Saturday 11 June 2016

Monster: The Deathwright

Art: Eddie Campbell


Frequency Very rare
No. Appearing 1
Armour Class 7
Move 9"
Hit Dice 8
% in lair 10%
Treasure type I
No. of attacks 1 + special
Damage/attack 2d4
Special Attacks See below
Special Defenses Undead
Magic Resistance Normal for Undead
Intelligence Low
Alignment NE
Size M
Psionic Ability nil
Psionic Attack/defense modes nil
Level VII
XP 1100+10/hp

The deathwright is the result of a failed mummification-type grab for immortality but compared to a "normal" undead mummy, the touch of the deathwright is even more sinister.

A single successful "to-hit" roll by the deathwright causes the listed damage from the impact of its unnaturally tough and strong flesh (this toughness also gives it its base AC of 7). Immediately on making such a strike, a second such roll is made and if this is successful then the creature has managed to grasp its target with both hands and the evil nature of its vitality begins to suck the life from the victim in the feared "death grip".

On each subsequent round the monster may choose to drain one level from the grasped opponent, or to let go and roll a new attack (doing 2-8 damage) against that, or another, figure.

The deathwright is turned as if it were a mummy and is immune to the things which undead are normally immune to, such as charm, cure/cause/heal etc.

The Death Grip

The hit points lost by any opponent as a result of level draining (not the normal 2d4 attack) is transferred to the deathwright, to a maximum of 64hp (the given HD is for generating the monster's state when encountered). Thus, if it drains a level from a cleric it will gain the 1 to 8hp (and CON bonus) that the cleric gained for that level; if it drains a kobold it gains 1d4 etc.

The level draining ability only works on living opponents which are native to the Inner Planes and which can be struck by +2 or lesser weapons.

The Curse of the Deathwright

Any creature which dies as a result of the level drain will return from the dead as a zombie/monster zombie within 1d10 rounds and will be automatically under the control of the deathwright.

The deathwright may turn other undead to its control in a similar way as if it were an 8th level cleric. It may also attempt to influence demons, devils, daemons, and other creatures of the lower outer planes which fit within the normal limitations of "special". It has no power over paladins of any level.

Weapon Vs Armour Rules

The deathwright's initial attack should be treated as a club and the second roll for the death grip should be treated as open hand. The monster's basic armour type is 10+3 (ie, attacks against it gain the bonuses appropriate for a target with no armour).

The thing may wear any other human armour, although this is unusual due to its intelligence and general lack of elan. If it uses anything, it is most likely to wear some magical item which has caught its eye from a victim. It will never use a shield since that would interfere with its attack method.
If it does done armour it receives an effective +2 to any armour type due to its unnaturally preserved flesh.


The deathwright appears to be a normal human with dark, weather-beaten skin and it is quite capable of blending in with human crowds, although its knowledge of languages are likely to be either unusual or antiquated as it is never encountered in its original homeland, whose gods have shunned and banished it from their sight.

Its general appearance and slightly stiff movements may give the impression of, for example, an aged farm worker or fishing folk.

Whether there is but a single deathwright which roams the world or several similar abominations is unknown but no one has ever encountered more than one

Some memory of the royalty it once was still burns inside the mind of the creature and it will occasionally take over a lair from some monster which reminds it of the opulence it once enjoyed, hence the % in lair and treasure values. Such lairs are generally in ruined palaces or lost and abandoned underground treasure vaults.

If encountered in lair, there is a 30% chance that it will be accompanied by 1d6 skeletons, the remains of zombies it has made out of some previous encountered party. Each skeleton adds a 50% chance of a single magic item of any type, which it may still be wearing if appropriate.

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