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Skull Bearer

Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice:15d10+45 (172 hp)
Initiative:+3 (Dex)
Speed:20 ft., fly 80 (average)
AC:26 (-1 size, +3 Dex, +14 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 23
Base Attack/Grapple:  +15/+25
Attack:Claw +21 melee (1d8+8/19-20); or tail slam +18 melee (1d12+3); or wingslap +18 melee (1d6+3 plus knockback)
Full Attack:2 claws +21 melee (1d8+8/19-20 plus rend) and tail slam +18 melee (1d12+3) and wingslap +18 melee (1d6+3 plus knockback)
Space/Reach:10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks:Knock back, rend 2d8+12, lunge, spell-like abilities, shocking touch, fear aura
Special Qualities:Scent, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves:Fort 14, Ref 12, Will 7
Abilities:Str 22, Dex 17, Con 20, Int 7, Wis 15, Cha 17
Skills:Hide +7, Jump +16*, Listen +10*, Move Silently +6, Spot +10
Feats:Cleave, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (claw), Weapon Specialization (claw)
Environment:Any Land
Organization:Solitary; Gang 2-5 (1d4+1)
Challenge Rating:  14
Alignment:Usually Neutral Evil
Advancement:16 to 45 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment:-

"Its claws! God, boys, they are fast and cruel. Scooping through the guts of men who dare approach without effort or mercy. Men died, their bodies trembling with electrical sparks from the creature's blows, their eyes melted from their faces and their innards left underfoot of that dread beast... that was the darkest horror yet to fly from the skies of the Black Hills."
    Skull Bearers are humanoid shaped creatures with a tough, black exoskeleton and a head which resembles a humanoid skull. Within the eye sockets of its skull shaped head can be seen dim blue sparks of light. Coursing up the length of their forearms, uniting behind their head, and tracing a path down their back and to the tip of their is a blue stripe. Large, bat-like wings that often span fourty feet tip-to-tip emerge behind its shoulders and from its hunched back. Skull bearers can easily be mistaken for demons by the inexperienced.
    When walking they shamble and amble with a hunched stoop which one might mistake for the gait of a wounded or exhausted creature. Presuming that these creatures are slow combatants though is a deadly error, for their claws are long, sharp, and can quickly dart out to gouge the flesh of an enemy.
    A Skull Bearer's voice is deep and gravelly, as if being painfully choked from a deep well within their chest.

A Skull Bearer approaches combat from a tactical advantage, typically invoking one or more golden ball attacks from the air before wading into melee. Skull Bearers use their fear and defile nature powers to flush out enemies from cover but also to great effect against ranged attackers that are employing bows or who are taking cover behind trees and plants. If overwhelmed it uses its wing slap to knock back dangerous enemies or drops a globe of darkness on itself and flees through the air.
    Knock back (Ex): Creature's of medium size or smaller that are struck by a Skull Bearer's lunge or wing slap must make a reflex save (DC 23) or be knocked back away from the Skull Bearer to a distance of 10 feet for every five points which the save was failed by (minimum 10 feet). Creatures land prone and suffer falling damage for how far they were knocked back.
    Rend (Ex): A Skull Bearer that strikes with both of its claw attacks can rend for an additional 2d8+12 points of damage.
    Lunge (Ex): A Skull Bearer can make a gliding lunge, using its wings to charge at an opponent from afar with a low flying attack. To initiate this attack the Skull Bearer must move a minimum of ten feet in a straight path and then glide a minimum of ten feet in a straight path. This attack has a range of 80' and can affect one or more creatures that are positioned within two adjacent 5'-squares. Opponents struck suffer wing slap damage and are knocked back (see above). Skull Bearers use this tactic to quickly close with groups of enemies and simultaneously scatter them. One might lunge at a group of fighters to then attack spell-casters positioned behind them.
    Spell-like abilities: At will - darkness, golden ball, pass without trace*, putrefy food and drink; 3/day - defile nature, suggestion. Caster level 13th; save DC 13 + spell level. *Always active unless specified.
    Shocking Touch (Su): Once per round a Skull Bearer can deliver a powerful electrical attack in tandem with any physical attack, dealing 1d8+15 points of electrical damage.
    Fear Aura (Su): At will, 60 ft. radius. Will (DC 20) negates. Creatures with 10 or more hit dice are shaken and suffer a -2 morale penalty to attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, and saving throw rolls. Creatures with fewer than 10 hit-dice are frightened. Creatures that successfully save are unaffected by the fear aura of that Skull Bearer for 24 hours.
    Skills: Skull Bearers have keen senses from the shape and material that their heads are formed from. Even the slightest sounds reverberate in its exoskeletal head, granting it a +5 racial bonus to Listen checks. Also possess powerful legs, meant for hurling their large bodies up into the air for flight, but just as effectively allowing them to make impressive jumps. Skull Bearers have a +10 racial bonus to all Jump checks.

Skull Bearers have become loners since the end of the time known as the Black Scourge. Without their Dark God and creator to guide them they live without direction, striking out at the mortal world about them in hatred.. Occasionally groups of Skull Bearers will band together for a common goal, usually some vengeful strike against mankind, such as the destruction of a village, the fouling of a water supply, or a raid upon a caravan. They do not live as a family, but more as a clan where the strongest rules by its might. Most prefer to travel at night, feeling more at home in the shadows of darkness.
    Skull Bearers are occasionally found in the company of Moredhel or other minions that once served the Dark God. Once generals of the Dark God, these are now dispersed across the world, sometimes found leading shattered factions of what was once the greatest army of evil to plague the world.

Skull Bearers cannot reproduce and do not form long term companionships with other creatures or with their own kind.
    The exoskeleton of a Skull Bearer makes gruesome but effective armor. Fashioned into full plate it offers a similar armor bonus but weighs only 35 pounds.

Sages speculate that these creatures were almost certainly created by the Dark God itself, from mutations of natural creatures or perhaps formed directly from the its evil power. Many thousands were known to have left the Abyss of Tything when the demon Ilerth was reborn as the Dark God (AC12858). Surely, no record of these creatures exist from before this time. Now they dwell in the hidden wilderness, beneath city streets, or in dark dungeons; preying and plotting against the world that separated them from their dark master.