Wednesday, September 14, 2011


As already mentioned, the Paizo folks love folklore.  And one of the things they’re great at is looking beyond Europe for inspiration.  Thus the bunyip, Australia’s preëminent bogeyman (or bogeybeast, rather), which they interpret as a shark/seal combo. Don’t be fooled by its name or appearance, though—the bunyip is scary (and not just because of its Roar ability).  No two legends quite agree on what one looked like, but all agree that bunyips devoured people without a trace, or merely horribly mauled the lucky.  So play them as ambush predators—bursting through rotted piers, then disappearing before a party can even get a spell off—and watch players squirm.  Maybe even deny them the chance to Spot for story effect.  Players expect to be scared during a gothic horror adventure or when facing demons.  But have them haggle for the price of fish by the water’s edge, only to suddenly find themselves haggling with the fisherman’s wobbling legs, and they will really panic.

Despite its prime location in the bustling heart of Bertram’s Harbor, Bunyip Pier sits abandoned.  Locals blame a bunyip that devours anyone who lingers on the pier, and numerous jagged holes in the wooden planks bear out their story.  Strangely, no attacks are reported anywhere else in the harbor.

Folk on Goldwater Mere tell of a lorelei, a kind of mermaid whose enchanted song leads men to their doom.  The merfolk woman may be innocent—she is oblivious to the fact that that her voice echoing over the waters attracts men who become meals for the resident bunyip.  Or she may in fact be a lorelei, and her loyal bunyip pet shares his bloody catches with her.

Hrolf the Sea Wolf has lost three longboats to a mated pair of bunyips.  Now he cannot go viking and his remaining ships are pulled far up the shore.  The hero who can save him will earn his undying fealty—but also the enmity of the monks and clerics whose monasteries he raids.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 50

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