18 November 2014

Advanced Bestiary!


Photo courtesy of Patrick Curtin
Pathfinder edition of Advanced Bestiary by Green Ronin Publishing is finally hitting the shelves! The hardcover were already sends to backers (and hopefully to contributors as well...). PDFs can be already bought and printed version can be preordered.

Advanced Bestiary on Paizo.com
Advanced Bestiary on DriveThruRPG
Advanced Bestiary on Green Ronin Online Store

Once you get it, turn the page to... Uh, I have no idea what page actually. Just go through all of it until you find a dwarf druid! The one with mossy hair (if there would happen to be more than one).

And what's more there is another publication looming very-very soon. Or so I hope.

31 October 2014

Monster: Pale Hag



Pale Hag

A pale skinned lady that is beautiful and yet monstrous, with razor sharp claws, red eyes, and a pair of ghostly crones floating beside her.

CR 10; XP 9,600
NE Medium Monstrous Humanoid
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft., deathwatch; Perception +22

Defense
AC 24, touch 15, flat-footed 19 (+5 Dex, +9 natural)
hp 126 (12d10+60)
Fort +9, Ref +13, Will +13
Defensive Abilities death mantle; DR 5/cold iron and magic; SR 21
Weakness turning vulnerability

Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +18 (1d6+5) and 2 spectral thrall +12 touch (4d6)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (30 ft. with spectral thrall attacks)
Special Attacks spectral swarm, spectral thrall
Spell-like Abilities (CL 12th, concentration +15)
Constant—deathwatch
At will—animate dead, baleful polymorph (DC 18), blight (DC 17), bestow curse (DC 17), clairaudience/clairvoyance, charm monster (DC 17), commune, control weather, dream, forcecage, mind blank, mirage arcana (DC 18), reincarnate, speak with dead, veil (DC 19), vision
1/day—command undead (DC 15), create undead, desecrate

Statistics
Str 21, Dex 20, Con 21, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 16
Base Atk +12; CMB +17; CMD 32
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Bluff), Weapon Focus (claws)
Skills Bluff +21, Fly +24, Perception +22, Sense Motive +22, Spellcraft +14, Stealth +20
Languages Abyssal, Common, Giant, Infernal
SQ change shape (any hag, disguise self), coven lore, gift of undeath

Ecology
Environment any land
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Coven Lore (Su): Hag spirits accompanying the pale hag are bound to serve her as repositories of lore and magic. A pale hag gains bonus equal to half her caster level to all Knowledge checks, can attempt any Knowledge check untrained, and can use all the spell-like abilities of a hag coven on her own. After using any of her at will spell-like abilities, a pale hag cannot use the same spell-like ability for two rounds. A pale hag loses access to her at will spell-like abilities (but not other spell-like abilities) when her coven lore ability is suppressed by her turning vulnerability.

Death Mantle (Su): A pale hag can call upon her bond with her enthralled spirits to attune oneself to death for a short time. As an immediate action, a pale hag can gain benefits of negative energy affinity for 1 round. While her death mantle is in effect she is immune to death effects, ignores penalties bestowed by negative levels, and gains flight speed of 60 feet with good maneuverability (maneuverability bonus to Fly checks already included in her stat block). Pale hag can use this ability for a total number of rounds per day equal to her HD. If any hag dies within 30 feet of a pale hag, the later regains a number of extra rounds of use of her death mantle ability equal to the killed hag’s HD.

Gift Of Undeath (Su): A pale hag can use her create undead spell-like ability to raise one dead creature as a ju ju zombie. A pale hag can have single animate ju ju zombie at a time and is unable to create a new one as long as the previous one exist; she can destroy the ju ju zombie she created with a short ritual that takes one whole round while the ju ju zombie is within 100 feet. Unlike the regular spell, a pale hag’s create undead spell-like ability gives her has no direct control over undeads created.

Spectral Swarm (Su): Once per day a pale hag can call upon spirits of hags she killed or whose deaths she caused indirectly to swarm around her in 30 feet whirling vortex of vicious ghosts for 1 round. Any living creature entering the area or beginning its turn within the spectral swarm suffers 4d6 points of negative energy damage while the undead gain 4d6 temporary hit points that last for one hour. The spectral swarm is considered a difficult terrain (even for flying creatures) and provides concealment. If any hag dies within 30 feet of a pale hag, the later regains the use of this ability.

