Sidebar: Deathcapper

Normally, I try to post sidebars the same day, or a few days after I publish the original post. In this case, though, I apparently forgot that I hadn’t posted a sidebar for the deathcapper, and so I’m posting this one a little late.

I started running an epic campaign for my group as a follow up to the Age of Worms campaign. In the story, a demilich, named Hadovas, is trying to resurrect Kyuss. In order to prevent this from happening, the players must find Hadovas in his fortress on the Astral Plane, and destroy him.

As I was constructing this adventure, one of the things I was struggling with was trying to design a truly epic combat that involved destroying Hadovas’s phylactery. Eventually, I stumbled onto the idea of creating an undead creature from Hadovas’s former body, and hence, the idea for the deathcapper was unborn!

I have to say, trying to come up with an appropriate mechanic for the decapitation power was a real pain. I had all these great ideas about allowing the creature to use the Intelligence and/or spells loaded of any creature whose head it possessed. However, after several attempts at trying to make the mechanics both comprehensive and accessible, I decided to drop this idea and go with the simpler mechanic I’ve employed here.

Another mechanic of the decapitation power that I agonized over was the decapitation itself. For example, I toyed with the idea of allowing the deathcapper to decapitate a creature immediately after the creature had been paralyzed. However, I was afraid that might be too buff. On the other hand, I wasn’t sure if it would survive long enough to deliver the killing blow if I made it a standard action.

Ultimately, I decided to go the route of caution, and although I wasn’t successful in severing any of my players’ characters’ heads, I still feel like the monster worked pretty well in combat. That said, I’m still ambivalent about the deathcapper’s decapitation power.

I’d love to hear someone else’s experience with using this monster. Let me know how it goes.

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