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Two-Headed Mutant (Template)

Copyright © 2001 Sean K Reynolds. All rights reserved. This monster template is also available in Microsoft Word format.

    Some creatures suffer mutations, giving birth to two-headed offspring. These creatures often are tougher than normal creatures of their kind and grow to become a new strain of monster.
    Whether arising from intentional experimentation by mages or accidental creation by strange magical fields, two-headed mutants may pop up almost anywhere. Assuming its parents don't kill it outright, a two-headed mutant is tougher, more adept in combat, and more resistant to some magic than a normal creature of its kind. Creatures such as the ettin, amphisbaena (venomous snake with a head on each end), and even the hydra may be end products of this sort of mutation.
    A two-headed mutant looks like a normal variety of its kind of creature, except that it has a second head, normally attached in the same general area as the head of a normal creature (for example, the two-headed mutant of a humanoid would have two necks sprouting from its upper torso, each with its own head). In some cases (such as for creatures with more symmetric or unusual bodies) the head may appear elsewhere, such as on the end of the tail (as is the case with the amphisbaena). In some two-headed mutants the second head is noticeably different from the first one (smaller, miscolored, and so on), but normally it is a normal head for the creature.
    Some accidental two-headed mutants born of humanoid parents are left to die in the wilderness after they are born but end up being rescued by evil creatures, mad wizards, or strange cultists, where they may be raised with the intention of being sacrificed upon reaching adulthood. The lucky ones either escape their captors to live in remote places or somehow prove their worth to their captors and earn a place for themselves among their new family.
    A two-headed mutant normally learns whatever languages its parents speak.

Creating a Two-Headed Mutant
"Two-headed mutant" is a template that can be added to any creature with a discernable anatomy and an obvious head or head-like part of its body (referred to hereafter as the "base creature"). For example, elementals and most plants cannot become two-headed mutants, nor can phasms (which lack a true head in their natural form). Creatures that are little more than a head with small limbs (such as a vargouille) cannot use this template.
    If a humanoid, the creature's type changes to "monstrous humanoid," if an animal its type changes to "beast," It uses all of the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

    Speed: As the base creature.
    AC: Natural armor improves by +1.
    Attacks: Same as the base creature. If the creature has a bite attack or an attack that originates from the creature's head (such as a stirge's touch attack), it gains an extra attack of this type at the same attack bonus for that attack. Note that many of the monsters presented in the Monster Manual and other sources use weapons that are one size category larger than their own size and weild them two-handed; if you give them two weapons with this template, remember to give them weapons appropriate to their size and do not give them the x1.5 Str bonus since they won't be using them two-handed.
    Special Attacks: As the base creature. If the base creature has a special attack based on some part of its head or neck (such as a poisonous bite, or a gaze attack), each head can use that ability each round. Spells and spell-like abilities are not duplicated in this manner (a base creature that can cast a spell as a spell-like ability once per day could not cast it twice per day if it were a two-headed mutant), nor are any abilities that originate from elsewhere within the body and are deployed through its head, such as breath weapons (which usually are depicted as originating in the lungs and invoked by an inhalation).
    Special Qualities: A two-headed mutant retains all of the special qualities of the base creature and also gains the following:
    Dual Mind (Ex): The mutant has two brains, so for all mind-affecting attacks the mutant counts as two separate creatures. If a spell or effect can only affect one of the creature's heads (such as a charm monster spell, which affects a single target), the unaffected head takes control of the entire body. In these situations, the affected head becomes inert for combat purposes (losing its extra bite attack, if any), and the creature temporarily loses its Dual Reflexes ability. Even if one head is charmed or dominated, the creature does not attack itself or split its attacks between its normal opponents and those chosen by its controller. In effect, mind-affecting attacks must affect both heads in order to achieve the normal result (casting two successful charm monster spells on a two-headed mutant brings it fully under the control of the caster and allows it to use all of its abilities).
    Dual Reflexes (Ex): The creature's two heads each control half of its limbs. This means that the creature acts as two creatures for the purposes of making attacks and attacks of opportunity. This has three effects.
    First (assuming a creature with two hands that use weapons), this means that it may attack with a weapon in each hand, and does not suffer an attack or damage penalty for doing so. In effect, the left and right hands each attack at the creature's normal base attack bonus (without any penalties for fighting with two weapons). If the creature's base attack bonus would allow it iterative attacks with its first limb, the second limb does as well.
    Second, the creature may make one more attack of opportunity per round than normal, but this extra attack must be with a different limb than any previous attacks of opportunity. For example, a two-headed mutant ogre could make an attack of opportunity with its left club, and if another attack of opportunity was provoked later that round, the ogre could use the weapon in its right hand to make another attack of opportunity. If the creature has the Combat Reflexes feat, the additional attacks of opportunity from that feat may be taken with either limb in any combination, and the creature still gains its extra attack of opportunity from this ability (so a creature with a 16 Dexterity could make up to 5 attacks of opportunity per round--1 normally, 1 from this ability, and 3 from the Combat Reflexes feat).
    Third, if the creature has the ability to cast spells or use spell-like abilities, it may use one head and one arm (for somatic components) to cast spells and still make a single attack with its other arm (coordinated by the other head) in the same round. The creature must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + spell level) to successfully use the spell or spell-like ability.
    Saves: Same as the base creature.
    Abilities: Same as the base creature.
    Skills: Same as the base creature.
    Feats: Same as the base creature.
Climate/Terrain: Same as the base creature and underground.
Organization: Same as the base creature.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.
Effective Character Level Modifier: +1.
Treasure: Same as the base creature.
Alignment: Often same as the base creature.
Advancement: Same as the base creature.

