Monster: Spectral Librarian


Homebrew and House Rules


An entity that my players have encountered during the previous session, while exploring abandoned and ruined library and escorting famous (if a bit absent-minded) sage Alarion Kir:

Spectral Librarian
A ghostly shape of an old man with a large book in his left hand watches his surroundings with stern gaze.
Spectral Librarian CR 3
XP 800
LN Medium Undead (incorporeal)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., booksense; Perception +2
Defense
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+3 deflection, +1 Dex)
HP 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +6
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, incorporeal, rejuvenation
Offense
Speed fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee incorporeal touch +4 (1d4 negative energy plus fear)
Ranged spectral page +5 (1d8+4 negative energy)
Special Attacks spectral assistants; tales of doom
Statistics
Str –, Dex 12, Con –, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 16
Base Atk +3; CMB +3, CMD 14
Feats Ability Focus (Tales Of Damnation), Weapon Focus (spectral page)
Skills Fly +5, Knowledge (arcana) +9, Knowledge (geography) +9, Knowledge (history) +9, Knowledge (local) +9, Knowledge (nobility) +9, Knowledge (religion) +9
Languages Common, two others
Ecology
Environment abandoned libraries
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure none
Special Abilities

Booksense (Su): Spectral Librarian can sense presence of "his" books within 100 feet. He can always pinpoint location of creatures carrying any of the books taken from his library, even while hidden or invisible. Booksense is powerless against protections capable of fooling true seeing. Spectral Librarian can perceive creatures not carrying his books normally but ignores them unless attacked.

Fear (Su): Any creature struck with the Spectral Librarian's incorporeal touch attack has to make a Will saving throw against DC of 15 or becomes frightened for 1 round.

Librarian's Wrath (Su): Spectral Librarian may take a standard action to produce burst that pushes all adjacent creatures five feet away from him and silences them until the begining of his following turn. A successful Will saving throw against DC of 15 negates the silence. This is a sonic effect with Charisma-based saving throw DC.

Rejuvention (Su): Destroyed Spectral Librarian returns to existence within 1d10 days unless the books he was guarding are destroyed or moved to functioning library.

Spectral Assistants (Su): At the beginning of his turn Spectral Librarian can summon spectral vestiges of his assistants on adjacent squares as a free action. He can summon any number of them, with a maximum in existence at any one time equal to his HD. Spectral assistants are treated as incorporeal Undeads with AC 12 and 1 hit point capable of moving up to 20 feet per round. Spectral assistant adjacent to living creature carrying on of the librarian's books makes an incorporeal touch attack with a +1 bonus – upon successful hit assistant discorporates trying to possess the target (Will save against DC of 11 negates, saving throw may be repeated each turn). Possessed creature is staggered and dominated into returning the book on its rightful place. This is a mind-affecting Necromancy effect.

Tales Of Doom (Su): Once per turn, as a swift action, Spectral Librarian reads a random passage from the tome wielded in the off-hand and a spectral page flies unerringly towards one sentient living creature within 30 feet. Target of this ability is affected with random condition, determined by the tale being read.
1 – Tale Of Dread: Target is shaken.
2 – Tale Of Plague: Target is sickened.
3 – Tale Of Damnation: Target is staggered.
4 – Tale Of Darkness: Target is blinded as long as the tale is in effect.
5 – Tale Of Betrayal: Target performs attacks of opportunity against his allies as if they were foes.
6 – Tale Of Decay: Target suffers 1d8 points of negative energy damage per turn.
A Will saving throw with DC of 17 might be made at the beginning of each of the victim's turns to end the effect. Tales Of Doom are language-dependent mind-affecting Enchantment effects and their saving throw DC is Charisma-based.

Spectral Librarians are restless spirits of those who obsessively devoted their lives to books – and died violently when they beloved books were threatened or thrown into chaos. Their obsession is all that remains of their personality – they are driven to protect their books from everyone and everything and keep them ordered according to their personal, often esoteric or confusing system, sometimes twisted and corrupted by their madness. Yet, as incorporeal beings they are incapable of affecting material world most of the time driving them deeper into their insanity when they are unable to correct slightest deviations from their beloved patterns.

There are some differences between the original version they faced and the one presented here.


I really like this. It might need to be CR 4, but that's just my nature to err on the side of caution. I always enjoy seeing non-evil, quirky undead. Thanks for sharing.


It's hard to judge CR value of nonstandard abilities like Spectral Assistants and Tales Of Doom (BTW: while writing it here I made an error and gave the Librarian Ability Focus (Tales Of Damnation) instead of Ability Focus (Tales Of Doom), as you might guess the name of the ability changed a few times before settling on name of the ability and names of particular tales).
Those are abilities with value seriously changing upon circmstances - especially Assistants - mostly harmless in themselves but capable of removing PCs temporarily from fight without harm to possessed, unless some other enemy is present.