Spectral Thralls (Su): A pale hag is constantly accompanied by spirits of her murdered coven members. While they usually remain unseen, they appear besides her when she is angered, scared or in combat. When a pale hag makes a full attack, in addition to her claw attacks, each spirit can strike once as a secondary natural melee touch attack with 30 feet reach dealing 4d6 points of negative energy damage (granting equal amount of temporary hit points to undead and creatures with negative energy affinity).

Turning Vulnerability: Pale hag’s powers rely on bound spirits of deceased hags. A hag that is exposed to Turn Undead, Rebuke Undead or Lure Undead, or another effect that banishes, destroys, or incapacitates undead beings loses her Coven Lore, Death Mantle, Spectral Swarm, and Spectral Thralls abilities for 1d4 rounds unless the hag succeeds a Will saving throw (even if the effect does not normally allow one). When suffering from her turning vulnerability, a pale hag facade of beauty fall apart revealing her to be a vile monstrosity. Anger of such revelation grants her +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and skill checks, and allows her to make four claw attacks each round.

Sometimes, a hag can discover a secret ritual that allow her to gain more power for herself by sacrificing her coven sisters. The ritual takes years to prepare, and has to be done in secret lest the other hags of the coven learn of it and try to divert it for their own benefit. The ritual culminates in destruction of the other two hags, which must be done by outside party, manipulated into killing them by any member of the coven. This betrayal binds the spirit of the killed hags to the last surviving coven member granting her all the powers of the coven and transforming her into a new, superficially beautiful and potentially immortal form.

To maintain her beauty and her immortality a pale hag has to lead to death by betrayal of at least one hag every century or so, however. Failure to do so causes her body and her control over bound spirits to slowly erode bestowing one permanent negative energy level per month until she dies and is confronted by spirits of hags whose demise she orchestrated.

29 September 2014

Agathion, Lunula

The following creature was my submission for Here Be Monsters contest organized by Sword For Hire blog and Freelance Forge community. As it can be easily noticed by looking on Sword For Hire webpage I haven't made to the top five so I decided to show this monster here on my blog.

Each of the submissions had to be based on a request made in Pathfinder's Bestiary 5 Wishlist thread on Paizo messageboard — I went with Jason "Mikaze" Garrett's request for "octopus-based agathion (or any other celestial). The last part is the important one, because while I was writing this creature it morphed from agathion to azata because of two reasons:

1) There are two aquatic agathions already in Pathfinder Bestiaries (three counting Mikaze's aequoreal agathion from Wayfinder #8, with excellent picture drawn by Crystal Frazier, if I am not mistaken—there is no signature on the picture itself but I think that it was mentioned in thread about that Wayfinder issue) but no aquatic azata...

2) When I was writing this creature I felt that despite having an animal-based shape it's secondary to its freedom-loving nature. I felt nothing animalistic  about it, which I think is integral part of agathion nature.

The following part is in the form I sent as submission, without changes. I am pretty sure I would rewrite some parts, especially the description. I might work on this monster in the future to make it better—I think that very short description failed to capture both the essence of the monster and hearts of the judges.

The name of the entity itself is based on second part of greater blue-ringed octopus scientific name: Hapalochlaena lunulata.

Agathion, Lunula

This rainbow-hued octopus floats in the air, the shortest two of its eight tentacles ending with humanoid hands. Unlike mundane octopus it has human-like face in place of its beak.

