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The imposing figure before you spins like a dervish, blood-soaked armor silent on his person as his greatsword sweeps towards your head. His voice taunts, “Your swordsmanship lacks grace and style, but your verse, now that is truly vile.”
RIME KNIGHT (4th level Fighter) CR ???
Rime Knights live to prove themselves on the merciless field of single combat, garnering status with their peers, as well as both physical and psychic sustenance from the acting of shedding the blood of those they defeat. They travel in small groups, usually accompanied by an eclectic mix of servant creatures, which usually include some humanoids to serve as grooms for their steeds, and as personal servants, with elves and hobgoblins being preferred, but goblins being the necessary substitute for those who have not yet proven themselves. Such groups always include several and several tracking beasts as well, usually wolves, but, with the more powerful bands, winter wolves or even yeth hounds serve that role.
Clad in fantastically ornate armor of brownish-red ice, spattered in layers upon layers of blood drawn from foes felled in single combat, and decorated with dozens of delicate-looking spikes and barbs, the Rime Knight bears a similarly grim looking weapon, usually a large cutting weapon, such as a glaive or greatsword, but with a few Knights choosing a less common signature weapon, such as a spiked chain or scorpion whip. Beneath the imposing armor, a Rime Knight has slim, almost elfin features, sharp and angular, and often concealing surprising strength. The only time a Rime Knights face comes alive is in the heat of battle, and the normally dour and unfriendly fey becomes a taunting dervish, mocking his opponent, or even complimenting one whose combat technique has impressed him.
While some assume that the Knights received their common name from the rime of blood-ice that decorates their cold white skin, cakes their hair, and comprises their favored armaments, those who have faced them remark that they speak only in rhyme, considering wordplay as much an art form, as much a ‘dance,’ as they regard combat. When not sparring, or preparing for their next hunt, Rime Knights gather around ritual fires, and practice taunting each other, critiquing not the other’s fighting skills, but his verse. As the loser must place his hand within the flames for a long moment, a Rime Knight is strongly motivated to polish his insults, just as he hones his blade.
A Rime Knight will always attempt to engage a single foe in combat, with the higher status Rime Knight selecting the most capable looking warrior type to engage, and others backing off and allowing the combat to follow its course, interfering only to counter the interference of others. Initial rounds of combat will generally resemble a dance, with the Rime Knight often fighting defensively, and taking advantage of his battle acumen to make himself difficult to strike, while he attempts to soften up his opponent with crippling or bleeding strikes, before switching to a more aggressive posture. Only in the case of a ‘disappointing’ foe that appears well beneath his abilities will a Rime Knight begin combat with a brutally aggressive display, and this is seen as a show of contempt, that the Rime Knight wishes this meaningless butchery over as soon as possible, so that he can move on to more challenging foes. Rime Knights have been known to woefully underestimate foes in this manner, and a cunning foe may be able to trick a Rime Knight into holding back and fighting defensively, trying to figure out the source of this perplexing foes seemingly inappropriate confidence, while reinforcements arrive.
One of three Irrisen specific fey I had in mind.
Others to follow, as the mood takes me.
Plus another fey. And some mushroom dudes who worship Cyth-V'sug. And who knows what else.
Thanks! I was definitely going for something that would both look at home in Irrisen, and in a story written by Mallory. Evil knights, with strange codes of honor, etc.
And yeah, the rhyme thing would be a pain for me also. I used to do the poetry thing, uh, decades ago, but it was free verse, not rhyming couplets, so I'd probably have to write up a dozen 'generic' rhymes in advance of using them, and bust them out as appropriate.
And the second Irrisen-based Fey;
The flurry of snow has been pursuing you like a living thing for what feels like hours, howling its mournful song. Hair and gown trailing in the wind, a woman of great beauty dances slowly towards you, her bare feet and exposed arms as white as the snow around her. The storm fades away to unimportance as she reaches for you with an imploring gesture.
HEARTH MAIDEN CR ???
Hearth Maidens are to the blizzards of Irrisen as dryads are to the mighty trees of the River Kingdoms, a fey personification of nature, in this case, one that is merciless and demanding. The ‘Pale Ladies,’ as they are sometimes called, travel by night and seek out warmth and life to steal. Ever-hungering for stolen warmth, local legends insist that they are undead, the sad and lonely spirits of maidens cast forth from their homes, perhaps for infidelity, or perhaps wrongly accused, driven into the harsh winter and left to die of exposure, only to return to bring others into that same icy fate. The fey themselves neither know nor care of these assumptions, but do display a tendency to hover outside of dwellings and press against the walls, leaving behind frost outlines as they draw upon the warmth from the fires within, which has only reinforced the notion that they seek to return to the homes that ‘cast them out.’
The ideal prey is a man alone, perhaps one who lingered at the hunt too long, or who lost his way in a storm, an easy mark for the maiden to fascinate with her silent beauty. With imploring gestures that promise pleasures unguessed, she will spin and pirouette lightly across the snow, always just out of arm’s reach, perhaps even leading a foolish man further away from salvation. As the bitter cold saps the strength from his limbs, over long hours, she will finally move in as he starts to falter, using her life-draining touch to bring him to unconsciousness, and then finally draining the last heat from his body, leaving behind a corpse, often found with a macabre expression of bliss on his frozen features. Those rescued from such a fate claim that the bitter chill of the storm is lessened somehow, so that those entranced by these fey do not feel their life slipping away.
An impatient maiden, or one who senses that others may come to try and take her ‘lover’ away, may approach her fascinated subject and begin gently removing articles of protective clothing from his body, to hasten his demise, or, in an extreme situation, directly attack the man, hoping to drain his warmth and life before his allies can come to his rescue.
Most Hearth Maidens leave the bodies where they lay, only occasionally taking trinkets to remind them of their conquests, and storing them in ‘nests’ high in the hills, in icy caves or within a great tree, where others cannot easily reach, and sometimes in places that can only be reached by those able to fly, or become effectively incorporeal, or both. Often these nests, and their collections, are abandoned and forgotten as the Hearth Maiden moves on, ever seeking new warmth. Rarer specimens have a designated territory, and drag their victims back to their lairs, keeping them as trophies, or even forming grotesque ‘statue gardens’ of frozen bodies.
The ‘winter dryads’ are driven entirely by a sense of longing for both warmth and companionship, that is never sated, and while they almost never speak, and seem almost child-like when they do, ranging from petulant to utterly oblivious that their ‘feeding’ is harmful or wrong in any way, they seem as intelligent as a man, if incapable of restraining their hungers, or of recognizing any value in the lives of others, save for the heat locked within their bodies.
And cold fey number three (although, since writing this, a fourth type of arctic fey, that isn't quite as malicious as these three, has come to mind);
Glowing figures flit through the winter air, spinning like snowflakes and accompanied by a tinkling atonal song as tiny pale-blue sprites flutter towards you on wings that resemble jagged crystals of ice. Their song becomes threatening, as you see them begin darting amongst your party, slashing at exposed flesh with their blade-sharp wings.
ICE SPRITE SWARM CR ???
Ice sprites are a plague upon the land, travelling in tinkling swarms, singing their strange songs (which, when translated from sylvan, recount their enthusiasm for cutting into warm flesh and watching strong men die) and descending upon any lone travelers they find, slicing them with razor-sharp wings that resemble snowflakes, all jagged edges of seemingly delicate ice and drawing some form of sustenance from the heat and blood escaping the bodies of those they slay in this manner.
Enthralled by the sight of open flame, ice sprites taunt one another (and occasionally push one another) towards the flame as they dance around it, and when one gets too close, their icy wings melt away, causing them to drop to the ground (or, occasionally, directly into the fire, to the great amusement of their cruel comrades), where they are taunted mercilessly and mocked for their ill fortune, to be later abandoned by the swarm as it moves on.
Ice sprites have no gear or items, not even wearing tiny clothing on their smooth and seemingly sexless bodies, with skin and hair in shades of white and pale blue, dancing free of such things (and lacking the craft to make anything in any event). Their wings are always beautiful things, but cannot survive the touch of flame, and, while as hard and sharp as steel when the fey is alive, become brittle and delicate soon after the creature’s death, making them difficult to preserve, as even the warm touch of a man’s hand is enough to break the delicate structures, or partially melt them. Residents of the northlands who have an interest in such artwork capture the fey alive in nets, and then impale them on cold iron nails adorning the walls of their display rooms, rooms which are kept sealed against damaging gusts of wind, and which never know the presence of warmth, being kept cold and lit only by shuttered lanterns for brief times, or by heatless magical light sources, to preserve the grisly display.
And a fourth wintery fey, which sort of cropped up in total defiance of my desire to have three winter fey. Little buggers, I had a plan! It was a good plan. But no, the fey, they care nothing for my plans.
The hunched figure resembles a twisted gnome, with oversized arms, bandy legs, squinting eyes of mismatched size and a prodigious hunch on its back. Despite its labored movement, it moves quickly over the top of the snow, and points a long icicle at you as it mutters a sing-song rhyme in a guttural voice as its bulging left eye flares with arcane power.
FROST GRUMP CR ???
Clad in furs and hide, decorated with countless trinkets of carved bone, antler and wood, the Frost Grumps appear as deformed and twisted gnomes, with short legs and broad shoulders, usually adorned with a noticeable hunch, causing them to walk bent over. Their skin is lumpy, their hair straggly and intertwined with feathers, beads and other knick-knacks, and one of their milk-white eyes is always noticeably larger than the other.
In the northlands, there are two common rumors regarding the Frost Grumps. The first is that they are born Ice Sprites, and are formed when one of that fickle race flies too close to a flame and loses its wings. Taunted and abandoned by its cruel peers, it burrows into the snow, wracked with fear, pain and hatred for its own people, until, months later, bloated, twisted and deformed from its diet of spite and shame, it crawls forth as a Frost Grump. The second tale is that the Frost Grumps were once Gnomes, captured by the Ice Queen herself, and tormented for her amusement, twisted by foul fey magics until they become capering servants for her amusement. If there is any truth to either tale, the Frost Grumps certainly aren’t telling, and they wander the arctic wastes, seeking out living beings lost in the snow, to bargain their services.
