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Dread Wraith Sovereign (CR +3)

*Editor's Note
This template should not be applied to base creatures below CR 10 and should not be used with Charisma-based casters in general. The huge stat adjustments are meant to make up for a large loss of CR due to loss of armor and/or natural armor. If this is not the case, consider reducing the stat bonuses to keep the creature reasonable. See note at the bottom of page for more information.

Table: Incorporeal Touch Damage by Size

Size Incorporeal Touch Damage
Fine 1
Diminutive 1d3
Tiny 1d4
Small 1d6
Medium 1d8
Large 2d6
Huge 2d8
Gargantuan 4d6
Colossal 4d8

Ancient and evil beyond measure, dread wraith sovereigns dwell in the hearts of lost cities and in abandoned graveyards. No living things dwell near such places, but a dread wraith sovereign often holds court over a host of the undead, both those it created and those that bowed to its rule.

The dread wraith sovereign can sense nearby life and seeks to snuff it out wherever it might be. The spectral figure of a dread wraith sovereign looks much like it did in life, but its form and features are constantly shrouded in darkness. A dread wraith sovereign can be distinguished from a normal wraith or a dread wraith by the gloom accompanying it and the unnatural chill that fills the air wherever it passes.

Creating a Dread Wraith Sovereign

“Dread wraith sovereign” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with 10 or more Hit Dice killed by a dread wraith sovereign (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A dread wraith sovereign uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +3.

Alignment: Always lawful evil.

Size and Type: The creature's type changes to undead with the appropriate augmented subtype, plus the incorporeal subtype if the base creature did not already have it. Do not recalculate base attack bonuses, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice: Change all racial Hit Dice to d8s.

Speed: A dread wraith sovereign loses all the base creature's speeds and gains a fly speed equal to the better of either the creature's former fly speed or double the base creature's highest land speed, with perfect maneuverability.

Armor Class: The base creature's armor, shield, and natural armor bonuses no longer apply, but the dread wraith sovereign gains a deflection bonus to armor class equal to its Charisma bonus or +1, whichever is higher.

Attack: The dread wraith sovereign retains all the base creature's natural attacks, and its weapon and armor proficiencies. However, all its attacks become incorporeal touch attacks, retaining the same primary or secondary status they had for the base creature. The dread wraith sovereign gains a primary incorporeal touch attack if it has no other natural attacks. A dread wraith sovereign uses its primary incorporeal touch attack when making an attack action. Because an incorporeal creature has no Strength score, its Dexterity modifier rather than its Strength modifier applies to all its attack rolls.

Damage: The dread wraith sovereign's incorporeal touch attacks deal normal damage (unmodified by Strength) and Constitution drain. If the dread wraith sovereign gained an incorporeal touch attack from the application of this template, its damage is as given in Table: Incorporeal Touch Damage by Size (at right.) Any damage dealt by the dread wraith sovereign's natural attacks ignores damage reduction.

Special Attacks: The dread wraith sovereign loses all special attacks that require corporeal contact but gains those described here. A dread wraith sovereign cannot cast spells requiring material components unless it has the Eschew Materials feat.

Command Wraiths (Su)

A dread wraith sovereign can automatically command all normal wraiths and dread wraiths within 30 feet as a free action. Normal wraiths and dread wraiths never attack a dread wraith sovereign unless compelled.

Constitution Drain (Su)

A dread wraith sovereign's incorporeal touch attack deals 1d8 points of Constitution drain unless the creature struck succeeds on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 dread wraith sovereign's character level + dread wraith sovereign's Cha modifier).

Create Spawn (Su)

Any creature slain by a dread wraith sovereign's Constitution drain or incorporeal touch attack rises as a dread wraith in 1d4 rounds. A dread wraith created in this manner is under the command of its creator and remains so until either it or the creator is destroyed. When a dread wraith sovereign is killed, one of its dread wraith spawn that had 10 or more character levels in life becomes a dread wraith sovereign (created by applying the template to the original base creature as it was in life).

Unnatural Aura (Su)

Any creature of the animal type within 100 feet of a dread wraith sovereign automatically becomes panicked and remains so until the distance between it and the dread wraith sovereign is at least 100 feet.

Unnatural Chill (Su)

The area around a dread wraith sovereign is noticeably colder than the ambient temperature. Each creature within 30 feet of a dread wraith sovereign takes 2d6 points of cold damage and must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 dread wraith sovereign's character level + dread wraith sovereign's Cha modifier) or be paralyzed. The damage and the saving throw are repeated each round that the creature remains within range.

A creature that takes cold damage or is paralyzed from the unnatural chill is automatically shaken for 1 minute. Incorporeal creatures are immune to this effect. The shaken condition is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Special Qualities: The dread wraith sovereign retains all the base creature's special qualities that do not require corporeal contact with another creature and gains those described here.

Daylight Vulnerability (Ex)

A dread wraith sovereign is not powerless in natural daylight and does not flee from it like a normal wraith does, but it does take a –4 penalty on all attack rolls, checks, and saves when in natural sunlight (but not within the radius of a daylight spell).

Immunity to Cold (Ex)

Dread wraith sovereigns are immune to cold damage.

Lifesense (Su)

The dread wraith sovereign can locate living creatures within 60 feet, just as if it possessed the blindsight ability. It also senses the strength of their life forces automatically, as if it had cast deathwatch (caster level equals dread wraith sovereign's character level).

Spell Resistance (Su)

A dread wraith sovereign has spell resistance equal to 12 plus its character level unless the base creature has better spell resistance.

Channel Resistance (Ex)

A dread wraith sovereign has channel resistance +4.

Abilities: Dex +20, Int +6, Wis +8, Cha +14. As an incorporeal creature, a dread wraith sovereign lacks a Strength score, and as an undead creature, it has no Constitution score.

Feats: A dread wraith sovereign gains Improved Initiative as a bonus feat if it does not already have it.

Environment: Any.

Organization: Solitary, pair, gang (3–5), or court (2–5 plus 2–5 dread wraiths and 6–12 wraiths).

Treasure: None. Dread wraith sovereigns cannot use equipment.

Using the Dread Wraith Sovereign Template

The dread wraith sovereign template is fairly straightforward, but the high ability score adjustments might give some GMs pause. This portion of the template is designed to make the dread wraith sovereign at least as powerful as a standard dread wraith. These ability score adjustments give the dread wraith sovereign an excellent chance to hit foes, a very high AC, and special attacks with high save DCs. While these adjustments should work out fine for a creature with a relatively high Challenge Rating and high Hit Dice, they can make for dangerously unpredictable combats when applied to weaker creatures.

Consider a dread wraith sovereign kobold. It has laughably few hit points, but an AC of 38 makes it difficult for a 3rd-level character to hit even with the benefit of a true strike spell. At the same time, however, a single magic missile that penetrates its spell resistance ends the encounter with this CR 3 monster.

You can solve the problem by not applying the template to low-HD monsters or by decreasing the ability score adjustments.