Gray Shiver (CR 9)

Diminutive Magical Beast
Alignment: Always evil (any)
Initiative: +6 (Dex)
Languages: Common and Draconic


AC: 24 (+6 Dex, +4 size, +4 natural), touch 20, flat-footed 15
Hit Dice: 9d10 (49 hp); DR: 10/magic and bludgeoning
Fort +11, Ref +17, Will +9
Speed: 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
Space: 1 ft./0 ft.
Base Attack +9; Grapple -8
Attack: Bite +8 melee
Full Attack: Bite +8 melee
Damage: Bite 1d2-5 plus poison
Special Attacks/Actions: Bone hermitage, minion web, poison, spells
Abilities: Str 1, Dex 22, Con 11, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 211
Special Qualities: dark healing, megalomania, SR 20
Feats: Empower Spell; Enlarge Spell; Extend Spell; Maximize Spell
Skills: Hide +16, Knowledge (arcane) +13, Move Silently +16, and Spellcraft +13
Advancement: By character class
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organization: Plot (1 plus 3d18 dominated minions: commoners, warriors, and experts)
Treasure: Standard

Source: Dragon #343

Combat

Gray shivers avoid physically attacking well-armed enemies. It is far better to have its minions deceive and capture opponents and then poison them when they are bound and gagged. Every gray shiver places its skull in an out-of-the-way way place and often where there are plenty of other bones such as in a reliquary or an ossuary. Although it does not need to wear its skull at all times, it often does so for protection. In the event opponents track down its lair, the gray shiver hides among the skulls, blasting the party with spells and summoning surviving minions to its aid. If the gray shiver encounters anyone who destroyed the original lich, it recognizes them and seeks their doom.

Bone Hermitage (Ex): While hiding inside its skull, a gray shiver cannot be detected by any spells of the divination school and has partial cover. While still, its racial bonus on Hide checks increases to +30. The protection against divinations only applies when the gray shiver is in the original lich's skull that created it, but the other bonuses apply to any skull hideaway. A gray shiver can move its full speed while inside a skull.

Minion Web (Su): Gray shivers can mentally communicate with dominated minions, and can receive full sensory information from them.

Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 19, initial and secondary damage are special: victims who fail either savings throws are dominated by the gray shiver, per the spell dominate monster. Those who fail the initial save are dominated for a minute, while those who fail the second are dominated for 1 week. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Skull Dependency (Ex): Should the lich's skull ever be destroyed, the gray shiver reverts to an ordinary spider in an hour. The skull has hardness 10 and 20 hit points. While the gray shiver is inside, the skull is treated as a piece of equipment that can be sundered but cannot be disarmed.

Spells: Gray shivers cast spells as 9th-level sorcerer (regardless of the class of the lich whose skull it resides in).

Typical Sorcerer Spells Known: (6/6/6/6/4, base save DC 10 + spell level): 0 - arcane mark, detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, message, open/close, prestidigitation, read magic; 1st - magic missile, ray of enfeeblement, sleep, true strike, ventriloquism; 2nd - eagle's splendor, ghoul touch, scorching ray, touch of idiocy; 3rd - fireball, major image, summon monster III; 4th - greater invisibility, polymorph.

Dark Healing (Ex): Gray shivers are healed by any effect that normally heals undead, such as inflict spells or negative energy. They do not receive a save against such effects. Gray shivers are also healed by positive energy. Gray shivers detect as undead to any divinations but are not otherwise treated as undead; thus, they cannot be turned.

Megalomania (Ex): The lich's hubris and lust for power cannot be denied: gray shivers add their Charisma bonus on all saving throws.

Skills: Gray shivers have a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks.