Kingkiller Creature (CR +3)

Sometimes called Ruler’s Bane, or Sovereign’s Scourge, kingkiller creatures are the result of a curse that sometimes results from the troubling history and crimes that are inevitable in the rise of a new kingdom. The deities of destruction and wrath create kingkillers from prominent members of the fallen or traitorous aristocrats and government officials involved within that kingdom, or from those whom the kingdom has truly wronged in their struggle to gain authority and control over the realm. The kingkiller’s appearance is often a cause for the appearance of signs, portents, prophecies, and omens of doom for a kingdom and its rulers. Kingkillers often seek not only to kill and slay the ruler, but also other prominent members of the government, their allies, and often despoil the kingdom itself. Kingkillers are frighteningly swift and deadly, possessing demon-like wings that can also defend and absorb the magical defenses of the kingdom.

Creating a Kingkiller Creature

“Kingkiller” is an acquired template that can be added to any creature. A kingkiller creature uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

CR: +3

Alignment: Chaotic Evil

Size and Type: The creature gains the outsider type plus the chaotic, evil, and native subtype.

Defensive Abilities: Gains darkvision 60 feet, +5 profane bonus to Will saves; DR 5/cold iron (increase to 10/ cold iron and good if the kingkiller’s CR is 10 or higher; increase to 15/cold iron, good, and lawful if the kingkiller’s CR is 15 or higher). Weakness Vulnerability to cold iron (a kingkiller takes half again as much damage (+50%) from cold iron weapons); Overloading (a kingkiller can absorb a maximum number of spell levels equal to its Hit Dice x 4; if it cannot absorb a spell or effect due to its spell levels being full it suffers the effects as normal, plus it is stunned for 1 round).

Speed: A kingkiller creature’s base speed increases by +30 ft.; it also gains a fly speed equal to 90 ft., with average maneuverability, or a +30 ft. increase over its existing fly speed, whichever is better.

Special Abilities: A kingkiller creature retains all the special abilities of the base creature, and gains the special abilities as described below:

Absorb Magic (Su): A kingkiller’s wings can absorb and defend against psionic, supernatural, spell, and spell-like abilities. If it makes a successful saving throw against an attack, the spell has no effect and the kingkiller absorbs a number of spell levels equal to the spell’s level (psionic and supernatural effects have a spell equivalent to its source’s HD divided by 2.). It cannot react to attacks that do not offer saving throws. If it fails its save and the effect has a duration, each round on its turn, the kingkiller may attempt a new saving throw to end or reduce the duration by half, upon a second successful saving throw it negates the effect, and absorbs it. Making these secondary saves are full-round actions that do not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Accursed Wounding (Su): Damage dealt by a kingkiller creature cannot be healed normally (including regeneration and fast healing) unless a creature makes a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the kingkiller’s HD + its Con Modifier). Magical healing will not heal damage dealt by a kingkiller creature unless a specific type of creature under a specific circumstance casts a remove curse or similar spell. These specific requirements are subject to GM adjudication, examples include a creature, a creature of the same type as the kingkiller creature, a creature who is not part of the kingdom, on the site of the kingdom’s founding, on the site of the kingkiller creature’s creation, on holy ground dedicated to the ethos of forgiveness. A Heal check (DC15 + the kingkiller creature’s CR) can be made to determine this requirement. This is a necromantic-curse effect.

Consume Magic (Su): A kingkiller can, as a standard action, use its wings to make a combat maneuver check against a target’s worn, held, or carried magic items or a magical barrier (such as a wall of force, but not a circle of protection against evil/law) in an attempt to consume the item’s magic. If successful, the opponent or item (spells are treated as items) gets a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the kingkiller’s HD + its Con modifier) or the kingkiller drains the item’s magic, gaining a number of spell levels equal to its charges (potions hold a single charge, permanent items are considered to contain 50 charges), rendering it nonmagical. Artifacts are immune to this effect. A make whole spell with a successful caster level check (DC 11 + the kingkiller’s CR) will restore a permanent item’s magical properties if the spell is used within 48 hours of the item being drained. Execute

Official (Su): As a swift action, a kingkiller may draw forth the life force of any helpless creature that serves in the local kingdom’s government within 10 ft. per HD the kingkiller possesses, using it to empower itself and killing the helpless official. An opponent must make a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the kingkiller’s HD + its Con Modifier) or the subject dies and the Kingkiller gains 1d8 temporary hit points plus it absorbs 4 spell levels. Additionally, its effective caster level goes up by +1, improving spell effects dependent on caster level. This is a death effect.