My 2nd level group composed of Paladin, Polearm Fighter, absent Barbarian, Ranger (who spend most of the fight retuning the book he took back to its shelf), Bard, Rogue and Witch managed to destroy one after long (they had one magic weapon, two scrolls of magic weapon found in the library, three Lay On Hands uses remaining and Witch's Healing Touch that could be used on the Librarian once) but generally not life threatening fight - it would be much quicker and efficient if they would use both scrolls earlier: first landed on Ranger's weapon - and he got possessed in the following round and the second one was used just before the end of fight on the Paladin's greatsword. Until then her main role was soaking the assistants with her +6 Will bonus.

Their effective APL would be somewhere above 3 but less than 4 (+1 for six/seven characters, +0.5 for high ability scores - 25 point buy).

Also
I missed the note stating that spectral page is +5 ranged touch attack with 30 feet range.


Why am I picturing the opening of Ghostbusters?


Spyder25 wrote:
Why am I picturing the opening of Ghostbusters?

I hadn't thought about Ghostbusters - but now when you mentioned it... Yes, it could be similar spirit.

This entity was created because my players were visiting abandoned library - in the cRPG Pools Of Radiance upon which I base my camapaign there were Spectre waiting to attack the party if they took any books - and that would be total overkill against 2nd level characters so I had to invent something more managable for them. And thus the Spectral Librarian was born, er, died.


This looks interesting, but I was surprised that it didn't get a Silence ability as well.


Drejk wrote:

An entity that my players have encountered during the previous session, while exploring abandoned and ruined library and escorting famous (if a bit absent-minded) sage Alarion Kir:

Spectral Librarian
...

Let me begin by saying I really like the concept and I think you did a job fleshing out, pardon the pun, the Spectral Librarian.

Now, that said time to get out the magnifying glass and start looking for nits to pick.

It's essentially a ghost librarian. While not just go ahead and give it channel resistance +4 and fly maneuverability of perfect. Racial modifiers of +8 to stealth and perception. Same with Rejuvenation, ghosts are 2d4 days to be restored why bother changing it to 1d10. As Sean K. Reynolds said, "things should be the same, or they should be different."

Generally, only Knowledge(arcane) and Knowledge(religion) are class skills for undead. So, you should add, at the least, that all Knowledge skills are class skills for a spectral librarian or adjust the skills appropriately.

Along the same lines as "things should be the same or different", rewrite booksense so that it functions like the spell locate object, that can be used only to find books from the library.

I'm not a big fan of the knock-back effect of Librarian's Wraith. It just seems that to two effects knock-back and silence are counter-intuitive. I would just give the librarian the ability to use silence.

I like the idea of being able to force someone to return a book to the shelf. Instead of summoning a minion to do this allow the librarian to an ability to use suggestion to cause a target to return a book to its proper place in the library.

The one ability that I least like from a mechanics standpoint (I do like it from the fluff aspect) is Tales of Doom. I generally am against any ability that has a random effect. Also, the indeterminate length is generally a bad idea as well.

You might want to add some ability to mage hand or telekinesis so that he could return a book to the shelf himself.

Just some ideas because I really do see a potentially interesting encounters with the librarian.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I love the lore and idea, but HP 30 incorporeal monster is kinda nasty at CR 3...


Some call me Tim wrote:
It's essentially a ghost librarian. While not just go ahead and give it channel resistance +4 and fly maneuverability of perfect. Racial modifiers of +8 to stealth and perception. Same with Rejuvenation, ghosts are 2d4 days to be restored why bother changing it to 1d10.

I more thought of it as less dangerous form fo spectre or wraith than the ghost, with the sole exception of Rejuvenation (which I actualy picked thinking of Liches - thats why it is 1d10 days - I didn't remembered that ghosts have different rejuvenation timing). I took its flight from Wraith (but limited to speed of 30 feet) and only after reading your comment I noticed that both Ghost and Spectre have perfect manueverability. I will adjust it so it will match Ghost: 30feet with perfect maneuverability. Rejuvenation time I will probably cut much shorter, to something like 1d4 days anyway or even 1 day. Initially I thought about 1d10 hours in fact. If you like explanation why: apparanetly Spectral Librarians are more focusd on their self-appointed task of guarding the library.

Quote:
Generally, only Knowledge(arcane) and Knowledge(religion) are class skills for undead. So, you should add, at the least, that all Knowledge skills are class skills for a spectral librarian or adjust the skills appropriately.

Yes, I was writing it down at 3 o'clok and carelessly copied the total skill bonus to all Knowledges instead of calculating it separately.

Quote:
Along the same lines as "things should be the same or different", rewrite booksense so that it functions like the spell locate object, that can be used only to find books from the library.

