Neverdead CR 11
This figure is a mass of twisted bone and muscle, its every feature grown and distorted to grotesque proportions.
DEFENSE HP 180 RP 3
EAC 24; KAC 26
Fort +13; Ref +13; Will +12
Immunities undead immunities
Defensive Abilities unliving, absorb healing
Speed 40 ft.
Melee claw +20 (4d6+19 S)
Ranged necrotic bolt +23 (3d8+11 Ne)
Offensive Abilities distort life
Absorb Healing (Su)
A neverdead is an aberration when it comes to undead and has an unusual reaction to positive energy. When a healing spell or ability is used by a creature within 30 feet, a neverdead can use its reaction to force the caster to make a DC 18 caster level check. The DC of this ability increases to 20 if the spell or ability in question was targeting the neverdead, such as if a healing spell was cast to damage it based on its undead nature. On a successful save the spell or ability functions as normal. On a failed save, the amount of healing is rolled as normal but rather than its intended effect, the neverdead heals that amount up to a maximum of its maximum hit points.
Distort Life (Su)
A neverdead is capable of extending its own abnormal nature to others. As an action a neverdead can target a single creature within 60 feet, forcing them to make a Will save. On a success, they suffer no effects. On a failed save, the creature’s nature as alive or undead is temporarily reversed. While under this effect, living creatures are harmed by positive energy, healed by negative energy, and register as undead to spells, but do not gain any immunities or abilities granted by being undead, nor do they lose any abilities or defenses dependent on their living nature. Undead creatures are healed by positive energy, harmed by negative energy, and register as living to spells but do not lose any immunities or abilities granted by their undead nature. This effect lasts for one minute when a save is failed but lasts one hour if the target chose to deliberately fail its save. There is no limit to how many creatures a neverdead can effect with this ability at once. A neverdead can target itself with this ability.
Mark Living (Sp)
A neverdead’s tie to both undeath and life allows it to influence creatures long after it encountered them. A neverdead can take a swift action and spend a resolve point to mark a living creature within 30 feet, though the creature may resist being marked by making a DR 18 Will save. A creature marked in this manner will rise from death 1d4 days after it dies as an undead creature of equal CR as it had when it died. This CR may be achieved through applying an undead template to the living creature’s statistics or by creating a higher CR undead creature with additional class levels or templates to raise its CR, whichever is more appropriate given its manner of death. A mark lasts until the creature it was applied to dies and becomes undead, persisting even after the destruction of the neverdead that created it, though it can be removed with a mystic cure cast at 4th level or higher provided it was cast specifically to remove the mark. If a creature dies and is resurrected before the creature can rise from the dead the mark persists, though the mark is removed if a marked creature dies and is raised as an undead creature before it can do so due to the mark’s influence. There is no limit to how many creatures a neverdead can have marked at a time.
Environment any inhabited, areas with a necromantic presence
Organization single, corpse (2-5)
Undead are, by their very nature, aberrations in the natural progression of life. Few undead ask to be made, and those who set out to deliberately create undead creatures are generally viewed as criminals in the vilest of ways. But even among necromancers, the worst are those who create neverdead, undead creatures created when animate dead and other spells used to create undead are used on a still-living creature.
Neverdead vary wildly in appearance depending or their species and appearance in life. However, they consistently appear distorted and misshapen due to the effect of animate dead spells attempting to take hold on still-living tissues. This can range from becoming shambling hulks whose muscles have shifted too far out of place to be efficient, to tottering figures with twists and hooks of bone growing from its skeleton through its skin, to skin fusing together to immobilize limbs. The face always suffers, the many minor features of the head being distorted into something nearly unrecognizable.
The nature of a neverdead’s creation gives them an unusual connection to the forces of life and undeath. As living creatures that became undead without ever actually dying they can interfere with the flow of positive energy, pulling it from its intended targets and twisting it to heal themselves. In other circumstances they can pervert the base animating forces of living and undead creatures alike, causing them to register as what they are not to detection spells and be harmed by what should heal them. But by far their most notorious ability is one that most don’t even know about. Those who know of neverdead are almost certainly aware that those who encounter them almost always become undead themselves when they eventually die, no matter how the encounter ended.
In terms of personality, neverdead are cruel and spiteful beings. Though very few retain any memories of their lived beyond the occasional fragment, they are aware that a great wrong has been done to them and seek revenge for their very existence. Initially this takes the form of simply attacking whoever they encounter, but those who avoid destruction in these early tantrums quickly grow into persistent menaces. Rather than indiscriminate murder they hold to a strict schedule determined by their marking power, ensuring every kill results in a new undead minion. Their distort life ability lets them infiltrate cities under the noses of detection spells, allowing them to spread their influence unseen. Left unchecked they’ll mark as many people as they can every day, targeting the strongest and most dangerous people when possible, but will not kill them. Their ageless nature allows them to be patient, marking thousands over the course of years before unleashing a devastating attack that sees wide swathes of the population turned into undead that join its assault.