Sample Two-headed Mutants
(Four example creatures follow.)

This example uses an ogre as the base creature (the result: a small ettin).

Dron, two-headed mutant ogre
Large Giant
Hit Dice: 4d8+8 (26 hp)
Initiative: -1 (Dex)
Speed: 30 ft.
AC: 17 (-1 size, -1 Dex, +6 natural, +3 hide)
Attacks: 2 greatclubs +8 melee; or 2 longspears +1 ranged
Damage: Greatclubs 1d10+5; or longspears 1d8+5
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5ft./10 ft.
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., dual mind, dual reflexes
Saves: Fort +6, Reflex +0, Will +1.
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 8, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 7.
Skills: Climb +4, Listen +2, Spot +2.
Feats: Weapon Focus (greatclub)
Challenge Rating: 3
Alignment: Chaotic evil

This example uses a hill giant as the base creature (the result: a slightly large ettin).

Gronk, two-headed mutant hill giant
Large Giant
Hit Dice: 12d8+48 (102 hp)
Initiative: -1 (Dex)
Speed: 40 ft.
AC: 21 (-1 size, -1 Dex, +10 natural, +3 hide)
Attacks: 2 greatclubs +16/11 melee; or 2 rocks +8/+3 ranged
Damage: Greatclubs 1d10+7; or rock 2d6+7
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Rock throwing
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., dual mind, dual reflexes, rock catching
Saves: Fort +12, Reflex +3, Will +4.
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 8, Con 19, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 7.
Skills: Climb +9, Jump +9, Spot +4.
Feats: Weapon Focus (greatclub)
Challenge Rating: 8
Alignment: Chaotic evil

This example uses a displacer beast as the base creature.

Two-headed mutant displacer beast
Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 6d10+18 (51 hp)
Initiative: +2 (Dex)
Speed: 40 ft.
AC: 17 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +6 natural)
Attacks: 2 tentacles +9 melee, 2 bites +4 melee
Damage: Tentacle 1d6+4, bite 1d8+2
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 10ft./10 ft. (15 ft. with tentacles)
Special Qualities: Displacement, dual mind, dual reflexes, resistance to ranged attacks
Saves: Fort +8, Reflex +7, Will +3.
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Skills: Hide +12, Listen +3, Move Silently +7, Spot +6.
Feats: Alertness, Dodge.
Challenge Rating: 5
Alignment: Lawful evil

This example uses a huge viper snake as the base creature.

Amphisbaena (two-headed mutant huge viper snake)
Huge Beast
Hit Dice: 4d8 (22 hp)
Initiative: +4 (Dex)
Speed: 20 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
AC: 16 (-2 size, +4 Dex, +4 natural)
Attacks: 2 bites +5 melee
Damage: Bite 1d4 and poison
Face/Reach: 15 ft. by 15ft. (coiled)/10 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison (DC 13, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Con)
Special Qualities: Dual mind, dual reflexes, scent
Saves: Fort +5, Reflex +8, Will +2.
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 19, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2.
Skills: Balance +12, Climb +12, Hide +3, Listen +9, Spot +9.
Feats: Weapon Finesse (bite).
Challenge Rating: 4
Alignment: Neutral