Agathion, Lunula CR 10
XP 9,600
CG Large Outsider (aquatic, azata, chaotic, extraplanar, good)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +24
DEFENSE
AC 24, touch 12, flat-footed 21 (+3 Dex, +12 natural, –1 size)
hp 126 (12d10+60)
Fort +4, Ref +13, Will +13
Defensive Ability price of freedom; DR 5/cold iron and evil; Immune electricity, petrification; Resist cold 10, fire 10; SR 21
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect), swim 30 ft.
Melee kiss +19 touch (gift of peace), 6 tentacles +18 (1d6+4 plus grab and pull)
Ranged 2 rainbow rays +14 touch (2d6 plus special)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (20 ft. with tentacles)
Special Attacks constrict (1d6+4), pull (tentacle, 5 ft.), rainbow pulse
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +15)
At will—greater teleport (self and 50 lbs of gear only), remove fear
3/day—magic circle against evil or law (lunala’s choice), mass cure light wounds
1/day—break enchantment, raise dead, restoration
1/year—freedom
STATISTICS
Str 26, Dex 16, Con 20, Int 17, Wis 21, Cha 17
Base Atk +12; CMB +21 (+4 grapple); CMD 33 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack, Weapon Focus (tentacle)
Skills Bluff +18, Diplomacy +18, Escape Artist +26, Fly +24, Knowledge [history] +18, Knowledge [planes] +18, Perception +24, Sense Motive +24, Stealth +14 (+26 when motionless); Racial Modifiers +8 to Escape Artist, +12 to Stealth while motionless
Languages Celestial, Draconic, Infernal; truespeech
SQ amphibious
ECOLOGY
Environment any (Elysium)
Organization solitary, pair, or squad (3-6)
Treasure standard
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Gift Of Peace (Su) A sentient creature kissed by a lunala is given a vague but vivid vision of choice between peaceful existence and aggression. Creature that chooses peace is placed in blissful dream-like state while her body remains safe in temporal stasis. This effect lasts as long as the creature remains in contact with the lunala plus one round thereafter. A creature that chooses aggression is staggered for one round and remains sickened for as long as it remains in contact with lunala plus one round thereafter. A creature making the choice is fully aware of results of both choice.

Price of Freedom: A lunala can use its freedom ability as an immediate action to interrupt an effect that would bind, capture or otherwise restrain it. Whenever a lunala uses its freedom spell-like ability, it is forced back to Nirvana and put into a dream-like stasis similar to its own gift of peace for a year and a day, though.

Rainbow Pulse (Su): Once per day, a lunula can project a pulse of rainbow light as a standard action. A rainbow pulse is 60-ft. radius burst affecting all creatures within as if they were struck by a rainbow ray.

Rainbow Ray (Su): A lunala can project beams of rainbow light from its hands with 60 feet range. Any creature struck by one of the rays immediately receives another saving throw (if one was allowed to begin with) against any spells or effects that possess or exercise mental control over the creature (including enchantment [charm] effects and enchantment [compulsion] effects, such as charm person, command, and dominate person). This saving throw is made with a +2 morale bonus, using the same DC as the original effect. If successful, such effects are suppressed for a number of rounds equal to the lunala’s Charisma bonus (3 rounds for typical lunala). This spell does not expel a controlling life force (such as a ghost or spellcaster using magic jar), but it does prevent them from controlling the target.

A lunala is entity of benign chaos, champion of freedom and individual choice restrained only by compassion and empathy. Sometimes lunalas are mistaken for an exotic agathion, which happens from time to time because of their animalistic appearance. While they don’t seem to mind this, they always try to correct whoever made that mistake believing that knowledge is important component of being able to make free choices.

30 July 2014

Fantasy Races: Xenopi

Xenopi

Xenopi are strange, but generally gregarious and friendly octopus-like beings. Amphibious in nature, xenopi prefer shallow warm seas, warm swamps, and tropical jungles and avoid cold or dry environments. Unlike many sapient races, xenopi are hermafrodites, without tendency to perceive world in dualistic categories typical to dually gendered species. Xenopi have very casual approach to their sexuality, mating, and reproduction — they are equally happy with long passionate caresses and with matter-of-fact rubbing of secondary tentacles with friendly members of their species. Fertilized eggs hatch into plankton-like larvae that are occasionally released in salt water around xenopi settlements. Growing larvae are mostly ignored by xenopi and tread like a part of local fauna until their bioluminescent glands develop enough to communicate. Interestingly, all xenopi seem to share inherent understanding of written form of Aklo language, allowing them to communicate as soon as their glands develop, which occurs before development of full sapience. Sub-sapient near adults gravitate towards the nearest xenopi community where they observe, mimic adults, learn, and sometimes even complete simple tasks. During this phase they are treated more like animals — domesticated pets at best, or pests at worst, until they achieve full adulthood, full intelligence, and master ability to communicate and understand complex abstract ideas.

