|This material is published under the OGL|
This powerful feline form is a large as a man but shadowy in appearance. Dark spots on the creature's hide drift of their own accord as the monster tenses to strike.
Also known as a shadow leopard, the ndalawo is a leopard that has been transformed into an undead shadow of its former self. Though they prefer to prey on other leopards, perpetuating their foul species, they occasionally attack humanoids as well.
The ndalawo prefers to attack with surprise. If it is unable to do so, it usually waits until a more opportune moment presents itself. Despite its caution, the creature is not cowardly, and rarely retreats once combat is joined.
Create Spawn (Su): Any humanoid reduced to a Strength score of 0 by a shadow leopard becomes a shadow under control of its killer within 1d4 rounds. A leopard reduced to 0 Strength by a ndalawo becomes a new shadow leopard within 1d6 rounds. In both cases, the creature does not retain any of its previous characteristics, such as those based on race, class, or creature type, but rather uses the standard d20 rules for shadows if a humanoid or the ndalawo stats given here if a leopard.
Pounce (Ex): If a ndalawo leaps on a foe during the first round of combat, it can make a full attack even if it has already taken a move-action.
Strength Damage (Su): Any living creature struck by a ndalawo's claws suffers 1d4 points of temporary Strength damage, and any creature struck by its bite suffers 1d6 points of temporary Strength damage. Any creature killed by the ndalawo becomes an undead shadow (see Create Spawn above). Skills: A ndalawo's shadowy appearance gives it a +8 racial bonus to hide checks. It also receives a +8 racial bonus to Balance checks; these bonuses are already figured into the stats above.
None — As an incorporeal monster, the ndalawo has little need or desire for treasure. As an undead leopard, it has even less need or desire for it. Any items or coins found near to this creature are likely from the bodies of its now-shadowy victims.
In Your Campaign
Like most undead, the ndalawo is best used in an adventure at night or underground. The shadow leopard has no specific weakness to light, it simply does not care for it. Survivors of an ndalawo troupe's attack report that the monsters are particularly averse to moonlight. The shadow leopard's lair deep within jungle or other forested areas. Despite their incorporeal natures, ndalawo that are on their own tend to think like the leopards they once were, moving around objects instead of through them. Observant characters might somehow be able to capitalize on this weakness.
An ndalawo makes a great addition to the minions of a deity of shadow in your campaign. As long as they are assured the chance to propagate their shadowy kind, they can be persuaded into the service of a shadow cult or other evil group. Ndalawo are best used as spies and assassins given their incorporeal nature. The creatures' lack of signature alliances makes it difficult for investigating PCs to deduce just who the ndalawo are working for (or indeed if they are working for anyone).