Those who have been rescued by these unpleasant little curmudgeons are sometimes given nonsensical tasks, told to uproot themselves from their homes and travel to distant towns, to take up entirely different lives. Some go on to be forced from obscurity into lives of adventure. Others find themselves being used in strange schemes, to steal and acquire items that the Frost Grump seeks for his own obscure purposes (likely to court or compete with another of his kind). And some are simply used, with the Grump tasking them to raise animals for his own use, or fashion clothing for him, or prepare meals and set them out for his enjoyment. Some Grumps wander from community to community, with a few souls in each town owing them such favors, so that they never want for a warm meal and a safe shelter when they scurry into town.
Frost Grumps tend to regard those in their thrall as resources, and have been known to come to their assistance, in dire times, so as to not lose the services of this debtor, although one could hardly consider them generous by nature. Less pleasant local legends suggest that male Frost Grumps have worked out alternate arrangements with comely females of other races, but this is pure fantasy, as the Frost Grumps find any features not as stunted and misshapen as their own to be hideous and unsettling.
Frost Grumps, due to their networks of ‘thralls,’ often know a surprising amount about local communities, and, due to their wandering ways, are equally knowledgeable about the local wildlife and territories, making them excellent guides, if their prices can be agreed to, and their antisocial demeanors tolerated. Some rare Grumps have taken to domesticating wild animals, hunting, or even working hides and bone into tools, although few, if any, go so far as to engage in productive work, considering such activities to be ‘hobbies.’
Yikes, that's a scary concept, if kinda neat. Where is it from?
As the quote says. It comes from me :)
Might be easier on the math to just give them DR 5 / cold iron, and have them lose that DR if the temperature is above 40 degrees, and upgrade to DR 10 / cold iron if the temperature is below freezing.
Working it in 5 degree increments seems like too much work for lazy old me. :)
Who said anything about increments. There's a 10 degree neutral zone but after that its a point per degree.
-40 degrees is +35 dr/cold Iron, aligned weapons.
The intent is to make the cold fey stronger when it is actually winter and give them a reason to depart when it is summer.
Demon Lords are rarely loving and caring masters, but Cyth-V’sug takes his loathing for his subjects, demon and humanoid cultist alike, to new depths. He not only holds them in contempt, as many of his peers do, but actively hates and fears all life that is not part of his enormous heaving bulk. Cyth-V’sug does not seek worship, or respect, or adulation, he seeks for all life to be consumed within him, linked to him in one enormous fungal intelligence that will cover the entire world of Golarion. There will be no single sentience left to worship his greatness, for every living thing will be a part of him, linked inextricably into a communal sentience that will bind all life into one being, a being named only Cyth-V’sug. His home plane is but a taste of what the world will look like, when his plans come to fruition, and the schemes of minions like Treerazer are but a distraction to the main event, for he loathes and mistrusts Treerazer as deeply as every other free-willed sentience in the universe. None will ever plot against or betray Cyth-V’sug, when all *are* Cyth-V’sug!
And so the demon lord has spent millennia belching forth alien and horrific fungal life, always attempting to create the perfect minions, linked eternally to his mind, unlike the fractious demons and scheming cultists, each with their own petty desires and dreams of vengeance and power. The current ‘crop’ are called only the Cyth-V’sug, for they could be called nothing else, and, indeed, *are* nothing else, but extensions of their demonic patrons will made into pulpy myconid flesh. Within his home plane, the entities remain linked to the enormous demon lord whose limitless expanses of ‘flesh’ they crawl over and burrow within, but those enclaves who have spored into the world of Golarion have lost the bulk of their connection to Cyth-V’sug, as the gulf between worlds is too far for even his vast mind to bridge. There they dwell in dank caverns, moldering sewers and forgotten warrens beneath communities, coming forth to gather foodstuff and weapons, and seize captives to bring below for the leaders to impregnate with will-destroying fungal growths that make these poor souls the unwitting pawns of the demon lords favored children.
As the Cyth-V’sug enclaves grow in numbers, isolated rural communities become places of fear and uncertainty, as townsfolk bundle themselves up against the harsh light of the sun and huddle together to perform unspeakable deeds in service to their fungal masters below the earth.
Fungoids are slender and trail fibrous tendrils that drip colorless slime. Their spores are generated from their head and torso region, while their ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ are indistinguishable trunks, some of which rear up lash out, whipping nearby foes with their numbing toxic tendrils that begin to break down flesh that they strike, being less a poison, and more a fast-acting bacterial digestive enzyme!
Fungoids come in many sizes and colors, and have the ability to emit a phosphorescent glow from their caps, or even to jet forth gouts of reeking fluids that contain colonies of phosphorescent bacteria that ‘mark’ a target like a faerie fire spell. Even the smallest can perform this task, and the larger ones have spores that parasitize and suffocate breathing animal life, eventually causing their bodies to split open and produce new fungal growths, that the Fungoids devour.
This gnome-sized fungus moves forward on multiple tendrils, wrapped around each other to form a central ‘trunk.’ It glows with a pale green glow, and as it moves towards you, a brilliant arc of glowing fluid squirts in your direction from its leathery cap.
CYTH V’SUG DRONE CR ???
Cyth-V’sug drones resemble meter tall mushrooms with dark brown leathery angular caps, like those of a morel. Pocks and pits in this cap contain luminescent collections of bacteria that smell like rotting meat and can be expelled with force, to splatter upon and ‘light up’ a target. Where a mushroom would normally have a single central stalk or trunk, the Cyth-V’sug has five tentacles of thick and sharp-edged fibrous material, that rasps across flesh like shark’s skin, delivering a biological agent that begins to digest and break down the target for later consumption.
The choice to generate this digestive enzyme is entirely at the creatures discretion, and it can choose not to inflict acid damage if instructed to simply grapple and restrain a target for later consumption, infestation or domination by the leaders.
Despite having five lashing tendrils, only two can normally be brought to bear, the remaining three used for locomotion and / or securing oneself in position.
Drones are superior guardians, having keen senses of smell and sight, and being able to not only change their coloration to a limited extent, respire silently and remain motionless for hours at a time. Their tracking ability benefits from their ability to both smell and taste from the entire surface of their body, but most keenly through their entire moist ‘cap.’
All drones are dependent upon constant information exchange from their spore-mind, and if separated from this contact for a full minute, become shaken until re-connected, progressing to frightened after 10 more minutes, and becoming effectively panicked after an hour without contact from even a single other Cyth-V’sug. Catatonia and death follow soon after. A frightened or panicking Cyth-V’sug flees towards the last known location of others of its kind, or makes a best guess, if it has no better idea, and moves at full speed in that direction, wafting out spores desperately, in an attempt to reconnect to the spore-mind.
Cyth-V’sug feed off of decaying organic matter, and spend much of their time gathering rotting vegetation and, especially, animal and humanoid bodies, to heap into rotting masses in the center of their ramshackle communities, where they squat on the warm decaying mass of ‘compost’ and draw nutrients directly from the decomposing matter beneath them.
This fungoid creature is as tall as a man and moves forward on multiple tendrils, wrapped around each other to form a central ‘trunk.’ It glows with a pale green glow, and in the waving tendrils that are not pushing it towards you, it waves a scimitar and a battered leathery shield.
CYTH V’SUG WARRIOR 2 CR ???
Cyth-V’sug warriors resemble two-meter tall mushrooms with dark brown leathery angular caps, like those of a morel. While they share the same luminescent bacteria pits in their cap, they lack the ability to propel these symbiotic infestations to mark prey characterized by the drone caste, and they serve only as candle-intensity light sources spaced around the creatures ‘head. A Cyth-V’sug warrior has seven tentacles composing its ‘trunk,’ instead of five, and can use up to three to attack or to operate one or more shields. The average warrior, shown above, has a single heavy shield, a scimitar, and uses its last appendage as a lashing tendril, to deliver its acidic secretions, but different specimens may wield a pair of shields and a scimitar, or a pair of scimitars and a shield. All attacks count as primary attacks, and the Cyth-V’sug warrior is not penalized by striking with multiple weapons, and has the unusual skill necessary to benefit from up to two shields at the same time, or even to fight a single foe in melee combat, while hurling a javelin or alchemical concoction at a second at range, without provoking an attack of opportunity from the melee combatant.
Warriors lack some of the advantages of drones in the areas of stealth, tracking and marking prey, and have slightly less keen senses, but typically travel with drones to handle these functions. Warriors are skilled in crafting weapons (typically javelins, made from bone and scavenged metal) or armor (only shields, made from treated and hardened caps cast off from dead drones, reinforced with bone inserts). Scimitars are greatly prized by the warrior caste, and must be acquired by other means, as the fungus men lack the facilities or inclination to work metal. In cases where scimitars are simply unavailable, the warriors will fight with a combination of lashing tendrils, javelins and spears.
Warriors store alchemical gear within their trunks, intertwined among their tightly interwoven tendrils, and it is a move-equivalent action to withdraw something a tiny or smaller item (such as a potion flask or tanglefoot bag) from within its trunk in combat, an action which does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
Like drones, warriors are dependent upon constant information exchange from their spore-mind, and if separated from this contact for 1 full minute, become shaken until re-connected, progressing to frightened after 10 minutes, and becoming effectively panicked after an hour without contact from even a single other Cyth-V’sug. Catatonia and death follow soon after. A frightened or panicking Cyth-V’sug flees towards the last known location of others of its kind, or makes a best guess, if it has no better idea, and moves at full speed in that direction, wafting out spores desperately, in an attempt to reconnect to the spore-mind.
Cyth-V’sug warriors continue to advance as Warriors, but none over 4th level have been reported. Drones do not advance at all, either undergoing a growth-spurt and becoming a warrior, or splitting open and dying, serving to feed the rest of the community. Exactly what conditions mark either event occurring are unclear, but it is believed that the spores of the Leader caste determine such things.
CYTH V’SUG LEADER ADEPT 3 CR ???
Fungal Infestation (Su) A leader can spend a full minute squatting on a relatively fresh and complete humanoid corpse (or similar quantity of meat from multiple smaller bodies) and infest it with great quantities of reproductive spores. These spores digest it from within and within eight hours, a new Cyth V’sug drone emerges, already a part of the hive mind and ready for service.