As mostly aquatic species, xenopi never developed native metallurgy or other fire-based technologies, instead relying on coral shaping, bone carving, harvesting chitin, and breeding specialized plants, oozes, jellies, and other invertebrates for their purposes. Jungle and swamp communities also invented their own strain of mostly organic-based alchemy. Despite their path of development, xenopi sometimes use metal tools and trinkets acquired from land-dwellers through barter for their own exotic products, but never become dependent on them.

Physical Description: A xenopi looks like a fur-covered octopus, with two long manipulator tentacles, two shorter tentacles that act both as secondary manipulators and sexual organs and four medium length tentacles that are primary used for locomotion. The fur is actually a unique skin growth instead of mammalian hair and contains luminescent glands capable of showing complex patterns, including letters, sigils or even simple pictures. Because of the role of the glands in xenopi communication, they avoid wearing clothing, unless they deliberately try to blend in with humanoid races.

Society: Because of the way they reproduce xenopi lack any sort of family or blood bonds, instead viewing all the adult and near adult individuals of their race as a distant kin. Lack of inherent bonds and weak sense of ownership makes xenopi communities very flexible — individuals move between roles, functions, and communities, according to their desires, plans and sense of need. Xenopi communities are functionally cooperatives that rely on individuals volunteering to take specific functions, possibly with duplication of roles if multiple xenopi desire specific function. While the communities are efficient and reasonable in use of available resources, including unwillingness to waste them, they do not feel tied to place, and are willing to relocate to different place if the local resources are depleted, or threats overshadow benefits of the resources present.

Relations: For a bizarre alien race, xenopi are surprisingly friendly species, deeply interested in other races — too interested for the more wary humanoids. Many subtle and not so subtle differences in their biology, culture, and outlook make the interaction awkward or even outrightly creepy. Xenopi often misunderstand or misinterpret humanoid customs, such as equating shaking hands with mating, children with pets or pests, and completely failing to discern between stronger and weaker relationships, and higher and lower ranks.

Alignment And Religion: Without innate sense of possession selfishness and greed are rare traits among xenopi — occasional evil xenopi tend toward callousness, ruthlessness, or outright cruelty instead, with last being often flavored with morbid curiosity. While xenopi are naturally predisposed toward sharing and generosity, their lack of understanding of humanoid races tempers their compassion. Additionally they do not seem to understand forgiveness, being merciless toward those who hurt them — rarely however, being unjustly and excessively vengeful. Most of xenopi gravitate toward neutral with mild good and chaotic tendencies, with lawful and evil alignments being rarer. Xenopi do not worship deities — they are aware of existence of uncaring elder gods, whose power they occasionally tap, while trying to avoid drawing their attention at the same time. A very few chose to follow the younger deities, seeing them more akin to allies than patrons to be served. Even a smaller number of xenopi are nihilists actively serving (or at least believing they serve) the Great Old Ones and trying to gather attention of those unspeakable entities and call their spiritual or physical presence on unprepared worlds.

Adventurers: Xenopi are naturally inquisitive race, often adventuring in search for lost or new knowledge, but they seem to lack greed for physical possessions beyond things that are or might be actually needed. Physical violence is avoided unless needed, except by the rare cruel xenopi, but even those try to be indirect. Most adventuring xenopi are spellcasters of some sort, with wizards and alchemists being the most common, with many magi and witches mixed into the blend. Some represent more exotic disciplines of magic, such as sorcerers, summoners, and oracles.

Personal Names: When interacting with other races, xenopi respond to being named by their favorite color (or combination thereof) and geometric patterns, like Blue-Triangle, Green-Dot-In-Yellow-Circle or Red-Purple-Green.

Full Names: Xenopi real names are untranslatable series of Aklo sigils that can be only vaguely approximated with sounds humanoids are capable of issuing.

Xenopi Racial Traits

Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Dexterity. Xenopi rubbery, boneless bodies are very resilient and their alien minds are highly analytical but their tentacles lack precision and coordination of humanoid hands.

Type: Xenopi are Aberrations with aquatic subtype and amphibious quality.

Small Size: Xenopi are Small creatures gaining +1 size bonus to attack rolls and AC, -1 size penalty to CMB and CMD, and a +4 size bonus to Stealth checks.

Slow Speed: Xenopi have land speed of 20 feet.

Darkvision: Xenopi see in darkness up to 60 feet.