Expend Magic (Su): Kingkiller creatures may expend absorbed spell levels to utilize the following powers:

  • Detect Magic (Su): Kingkiller creatures continuously detect all magic (as the detect magic spell) within a 6 mile radius per HD it possesses; this expends one stored magic level each day.
  • Fast Healing (Su): A Kingkiller creature may expend one stored magic level to gain fast healing 3 for 1 round. It may expend additional spell levels to increase the amount of fast healing it gains by 3 for every spell level it expend to a maximum amount equal to its Constitution Score. Hence, a kingkiller creature with a Constitution Score of 20 could expend 7 spell levels and heal 20 hit points in one round. Use of this ability is not considered an action as it is an automatic reflex.

Listen In (Su): Kingkiller creatures automatically hear any form of psionic or magical communication within 1 mile per HD of the kingkiller creature (including but not limited to dominate person, dominate monster, helm of telepathy, sending, telepathic bond, telepathy, whispering wind, etc.).

Rejuvenation (Su): Kingkiller creatures are not destroyed through simple combat: when a kingkiller is slain or destroyed, it immediately heals as many hit points as possible through its remaining magic levels (to a maximum of its Constitution score). If it has no magic levels remaining, the kingkiller dissipates and reforms 2d10 hours later with 1 hp on the site of its creation as a kingkiller, or at the site of its destruction, and then it absorbs a single level of divine magic from its curse, at which point it heals itself. Even the most powerful spells are usually only temporary solutions. Typically, there is a unique means to destroy a given kingkiller. The exact means varies and may require a good deal of research to discover (a DC 15 + kingkiller creature’s CR Knowledge (history) or (local) check). Usually this involves forgiveness for a traitor’s crimes and giving the creature what it wanted before it became cursed. This could be wealth, recognition, justice, land rights, power, or the safety of its people.

Scourge: When a kingkiller creature is created, select one of the following scourges, that kingkiller gains these additional abilities:

Fire

Flame Barrier (Sp): A scourge of fire may expend 4 stored magic levels as a swift action to create a wall of fire spell, with a caster level equal to the kingkiller’s HD.

Flaming Attacks (Su): A scourge of fire’s melee and ranged attacks (including touch attacks) deal +1d6 points of fire damage. This amount of damage increases to +2d6 at CR 10 and to +3d6 at CR 15. This ability drains one stored magic level per day.

Scorched Earth (Su): A scourge of fire continuously causes all plants within 10 ft. per HD it possesses to catch on fire. Plant creatures are immune to this ability. This ability drains one stored magic level per hour.

Madness

Delusion (Su): After any successful melee or ranged attack (including touch attacks), the scourge of madness may expend stored magic levels to force the target to make a successful Will save (DC 10 +1/2 the kingkiller creature’s HD + its Con Modifier) or suffer Wisdom damage plus an additional effect. The number of spell levels, the amount of Wisdom damage and the additional effect is dependent upon the kingkiller’s CR.

CR Spell Levels Wisdom Damage Effect
3-9 2 2 Confusion
10-14 4 4 Confusion
15+ 7 6 Insanity

The confusion effects last for 1 round per CR of the kingkiller, the insanity effect is instantaneous as per the spell.

Illusion (Sp): A Scourge of Madness must have an Intelligence or Wisdom of at least 8 to use this ability. If it does, it may expend stored magic levels to cast any one level worth of spells from the Illusion school found within the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core RulebookTM.

For example, a scourge of madness can cast a 3rd-level illusion spell by expending 3 stored levels of magic. The scourge must have a CR equal to double the spell’s level to cast the spell and its caster level is equal to its HD.

Blight

Aging Curse (Su): After any successful melee or ranged attack (including touch attacks), the scourge of blight may expend five stored magic levels and curse the subject. This curse causes the subject to become old and decrepit. The subject must make a successful Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 the kingkiller creature’s HD + its Con Modifier) or it ages one age category (two age categories if CR 10 or higher, three categories if 15 or higher) and incurs the physical penalties associated with old age (middle aged characters suffer a –1 penalty to Strength, Dexterity and Constitution, old an additional –2, and venerable an additional –3). For each category the subject would age past venerable, it gains a negative level (same DC). This curse only affects the physical bodies of the creatures, not their minds. Therefore it does not grant the bonuses to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma that age normally confers. It also does not affect creatures that gain benefits from aging, such as true dragons.

The curse bestowed by this effect cannot be dispelled, but it can be removed with a break enchantment, limited wish, miracle, remove curse, or wish spell.

Blighted Crops (Su): The scourge of blight continuously causes all crops within 10 ft. per HD to contract a fungal disease and wither in 1d10 days. This ability drains one stored magic level per hour.