Using a similar, but lengthier process, a leader can spend a full hour entwined invasively around a living humanoid (or animal) of small or medium size, and forcibly join it into a more powerful variation on the spore-mind, filling it’s body and brain with living spores in a parasitic relationship. This process inflicts 1d4 points of Constitution damage to the new host, which will not naturally heal (as explained later), but can be restored magically. The infected humanoid grows hungrier and thirstier, the voracious spores requiring the equivalent of an additional meal per day and double the normal intake of water, and even at this pace, draws 1 Constitution point worth of nutrients from the creatures body (which an otherwise healthy humanoid will recover overnight), or twice this amount if the extra food and water requirements are not met (leading to an average humanoid unable to meet its demands dying within a little over a week!) While infested with this fungal intelligence, the creature is trapped within its own mind, aware of what is happening, but unable to control its actions, and aware only fleetingly of the alien intelligence within it. Infected humanoids appear pale, sallow and continuously sweaty, gain the sunlight weakness of a Cyth-V’sug, giving them a -1 to all attack rolls in sunlight or daylight-equivalent illumination. As a result, infected humanoids tend to wear hoods and move quickly from shaded area to shaded area when required to move about in daylight. A remove disease spell can purge the parasitic fungal intelligence from the victim, but the leader who infected the individual is allowed a Will save to resist the effect, strengthening the infecting material with his own force of will, and causing the infected victim to immediately suffer an immediate 1d4 points of Constitution damage, as the fungal intelligence cannibalizes his own body to survive the attempt at purging it from his body! A heal spell will instantly and painlessly purge the infection, with no chance of resistance and no harm to the victim. The infection otherwise functions like a traditional disease, although the ‘damage’ (Con loss and domination) cannot be resisted. Every day, the infected person gets a single Fortitude save (DC equal to 10 + the HD of the infecting leader) to try and shake the infection, and if he succeeds is allowed an hour of freedom from the domination effect before it reasserts control. If he ever succeeds in resisting the infection two days in a row, it is broken entirely and the fungal intelligence dies. A leader becomes aware of a host breaking from the spore-mind (whether temporarily or permanently) within moments, depending on distance. Infected creatures gain low-light vision and detect as neutral evil while serving as hosts, but otherwise retain their normal abilities.
A single leader can have up to eight humanoids of small or medium size under its control, and taking eight hours for infection, can infect a single large sized creature (such as an ogre, warhorse or large bear) in place of four smaller humanoids.
Fungal Alchemy (Ex) Uses alchemical acid as a weapon (and provides it to warriors), and can make advanced alchemical acid that ‘burns’ for another round if not removed, like alchemical fire. Can enhance acid created via biologically generated organisms as a move action, then throw it as a standard action, the organisms die within 1 minute, and so the ‘advanced acid’ cannot be kept for resale. Can ‘enhance’ up to two acid flasks per round and hand them off to adjacent warriors for throwing (taking a double move action to do so, effectively).
Can create more permanent enhanced acid that costs the Cyth V’sug leader twice the cost to create as a standard flask of acid (and functions mechanically as alchemical fire in all respects, except that it inflicts acid damage instead of fire damage), but any non Cyth V’sug alchemist managing to master their techniques will find that it costs them 50% more to create this advanced acid, due to the necessity to find costlier substitutes for the Cyth V’sug’s internally generated digestive secretions.
Leaders are capable of creating all other alchemical formula normally, although they never create or use alchemical fire, which they fear and loathe. Stranger and unique alchemical formulations that weaken materials, render surfaces slick or extremely sticky, cause suffocation, induce hallucinations and create stranger effects besides remain unconfirmed. One confirmed tactic is the use of Filth Fever-causing materials as a cheap form of ‘poison’ on missile weapons, or the use of special globes of ‘stew’ made from rotted meat and other materials that attracts the attention of bat, rat or roach swarms to the targeted creature.
Retaining the seven tendrils of the warrior caste, the leaders (or breeders, as some call them) grow taller, but slenderer, lacking the increased strength that would be suggested by the creatures size, but gaining toughness and flexibility as their longer tendrils become more densely packed and resilient, as hard as woven tendrils of wood fiber, but able to separate out into many fingered ‘hands.’ Their digestive excretions grow no more potent, but they learn to use them in many new and terrifying ways, as their link to Cyth V’sug grows ever more intimate and they begin to develop the spellcasting abilities of an Adept.
Leaders continue to advance as Adepts, and sometimes add levels of Sorcerer, as well (generally with the Aberrant or Abyssal Bloodline). Familiars are most commonly bats or uncommonly large centipedes (stats as a viper, but with a venom that inflicts Dex damage instead of Con damage), but rats, lizards, vipers, toads, poisonous frogs, and stranger fare, such as phosphorescent ambulatory slime molds, or more traditional animals, such as weasels and cats, afflicted with a fungal blight that makes them a shambling mockery of their normal selves, and the like, have been seen.
While the average Leader learns alchemy, others may specialize in poisonmaking or trapmaking, and will take the appropriate skill focus instead.
Leaders rarely leave whatever lair the community has established, and is often found in a dank cave, foreboding marsh or city sewer, preferring to rain down alchemical mayhem, missile weapons and the occasional spell on any interlopers that have made it as far as the lair from a position out of the reach of melee combat.
The four daemon horsemen have their own answer to the pit's Hell Hounds; the Daemon Hounds of the Apocalypse.
DAEMON HOUND OF THE APOCALYPSE CR ???
Init +2; Senses darkvision, low-light vision, scent; Perception +8
Gift of Famine (Su) Hounds of Famine appear gaunt and nigh-skeletal, but are no weaker or frailer than any other daemon hound. Additionally, their bite conveys the ‘gift of hunger,’ requiring the target to make a Fortitude save (DC 15, the save is Con-based) or take an additional 1d6 nonlethal damage and becoming fatigued. Nonlethal damage from starvation cannot be cured until the target eats a full days meal, and the fatigued condition remains until all nonlethal damage is cured. Outsiders, including other daemon hounds, are immune to the effects of starvation. Multiple bites can inflict additional nonlethal damage, but do not advance the fatigued condition.
A hound of famine has both the Improved Natural Attack feat and Improved Critical feat as bonus feats applied to its bite attack, and can Swallow Whole (1d6 acid damage, AC 11, 15 hp) a small-sized or smaller target. Unlike most creatures with the Swallow Whole property, a hound of famine does not expel any swallowed target until it is reduced to zero hit points.
Gift of Pestilence (Su) Hounds of Pestilence are barely recognizable as dogs, having a thin beetle-like carapace that increases it’s natural armor bonus by one to +2, six spindly legs, clacking mandibles and a pair of translucent wings that allow it to fly at a speed of 20 ft. (maneuverability poor). Their bite inflicts a disease that attacks the nervous system and causes tremors and hallucinations, the Scarlet Shaking Pox: Bite – injury; save Fort DC 15; onset immediate; frequency 1 day; effect 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Wis damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.
As a full-round action, a hound of pestilence can brace itself and belch forth a cloud of biting flies with the statistics of a spider swarm, but with a fly speed of 30 ft., ground move of 5 ft., no tremorsense and replacing poison with a disease – Filth Fever (DC 13, the save is Constitution-based, and includes a +2 racial bonus). While the fly swarm is active, the hound must retain concentration, just as if it had cast the summon swarm spell.
Gift of War (Su) Hounds of War wear barding, a mixture of mail, with leather straps and bits of plate steel, that functions mechanically as a chain shirt, giving them a +4 natural armor bonus, and a -2 armor check penalty to their acrobatics and stealth checks. Their paws have metal spurs attached, particularly on their forelimbs, and they gain two claw attacks as secondary attacks that inflict 1d4 slashing damage. A hound of war can lock its jaw on a successful bite attack, similar to the attach quality of a weasel, automatically grappling its foe and inflicting automatic bite damage each round thereafter, until the lock is broken. While grappling a foe, it gains a +4 circumstance to attempts to maul the target with its blade-armed forelegs, and due to the fierce shaking that it uses while grappling a foe, the grappled target has an additional -2 penalty to strike the hound with any weapon larger than a light melee weapon or one-handed attack.
Small-sized Gargoyles, for use as Improved Familiars (inspired by the Green Ronin Freeport setting, where the local Gnomes have enslaved gargoyles as living weapons of war).
GROTESQUE CR ???
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5
Variation: Aquatic Grotesques can breath underwater, no fly speed and a swim speed of 60 ft. They replace any ranks in the Fly skill with ranks in the Swim skill.
Another Improved Familiar idea; and another easy-peasy one, a size Small variation on the traditional Hell Hound;
DEVIL DOGS CR ???
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +6
Smaller than traditional hell hounds, but no less vicious, ‘devil dogs’ are often found as the familiars of certain wizards, although Chelaxians tend to look down on them as crude, compared to Imps. Devil dogs tend towards petty cruelty and prefer living prey, which they torment and terrorize, spitting flame more to herd their target into a waiting ambush, than to inflict damage. Better trackers, and possessed of more canine qualities than traditional hell hounds, who regard them with contempt and condescension, the devil dogs share the hell hounds unusually large and powerful maw, with fangs that appear to be crafted more from jagged fragments of red-hot iron than bone.
Devil dogs kept as servitor creatures on the material plane most often require surroundings that are resistant to the wads of fiery phlegm they discharge habitually, as all flammable items in their surroundings tend to be burned away in short order. Domesticated beasts often wear leather, studded leather or chain barding, sometimes complete with armor spikes, and all devil dogs are treated as proficient with these items, even if not encountered wearing them.
And, really, the whole point of the exercise was to create extraplanar Improved Familiar options other than the Imp and Quasit for spellcasters who were not Chaotic Evil or Lawful Evil, which means the Grotesque and Devil Dog should have been the *last* ones I did. Ah, silly me!
Here's one for those namby-pamby LG Iomedans.
This tiny creature appears as a fluttering collection of glowing lights, each the size of a candle's flame and resolving into a tiny humanoid form wrapped in fluttering veils of translucent cloth in many colors, flapping around the floating figure like many wings. The figure is accompanied by a tinkling of music, like the tolling of many tiny bells. When it speaks, it sounds like a tiny choir of voices raised in song. But the sound of the bells grows louder as they chime in harmony, until the sound becomes a deafening assault!
BELL ARCHON CR ???
