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Hollow One

The faint chemical smell lingering on this creature’s skin hints that it is not simply a normal person. Small, almost imperceptible flaws suggest that the creature’s skin is somehow stretched over an invisible frame.

Hollow One CR 10

Source Pathfinder #112: The Whisper Out of Time pg. 86
XP 9,600
N Medium construct
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +15

Defense

AC 26, touch 16, flat-footed 20 (+5 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 natural)
hp 117 (15d10+35)
Fort +5, Ref +10, Will +5
DR 10/magic; Immune construct traits

Offense

Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 slams +22 (1d8+7/19–20)
Special Attacks dread, rage, sneak attack +3d6

Statistics

Str 25, Dex 21, Con —, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 14
Base Atk +15; CMB +22; CMD 38
Feats Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Deceitful, Dodge, Improved Critical (slam), Improved Feint, Improved Initiative, Toughness
Skills Bluff +21, Disguise +4, Intimidate +17, Perception +15, Sense Motive +15, Stealth +20
Languages Aklo, Common, Kelish

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Dread (Su) As a standard action, a hollow one can cause all creatures within 30 feet to become shaken for 1 minute. On a successful DC 19 Will save, affected creatures are instead shaken for 1 round. This effect doesn’t cause a shaken creature to become frightened or a frightened creature to become panicked. This is a mind-affecting fear effect and the save DC is Charisma-based.

Rage (Su) As a free action after taking damage in combat, a hollow one can fly into a rage. While raging, the hollow one gains a +2 bonus to Strength and 30 temporary hit points, but takes a –2 penalty to AC. The rage lasts until the end of the battle or for 1 minute, whichever is shorter. A hollow one can voluntarily end this rage at any point.

Hollow ones are complex creations designed to fulfill a variety of purposes, most often acting as servants, guardians, or assistants. Each hollow one is bound by a physical similarity to a certain humanoid, who sacrifices a portion of himself in the formation process.

Unlike many constructs, however, the hollow one has a spark of intelligent life—the essence of its creator or the creator’s victim. While this enlivening energy is little more than a shallow imitation of the original’s true being, sometimes the hollow one can become more than an automaton and seek out its own life and motivations. These hollow ones are the most dangerous because they are most prone to madness (especially violent madness). Such a hollow one is the exception to the rule, however, and most are destined to become little more than slaves and playthings, obedient mockeries of those they were created to look like.

When encountered, hollow ones are often mistaken for undead creatures instead of constructs, mainly due to the unconventional building material required to create these creatures.

A hollow one is the same size as the humanoid it was fashion to resemble, but weighs a mere fraction of his weight due to being only chemically treated skin.

Ecology

As constructs generally created by alchemists, hollow ones are uncanny replicas of humanoids made from shreds of skin infused with magic and rare chemicals. Hollow ones have an advantage over many constructs in that they have intellects gifted to them by their creators during their construction. Even those who know the humanoids on which hollow ones are modeled well may still be duped by the hollow ones, as they are fashioned by a process similar to that used to create simulacra and their true nature is difficult to discern.

The fundamental intelligence of these creatures makes them dangerous, however. They are unstable beings, and 5% of hollow ones harbor a deep loathing and jealousy of their creator, to a point where they cannot abide continuing to serve them. These hollow ones turn on their owners, seeking to kill and sometimes replace them. Another 5% of hollow ones develop a greater intelligence and personality than the creatures on which they’re modeled, becoming superior versions of the originals. Often seeking the immediate destruction of their would-be masters, these hollow ones have inflated views of their own importance and place in the world and proceed to try to convince others of it. These creatures gain a +4 bonus to both Intelligence and Wisdom and a +6 bonus to Charisma. Many of these hollow ones go on to take class levels, typically matching those of their creator (or the person being emulated).

Hollow ones begin as blank slates in terms of development. The energizing force within each evolves differently, so that three hollow ones created at more or less the same time by the same master can result in three unique constructs depending on the context and situational factors in which they were created.

Some scholars make the assumption that the first hollow ones were created by foul creatures that made use of fleshwarping, but little evidence for this has been found. Records retrieved from before Earthfall mention hollow ones, so the practice of making these bizarre constructs is more than 10,000 years old, though it has only recently come to light again in Avistan.

Habitat and Society

Many hollow ones take on specific aspects of their creators. Some arcane psychologists and philosophers have suggested that the inherited aspect is the creator’s most overriding emotion or state of mind at the time. Thus, a happy creator fashions a jolly hollow one, while a psychotic person creates a deranged one, and so on. However, the hollow one nurtures this aspect into something larger as it develops. Misery becomes overwhelming sorrow or joy becomes completely unbearable. Each year after its creation, the construct must succeed at a DC 25 Will save or lapse into madness brought on by these emotions. The direction this madness takes varies, but is always dangerous in some way.

Hollow ones develop their own mannerisms similar to—but not always identical to—their creators’. Those that escape into society often act as beacons for other constructs—paragons and leaders that use their constructed followers on crusades of their own twisted devising, taking on levels in various classes, and become tyrants, dictators, and saints in their own design.

Several narcissistic cabals and cults use hollow ones as tools of vengeance and assassination, creating scores of copies of the cult leader to visit punishments upon dozens of enemies at the same time, creating the illusion of omnipotence. Such tactics have been employed by power-crazed tyrannical alchemists, who go on a frenzy of self-harm and create scores of hollow ones. Sadly, such personal killers often become so crazed that they turn on their creator en masse and exact suitable revenge, usually starting by flaying the creator alive.

A tale circulating through Absalom speaks of a thieves’ guild that once operated in that city and employed hollow ones as patsies and for blackmail. The guild leadership would capture someone, torture the captive by flaying her skin, and then healing her so there was no evidence of the stolen tissue. They would then send the hollow one to commit a visible crime in order to implicate their victim. To clear her name, the victim was forced to pay the guild’s leadership a hefty price.

Other Hollow Ones

The method for creating hollow ones don’t restrict the form to be that of a humanoid. The form needs to be a creature that has skin, though. A catalog of constructs was recently unearthed from an old Azlanti ruin that described an aboleth hollow one that perplexed the ancient explorer who encountered the strange creature. Hollow ones made in the form of creatures with particularly durable skin could have a much higher natural armor bonus than the typical hollow one described here.

Creating a Hollow One

The process used to fashion a hollow one requires the creator to collect a considerable quantity of the skin of the person being copied (referred to as the subject) using knives and an arcane ritual that ultimately deals 1d4 points of Constitution damage to the subject. The skin is alchemically treated and enhanced into a form not unlike the wrappings of a mummy. At the final moment of the ritual, the creator removes a piece of the subject’s brain using a specially created brass and ebony hook with a tiny movable cutting blade attached. This hook is inserted into the subject’s brain through the nose to remove a portion of living brain tissue, an act that deals an additional 1d2 points of Constitution damage to the subject. At this point, the creator must succeed at a DC 30 Heal check; otherwise the subject permanently loses 1d3 points of Intelligence.

Hollow One

CL 9th; Price 42,000 gp

Construction

Requirements Craft Construct, lesser simulacrum; 2 square yards of skin collected over the course of 1 month and 1 ounce of brain material; creator must be caster level 9th; Skills Craft (alchemy) DC 24 and Heal DC 24; Cost 21,000 gp