T.A. Saunders ©2010 v1.0


Shifting terror

Shifting Terror, by T.A. Saunders

Creature Type: Undead/Abomination

Diet: Carnivore

Activity: Any, but prefers darkness

Disposition: Hostile

Socialization: Solitary

Special Talents: Incomprehensible Presence, Absorption, blunt weapons score ½ damage.

Special Attacks: Bile Spew, Engulfing.

Locality: Miroa, Shazaar (Am-Orah’s under-city), Sovereignty of Anthalas (D`Mir)

Longevity: Eternal until destroyed.

Class Types: 50% of Shifting Terrors will be Necromancers, 25% will be Paragon Reavers and 25% will be Paragon Clerics.


The Shifting Terror can only be described as a protoplasmic mass of animated muscle and flesh, without discernible form or shape; it is a conglomerate of quivering, shifting meat that consists of the fused bits of several different humanoids and other unfortunate creatures, combining their trapped souls and their bodies to create an undead abomination. Eyes emerge from this mass in random places, looking around with broken madness, while hands, tentacles and legs lurch the disgusting mass in whatever direction it wishes to go. Putrid bile, blood and pus constantly bubble, churn and ooze from this aberration of unlife, giving it a sickening glistening to its all ready unbearable appearance.


One of three types of undead created by the infamous Skaryn the Exiled, the Shifting Terror was developed quite on accident, as a failed attempt at a creating the Shambling Horror. Skaryn had a particular ghoulish affection for this particular abomination and decided to continue creating them to act as eaters of carrion in the more destitute portions of his dungeons and his laboratory. While essentially the cleaners of Skaryn’s lair, the Shifting Terror is, like the Shambling Horror, in a constant state of agony and conflict, thanks to the collection of souls trapped in the same, warped and broken form. For this reason, they despise all life and will confront and attack any living creature that cannot control or destroy it. They cannot be reasoned with, bartered with or turned by a priest, though they can be destroyed by one by a priest of sufficient (read: great) power. Their entire existence is one based on ending any life it encounters, as such only the creator of such a creature can approach it, though it will not attack other undead, unless it is attacked.

Simply seeing the Shifting Terror is tantamount to madness; the Incomprehensible Presence they project has a 50% chance to drive any mortal creature temporarily insane. The sort of insanity differs from person to person, but there have been recorded incidents of people going into a frenzied panic to get away from the Shifting Horror, uncontrollable berserk attack of the Terror and those who are simply stricken dumb with the impossible terror before them. This is not the extent of what might happen but certainly a good indicator when exposed to the Shifting Terror’s presence. Even if one survives such an encounter, it is likely that some part of their mind will be forever tormented by the sight of such a creature.

If a Shifting Terror manages to close within 10 feet of a particular target, it may use a Bile Spew attack, that sprays everything within a 10′ x 20′ cone from its apparent front. As one might imagine, contact with this putrid bile, further tainted by black art, causes grievous acidic burns and will burn through anything less than boromandite in one minute. Greater metals and enchanted fabrics are given greater durability against this attack, but prolonged exposure will ruin nearly any sort of armor or clothing, even if sorcerously enchanted. Bare flesh is immediately burned away and eyes will be burned out of their sockets if struck by the Bile Spew.

When the Shifting Terror can get within physical striking distance, it may flail and grapple its adversaries with hands, tentacles and mouths that are located in random places on the abomination. If one hit is scored, the Shifting Terror will latch on and immediately begin dragging the victim into itself, so more tentacles, arms and mouths can affix themselves. Once grappled in this manner, it will attempt an Engulfing of the victim. The Shifting Terror will begin saturating the engulfed individual with its bile and attempt to melt them into a meaty paste that it can then lap up with the tongues within its many mouths. If left unchecked, an unarmored person could be completely engulfed within five minutes. Armored individuals will take more time, depending on how well armored they are. Those slain in this manner cannot be revived, reanimated or resurrected; the body is completely eaten by the Shifting Terror and the soul is drawn into the creature to add to the unholy union of tortured souls within it.

Physically fighting this creature is also something of a challenge. Because it has no defined bones to break and does not feel pain, blunt weapons only do half their normal damage against the Shifting Terror. Even magical blunt weapons or those enchanted with Bane damage versus undead will discover that the weapon itself will simply be not as effective as it normally would be, though sorcerous and Bane damage still finds itself working at full potency.

Like the Shambling Horror, the Shifting Terror can heal itself through Absorption, which involves it devouring the carrion of recently slain enemies and adding their physical mass to its own. This is a slower process but can restore a severely wounded Shifting Terror to its full strength, if allowed enough time to consume a whole body, which could take roughly five to ten minutes. Anybody slain, then absorbed in this manner is forever a part of the unliving abomination and can never be resurrected, short of direct divine intervention. This is the main method in which the creature feeds itself and is not particular about what it eats while crawling and slithering around, looking for carrion. As such, there is a greater than normal chance that one of these creatures could have treasure, magical or otherwise within it; it is also possible that one or more of its hands could be holding a weapon of either mundane or magical craft.