Deathshead (CR 7)

Small Undead
Alignment: Usually chaotic evil
Initiative: +5; Senses: darkvision 60 ft., scent, Spot +11, and listen +11
Languages: Common, Giant, and up to three other languages spoken by its creator


AC: 19 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +7 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 17
Hit Dice: 10d12 (65 hp); DR: 10/cold iron or good
Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +9
Speed: 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
Space: 5 ft./5 ft.
Base Attack +5; Grapple +15
Attack: Hair lash +11 melee
Full Attack: 6 hair lashes +11 melee and bite +8 melee
Damage: Hair lashes 1d6+4, bite 1d4+2
Special Attacks/Actions: Dominating contact, improved grab
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 13, Con -, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 18
Special Qualities: freedom of movement, SR 15, undead traits
Feats: Improved Initiative; Lightning Reflexes; Multiattack; Weapon Focus (hair lash)
Skills: Bluff +12, Climb +12, Diplomacy +12, Hide +5, Intimidate +12, Jump +2, Knowledge (all) +17, Ride +7, Sense Motive +11, Spot +11, Swim +12, and listen +11
Advancement: 11-20 HD (Medium)
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organization: Solitary
Treasure: Standard

Source: Tome of Magic

An object that resembles a severed giant's head tangled in its own hair unexpectedly flips upside down. Its long tresses twine together to form ropy tentacles, which it uses to lift itself off the ground. Grinning through rotted lips, it rises on these hair tentacles to the height of a man.

Binder don't like top admit it, but deathheads were probably first created by a binder necromancer who had an affinity for the vestige called Shax. Now, the creatures come into being through the depraved actions of evil spellcasters and a ritual that involves the drowning of a giant. Initially, the spellcasters who used this ritual were also giants, but over the years, wicked members of other races have learned the practice and come to understand its value.

Deathsheads are valuable to necromancers because they possess great knowledge about all subjects and can act as oracles. In fact, a deathshead shows great ability with all qualities associated with the head. For example, each possesses keen perception and a silver tongue in addition to great knowledge. While these qualities make a deathshead invaluable, its powerful mind can also endanger a careless creator, since it can dominate other creatures simply by touching them. A deathshead often climbs onto a dominated foe and rides it as though it were a mount.

Deathsheads most often serve powerful spellcasters, but some escape control or survive after their masters' deaths. When not under anyone's control, a deathshead usually seeks to dominate either the most powerful creature in the area or the leader of a powerful group of creatures. Although most living creatures find undead disturbing, many communities (even those of ostensibly good-aligned creatures) willingly submit to the rule of a deathshead to benefit from its great knowledge. Once in power, a deathshead does everything it can to maintain and increase that power, including disguising its influence.

A deathshead looks like the partially rotted head of a giant with long hair matted into several ropelike tendrils. The type of giant varies, but the hairless stone giants are never turned into deathsheads. By the same logic, female deathsheads are slightly more common than males, since male giants often keep their hair shorter than their female counterparts. The size of a deathshead's body depends on the type of giant head used to create it, but most range between 2 and 3 feet in diameter. A deathshead typically weighs about 100 pounds and stands approximately 4 feet tall on its hair tentacles.

A deathshead speaks Common, Giant, and up to three other languages spoken by its creator.