Native to the Ethereal and Astral Planes, devourers are undead creatures that trap the souls of other beings and use them to power their terrible spells. The natural leaders of these horrid creatures, dread devourers are more vicious and voracious than ordinary devourers. Few know how these dread devourers originated, but some sages speculate that they form as ethereal or astral “shadows” of creatures on coexistent planes that die from energy draining effects.
Devourers and dread devourers take many forms, but most look mummified and desiccated. Their bodies are hardened to an astonishing degree, and they possess far greater strength and mental acuity than they had in life. The souls they consume are visible in miniature within and about their bodies, railing against their torturous imprisonment.
“Dread devourer” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature) that has a chest cavity or similar body part. A dread devourer uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +3.
Alignment: Always neutral evil.
Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to undead with the appropriate augmented subtype, plus the evil and extraplanar subtypes if the base creature did not already have them. Do not recalculate base attack bonuses, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.
Armor Class: The dread devourer’s natural armor bonus improves by +13 over that of the base creature.
Hit Dice: Change all current and future racial Hit Dice to d8s. All Hit Dice derived from class levels remain unchanged. As undead, dread devourers use their Charisma modifiers to determine bonus hit points (instead of Constitution).
Defensive Abilities: A dread devourer gains the following defensive abilities.
The trapped essences (see below) provide a measure of magical protection. If any of the following spells are cast at the dread devourer and overcome its spell resistance, they affect the imprisoned essence instead: banishment, confusion, crushing despair, detect thoughts, dispel evil, dominate person, dominate monster, fear, geas/quest, holy word, hypnosis*, imprisonment, magic jar, maze, suggestion, trap the soul, or any form of charm or compulsion. In many cases, this change of target effectively neutralizes the spell (casting charm person on a trapped essence, for example, is useless). Some of them (banishment and trap the soul, for example), might eliminate a random trapped essence, robbing the dread devourer of its magical powers until it can consume another.
A dread devourer has channel resistance +4.
Attack: The dread devourer retains all the base creature’s attacks, and its weapon and armor proficiencies. These attacks retain the same primary or secondary status they had for the base creature. The dread devourer gains two primary slam attacks if it has no other natural attacks. All of a dread devourer’s attacks (with both natural and manufactured weapons) count as evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Damage: If the dread devourer gained slam attacks from the application of this template, the base damage for each is as given on the following table.
|Size||Slam Base Damage|
Special Attacks: The dread devourer retains all the base creature’s special attacks and gains those described here.
A creature struck by a dread devourer’s natural attack gains one negative level. The DC for the Fortitude save to remove the negative level is 10 + 1/2 dread devourer’s Hit Dice + dread devourer’s Cha modifier.
Spell-Like Abilities: A dread devourer is assumed to have one essence with 3d4+3 levels trapped inside it at the start of any encounter.
Each use of a spell-like ability drains one of these levels (see Trap Essences). The dread devourer can use one of following spells (caster level 10th + 2 per essence trapped within it): animate dead, circle of death, confusion, control undead, create undead, deeper darkness, desecrate, dominate monster, horrid wilting, inflict serious wounds, lesser planar ally, plane shift (self only, drains five levels from trapped essences), ray of enfeeblement, true seeing.
The save DCs are Charisma-based.
The dread devourer is named for its ability to consume an enemy’s life essence. To do so, it must forgo its normal melee attacks and make a trap essence attack, which requires a touch attack but deals no damage. The affected creature must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 dread devourer’s Hit Dice + dread devourer’s Cha modifier) or die instantly.
The slain creature’s essence is trapped within or around the dread devourer’s body as a tiny figure with the victim’s features. The trapped essence cannot be raised or resurrected, but a miracle or wish spell frees it, as does destroying the dread devourer. A dread devourer can hold a number of essences equal to its Hit Dice.
The trapped essences provide the dread devourer with power to use spell-like abilities. Each trapped essence gains one negative level for every use of such an ability. As this energy is expended, the twisted soul fades away. When the number of negative levels gained equals the creature’s character level, the essence is destroyed and its image fades away. If an essence is freed, the restored creature must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 dread devourer’s Hit Dice + dread devourer’s Cha modifier) for each negative level or lose that level permanently. A dread devourer can use its spell-like abilities until all the essences within it have been destroyed. For each essence the dread devourer holds, the caster level for its spell-like abilities increases by +2.