I recently reread the 3.0 Monster Manual entry for the Ethereal Marauder (and afterwards this post by The Alexandrian) and realized that I really like the idea behind this monster.
I don’t think I ever gave this beast a second thought before, but lately I have been thinking about the Ethereal Plane and ways to use it, and all of a sudden a whole adventure fell into place here.
Imagine… A city, or a large castle, with long narrow hallways or walkways. And all of a sudden people start disappearing. There are horrifying sounds and weird noises at night, blood spatters, but no body left. Something is not right here.
It turns out there is an Æthereal Marauder on the prowl….
(written with an Æ because if you have the chance to use it, why wouldn’t you?)
That’s an amazing idea, a truly frightening monster, especially at low levels. Imagine trying to hunt for whatever you think might be killing people, when all of a sudden something like a three-pronged velociraptor shifts shifts into view and is charging at you. Then, after biting off an arm or something it just disappears into the night and is gone.
You also could do some nice stuff with the properties of the Ethereal Plane, if you wanted to. Maybe the thing is hanging out in the Ethereal Shadow of a building that was destroyed weeks, or maybe years ago. How to even reach it if it hangs out on top of a tower that isn’t there anymore?
No. Enc.: 1 (1d4)
Movement: 120′ (40′)
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Hoard Class: None
These reptiloid creatures live and hunt on the Ethereal Plane. They generally are colored in blue to violet hues, are about 4 feet tall. While clearly intelligent in their tactics they speak no known language and do not seem to have a discernible culture. Survivors of their attacks report hearing an eerie, high whine before being attacked.
Marauders have the ability to shift between Ethereal and Material Planes at will, but will take 1 round to do so. Their usual method of hunting is to lurk in the Ethereal Plane until appropriate prey shows itself, then quickly shift to the material plane to attack their victim there flat-footed, then to retreat back to the Ethereal Plane. They have darkvision and prefer to hunt at night.
What if this is actually just a class of beings? The three-pronged ones are just those that were seen by survivors. I bet the depths of the deep Ethereal could hold dozens of variations of this monster.
d10 Variations on the Æthereal Marauder
- it’s the three-pronged velociraptor
- it looks like the lichen covered skeleton of a triceratops man
- it looks like a clown, but with a vertical mouth that goes all the way down the stomach
- it’s a gestalt being made up of silver butterflies with razorsharp wings
- it looks like a human statue, but only parts of it will appear in the Material Plane
- it looks vaguely humanoid but has no face and elongated limbs
- an ogre-sized goblin
- a writhing mass of teethed tentacles
- a jet-black figure that eyes won’t focus on
- a neon-green praying mantis