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Dune stalkers were evil monsters of earth,[2] sometimes summoned to the Material Plane to hunt down a target and slay him or her with a "kiss of death".[2][1][4]

DescriptionEdit

A dune stalker was roughly humanoid, with a bony, gangly frame.[2][1][4] It appeared to be about seven feet (210 cm) tall,[2][1] but it would actually be taller if not for the fact that it had a severely stooped posture.[2] It had a very broad chest, wide at the shoulders and narrowing to a narrow waist.[2][1] Its head connected to its neck close to the back, such that its face drooped below the shoulders.[2] Some who had encountered the vile creatures described the head as oval;[1] others as triangular with a pointed chin.[2] It had many sharp teeth,[2] large eyes,[1] and a long, narrow nose.[1]

A dune stalker had long arms[2][1] that dragged on the ground.[2] Each of a dune stalker's hands and feet had four fingers or toes instead of five.[2] Both its fingers and its toes ended in razor-sharp claws.[2][1][4]

Dune stalkers were hairless and had reddish orange skin that was dusty and abrasive.[2][1] They never sweated.[1] In fact, they had no pores at all.[2] A dune stalker never wore clothing.[2][1][4]

PersonalityEdit

The only happiness dune stalkers took was in spreading evil.[2] They would attack any creature on sight that they assumed was noble.[2][1][4] They despised cool temperatures and any sort of moisture.[1] They especially hated the Material Plane, and the only locations there that they could tolerate were deserts.[2][1]

It was no surprise then that they loathed being summoned and used by spellcasters. When summoned, they were assigned a mission—usually an assassination—which they had to fulfill to the letter to be returned to their plane. They relentlessly sought to fulfill their task as literally and as quickly as possible and focused on nothing else, though they would stop to kill a good creature if it happened to cross their path. It was thus possible to trap a dune stalker on the Material Plane by giving it an impossible task to fulfill. In such a case, the frustrated dune stalker would simply murder anything it could find to vent its perpetual rage.[2][1]

AbilitiesEdit

A dune stalker was similar to an invisible stalker in that it was an extraplanar, elemental creature called to the Material Plane because of its uncanny tracking abilities.[2][1][4] Once summoned to the Material, a dune stalker was essentially trapped, as it had no magical abilities,[2][1][4] let alone the ability to plane shift back home.[1]

Mundane weapons caused little harm to a dune stalker's flesh, and they were inherently resistant to the Weave,[2][1][4] though obviously not so resistant as to avoid being summoned.

A dune stalker's massive chest allowed it to inhale vast quantities of dry air, which it could cause to resonate in a special chamber in its nasal passages.[1] This allowed it to generated a deafening sound described as a "rasping cough"[2] or an "eerie, nasal roar".[1] This sonic blast was so intense as to deafen most creatures within about 20 yards (eighteen meters) of the stalker[2][1] and to cause physical harm.[2][1][4]

An even stranger use of its vocal chords was what surviving victims called its "kiss of death".[2][1][4] A dune stalker would press its mouth against the victim's face[2] or other exposed skin[1][4] and emit powerful sonic waves that would vibrate through the victim's whole body. The dune stalker attempted to set these vibrations at a resonance that would prove instantly lethal to the victim.[2][1][4] If the vibrations did not slay the victim, they were still enough to stun him or her for several seconds.[2][1] To bystanders, the kiss of death sounded like a muted trumpet blast.[1]

In addition to its sonic abilities, a dune stalker was also a skilled climber and a superb jumper, being able to spring much higher or farther than would be guessed. They could run faster than a human.[2]

Dune stalkers had darkvision.[2] They could not speak—their vocal chords seemed limited to their use as a weapon—but they could understand the Common tongue and Terran,[2][1] although some sages speculated that they could not hear sounds at all in the range used by most Material Plane inhabitants.[1]

CombatEdit

Once a dune stalker had tracked its prey, its preferred tactic was to set up an ambush, usually in a rocky area where it was the most content. It would climb or jump onto high ground and hide, so that it could leap down in surprise and deliver its kiss of death.[2]

If its target was a part of a group, it would announce its presence with its deafening shout attack, to disorient the members, and then leap at its specific target and try to instantly kill her or him with the "kiss".[2] The stalker favored attacking its target first,[2] followed by whichever opponent seemed the strongest,[2] followed by whichever opponent seemed the most good.[1] At close range,[1] after its initial shout, a dune stalker would usually resort to leaping from target to target and "kissing" them.[2]

Strangely, though it could use its prominent claws to attack, it rarely did so.[2]

SocietyEdit

Scholars postulated many homes for the dune stalker: the Para-Elemental Plane of Magma,[1] the Elemental Plane of Earth,[2] the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Dust,[7] Hades,[2] and the Dismal Caverns.[8] Which of these planes was the true native plane for the monster was debatable, but all sources were in agreement that dune stalkers found on the Material Plane did not belong there and had been summoned there by evil and powerful spellcasters.[2][1][4] What sort of society they had on their home plane or planes was unknown; while on the Material Plane, they remained as solitary creatures, simply fulfilling their required task alone.[2][1][4]

EcologyEdit

The bones of dune stalkers were exceptionally strong, consisting of bundles of hollow tubes. As such, they were useless to bone-crafters. The skin of dune stalkers, however, could be used as an effective and durable sandpaper for woodcarvers.[1]

HistoryEdit

By 1358 DR, dune stalkers were found in the ruins of Ascore.[5] They were still found there as late as 1370 DR.[6] It is not known how they arrived there or whom they were stalking.

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 Tim Beach, Donald J. Bingle, Al Boyce, Vince Garcia, Kris Hardinger, Steve Hardinger, Rob Nicholls, Wes Nicholson, Norm Ritchie, Greg Swedberg, and John Terra (1992). Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (MC14). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-56076-428-7.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (September 2002). Monster Manual II 3rd edition. (TSR, Inc), pp. 88–89. ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
  3. Andy Collins, David Noonan, James Wyatt (2003). D&D v.3.5 Accessory Update Booklet. (Wizards of the Coast).
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 30. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Paul Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 40. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
  6. 6.0 6.1 slade, Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend, Paul Jaquays, Steve Perrin (April 1996). The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (The Wilderness). (TSR, Inc), p. 61. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
  7. 7.0 7.1 David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, A DM Guide to the Planes. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 978-1560768340.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 148. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
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