Tiger, Ebon

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Tiger, Ebon
Frequency:Very rare
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:Animal (1)
No. Appearing:1
Armor Class:6
Hit Dice:6
No. of Attacks:3
Damage/Attack:1d4 (claw)/1d4 (claw)/2d4 (bite)
Special Attacks:Bite causes blindness
Special Defenses:Stealth, concealment, hit only by magical weapons
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:L (8' long)
Morale:Fearless (20)
XP Value:975

These fearsome magical creatures look like great cats wholly composed of black fire. Physically, an ebon tiger resembles a normal tiger, except that its body is uniformy black with no stripes. Lighter patches of darkness mark the creature's eyes, teeth, and whiskers. These areas sometimes faintly sparkle with magical energies, especially when the ebon tiger is angry or excited.

Combat: Ebon tigers are masters of stealth. Their shadowy bodies give them a 100% chance to hide in shadows. Ebon tigers are insubstantial and vimally weightless; their nonmaterial bodies make them immune to normal weapons and allow them to move silently 100% of the time. Ebon tigers can pass through small openings, even mere holes or cracks, with ease. Their senses extend into the Ethereal Plane and they can attack (and be attacked by) ethereal and out-of-phase creatures at all times.

Areas guarded by ebon tigers frequently are lit by flickering torches or oil lamps that create many shadows. Intruders who venture into these areas often suffer a nasty shock when the ebon tiger leaps to the attack; the victim suffers a -4 penalty to his or her surprise roll due to the difficulty in detecting the creature's silent approach.

Ebon tigers attack with their claws and teeth. An ebon tiger's bite can cause blindness in addition to normal damage. Any creature bitten must roll a saving throw vs. poison; if the saving throw fails, the victim's sight begins to grow dim and he or she feels disoriented. During the next round, the victim suffen a -1 penalty to attack rolls, ability score cheiks, and saving throws. This penalty increases by a point per round until it reaches 4. Any type of magical healing (cure wounds spells, neutralize poison, cure disease, etc.) removes the effect, provided it is applied before the penalty reaches 4. Once the penalty reaches 4, the victim is completely and permanently blind; thereafter, only a cure blindness or heal spell will restore sight.

Habitat/Society: Ebon tigers are solitary hunters that roam the Prime Material, Ethereal, and other inner planes. Ebon tigers prefer thickly overgrown places where trees and shrubs provide shadowy conditions even during daylight.

Ebon tigers are by reputation very territorial, bad tempered, and ruthlessly vicious. Wild ebon tiiers tend to be shy and reclusive, attacking only when hungry or threatened. Being shy, however, they are quite likely to regard any intrusion as a threat.

It is not clear where ebon tigers originated. It is possible that they first came from a gloomy Deep Ethereal demiplane; it is equally possible that they owe their existence to ancient magical experiments made by an unknown priest or wizard.

Rakasta priests often use ebon tigers as guards to protect important places or treasures. Their stealth and utter fearlessness as guard beasts has gone a long way toward establishing the ebon tiger's reputation as a heartless killer.

Ecology: Ebon tigers do not appear to require water or sleep. They spend their lives endlessly prowling. They require freshly killed meat from time to time but can go for months without eating. They prefer to kill their food themselves and consume every last scrap, even the bones. Captive ebon tigers, however, will accept fresh meat from their keepers. Ebon tigers fed in this manner need food about evely six weeks.

In spite of their possibly artificial origins, ebon tigers are a viable species. Their annual mating season is about six weeks long. During this time, they ignore their normal hunting territories as males and females seek each other out. After a brief mating, the pair splits and the female gives birth to 1d3 cubs 10 to 12 weeks later. The mother protects the cubs for two years while they grow to about half their adult size and learn to stalk and hunt. The cubs split up to pursue their own lives when the mother leaves them.

Ebon tiger fat, what little of it there is, sometimes is used to make oil of etherealness. Some mages also suggest the breath of the ebon tiger can be used for oil of etherealness.