Amphibious: Xenopi are amphibious beings capable of breathing air and water with equal ease.

Bioluminescence: Xenopi have bioluminescent glands spread over their bodies allowing them to glow with light comparable to torch. Xenopi can change the exact color of the glow, reduce its brightness or suppress it completely with a free action. Xenopi control over bioluminescent glands allow them to communicate inaudibly by displaying Aklo symbols on their bodies.

Climb: Xenopi tentacles and suckers grant them climb speed of 20 feet and +8 racial bonus to Climb checks.

Non-humanoid: Xenopi shape is distinctly different from that of humanoid races. Xenopi require custom made gear costing twice as much as humanoid gear.

Swim: Xenopi have swim speed of 30 feet and +8 racial bonus to Swim checks.

Languages: Common and Aklo. Xenopi with above average Intelligence can select from Abyssal, Aquan, Protean, Terran, and Undercommon.

Alternate Racial Traits:

Pygmy Xenopi: A minute strain of xenopi is Tiny instead of Small and has -4 racial penalty to Strength score.

Xenopi Racial Feats
Xenopi can select following racial feats enhancing their racial abilities:

Luminous Bond
Your close companions share your bioluminescence.
Prerequisites: Xenopi, bioluminescence racial trait.
Benefits: Your animal companions (or mount that works like animal companion), eidolons, familiars, and similar bonded companions grow bioluminescent glands like yours. If you posses a bonded item gained via arcane bond feature, or black blade feature you can make it glow with light, as per cantrip of the same name, at will. Additionally, whenever your form is changed by a polymorphy effect, you can opt to manifest bioluminescent glands on your new form.

Luminous Ink
Some xenopi learned how to excrete a small amount of bioluminescent fluid from their glands.
Prerequisites: Xenopi, bioluminescence racial trait.
Benefits: You can draw ink from own glands that will glow with pale bioluminescence for 24 hours. Signs drawn with this ink are clearly visible in darkness but are not strong enough to provide any sort of illumination. Once per day you can draw a vial of more potent ink that can be used to leave mark glowing with strength of light spell for 24 hours. It can also be used as an additional material component for any spell with light descriptor or one that creates magical sigils, glyphs, symbols or writings, applying Extended Spell metamagic feat to the modified spell for free. Collected ink loses its special qualities after 24 hours.

Luminous Mark
Your marks are imbued with your own luminescence.
Prerequisites: Xenopi, bioluminescence racial trait; challenge, smite evil, quarry, or similar ability to mark an enemy.
Benefits: Subject of your challenge, smite evil, quarry or similar ability is outlined with pale light resembling faerie fire for one round per character level.

Favored Class Options:
Xenopi can select following options for their favored class bonuses.

Alchemist: +1/6 of an alchemist discovery.

Barbarian: +1 feet to climb and swim speeds while raging.  In combat this option has no effect unless the barbarian has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Bard: +1/6 to the number of people that can be affected with fascinate bardic performance.


Cavalier: +1 feet to the mount's climb and swim speeds. In combat this option has no effect unless the cavalier has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Cleric: +1 to healing and damage received by aberrations from the xenopi channel energy.

Druid: +1 feet to the climb and swim speeds of summoned creatures. In combat this option has no effect unless the druid has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Fighter: +1 to the fighter's CMD when resisting grapple or trip attempts.

Magus: +1 foot to reach of magus touch spells. Does not increase threatened area.

Monk: +1/2 feet to reach of unarmed strikes, rounded down to a nearest multiple of five feet.

Oracle: +1/4 to caster level of spells and spell-like abilities with water descriptor.

Ranger: +1/2 bonus to Constitution checks and saving throws when resisting high pressure, suffocation, and environmental effects caused by aquatic environment.

Rogue: +1 foot to racial climb and swim speeds. In combat this option has no effect unless the rogue has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Sorcerer: +1/4 to caster level of spells and spell-like abilities with water descriptor.

Summoner: +1 foot to the eidolon's swim and climb speeds. In combat this option has no effect unless the summoner has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Witch: +1 foot to the familiar's swim and climb speeds. In combat this option has no effect unless the witch has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Wizard: +1 to caster level checks made to penetrate Spell Resistance of aberrations and creatures with aquatic or water subtype.