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +6
Bell archons, along with lantern archons, are the lowest tier of archons, and are often sought out as familiars or minor allies (usually messengers) by good-aligned spellcasters. Some of their traditional abilities, such as the use of teleportation, or their damage resistance, are somewhat weaker than that of more powerful archons, but they remain vital intermediaries in the upper planes, able to comprehend any language, and speaking any tongue with a melodious and diplomatic tone. Seemingly endlessly patient, if sometimes inflexible in their understanding of their orders, bell archons must be approached closely to see their tiny humanoid forms, which float amid a fluttering array of sheer scarves in many subtle colors, which carry them aloft like a dozen wings, rustling, snapping and twisting with their seemingly effortless passage through the air. When seen up close, their skin ranges from silvery to metallic white to the color of polished brass, similar to the bells for which they are named, and when they deliver their dulcet tones at a range, they strike their tiny hands together forcefully, creating a pulse of sound that is briefly visible as a white blur of disrupted air between them and their target.
And for the NG sorts, serving Sarenrae, Shelyn and similar powers, the Empyreal Deva (named before I knew that the most powerful angelic critters would be called Empyreals, which, in retrospect, becomes funny, the tiniest and most Napoleonic in temperament of angelic creatures naming themselves after the near demigod-level powers that stand at the top of their hierarchy).
This tiny creature is an impossibly perfect humanoid clad in gleaming golden breastplate, greaves, bracers and helm, and bearing a shining golden spear in both arms. It is born aloft on spotless white feathered wings, and has a white linen kilt under its breastplate.
EMPYREAL DEVA CR ???
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +6
Radiant Armor (Su) An empyreal deva is always clad in an undecorated breastplate that appears to be made of softly glowing gold (but is weightless), along with matching greaves, bracers and Grecian-style helm, topped with a white plume of what appears to be horsehair. This armor sheds candle-light intensity light, and is similarly composed of radiant energy, providing a deflection bonus, instead of a natural armor bonus, to the devas armor class. If dispelled (or intentionally dismissed), the armor can be reformed as a swift action on the angels next action.
Personal Protective Aura (Su) Unlike the more potent angels, the protective aura of an empyreal deva only extends to protecting itself, giving it a +2 deflection bonus vs. the attacks of evil creatures (which does not stack with the bonus provided by its gleaming armor) and a +2 resistance bonus to saving throws vs. the attacks of evil creatures, as well as the other defensive benefits of a protection from evil spell. Instead of functioning as a lesser globe of invulnerability, the aura only protects the deva itself, and only blocks the effects of spells of 1st level or lower. If the protective aura is dispelled (being treated as a 2nd level spell cast at CL 6), or intentionally dismissed by the deva itself, it can be restored as a swift action on the angels next turn.
An empyreal deva taken as an Improved Familiar can share the effects of its personal protective aura with its master, as long as he is within 5 ft. of the deva.
Gifted Healer (Su) Empyreal devas are treated as if always possessing a Healer's Kit (with unlimited 'uses') for the purposes of Heal checks, and can take 10 on heal checks, even in dangerous or distracting conditions.
Empyreal devas resemble tiny perfectly formed humans, of either gender, with skin that appears to be smooth marble, sometimes pure white, sometimes pale grey, and often veined with what appears to be gold or rose-quartz. Their feathered wings often match the coloration of their skin, either spotlessly white, white with golden highlight, or the grey-with-rose hued wings of the mourning dove. In movement and mannerisms, they tend towards grandiose statements and mannerisms, and are known to become prickly and uncooperative if events conspire to make them look foolish, or draw attention to their relative weakness compared to the more impressive members of the angelic host.
They are fiercely opinionated, and could even be seen as somewhat overcompensatory figures, sometimes surprisingly militant, and even strident, in the pursuit of their self-appointed crusades, much to the exasperation of their superiors in the angelic hierarchy, who often attempt to remind them of the virtues of compassion, forgiveness and tolerance, as well as the most commonly lacked virtue among the tiny warrior angels, patience.
Bell archons, despite being innately diplomatic creatures, are known to gently mock their fellow ‘lesser celestials,’ for taking themselves far too seriously, a somewhat odd turn of events, as the archons are more dogmatically lawful than the more free-wheeling angelic hosts.
And for the LN sorts, servants of law incarnate, the Formian Assistant.
This cat-sized creature seems a cross between oversized wasp and centaur, having four insect legs, four thin arms, and a head and torso that bears both insectile and humanoid qualities, held aloft by four translucent wings that whir so fast as to be a blur. Its reddish-brown carapace is fastidiously clean.
FORMIAN ASSISTANT CR ???
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +6
Poison (Ex) Delivered through a painful bite that only inflicts a single hit point of damage (as a last resort), or, more commonly, via tiny arrows or spears, which the creature can lick and envenom as a move-equivalent action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity (the venom remaining potent for 1 minute in such cases), the formian assistants refer to this toxin as the waters of balance Bite or Weapon attack – injury, save Fort DC 13; frequency 1/round for five rounds; effectblindness; cure save to be dazzled for that round, otherwise lasts full five rounds. The save is Constitution-based, and includes a +2 racial bonus.
Despite their abundance of limbs, formian assistants lack the motor control to attack with more than one limb at a time, and use either their spear and shield in conjunction, or fire arrows from afar, being unable to effectively use both sets of forelimbs at the same time (the other hanging at their side, holding whatever items are not in use). Formian assistants, despite their armaments, prefer to negotiate, or avoid combat, rather than fight, and when they do participate in a battle, prefer to assist others by harrying foes with their envenomed arrows, or assisting allies (or hindering foes) with magical support.
Formians encountered in Axis are part of a formian hive-mind, but those encountered in other planes have been separated from that communion, and have very fixed agendas, from which they are almost impossibly-hard to sidetrack. Whether part of a hive-mind or not, formian assistants enjoy a strong resistance to mind-affecting effects, and as familiars to lawful spellcasters, can share this resistance bonus with their master, so long as he remains within range of their empathic link.
I suppose an Imp-scaled version of an Azata and a Protean are next, for the CG and CN set, but the muse has yet to deliver those. :)
Pure Neutral outsider 'Improved Familiars' would probably be similar to the Gen of Al-Qadim, and come from the Elemental planes, the Astral Plane, the Plane of Shadow or the Ethereal. Tiny little imperious Efreeti-kin sound fun, as do vaguely unreliably Shadow-Cats (is it a Shadow, or a Cat? Neither, it's the Shadow *of* a Cat!).
Brain-break from critter creation. Had to look up something in Into the Darklands ('cause I couldn't spell Nemret Noktoria from memory, and probably am still getting it wrong...) and ended up re-reading the whole book, 'cause I'm bad at putting down books.
And then lightning hit my brain. That must certainly hurt...
A family of a dozen trolls, all the children, grandchildren, etc. (and usually related to her more than once, in this inbred family) of their leader, the terrible matriarch Old Dug, reside in a compound within Nemret Noktoria. They provide a gruesome service, receiving plundered grave goods and bits of ancient lore from the ghoul citizens in exchange for bitter troll flesh, to sate their unending hunger. A small donation, a trinket perhaps, may be worth only a hand, while a larger item or scrap of interesting text, could be worth an entire thickly-muscled arm. The trolls barter one on one with the ghouls, with the troll 'donor' receiving the item(s) to be traded, and after the ghouls leave, trade (and sometimes gamble) these items briskly between themselves, seeking to have the choicest items to offer their matriarch, in exchange for her favors and the powers at her command.
A potent spellcaster, Old Dug is capable of creating food, in apparently vast quantities, as she somehow supports her entire family in this manner. It is unclear if she does so through clerical magic, by calling in otherworldly creatures through some form of planar calling spell, or through the use of some magical item (or some combination of the above), but the effects are undeniable, as she sates the hunger of a dozen rapacious trolls, and leaves them healthy enough to tear limbs off day after day, in exchange for scraps of lore and treasure with which to buy her favor. She has a partner in this strange endeavor, a Green Hag named Grizzle, who plays the part of cryptic hooded advisor, enslaved to Old Dug and wearing an iron collar, linked to a chain in her 'owners' hand. When the other trolls are away, the two reveal their true partnership, as blood-sisters, plotting and reconstructing ancient lore in pursuit of their own dark agenda, to become undead themselves, and to imprison Old Dug's family as a never-ending larder for the insatiable hungers they know will be the price of their transformation.
The family rarely leaves the compound, but when they must travel outside the walls of their small area, they travel in a group of at least three, if not five or more, often accompanied by either Old Dug's favored son (and lover), a fearsome barbarian, freakishly large for even a troll, or her favored daughter, a dangerous (and more than a little crazed) sorceress who specializes in spells of thunder and lightning, tossing shocking grasp, shatter and lightning bolt spells with wanton enthusiasm, interspersed with the occasional electrical-variation on scorching ray, while ranting incomprehensibly in her excitement. The ghouls, for their part, have never attempted to storm the compound, and the rare ghoul who succumbs to a starved frenzy and attacks a troll during negotiations does not survive that mistake.
Ghouls generally loathe the taste of troll flesh, but the price of living slaves, or even relatively fresh carrion, is often far in excess of what they can afford, and the hunger is always gnawing in their bellies..
Perhaps the story gets pushed along when the ghouls begin to suspect the trolls agenda. They realize they have some particularly important information and will not settle for troll flesh. They want the removal of a dangerous town and all of its fresh human meat.
Perhaps there is a newly made ghoul with more brains and ambition....
Yeah, there's definitely potential for something hinky to go on, whether on the part of the trolls (one of the 'kids' figures out that mamma wants to become a ghoul and keep them around as neverending gobstoppers) or the ghouls (a ghoul necromancer / priest wanting to 'help' Old Dug on her way, in exchange for access to the lore she is accumulating).
Like all best-laid-plans, Old Dug is gonna find it an uphill struggle to get what she wants. Even if she succeeds, she becomes just one more ghoul, in a kingdom full of her kind, going from 'top dog' of a troll family to the newest-of-newbies in an ancient immortal culture...
Another LN option for Improved Familar, since not everyone wants a flying bug.
A shimmering cloud of softly-glowing golden motes coalesces before you into a tiny humanoid figure of white alabaster, utterly motionless, like a statue, arms outraised, as if addressing an audience. Where the inflexible figurine should have eyes and a mouth, golden lights dance as a buzzing voice demands that you state your purpose here.
AXIOMITE LEAST CR ???
