Monsters that blend into the dungeon environment in unusual ways are a classic in roleplaying games, from mimics and darkmantles to cloakers and ropers. This year, we’ve already presented two new threats that can potentially lurk in the treasure pile, the potion beast and the gem haunt, and it seems only fair that we complete the cycle with something that can ruin a spellcaster’s day, turning what appears to be a harmless pile of scrolls into a potentially deadly encounter.
As this ragged and yellowed scroll unfurls on its own, it becomes clear that it is made not from vellum or some other tanned hide, but is in fact a living, membranous creature, its two beady black eyes staring with unblinking hatred, a tiny mouth ringed with needle-like fangs hissing menacingly.
LEIDKOLTI CR 5
CN Tiny aberration
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +12
AC 20, touch 17, flat-footed 15 (+5 Dex, +3 natural, +2 size)
hp 55 (7d8+24)
Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +7
Defensive Abilities evasion
Weaknesses vulnerability to fire
Speed 5 ft.; fly 30 ft. (average)
Melee bite +12 (1d4–1 plus attach)
Special Attacks absorb scroll, smothering grapple
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 7th; concentration +10)
At Will—erase, read magic, secret page
1/day—sepia snake sigil (DC 16)
Str 9, Dex 20, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 17
Base Atk +5; CMB +2 (+12 grapple when attached); CMD 17 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Disguise), Weapon Finesse
Skills Disguise +6 (+14 to appear as a scroll), Escape Artist +15, Fly +9, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Perception +12, Spellcraft +12, Stealth +23, Use Magic Device +10 (+18 to activate a scroll); Racial Modifiers +8 Disguise to appear as a scroll, +8 Use Magic Device to activate a scroll
Languages Aklo, Undercommon
Organization solitary, pair, sheaf (3–12), or library (13–40)
Absorb Scroll (Su): Whenever a leidkolti successfully uses its erase spell-like ability on a scroll, it can choose to absorb the magical writing the scroll held. If it does, the writing appears on the leidkolti’s body, and can be cast from it as though it were a scroll. The leidkolti can use its own body as a scroll in this way, or another creature can do so, although in the latter case the leidkolti must be either willing or helpless.
Smothering Grapple (Ex): Whenever a leidkolti successfully maintains a grapple, in addition to any other actions it takes as part of maintaining the grapple, it can attach itself to the target’s face, covering their mouth and nose and preventing them from breathing. If the leidkolti is already attached to the creature’s face, it can instead reduce the number of rounds that the creature can continue holding its breath by 1d6. Attacks that hit a leidkolti while it is using this ability also inflict damage to the smothered creature, equal to 1/2 the damage inflicted to the leidkolti.
Despised by adventurers everywhere, often compared to the likes of mimics and rust monsters, and sometimes referred to as “scroll-mimics” or “scrollers,” leidkolti are thought to be distant relatives of the cloaker, as they share many features of anatomy. When rolled up, or seen from above, a leidkolti bears a striking resemblance to a piece of vellum parchment, allowing them to easily pass for scrolls. This is a mistake that the leidkolti have adapted to take advantage of, and many leidkolti actively seek out collections of scrolls (magical or otherwise) in which to make their nests. They have even learned how to manipulate writing and steal the magical abilities of scrolls, which they use to defend their homes, along with placing sepia snake sigils on any other scrolls around them, allowing these booby traps to hopefully immobilize a foe, allowing the leidkolti to prey on it at its leisure.