Dodkong minions

Cleon

Legend
Cairn Zombie (Undead Stone Giant)
Huge undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 175 (13d12 + 91)
Speed 30 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
25 (+7)​
8 (–1)​
24 (+7)​
3 (–4)​
10 (+0)​
3 (–4)​

Saving Throws CON +10
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages understands Giant but can't speak
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3

Stone Camouflage. The cairn has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in rocky terrain.

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.

Actions

Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d8 + 7) bludgeoning damage.

Rock (Recharge 4–6). Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 29 (4d10 + 7) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 18 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.


Description

Cairn zombies are undead stone giants most commonly created by necromancers or cairn wights. The cairns' flesh is craggy, hard and mummified, not rotten like a common zombie; they show few signs of decay except their eyes are lifeless white orbs. Slow and lumbering, these undead giants move at a slower pace than their living kin, but swing greatclubs with even greater strength. While cairn zombies have lost the giant ability to catch rocks, their vestigial minds remember how to throw them around half the time.

(Original monster designed by Casimir Liber and Cleon on the Creature Catalog Monster Homebrews forum.)
 
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Cleon

Legend
Fair - alternate view is that stone giants are so innately rock-catchy and throwy to leave them in (though less dextrous - maybe at disadvantage to catch(?))

The original Dragon Magazine #254 version of the Cairn couldn't catch rocks, so I'd like at least one of our Cairns to reflect that.

Might consider giving it Rock as a ranged weapon, if only so it doesn't get slaughtered before closing to melee range.

That is a way more damaging attack than a Greatclub or Slam though, which makes the Cairn Zombie a lot worse in melee than at range.

Guess you could give the thrown Rocks a recharge 4-6 so is only remembers to use them half the time?

Either that or reduce the damage, but that doesn't feel right.

Anyhow, getting back to the Stone Giant Zombie (SGZ).

Armor Class, Hit Points and Speed are all fine, although the Hit Points might get some tweaking (see below).

Would consider AC 15 instead since the standard Zombie (AC 8) is two lower than a bog standard human (AC 10) and a Stone Giant is AC 17 in 5E, but AC 14 is fine.

Let's talk Ability Scores.

A regular Zombie is STR 13, DEX 6, CON 16, INT 3, WIS 6, CHA 5.
A Commoner is STR 10, DEX 10, CON 10, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 10.

The current SGZ is STR 23, DEX 8, CON 22, INT 3, WIS 10, CHA 7.
A Stone Giant with STR 23, DEX 15, CON 20, INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 9.

So a Zombie is somewhat stronger (STR +2), much less coordinated (DEX –4), far tougher (CON +6) and has very low mental stats (INT –8, WIS –4, CHA –6).

I'm not bothered by the difference in Strength: A 2E Cairn has the same Strength as a Stone Giant, so it's a homage!

That said, if but you wanted to increase it to STR 25 I likely wouldn't object.

Its Constitution is only 2 points better rather than 6, which is quite a difference.

I'd fancy giving it a bit higher CON and fewer HD for the same HP, such as:

Hit Points 174 (12d12 + 96) [CON 26 (+8)]
Hit Points 175 (13d12 + 91) [CON 24 (+7)]

Of those, the CON 24 version appeals.

For Mental Stats, why are its WIS and CHA higher than a regular Zombie? The Charisma in particular is weird since Stone Giants have lower CHA than a standard humanoid.

I'm OK with WIS 10 but I'd lower the CHA to 5 or lower, like 3 or 1.

The DEX and WIS in its Saving Throws don't meet my favour. Zombies are not noted for their reflexes or insight.

Damage Resistances and Condition Immunities are very basic, but I guess will do.

Why does Languages include Common? Regular Stone Giants only speak Giant!

The Challenge of 10 seems extraordinarily high. I ran those numbers through the CR Calculator and it came to CR 7 (including Undead Fortitude and three Save Proficiencies).

Even if I put a tick in Resistances (despite it only being resistant to poison) it was CR 9, no 10.
 


Cleon

Legend
ok all suggestions taken on board - republished here

I would think Cairns in general would retain a stone giant's Stone Camouflage trait.

They still have skin that looks like rock, and the Dragon #254 version blended in with rocky surroundings like its living counterpart could. Maybe even better, since it does not need to breathe.

