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Manikin (Mandragora)

by Jamie Baty

Diminutive Plant
Hit Dice: 1/2d8+1 (3 hp)
Initiative: +9 (+5 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed: 5 ft. (1 square)
Armour Class: 19 (+4 size, +5 Dex), touch 19, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: 0/-17
Attack: Slam -1 melee (1 -5)
Full Attack: Slam -1 melee (1 -5)
Space/Reach: 1 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Death shriek
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, melding, plant traits, soil dependence, spiritual tether, bonding
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +0
Abilities: Str 1, Dex 20, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 2
Skills: Escape Artist +6, Hide +22, Listen +1, Sleight of Hand +6, Spot +1
Feats: Improved Initiative
Environment: Any land
Organisation: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 1/4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 1 HD (Diminutive); 2HD (Tiny)
Level Adjustment: -

The manikin, a tiny humanoid-like plant with grey or brown rubbery skin, smells of freshly turned earth. It does not speak or write. The creature comes from a rare plant called a mandragora. The plant's 10-inch-long root has a gnarled humanoid shape, with a few leaves growing at the top.
Spellcasters familiar with the mandragora (such as those with the Knowledge (Nature) skill) can use magical methods to turn the root into a manikin.
A spellcaster can enchant as many manikins as he wants, as long as he can find enough mandragora roots, and has no difficulty controlling them all at the same time. The manikin's creator can read the little creature's mind as clearly as if it were a book. The creator mentally controls the manikin and often uses it as an assistant when working in his laboratory. When the spellcaster is performing a complex experiment, the creature automatically senses its master's needs and performs the necessary task, such as fetching tools or handling poisonous substances. Using manikins as help when making potions or other magical items significantly increases the chances of success.
The creator must designate a specific point of his laboratory as the manikin's spiritual tether (any unmovable item will suffice). This location can never change, and the manikin must remain within 100 feet of this point. Often, the manikin's tether point is a large pot holding soil.
The manikin must spend at least an hour each day in soil, absorbing the nutrients and water it needs for survival. A manikin denied soil and water will die, at which time it releases its shriek to affect whoever prevented it from gaining the substances required for life.

The manikin cannot fight effectively, so it avoids combat. The creature seems quite fast for its size. It will hide to the best of its abilities if threatened.
The manikin wreaks vengeance on any who would slay it, emitting a horrible shriek when it dies. The individual who killed it must make a successful saving throw or fall dead, as if affected by a lethal poison.

Death Shriek (Su): Any creature that slays a manikin must make a Fortitude save vs DC12 (Con based) or be instantly killed. This is a necromantic, sonic effect.

Melding (Su): As a full round action, a manikin may meld with wood or stone. It may move through wood at a rate of 10ft per round and may move through stone at a rate of 5ft per round. While melded with wood or stone, the manikin is undetectable except through Truesight.

Soil Dependence (Ex): A manikin must spend at least one hour per day in natural soil. A manikin suffers 1 hp damage per day it does not have access to natural soil. This damage cannot be healed until this hour of soil immersion has occurred.

Spiritual Tether (Ex): A manikin's spirit is tied to a specific location designated at the time of its creation. If the manikin ever strays more than 100ft from its tether point, it immediately dies. Note that a manikin will never willingly leave its area.

Bonding (Su): A manikin is mystically bonded to its creator. The following effects are tied to this binding:
The creator, as a free action, may read the manakin's mind and control the manikin's actions.
The manikin can intuitively sense the needs of its master, and without guidance may bring her small objects, components, and items needed, handle poisons and perform other small tasks.
The creator gains a -1 reduction in the DC to create a magic item for each manikin under his control (limited to a total -4 reduction).
A manikin dies immediately if its creator dies.
The creator permanently loses hp equal to the manikin's hp total if the manikin is killed.

Plant Traits: A plant creature possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature's entry): Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects); Immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning; Not subject to critical hits; Plants breathe and eat, but do not sleep.

Skills: Manikins have a racial bonus of +4 to all Hide checks. This bonus increases to +12 if the manikin is in forested environments or buried in soil.

Creating a Manikin
To create a manikin, one must find a mandragora root. For each hour spent looking for the root, the searcher must make a DC20 Knowledge (Nature) or DC25 Craft (Alchemy) check. If the check was successful, one root has been found.
Removal of the root requires a DC12 Fortitude save (Con based). Failure indicates the harvester is instantly killed (see Death Shriek) by the shriek emitted as the root is pulled out.
Once the root has been harvested, it is prepared in a special ritual that requires 1,000gp of special oils and tinctures. The creator must be at least 9th level for the ritual to succeed. The root has the following spells cast upon it during the ritual: Summon Monster I and Permanency (note that the XP requirement for this spell is part of the final XP sacrifice). Finally the caster permanently sacrifices 1000XP to complete the ritual. The total creation time of the ritual requires 8 uninterrupted hours.