Converting monsters from Tales From The Infinite Staircase


Land Urchin Homebrew

Here's what I'd use for a Land Urchin:

Land Urchin
Small Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 3d10+3 (19 hp)
Initiative: +1 (Dex)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
AC: 18 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +6 natural)
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/–1
Attack: Slam +4 melee (1d6 plus poison) or spine +6 ranged (1d2 plus poison)
Full Attack: Slam +4 melee (1d6 plus poison) or 6 spines +6 ranged (1d2 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison, shoot spines, spines
Special Qualities: Amphibious, blind, clairvoyance, blindsight 60 ft.
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +1
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 11, Cha 6
Skills: Hide +11
Feats: Endurance, Weapon Focus (spine)
Climate: Any temperate or warm land
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: See below
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 4-6 HD (Small); 7-9 HD (Medium)

A ball of spines tottering about on five slender legs.

Land urchins are terrestrial cousins to the greater urchins, creatures with limited intelligence that are somehow related to mundane sea urchins. Land urchins possess a limited form of clairvoyance, which assists them in the search for food.

Land urchins often form pearls inside their body. There is a 75% chance they contain 2d6 gems that can be sold for a total price equal to their treasure value (600 gp for a CR 2 urchin).

A typical land urchin is about 3 feet across. Most of its volume is spines so they only weigh about 50 pounds.

Land urchins are shy scavengers who normally only attack in self-defense, generally when a threatening creature approaches within 10 feet. Unlike normal sea urchins, land urchins can fire their spines at opponents. Despite being technically blind, land urchins display an uncanny degree of accuracy with their spines. In close quarters, they may simply roll into opponents.

Blind (Ex): Land urchins are immune to gaze attacks, visual effects, illusions, and other attack forms that rely on sight.

Clairvoyance (Su): At will, a land urchin can make use of the clairaudience/clairvoyance spell as cast by a sorcerer with a level equal to its hit dice. It cannot see or hear, but it can sense whatever is taking place around its habitat (i.e. the area where it normally rests as well as its foraging ground nearby). Land urchins use this ability to detect food and danger.

Poison (Ex): A land urchin injects its poison with a successful slam or spine attack; Fortitude save (DC 12); initial damage paralyzed for 1 round; secondary damage paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.

Shoot Spines (Ex): A land urchin can fire its spines as a ranged attack with a 80 ft. range increment. It can shoot up to six spines in a round. Land urchins have hundreds of spines available as ammunition and regrow lost spines within a day.

Spines (Ex): Unarmed combat with a land urchin is dangerous. An opponent who attacks the urchin with a natural weapon will automatically be struck by its spines, taking 1d6 points of piercing damage and exposing themselves to its poison.

Originally appeared in Monster Manual II (1983).
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Land Urchin Conversion Notes
This is basically the Red Greater Urchin from the Creature Catalog with a few tweaks.

I added the Blind SQ (since these Urchins have no eyes and the CC Urchin's Clairvoyance writeup specifies this does not include sight) and Amphibious ( the Greater Urchin ought to be Amphibious, as it hunts on land and water, and I'd think the Land Urchin is likely to retain this trait, being essentially the same animal with spindly legs).

Giving it a spiny defense based on the Porcupine Fish seemed an obvious ability. You'd expect punching a ball of spines to hurt!

I lowered the Strength to 10 to prevent the spines having a +1 to damage, since I wanted to keep the damage-per-spine low like the original monster.

Speaking of the original monster, this conversion is based on the 2nd edition AD&D version (since that's what the Infinite Staircase uses). The 1st edition AD&D Land Urchin has some differences, which I guess we'll consider if (when) we get around to a collaborative conversion of this critter.

Oh, and I corrected/updated the Infinite Staircase Monsters Lists on the first page of this thread to include this beastie.


