Few underwater encounters really seem to make the underwater feature matter all that much. This week’s Exotic Encounters bring you a twist on that formula, with a terrible monster that wants to drown your PCs and turn them into his wave-stalking undead minions. Equipped with a suite of abilities designed to keep your characters in his watery home, and then cause them to drown (and thus join his dark ranks), the aquamortis should provide a fair challenge to any foolish enough to traverse the waves.
Emerging from the waves are the skeletal remains of what once was a human, now encrusted with barnacles, and draped with seaweed. Its empty eye sockets glow with a blue green shimmering light and the smell of saltwater and rotting flesh no longer present on its bones fills the air around it.
AQUAMORTIS CR 16
CE Medium undead
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., see invisibility; Perception +22
AC 32, touch 10, flat-footed 32 (+8 armor, +14 natural)
hp 212 (17d8+136); fast healing 10
Fort +12, Ref +5, Will +14
DR 10/good; Immune cold, undead traits, SR 24
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
Melee +1 unholy trident +22/+17/+12 (1d8+13 plus 2d6 vs. good) and bite +15 (1d6+4 plus paralysis)
Special Attacks create spawn, curse of the sea, drowning strike
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +17)
At will—control water, hold person (DC 19)
1/day—control weather, finger of death (DC 24)
Str 26, Dex 10, Con —, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 24
Base Atk +12; CMB +20; CMD 30
Feats Ability Focus (curse of the sea), Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Armor, Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus (trident)
Skills Intimidate +24, Perception +22, Survival +19, Swim +28
Treasure standard plus +1 unholy trident and mwk half-plate
Create Spawn (Su): Any creature that is slain by an aquamortis’ natural attack while underwater rises as an aquamortis in 1d4 rounds, under the control of the aquamortis that killed it.
Curse of the Sea (Su): An aquamortis can curse creatures in the sea to never leave the water again. As a standard action, an aquamortis can cause a single living creature within 30 feet that is submerged in water at least up to his waist to succeed on a Will save (DC 24) or be unable to leave the water and return to dry land. This effect is permanent and cannot be dispelled, but is immediately ended if the aquamortis is slain.
Drowning Strike (Ex): Whenever an aquamortis confirms a critical hit on a living creature, the target must hold his breath or begin to drown. This effect lasts for 1d3 minutes, or until the aquamortis is slain.
Paralysis (Ex): A character struck by an aquamortis' bite attack must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 23) or become paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.
An aquamortis is a type of undead creature created from those that die at sea, and are forgotten. The unmourned grow disquiet with the lack of grief over their passing, and in time these horrible creatures arise from the depths, wielding unholy weapons forged from their own ribs to seek vengeance against the living. They desire nothing more than to kill all those who let their passing go unnoticed, forcing their victims to become like them.
Full of hatred and a lust for vengeance, the aquamortises stalk the waves, preying on storm-tossed ships or emerging from the oceans’ depths to torment the land-bound. In either case, their tactics are similar: they force their foes into the water and curse them that they might never leave it. Then they depart, condemning the cursed to suffer alone in the waves until they are on the brink of starvation, at which time the aquamortis returns to kill its victims.
When faced with combat, the aquamortis prefers to isolate a single enemy, trapping him in the water if it can, and then focusing its attention on that target. It will attempt to quickly kill the target in order to create spawn and even the odds against the victim’s allies.