It isn't meant to be locate object - I meant it as a blindsense that works with books and creatures that carry them. I should write description of this ability differently.

Quote:
I'm not a big fan of the knock-back effect of Librarian's Wraith. It just seems that to two effects knock-back and silence are counter-intuitive. I would just give the librarian the ability to use silence.

Librarian's Wrath will probably face more tweaking. Still, I don't want to limit it to silence. Knockback was intended to add more tactical aspect to the battle in the corridor and hall where the encounter took place.

Quote:
I like the idea of being able to force someone to return a book to the shelf. Instead of summoning a minion to do this allow the librarian to an ability to use suggestion to cause a target to return a book to its proper place in the library.

I admit that I like possessions. I might change the way it work to mimic suggestion mechanically but it will remain Necromantic possession with visible effect of being possesed by ghostly assistant. Also, it won't be taking standard action like regular spell-like ability would.

Quote:
The one ability that I least like from a mechanics standpoint (I do like it from the fluff aspect) is Tales of Doom. I generally am against any ability that has a random effect. Also, the indeterminate length is generally a bad idea as well.

This is a mostly a matter of personal taste - I like random effects from time to time, finding rod of wonder and wild magic tables much too short.

Quote:
You might want to add some ability to mage hand or telekinesis so that he could return a book to the shelf himself.

I thought about it and rejected it in the early phase of designing the librarian - I intended the spirit to be incapable of doing so in any other way than possessing the offenders and using their bodies.

Quote:
Just some ideas because I really do see a potentially interesting encounters with the librarian.

Well, my party already meet him and I will probably not use it again, at least not within that campaign but I wanted to share the idea.

Dark Archive

no silience SLA?

Shhhhh

silence


Gorbacz wrote:
I love the lore and idea, but HP 30 incorporeal monster is kinda nasty at CR 3...

I should tone down its ranged damage, like I did with melee damage earlier. It is not meant to kill the party but force them to get rid of the books. When they leave all the books he won't bother them any longer. At least until they try to take them away once again.


Name Violation wrote:

no silience SLA?

Shhhhh

silence

Actually it looked more like:

Librarian screams: Silence!
<Party gets knocked back by the scream and those who failed their save are dazed for 1 round>

Librarian's Wrath worked differently when I ran that session.


Drejk wrote:
I more thought of it as less dangerous form fo spectre or wraith than the ghost[.]

Interesting, because it just leaped off the page at me, so to speak, as an NPC expert sage with the ghost template, with a nice dash of specific flavoring.

Drejk wrote:
Rejuvenation time I will probably cut much shorter, to something like 1d4 days anyway or even 1 day. Initially I thought about 1d10 hours in fact. If you like explanation why: apparanetly Spectral Librarians are more focusd on their self-appointed task of guarding the library.

You could do it similar to a vampire where the ghost is forced to return to the library to reform, which accelerates the rejuvenation.

Drejk wrote:

Quote:

Just some ideas because I really do see a potentially interesting encounters with the librarian.

Well, my party already meet him and I will probably not use it again, at least not within that campaign but I wanted to share the idea.

I was thinking of a more general, anyone who uses this creature will have something other than 'oh look another undead to kill' fight. I'm surprised that your party isn't going to encounter him again. To me the best aspect of this creature is that they can't kill it and that it can be used as a ghostly NPC rather just a monster.

If they need his help or a book they have to trick him or cajole him into helping. Perhaps he wants to rest and requires them to take the books to some great library or some thief has made off with a book and he need their help in returning it. (Perhaps add the ability to scry on a book for this purpose.)

I also potential for ramping the creature up to handle higher level parties. In short a see a lot of potential for such a creature. Thanks for sharing!


I like this. Very flavorful. Seems to draw some inspiration from the ghost abilities in the Bestiary without being a repeat of them.


Some call me Tim wrote:
You could do it similar to a vampire where the ghost is forced to return to the library to reform, which accelerates the rejuvenation.

Originally I wanted this entity to be incapable of leaving its library. Maybe when I make a Venegeful Librarian Book Retriever in the future that will actively pursue stolen (or late!) books. He will probably get ability proposed by you ;)

Quote:
I also potential for ramping the creature up to handle higher level parties. In short a see a lot of potential for such a creature. Thanks for sharing!

The eventual scaling of the creature is one of the reasons behind not making Spectral Assistants mere suggestion but possession - up to one spectral assistant active per HD means a lot of possession going around with higher HD. Still it needs some more work.

Brambleman wrote:
I like this. Very flavorful.

Thank you. It was my intention to make Spectral Librarian flavorful and I am glad that you see it as such.

Quote:
Seems to draw some inspiration from the ghost abilities in the Bestiary without being a repeat of them.

