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Mythological Monsters of Bestiary 6

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Now that Bestiary 6 is making the rounds and folks have had a chance to get over the shock of seeing archdevils and kaiju and qlippoth lords and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and empyreal lords and all sorts of other powerful creatures like the ones we spoke of last week, I'd like to thank humanity as a whole for being such an endless font of inspiration. We've been creating monsters to fill our stories and myths since we first started telling stories and weaving myths, and over the thousands and thousands of years humanity's been around, well, that's a lot of time to create a lot of monsters!

While there's always been a core collection of monsters drawn from mythology in fantasy RPGs, the ones that have appeared in print only scratch the surface. Whenever we start gearing up for a new Bestiary, one of the first places we go to is real-world myth and legend. Bestiary 6 is no exception. From the very first monster in the book, the blood-drinking alp, we drew from mythology to populate the book with a diverse array of critters. As the book came together, I was amused to see a few unintentional themes develop among these mythological monsters—I think my favorite is the "creepy monster with one eye." The ghole, the mapinguari, and the psoglav all come from myth or cryptozoology, and it was a fun challenge for me to make sure that, while all three are similar in theme (vaguely human-shaped one-eyed menaces), they all fit different roles in the game.

Another theme that I was delighted to finally explore in a Bestiary was no accident at all. The Wild Hunt was one of the initial monsters I had in mind for the book, and for some time was my go-to in house when folks would ask me "Are there any monsters in this book that I've heard of that aren't in print yet?" or its variant, "Are there any monsters in the book that I'll be surprised HAVEN'T been put in one of our products already?" The Wild Hunt, which expanded from a single entry into several, is a prime example—a well-known entire category of mythological monster that we've done nothing with, until now. I love what Linda Zayas-Palmer did with these things, and how the art ended up making them all look of a kind even when they include such diverse shapes as horse, hound, or humanoid.

Of course, not all of the monsters inspired by myth had one eye or were part of the Wild Hunt. Check out the following three examples as proof! And I'm eager to see if folks can pick out all of the other mythological monsters from the book in the comments below!

Illustrations by Nikolai Ostertag, Rafael Rivera, and Florian Stitz

James Jacobs
Creative Director

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Tags: Bestiary 6 Florian Stitz Nikolai Ostertag Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Rafael Rivera

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I love all these and I want to put a special shout out for the Wild Hunt. I personally think it is the best interpretation ever brought to the game. Linda Zayas-Palmer did fantastic work here, weaving folklore and gamelore seamlessly. Bravo!

As for mythological monsters, let's see...

Bloody bones.
Cipactli.
Daitengu.
Fen Mauler.

After that I lose track of what is made up and what is mythological. The monsters are very diverse and cool!


I love seeing new Cryptid stat blocks and the Mokele Memembe is no exception to that.


A couple of mine were mythological, although I'll wait for others to pick them out.

Sovereign Court

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Also, I adore the euryale. ^_^


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The illustration for the Euryale is amazingly beautiful! Well done Nikolai Ostertag. ;)


The Rawhead looks just human enough to be utterly creepy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

The euryale was missed opportunity to have a medusa with blood that creates creatures. Basically when they take slashing/piercing damage(or bleed) their blood turns into giant scorpions, snake swarms, etc.

Silver Crusade

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Dragon78 wrote:
The euryale was missed opportunity to have a medusa with blood that creates creatures. Basically when they take slashing/piercing damage(or bleed) their blood turns into giant scorpions, snake swarms, etc.

Firmly in the "cool on paper, book-keeping nightmare during game" category.


Gorbacz wrote:
Firmly in the "cool on paper, book-keeping nightmare during game" category.

Not really, just requires giving them some summon monster SLA's and ability which says that they may cast one of those specific SLA's as an immediate action when damaged by a slashing or piercing weapon.

Silver Crusade

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Milo v3 wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Firmly in the "cool on paper, book-keeping nightmare during game" category.
Not really, just requires giving them some summon monster SLA's and ability which says that they may cast one of those specific SLA's as an immediate action when damaged by a slashing or piercing weapon.

A CR 20 monster.

Fighting a level 16+ party.

Summoning CR 2 snake swarms or CR 3 giant scorpions whenever it is damaged by slashing and piercing weapons.

Say, when did you play this game the last time? :)


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Gorbacz wrote:
A CR 20 monster.

