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Trailgaunt

Legends warn of trailgaunts—the twitching, rotting corpses of seasoned travelers who became lost on their journeys and died of starvation, thirst, or exposure to the elements. These troubled souls, the tales say, rise at the next sunset as tormented undead, doomed to forever search for the road they lost in life. Always wandering, the trailgaunt treads the ground over and over until its legs wear down to bloodied stumps. Even then, it staggers on, groaning in constant pain. Consumed with agony and a hatred for travelers of all kinds, they prey on those who—like they once did—stray from their path.

Lacking feet, a trailgaunt is slow but largely impervious to obstacles in its path, shambling at an equal pace through boggy mires, thick brambles, and desert sands. Yet, these horrors come to a halt at the edge of any well-maintained road, which are the only barriers to their endless wanderings, since they can't willingly tread upon the roads that betrayed them.

Because so much of Varisian culture centers around travel, trailgaunts often turn up in their legends. Most depictions of trailgaunts include Varisian clothing, tattoos, or jewelry, but these undead arise around the world, each bearing the trappings of the cultures they lost. Further north, along the Crown of the World, trailgaunts wail amid howling winds, shivering as they shamble through the snow. Along Garund's Golden Road, trailgaunts are common sights in the trackless desert wastes, where even an experienced traveler can easily lose their way. To the south, travelers lost in the Mwangi Expanse who starve before being eaten themselves become damp, mossy trailgaunts.

While most travelers who hear a trailgaunt's wail know to run fast and far, some adventurers intentionally seek out these undead. Few trailgaunts perish with no belongings at all, and many poor souls doomed to this fate were once merchants or adventurers who carried substantial wealth and magical treasure—some of which still might be on their person. It never occurs to these treasure seekers that in their pursuit of such riches they might become trailgaunts themselves.

Recall Knowledge - Undead (Religion): DC 18

TrailgauntCreature 3

NEMediumUndead
Source Bestiary 3 pg. 274
Perception +10; darkvision, tremorsense (imprecise) 60 feet
Languages Common
Skills Athletics +9, Stealth +8, Survival +10
Str +4, Dex +1, Con +3, Int +1, Wis +3, Cha -1
AC 19; Fort +12, Ref +6, Will +8
HP 45 (negative healing); Immunities death effects, disease, paralyzed, poison, unconscious
Pained Muttering (auditory, aura, emotion, fear) 10 feet. The trailgaunt's constant mutters and groans of pain are deeply unsettling. Each creature that starts its turn in the aura must succeed at a DC 20 Fortitude save or become frightened 1 (frightened 2 on a critical failure). The creature is then temporarily immune for 1 minute.
Speed 10 feet, burrow 10 feet
Melee Single ActionSingle Action jaws +12 [+7/+2], Damage 1d8+6 piercing plus share painCreate Spawn (divine, necromancy) Any humanoid creature killed by a trailgaunt and left unburied out of sight of a well-maintained road rises as a free-willed trailgaunt at the next sunset.Dromophobia The trailgaunt can't willingly walk on or across a well-maintained road, though it can Burrow under one. If forced onto the surface of such a road, the trailgaunt is fleeing until it's no longer on the road.Share Pain A living creature hit by a trailgaunt's jaws Strike must succeed at a DC 20 Fortitude save or suffer intense pain in its legs and feet, taking a –10-foot status penalty to its Speeds, or a –20-foot status penalty on a critical failure.Sure Stride A trailgaunt ignores the effects of difficult terrain and greater difficult terrain.

Sidebar - Additional Lore Keep to the Roads

Folk tales and nursery rhymes about trailgaunts abound among villagers, homesteaders, and Varisian caravans, leading to a common phrase of farewell among those communities. “Keep to the roads,” they warn, “and we'll see you again.”