Cairn (3.5e Creature)

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A typical Cairn

Cairn, 1st level warrior[edit]

Size/Type: Medium Humanoid
Hit Dice: 1d8+2 (6 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30ft (6 squares)
Armor Class: 16 ( +4 armor, +2 shield), touch 10, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
Attack: Morningstar +1 melee (1d8)
Full Attack: Morningstar +1 melee (1d8)
Space/Reach: 5 ft/5 ft
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft., light sensitivity, undead affinity
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +1
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 9
Skills: Intimidate +3, Listen +4, Spot +4
Feats: Alertness
Environment: Underground
Organization: Gang (7-12 and a 3rd-level cleric), band (10-100 plus 10% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level cleric with 3 skeletons per 20 adults and 1 cleric leader of 4th-6th level with 3 zombies per 2 levels), or tribe (40-400 plus 1 3rd-level cleric per 20 adults, 1 or 2 cleric lieutenants of 5th-7th level with 3 zombies per 2 levels, 1 cleric leader of 11th level with 6-8 ghouls)
Challenge Rating: 1/2
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually Neutral Evil
Advancement: By character class, usually cleric
Level Adjustment: +1

This malicious, subterranean race of humanoids are slender and roughly the same height as a human. With white, flaky skin and dull red eyes Cairn give the impression of an undead being at first glance, sometimes causing inexperienced adventurers to flea in terror. Devout worshippers of The Lich God of Secrets, their leaders are exclusively clerics and are usually followed without question by those who dare not risk becoming their leader’s next undead slave.


Light Sensitivity (Ex): Cairn suffer a -1 penalty to attack rolls in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.

Undead Affinity (Su): Cairn clerics can command a number of undead equal to their cleric level dice plus two. However, they do not always choose to control the maximum possible number of undead - often, a cleric will leave just enough hit dice of undead free to create a zombie, as a warning to his subordinates that any one of them might be his next zombie.

A Cairn is generally outfitted with whatever weapons and armor he manages to make or steal himself. Comparatively few noncombatants exist in their society, since the females are just as tough and capable as the males and are treated as such. Those who are no longer able to fight (or refuse to) stand at risk of being sacrificed to Vecna by his clerics.

Their society has a loosely hierarchical structure. Small groups (often extended families or gangs) are each led by a cleric who pays fealty to a higher ranking cleric and his clan, who in turn pays fealty to a higher ranking cleric and so forth. An individual Cairn's rank is primarily dependant on his/her spellcasting ability, Cairn clerics routinely make sacrifices to Vecna in the hope of being granted greater power. As in Drow society, sacrificing a higher-ranking cleric is an effective, though difficult, method of proving one’s strength and superiority.

The continual threshing of the Cairn society, where the weak and careless find themselves made into sacrifices or killed and raised as zombies, has made its remaining members strong in mind and body, if not especially numerous.

Cairn as Characters[edit]

Many Cairn become clerics of The Lich God of Secrets, favouring the Evil and Death domains. Those who find themself lacking the knack to be a cleric tend to become fighters, often finding themself in high demand as bodyguards for high-ranking chieftains.

Cairn possess the following racial traits.

  • +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom. Cairn are tough, like the undead they revere, and in such a cutthroat society the careless and aloof rarely survive.
  • Medium size.
  • An Cairn’s base land speed is 30 feet.
  • Darkvision out to 60ft.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • Special Qualities (see above): Light sensitivity, undead affinity.
  • Racial skills: Due to their fearsome appearance and selfish attitude, Cairn gain a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks, but a -2 racial penalty to Diplomacy checks. They also gain a +2 racial bonus to Knowledge (religion) checks pertaining to undead.
  • Automatic Languages: Undercommon. Bonus Languages: Common, Abyssal. Their society is heavily isolated and has little need for foreign languages.
  • Favored Class: Cleric.
  • Level adjustment: +1 The Cairn warrior presented here had the following ability scores before racial adjustments: Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8.

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