produce more, but they will likely not be terribly often). Of course, unlike the older books, these monsters are all free.
There’s one other thing that we’ll be doing from time to time with Exotic Encounters as an article that we never did with it as a book, and that is creating entirely new monsters from scratch. In order to celebrate, I decided to kick off the year with just such a monster.
Demon, Maw (Shycharum)
This creature could almost resemble a huge dog, if not for the fact that its skin is a hairless, cracked leather the color of dried blood, it has no eyes, and its enormous mouth is filled with a wall of serrated, foot-and-a-half long fangs. Its mouth seems too huge for its body, its lips unable to cover its teeth, giving it the appearance of being locked in an endless and unnerving grin.
MAW DEMON (SHYCHARUM) CR 6
CE Large outsider (chaotic, demon, evil)
Init +4; Senses blindsight 60 ft., scent, smell fear; Perception +10
AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+4 Dex, +4 natural, -1 size)
hp 61 (8d10+16)
Fort +8, Ref +10, Will +1
Immune electricity, poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10, fire 10
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +11 (3d6+5 plus grab/18-20 x3)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks razor jaws, sneak attack +4d6, swallow whole (2d6+2 acid damage, AC 12, hp 6)
Str 17, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 3, Wis 8, Cha 15
Base Atk +8; CMB +12; CMD 26
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Perception +10, Stealth +11
Languages Abyssal; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ reactive invisibility
Environment any (Abyss)
Organization solitary or pair
Razor Jaws (Ex): A maw demon’s oversized fangs are incredibly sharp and deadly. They deal more damage than a creature of the maw demon’s size could normally deal with a bite attack. Additionally, they threaten a critical hit on a result of 18-20, and have a critical multiplier of x3.
Reactive Invisibility (Su): As a move action, a maw demon can cause itself to become invisible. The process is not instantaneous, however, and the maw demon seems to slowly fade from view. As soon as it activates this ability, the maw demon’s body becomes translucent, and it gains concealment from all creatures (granting it a 20% miss chance for any attacks made against it). At the end of the maw demon’s next turn, the rest of the maw demon’s body, with the exception of its massive fangs, completely fades away. This grants it total concealment (50% miss chance) against all attacks, but other creatures can still pinpoint the maw demon’s location, and are not treated as being flat-footed for the purposes of attacks that it makes. At the end of the maw demon’s following turn, it becomes completely invisible, as the spell invisibility.
If the maw demon makes an attack or other hostile action, it immediately becomes entirely visible again, losing any concealment or invisibility that it gained as a result of this ability.
Smell Fear (Ex): A maw demon can locate a shaken, frightened, or panicked creature more easily with its scent ability. It gains a +10 bonus on Perception checks made to find such creatures using its scent ability, and can identify them from up to a mile away, instead of up to 30 feet away. Finally, it gains a +5 morale bonus on damage rolls made against creatures with the shaken, frightened, or panicked conditions.
Maw demons do not have a name for their own species, having just barely more than animal intelligence, but other demons generally refer to them as shycharum (shi-kah-rum). Ambush predators, they spend most of their time invisibly roaming the abyss in search of prey. When attacking groups, they prefer hit-and-run tactics, and will typically stalk a party for some time in order to identify the weakest member, then pounce upon him and, if possible, devour him whole. They then run off, becoming invisible again, and repeat the process once they’ve finished digesting the first victim. Maw demons are intensely attracted to the scent of fear, and can pick up the scent of fear from incredible distances.
Maw demons are sometimes kept as pets or guardians by other demons or by powerful spellcasters. While maw demons prefer to be able to roam freely, their slightly-more-than-animal intelligence allows them to adjust to such situations fairly well, and they can generally be trained to serve in such a capacity. Clever owners of maw demons take advantage of the creature’s ability to detect fear by installing several fear-inducing traps, and allowing the maw demon free reign to roam through their dungeon.