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Template Grafts | Universal Monster Rules

Deadfall Stalker

Source Alien Archive 4 pg. 28

Deadfall Stalker CR 12

XP 19,200
CN Large magical beast
Init +5; Senses blindsight (vibration) 60 ft., sense through (blindsight [vibration]) 60 ft., sightless; Perception +27


HP 185
EAC 26; KAC 28
Fort +16; Ref +16; Will +11
Defensive Abilities regeneration 5 (electricity)


Speed 30 ft., burrow 15 ft., climb 30 ft.
Melee bite +22 (3d8+20 B plus swallow whole) or claw +26 (3d6+20 S plus grab)
Multiattack 3 claws +20 (3d6+20 S plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with claws)
Offensive Abilities singular attraction, swallow whole (3d8+20 B, EAC 26, KAC 24, 46 HP) Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th) 1/day—cosmic eddy (DC 19), greater invisibility (self only), passwall


STR +8; DEX +5; CON +4; INT -3; WIS +1; CHA -2
Skills Athletics +27, Stealth +22
Other Abilities compression, feast, void adaptation


Environment any (Apostae)
Organization solitary or tangle (2–8)

Special Abilities

Feast (Su) Whenever a creature the deadfall stalker has swallowed dies or loses or spends a Resolve Point while dying, the deadfall stalker’s regeneration increases by 10 during the following round (maximum 25).
Singular Attraction (Ex) A deadfall stalker easily transfers grabbed prey into its maw. A deadfall stalker can use its swallow whole ability to swallow a creature even if that creature wasn’t grappled or pinned by the deadfall stalker’s bite attack.


Loosely resembling a spider, a deadfall stalker’s body hosts a black hole singularity it uses to capture, crush, and digest prey. Each of these subterranean predators skitters ably on its host of legs—the number of appendages ranges from 12–31 but doesn’t impact their creatures’ mobility and is unrelated to their age. A stalker’s strange, spherical body has phalanxes of hairy appendages. Rather than eyes, a deadfall stalker relies on its legs’ thousands of bristles, using them to sense the faintest vibrations even through thin atmosphere or stone. Those who survive encounters with these beasts sometimes report the soft tapping of a nearby stalker as it hauntingly raps on nearby surfaces to listen for echoes and prey.

As ambush hunters, deadfall stalkers quietly patrol their territory on the lookout for prey to catch unawares. They’re adept at creeping up on targets, yet their favored tactic involves using passwall to strike from a completely unexpected direction. Once in range, a deadfall stalker scrabbles to pin down its prey with its legs before passing the immobilized meal into its jawless maw, which relies on suctioning force to crush and swallow food whole. The internal singularity and the organ that shelters it occupy roughly half the stalker’s abdomen, and in addition to creating the gravity fields that circulate the creature’s blood, the singularity acts as a powerful gizzard that pulverizes virtually anything the deadfall stalker swallows. The beast draws sustenance from the energy released by its prey’s disintegrating atomic bonds and periodically excretes hyper-dense waste pellets.

When a deadfall stalker accumulates too much matter, its singularity grows too powerful to remain housed safely in the creature’s body. Within a few days, the stalker finds a safe place, hunkers down, and locks its limbs against one another in order to tear itself apart, undergoing binary fission. In addition to creating two healthy deadfall stalkers, each with half the number of legs as the original, this process snaps the singularity in half, releasing a powerful shock wave that registers on seismometers, breaks windows, and occasionally triggers cave-ins. The two halves barely acknowledge each other before skittering off to go their separate ways, gradually growing a full set of legs over the next several months.

Deadfall stalkers typically live solitary existences. However, they are fairly gregarious when meeting others of their kind, often linking claws and patting each other’s joints with remarkable tenderness before settling into a huddled tangle of limbs. They can remain this way for days on end. Because deadfall stalkers reproduce asexually, it’s unclear why the creatures perform this soothing ritual, yet they seem to enjoy each other’s company and purposefully seek out occasional companions. If lonely, these beasts need only seek out trails that lack dust entirely to find each other, for their singularities quietly vacuum up loose debris wherever they walk. Thankfully, this same trail helps other creatures avoid the stalkers. In at least three documented cases, however, these beasts have sought out other species for company—in each case chasing down, capturing, and then delicately grooming their distressed companion before releasing them wordlessly several hours later.

The discovery of deadfall stalkers came only within the last century, when a half-orc expedition into Apostae’s interior unsealed a vault with walls dozens of feet thick. A torrent of deadfall stalkers fell upon the spelunkers, and the drow who received the distress calls responded by sealing off that stretch of tunnels, thinking that sufficient to stem the strange threat. However, deadfall stalkers have since infiltrated several other sections of the planet, bypassing all but the thickest barricades. Within a month, the creatures had spread beyond the drow houses’ ability to contain the threat, and deadfall stalkers have become a deadly reality for those delving the planet’s depths.

Thankfully, deadfall stalkers can barely sense their surroundings on Apostae’s airless surface, which discourages the creatures from venturing too far into the open. Those that do become hopelessly lost, often compressing themselves into a tight mass before entering a period of hibernation. This survival technique occasionally results in stalkers hiding in surface ruins, or getting lodged into starship hulls and inadvertently hitching rides across the galaxy. These accidental stowaways adapt easily to new worlds, yet they inexplicably reproduce far slower on other planets than they do on Apostae. As much as this peculiarity baffles researches, it’s welcome news to the distant worlds that wish to avoid being overrun.

The few biologists and behaviorists who’ve studied deadfall stalkers and lived to report their findings have discovered that the creatures don’t espouse particularly complex belief systems, yet this information hasn’t stopped the Cult of the Devourer from obsessing over them. Feaster sects in particular relish any opportunities to lure deadfall stalkers into populated areas, all while forming a perimeter to eliminate any bystanders who try to flee the scene. Other worshippers—especially the cult’s recruiters—have tried to tame the deadfall stalkers to turn them into dreadful mounts or living tanks. Devourer cultists have even attempted to transport deadfall stalkers to other planets, often with disastrous results. Collectively, these destructive missions rarely go as planned, as the escaped beasts often inflict just as much havoc on their captors as they might once have on the cultists’ intended targets.