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +6
Axiomites least move in great glittering clouds throughout Axis, forming into stationary figurines sometimes called ushabti by the Osirioni conjurers who call upon them as familiars. Their tiny bodies are as hard as the alabaster they resemble, with tiny accoutrements of gold, jet and lapis lazuli, usually in Osirioni modes of dress. These motionless floating figurines have slender builds, and often wear exotic headgear on their slightly outsized heads. Instead of eyes, the figures have pools of golden energy, and a similar radiant display exists where a human would have a mouth and chin, with the cheeks extending downwards like the sides of a mask that does not cover the mouth. Incapable of moving even an arm, whatever part of the body an axiomite least wishes to move dissolves into golden light and reforms in the desired position in the blink of an eye, which can be disconcerting when the only ‘movement’ is the turning of the creatures face, or an arm dissolving to reform pointing at an item.
Axiomites least attack others by moving in a swirling spiral of sparkling ‘dust’ that resembles shining powdered gold, becoming solid and striking with unsuspected force, often frozen in some active pose, before shimmering away to strike again, only being solid for the moments of impact. The force of their impact seems more dependent upon speed and surprising weight, and is unaffected by their size or strength (and is not modified by changes to those traits). Three times per day, an axiomite least can attempt a stunning slam, identical to a 3rd level monk’s stunning fist attack (DC 13 to resist, 1 round stun).
And closing in on the last needed extraplanar aligned-plane-based Improved Familiar option, for those kwazy Chaotic Neutral sorts;
A fringe-headed metallic eel of some sort, shimmering with all the colors of the rainbow, twists and undulates lazily through the air in your direction, before shuddering and dropping to the floor, now a simple housecat, which regards you curiously.
PROTEAN, VALAKET CR ???
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7
Valaket resemble serpentine rivulets of shimmering multicolored fluid, their diamond-shaped scales metallic and glistening like liquid mercury, but with a multitude of soft colors playing down their length. In their native state, small incomprehensible glyphs circle their ‘head,’ and they swirl around upon themselves in mid-air, unable to remain still, ever circling upon themselves, even at rest or when asleep, stopping their endless dance only in death.
When a valaket assumes the form of some animal, the glyphs subsume into the creatures new form, but are always manifest as a differently colored pattern of fur, scale or feathers, generally on the rear or front torso or spread across the wings, allowing a perceptive onlooker to recognize the creature, no matter what form it takes.
Despite their form, valaket show an uncanny proficiency with rendering complicated mechanisms unworkable, and can make use of the disable device skill with no penalties for lack of tools (or limbs!).
That leaves another LN (inevitable), small Hellcats (why not, we already have small Hell Hounds), some sort of CG mini-Azata and some pure Neutral critter (perhaps a Boneyard spirit guide, perhaps a 'wise animal', perhaps a capricious fey from the First World) to go.
And, yanno, rewriting all of these so that they aren't so annoyingly riddled with boneheaded errors! Grr. Argh.
Recent chatter about WotC IP conversions, such as Mind Flayers, Beholders, etc. reminded me of this critter, which was thrown together as an idea of how you could put a 'beholder' into the Golarion setting both organically and without ripping off someone elses ideas.
Instead of making a straight Beholder clone, take whatever aspects of the Eye Tyrants interest you and incorporate them into a Golarion specific, but radically different creature like so;
Called forth by the cults of Groteus on moonless nights, Oblivion’s Eye is regarded as the herald of annihilation, and precious and unique items are brought before the Eye to be sacrificed to oblivion. Living sacrifices are also made annually, and each must be a singular individual, the best or brightest or most beautiful person of their sort in the land, with master craftsmen famous for unique skills, and talented vocalists renowned for their ethereal voices sought out to be kidnapped and sacrificed to Oblivion’s Eye on these nights. After accepting whatever sacrifices are to be made to Groetus, Oblivion's Eye wanders, destroying all that its baleful gaze falls upon, until the dawn comes or it is destroyed a more powerful force.
Oblivion’s Eye hovers unblinking before you, a throbbing unwholesome meter and a half diameter grey-white eyeball, with a violet iris mixed with orange patterns reminiscent of an aura of flames radiating out from the jet black pupil.
Oblivion’s Eye CR XX
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +11
AC 15, touch 10, flat-footed 15 (+5 natural)
Speed fly 20 ft. (perfect)
Str 11, Dex 10, Con 19, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 15
Gaze of Dissolution (Su): As a standard action, the creature can cause it’s dark pupil to bulge inwards and rupture, unleashing a cold wind that carries tiny black motes of swarming darkness that swarm around like insects, striking a single target within 60 ft. as a disintegrate spell at CL 8. The swarming black motes dance around the subject and then are sucked back into the iris of Oblivion’s Eye. Once it has unleashed this attack, it must wait 1d4 rounds before it can repeat this action.
Cry from Beyond (Su): As a standard action it can pulse unnaturally, its entire surface strumming and vibrating sickeningly, producing a throbbing sound that functions as a shout spell, also at CL 8.
Instinctive Counterspell (Su): As a free action, once per round, it can cast greater dispel magic at CL 8, and it can use this ability to counterspell an incoming hostile effect, even if it has not delayed to take the counterspell action. As it can only perform this action once in a round, multiple spells can overwhelm this instinctive defense. If it counters a spell of less than 3rd level, Oblivion’s Eye can choose to turn the spell back upon its caster, as if Oblivion’s Eye had cast the spell in question, for determining range and effect.
Aura of Corruption (Su): The unnatural aura that surrounds Oblivion’s Eye causes all natural animals to immediately flee, if it approaches within 30 ft. of them, and any creature that remains within its presence at the end of a round takes damage. Those ending their turn within 30 ft. suffer 1d6 damage, those within 20 ft. suffer 1d3 damage and those within 21 to 30 ft. suffer a single point of damage. Even if a living creature leaves the area, the damage recurs thereafter as bleed damage unless treated, as the toxic exposure to Oblivion’s Eye continues to rot the afflicted creature from within. Unliving creatures, and unattended objects, suffer the initial damage, and additional damage for each additional round spent in the presence of the Eye, but do not suffer any form of bleed damage. This damage bypasses any form of energy resistance, damage reduction or object hardness, and Oblivion’s Eye can slowly bore through stone using just this aura, without resorting to its shout or disintegrate spell-like abilities.
Lashing Tendril (Ex): Behind Oblivion’s Eye, a lashing grey tendril whips around furiously, as if propelling the eye with its frenzied flagellations. Anyone standing in the square directly behind the Eye is struck this tendril, which inflicts 2d6 slashing damage that ignores hardness and damage reduction of all sorts. Oblivion’s Eye never uses this tendril as a deliberate attack, but it automatically strikes any who enter the square directly behind the creatures facing.
Partial Incorporeality (Su): Oblivion’s Eye is not made of earthly material, and is treated as being ‘partially incorporeal,’ so that any physical attack has a 20% chance of failing to harm it, including weapon attacks (whether from magical weapons or mundane ones), acid, boulders, the natural weapons of monsters or other physically damaging effects, such as falling hail or the rubble from an avalanche. Affects that fail to penetrate this unearthly defense do not seem to pass through the creature, so much as shudder around it, avoiding contact with its form, or even, in some cases, splashing harmlessly off of it as if the solid striking force was liquid, reforming after failing to injure the creature to its solid state. Energy effects, whether force, fire, electricity or cold, bypass this partial incorporeality and affect the creature normally.
While wingless, Oblivion’s Eye causes a disruption when flying, distorting and shuddering the air in its wake, and is capable of stirring up a cloud of debris via the Hover feat, as if possessed of wings.
Obviously, I picked 'floating man-sized eyeball that does horrible magical things to you' as my base point here. The creature is a singular aspect of an 'Old God' called up for ritual sacrifices, not a race of aberrations, but has the same basic form and function in an encounter, down to being hard to beat with magic, and having deadly 'gaze' related abilities.
If I instead wanted a race that aped the basic personality and nature of the beholders, I could instead have made a humanoid race with innate sorcerous abilities that stored spells in glyphs painted upon their skin. Same powers as a Beholder, more or less, but a radically different form. I could even have differing 'tribes' of these humanoids hate each other with a great passion, perhaps looking identical to outside viewers (unlike the warring racist Beholder factions), and only being remarkable in that they use different glyph-languages, and consider their own personal language to be the true 'words of creation,' and all different magical glyph-tattooed membered of their species to be defilers and corrupters of the pure language primeval or whatever. In this case, they would have similar powers, personalities and societies to Beholders, but look nothing like them, being just tattoed humanoids, to the naked eye.
This sort of thing, IMO, is more interesting than just making a straight conversion of a floating aberration that shoots 10 specific spells at you from its ten eyestalks.
Ooh, I have a thread. I must post to it!
Serpentfolk as a PC race;
Savage Serpentfolk Racial traits
The smarter of the two Serpentfolk castes;
Advanced Serpentfolk Racial traits
Special Serpentfolk feats (note that PC Advanced Serpentfolk can take the Trait in the previous post, and any Advanced Serpentfolk can take the Green Scale Mail Feat);
Natural Shapeshifter – Upon reaching 6 HD, a Serpentfolk can learn this feat, gaining the Shapeshifter subtype, and becoming able to retain the properties of his armored scales (if any) while in the form of any humanoid that also has natural armor, up to the amount that this creature would have. (For instance, if a Serpentfolk with both the Jade Armor trait and the Green Steel Mail feat assumed the form of a Gnoll, a creature that only has natural armor +1, he would only benefit from a +1 natural armor bonus. If he took the form of a lizardfolk, with a +5 natural armor bonus, he would not be able to benefit from natural armor bonus higher than his own +2.) In the form of any humanoid of his size with natural weaponry, the Serpentfolk becomes able to use that natural weaponry, and gains up to 30 ft. of Swim speed, if appropriate. No other movement types or special qualities can be assumed in this form, and the serpentfolk does not gain the ability to breath underwater.
Size Shifter – A Serpentfolk with this feat gains the ability to transform into humanoids of up to one size class smaller, or one size class larger than his base form with his Shed Skin ability. Prereq: Natural Shapeshifter feat.
Random other thoughts;
Serpent Folk prefer to wear articulated armor, never wearing something as bulky and inflexible as full plate. They also prefer to use curved blades (scimitars, falchions, kukri) or flexible weapons (flails, whips, chains). Savages are less likely to be able to afford better weapons, and might be forced to use javelins, spears and daggers, regarding piercing weapons as acceptable substitutes if curved blades or flexible weapons are not available.
Serpentfolk Throwing Blade – stats as a throwing axe, but with a x3 crit multiplier instead of a x2.
