Metalmaster


Large Magical Beast

Hit Dice: 4d10+16 (38 hp)
Initiative: -1 (Dex)
Speed: 30 ft
AC: 14 (-1 size, -1 Dex, +6 natural)
Attacks:Bite +8 melee
Damage: Bite 3d4+4
Face/Reach: 5 ft by 10 ft/5 ft
Special Attacks: Magnetism
Special Qualities: Mimicry, darkvision 90 ft, low-light vision, sense metal, fast healing 1/minute
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +1
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 8, Con 18, Int 6, Wis 11, Cha 8
Skills: Climb +14, Listen +9, Spot +9
Feats: Weapon Focus (bite)

Climate: Any land
Organization: Solitary, pair, or pack (1-4)
Challenge Rating: 05
Treasure: Standard (metal only)
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 5-8 HD (Large); 9-12 HD (Huge)
 
The metalmaster, or "sword slug", is a large, slug-like creature with the ability to manipulate magnetic fields. This creature eats only large mammals as prey, such as humans or cattle. It is capable of chewing through metal, which does not harm it, but it does not eat metal. These creatures are sometimes captured and used as guardians by sentient creatures, though they cannot be tamed or trained.

The wormlike metalmaster has leathery skin of dull purple to rust color, though the rare smoky gray and blank specimens have been encountered. Its two eyestalks allow it to see well in all lighting conditions, and this creature's senses are generally very keen. The sticky secretions of their movement allow them to climb steep grades, but not vertical walls or smooth inclines.

This carnivorous scavenger is solitary by preference. They sometimes band together to hunt live prey in larger groups. Metalmasters have been known to live over a century. They make their lair near metal deposits, and favor narrow tunnels that provide them with good cover. They lurk near large treasure hoards, both to attract prey and provide themselves with metal objects for combat.

COMBAT
When a metalmaster wishes to combat another creature, it usually starts by activating its magnetic powers. Though this power does no direct harm, it can make combat with metal weapons difficult, and increases the chance of striking unintended targets. The metalmaster attacks in melee with its large maw of saw-like teeth, and its jaw is strong enough to bite through metal.

Magnetism (Su): The metalmaster has the ability to generate and control a magnetic field at will to a range of 90 feet, and to control existing natural or magical magnetic fields to a range of 150 feet. All metals (even nonferrous ones, such as gold), including magical ones, are affected equally by this power. This extends to affect trace amounts of metal in rock or unrefined ores. The metalmaster can cause all metals in the area to be alternatively attracted or repelled towards it, altering the field this way from round to round. As this power extends into the Ethereal plane, spells such as blink, jump, or similar spells offer no protection from it, though spells such as teleport and dimension door do allow a means of escape.

Attraction causes unsecured metallic objects to be drawn towards the sword slug at a rate of 60 feet per round. Small, secured objects of less than 20 pounds in weight are pulled loose and drawn in if the strap, flap, or other device holding them fails a Fortitude save (DC 12). Large objects of less than 200 pounds in weight are dragged towards the slug at a rate of 30 feet per round if they are unsecured, but if secured they are unaffected.

Characters wielding metal weapons of Small size or smaller within the attraction field suffer a -6 penalty to attack rolls, and those wielding metal weapons of larger size suffer a -4 penalty. Creatures holding metallic objects in their hands must roll a Strength check (DC 16) or lose the item. Items that are magically held or secured are unaffected by attraction, and a wall of force or other magical barrier blocks the magnetism power.

Repulsion forces metal objects away from the metalmaster at a rate of 10 feet per round. Ranged weapons with metallic components (such as arrows with metal arrowheads) aimed at the metalmaster using repulsion suffer a -8 penalty to attack rolls, and metallic melee weapons suffer a -4 penalty. Characters wearing armor at least party composed of metal, or otherwise wearing metal over a large part of their body must roll a Fortitude save (DC 16) every round while subjected to repulsion, or be forced back 10 feet from the metalmaster, though even if the character saves he cannot advance more than 10 feet forward in that round. Likewise, characters carrying more than 10 pounds of metal items (including coins, bracers, and sheathed weapons) must also make a Fortitude save or be forced back 5 from the metalmaster. Characters holding loose metallic objects must roll a Strength check (DC 16) or the item goes flying.

Small items attracted by a metalmaster never strike its body, but instead take up orbits around it. A whirling storm of metal items usually swirls around the metalmaster in a 10-foot diameter as the blade barrier spell, dealing 4d6 damage (Reflex save for half).

Mimicry (Ex): A metalmaster can mimic speech and vocal sounds it has heard. It will try to use this to lure prey to itself, but its limited intelligence usually causes it to emit the wrong sounds at the wrong time.

Sense Metal (Su): The metalmaster is able to continuously detect all metals of any type within a 120-foot radius.

Skills: The metalmaster receives a +4 racial bonus to Climb, Listen, and Spot checks.
 
1988 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in DRAGON Magazine #139 (November 1988, Ed Greenwood), Ruins of Myth Drannor (1993), and Monstrous Compendium Annual One (1994).