OGL Monster of the Week: Headless One

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Over at EN World, there was a thread looking for d20 stats for the Headless Horseman.

It seems rather odd that none of the gazillion undead that have been created fit the bill, so I went and made one up – I did this as a template rather than as a creature. I’m sure there was a reason why…

I’m a little iffy on the CR and LA for this thing. Thoughts are welcome, as always.

The material enclosed in the box below is released via the Open Game License.

Headless One

Creating A Headless One

“Headless one” is an acquired template that can be added to any humanoid, giant, or monstrous humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature) of 3 HD or more that normally has a head.

A headless one uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Size and Type

The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented humanoid or monstrous humanoid). Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice

Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.


Same as the base creature.

Armor Class

The base creature’s natural armor bonus improves by +4.


A Headless one loses all attacks of the base creature based upon its head such as a bite, gore, breath weapon, or gaze attack (but see Substitute Head, below). A headless one otherwise retains all the attacks of the base creature and also gains a slam attack if it didn’t already have one. If the base creature can use weapons, the headless one retains this ability and will typically arm itself with a slashing weapon. A creature with natural weapons retains those natural weapons. A headless one fighting without weapons uses either its slam attack or its primary natural weapon (if it has any). A headless one armed with a weapon uses its slam or a weapon, as it desires.

Full Attack

A headless one fighting without weapons uses either its slam attack (see above) or its natural weapons (if it has any). If armed with a weapon, it usually uses the weapon as its primary attack along with a slam or other natural weapon as a natural secondary attack.


Headless ones have slam attacks. A medium-sized headless one does 1d6 damage with its slam attack. Creatures that have other kinds of natural weapons retain their old damage values or use the headless ones damage, whichever is better.

Special Attacks

A headlesss one retains all the special attacksof the base creature (other than those which are based in its head) and gains those described below.

Terror (Su)

At the mere sight of a headless one, the viewer must succeed on a Will save or be panicked with fear for 1d4 rounds. If the save is successful, that creature cannot be affected again by the same headless one’s terror ability for 24 hours. The save has a DC of 10 + ½ HD + Cha modifier.

Throw Head (Su)

If a headless one has a substitute head (see below) it may remove that head and throw it as a standard action. This is a ranged touch attack with a range increment of 20 feet. On a successful attack, the target takes 1d6 points of dexterity damage, and all of the headless one’s slashing attacks against that target are considered vorpal (as the magic weapon quality) until the target’s dexterity damage is healed.

Special Qualities

A headlesss one retains all the special qualities of the base creature (other than those which are based in its head) and gains those described below.

Damage Reduction (Su)

A headless one has damage reduction 5/silver ormagic. A headless one’s natural weapons, as well as any slashing weapons it wields, are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.


Headless ones are immune to gaze attacks, visual effects, illusions, and other attack forms that rely on sight. They lose these immunities when using their substitute head ability.

Substitute Head (Su)

When a headless one replaces its head with a head-shaped object (of the same approximate size of the head that the headless one possessed in life) that was severed from a living being within the past 24 hours, the substitute head is surrounded by a ghostly image of the head that the headless one had in life. While possessed of a substitute head, a headless one gains normal sight, darkvision for 60 ft., a +4 inherent bonus to Charisma and regains the use of any attacks, special attacks, and special qualities that were based upon the head it had in life. A substitute head lasts for 1-4 days plus one day per point of Intelligence bonus of the donor before becoming useless to the headless one. A headless one may use the head of an unintelligent creature, or even a head-shaped gourd cut from a living plant, but these only remain useful for 24 hours. Attaching a substitute head is a full-round action.

Tremorsense (Ex)

A headless one has tremorsense at a range of 80 ft.


Increase from the base creature as follows: Str +6, Dex +2, Wis +2, Cha +2. As an undead creature, a headless one has no Constitution score.


Same as the base creature.


Same as the base creature.


Any, usually same as base creature.



Challenge Rating

Same as the base creature +1.




Always evil (any).


By character class.

Level Adjustment

Same as the base creature +4.



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