Serpentfolk Throwing Iron – 8 lb. version of the Throwing Blade, inflicts 1d8 S (crit x3) damage normally, or, if thrown as a full-round action with both arms, 2d6 S (crit x3) damage.
Serpentfolk Steel Tongue – exactly as an Urumi, PFCCS p 209-211.
Serpentfolk Blade Thrower – special club that can be used as a club (but has spikes on the end and does B/P like a morning star), but whose true function is when the club is reversed and a throwing blade (but NOT a throwing iron!) is slotted into the groove on that side as a move-equivalent action (that provokes an attack of opportunity), allowing one to hurl a throwing blade twice as far as normal and with greater force (2d4 S instead of 1d6). Unlike a club, the Blade Thrower itself cannot be thrown.
Some not-so-random new magical weapon properties.
Alkaline: Upon command, an alkaline weapon is coated in a viscous corrosive agent that sloughs off on any target struck, inflicting +1d6 Acid damage on a successful hit. This acid does not affect the weapon or its wielder. The effect remains until another command is given.
Caustic Burst: A caustic burst weapon functions as an alkaline weapon that also discharges a splash of acid upon a successful critical hit. The acid does not damage the weapon or its wielder. In addition to the extra acid damage from the alkaline ability, the caustic burst weapon deals an addition +1d10 of acid damage on a successful critical hit. If the weapon’s critical modifier is x3, add an extra 2d10 points of acid damage instead, and if the multiplier is x4, add an extra 3d10 points of acid damage instead.
Howling: Upon command, a howling weapon begins vibrating and emitting a low howl, like wind through trees, which rises to a bone-rattling shriek when it strikes a target, inflicting +1d6 sonic damage on a successful hit. This sound does not affect the weapon or its wielder. The effect remains until another command is given.
Cacophonous Burst: A cacophonous burst weapon functions as a howling weapon that also produces a discordant burst of damaging sound upon a successful critical hit. This sound does not damage the weapon or its wielder. In addition to the extra sonic damage from the howling ability, the cacophonous burst weapon deals an addition +1d10 of sonic damage on a successful critical hit. If the weapon’s critical modifier is x3, add an extra 2d10 points of sonic damage instead, and if the multiplier is x4, add an extra 3d10 points of sonic damage instead.
New +500 gp. weapon enhancements
Fiery – the weapon grows warm when used in battle and emits a tongue of flame when it strikes a target, inflicting +1 hit point of fire damage. This property can be stacked with the flaming or flaming burst properties, but not with any other energy enhancement (such as icy burst or shock).
Solvent – the weapon has a greenish cast to it when used in battle and has a bitter smell. When it strikes a target, a small quantity of acid is transferred to the target, inflicting +1 hit point of acid damage. This property can be stacked with the alkaline or caustic burst properties, but not with any other energy enhancement (such as flaming or shock burst).
Icy – the weapon is cold to the touch and patterns of frost spider along the blade and cold mist follows its arc in combat. When it strikes a target, a blast of cold inflicts +1 hit point of cold damage. This property can be stacked with frost or icy burst, but not any other energy enhancement (such as shock or flaming burst).
Spark – this weapon smells of ozone and tingles to the touch, producing a buzzing sound when it is used in combat and shooting off sparks of electricity when it strikes a target. This inflicts +1 hit point of electrical damage, and this property can be stacked with shock or shocking burst, but not other energy enhancements such as frost or flaming burst).
Moaning – this weapon produces a low vibrating moan as it rips through the air, which creates a destructive sonic resonance when it hits, inflicting +1 hit point of sonic damage. This property can be stacked with the howling, thundering or cacophonous burst properties, but not other energy enhancements such as flaming or icy burst.
Each of these enhancements cost 500 gp to add to a weapon, and the weapon need not already have a +1 enhancement bonus, but must be Masterwork.
A pair of Sorcerer Bloodlines;
Some familiars that are less 'improved' and more fancy animals;
A Glass Falcon is similar in size and build to a regular Hawk, but their feathers, flesh and skin are translucent, leaving only their bones and some of their organs (such as their blue heart muscle, grayish-pink lungs and lighter pink stomach and intestines) clearly visible. At a distance, they are harder to see, and as they come closer, they could easily be mistaken for some form of undead, due to the visibility of their skeleton.
It is believed that their translucent flesh makes it harder for prey to spot them (or aerial predators, for that matter), and makes their shadow upon the ground less noticeable, but in Taldor, such scholarly concerns fall by the wayside, as the long pinion feathers and the two prominent tail feathers of the Glass Falcon's V-shaped tail are widely sought after by arcanists and nobles, due to their distinctive translucent quality. Even in these days, with Glass Falcon items fallen somewhat out of favor, a Glass Falcon quill can command upwards of 5 gold pieces (only the two longest wing feathers are so prized, with the two longest tail feathers only worth a couple of gold, at best). Some attempted to harvest the feathers from captured specimens, only to discover that one plucked of it's two prominent wing feathers could only fly 20 ft. (clumsy) and had to land between each 'flight.' Falcons so plucked ceased to eat and died within a day, due to their high metabolism. (Those plucked of their two prominent tail feathers, of lesser value, dropped to clumsy maneuverability and lost the benefits of their erratic flight style, but did not lose the ability to fly, or their will to live.)
But it was not the demand for their feathers that drove the beast near to extinction, but for their hide, when it was discovered that if the hide was removed within 10 minutes of the animal's death, and properly cured soon thereafter, the skin itself would remain translucent. The finest ladies were soon seen at court wearing delicate gloves of Glass-Leather, which appeared as a shimmering sheen over their skin, made to look supple and oiled by the covering. Becoming all the rage, Glass Falcons were culled from the sky in great numbers, and the populations along the Worlds Edge Mountains were devastated, never to recover.
Fortunately for the Glass Falcon, the fad passed, and gloves of translucent falcon-leather are now derisively referred to as 'sausage casings' by the elite.
Glass Falcons are known not only for their unique flesh (which darkens within a few moments of their death, and is oily and bitter to the taste in any event), but for their erratic and 'jittery' flight style, darting and banking sharply, using their crescent-shaped tail to produce a unique and hard to target style in flight, more reminiscent of that of a bat than any bird. Glass Falcons have an unusually high metabolism, even for a bird of prey, and devour a large number of smaller birds, larger insects, bats and similar prey in the course of a single day, being in danger of starving to death during the night, if they do not acquire enough food during the day.
Statistically, a Glass Falcon uses Hawk statistics, with the following modifications. -10 ft. flying speed. Treat as size Diminutive to target, due to it's translucent flesh (+4 size bonus to AC, rather than +2, as a smaller percentage of it's body is visible), and any ranged attack on a Glass Falcon suffers from a 20% miss chance, due to its erratic flight style.
As a Familiar, a Glass Falcon confers it's master a +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class.
From Qadira, the Iron Rukh. Stats as a Hawk, with the following modifications, -2 Dex, +2 Str, +1 natural armor, 50 ft. fly speed. The Iron Rukh has feathers of a dull grey tinged with rust-red at the edges, and it's beak and claws contain traces of iron. It hunts like many other raptors, but drains the blood of prey before devouring it's flesh, filtering the richest portions of the blood within itself and layering a sediment of iron upon it's hollow bones, making it marginally tougher (if less swift on the wing), and giving it's beak and talons the appearance of rusting iron. When an Iron Rukh strikes, it produces a sound within it's gullet reminiscent of a thunderclap, that is believed to stun and disorient the small game it feeds upon, although the only notable affect is that it deafens larger targets momentarily. (Fort DC 12, Con-based, includes a +2 racial bonus, target struck is deafened for 1 round if it fails the save.) The iron in their bodies gives an Iron Rukh a keen sense of direction, and they receive a +8 racial bonus to Survival checks to avoid getting lost. The nomadic tribesmen of the Qadiran deserts admire the Iron Rukh for it's stark features and reputed untameable nature, considering it a creature of the storm. Well not 'untameable,' Iron Rukhs use the good save column for Will saves, and Handle Animal / Wild Empathy checks on one are made at +2 to the DC. Iron Rukhs do not breed in captivity.
As a familiar, an Iron Rukh confers a +1 to saves against mind-affecting effects, and a +4 bonus to Survival checks to avoid getting lost.
The Great Rukh is a larger version of the Iron Rukh. A Magical Beast, the Great Rukh is the size of an Eagle, and has similar stats, with the following modifications; +2 Con, +1 NA, No bite attack. As it flies, the Great Rukhs iron-infused feathers pick up a powerful static charge from the desert skies, so that on the first strike it makes on a landbound foe, it's talons inflict an additional 1d6 Electrical damage. Once this energy is discharged, it takes 10 minutes of flight for the Great Rukh to build up a new charge. In addition to this special attack, the Great Rukh also produces a sound like a thunderclap when it strikes, although this effect is greatly increased in effect, affecting a 15 ft. diameter area centered on the point of impact (generally a medium target and all adjacent squares), requiring a Fort save DC 14 (Con-based, +2 racial bonus) to avoid 1 minute of deafness. A Great Rukh shares the survival bonus and 'untameable' qualities (and reputation) of their smaller cousins.
Based off of this thread, Special Materials of Golarion.
Random special material notions that bounced around my head after reading the original idea;
Crystallized Hatred aka Blood Tears - It is said that when a woman is scorned by a man, her angry tears as she vows vengeance leave a salty taste on the smiling lips of Calistria. Within her realm, the Savored Sting has formed crystals, at first yellow like amber, but later ruddy-orange, their potential only realized when such a woman has taken bloody vengeance with her own hands. These crystals are sometimes given to priestesses of the goddess of vengeance, and have properties associated with rage, hatred and the taking of vengeance. Calistria's clergy waves off any suggestion that this material is in any way related to the material known as 'the Bars of the Beast' in Qadira and Casmaron.
Star Amber - Said by some to be fallen from the stars, these stones are sacred to the faithful of Desna, and are both dark and translucent, like blackened glass. Within them, small alien creatures can be seen, trapped, as in amber, with some stones having multiple smaller creatures of similar type, and others a single larger different alien form, generally of insectoid or vermiform nature. Whatever their form, these creatures respond to tapping on the stone, or the presence of darkness around them by shedding candlelight intensity light. Star Amber is prized in summoning or planar binding magics, particularly those variations used to call down creatures from the outer reaches of the material realm, such as Akatas, as well as to craft items that conjure light or darkness.