Ruinous Touch (Su): After any successful melee or ranged attack (including touch attacks), the scourge of blight may expend two stored magic levels to ruin any single nonmagical, non-attended object of less than 1,000 lbs. (reducing its hit points to zero). Magical items and attended object receive a saving throw (DC 10 +1/2 the kingkiller creature’s HD + its Con modifier), a failed save reduces the object’s hit point total to one hit point below half its maximum hit point total (the object cannot be repaired or gain hit points using this effect). This also causes the object to gain the broken condition; this condition is removed if the object is restored to at least half its original hit points. Artifacts are immune to this effect.

By expending 6 spell levels this effect can also deal 10 points of damage per HD the kingkiller possesses (to a maximum of 150 points at 15 HD) to construct creatures. If the creature successfully saves (same DC), the effect deals half this amount. This effect cannot reduce a construct’s hit points to less than 1.

Pestilence

Virulent Contagions (Su): Any creature that comes within 10 ft. of a creature affected by a scourge of pestilence illness or pestilence ability must make a Fort saving throw or suffer its effects within 2d12 hours.

Illness (Su): A scourge of pestilence continuously causes all creatures within 10 ft. per HD the kingkiller possesses to succeed on a Fort save (DC 10 +1/2 the kingkiller creature’s HD + its Con Modifier) or be sickened. The sickened effect is permanent until negated by a spell or effect that removes disease. This ability drains one stored magic level per hour.

Pestilence (Su): After any successful melee or ranged attack (including touch attacks), the scourge of pestilence may expend stored magic levels to force the target to make a successful Fort save (DC 10 +1/2 the kingkiller creature’s HD + its Con Modifier) or suffer Constitution damage plus an additional effect. Twenty-four hours later, a creature that failed its save must make a successful Fort save (same DC) or suffer 3d6 Constitution damage. The number of spell levels, the amount of Wisdom damage, and the additional effect is dependent upon the kingkiller’s CR.

The effects are permanent unless negated by a spell or effect that removes disease. While afflicted, a creature cannot be afflicted a second time.

Storms

Call Lightning (Sp): By expending three stored spell levels as a swift action, a scourge of storms may call down a single bolt of lightning as call lighting. Caster level equal to its HD.

Call Storms (Su): A scourge of storms continuously generates control weather (CL equal to HD) as a druid (3-mile radius) and always increases the intensity of the weather every 10 minutes. This ability drains seven stored magic levels per day.

Thunder and Lightning (Su): A scourge of storm’s melee and ranged attacks (including touch attacks) deal +1d6 points of electricity and sonic damage (half the damage coming from each type). This amount of damage increases to +2d6 at CR 10 and to +3d6 at CR 15. This ability drains one stored magic level per day.

Vermin

Command Vermin (Su): By expending one stored spell level, as a standard action, a scourge of vermin can enslave vermin, animals (if they possess either a poison or disease special attack) and any swarm within 30 ft. These creatures receive a Will save (DC 10 +1/2 the kingkiller creature’s HD + its Con Modifier) to negate the effect. Creatures that fail their saves fall under the kingkiller’s control, obeying its commands to the best of their ability, as if under the effects of control undead. Intelligent creatures receive a new saving throw each day to resist its commands. It can control any number of creatures, so long as their total Hit Dice does not exceed double the kingkiller’s HD. If a creature is under the control of another creature, the kingkiller creature must make an opposed Charisma check whenever the orders conflict.

Infest Location (Su): By expending one stored spell level, as a standard action, a scourge of vermin can call the nearest vermin, animals (provided that they possess either a poison or disease special attack) and any swarm of a particular type it designates (provided the creature’s CR is equal to or less than the king killer’s HD) to seek out the kingkiller creature. This calls one creature per 2 HD the kingkiller possesses. The creatures move toward the kingkiller under their own power, so the time they take to arrive depends on how close any particular animal of the desired type is when this ability is activated. If there is no creature of that type capable of reaching it, it becomes aware of this fact, but the spell level is wasted.

Swarm Form (Su): After any successful melee or ranged attack (including touch attacks), the scourge of vermin may expend four stored magic levels and polymorph the subject. This polymorph effect causes the target’s body to become a swarm, an ever-shifting swarm of tiny versions of itself. The affected creature is unable to hold or use any item. Clothing, armor, rings, helmets, and backpacks become useless. Large items— armor, backpacks, even shirts—hamper more than help, reducing the creature’s Dexterity score by 4. Reduce speed to 10 feet or one-quarter normal, whichever is less. Searing pain courses along the nerves, so strong that the creature cannot act coherently, attacking blindly, unable to distinguish friend from foe (-4 penalty to hit and a 50% miss chance, regardless of the attack roll). At the end of the effect’s duration (1 minute per HD the kingkiller possesses) it returns to its normal form. A creature can regain its own shape by taking a standard action to attempt a new save. A success reestablishes the creature’s normal form for 1 minute. On a failure, the creature can still repeat the check each round until successful.

