Most monster templates focus on a monster’s physiology, and there’s definitely a lot of exciting room for crazy monsters there. But I think there’s a lot of potential for templates that apply more to showing off a monster’s attitude and tactics than their lineage. Today’s article is an example of that, a new template designed for egotistical “boss” monsters, giving clever PCs mechanical ways to interact with the creature’s pride and exploit it as a weakness, with a bit of an ability boost to go along with it.
Megalomaniacal creatures are obsessed with their own superiority. Whether they are genius wizards, unstoppable barbarians, or conniving rogues, they are among the best at what they do, or at least they think they are. Either way, they demand respect from those around them, and while their self-confidence may have its roots in reality, pride goes before a fall, and a megalomaniac’s pride is often his undoing.
Creating a Megalomaniac
“Megalomaniac” is an acquired template that can be added to any creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher, although it is very rare in creatures with an Intelligence score of less than 12. A megalomaniacal creature retains the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Base creature’s CR +0.
Weaknesses (Ex): A megalomaniacal creature’s pride can lead to its downfall. The megalomaniacal creature gains a number of weaknesses of its choice from the list below equal to 1 + 1 per 3 points of CR it possesses. Anyone that succeeds on a DC 20 Sense Motive check to get a hunch about a megalomaniacal creature is able to identify that the creature is megalomaniacal. For every 3 points by which the result of the check exceeds the DC, the creature is able to intuit one of the megalomaniacal creature’s weaknesses derived from this template, allowing them to actively take advantage of those weaknesses.
Directed Hostility: The megalomaniacal creature’s temper can be used against him, manipulating him into focusing his rage against a specific opponent. As a move action, any character can perform a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check (DC 10 + the megalomaniacal creature’s CR + the megalomaniacal creature’s Wisdom modifier) to attempt to taunt the megalomaniacal creature into attacking them. At the GM’s discretion, certain types of taunts may be more or less effective, granting a bonus or penalty of up to 4 on this check. If the taunting creature succeeds, the megalomaniacal creature must focus its efforts on its next turn on harming that creature, but is free to do so in whatever way it chooses (such as casting harmful spells, attacking the creature with a held weapon, etc.).
I Can Take It: The megalomaniacal creature is too proud to accept healing during a fight, viewing the damage he suffers as an indication of how tough he is. During combat, he cannot willingly attempt to heal himself or accept healing from an ally unless he succeeds on a DC 20 Will save. He may make a new saving throw once per round.
I’ll Show You: The megalomaniacal creature can’t resist a challenge or dare. As a standard action, any character can perform a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check (DC 15 + the megalomaniacal creature’s CR + the megalomaniacal creature’s Wisdom modifier) to attempt to taunt the megalomaniacal creature into going along with a dare or challenge. At the GM’s discretion, certain types of taunts may be more or less effective, granting a bonus or penalty of up to 4 on this check. If the taunting creature succeeds, the megalomaniacal creature is affected as though by the spell suggestion (no saving throw). The nature of the suggestion must be some form of challenge, dare, or contest. As with suggestion, suggestions that would obviously be harmful to the megalomaniacal creature have no effect. The megalomaniacal creature also ceases to follow the suggestion immediately if it becomes clear that the challenging creature is manipulating them, taking advantage, or not participating fairly in the challenge.
Self-Aggrandizing: The megalomaniacal creature has a tendency to rant and rave about his own superiority. At the beginning of each combat, he must succeed on a DC 20 Will save or begin a monologue, gloating to his opponents. He is considered fascinated while gloating in this fashion. He can make a new Will save each round at the beginning of his turn to end the fascination effect, and the effect can be ended by anything that normally ends fascination. At the GM’s discretion, the megalomaniacal creature may or may not wind up revealing secret plans and other information while under the effects of this weakness.
Solo Combatant: The megalomaniacal creature does not work well with others, and cannot truly consider any other creature as an ally. As a result, it never gains bonuses from flanking, teamwork feats, or similar effects requiring allies, and when he casts spells that affect allies or enemies differently, he treats all creatures besides himself as an opponent.
Sputtering Incredulity: The megalomaniacal creature can be driven to fits of indignant rage that leave him unable to act. As a standard action, any character can perform a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check (DC 15 + the megalomaniacal creature’s CR + the megalomaniacal creature’s Wisdom modifier) to attempt to taunt the megalomaniacal creature into a fit of apoplectic rage. At the GM’s discretion, certain types of taunts may be more or less effective, granting a bonus or penalty of up to 4 on this check. If the taunting creature succeeds, the megalomaniacal creature is staggered for 1 round. If the result of the taunting creature’s roll exceeds the DC by 5 or more, the megalomaniacal creature is stunned for 1 round, instead.
Undefeatable: The megalomaniacal creature has difficulty admitting defeat. In order to flee from a fight by any means, or to move out of reach of an opponent, he must succeed on a DC 20 Will save. Failure means he is unable to take such actions this turn, although he does not lose the action.
What a Puny Foe: The megalomaniacal creature is quick to discount the threat posed by certain opponents. He suffers a –2 penalty to AC against attacks made by creatures that are at least 1 size category smaller than him, or whose CR is at least 4 fewer than his own. Additionally, creatures meeting those criteria gain a +2 bonus on Bluff checks made to feint against the megalomaniacal creature, as well as on other Bluff checks made to appear weak or insignificant. Once such a creature successfully damages the megalomaniacal creature, these penalties and bonuses cease to apply for that particular creature.
Abilities: Cha +6. Additionally, the megalomaniacal creature gains a +6 bonus to two other ability scores of its choice, and a +4 bonus to all remaining ability scores.