MDMC #40 : Create a Dragon
This encounter is designed for low level characters. If the characters are more powerful, you may want to give Batagurame more ghost abilities. If the party does not have access to the Tongues spell or any language spoken by the ghost, swap out elven for a language known by at least one character. He is supposed to be so old that common didn't exist but feel free to ignore that. The stats are given as encountered in the Material Plane. Some sense motive ranks have been swapped for knowledge. The CR has been left as calculated for the ghost template. It should probably be decreased due to losing many capabilities of the base creature and given only one power that cannot directly harm anyone but as he is not meant to be fought it isn't that important.
Batagurame's location can be above ground or in a large cavern. A large dragon skull fossil will be partially exposed in the ground. Upon approaching the skull, a huge ghostly turtle with a dragon head appears. A ghost cloud of superheated steam is breathed on the party before they can react. Since the breath weapon doesn't affect corporeal creatures, the party won't be harmed. He will then pause to consider the situation. If no one tries to talk to him, he will bite the nearest foe. Again Batagurame's attack pass harmlessly through the opponent. He will attempt to talk to the characters after this fails or when they initiate conversation.
The dragon turtle doesn't know how long he has been dead. While looking for treasure he became trapped. If encountered underground, the chamber once connected with a large body of water but a cave in cut off that route. If encountered above ground, a tsunami pushed him inland or an earthquake suddenly sealed off the body of water he was exploring. Batagurame just wanted to return home but he could not find a way. Hunger and thirst interrupted his thoughts of home but nothing would prevent his return to the life giving water. His will pushed away his physical needs so strongly that he didn't even notice when he hungered no more.
Once alerted to his present ghostly form, he will shrink into depression. He begins talking softly of the watery home he will never again touch. If the player characters don't offer he will ask them to bring his fossilized skull back to a large body of water. The rest of his remains have succumbed to the ravages of time and are no more. The fossil is too large to fit in most containers but could be strapped to a medium sized character's back. If they refuse to help him he will offer the location of his hoard as payment when the task is complete. If they still refuse he will use frightful moan to drive the characters away. If they destroy the fossilized skull, Batagurame will become enraged and use frightful moan. Without being tied to the skull, he will continue to haunt the party until they discover a means to bring him to rest.
Batagurame was once a proud and tough dragon turtle. Being trapped on land and unable to leave the world after his death has taken a toll on him. As long as he is distracted and not thinking of his undead nature, he will radiate strength. Driven to collect a large hoard, he knows several ancient tales of powerful magic items and will share them if the characters befriend him. He will take an interest in treasure possessed by the party especially magical treasure. When reminded of his present condition, depression consumes him. When the party stops to eat, he will talk about the savory taste of various fish that he will never enjoy again. If the party willing offered to help him, he will try to use frightful moan to help them but his unfamiliarity with the power may cause him to misjudge where to center the effect. Hired characters will not be helped unless it seems likely them will fail or something could destroy the fossil.
Once brought to a large body of water, Batagurame will be able to rest and no longer remain a ghost. He will disclose information to find his hoard regardless of whether he had offered that to the party. Unfortunately a long time has passed so directions are based on historical locations and may need to be researched before travelling to the hoard. The hoard was underwater in the past although that may not be the case now. Invariably it was discovered by other creatures long ago and stripped of it's wealth or is currently a lair for something else. However, tales of the party's deeds may earn them some respect in the eyes of other dragons.
Dragon Turtle Ghost
Huge Undead (Incorporeal)
HD: 12d12 (83hp)
Speed: fly 30 ft. (perfect)
AC: 11 (-2 size, +3 deflection) Touch 11, Flat footed 11
Full Attack: None
Face/Reach: 15 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Frightful moan, manifestation
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., immunity to fire, sleep, and paralysis, incorporeal traits, low-light vision, scent, rejuvenation, +4 turn resistance, undead traits
Saves:Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +9
Abilities: Str 27, Dex 10, Con -, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 16
Skills: Diplomacy +5, Hide +15, Intimidate +18, Knowledge (Ancient Treasures) +3, Listen +24, Search +24, Sense Motive +12, Spot +24, Survival +16 (+18 following tracks), Swim +21
Feats: Blind-Fight, Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Power Attack, Snatch
Languages: Aquan, Draconic, Elven
Frightful Moan (Su): Batagurame can emit a frightful moan as a standard action. All living creatures within a 30-foot spread must succeed on a Will save (DC 22) or become panicked for 2d4 rounds. This is a sonic necromantic mind-affecting fear effect. A creature that successfully saves against the moan cannot be affected by Batagurame's moan for 24 hours.
