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Thunderheadby Jamie Baty
Hit Dice: 8d12+40 (92 hp)
Initiative: +8 (+4 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Speed: 10 ft. (2 squares), fly 60 ft. (poor)
Armour Class: 20 (+4 Dex, -2 size, +8 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+25
Attack: Claw +15 melee (2d6 +9)
Full Attack: 2 Claws +15 melee (2d6 +9)
Space/Reach: 15 ft. /10 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath weapon, improved grab
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft., dragon traits, immunity to electricity, low-light vision, storm's strength
Saves: Fort +11, Ref +10, Will +10
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 18, Con 20, Int 7, Wis 14, Cha 8
Skills: Balance +7, Bluff +5, Intimidate +6, Listen +13, Search +5, Spot +17, Survival +9
Feats: Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Track (B)
Environment: Any hills, mountains
Organisation: Solitary, Pair, Flight (1-3)
Challenge Rating: 8
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 9-15 HD (Huge); 16-24 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: -
Thunderheads are reptilian carnivores related to both dragons and wyverns. They are constantly on the wing and are usually encountered during thunderstorms. A thunderhead has a leathery black body that shows deep blue highlights on those rare occasions when sunlight strikes it; its swept-back, batlike wings are velvety black. The creature has a narrow, elongated head with a long, toothy beak and a pair of slit-like eyes coloured a vibrant electric blue. A thunderhead's two legs look spindly but are very strong, ending in splayed feet. Each foot has three toes and an opposed thumb, each digit equipped with a vicious-hook claw.
Thunderheads live high up in the clouds, soaring and hunting. They are not social creatures, but any area with strong updrafts that make soaring easier can attract several thunderheads. Such areas are very hazardous if thunderstorms develop in them.
Thunderheads hunt, eat, sleep and mate on the wing. Thunderheads hunt all types of flying creatures: birds, bats, giant flying insects, even flying humans and skyships. During a storm, a thunderhead will try to catch and eat anything it spots.
Virtually the only time thunderheads land voluntarily is when females do so briefly to lay eggs after mating. All thunderhead nesting sites are located in areas prone to violent storms. The female chooses a sheer, sunny cliff face that is accessible only from the air. Once she finds a suitable site, she lays a clutch of 1d4+1 eggs.
Thunderhead eggs have exceptionally thick shells; their tough exterior and mottled brown or grey colour makes them look just like large stones. The eggs become ready-to hatch after about 14 week, and the parents stay nearby, ready to drive off intruders.
Thunderhead eggs have shells so thick and strong that young thunderheads: must blast their way out with their lightning bolts when they are ready to hatch. Thunderhead parents feed their hatchings for about a month. During this time, the hatchlings' size and weight triple and they eat voraciously. When a thunderstorm finally builds up, the young thunderheads go into the same frenzy as their parents and launch themselves into the storm. Once airborne, instinct takes over and the young thunderheads immediately begin hunting on their own.
Thunderheads speak a primitive form of draconic, and some have learned auran.
Thunderheads usually limit their hunting to other aerial creatures. They have exceptionally keen eyesight and can spot prey as small as a sparrow from several thousand feet away.
A thunderhead's favourite tactic is to swoop down upon smaller prey and grab with its claws. When faced with an opponent too large to carry or too difficult to grab, a thunderhead rakes with its claws and uses its breath weapon-a stroke of lightning.
Thunderheads become very excited and aggressive during thunderstorms (as it enhances them significantly). When excited and strengthen by the storm, thunderheads swoop down to ground level and attack anything that moves, first loosing strokes of lightning, then snatching as many victims as it can.
Breath Weapon (Su): A thunderhead's breath weapon attack usually deals 5d6 electrical damage in a 60' line. Targets are allowed a Reflex save for half damage (DC 19 Con based). Using a breath weapon is a standard action. Once a thunderhead breathes, it can't breathe again until 1d4 rounds later.
Improved Grab (Ex): If a thunderhead hits with its claw attack, it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If the grapple succeeds, the thunderhead may hold the victim in its claw. It may automatically inflict claw damage to the creature in any following round the creature is held or grappled.
A thunderhead may hold a Small or Tiny creature in one claw, and may hold a medium or large creature with both claws (requires both claws to hit foe to initiate the grapple).
Storm's Strength (Su): When a thunderhead is within the area of a thunderstorm, its HD double and it gains a size category. The thunderhead gains all of the benefits of its new HD except for additional feats and skill points as well as gaining all the benefits and penalties of its new size. This ability occurs as an immediate action when a thunderhead enters the storm and the thunderhead reverts to normal 2d10 rounds after leaving the area of the storm or after the storm dissipates (this is also an immediate action). A thunderhead has no control over this ability.
Skills: A thunderhead receives a +4 racial bonus to Listen checks and a +8 racial bonus to Spot checks
Dragon Traits: Immunity to magic sleep effects and paralysis effects.