Kobold Press

Monster Monday: The Slender Man

Leaves skitter along the dry path, tumbling over the exposed roots of old-growth trees. The smell of fall provides a crisp counterpoint to the cutting cold that crept into the air as the sunlight fled not too long before. A slight breeze picks up more leaves, stirring them lazily, then dies before it becomes a gust. Out of the corner of your eye, a tree shifts. Did the flow of wind cause it, or was there more to that movement than a weak breeze could explain?

The Slender Man is a living nightmare. It appears as an inhumanly tall, lanky, humanoid with disturbingly long limbs that sway in the breeze. When seen, the Slender Man stands completely still, taking on the silhouette of surrounding trees so that it can ambush its prey. The Slender Man’s flesh is jet black except for its pale, dull featureless head, which is tilted to one side as if it was regarding its subject of interest with morbid curiosity. The contrast of the Slender Man’s light head but dark body appears to be natural camouflage, since it gives the impression from a distance that it is a man in a dark suit. The Slender Man has no visible mouth or facial features, but some have claimed to hear it softly whispering to them before it attacked from the shadows.

The Slender Man Throughout History: Sightings of the Slender Man coincide with important events throughout time, such as assassinations of world leaders and major disasters caused by the actions of intelligent beings. Scholars have found references to creatures that resemble the Slender Man’s description in the historical records and artwork of dozens of civilizations. Although none know if the Slender Man had a hand in these events or was just a curious observer, the one thing scholars agree upon is that such appearances seem intentional and not random.

Stalking Its Prey: Although its motives remain unknown, the Slender Man is rumored to be a saboteur and assassin for an ancient and powerful demon prince, and it works alone. Heroes who have angered a powerful evil entity can be hunted by the Slender Man. It often choose a particular area to wait for its prey. Dilapidated buildings, ancient ruins, and dense forests make prime ambush spots. The Slender Man scouts out these location days or weeks in advance, as if it somehow knows its victim will eventually travel there.

Although rare, there have been documented cases of small cults that form around those whose minds have been touched by the Slender Man. Cult leaders claim to have been rendered unconscious by its whispers, yet are found unharmed; however, their minds never truly recover.

The Slender Man (Level 14 Solo Lurker)

Medium aberrant shadow humanoid; XP 5,000

HP 548; Bloodied 274; Initiative +19

AC 29, Fortitude 25, Reflex 27, Will 21; Perception +16

Speed 6 (forest walk), climb 6 (spider climb); Blindsight 10

Immune charm, fear, gaze effect; Resist 10 necrotic, Vulnerable 10 radiant

Saving Throws +5; Action Points 2

TRAITS

Fearsome Visage (fear) Aura 2

Enemies take a -2 penalty to saving throws while in the aura.

Combat Advantage

The Slender Man deals 2d6 extra damage against any creature granting combat advantage to it.

Shadow Skulk

If the Slender Man misses with a melee attack while hidden, it remains hidden.

STANDARD ACTIONS

[M] Lashing Branch At-Will

Attack: Melee 2 (one creature); +19 vs. AC

Hit: 1d10 + 5 damage.

[m] Branch Flurry At-Will

The Slender Man makes two lashing branch attacks. If both attacks hit the same target, the target also falls prone and is dazed (save ends).

[c] Alone in the Dark (psychic) Recharge 6

Attack: Close burst 3 (enemies in the burst); +17 vs. Will

Hit: 2d8 + 6 psychic damage, and the target is deafened (save ends).

Miss: Half damage.

Effect: The burst creates a zone that remains in place until the end of the Slender Man’s next turn. The zone blocks line of sight, squares within it are totally obscured, and creatures in the zone are blinded until they exit. The Slender Man is immune to these effects.

MOVE ACTIONS

Shadow Walk (teleportation) At-Will

When the Slender Man is hidden in a square of darkness, it can teleport up to its speed to any other square of darkness within line of sight and make a Stealth check as a free action to hide.

MINOR ACTIONS

Change Shape (polymorph) At-Will

Effect: The Slender Man alters its physical form to take on the shape of a tree of 5 to 10 feet in height until it uses change shape again or until it drops to 0 hit points. While in this form, it can squeeze through any opening that is large enough for a creature of Tiny size to squeeze through. Other creatures can make a DC 34 Insight check to discern that the form is a disguise.

[c] Whispers of Madness (fear) At-Will

Attack: Close burst 1 (one creature granting combat advantage to it); +17 vs. Will

Hit: The target is stunned (save ends).

First Failed Saving Throw: The target is unconscious instead of dazed (save ends).

Skills Stealth +20

Str 23 (+13)     Dex 26 (+15)     Wis 18 (+11)

Con 17 (+10)     Int 15 (+19)     Cha 14 (+9)

Alignment evil; Languages Common, telepathy 10

About the Author

Kevin Williams has playing D&D for 25 years and Dungeon Mastering a bi-weekly 4e Eberron game for the last 3 years. When not killing his players, Kevin is a cyber security engineer and proud father of a girl gamer. You can follow him on Twitter at @DharmaTel.

16 Replies to "Monster Monday: The Slender Man"

@dharmtatel

November 7, 2011 at 10:21am

Woot! Thanks for posting my monster! I hope Slendy gets to terrorize many parties.