Here is the order of conversions I think might be the most beneficial for me:

Kyton Chainless
Kyton Lesser
3 Shrunken creatures (don't really need conversions since I can just apply the stat adjustments we come up with for the Kamerel Mage)
Phlegamor's Servant
Nightmare Rat
The "Nupperibo," Maturing Baatorian
Taker of Life Water Creation
Single Portion of the Dark Dweller
Dark Dweller (not that I need this, but is it worth creating if we're doing the "single portion"?)
Master Slaiyiths
Fly Swarm
Land Urchin (you said this is a standard monster, where is the 3.5 source for it?)
Silver Golem
Foo Lion (mentioned as a random encounter in Tale 6. The Foo Creature template appears in Tome of Horrors I Revised, but the Foo Lion is not actually written out)

Here's a couple more Infinite Staircase Homebrew Monsters I've statted up while we're waiting for Freyar to find some more spare time.

I haven't bothered adding background info partly to save time and partly because they're not necessary for actually running the adventure.


Phlegamor's Servant Homebrew

Original Stats
PHLEGAMORS SERVANTS (GITHYANKI OR HUMAN CORPSES): AC 5 (chain mail and shield); MV 9; HD 4+4; hp 17 each; THAC0 15; Dmg 1d4 (bare hand) or d8 (long sword); SD Immune to mind-influencing spells, poison, paralyzation; SZ M (6’ tall); ML fearless (20); Int as Phlegamor—genius (17); AL CN; XP 420 each.

Note: These creatures are not undead, and thus cannot, be affected by other undead banes. Armor worn and weapons used can vary if the DM wishes. All wear stone rings worth 10 gp.

Homebrew Conversion

Phlegamor's Servant
Medium Construct
Hit Dice: 4d10+20 (42 hp)
Initiative: +6
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares, 30 ft. base)
Armor Class: 19 (+2 Dex, +5 masterwork chainmail, +2 masterwork heavy steel shield), touch 12, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+7
Attack: Longsword +7 melee (1d8+3/19–20) or slam +7 melee (1d4+3)
Full Attack: Longsword +7 melee (1d8+3/19–20) or slam +7 melee (1d4+3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities: Construct traits, outsider construct, single mind, stone ring, telepathy 100 ft.
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +8
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 14, Con –, Int 18* (–), Wis 18* (11), Cha 18* (1)
* The servant uses Phlegamor’s mental ability scores instead of its own
Skills: Climb +5*, Concentration +7, Escape Artist +4*, Hide +4*, Intimidate +11, Jump +5*, Knowledge (arcane) +11, Knowledge (the planes) +11, Listen +11, Move Silently +4*, Search +11, Spot +11, Survival +11 (+13 when tracking, +13 on other planes), Use Rope +2 (+4 with bindings)
* includes -5 armour check penalty
Feats: Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Power Attack
Environment: Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo (Phlegamor’s Maze in the Temple of Change)
Organization: Solitary, pair, or group (3–18)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: Items only (weapons and armour, plus the stone ring)
Alignment: Chaotic neutral
Advancement: 5–8 HD (Medium); 9–15 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment:

A humanoid warrior armed for battle. A closer look reveals the pallid skin and lifeless eyes of a corpse.


Phlegamor can speak through his servants using
Common, the language of slaadi, or his ability to communicate telepathically.


Outsider Construct (Ex): A phlegamor’s servant has a Base Attack Bonus equal to its Hit Dice and all good saves.

Single Mind (Ex): Phlegamor’s consciousness spreads throughout his servants. If one phlegamor’s servant is aware of a particular danger, they all are. If one in a group is not flat-footed, none of them are. No servant in a group is considered flanked unless all of them are.

A Phlegamor’s servant is technically mindless (Int –, Wis 11, Cha 1) so has no skills or feats of its own, but it uses Phlegamor’s skill ranks, feats and mental ability scores when animated by Phlegamor’s consciousness. However, it is subject to the normal prerequisites of the feats (i.e. it could only use Multiattack if it has three or more natural attacks, and its Great Cleave requires a BAB of +4). Furthermore, the servant has a maximum rank in a skill equal to its Hit Dice +3 (or one-half that number if it’s a cross-class skill).

Phlegamor was a death slaad before being discorporated, and this conversion assumes he had the standard characteristics of the death slaad in Monster Manual.

