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Gray Death
Size/Type: Large Undead (Fire)
Hit Dice: 12d12 (78 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: Fly 30 ft. (good)
Armor Class: 15 (-1 size, +3 Dex, +3 deflection), touch 15, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/—
Attack: Touch +8 melee (burn)
Full Attack: Touch +8 melee (burn)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Burn, Engulf, Smother
Special Qualities: Blindsight 120 Ft., Cloudform, Damage Reduction 5/magic, Fire Subtype, Immunity to Sonic, Lifesense, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +9
Abilities: Str —, Dex 17, Con —, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 16
Skills: Hide +11, Move Silently +15, Search +12, Spot +13, Survival +13
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Mobility
Environment: Warm desert
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 7
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: 13-19 HD (Large); 20-36 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment:

A towering gray form flies toward you. It has a vaguely humanoid upper body with a swirl of ash and dirt as the lower body beneath. As the creature nears, you see a smoky mouth and pupiless eyes open on its face. Behind each opening is a fiery red glow emanating from the bowels of the monster.

Born from a creature that was burned alive, the gray death seeks to destroy all living creatures in revenge for its current state. When this creature dies, its spirit gathers up the elemental force which slew it. The soul then drifts slowly and invisibly for 1d4 days before reforming up to a mile from the place of its death. The gray death's "birth" is a spectacular display of fiery explosions contained within a 10-foot area.

A gray death avoids all bodies of water, even to the point of giving up pursuit of living prey. Despite the fact that the gray death flies, it still does not cross larger bodies of water no matter how high it climbs. Knowledgeable adventurers try to use this fact to their advantage when they are forced to fight a gray death.


Gray deaths pursue and engage all living creatures they find. They use their great agility and flight to close with slow-moving opponents, usually reserving Flyby Attack and their engulf ability for quicker foes or against greater numbers of targets.

Burn (Ex): A gray death's touch attack deals 2d6 points of fire damage. Flammable substances or creatures touched by a gray death must make a DC 15 Reflex save or be ignited (see "Catching on Fire" in the SRD). A creature or flammable item that remains in contact with the gray death for 1 full round takes 16 points of fire damage.

Engulf (Ex): A gray death can simply engulf creatures smaller than itself. It cannot make a touch attack on a round during which it attempts to engulf. To engulf a target, the gray death need only move into that creature's space. The target of the engulf attack may make an attack of opportunity against the gray death, but doing so prevents it from making a Reflex save (DC 10 + 0.5 ½ the gray death's HD + the gray death's Dex modifier) to avoid being engulfed. Engulfed creatures automatically take burn damage every round and are also smothered (see below). Creatures that succeed their Reflex save dodge back or aside (player's choice) when the gray death move into their space.

The body of a creature slain while engulfed by a gray death bursts into flames and is completely consumed at the beginning of the gray death's next turn. The ashes of victims one or two sizes smaller than the gray death merge with it and cause it to grow; a victim two sizes smaller grants it one extra HD, while a victim one size smaller grants it 2 HD (up to its maximum of 36 HD and size Huge). A resist energy (fire) spell cast on the victim's corpse prevents this transformation for 1d4 rounds, while a protection from energy (fire) spell cast on the victim's corpse prevents the transformation for the spell's duration.

Similar spells or powers also retard or stop this process, at the GM's discretion. Touch-range healing spells applied to an engulfed creature damage the gray death instead.

Smother (Ex): Any creature engulfed by a gray death must make a DC 16 Reflex save or begin to smother. If the creature makes its save, it catches its breath in time and merely begins the process of suffocation normally (see "Suffocation" in the SRD). If the save failed, the creature is nauseated, and is unable to hold its breath: It must begin making Constitution checks immediately (per the suffocation rules) to avoid passing out and suffocating. Leaving the gray death ends the checks, but a creature that had begun to make Constitution checks is nauseated for 1d3 rounds after leaving the death's space. Successfully turning a gray death forces it to expel any engulfed victims.

Cloudform (Ex): This ability is identical to the effects of the spell gaseous form.

Lifesense (Su): Gray deaths can sense the presence and the direction toward all living creatures within one mile.


None — The gray death barely has a body, much less the need, to carry treasure.

In Your Campaign[]

When a gray death is born in its fiery explosion, it is actually triggered by a tiny pinprick which links the Elemental Plane of Fire to the Material Plane. When the soul which powers this undead dies in a fire, it then searches for a more permanent source of fire to power itself. The soul spark drifts for a time because it unconsciously is looking for a "weak" area where the Fire Plane can be accessed. When it finds such an area, the resulting birth explosion inflicts 4d6 points of fire damage to any creatures within the 10-foot by 10-foot area.

This can be a real problem if a massive fire sweeps through an urban community. If even just a handful of those slain turn into gray deaths, their subsequent births could inflict even more damage to parts of the city not even near the original fire. A sage knowledgeable in the undead (specifically the gray death) will hire an adventuring band after a local fire to search for potential gray death soul sparks before they can explode into their true forms.

Characters can locate these dangerous soul sparks with any of the usual means used to detect invisible creatures. Once located, the spirit can be put to rest by either inflicting 12 points of damage to it (with magic only) or by succeeding a turn undead check against it as if it were a 6 Hit Dice creature.

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