Back in third edition, they had a few somewhat “controversial” books. One such book was Libris Mortiis, the Book of Undead. This book was full of all sorts of creepy, crawly, body-horrory type spells, monsters, and special options for 3rd. Seeing as how Fifth is a little more “public-friendly” than previous editions, I doubt such great books as this or even (dare I say it) the Book of Vile Darkness will get remade.
Anyways, as I was putting together the first adventure for The Secret of Forsaken Peak, I was thinking that I needed some whacky encounters in the goblin mine. I know I didn’t just want it to be all goblins (after all, it’s a 5th-level adventure, so it needed some beef).
The collaborator, JD Russell, made note that the goblins tend to eat their slaves. I thought, “Well, that’s gruesome.” And then I thought, “Well, what if their kitchen wasn’t just a kitchen, but also a necromantic laboratory?”
After rubbing my hands together and laughing wickedly for probably way too long (about 20 minutes), I said, “Shit, I should grab some of those yuckos from Libris Mortiis and update them for 5th edition.”
Thus, here is the first of the bunch: the skin kite.
What is a skin kite?
A knot of flaccidly flapping membranes kites through the air, now drifting with the currents, now stooping swiftly through the air toward you.
Skin kites are undead creatures made up of the stolen skin of past victims. They feed on the skin of living beings, replenishing their own constantly rotting skin, as well as using new skin as spawning material for new skin kites.
No two skin kites appear the same. They display a range of different colors, depending on the creatures from which they were harvested. Many skin kites have rotting clumps of hair or fur, unintended additional trophies from past victims. A skin kite has no body, only a wingspan, which is about 5 feet. It weighs about 5 pounds.
Undead Nature. The skin kite does not require air, drink, food, or sleep.
Small undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 14
Hit Points 26 (4d6 + 12)
Speed 10 ft., fly 40 ft.
Abilities Str 10 (+0), Dex 19 (+4), Con 16 (+3), Int 4 (-3), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 6 (-2)
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +6
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a humanoid, the skin kite attaches to it. While attached, the skin kite can only make attacks against the target and has advantage on its attack rolls. The skin kite can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement. It does so after it steals 4 points of Charisma from the target or the target dies. A creature, including the target, can take its action to try to detach the skin kite by making a DC 16 Strength check. On a successful check, the creature takes 10 (3d6) necrotic damage and the skin kite is detached. On a failure, the creature takes half as much damage and the skin kite remains attached.
Steal Skin. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one humanoid the skin kite is attached to. Hit: 10 (3d6) necrotic damage, and the target’s Charisma score is reduced by 1d4. The target becomes catatonic and is permanently incapacitated if this reduces its Charisma score to 0. Otherwise, the reduction lasts until a greater restoration or similar magic is cast on the target.
Launch Kite (After Stealing 4 Charisma Points). When the skin kite has stolen 4 Charisma points of skin from a humanoid, it creates a new skin kite from the stolen skin. The new skin kite has hit points equal to the original skin kite’s current hit points (the new skin kite’s hit point maximum is equal to the original skin kite’s full normal total, even if its current hit points are lower than that).
Thanks for reading!
This won’t be the last thing I create from third edition for this particular encounter.
Next up: skulking cysts. Ewww…
See you then.
Art by Wizards of the Coast.