Creature Feature (Starfinder): Painwrack

Painwrack CR 4

The being before you looks like it was human once, but it’s hard to tell past the armor and blades that have been grafted onto its body.

NE Medium monstrous humanoid
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +10


HP 50
EAC 16; KAC 18
Fort +6; Ref +6; Will +3
Defensive Abilities painless


Speed 30 ft.
Melee slash +12 (1d6+7 Sl & P)
Ranged pain dart +12 (1d6+4 P, plus nervewrench toxin)
Offensive Abilities silent scream
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th)
3/dayinflict pain (DC 11)


Str +3; Dex +2; Con +5; Int -2; Wis +1; Cha +0
Skills Athletics +10, Intimidate +15, Medicine +10
Languages Common, Infernal (cannot speak)


Environment laboratories, Hell, the Shadow Plane, other sites of evil science
Organization single, scream (2-10)


Painless (Ex)

A painwrack’s existence is such constant agony and disgust, everything else pales in comparison. Painwracks are immune to all pain effects as well as the nauseated and sickened conditions.

Silent Scream (Su)

A painwrack can broadcast its suffering to others through a telepathic shriek. As an action, a painwrack can activate this ability and force every creature within 30 feet to make a DC 13 Will save. A creature that fails this save takes 2d10 damage and is frightened for 1 round. On a successful save this damage is halved and they are shaken for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Nervewrench Toxin

Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 13
Track Constitution; Frequency 1/minute until cured or subject dies
Cure 2 consecutive saves

Painwracks are not natural creatures, but the result of vile scientific processes and biomodification that leave a subject a horrific mockery of what it once was. Due to their nature and creation, no two painwracks look exactly alike. Painwracks typically stand anywhere from four to eight feet tall, often with additional growths or fixtures that extend higher.  The arms of a painwrack do not end in hands, but rather a mess of blades, hooks, needles, spines, barbs, and other implements of pain, with their hands either amputated to make way for these weapons or horribly mangled to fir around them. These implements can take many forms, whether a collection of surgical tools, organically grown spines and claws, grafted-on nails and drill bits, and anything else that their creator had at hand to use. Other common features include twists of bone jutting through the skin as small spines or twisting horns, combat drug dispensers grafted directly into their skin to keep them sedated enough to be vaguely manageable, armored plates grafted to their skin or over their faces, and patterns of scars and tattoos according to the creator’s preferences, but these are but a small number of the many features a painwrack can have.

The quality and design of these features vary as well, typically by both the effort and resources of the creator. Those whose creators had both money and desire are often well put together, while those without either are barely functional. However, creators with resources but no real passion will often produce painwracks that are functional but pragmatically designed, while those with passion but no resources will often take the time to make their creations as artful as they can with what they have. Some painwracks may have artfully designed iron masks carved in the shapes of bestial faces, with blade hands designed to resemble the claws of monsters and intricate patterns of tattoos and pigmented skin to hide the scars of their creation. Others are decidedly more ramshackle, with fleshless faces left uncovered to display eyes still moving in the exposed skull, blade hands made from jagged pieces of scrap metal, and skin covered in a patchwork of stitches and scars. This variety in appearance is further supplemented by the fact that painwracks can be created with mechanical technology, bioengineering, or both. Armor plates may be made of metal or bone, dart launchers can be integrated firearms or organic spine launchers, and darkvision may come from implanted sensors or overhauled eyeballs.

The creation of a painwrack is a lengthy one and an evil act for the creator. The subject is essentially vivisected and rebuild from the inside out, beginning with skeletal grafts and escalating to muscular augmentations, nerve rewiring, and epidermal fusions. More through versions may include braces fused directly onto bones, layers of armored mesh woven between and over organs, and entire body parts amputated or grafted on. Painkillers are rarely used during or after this process, as their use typically prevents the catalyst of a painwrack’s mental powers through its suffering. By the time the procedure is over, all traces of the painwrack’s original identity have been cut away, leaving an androgynous, ethnically ambiguous creature with only scant traces of its original species. This procedure also tends to leave them mute as the creator cuts their vocal cords to work in peace without their screaming, leaving the completed painwracks unable to communicate save through their telepathic screams of agony.  Only one in ten such subjects survive this process, and of those only about half have been mentally and physically shattered enough to develop the mental powers that make painwracks so feared. The fact that a painwrack results from this process is almost incidental, as it is almost entirely designed to cause the subject pain rather than to gain a minion from it. In fact, it’s likely that the original painwrack was indeed an accidental creation when a particularly sadistic surgeon decided to make something out of their latest victim rather than finishing them off.

Painwracks are usually docile, at least to the extent that they can be. When left alone they do not usually seek out other creatures or even attempt to see to their own survival needs, instead standing motionless or curling up on the ground to whimper and whine. This changes when they see a sentient being, as their pain and fear immediately catalyzes into a need to make others hurt in the way they hurt. Combat is opened with a barrage of pain darts to weaken targets, though only if the painwracks outnumber the hostile creatures. Once the creatures are darted or they forgo that step, one painwrack uses its Silent Scream while the others charge into melee to carve apart victims with their bladed limbs with the occasional use of inflict pain to cripple particularly resilient foes. These tactics do not change overtly if there is only a single painwrack, as the procedures that created them blunt their minds and make it harder for them to conceive of more elaborate tactics. Painwracks created by those with greater resources typically do not have these problems. Most receive mental conditioning after their creation to suppress their innate homicidal urges and program them to respond to specific commands in certain ways. This comes at the drawback that they become limited to the preplanned strategies and actions programmed into them and become incapable of acting independently even if their master is unable to give commands.

About nwright

A freelance writer for the Open Gaming website who looks forward to building plots out of monster entries for you to enjoy as a player or DM.

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