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OGL 3.x Monsters
Assassin Pods, Deep Orcs and Venom Sharks

Copyright D. Andrew Ferguson ©2001

Edited by Jamie Revell for The Guild Companion

Assassin Pod

Medium-Size Shapechanger

Hit Dice: 8d8+8 (44 hp)

Initiative: +5 (+1 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)

Speed: 30 ft.

AC: 20 (+1 Dex, + 9 natural)

Attacks: 2 slams +9 melee.

Damage: 1d6+3

Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5ft.

Special Attacks: Detect Thoughts

Saves: Fort +7 Ref +7, Will +8.

Abilities: Str 16, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 12

Skills: Bluff +12, Disguise +12, Jump +5, Listen +10, Sense Motive +5, Spot +9.

Feats: Alertness, Improved Initiative, Power Attack.

Climate/Terrain: Any land and underground

Organization: Solitary

Challenge Rating: 5

Treasure: Standard

Alignment: Usually neutral

Advancement: By Character Class.


Assassin pods are believed to be close relatives of Doppelgangers, appearing like well-muscled versions of their shapeshifting kin. However the Assassin Pods are programmed killers. Only once in their life is an Assassin Pod able to assume another form, and this only lasts until a subconscious command compels them to fulfil a mission.

Assassin Pods are initially found as a large pod. The pod is tear shaped, being 4ft. tall and 3 ft. at the base, with an appearance and texture similar to a cornhusk. When touched by an unsuspecting humanoid, the pod opens revealing the assassin within, who instinctively attacks the person that touched the pod. Once the person is dead the assassin assumes the dead person's shape, memories and even their equipment. Furthermore at this point the Assassin Pod actually thinks that it is the person that it replaced, having genuine feelings just as the victim did. The Assassin Pods go about their victims' daily business and continue with their relationships until their murderous rage is activated by a set of circumstances dictated by a subconscious command that they received while they were still a pod. This subconscious command can consist of a sentence and a few mental images such as "kill the king's envoy". Once the Assassin Pod knows who the king's envoy is, they will revert to their natural form and immediately attack to the death.

After their target is destroyed, an Assassin Pod will be confused and unable to reassume its previous form. The pod will realize that it is not the person that it thought that it was, and is not welcome in the life that it once had. Most Assassin Pods will wander off into the wilderness mourning for the life that they have lost. Many of the Assassin Pods will actively seek their own death and will attack adventurers and dangerous creatures in an effort to end to their pitiful lives.

When an Assassin Pod dies, a new pod will grow out of the dead body awaiting a command from its mysterious masters. Some Wizards have found that they can control the pod by giving it a command early in its development. The pod will lie dormant but will eventually attempt to fulfil its directive.


The Bluff and Disguise skills are used once when the Assassin Pod first assumes its adopted form. This determines how well the Assassin Pod was able to duplicate its victim.

Detect thoughts (Su): An Assassin Pod can detect thoughts as the spell cast by a 18th level sorcerer (save DC 13). The Assassin Pod can only use this ability on its intended victim.

Alter Self (Su): An Assassin Pod can assume the shape of its first victim. This ability works like alter self as cast by an 18th level sorcerer, but the Assassin Pod can remain in this form indefinitely. The Assassin Pod can only use this ability on its intended victim.

Immunities (Ex) Assassin Pods are immune to sleep and charm effects.

Deep Orcs

Medium-Size Humanoid (Orc)

Hit Dice: 2d8+4 (13 hp)

Initiative: +0.

Speed: 30 ft.

AC: 14 (+4 natural)

Attacks: Greataxe +4 melee.

Damage: Greataxe 1d12+4.

Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5ft.

Special Qualities: Darkvision 100 ft., Light sensitivity.

Saves: Fort +3 Ref +0, Will -1.

Abilities: Str 16, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 8, Cha 8.

Skills: Listen +3, Spot +3.

Feats: Alertness.

Climate/Terrain: Underground.

Organization: Solitary, Gang (2-4), squad (11-20 plus 2 third level and 1 third to sixth level).

Challenge Rating: 2

Treasure: standard.

Alignment: Usually chaotic evil

Advancement: By character class.


Unlike their more common cousins Deep Orcs rarely travel to the surface, preferring instead to dwell far beneath the over world. Deep Orcs are a shorter and wider variety of Orc that were forced into the deep realm millennia ago after losing a war to Elves. Over the years the Orcs adapted to their new environment becoming shorter, stronger, and even more resilient. Deep Orcs are reclusive and territorial, often killing whatever wanders into their territory, even other Orcs.

Venom Sharks

Medium-Size Animal (Aquatic)

Hit Dice: 2d8+3 (12hp)

Initiative: +4 (Dex)

Speed: Swim 60 ft.

AC: 15 (+4 Dex, + 1 natural)

Attacks: Bite +4 melee.

Damage: Bite 1d4.

Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./5ft.

Special Qualities: Keen scent.

Special Attacks: Poison Bite.

Saves: Fort +3 Ref +4, Will +2.

Abilities: Str 10, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2

Skills: Listen +7, Spot +7.

Feats: Weapon Finesse (bite).

Climate/Terrain: Any aquatic.

Organization: Solitary, or school (2-5)

Challenge Rating: 2

Treasure: none

Alignment: Always neutral

Advancement: 3-6 HD (Medium-size).


Venom Sharks are small carnivorous fish, usually under 4 feet long. The sharks will attack suddenly and then wait for their poisonous bite to take affect.


Venom Sharks use their poisonous bite either to attack prey or to defend themselves.

Keen Scent (Ex): Venom Sharks can notice creatures by scent in a 180-foot radius and detect blood in the water at ranges of up to a mile.

Poison (Ex): Bite, Fortitude save (DC 11); initial and secondary damage 1d6 temporary Constitution.

Appendix A

This article: "OGL 3.x Monsters: Assassin Pods, Deep Orcs, and Venom Sharks", Copyright © 2001 by D. Andrew Ferguson, is an OGL 3.x article.

This article is covered by the Open Gaming License. The title "OGL 3.x Monsters: Assassin Pods, Deep Orcs, and Venom Sharks" is Product Identity, all other material in this article is Open Gaming Content. Portions of this work are derived from the System Reference Document, Copyright © 2000 by Wizards of the Coast, and are used with permission.


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Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Rules Document Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

"OGL 3.x Monsters: Assassin Pods, Deep Orcs and Venom Sharks", Copyright © 2001 by D. Andrew Ferguson, first published by The Guild Companion (


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