Manifestation (Su): Batagurame dwells on the Ethereal Plane and, as an ethereal creature, he cannot affect or be affected by anything in the material world. When a ghost manifests, it partly enters the Material Plane and becomes visible but incorporeal on the Material Plane. A manifested ghost can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons, or spells, with a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source. A manifested ghost can pass through solid objects at will, and its own attacks pass through armor. A manifested ghost always moves silently. A manifested ghost remains partially on the Ethereal Plane, where is it not incorporeal. A manifested ghost can be attacked by opponents on either the Material Plane or the Ethereal Plane. The ghost's incorporeality helps protect it from foes on the Material Plane, but not from foes on the Ethereal Plane.
Batagurame has two home planes, the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane. He is not considered extraplanar when on either of these planes.
Rejuvenation (Su): Batagurame's spirit cannot be destroyed. When "destroyed" he will restore himself in 2d4 days.
(I'm considering his "lair" to be his current location not where his old lair was.)
4. The base creature of the entry is of the dragon type, but templates or other effects added to the base creature have changed its type.
5. The dragon cannot or will not leave its lair. (Stays with the fossilized skull.)
7. The dragon might recruit the adventuring party for a task described in the entry.
10. The hoard consists exclusively of nothing (i.e., the dragon has no possessions).
11. The lair's location is in an environment other than that listed on the dragon's monster entry.
Gribbit doesn't understand his place in the world. No other toads have the black scales found on him. His strength and cunning is unmatched. While others of his kind feed on insects, he has occasionally fed on a rat or a large animal killed by his acid breath. He began listening to travellers trying to learn what makes him so different. Having learned their tongue, he heard many tales of the world at large. Finally a bard told a tale that obviously explained his situation. In the story a prince was cursed into a toad. Only the kiss of a princess could restore the prince. The toad in the story didn't breath acid but no matter he was probably just conserving the attack.
Unfortunately Gribbit wasn't sure what a princess looked like. While observing a couple in a group of travellers, he overheard one call the other his princess. His acid breath spewed out into the band. Those who survived quickly fled for there lives. When Shryd, the young woman called princess, tried to run, Gribbit bit her. Terrified she froze. Lacking the ability the ability to speak, he tried to draw picture of a kiss but she didn't understand. Growing tried he lead her into the swamp.
Shryd married young to a merchant's son. She travelled with him and his father to see the great city. Since being captured she has thought of crushing the toad or running from it but she is too far into the swamp. She could never survive on her own here. Broken she sits and repeats a nursery rhyme all day long slowly rocking back and forth.
Gribbit doesn't leave her alone due to the dangers of the swamp. Unfortunately he has failed all attempts to communicate with her. He is vary curious but not particularly smart. If the party has a toad familiar, he may try to communicate with them. Otherwise he will watch and learn. He will try to catch all of them in an acid breath before disappearing into the swamp. He will try to lure them into deep water sections or towards more dangerous creatures.
Half-Black Dragon Toad
HD: 1/4d10+1 (3hp)
Speed: 5 ft.
AC: 19 (+4 size, +4 natural armor, +1 Dex) Touch 15, Flat footed 18
Attack: Bite +3 melee (1d2-1)
Full Attack: Bite +3 melee (1d2-1), 2 Claws -2 melee (1-1)
Face/Reach: 1 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath weapon (60 ft. Line of Acid 6D8, DC 11, 1/day)
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., immunity to acid, sleep, and paralysis, low-light vision
Saves:Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +2
Abilities: Str 9, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 3, Wis 14, Cha 6
Skills: Knowledge(History) +1, Hide +21, Listen +4, Spot +4
CR: 3 1/10
1. A princess figures prominently in the entry.
5. The dragon cannot or will not leave its lair. (Fears Shryd running away or getting killed.)
10. The hoard consists exclusively of nothing (i.e., the dragon has no possessions).