Pathfinder Conversions: Pack Alpha Quickplate

Continuing on with some simple conversions of the “quick” templates at the back of the Monsternomicons (by Privateer Press, which were awesome, and I wish they’d either made more or updated them for Pathfinder).

Next up, the alpha leader. Pretty standard staple template, it’s a good way to make a creature a semi-unique boss or leader monster. Unlike our previous template, this one beefs up its creature quite a bit, hence why I said boss/leader. Also, it gives it a variant of leadership, which is pretty rad.

Pack Alpha

The pack alpha is the dominant leader in a pack, pride, flock, pod, or other group of hunting creatures. This template is usually applied only to animals and magical beasts, though it can be applied in special cases to primitive humanoids or similar savage races. The pack alpha is often, but not always, male; it gained its dominant position through a combination of strength, size, and smarts.
Hit Dice: Double the creature’s Constitution modifier to hp.
Speed: Add 10 ft. to creature’s speed.
AC: If the creature has a natural AC bonus, that bonus is increased by half.
Saves: +2 to all saves
Abilities: Add +5 to Strength, +2 to Dexterity, and +2 to Charisma.
Skills: The creature gains enough bonus skills points in Intimidate to give it maximum possible ranks in Intimidate.
Feats: Improved Initiative, Leadership*
Special Qualities: *Leadership: The pack alpha uses its HD as its level for determining its Leadership score. It may apply its Intimidate ranks + Strength modifier as a racial modifier when leading creatures of its own base type. Penalties for things such as cruelty do not apply to a pack alpha’s score. (Note that in many cases, the cohort/follower relationship is very rudimentary.)
Restrictions: Can only be applied to creatures that hunt in groups (e.g., more than solitary or pair), and have some basic forms of communication.
CR: Increase by 2.

Sample creature: Chimera Pack Alpha. I wanted a magical beast, and Chimeras came to mind; it’s got that wild animal vibe from its leonine features, and I could see an alpha Chimera leading a pack of chimeras across the savannah. Running down dinosaurs and giant sloths, blasting herds of antelope with their breath weapons. That kind of thing.

Its leadership score would be 9, plus any modifiers depending on how legendary/powerful this creature is; I’d rank it at 10, giving it a 7th-level cohort (conveniently, another Chimera) and five 1st-level followers (Chimeras reduced to 1-HD as cubs/pups, some low-level Great Cats, another Chimera modded to be a CR5, whatever works).

Chimera Pack Alpha

CR 9

XP 6,400
CE Large magical beast
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +10

DEFENSE

AC 23, touch 10, flat-footed 22 (+1 Dex, +13 natural, –1 size)
hp 109 (9d10+60)
Fort +11, Ref +10, Will +8

OFFENSE

Speed 40 ft., fly 60 ft. (poor)
Melee bite +15 (2d6+7), bite +15 (1d8+7), gore +15 (1d8+7), 2 claws +15 (1d6+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon (usable every 1d4 rounds)

STATISTICS

Str 24, Dex 14, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 13, Cha 12
Base Atk +9; CMB +17; CMD 29 (33 vs. trip)
Feats Hover, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Leadership, Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness
Skills Fly +3, Intimidate +10, Perception +10, Stealth +5 (+9 in scrubland or brush); Racial Modifiers +2 Perception, +4 Stealth in scrubland or brush
Languages Draconic

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Breath Weapon (Su)

A chimera’s breath weapon depends on the color of its dragon head, as summarized on the table below. Regardless of its type, a chimera’s breath weapon is usable once every 1d4 rounds, deals 6d8 points of damage, and allows a DC 17 Reflex save for half damage. The save DC is Constitution-based.

To determine a chimera’s head color and breath weapon randomly, roll 1d10 and consult the table below:

  • 1-2: Black head, 40-foot line of acid
  • 3-4: Blue head, 40-foot line of lightning
  • 5-6: Green head, 20-foot cone of acid
  • 7-8: Red head, 20-foot cone of fire
  • 9-10: White head, 20-foot cone of cold

There you have it. By comparing it to the chart in the back of the Bestiary, it’s got the correct HP and AC for a CR9, though its attacks are two lower (15 instead of 17). That’s made up for by its higher damage output in my opinion; chimeras punch way above their weight. If all its attacks hit, a normal CR7 chimera hits for average damage equal to a CR9, according to the Bestiary Average Monster Stats chart; this one, assuming all hit and do exactly average damage, is closer to a CR13.

Its special ability DC is a little on the low side; it has a good-but-not-great damage output, and at that level several PCs should have Evasion anyways. Lastly, its good saves aren’t as high as they should be. It’s about on target, though with a properly spec’d party, this would be more of a CR8 in terms of challenge.


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