The act of killing by itself is a heinous thing, something adventurers often have to cope with on a common basis. Often it’s self defense against monsters and bandits, other times it’s for more insidious reasons. Some snap amidst the violence, losing any attachment to empathy or reason. Such people degenerate into cold blooded killers, driven by the thrill of slaying whatever prey comes into their clutches. After a while, it becomes less about adventure and discovering lost treasure as it is an unrelenting bloodlust and hatred for all who oppose your goals.
This path of bloodshed and psychosis is a chilling and horrid one, the basis for many stories of terrifying villains and disturbed madmen. Much of the time, these evildoers prefer to scare their prey as much as possible before causing them to meet their untimely end. Such tactics are more than butchery and savagery, as the power of psychological terror is essential for weakening their foes. Often, they’ll do whatever to take away their power and isolate a target as much as possible, finding impossible ways to stalk them as well. And when all hope is lost, the killing strike is unleashed! Few have survived the wrath of a murderous maniac… and they usually die in the sequel anyway!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve rediscovered an awesome expansion for World of Darkness known as Slasher. It’s built on the Chronicles era Hunter game, in which Hunters succumb to their own inner darkness and become the very villains of horror cinema lore… essentially. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but whatever. Anyway, here’s a template that borrows heavily from slasher cinema, in an effort to translate the idea into D&D. Enjoy! (I might update with a “Supernatural Slasher” in the near future! Who knows?) Also, as for the picture? I’ve always loved this scene from the original Halloween. Something about that shot highlights a character’s seeming futile attempt to hide from a masked madman… and said murderous pushing into a claustrophobic space, where everything seems lost. Did I mention that movie is one of my all time favorite films?
Also, this one will probably be revised once I get more accurate math for this one, maybe swap out one thematic ability for another. I’ll see what people say first.
The Murderous Maniac Template.
Almost any intelligent character (typically humanoid) is capable of becoming a murderous maniac. Upon becoming one, they gain the following features:
- Surprise Final Act – When the maniac drops to 0 Hit Points, it falls unconscious at 0 and stabilizes automatically. In addition, they may make Deception checks (with advantage) to come across as dead. While in this semi-conscious state, they may regain 1d10 hit points per round until up to at least Challenge x 5 in hit points, at which point it stops. Once the maniac has used this ability, they must take a long rest before using it again.
- Ultra Sneak – Maniacs can make Stealth checks without penalty while moving at full speed. In addition, while doing so, they are under the effects of Silence while at least over 20 away from another creature. However, effects are suppressed while nearby that 20 ft. range.
- Killer’s Advantage: If the maniac hits a target while attacking with advantage, they may add an extra 2d6 to their total damage.
- Visceral Display – When a victim is killed by a maniac, targets capable of witnessing the act must make a Wis save vs. Frightened. The DC is based on either the maniac’s casting stat or whichever physical stat is their primary attack stat.
- Average Challenge adjustment: Effective damage is increased by 7, effective attack is increased by 1, effective HP is increased by 35 + desired Challenge level.