War

Bloodlust (Su): All creatures within 10 ft. per HD the scourge of war possesses must make a Will save every round (DC 10 +1/2 the kingkiller creature’s HD + its Con Modifier) or attack another creature (toward which they have an Indifferent or worse attitude) within their sight. This ability drains one stored magic level per hour. This is a mind-affecting compulsion effect.

Incite Murder (Su): A scourge of war may expend nine stored magic levels as a standard action to cause a creature within line of sight to make a successful Will save (DC 10 +1/2 the kingkiller creature’s HD + its Con Modifier) or dedicate all of its actions to killing or destroying a specific creature the scourge names (a creature without a name cannot be the target of the assassination). After the subject kills or destroys the target, the effect ends. This forces the target to act immediately without preparation. The effect ends immediately if the subject believes the target is dead or physically cannot reach the creature—including a situation forcing the subject to pass through an area that would, without a doubt, kill it. For example, a subject that breathes only in water but must cross land to reach its target is unaffected by this effect.

While under the effects of mind blank, protection from evil or a similar spell, the subject can ignore the mind affecting compulsion, but such a ward does not prevent establishing incite murder, nor negate it. Otherwise, the effect lasts for 24 hours. A creature that makes its save cannot be subject to a kingkiller’s incite murder for 1 day. Skirmish (Su): A scourge of war’s melee and ranged attacks (including touch attacks) deal +1d6 points of damage. This amount of damage increases to +2d6 at CR 10 and to +3d6 at CR 15. This ability drains one stored magic level per day.

Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Str +10 (+5 to attack and damage, +5 to Climb and Swim skill checks, +5 to Strength, and CMB checks, +5 to CMD), Dex +10 (+5 to Ranged attack rolls; AC and touch AC, Initiative, and Reflex saves, +5 to Acrobatics, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth checks, add +5 to any of the base creature’s Dexterity-based DCs), Con +10 (+5 hp per HD, +5 to Fortitude saves, and any of the base creature’s Constitution-based DCs).

Skills: If the base creature does not have ranks in the Fly skill, the kingkiller creature gains Fly as a class skill and gains a number of bonus ranks in Fly equal to its HD.

Feats: The kingkiller creature gains Improved Initiative and Run as bonus feats.


Kingkiller creatures and Kingdom Building

Some adventurers found kingdoms, in doing so they must drive out or kill the indigenous inhabitants to make room for their rule and their settlers. Others must lead soldiers into battle, waging great and terrible wars to enforce their rule, hold on to these newly acquired lands, or to gain control of new lands. In the course of doing something so monumental, members of the indigenous inhabitants may come to hate them, innocents are likely to be harmed in these wars, soldiers under the adventures’ command may commit atrocities, or perhaps the adventurers commit these vile acts themselves. These actions can sometimes have the unintended consequence of creating a kingkiller.

A Ruler could break a treaty he signed, pass an unjust law, or pardon a horrific criminal or perhaps the Ruler’s Consort, the Ruler’s Heir or the Ruler’s Viceroy performs these actions. The kingdom’s General might sacrifice troops in a battle to win the war, or actually order some atrocity be carried out. A Diplomat perhaps issues an insult that leads to war, or fails to reach a meeting that could have prevented one, perchance the Diplomat falls in love and steals away with another ruler’s wife, leading to death and destruction for people on both sides. The High Priest might choose to oppress a rival religion striking at the fanatical and the peaceful members alike simply because they worship what the priest sees as a cult of “evil.” Perhaps the Magister uses education as a form of propaganda, hiding the details of the adventures’ true actions. The Marshal might become lax in his duties allowing a merchant to control an outlying settlement, ruling like some petty lord. Maybe the Royal Enforcer executes an innocent man, or imprisons a criminal under inhumane conditions. Conceivably the Spymaster could sacrifice a spy as a pawn in his game of chess, or he makes a mistake and an informant is killed or betrayed. The Treasurer is almost universally hated in a fantasy medieval setting as the tax collector. As you can see there are many opportunities for a kingkiller creature to be created.

Remember, kingkillers don’t just attack the rulers and officials, they attack the stability of a kingdom in the same way a monster attack would and can lead to the total collapse of a kingdom, so they should not be used lightly. Kingkiller Attack (Kingdom, Continuous): A kingkiller creature attacks the kingdom. The GM picks a claimed hex in the kingdom in which the monster starts its activity, though it can move to a new hex at any time.

The CR of the monster encounter is the party’s APL + 3. You must personally deal with the monster (earning XP and treasure normally for your efforts). If the monster is not defeated this turn, Unrest increases by 4. If the kingdom’s Unrest is 5 or higher, the monster’s hex becomes unclaimed—this is in addition to losing control of hexes in the Upkeep Phase because of the kingdom’s high Unrest score.

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