Partialy yes. My primary inspiration were Salient Abilities introduced in Ravenloft that were used to customize horror monsters - vampires, liches, ghosts and ancient dead - and turn them into unique creatures instead of predictable serial production monsters. I think that Salient Abilities were inspiration for 3rd edition ghost abilities as well so I received inspiration from Salient Abilities directly and indirectly through ghost abilities.


I t just occured to me. If you could somehow turn the haunt of the librarian into an active library, by either checking out a book properly, making a donation to the collection, or signing the registry, could you put the spirit to rest?


Brambleman wrote:
I t just occured to me. If you could somehow turn the haunt of the librarian into an active library, by either checking out a book properly, making a donation to the collection, or signing the registry, could you put the spirit to rest?

Yes. In rejuvenation description I added the clause that the spirit won't return to life if "his" books are moved to active library... And renovating and restarting haunted library certainly counts. So many additional things to add.


A new, hopefully final version of Spectral Librarian.
I am intending to place it on my deviant art page soon.

Spectral Librarian
A ghostly shape of an old man with a large book in his left hand watches his surroundings with stern gaze.

Spectral Librarian CR 4
XP 800
LN Medium Undead (incorporeal)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., booksense; Perception +2
Defense
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 deflection, +1 Dex, +1 dodge)
HP 26 (4d8+8)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +6
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, incorporeal, rejuvenation
Offense
Speed fly 20 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +4 (1d4 negative energy plus hushing)
Ranged ghostly page +5 (1d4 negative energy plus binding letters)
Special Attacks spectral assistants; tales of doom
Statistics
Str –, Dex 12, Con –, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +3, CMD 14
Feats Dodge, Lightning Reflexes
Skills Fly +5, Knowledge (arcana) +9, Knowledge (geography) +7, Knowledge (history) +7, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (nobility) +7, Knowledge (religion) +7
Languages Common, two others
Ecology
Environment abandoned libraries
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure none
Special Abilities

Booksense (Su): Spectral Librarian can sense presence of "his" books within 120 feet. This ability acts as blindsight with regard of the books from Librarian's library and as a blindsense against creatures carrying these books.

Ghostly Page (Su): Spectral Librarian can throw incorporeal pages with range of 30 feet dealing 1d4 points of negative energy to living creatures with a successful ranged touch attack. Any corporeal creatures hit by them are entangled for 1 round.

Hushing (Su): Creatures struck with Spectral Librarian's incorporeal touch attack have to make a Will saving throw (DC 14) or be silenced for one round.

Rejuvention (Su): Destroyed Spectral Librarian returns to existence within 2d12 hours unless all the books he was guarding are destroyed or moved to functioning library. Restoring the library haunted by the Spectral Librarian to functionality renders the spirit inactive as long as the library remains operational.

Spectral Assistants (Su): At the beginning of his turn Spectral Librarian can summon spectral vestiges of his assistants as a free action, up to a maximum of one summoned vestige per HD at any time. Each phantom attempts to possess one sapient living creatures carrying books belonging to the Librarian within 60 feet. A successful Will saving throw against DC of 14 negates the possession. Possessed creature is staggered and attempts to return carried books to their rightful place but a Will saving throw may be attempted each round to end the possession. This is a mind-affecting Necromancy effect.

Tales Of Doom (Su): Once per turn, as a swift action, Spectral Librarian reads a random passage from the tome wielded in the off-hand and a spectral page flies unerringly towards one sentient living creature within 30 feet that is not affected by Tales Of Doom. Target of this ability is subject to random condition, determined by the tale being read unless he makes a successful Will saving throw with DC of 14.
1 – Tale Of Dread: Target is shaken.
2 – Tale Of Plague: Target is sickened.
3 – Tale Of Damnation: Target is staggered.
4 – Tale Of Darkness: Target is blinded as long as the tale is in effect.
5 – Tale Of Betrayal: Target performs attacks of opportunity against his allies as if they were foes whenever opportunity occurs.
6 – Tale Of Decay: Target suffers 1d10 points of nonlethal damage per turn.
A Will saving throw with DC of 14 might be made at the end of each of the victim's turns to remove the effect.
Tales Of Doom are language-dependent mind-affecting Enchantment effects and their saving throw DC is Charisma-based.

***

Spectral Librarians are restless spirits of those who obsessively devoted their lives to books – and died violently when they beloved books were threatened or thrown into chaos. Their obsession is all that remains of their personality – they are driven to protect their books from everyone and everything and keep them ordered according to their personal, often esoteric or confusing system, sometimes twisted and corrupted by their madness. Yet, as incorporeal beings they are incapable of affecting material world most of the time driving them deeper into their insanity when they are unable to correct slightest deviations from their beloved patterns.


So here it is on my deviant art page, with just some minor tweaks added (constant comprehend languages spell-like ability): Spectral Librarian.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Homebrew and House Rules / Monster: Spectral Librarian All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.