"A strange sickness has begun spreading in the wild places. The Elves have begun to turn away travelers from their forests. It has been rumored that this plague has infested the very roots of their Warden Trees, the center of eleven cities, and has started to change the magic and temperament of the ancient high folk of the forest. It is said that in the more untraveled stretches of forests primal bands of elves travel in packs like animals, hunting and killing like wild beasts.
The elves are not the only creatures who have changed because of the spreading sickness. All of the wild places seem to have grown more wild. Animals and beasts both magical and natural seem to have increased in number as the sickness has spread. Rumors say that the behavior of some wild beasts have also changed. Creatures have been seen in habitats that they are not traditionally found in. New breeds of beasts that have never been seen before have been seen roaming the countryside. Deer with living plant growth on their antlers, bears with shards of stone growing out of their fur; it's even said that some wolves have learned to mimic the speech of man.
While it is an incredibly rare occurrence to even see a dragon, some reports from the wilds have stated that the dragons appear to have even been affected by this plague. Rangers have come back from scouting trips with rumors that some dragons have grown an extra set of wings, have developed strange horn growths unseen before, and in some cases have even exhibited completely different color and bone structure than what has been traditionally recorded."
Strange Stricken creatures are ferocious counterparts to what would normally be considered "natural" wildlife. They are not just bigger and stronger than uninfected creatures you will find in the wild, they also show behavior that denotes a more keen understanding of the world around them than their non infected counterparts. Moreover they are imbued with elemental touches of the lands they inhabit, giving their appearance an aura of the habitat they dwell within.
While no one is sure what caused the Strange Sickness or "The Great Plague" as it is sometimes called across MYA, some sages and scholars of nature believe it was brought on by a massive shift in the natural order of things. Be it ancient natural gods walking the Prime Material or some infernal infestation with a dark and sinister endgame, the druids are quiet on the matter, and in areas where the Strange Sickness is most prevalent there seems to be no druid activity altogether.
Creating a Strange Stricken Creature
“Strange Stricken” is an inherited template that can be added to any creature that is not already Strange Stricken (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A Strange Stricken creature retains all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here. In some cases Strange Stricken creatures do not follow the exact guidelines plotted out in this template. Please feel free to evolve and build Strange Stricken creatures to fit your campaign settings.
CR: Same as the base creature +4.
Size and Type: If the base creature is Tiny or smaller, increase its size to Small. Otherwise, increase its size by one size category. The Strange Stricken creature does not gain the penalties to ability scores that arise from increased size.
AC: Natural armor increases by +5. If the base creature has no natural armor bonus, it gains a natural armor bonus of +5. This bonus stacks with the bonus gained from the increase in size.
Hit Dice: If the Strange Stricken creature is Small, it has a number of Hit Dice equal to the base creature +1 (minimum of 2 HD). If the Strange Stricken creature is Medium, it has a number of Hit Dice equal to the base creature +3 (minimum of 4 HD). If the dire creature is Large or larger it has a number of Hit Dice equal to double the base creature (minimum of 6 HD).
Speed: Same as the base creature +10 ft.
Attacks: Adjust damage dice of all natural attacks upwards to the Strange Stricken creature’s new size according to the natural attack progression table.
Special Attacks: Add +1d4 natural damage to all special ranged attacks. Add +1d6 natural damage to all melee attacks.
Abilities: Str +8, Dex +2, Con +10, Wis +4 and Cha +8.
Feats: Same as base creature, with additional feats gained through the usual means from the increase in HD. If the base animal has Weapon Finesse and the feat would become useless after its increase in Strength, then it may trade Weapon Finesse for Weapon Focus with one of its natural attacks.
Skills: A Strange Stricken creature gains skill points equal to 2 + Intelligence modifier (minimum 1) for each HD it gained. Its class skills are unchanged.
Strange Stricken Dragon Art by : Goran Gligović