Cranial Encyster (CR 3)

Tiny Magical Beast (Psionic and Extraplanar)
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Initiative: +7 (+3 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative); Senses: darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, Listen +5, and Spot +5


AC: 22 (+2 size, +3 natural, +7 Dex), touch 19, flat-footed 15
Hit Dice: 1d10+6 (11 hp)
Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +1
Speed: 40 ft.
Space: 2-1/2 ft./0 ft.
Base Attack +1; Grapple -11
Attack: Touch +10 melee
Full Attack: Touch +10 melee
Damage: Touch 1d3-4
Special Attacks/Actions: Attach, death urge
Abilities: Str 3, Dex 24, Con 22, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 16
Special Qualities: disquieting
Feats: Alertness; Weapon Finesse
Skills: Hide +15, Listen +5, and Spot +5
Advancement: -
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organization: Urge (2-4)
Treasure: None

Source: Dragon #330

Combat

A cranial encyster attacks by charging up to a victim, migrating to the victim's head, and plunging its needle-tipped legs into the victim's skull. This is a touch attack and can target only Small or larger creatures that have a discernible head or skull.

Disquieting (Ex): All creatures (other than cranial encysters) within 30 feet who hear the gibbering must make a DC 13 Will save or be shaken for that encounter. If the face on the back of the encyster is that of a friend or loved one, the save DC increases to 18. Once a creature attempts a saving throw, whether it succeeds or not, it cannot be disquieted by an encyster again for one day.

Attach (Ex): If a cranial encyster hits with a touch attack, it automatically scrabbles onto the victim's head and inserts its needle-tipped legs directly into the victim's skull. An attached cranial encyster is effectively grappling its prey. The encyster loses its Dexterity bonus to AC and has an AC of 15, but holds on with great tenacity. Encysters have a +12 racial bonus on grapple checks (already figured into the Base Attack/Grapple entry above).

An attached encyster can be struck with a weapon or grappled itself. To remove an attached encyster through grappling, the opponent must achieve a pin against the creature.

Death Urge (Sp): Once successfully attached, the awful needle-tipped limbs already inserted into the victim's skull implant a death-urge impulse in the subject's unconscious if the victim fails a DC 16 Will save. Each round a cranial encyster remains attached, the victim must succeed on a new save or gain the death impulse. On the subject's next turn after being encysted with a death impulse, the subject looks for the quickest method to end its life and attempts to do so. The subject takes no other action on its turn except attempting to harm itself.

If armed, the subject attacks itself as a full-round action. The attack automatically succeeds and deals damage as a critical hit. If unarmed, the subject moves adjacent to the nearest enemy and provokes an attack of opportunity by offering its opponent an opening (which the opponent may or may not choose to take advantage of).

If the subject is unarmed and no enemy is nearby, the subject simply does nothing at all. At the Dungeon Master's option, a subject close to an immediate and lethal hazard such as a cliff or a fire might hurl itself off the cliff or into the fire instead of striking itself with a weapon.

An implanted death urge lasts for 1d4 rounds.

If an encyster is removed, the death urge is also immediately lifted. If a creature is reduced to fewer than 0 hit points or dies, the encyster disengages, looking for a new target. Its facelike effigy is now that of the just-slain victim.

Extraplanar Subtype

A subtype applied to any creature when it is on a plane other than its native plane. A creature that travels the planes can gain or lose this subtype as it goes from plane to plane. This book assumes that encounters with creatures take place on the Material Plane, and every creature whose native plane is not the Material Plane has the extraplanar subtype (but would not have when on its home plane). An extraplanar creatures usually has a home plane mentioned in its description. These home planes are taken from the Great Wheel cosmology of the D&D game (see Chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master's Guide). If your campaign uses a different cosmology, you will need to assign different home planes to extraplanar creatures.

Creatures not labeled as extraplanar are natives of the Material Plane, and they gain the extraplanar subtype if they leave the Material Plane. No creature has the extraplanar subtype when it is on a transitive plane; the transitive planes in the D&D cosmology are the Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane, and the Plane of Shadow.