Cerebral Stalker

Cerebral Stalker

This humanoid creature has blackish-gray scales covering its semireptilian body. A thick layer of glistening mucus drips from its flesh. Its bestial head sports slate-gray eyes with vertical pupils and a wide mouth lined with sharp teeth. Its hands end in filthy claws.


Cerebral Stalker

XP 1,800 ()

CE Medium

Initiative +2


DEFENSE

AC 16 (natural armor)

hp: 85 (10d8 + 40


OFFENSE

Speed: 30 ft., burrow 20 ft. plus earth glide (see below)

Multiattack: The cerebral stalker bites once and attacks twice with claws, or it uses its fear gaze or cocoon ability.

Melee Attack—Bite: +6 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). Hit: 1d10 + 3 piercing damage.

Melee Attack—Claw: +6 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). Hit: 1d8 + 3 slashing damage and the target is grappled and restrained.

Ranged Attack—Fear Gaze: automatic hit (range 30 feet; one creature that can see the cerebral stalker). Hit: Target must make a successful DC 14 Wis saving throw or become frightened for 1d4 rounds.


STATISTICS

Str 16 (+3), Dex 15 (+2), Con 19 (+4),

Int 11 (+0), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 16 (+3)

Languages: Believed to understand Common and possibly others, but never speaks

Skills: Perception +8

Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft.


TRAITS

Cocoon (3/day): As an action, a cerebral stalker can cocoon a grappled foe with sticky webbing. The webs completely encase the victim, excluding the top of the victim’s head, its eyes, and its nose. The cocooned victim is restrained and anchored by the webs to the cerebral stalker’s body. The cocooned creature can, as an action, attempt to break free with a successful DC 20 Str (Athletics) check or Dex (Acrobatics) check. The webbing can be cut open enough for a trapped character to escape with 8 points of slashing damage against AC 10.

Consume Brain: Once it has its victim , the cerebral stalker begins gnawing on the victim’s head, rapidly chewing through bone and tissue, dealing 2d8 + 4 points of piercing damage each round. When the victim dies, the cerebral stalker reaches its goal: the victim’s brain, which it promptly devours. A victim slain in this manner reanimates in 1d4 rounds as a zombie. Typically, the cerebral stalker “tosses” them back up to the surface of the ground so their traveling companions can witness the reanimation and deal with their newly undead friend. Zombies created in this manner are under no one’s control.

Earth Glide: A cerebral stalker can glide through any sort of natural earth or stone as easily as a fish swims through water. Its gliding leaves no sign of its passage or hint of its presence to creatures that don’t possess tremorsense. It can bring cocooned victims along with it, but they have no special capacity for breathing while . Getting into the ground, however, is not as easy for the cerebral stalker as moving . It must spend four moves on four rounds (no dashing) melding into the ground. On the first round, the creature sinks to its knees; on the second round, to its waist; on the third round, to its neck; and on the fourth round, the stalker and any creature it has cocooned disappear completely . Melding into the ground does not provoke an opportunity attack. If the cerebral stalker is grappled while sinking into the ground, it must win a Str contest against its grapplers to sink farther that round. Dispel magic or a similar spell cast


on a sinking cerebral stalker paralyzes it the same as a hold monster spell. The spot where the cerebral stalker sank radiates magic for one hour.


ECOLOGY

Environment:

Organization: Solitary

A cerebral stalker is a carnivorous predator that lies in wait just below the surface of the ground for an unsuspecting victim to pass over or near it. When it detects prey with its tremorsense, the stalker bursts through the ground in a shower of rock and earth, seizes and cocoons its victim, and disappears into the ground to devour the victim’s brain at its leisure. Companions of the cerebral stalker’s intended victim are held at bay with its fear-inducing gaze—but the real terror is reserved for those the creature drags below ground, where they’re destined to have their skulls chewed open and their brains devoured.

The lair of a cerebral stalker is a large, hollow chamber , often littered with skull fragments, bits of webbing, and chunks of desiccated brain matter. A cerebral stalker has no use for or interest in treasure, but the belongings of its victims—especially weapons and magical implements they were clutching in their hands when the cerebral stalker grabbed them— sometimes fall loose in the creature’s lair, making it worthwhile to locate the lair if possible. The only way in is to dig, however; the cerebral stalker needs no tunnel or doorway of the usual variety.

Cerebral stalkers are solitary creatures; they despise others of their kind. They do not team up or hunt in concert, and they even attack others of their race if one invades their territory. The typical stalker’s hunting ground covers an area of 5 square miles, though an individual rarely journeys that far from its lair. The lifespan and reproduction method of these creatures is completely unknown.