–Kev

Wolfgang

November 7, 2011 at 1:56pm

Demonic shadow assassin seems like a good time to me!

Sean Holland

November 7, 2011 at 3:45pm

I totally used the Slender Man in my Legends of the Five Rings campaign! It is such a useful and creepy monster.

zaukrie

November 7, 2011 at 4:40pm

Very cool.

Idran

November 7, 2011 at 9:09pm

Wait; no offense, I’m not trying to sound accusatory, but you’re putting an adaptation of Slender Man as Product Identity? Is that okay to do? I mean, it’s an adaptation of something that I think is public domain. At least, I’m pretty sure Victor Surge (the original creator off SomethingAwful) has released it into the public domain; if not, it’s under his copyright as the creator of the character. Either way, that seems a little sketchy. It definitely seems like a good adaptation, nothing there, and I know this is just a blog post, but it still seems like something where, at the very least, Victor should be credited in the article if you’re going to be putting it under Product Identity.

Miranda

November 7, 2011 at 9:11pm

Oops! I’ve removed the tag! Thanks, Idran.

Todd the Bladesmith

November 8, 2011 at 8:46am

Oh, this is folktale in the making. As time goes on and a backstory builds I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of the slender man spoken of like the Jersey Devil, Sasquatch, Lizardman and Mothman.

I love it!

Wes Schneider

November 8, 2011 at 10:09am

Ack! Very nice! We were just talking about putting together a Slender Man homage down the line for Pathfinder… mostly while I wasn’t sleeping after watching Marble Hornets. (Though I did run into some of the chicanery Idran references, so who knows what form the final inspired work might appear as.) Very, very cool guys!

Idran

November 8, 2011 at 10:30am

@Wes: If you liked Marble Hornets, I’d suggest checking into EverymanHYBRID and TribeTwelve too. They’re both also pretty awesome Slender Man series, if with slower release schedules. :D

And that would be awesome. Maybe a whole thing inspired by other cool examples of creepypasta? Slender Man, the Rake, Candle Cove, some SCP stuff.

Alzrius

November 9, 2011 at 5:28pm

By the by, there’s a truly great fan-made book of Slender Man-related goodness for Pathfinder out there. Google “The Tome of Slenderotica” to find it.

Paramo

November 10, 2011 at 6:32am

Nice work! I think the Slender Man is seeing some play tonight. A minor stun/unconscious attack is particularly nasty.

My one major edit concerns damage, namely that I would need to increase it to affect my party. A level 14 solo lurker by the numbers I use would have Lashing Branch dealing around 3d6+12 were it not for Branch Flurry. Even still, I’d consider having each Lashing Branch deal anywhere from 2d6+7 to 3d6+6. I’d also bump Alone in the Dark to anywhere from 2d8+10 to 3d8+10 considering it’s limited by a single number recharge. Given all the riding conditions, however, you may have felt differently, but I tend for ‘Spare the PC, spoil the party’ mentality, especially since the power may just see one use in the whole encounter.

Again, love the monster and it will definitely see play.

Alhazred

November 10, 2011 at 4:38pm

Paramo, I agree. Damage is pretty low, in fact so low that the thing is really not a credible threat as a melee combatant at all. 1d10+5 is really sufficient for around level 3. For a level 14 creature you’d want average damage of around 22, so base damage around 2d10+5 would be reasonable considering the possible 2d6 bonus for CA (though I doubt this will be available often). The flurry really isn’t a consideration. Remember, this thing is a SOLO, it should have damage output on the order of 5 level 14 opponents.

I think it would be cool to add some kind of condition shedding trait, and a ‘recharge on bloodied’ for Alone in the Dark.

Good monster, basically, and the concept is of course pretty cool. Thx.

Miranda

November 10, 2011 at 5:01pm

Excellent discussion! Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

@dharmatel

November 13, 2011 at 3:37pm

Wow, thanks everyone for the awesome feedback. I am so happy this has gotten such a positive response.

Yea, this was based on the Marble Hornets version of SM. I was a huge contributor to that ARG community on the unforum.com.

Its been a while since I made this, but I knowing me, I probably used by-the-book damage calculations and compared them to other monsters of the same label and type. In hindsight, I probably used pre-Essentials monsters as examples; post-Essentials solos are much more dangerous.

But damage values are really easy to tweek on the fly in a game. The mechanics of the attacks seem to be more important to me in a design.

Also, this is the kind of monster that begs for a custom made environment. Something with lots of shadows, maybe multi level, ways to get the party split up. Slendy will try to catch you alone and in a corner and stun or knocks your ass out.

I also designed him to be a recurring villain. I like to have a high-level monster harass my players early in the campaign then show up again and again to torment them until they are high enough level to defeat him. It makes beating that solo boss monster that much more rewarding.

–Kev

El Shmeckledorfer

November 15, 2011 at 3:31pm

I like this… but, seeing as I don’t use 4E D&D can’t really use it unless someone can pathfinderize it.

Miranda

November 15, 2011 at 9:01pm

I daresay the community here has *just* been challenged to come up with a fun Pathfinder variant. ;-)

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