Stone Ring (Ex): A stone ring carved with mystical runes appears on the left hand of a Phlegamor's servant when it animates. If the corpse is missing a left hand, a stone band appears around the nearest convenient bodypart (e.g. a bracelet on the left wrist, anklet on a left forefoot, et cetera). The ring is made out of semi-precious stone and worth 10 gp.

A Phlegamor's servant loses its animation and collapses if the stone ring is removed or destroyed (hardness 8, hit points 10). An opponent can remove the ring with a Sleight of Hand check against a DC of 15 plus the servant's Hit Dice plus the servant's Dexterity modifier (DC 21 for a standard servant). The servant will immediately reanimate if its stone ring is replaced, either by the ring it lost or the stone ring from another Phlegamor's servant.

Originally appeared in Tales From the Infinite Staircase (1998) in Tale 4: In Disarray.
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Conversion Notes
For the stats I took a Vampire Spawn's stats, transubstantiated it into a Construct, and heavily tweaked the abilities.

Phlegamor's servants are corpses turned into constructs by the power of a disembodied Death Slaad. A "mystical stone ring" appears on their left hand when they animate, leading me to fancy incorporating this ring into the writeup as a special weakness.

The original stats did not describe the ring as having any special abilities, so you might want to cut that SQ out.


Nightmare Rat Homebrew

Original Stats
Like in the previous two dreams, a small hole in the wall can be found if the dreamer searches. This hole, about a foot in diameter, is near one corner of the room. Unlike the other holes, however, this one presents a danger, for a giant rat—particularly nasty and demonic in appearance—lives in the hole and lunges at anyone coming near. If the character puts her hand into the hole, the rat automatically bites the PC. If she merely comes close to the hole but remains near, the rat leaps out for a single attack (automatic surprise) and then retreats back into the hole.

The bite of this rat carries with a terrible sort of “mental poison.” If the victim fails a saving throw vs. poison after suffering a bite from the rat, the dreamer is suddenly presented with an image from one of her own personal nightmares. This should be treated as a phantasmal killer spell. If the dreamer dies as a result of the nightmare, she awakens in a cold sweat. The shock of dying, even in her dream, shakes the character to the point that any die roll she makes for the next day is modified against her favor by –1. If the character successfully disbelieves in the nightmare (as per phantasmal killer), she avoids the effect but then awakens.

NIGHTMARE RAT: AC 7; MV 15; HD 1; hp 8; THAC0 19; #AT 1; Dmg 1d3; SA Poisonous bite; SZ T (2’ long); ML unsteady (7); Int semi (2); AL NE; XP 35.

Homebrew Conversion

Nightmare Rat
Small Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 1d10+2 (7 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares), climb 20 ft.
Armor Class: 15 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/–4
Attack: Bite +5 melee (1d4–1 plus nightmare venom)
Full Attack: Bite +5 melee (1d4–1 plus nightmare venom)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Nightmare venom
Special Qualities: Dire, low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +4
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 3, Wis 15, Cha 18
Skills: Climb +11, Hide +8, Intimidate +8, Listen +5, Move Silently +4, Spot +5, Swim +11
Feats: Alertness, Weapon Finesse
Climate/Terrain: Astral Plane
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 1
Treasure: None
Alignment: Usually neutral evil
Advancement: 2-3 HD (Small); 4-6 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:



An average-sized nightmare rat is over 2 feet long and weighs about 10 pounds, but they can grow up to 4 feet long and more than 50 pounds.


Dire (Ex): A nightmare rat has all good saves.

Nightmare Venom (Ex): Any creature bitten by a nightmare rat is infected with a horrifying “mental poison”. If the victim succeeds at a DC 16 Fortitude save they shrug off the poison and are merely shaken for 1 round. If they fail the Fort check, the victim starts suffering horrible hallucinations drawn from their own personal nightmares. These images are so terrifying the victim must succeed at a DC 16 Will save or be convinced that they’ve been killed by phantasmal horrors, which results in them falling unconscious for 1d6 rounds. The experience is so traumatic that a creature that believed it was “killed” by nightmare venom suffers a –1 morale penalty to all their actions for the next 24 hours.