Unfortunately I was unable to psychically determine the CR of monsters (especially when it'd only be around CR 12 max going off the myths by paizo seems to put all real-myth figures at ridiculously high CRs)

Quote:
Summoning CR 2 snake swarms or CR 3 giant scorpions whenever it is damaged by slashing and piercing weapons.

Weird, I was sure that summon monster covered the larger spiders and scorpions as well. Still, pretty easy to write text allowing to conjure Black Scorpions, Giant Emperor Scorpions and Goliath Spiders.

Quote:
Say, when did you play this game the last time? :)

Well that wasn't rude at all....

Silver Crusade

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The CRs were posted in the Bestiary 6 thread, and no rudeness was intended.


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Gorbacz wrote:
The CRs were posted in the Bestiary 6 thread, and no rudeness was intended.

Who are you, and what have you done to the real Gorbacz?

Silver Crusade

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Kajehase wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
The CRs were posted in the Bestiary 6 thread, and no rudeness was intended.
Who are you, and what have you done to the real Gorbacz?

YOU'VE EXPOSED ME! THE REAL GORBACZ WOULD HAVE NEVER CHECKED WHAT THE CR WAS!


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Darn rookie mistake.


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Dragon78 wrote:
The euryale was missed opportunity to have a medusa with blood that creates creatures. Basically when they take slashing/piercing damage(or bleed) their blood turns into giant scorpions, snake swarms, etc.

There is still Stheno of the named Gorgons.


Awesome! I've wanted a Rawhead and a Kikituk for ages. Making the Kikituk a construct is clever. The Rawhead looks really awesome.

The Euryale is magnificent. She's stunningly beautiful, and at her CR level, bound to be epically powerful as well. I'm predicting she'll be one of my favorites.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

True MMCJawa, there is still Stheno.


Milo v3 wrote:
Unfortunately I was unable to psychically determine the CR of monsters (especially when it'd only be around CR 12 max going off the myths by paizo seems to put all real-myth figures at ridiculously high CRs)

I imagine they put familiar figures at ridiculously high CRs to pander to most players since they tend to have no real concept of how power levels and scaling works, in this game.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

I love the art for the rawhead. The doll tucked into his belt is such a nice, creepy touch.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Sauce987654321 wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Unfortunately I was unable to psychically determine the CR of monsters (especially when it'd only be around CR 12 max going off the myths by paizo seems to put all real-myth figures at ridiculously high CRs)
I imagine they put familiar figures at ridiculously high CRs to pander to most players since they tend to have no real concept of how power levels and scaling works, in this game.

Nope.

Remember, what may be "ridiculously high CR" to one group might not be to another.

In this specific case, since we didn't yet have ANY CR 20 monstrous humanoids in any Bestairy, I wanted to fix that and put in a CR 20 monstrous humanoid. And rather than make one up (like I did with the deathsnatcher to do the same thing for another missing CR), I wanted the CR 20 one to have as much nostalgia and weight and impact as possible, so having it be something relatively recognizable from mythology that builds upon one of the game's most recognizable and iconic monstrous humanoids (medusa) made a lot of sense.


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Hey! I just discovered that the Atuikakura—a giant sea cucumber—is from Japanese folklore! Love the global perspective!

Dark Archive

Kalindlara wrote:
Also, I adore the euryale. ^_^

I made a CR 14 Euryale (and had plans for a Stheno as well), but I think CR 20 works even better for a creature that thinks of itself as an enemy of the gods. (Ditto for the Rakshasa, for that matter.)

It will be interesting to see what sort of abilities 'Euryale, the Far Springer' has. Wiki mentions stuff like bronze scales, throwing fire and 'stealing power from the gods,' so there's lots of neat places one can go with that.


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They are supposed to have bronze(or brass) wings, never heard anything about them having scales.

Silver Crusade

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Dragon78 wrote:
They are supposed to have bronze(or brass) wings, never heard anything about them having scales.

The Mythic Medusa from Mythic Adventures had wings.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I am talking about from the actual myths about Medusa's sisters. Maybe if they stat the other one as another type of medusa they could have the brass/bronze wings.


I believe that Mythic Monsters Revisited had stats for a more classical depiction of Medusa.

Sovereign Court

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Albatoonoe wrote:
I believe that Mythic Monsters Revisited had stats for a more classical depiction of Medusa.

This is correct: the serpent-tailed brazen medusa.

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