Living Water (3.5e Creature)

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Size/Type: Medium Ooze (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 3d10+3 (19 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 10' (2 squares; can't run except in water), 20' swim
Armor Class: 13 (+1 Dex, +2 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+8
Attack: Slam +4 melee (1d4+3)
Full Attack: Slam
Space/Reach: 5'/5'
Special Attacks: Change shape, drown, improved grab, swallow whole
Special Qualities: Amphibious, blindsight 30', combine, damage reduction 15/bludgeoning, ooze traits, resist cold & electricity 10, resist fire 20, tremorsense 90', water's edge, water spell vulnerabilities
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +2
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 5
Skills: Hide +5*, Listen +3, Spot +3, Swim +6
Feats: Improved Grapple, Improved Trip
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary or family (2-4)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Often neutral
Advancement: 4-5 (Medium), 6-8 (Large), 9+ (Huge)
Level Adjustment:

Passive state (see Change Shape and Water's Edge):

Armor Class: 11 (+1 Dex), touch 11, flat-footed 10
Speed: 5' (1 square; can't run except in water), swim 40'
Attack/Full Attack: -
Special Attacks: -

The familiar glint of gold catches your eye as you pass a remarkably fish-free, shallow pond. You take a closer look, and there are several coins and a fancy looking helmet floating around the bottom, swept by small currents. Of course you reach in, but the second your hand touches the water it turns… dark? Slimy? You can barely register this as half a second later the water suddenly shoots upwards in a man-sized pillar and crashes into the face like a giant fist! It has your upper body engulfed and your knees buckle from the weight by the time you realize what's happening. You struggle, and can't breathe and can barely see as thick ribbons of jelly snake up your nostrils, down your windpipe, and press into your unclosable eyes.

Aballins, whose common name is living water, are fluidic ambush predators who use their camoflage to engulf and drown creatures that venture within their grasp. They are opportunistic hunters, and will kill and eat anything smaller than themselves that they feel they are reasonably capable of defeating. This could mean laying low in the local watering hole for migrating herbivores, or keeping gold and jewels within itself for unwise adventurers to try and nab.

In their passive state, they look like large puddles of normal water, devoid of fish or other animals. Those looking into one often notice coins, jewelry, or other small treasures of the aballin's past prey. Though they resemble water elementals, aballins are actually comprised of a weak acid which, over the course of three weeks, digests organic matter, leaving behind other items. Because of this, spells such as Water Breathing offer no help in surviving the effect of drowning in their fluids.

Aballins traverse lakes, rivers, or streams in search of food. One may also move slowly upon land by oozing or by laboriously extending its gelatinous pseudopods and inching forward like a slug — in fact, like the slug, it leaves a faintly discernable slimy trail when traveling upon land. Due to its semiliquid composition, living waters are incapable of ascending surfaces with a slope greater than 30 degrees.

They can prove useful in an ecology by keeping down the population of other dangerous monsters or plants that might be found in or near water. Like all predators, they are not too proud to scavenge, and will happily digest half-rotted remains that they happen upon in their travels.

Aballins have no eyes, but can keep track of prey through scent and vibration (represented by its blindsight and tremorsense).

Living waters cannot speak. They are intelligent enough to learn, however, should one develop a taste for humanoid flesh and wants every advantage in acquiring its preferred prey.


In its passive state, it is like unto its watery home in every respect. But even in its gelatinous shape — its "combat form" — it is about as difficult to harm as the aqua it so resembles. Slashing and piercing weapons barely scratch it, represented by its impressive damage reduction.

It appears not at all threatening when at rest, which may result in creatures attempting to drink from one, trying to move through it, or reaching in to recover shiny treasures. Any of these actions rouse the aballin, and the creature instantly becomes a gelatinous pseudopid, which lashes out and tries to envelop its prey.

The living water will try to drown one creature at a time unless they're small enough to be fully engulfed via swallow whole, only lashing out at others if they try and intervene. They usually try and trip that enemy so it can drag its prey deeper into the water.


Change Shape (Ex): With a swift action, an aballin alters from its passive state to a semi-gelatinous shape that uses the combat statistics above. It can switch back with another swift action.
In its passive state, an aballin is indistinguishable from fresh water (see Water's Edge, below) and its base swim speed is doubled (40'), but can't use any attacks or special attacks aside from purely mental ones. Its base land speed is halved (5'), and cannot benefit from natural armor. It has a -4 penalty to Strength checks.
Drown (Ex): Whenever an aballin successfully grapples and holds an opponent, and for every round it maintains the hold, that opponent cannot breathe and thus cannot speak, cast spells with verbal components, etc. It must hold its breath to avoid drowning.
If it successfully grapples and holds an opponent in the surprise round, an aballin can drain parts of itself down an unprepare creature's trachea. That opponent doesn't get a chance to try and hold its breath, and immediately needs to make Constitution checks to avoid drowning.
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, an aballin must hit a Medium or smaller creature with its slam attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to drown its opponent. (Unless the grabbed creature is smaller than Medium, in which case it can attempt to swallow whole.)
Swallow Whole (Ex): Most of the time, the aballin can only grapple by smothering its body on a single creature. But those about the size of, say, a pheasant or a halfling, it can wholly engulf it. This has the same effect as a creature being hit by Drown, except the living water can go do other stuff.


Combine (Ex): A mated pair of aballins may join and function as a single entity with combined racial Hit Dice (which will increase its size category by at least one) and using the highest of the ability scores of either, particularly if there are young present.
This takes a full-round action for both of them, and the combined creature a full-round to split back into the mated pair.
If for some strange reason they both have class levels or some other form of added hit dice that aren't racial, only one or the other's extra hit dice are represented in this combined form. This is decided upon joining, and can't be changed until they unjoin and recombine.
Water's Edge (Ex): While in its passive state (see Change Shape) and within a body of water or similar liquid at least as large as itself, an aballin is naturally invisible (treat as Greater Invisibility [CL 13th; = 10 + racial HD, max 20] that is not subject to Invisibility Purge). It is immune to any attack that wouldn't damage water.
When in its gelatinous shape and in a body of liquid larger than itself, it has concealment (20% miss chance).
Water Spell Vulnerabilities (Ex): Animate water (Spell Compendium) cast on a living water forces it to make a Will save or be rebuked (as Turn Undead by an evil cleric) but if it fails its save by 5 or more, it is commanded; either effect lasts as long as the spell would last normally.
A control water, buoyant lifting (SpC), or sink (SpC) spell cast on an aballin that is grappling an opponent forces it to make a Fortitude saving throw (identical to the Will save water elementals make) or it immediately frees its entrapped victim.
It is treated as having the water subtype or as an elemental with the water subtype for other purposes, e.g., dust of dryness forcing a DC 18 Fortitude save to not be destroyed.

Adventure Ideas[edit]

  • Low Level: Many are the grigs and nixies who've fallen prey to a splash of aballins, and promise to speak good of the players to the local druid should they get rid of the aquatic murderers -- her assistance necessary to achieve their current goal, tempting though it may be to let all the fairies get eaten. But if the aballins are gone, what other predators will fill the opened niche?
  • Mid Level: Rumors abound of a living lake, large enough to prey on dragons.

Design Notes[edit]

See talk page.

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