So convinced is the victim that they have died, that if they were using astral projection or a similar spirit-travel ability, their astral body will return to the physical body.

Nightmare Venom is a mind-affecting fear effect. It is not a poison, so countermeasures against poison are useless against it. A remove fear spell grants a +4 morale bonus on saves against nightmare venom and will suppress the morale penalty its trauma causes, but only for the duration of the remove fear.

The save DCs are Charisma-based and include a +2 racial bonus.

Skills: Nightmare rats have a +4 racial bonus on Intimidate checks and a +8 racial bonus on Swim checks. Nightmare rats have a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

Nightmare rats use their Dexterity modifier for Climb and Swim checks.

Originally appeared in Tales From the Infinite Staircase (1998) in Tale 6: The Dream Well.


Conversion Notes
The stats employ a combination of the Dire Rat and Cranium Rat, with the Charisma boosted so the save DC matches the base save DC of a phantasmal killer spell (spell level 4 plus a +2 for the 14 minimum ability score to cast such a spell).

I considered lowering the Charisma or removing the racial bonus to make the save easier, but it’s a relatively fragile monster so won’t get many bites in before an average 4th level character kills it, and I wanted to give it some chance of getting an effective hit in.


Maturing Baatorian Homebrew

Original Stats
As the PCs enter, the creature turns toward them. After a few moments, it pleads with them to let it go, but in a tongue foreign to all ears. If they do not respond, it begins to alter its shape, proceeding to the next stage of its development. Suddenly, the pale, bloated stomach of the disgusting creature bursts open, and dozens of tiny, pinkish tentacles shoot out, attempting to grab the chains which confine it, the PCs, and anything else in the room.

Each round, the baatorian has a 10% chance to burst its bonds. Until it does so, it attacks everyone in the room. Once it’s free. It attempts to flee the citadel. This actually works to the advantage of the PCs, because all of the kytons’ attentions will be drawn to the escaping “nupperibo” rather than to them for at least the next 10 to 15 minutes (whether the kytons capture the creature, if there’s no PC intervention, is left up to the DM).

THE “NUPPERIBO, MATURING BAATORIAN: AC 6 (10 while in chains); MV 12 (0 while in chains); HD 6; hp 35; THAC0 15; #AT up to 10; Dmg 1d6 (×10); SA Touch drains 1 point of Constitution (recovered later at a rate of 1 per 10 minutes of rest); SD immune to cold, fire, and electricity, regenerate 1 hit point a round; SW Recover from wounds inflicted from blessed or holy weapons at half normal rate; MR 15%; SZ M (5’ tall); ML unsteady (5); Int low (7); AL LE; XP 2,000.

Homebrew Conversion

Baatorian, Maturing
Medium Outsider (Baatorian, Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful)
Hit Dice: 6d8+15 (42 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+4 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+9
Attack: Claw +9 melee (1d6+3 plus life-sapping) or tentacle +9 melee (1d6+1 plus life-sapping) or halberd +10 melee (1d10+4/×3)
Full Attack: 2 claws +9 melee (1d6+3 plus life-sapping) and 8 tentacles +9 melee (1d6+1 plus life-sapping); or halberd +10 melee (1d10+4/×3) and 8 tentacles +9 melee (1d6+1 plus life-sapping)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. (10 ft. with tentacles)
Special Attacks: Fear aura, life-sapping, tentacles
Special Qualities: Blindsight 30 ft., immunities (cold, fire, electricity, mind-affecting effects, poison), resist acid 10, outsider traits, regeneration 3, spell resistance 13
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +5
Abilities: Str 17, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 7, Wis 10, Cha 11
Skills: Balance +5, Escape Artist +11, Climb +11, Hide +9, Jump +11, Listen +5, Spot +5, Swim +11
Feats: Improved Multiattack, Multiattack, Toughness , Weapon Focus (halberd)
Environment: Nine Hells of Baator
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always lawful evil
Advancement: ?
Level Adjustment:

A grotesque being whose flesh quivers and flows with no stable shape. It vaguely resembling an obese humanoid with a nest of pinkish tentacles squirming from where its stomach would be. The creature has four blobby appendages that could be arms and legs. A lump on top apparently serves as a head, for the thing is peering about itself using two eyeless pits above the mewling hole it has instead of a mouth.