Struck Steel - Scavenged from battlefields where Gorum is purported to have fought, these spiked and twisted scraps of metal are re-forged into the finest Gorumite armor. Whether or not there is any truth to it's divine provenance, the metal armor responds well to magics associated with war, bloodlust and martial strength. Armor spikes or spiked gauntlets fashioned from struck steel automatically inflict 1 hit point of bleed damage for rounds equal to their base damage die (1d6 rounds for medium armor spikes, 1d4 rounds for spiked gauntlets). Struck steel weapons are particularly good at sundering other materials, ignoring a certain amount of object hardness, based on weapon size. (1 for tiny, 2 for small, 3 for medium, 4 for large, 5 for larger sizes.)
Smokeless Fire - The dervishes of Sarenrae sometimes carry scripture-inscribed scimitars that appear to be of blazing brass, but are feather-light and harder than steel. They claim that genies in service to the Morning Glory craft these items, and decorate them with amber stones that store the light of the sun and glow with candlelight intensity all night long. More rarely, some other item of 'smokeless fire' will be seen, such as a lamp or coffee pot. Even clothing can be made from the substance, shimmering like gilt silk, ever stainless. Cloth items made from smokeless fire provide the armor protection of cloth armor, but carries no armor check penalty and has no maximum dexterity bonus, allowing it to be worn by spellcasters without penalty.
Bone Oboli - A bone obolus is a unit of exchange used by the courts of Pharasma, and could be a fingerbone, a tooth or even a vertebrae (each having different values, and no more than one coming from any one decedent). The clergy of Pharasma, particularly in Osirion, have taken to emulating this means of exchange, choosing a single bone from each of their own that is buried in their vaults, and using that as a focus for necromantic magic, with the most common use to fashion items that provide false life a single time to the user, purportedly calling upon the spirit of the deceased to shield the bearer from harm. Such items are sometimes gifted to loved ones of the departed, such as widowed spouses or orphaned children, so that their loved one can still protect them in times of great danger. More commonly, amongst themselves, the clergy use magically-potent bone oboli as focusses to speak with the departed, with the magical enhancement allowing them to forgoe the normal requirements of an intact body. Such oboli can also be used as payments to creatures summoned from Pharasma's realm via spells like Planar Binding.
Bars of the Beast - These slivers of stone are said to have been broken off of the Prison of Rovagug, shaken loose by his fury. The stone is usually a jagged shard, often usable as an arrowhead or even dagger (for the larger pieces), and synergizes well with contradictory magics of destruction and emotional fury and yet also restraint and imprisonment. As long as a jagged edge of this substance remains within the flesh of another, they suffer the effects of a slow spell (as well as experiencing a sensation of being shackled, and being filled with a sensation of undirected rage), and hooked metal barbs are often placed directly behind an arrowhead of such stone, to make it difficult to remove without further damage. This substance may be the exact same substance as Crystalized Hatred, above, only with an alternate 'explanation' for its nature.
Skystone - These blue crystals are found around the sites of some meteor impacts, particularly those associated with Earthfall. Said to be blessed by Nethys by some, said to be fallen from the sky by others, the crystals are the result of items (or persons) of magic being obliterated by the falling 'stars,' with their magic seeping into the ground around them, forming these blue crystals from the blasted earth itself. While the stones themselves do not hold any true power, they are well-suited to absorbing and storing magic for a limited time, somewhat like a spell storing item, but without magical craftsmanship required. A dagger sized shard of skystone can store a single 1st level spell for 24 hours, and, with no magical enhancement at all, a wizard could imbue a shocking grasp within such a blade and discharge the spell later as part of an attack (although the spell could not be discharged by someone else who does not have shocking grasp on their spell list). With modest magical enhancement, a skystone dagger could hold spells longer, and larger items of skystone may be able to hold more powerful spells, with a staff-sized chunk holding up to a third level spell. The crystals are both strong, and yet also flexible, despite their appearance, behaving more like metal than crystal, in some ways. The chuch of Nethys collects skystone, and is said to have in it's temple in Sothis the largest known piece, which has been carved into a throne-like seat that weighs over a thousand pounds and can contain magics of the highest potency.
Just reading through Dark Markets: Katapesh and noticed the Ghul, an undead Genie, which was too sweet to not have a Sorcerer Bloodline for...
You, good sir, must be a master artisan of souls from a bygone age or else simply ... gifted. Very nice, Saxon like. ;-)
One question, though:
You can spend a total number of hours per day equal to your Sorcerer level in this form, ... but you always expend at least 1 hour worth of the effects duration when you assume the hyena form.
Don't you mean "any form"? The following power doesn't state any duration, thus inviting sneaky and rulesy players to abuse it.
Nether Saxon wrote:
You, good sir, must be a master artisan of souls from a bygone age or else simply ... gifted. Very nice, Saxon like. ;-)
High praise indeed! Thanks.
One question, though:
You can spend a total number of hours per day equal to your Sorcerer level in this form, ... but you always expend at least 1 hour worth of the effects duration when you assume the hyena form.
Don't you mean "any form"? The following power doesn't state any duration, thus inviting sneaky and rulesy players to abuse it.
My intention was that you could spend X hours / day in an alternate form (and this was in all possible forms that could be taken, whether human, vulture, elemental or, at higher levels, humanoid), and that every time you engaged the power, to assume any of these forms, you'd burn an hours worth of the effect, even if you only remained in that form for a minute (popping into vulture form to cross a chasm, for instance). If a 20th level Ghul-Touched Sorcerer decided to swirl into 18 different humanoid forms over 18 rounds and then return to her natural form, to 'show off,' she'd have burned up 18 hours worth of her 20 hours worth of the ability.
But yeah, I sucked at explaining that, and didn't really clarify in the later mention of turning into humanoid forms similar to alter self, or elemental forms via elemental body, that they shared the same total pool of uses as the original hyena/vulture form.
Thanks for the feedback, as it just highlights what I need to make more clear. What does not kill my writing, makes it stronger!
Watching too much Supernatural, I guess, but 'Hell Hound' is already taken, so I'll have to call them something else...
This relentless creature is sent up from the lower realms to track and slay those who violate their agreements with their fiendish masters. To most, they are completely invisible, but to those able to see them, they have cracked leathery black hide, through which bright red, orange and yellow skin can be seen underneath. If visible, the creatures eyes, fangs and oversized talons are glossy black and featureless, while the inside of it's mouth is the same brighter color as the cracks in it's hide, shining with a hellish radiance that is otherwise as invisible as the rest of the beast.
Infernal Hunting Hound CR ???
Crowley’s Hunting Hound
Something I read once (and happen to agree with):
Don't self-edit yourself out of a query, if it not good enough an editor will tell you that, probably with a standard rejection email ;>
Don't reject yourself, let the editor do that for you.
I completely agree with Darkjoy. I think that's part of a healthy relationship with rejection letters.
At the same time I really enjoy your stuff and appreciate it. I hope you find sharing and feedback helpful. Your stuff is better than some of the stuff that gets published, but that's a left handed compliment :).
I think the biggest difference between what I've seen of yours and a commercial publication is work. The boring stuff around inspiration.
Kobolds of the Kodar Mountains
Seventeen tribes of kobolds live in the mountains of northern Varisia, ranging from the nothern Lurkwood to the shores of Lake Stormunder to the southern borders of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings and Irrisen.
But this isn't about them, it's about the mountain dragons that they breed, much in the same way that humans breed fancy dogs of many different shapes, sizes and colors.
What's a mountain dragon? Oh, that's just a pretentious term for some local scavengers, what would be called a monitor lizard, in the lowlands. Your 'standard' mountain dragon, if such a thing still exists, far from the kobold territories, is essentially identical to a lowlands monitor lizard, with less skill in swimming and more in climbing. Replace the 30 ft. swim speed with a 15 ft. climb speed, the Swim skill with Acrobatics, and apply the stealth bonus to rocky terrain. Even in the wild, they can be quite distinctive, with dull black, grew or brown hide, appearing much like the local stone and ash, but inbetween segments of scale and keratin, bright patches of yellow, orange or red hide show when the creature moves, creating the appearance of veins of magma beneath a stony surface. There's even a wildly rare albino strain, much prized by the kobold breeders.
Some basic variations, prized by their local breeders;
Great Dragons - increase to size large, with appropriate adjustments to attributes.
Lesser Dragons - decrease to size small, with appropriate adjustments to attributes (not that the Young Creature simple template would result in a schnauser-sized creature with a Str of 13, so GM adjudication may be required).
Least Dragons - popular only as decadent pets among the highest-ranking members of a particular tribe, or carried about by the breeders themselves as portable showcases of their talent, these mountain dragons have been bred down to size Tiny, again, with appropriate attributes (two applications of the Young Creature template would result in the parrot-sized creature still being stronger than a gnome, so use your own judgement when adjusting stats, or just use normal Lizard stats from the familiar listing as a guideline!).
Leaping Dragon - this breed has a +4 racial bonus to acrobatics checks to determine jumping distance, claws that inflict 1d3 damage as primary weapons and the ability to pounce. It is not as effective a climber, due to the inflexible nature of it's claws, having a climb speed of 10.
Serpentine Dragon - these sinuous adaptations can Grab on a bite, following up with a Constriction attack (1d6), and only has a 20 ft. ground speed, but a 20 ft. climb speed as well.
Chameleon Dragon - these dragons gain a +8 to Stealth checks when immobile, blending into their backgrounds and appearing as stony outcroppings.
Racing Dragon - a popular modification, the racing dragon has a 40 ft. ground move and a 20 ft. climb speed, as well as replacing Great Fortitude and Skill Focus (perception) with the Endurance and Run feats. The racing dragons are believed to have been the first true modification of the mountain dragon by the kobolds of the Kodar range, although they may have been a local accident, as their six-legged stance and reputed 'gaze attack' suggests a heady dose of basilisk in their brew. (The dreaded gaze attack functions similarly to a daze cantrip, but only affects animals of equal or less HD than the mountain dragon, with a 30 ft. range and a Will save DC 11.)
Hunting Dragon - another popular utility breed, the Hunting Dragon is skilled at Survival (and less skilled at Acrobatics), and gains a +4 racial bonus to attempts to track by scent.
