Ghost brutes are the spectral remnants of creatures without the sense of self needed to become normal ghosts. They drift aimlessly, haunting the places where they died and moaning in endless misery.
Ghost brutes are often associated with a true ghost. A ghost brute might be the mount of a betrayed paladin, the beloved pet of a child tragically killed, the scorched oak of a ghostly dryad, or a murdered druid's animal companion. Generally, laying the associated being to rest also puts an end to the ghost brute.
Sometimes, however, a bizarre circumstance might produce a ghost brute without a companion. For example, a forest suddenly obliterated by a fell magical attack might remain as a ghostly grove populated by lingering spirits not even completely aware of their own destruction.
Creating a Ghost Brute
"Ghost brute" is an acquired template that can be added to any animal, magical beast, or plant with a Charisma score below 8 (hereafter referred to as the base creature). The creature follows the rules for ghosts except as noted here.
Size and Type: The creature's type changes to undead (augmented animal, magical beast, or plant), and it gains the incorporeal and augmented subtypes. Do nor recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.
Hit Dice: Increase to d12.
Speed: A ghost brute has a fly speed of 30 feet (unless the base creature has a higher fly speed), with perfect maneuverability.
AC: Natural armor bonus is the same as the base creature's but applies only to ethereal encounters. When a ghost brute manifests (see below), its natural armor bonus is +0, but as an incorporeal creature, it gains a deflection bonus equal to its Charisma modifier or +1, whichever is higher.
Attacks: A ghost brute retains all the attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do nor affect nonethereal creatures.
Damage: Against ethereal creatures, a ghost brute uses the base creatures damage ratings. Against nonethereal creatures, a ghost brute usually cannot deal physical damage at all but can use its special attacks, if any, when it manifests (see below).
Special Attacks: A ghost brute retains all the special attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do not affect nonethereal creatures. The ghost brute also gains one special attack selected from the list below. Saves have a DC of 10 + 1/2 ghost brute's HD + ghost brute's Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.
Bloodcurdling Howl (Su): The mournful howling of a ghost brute chills the living to the core. The creature can howl as a standard action. All living creatures within a 30-foot radius must make a successful Will save or become frightened for 2d4 rounds; those more than 30 feet away but within 300 feet must make a Will save or become shaken for 2d4 rounds. This is a sonic, necromantic, mind-affecting fear effect. A creature that successfully saves against the bloodcurdling howl cannot be affected by the same ghost brute's howl for 24 hours.
Corrupting Touch (Su): A ghost brute that hits a living target with irs corrupting touch attack deals 1d4 points of damage. Against ethereal opponents, it adds its Strength modifier to attack rolls and damage rolls. Against material opponents, it adds its Dexterity modifier to attack rolls only.
Loom (Su): A ghost brute can make itself more intimidating by exaggerating its natural size. It can appear up to two sizes larger than normal for a total of 10 minutes each day (the time need not be continuous). This enlargement is illusory; the creature's attack bonus and Armor Class remain unchanged. However, a ghost brute gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Bluff and Intimidate checks while enlarged.
Slavering Doom (Su): A ghost brute's jaws drip with a glowing ectoplasmic drool that exists in both ethereal and corporeal form. The ectoplasm dissipates on contact with nonliving material, but if it touches a living being, that opponent must make a successful Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of negative energy damage. The drool can be delivered through a bite attack against an ethereal opponent, or a melee touch attack against an opponent on the Material Plane. Alternatively, the drool can simply be sprayed onto a nearby creature as a ranged touch attack.
Special Qualities: A ghost brute gains the three special qualities described below.
Manifestation (Su): As ethereal creatures, ghost brutes cannot affect or be affected by anything in the material world. When they manifest, ghost brutes become visible but remain incorporeal. However, a manifested ghost brute can strike with a touch attack, if it has one, or a ghost touch weapon (if it can wield a weapon). A manifested ghost brute remains on the Ethereal Plane but can be attacked by opponents on both the Material and Ethereal planes.
Rejuvenation (Su): In most cases, it is difficult to destroy a ghost brute through simple combat. The "destroyed" spirit often restores itself in 2d4 days. A ghost brute that would otherwise be destroyed returns to its old haunts with a successful level check (1d20 + ghost brute's HD) against DC 16. As a rule, the only definitive way to get rid of a ghost brute is to determine the reason for its existence and set right whatever prevents it from resting in peace. The exact means varies with each spirit and may require a good deal of research.
Unlike other more intelligent spirits, a ghost brute is usually tied more closely to other beings. Often it is the companion of a ghostly being, but it may also become fascinated with or enraged by a living creature that intrudes on its domain. It always returns to the object of its attachment rather than to a set location.
Turn Resistance (Ex): A ghost brute has +2 turn resistance.
Abilities: Same as the base creature's, except that the ghost brute has no Constitution score, and its Charisma score increases by 8. It has no Strength score for the purpose of fighting creatures on the Material Plane, but its Strength score is the same as the base creature's against ethereal opponents.
Skills: A ghost brute has a +8 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Search, and Spot checks.
Organization: Solitary or with associated ghost, or same as the base creature.
Challenge Rating: Base creature's CR +2.
Alignment: Usually neutral.
Level Adjustment: +5