King of the Monsters 3 Finalist: Soul Friend
When dinner was finished Baba Yaga stood, grabbed the bowl of wheat seeds and said, “Come my soul friends and grind my wheat!” Out of the air appeared some dead looking arms that where reaching and grabbing at where Baba Yaga stood, finally they found the bowl of wheat and it disappeared back into the air with the hands. Baba Yaga then found her bed and once again began to snore.
Vasilisa wanted to ask who those hands belonged to, the ones grabbing at the wheat but the little doll tugged at her clothes and Vasilisa knew she was not to ask that.
“Is that all”? Baba Yaga spluttered in between mouthfuls of food. Vasilisa nodded. “Good, because anyone who asks of things that happen in my house will be killed immediately.”
—The Tale of Vasilisa & The Fire of Baba Yaga’s Hut
Soul Friend CR 2
NE Tiny undead
Init +0; Senses blindsense 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +8
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 natural, +2 size)
hp 19 (3d8+6)
Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +5
Immune undead traits
Speed 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 slams +6 (1d4+2)
Special Attacks grab (medium), strangle
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3rd; concentration +4)
At will—invisibility (self only)
Str 15, Dex 11, Con —, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 13
Base Atk +2; CMB +0 (+4 grapple); CMD 12 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Flyby Attack(B), Hover, Toughness
Skills Acrobatics +6, Fly +12, Perception +8, Profession (house servant) +8, Sleight of Hand +5, Stealth +12
Languages Common (cannot speak)
SQ forbidden knowledge
Organization solitary, pair, or flock (3–6)
Forbidden Knowledge (Su) Attempts to gain specific information about soul friends (i.e. their strengths and weaknesses) with any type of Knowledge check causes all the soul friends within 200 ft. to become aware of such an effort regardless of success, though the questioner’s direction and distance remains unknown. This ability is not blocked by walls or intervening objects, but prior Knowledge checks or those made outside this range do not trigger this awareness. A successful Knowledge (religion) check provides the questioner information as per normal, but also identifies to the soul friends the creatures(s) that made such a roll, whether in their presence or encountered later so long as the roll was made within 200 ft. The successful Knowledge (religion) check also grants a soul friend +1 on all attack and damage rolls against the questioner, and for every 5 by which the Knowledge (religion) check is successful that bonus is increased by another +1. Soul friends gain none of these benefits towards its master if it is a familiar.
Strangle (Ex) An opponent grappled by the soul friends cannot speak or cast spells with verbal components.
Vanisher (Su) While invisible, hand-held and non-living objects carried by soul friends also become invisible at their choice.
Also known as witch hands, soul friends appear as pale, lifeless arms that fly through the air bereft of any body. Soul friends are rarely created by accident or tragedy, but are usually the products of deliberate necromancy. Their strength and ability to manipulate fine objects make them perfect familiars, servants, and bodyguards for spellcasters, hence their questionably innocent name. One drawback is the soul friend’s inability to speak except through sign language (though the masters of homunculi may argue this is actually an advantage). The ‘friends’ favorite tactic is to remain silent and invisible until prompted to attack or called to appear at the behest of their master. Baba Yaga is the most famous mistress of such creatures on Midgard, and is said to have three at her command. Very rarely it said ‘witch hands’ will arise on their own in the torture yards and flensing pens of the Ruby Despot to seek vengeance on the vivisectionists and golemsmiths.
Animating Soul friends: A magic-user can create a soul friend from the severed arms of any medium sized creature. The spellcaster must cast animate dead using a wedding ring worth at least 2,000 gp and cut (not just removed) from the hand a corpse, followed by the spells fly and invisibility on the arms to be animated. The creator can only create a number of Hit Dice of soul friends equal to the amount allowed by animate dead, and each soul friend count as a four HD creature. Soul friends count against the number of Hit Dice of skeletons or zombies that can be created using animate dead and vice versa.
Soul friend Familiars: Using the Improved Familiar feat, a spellcaster can gain a soul friend as a familiar. The character must be at least caster level 7th to acquire the disembodied arms. The friend is neutral evil by default.