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Karakos the Zargosian Hydra

by Jamie Baty

HWQ1 54
Huge Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 9d10+57 (106 hp)
Initiative: +2 (+2 Dex)
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares), fly 60 ft. (poor), swim 20 ft. (4 squares)
Armour Class: 20 (-2 size, +2 Dex, +10 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 18
Base Attack/Grapple: +9/+23
Attack: Bite +14 melee (1d10 +6 plus poison)
Full Attack: 9 Bites +14 melee (1d10 +6 plus poison)
Space/Reach: 15 ft. /10 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft., fast healing 19, low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +12, Ref +8, Will +6
Abilities: Str 23, Dex 15, Con 22, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 11
Skills: Hide -6, Listen +5, Spot +5, Swim +10
Feats: Blind Fighting, Combat reflexes (B), Flyby Attack (B), Iron Will, Toughness, Weapon Focus (Bite)
Environment: Any marshes
Organisation: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 9
Treasure: None
Alignment: Usually Neutral
Advancement: -
Level Adjustment: -

This hydra has bat-like wings and looks much nastier than a normal hydra.

Karakos is a nine-headed hydra that has undergone changes through experiments by Zargosian sorcerers. Karakos has the dragon-like body common to other hydras. However, it also has huge bat-like wings. Unlike other hydras, it can fly. In other regards, Karakos is similar to normal hydras.

Karakos can attack with all of its heads at no penalty, even if it moves or charges during the round. Karakos can be killed either by severing all its heads or by slaying its body. To sever a head, an opponent must make a successful sunder attempt with a slashing weapon. (The player should declare where the attack is aimed before making the attack roll.) Making a sunder attempt provokes an attack of opportunity unless the foe has the Improved Sunder feat. An opponent can strike at Karakos's heads from any position in which he could strike at Karakos, because Karakos' heads writhe and whip about in combat. An opponent can ready an action to attempt to sunder one of Karakos' heads when the creature bites at him. Each of Karakos' heads has hit points equal to the creature's full normal hit point total, divided by its original number of heads. Losing a head deals damage to the body equal to half the head's full normal hit points. A natural reflex seals the neck shut to prevent further blood loss. Karakos can no longer attack with a severed head but takes no other penalties. Each time a head is severed, two new heads spring from the stump in 1d4 rounds. Karakos can never have more than twice its original number of heads at any one time, and any extra heads it gains beyond its original number wither and die within a day. To prevent a severed head from growing back into two heads, at least 5 points of fire or acid damage must be dealt to the stump (a touch attack to hit) before the new heads appear. A flaming weapon (or similar effect) deals its energy damage to the stump in the same blow in which a head is severed. Fire or acid damage from an area effect may burn multiple stumps in addition to dealing damage to Karakos' body.

Karakos does not die from losing its heads until all its heads have been cut off and the stumps seared by fire or acid. Karakos' body can be slain just like any other creature's, but Karakos possesses fast healing (see below) and are difficult to defeat in this fashion. Any attack that is not (or cannot be) an attempt to sunder a head affects the body. Targeted magical effects cannot sever one of Karakos' heads (and thus must be directed at the body) unless they deal slashing damage and could be used to make sunder attempts.

Poison (Ex): Karakos' bite is extremely poisonous. Primary and secondary 2d6 str damage, save DC 20.

Fast Healing (Ex): Each round, Karakos heals damage equal to 19.

Scent (Ex): This special quality allows Karakos to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.