Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Any (no need for sleep)
Alignment:Any evil
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:10
Hit Dice:14
THAC0:7 or better
No. of Attacks:Varies (1)
Damage/Attack:By weapon type + 4
Special Attacks:See below
Special Defenses:See below
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (Varies)
Morale:Fanatic (17-18)
XP Value:Varies

The animus is a unique undead creature created by priests of the evil Power Hextor with the help of infernal, fiendish aid. Animuses are driven creatures filled with cold hatred and burning ambition for cruel rulership, the infliction of suffering, or some other equally dire goal.

Most animuses appear to be humans with weathered and wrinkled skin – prematurely aged, but clearly strong and of powerful build. Some (about 25%) are hideous in appearance, almost lichlike; such creatures have an effective Charisma of 3 and often wear masks to disguise their appearance. A small minority (around 10%) are almost indistinguishable from normal, middle-aged humans.

Almost all animuses are somewhat vain and dress well, as befits their former station in life. Animus creatures were formerly nobles, generals, and advisers to the Overking of the Great Kingdom, and had human lives as priests, warriors, and the like.

Combat: The animus has a plethora of special attacks and defenses that make it a formidable opponent. Animuses that had special abilities in their living state by virtue of class (or more rarely, by race) still possess these in animus form. Thus, an animus created from a 12th-level warrior has two melee attacks per round; an animus-priest can cast spells as per its experience level while alive; and so on.

Animuses are very strong; they possess 18/76 Strength and 18 Constitution, while other ability scores equal those they possessed in life. Their touch creates fear. They can radiate a circle of command to a 10-yard radius; with a gesture to any single creature in the area, they can force that creature to its knees (or equivalent) for one round by sheer force of will. This action takes one segment, and is ineffective against any creature that has Intelligence of 3 or less. Other creatures are permitted a saving throw versus spell to negate. The animus may use its command gesture once per turn.

An animus also has a domination gaze; a victim who fails to make a saving throw versus spell is unable to act as long as the animus continues to stare (and does not otherwise attack) at him. A victim so dominated can have one suggestion implanted into his mind by the animus that has dominated him. An animus may make no other action on a round on which it uses its domination gaze.

An animus may command nonintelligent undead creatures (skeletons, zombies, etc.) automatically. Other undead have neither special enmity, nor any special liking or respect for an animus.

An animus has many immunities and special defenses: it is immune to poison, paralyzation, charm, sleep, hold, and magic jar spells, and to nonmagical weapons. No form of fear will affect an animus. Because the animus is highly vigilant, it cannot be surprised. Animuses suffer half or quarter damage from acid, cold, and electrical attacks, and are immune to energy drains. If an attempt is made to turn or command an animus, the animus is treated as a Special on the Turning matrix, and the priest attempting to influence the animus makes his attempt as if he were four levels lower than his actual level. The animus receives a saving throw versus spell to negate the turning/commanding.

Holy water affects an animus normally (2d4 hp damage per flask). An animus can suffer from the effects of diseases (although it cannot he killed by disease). In some instances, splashing holy water may be the best way of recognizing an animus for what it is.

Most feared of all is the remarkable difficulty of destroying an animus. Animuses regenerate 2 hit points per round in combat, but they also regenerate after death. Even severed and separated body parts will crawl back together to reform the body of the animus (after being reduced to 0 hit points, the creature regenerates 1 hp per turn). The only sure way to destroy an animus is to burn the body to ashes or dissolve it completely in acid.

As noted, an animus may use spells if it did so in life. A wizard-animus still needs spellbooks, magical components, and the like. A priest-animus must still receive the favor of its Power to be able to cast spells.

Habitat/Society: The origin of the animus is central to understanding what motivates it. Animuses were created largely against their wills by priests and fiends serving Ivid V; powerful warriors, priests, and wizards were slain and then revivified in animus form. Some were powerful local rulers in their own right before this process, and others have gained such status in the sundered lands of old Aerdy, their invulnerability making it easy for them to eliminate competition and take power into their own hands.

Animuses are torn between being solitary and having to exist in a social world. An animus has no friends and no longer feels any affiliative needs, friendship, love, or the need for companions, just as it needs no food, drink, or other bodily pleasures or sustenance.

The motivations that drive an animus are dark revenge, hatred, and fury. Dominant motivations from the previous life will still exist if these are not inharmonious with this list: the desire for power, wealth, battle, and the like. But almost every animus is filled with self-loathing at the same time, as it hates the living creatures around it, for they remind it of what it once was itself. An animus needs plenty of time alone to brood on its dark and wretched emotions. Some have developed a very tight self-control in such hours, to mask their stormy furies when dealing with others.

Since most animuses are rulers or nobles, each has a hierarchy of servants and henchmen with which it must deal. Some rule with cold, tyrannical brutality, sadistically plunging wretched subjects into abject terror. Others are more measured and controlled, but still burn with an icy fire of hatred within. A very few have developed some capacity for detachment, irony, and cynicism which allow them to go through the motions of courtly life and the manners and pleasantries of society, but they are few indeed.

Ecology: The exact processes by which animuses have been brought into being are unknown. What is known is that priests of Hextor, using a form of resurrection spell, together with fiends, work on the corpse and spirit of a slain human to create the animus, working its special defenses into its body and affecting its spirit. Ivid wanted single-minded, utterly loyal servants. What the priests and fiends created was a creature with the capacity to be ferociously singleminded and cold in its motivations and utterly implacable in its pursuit of what it wanted. How they did that, and whether the result was exactly what they wanted, is not clear.

It is rumored that some animuses have special attacks or defenses in addition to those previously listed as standard (but no more than one special attack or defense per animus). Szeffrin, the animus ruler of part of old Almor, is said to have skin as tough as iron, and to be resistant to attacks with edged weapons; the animus-priest Delglath of Rinloru is said to be able to raise blisters on the palms of his hands from which he can secrete a terrible burning corrosive acid, without any harm to himself, but which he uses for shaking the hand of a terrified prisoner while smiling in triumph. Delglath’s blessing is a phrase whispered in Rinloru to refer to this dread touch.

Finally, note that as a result of their creation, many animus creatures are as paranoid as they are arrogant. Animuses see enemies, real and imagined, all around them. They are usually obsessed with assassination even to the point that they have their food tested for poison, despite the fact that they cannot be slain by it (animuses often rationalize this by saying that they cannot be certain that no poison found anywhere can kill them). Some animuses, the more intelligent of the breed, have a detached ironical insight into their own paranoia, but again, this is a rarity.

Last Modified: March 03, 2014, 11:27:44 GMT

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

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