It’s Vermin Week this week at Necromancers of the Northwest. Besides giant spiders, the vermin creature type doesn’t seem to get a lot of love, and there are relatively few options to choose from when it comes to vermin creatures, especially at higher CRs. But flavorfully, vermin are fairly close-knit, comprised pretty much exclusively of giant arachnids and insects, so today’s article is a template designed to make nearly any creature able to fill the role of nasty vermin.
Often the results of horrible magical experimentation, insectile creatures are normal creatures that have been blended with insect or arachnid biology in some way, creating a monstrous hybrid between the two.
Creating an Insectile Creature
“Insectile creature” is an inherited or acquired template that can be added to any non-vermin, corporeal creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature).
CR: As the base creature +1.
Type: The creature’s type changes to vermin (augmented). Do not recalculate class Hit Dice, base attack bonus, or saves.
Senses: An insectile creature gains darkvision 60 ft.
Armor Class: The base creature’s natural armor bonus to AC increases by +4, as the creature’s body is covered in a hard, chitinous shell.
Defensive Abilities: An insectile creature gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made to resist mind-affecting effects. If the base creature has an Intelligence score of 2 or less, the insectile creature is immune to mind-affecting effects, instead.
Special Abilities: An insectile creature gains a number of special abilities. The insectile creature gains one of the following abilities of its choice, plus one additional special ability for every four CRs the creature possesses (after applying the template).
Acid Spit (Ex): The insectile creature can spit globs of acidic spittle from its mouth. Treat this as a ranged touch attack with a range increment of 10 feet. On a successful hit, it deals 1d6 points of acid damage, plus an additional 1d6 points of acid damage for every 2 CRs the insectile creature possesses.
Antennae (Ex): The insectile creature has a pair of antennae, which it uses to sense the world around it. It gains the scent universal monster ability, except that it is able to pinpoint creatures at a greater range, and can pinpoint the location of a creature within 10 feet, rather than 5 feet. Additionally, the range of this ability is unaffected by whether the target is upwind or downwind.
Climbing Legs (Ex): The insectile creature grows two additional legs. In addition to granting the normal bonus to CMD against trip attempts, these legs also grant the insectile creature a climb speed equal to its land speed.
Compound Eyes (Ex): The insectile creature has large, compound eyes, granting it a +4 bonus on sight-based Perception checks and low-light vision, as well as giving it a greater field of vision, preventing it from being flanked.
Hard Carapace (Ex): The insectile creature’s exoskeleton is particularly strong, and its natural armor bonus to AC increases by +4 (in addition to the natural armor bonus granted from having the insectile creature template).
Pincers (Ex): The insectile creature gains a pair of pincer natural attacks, growing new limbs to support them if need be. The creature gains a pair of secondary pincer natural attacks, which deal damage appropriate for its size category.
Poison (Ex): One of the insectile creature’s natural attacks delivers a potent poison. This is an injury poison with no onset period, a saving throw DC equal to 10 + 1/2 the insectile creature’s Hit Dice + the insectile creature’s Constitution modifier, a frequency of once per round for six rounds, and which requires two successful saving throws to cure. The poison inflicts 1d4 points of ability score damage to the target’s Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. Which ability score is affected is determined when the insectile creature gains this ability, and cannot later be changed.
Spinnerets (Ex): The insectile creature is capable of producing webs and webbing. It gains the web universal monster ability.
Wings (Ex): The insectile creature possesses a pair of gossamer insect wings, which fold neatly into its back when not in use. It gains a fly speed equal to twice its base land speed, with good maneuverability.
Ability Scores: Str +2, Dex +2, Con +4. If the base creature has an Intelligence of 3 or higher, its Intelligence score is reduced by 2. If the base creature has an Intelligences of 2 or less, it becomes mindless, and has no Intelligence score. A creature made mindless in this way loses all skill ranks, except those in Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Stealth, or Swim.