Empty One CR 12
The man seems normal, but there’s an unmistakable sense of emptiness about him that makes your skin crawl.
DEFENSE HP 185 RP 5
EAC 26; KAC 27
Fort +11; Ref +11; Will +15
Defensive Abilities unending existence
Speed 30 ft.
Melee jagged knife +23 (2d12+16 Sl)
Multiattack slam +21 (1d12+12 Bl)
Ranged scavenged pistol +23 (2d8+12 F, range 120 ft.)
Str +4; Dex +1; Con -; Int +5; Wis +7; Cha +0
Skills Athletics +22, Engineering +27, Piloting +27, Sense Motive + 22, Survival +27
Languages any known in life
Other Abilities eternal hunter, mirrored progress
Eternal Hunter (Ex)
An empty one is supernaturally drawn to the soul of the being it once was. An empty one always knows the direction and distance to the soul of the creature it was in life so long as both are on the same plane. If they are on different planes, the empty one instead knows which plane the soul is on.
Mirrored Progress (Ex)
Empty ones maintain a fragmented link to their soul, gaining fragments of memories and experiences. An empty one will advance in CR to always match their soul’s body. If the soul decreases in CR, such as taking negative levels or dying and becoming a petitioner, the empty one will remain at its current CR but cannot become stronger until its soul does.
Unending Existence (Ex)
So long as its soul resides within a living body, an empty one cannot die. If its soul is still living when it dies, the empty one will simply reform at full health in 1d20 hours. This functions even if the empty one was completely destroyed, such as through disintegration, incineration, or digestion, though this does not assure it the return of any of its equipment. If it is destroyed while its soul is not in a living body, such as if they’re dead or using the spell magic jar, it is destroyed permanently.
Organization single, hunt (2-4)
The creation of undead is a universally reviled process. Often involving dark rituals, sacrifices, and pacts with darker powers, most undead arise from evil means and evil motives. Empty ones are not that. For the most part, empty ones are accidental creations of acts of kindness, undead created when one attempts to resurrect a creature whose soul is already back in a physical form.
An empty one looks almost identical to the creature its body was in life. They bear no monstrous distortions, no fluctuating auras of energy, nothing that would make them stand out as unusual or frightening. Even the wounds that killed their body are absent, erased during the process of their creation. Despite this, those who interact with an empty one will almost certainly realize something is wrong. When asked about it such witnesses can never quite pin down a reason for their unease, simply speaking of a sense of wrongness that emanated from the being.
An empty one is, in some ways, a two-part being. The first necessity to their creation is for a creature’s soul to leave their body and take on a new corporeal form. This can arise when using the spell magic jar to take on a new body after one’s original body was killed, using a high powered resurrection spell to revive someone from a piece of their body while leaving the main part behind, or through some sort of reincarnation. The catalyst to the creation of an empty one is usually accidental, an attempt to resurrect the creature using their corpse. But while the body remains, the soul has moved on. Reaching for a soul to return and finding nothing, the magic may instead seep into the body and animate it as a hollow being. At first, it may seem like the resurrection was a success, but it soon becomes clear that something is very wrong with the “revived” creature.
All empty ones are gripped by an unyielding obsession to track down their souls. This need is overwhelming and relentless, consuming their every moment. Attempts to suppress this are in vain, as they are both blessed and cursed with a constant knowledge of where they must go to find their soul at every moment of the day. Not even death can save them from this, as they simply cannot be destroyed while their soul still lives in another body. Everything they do is a means to an end as they seek to track down their lost soul, but it’s a different matter once they actually find it. Empty ones have no inherent ability to reclaim their soul once they find it, but their obsession will inevitably drive them to slay their soul’s new body and free it from its corporeal shackles. Empty ones spawned from those wise in the ways of magic may use their knowledge to then absorb the soul back into themselves, essentially resurrecting the creature and destroying the empty one.
While the mind and personality of an empty one are linked to the creature it was in life, it is not the same. Such mental facets are bound to the soul, leaving an empty one with only muscle memory, knowledge, and what they can glean from the occasional fragmented thought from their soul. This sort of empty slate allows them to rapidly learn new skills, allowing them to adapt to their environment as needed and aiding them in their pursuit of their soul. More concerning for the soul is the mystic link between the soul and body. As the living creature learns and develops, growing in skill and power, the empty one formed from their body receives glimpses and fragments of their new memories through the same link that allows them to track the soul’s location. From these thoughts, an empty one can improve itself and ensure that it will always be a match for its errant soul, no matter what body it may hide in.
Empty One Template Graft (CR 8+)
A creature that someone attempts to raise from the dead while its soul is still within a living body becomes an empty one.
Required Creature Type: Undead
Suggested Array: Expert
Traits: Eternal Hunter, Mirrored Progress, Unending Existence, gain Survival as a Master skill