Spitting Dragons - 3 + Con mod times / day as a ranged touch attack with a 10 ft. range increment, the spitting dragon can attempt to blind a target with a special venom. Blinding Spittle (Ex) spray - contact; save Fort DC 14; onset immediate; frequency 1/round for six rounds; blindness (dazzled if saved, until cured); cure 2 saves. The save DC is Constitution-based. Spitting dragons only have a 20 ft. ground speed and 10 ft. climb speed.
Belching Dragons - a number of times per day equal to the dragon's Con modifier, it can spew forth a glob of digestive acid that inflicts 1d6 acid damage as a ranged tough attack with a 10 ft. range increment. Size small belching dragons only produce 1d3 acid attacks, and size tiny dragons only stain clothing and cause irritating rashes with their otherwise harmless stomach acids.
Furious Dragons - considered a failure, as they are practically un-tameable, the furious dragon rages like a badger, and has both good Will saves and a +4 DC to Handle Animal or Wild Empathy checks to work with them.
Spiked Dragons - Shale-colored spikes of keratin act as armor spikes, allowing the spiked dragon to inflict 1d6 damage with a slam attack, or automatically to any creature it grabs, as well as providing it an additional +1 natural armor bonus. Attempts to breed a version that fling it's spikes like a manticore have failed time and again, but every generation gives it another try...
Whip Dragons - with a tail twice the length of a normal mountain dragon, the whip dragon can attempt to trip a foe within melee range, without provoking an AoO. This attempt not only can initiate a trip, but also inflicts 1d6 bludgeoning damage. Whip dragons only have a 10 ft. climb speed, as the tail hinders their ability to support themselves.
Lockjaw Dragons - this dragon uses a combination of a shorter and more powerful jaw, and specialized training to gain the Attach property of weasel, automatically grappling upon a successful bite, and inflicting bite damage every round the grapple is maintained.
Ghost Dragons - glowing with a soft white phosphorescence, due to a luminescent fungus that grows within it's skin, the ghost dragon sheds a candle-intensity light, which is thought to attract certain species of cave-dwelling fish and insects to their doom, but also makes the dragon itself easier to see and target (treat as if under the effects of faerie fire). The ghost dragon is believed to be a naturally occuring strain of mountain dragon that was found, not made, as it's 'breeder' claims. A combination of keen scent and vibrational awareness give the ghost dragon the equivalent of 30 ft. blindsense and 10 ft. blindsight, and the ghost dragon is quite sensitive to light, having the Light Sensitivity trait. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will also kill the phosphoresent fungus, and cause the creature to sicken and die in short order.
Dung Dragons - another utility breed, the dung dragon has weak claws (1d3) and all of it's attacks run the risk of infecting the target with Filth Fever. The creature itself has a +4 to Fortitude saves vs. disease or ingested poisons, and has a richly-deserved reputation for being able to survive on fodder that would sicken or kill most other creatures, being a common sight in kobold waste disposal areas and midden pits. If thoroughly cooked, the dung dragon is a valuable source of protein for subterranean kobold communities, partially recycling their owners wastes.
Coughing Dragons - a coughing dragon can discharge a foul-smelling gout of digestive vapors that cause a single adjacent target to suffer the effects of both the Sickened and Dazzled conditions for 2d4 rounds, as well as a 20% miss chance on it's own attacks for the following round, as if all foes had partial concealment.
Fire Dragons - this spectacular creature brought only shame to it's 'breeder,' who artfully used continual flame spells to attempt to create the illusion that he had bred a type of mountain dragon that had a glowing fire within it's gullet.
Barking Dragons - many years after the failure of the 'fire dragon,' a young and ambitious breeder hoped that everyone had forgotten the previous experiment, and attempted to fool his peers with a 'talking dragon,' by using a magic mouth spell. The elder and respected breeder who uncovered his fakery fed him to his own pets.
Singing Dragons - believed to be a fake, at first, this beast can hiss a tune, accompanying the sound with an eerie piping accompaniment from barnacle-like spicules on the keratin formations on its back. It is widely accepted that this was a naturally occuring mountain dragon breed, and that it's 'breeder' was simply fortunate enough to discover it. Tiny singing dragons are quite popular, nonetheless, perched on their owner's shoulder and producing a creepy sort of 'music' with their hissing. It is thought that the sound and movement of air attracts small insects, for the singing dragon to feed upon, but this is unverified.
Three-Eyed Dragons - very much known to be a 'found' beast and not one that the kobolds have bred, the three-eyed dragon has a third eye in the center of its forehead that it can open three times a day, allowing it to 'take 20' on any single attack roll, saving throw, skill or ability check, supposedly by peering through time. The three-eyed lizard replaces Great Fortitude with Improved Initiative, and is immune to Slow spells. It is said that there is a single gargantuan example of this species named Tu-Ah-Ta, somewhere in the mountains, high atop an undiscovered peak, amidst the ruins of a cyclopean temple complex, who serves as an Oracle of Time and source of prophecies.
Basically, I'm just having fun with the idea of variant monsters, creating a dozen or so sub-beasties from a singular chassis.
The idea ran away from me...
These stork-like birds travel in a clamorous flock, their distinctive brass-hued feathers clanging as they fly overhead, raining down arrow-sharp feathers upon hapless ground-dwellers…
BRAZENBEAK CR 2
Hurl Quillions (Su) Brazenbeaks can hurl specialized metallic blades that resemble feathers from their wings at a foe with the force of crossbow bolts. This attack has a 30 ft. range increment, and a single brazenbeak can release a number of these blades each day equal to its hit point total (15, for the average brazenbeak), regrowing feathers each night equal to its total hit dice (2, for the average brazenbeak, which would require a week to replace all of its shed feathers, if it expended them all). These specialized plumes do not affect the creatures’ ability to fly, although its wing-rake attack will drop two damage dice (to 1d4) until they are replaced.
Ironbeak (Su) The beak and talons of the brazenbeak are also metallic and brassy in appearance, but the beak is specialized for breaking through the brass eggs laid by the creature during mating season, and used in courtship battles between rivals of the species, being able to ignore the first 5 points of hardness or damage reduction, allowing them to both escape their unusually durable eggs, and to damage each other with their otherwise unimpressive beaks, more suited for tearing flesh from carrion than for use in combat.
Sunlight Dependency (Su) During the night, or when otherwise kept out of sunlight, brazenbeaks quickly grow sluggish and incapable of flight, weighted down by their metallic plumage. They lose the ability to fly, their Heat property, and are treated as Staggered, capable of only taking a single move or standard action in a round.
Brazenbeaks, called in some tales ‘Stymphalian birds,’ are unusually large stork-like birds with plumage, beaks and talons of magically-enhanced brass. They are believed to be in some way descended from creatures from the elemental plane of fire, and their preference for warm climates (and susceptibility to intense cold) seems to bear this out. At night, whatever radiant warmth they absorb from the sun fades from their bodies, and they stiffen and become sluggish, as the weight of their feathers increases until they become utterly incapable of flight (although still capable of vicious wing-rakes, if threatened during these hours). With the dawn, they turn to the rising sun and spread their wings wide, as if to capture the maximum amount of the coming sunlight, and within a half-hour have become hot to the touch, so much so that their metallic feathers will inflict burns to the touch, as well as becoming almost weightless, and allowing them to fly as effortlessly as a normal bird.
Once able to fly, the flock rises into the air in a clanging horde, seeking out any moving living creature and raining their metallic feathers down upon them until the creature either stops moving, or the flight begins to feel that it is wounded enough to descend and finish off with their bladed wing-rakes. Brazenbeaks prefer larger animals, and are quite willing to devour each other, when their squabbles over a portion of an inadequate kill prove deadly. While generally craven creatures, easily startled and preferring to rain death down upon prey from well beyond weapon reach, it is also true that the first brazenbeak to land will be the first to feed, resulting in some always landing before the prey stops moving, eager to ‘beat the crowd.’
While brazenbeaks are marginally more intelligent than a normal animal, and can usually understand a few words of Ignan, they do not speak the language, and instead croak and caw like typical birds.
Larger and more potent specimens are known to exist, not only the size of giant eagles or even wyverns, but with hotter bodies, producing heat equivalent to a torch, or even alchemical fire. (Apply the Giant creature template once, and increase Heat to 1d3 fire, or twice, and increase Heat to 1d6 fire. Replace Weapon Finesse with Power Attack.) Fortunately, on the material plane, these larger specimens do not travel in such large flocks as their smaller kin, and they seem to merely be extremely old and potent specimens of the regular brazenbeak, and not a separate species unto themselves. On the plane of fire, on the other hand, the larger specimens are the rule, instead of the exception…
I'm sure there are other Stymphalian Bird write-ups out there, but here's mine, reflavored a bit to be more 'DNDish,' with an elemental fire connection.
I picked CR 2, despite the AC being too high, and the hit points and average damage being a bit low, hoping that these factors would cancel out.
In 2nd Ed, aquatic elf (or half-aquatic elf) was my favorite race. Don't ask me why, it's like begging to get killed to play a character with the ability to separate themself from the rest of the party...
Anywho, fish-peeps need Traits!
Racial Traits (aquatic elven, merfolk, sahuagin, gillman, etc.)
Tidal Surge Strike – by learning to accelerate your own movements with the subtle movement of the water around you, you gain certain bonuses when facing foes out of their element. When you are underwater and facing one or more foes that do not have a Swim speed, you can select one of them as an immediate action and gain either a +1 dodge bonus to Armor Class versus their attacks, or a +1 trait bonus to your own attack rolls against them. You can only make this selection once / round, and can change either the type of bonus, or the target the bonus is gained against, or both, as you wish.
Water Cutting Style – you have trained with the use of a single type of slashing weapon (or your unarmed attacks, if you possess a natural weapon or the Improved Unarmed Strike feat) underwater, and, for the purposes of underwater combat, treat it as a piercing weapon. The weapon remains a slashing weapon for all other purposes, such as bypassing DR, but you do not halve the damage rolled, as you have learned to 'cut' through the water as effortlessly as it cuts through air.
Resistance Training – you have spent many an hour underwater, practicing powerful blows with a specific type of weapon (or unarmed attacks) against the force of the water around you. When you are *not* underwater, you can choose a single attack with that weapon each round and make a powerful blow, that gains a +1 trait bonus to damage (which is multiplied in the event of a critical hit) if it strikes.