Giving the Cairn Zombie it would make little difference. It's too stupid and clumsy to use it effectively, and has no proficiency in Stealth.

With STR (+6) and a +3 Proficiency Bonus it has +9 to hit, not +10. Unfortunately that makes it Challenge 6 (2,300 XP) according to the CR Calculator rather than 7 (2,900 XP).

If you prefer Challenge 7, just add +2 to STR for 25 (+7), which gives it +10 to hit and +7 damage on its Greatclub and Rock. A common Zombie is stronger than a commoner, so it's not that much of a stretch.

Oh, and Undead Fortitude is a Trait, not a Reaction.
 

Cleon

Legend
 This power can penetrate most barriers, including any thickness of rock or dirt, but is blocked by 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of food.

What the hell? "3 feet of food"?

How the heck did I miss that typo. It should be three feet of wood like a detect magic spell.

Better correct that post.
 


Cleon

Legend
So wight ready to be (re) published once we decide on detect life wording/parameters

Here's the even more complicated version I threatened…
Sense Life #2. The cairn can sense living organisms within 300 feet of it or that it is aware of through its Territorial Blight (see below). The cairn can use an action to focus Sense Life on a living creature it detects, which must make a DC ## Wisdom saving throw. If the target fails, the cairn knows where the creature is located, as well as the creature's type (beast, humanoid, et cetera) and degree of sentience (mindless, animal intelligence, or fully sapient). If the target succeeds, then for the next 24 hours the targeted creature gets a chilling impression they're being watched every time the cairn focuses Sense Life upon them; the target can then make a Wisdom (Insight) check or Charisma (Deception) check against a Wisdom (Perception) check by the cairn; if this check succeeds the cairn's Sense Life will not locate that creature for 1 minute, or until the cairn locates them with another sense.​
 This power can penetrate most barriers, including any thickness of rock or dirt, but is blocked by 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood.​
Territorial Blight. The cairn wight radiates subtle necrotic energy that slowly seeps into earth and rock, contaminating the land within 1,350 (1,000 + 1d6×100) feet of its lair, or roughly a quarter of a mile. The size of this blighted territory may vary with the number and power of undead stone giants in the lair. Any living creature that enters the blighted territory while the cairn wight is home in its lair must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against the cairn's passive Perception (DC ##). If the creature fails, the cairn is alerted to the creature's presence and can use Sense Life ability to locate the intruder.​
 Any animal that comes within 300 feet of the cairn wight, or enters its blighted territory, will instinctively sense the presence of undeath and wish to leave. Forcing an animal to stay in the area or attack the cairn will requires a successful DC ## Animal Handling check. Special animal allies, such as a ranger's beast companion, will interact with the cairn without requiring Animal Handling checks, although they may express some discomfort about it.​
 The cairn's necrotic blight can slowly wither and kill ordinary plants but does not damage creatures, including plant creatures. It kills grass in a matter of days or weeks and shrubs in a matter of months, but may take several years to destroy a particularly hardy tree.​

Was musing about a still more complicated version where the cairn can "double focus" Life Sense once it locates a creature to evaluate the strength of the target's life force (i.e. approximate its Challenge Rating).
 

Cleon

Legend
ok cairn zombie now here

Ahem

If you prefer Challenge 7, just add +2 to STR for 25 (+7), which gives it +10 to hit and +7 damage on its Greatclub and Rock. A common Zombie is stronger than a commoner, so it's not that much of a stretch.

STR (+7) makes the Greatclub 20 (3d8 + 7) and the Rock 29 (4d10 + 7).

The Description could do with a bit of polishing.

How's this?

Cairn zombies are undead stone giants most commonly created by necromancers or cairn wights. The cairns' flesh is craggy, hard and mummified, not rotten like a common zombie; they show few signs of decay except their eyes are lifeless white orbs. Slow and lumbering, these undead giants move at a slower pace than their living kin, but swing greatclubs with even greater strength. While cairn zombies have lost the giant ability to catch rocks, their vestigial minds remember how to throw them around half the time.​

EDIT: Oh, forgot one thing.

I'm thinking all cairns would have Stony Camouflage, since they're all undead stone giants, so we might as well just use "cairn" for all of them, i.e.:

Stone Camouflage. The cairn has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in rocky terrain.
 
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