Baatorians speak their own language, Baator.


Fear Aura (Su): At the end of each of a maturing baatorian’s turns, creatures within 30 feet of it must succeed on a DC 13 Will saving throw or be panicked for 5 rounds. The save is Charisma-based.

Life-Sapping (Su): If a maturing baatorian hits an opponent with a tentacle or claw attack it imposes a –1 penalty to the target's Constitution. This penalty is cumulative, and if it reduces an opponent's Constitution to 0 the opponent dies and the maturing baatorian gains 5 temporary hit points.

The Constitution penalty from Life-Sapping wears off at a rate of 1 point per hour (or 1 point per 10 minutes if the character gets complete bed rest), and the spells lesser restoration and restoration can be used to remove the penalty as well as if it were ability damage.

Regeneration (Ex): Maturing baatorians take normal damage from good-aligned weapons, and spells or effects with the good descriptor. Any remains of a baatorian can regenerate, even burnt ashes or disintegrated dust, so only good-aligned damage can destroy one permanently.

See in Darkness (Su): Baatorians can see perfectly in darkness of any kind, even that created by a deeper darkness spell.

Tentacles (Ex): A maturing baatorian can attack with up to 8 tentacles as a standard action or as part of a full attack. Each tentacle is a secondary natural weapon that does 1d6 damage if it hits and has a reach of 10 ft.

Skills: A maturing baatorian's amorphousness and a coating of pinkish slime grants it a +8 racial bonus to Escape Artist checks.

Originally appeared in Tales From the Infinite Staircase (1998) in Tale 8: A Devil’s Dream


Conversion Notes
For this conversion I started out with the Nupperibo in Fiendish Codex II and improved its stats somewhat.

What took me the longest was deciding what the original's ten attacks represented. I eventually decided to give it 2 claw attacks plus 8 tentacles instead of 10 tentacles, mainly because regular Nupperibos have claw attacks, so it seemed appropriate to let the "Maturing" version keep them.

Speaking of the "Maturing" bit, I don't like the module's concept that all Nupperibos are these "Batoorians" instead of being Baatezu. For a start, why do their 2E and 3E monster entries all say they're Baatezu?

I'd prefer to say that a "Larval" Baatorian happen to look identical to a Nupperibo but are of a different subtype. Maybe it's only when they start maturing that it's possible to tell the difference? Since Baatorians appear to be extraordinarily rare there could be thousands - or millions - of Baatezu Nupperibo for every Baatorian Nupperibo.

The 3E version of the Nupperibo only has fast healing, while earlier versions had full regeneration that could only be overcome by holy damage. Giving the Baatorian regeneration like the original Nupperibo plus an all-tentacles standard attack like a hydra's all-heads bite makes them significantly threats in melee, which seemed necessary to make them a worthwhile threat to the Kytons of Jangling Hiter (or the PCs).

Oh, and in case you're wondering; I gave them the racial bonus to Escape Artist checks to explain how they escape the chains. Assuming the "Nupperibo's" chains are as hard to escape from as a set of manacles, they'll need a DC 30 Escape Artist check or a DC 26 Strength check. The adventure says it has a 10% chance of escaping its bonds per round, which means a +11 Escape Artist modifier or a +5 Strength modifier assuming those DCs apply. I didn't fancy giving it Strength 20-21, leaving a racial bonus to Escape Artist as my preferred solution.


Foo Lion (mentioned as a random encounter in Tale 6. The Foo Creature template appears in Tome of Horrors I Revised, but the Foo Lion is not actually written out)

The official 3E stats for a Foo Lion are given in Oriental Adventures, which says to use a Dire Lion with the Celestial Creature template.

The Tome of Horrors Foo Template applied to a SRD Lion results in a monster much closer to the original AD&D version though.

If you've got Tome of Horrors why not stat it up yourself.

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