Friday, January 13, 2012


Remember that creepy see-all-the-exposed-muscles mannequin in science class?  Turns out it has a name: an écorché.  And now that name belongs to one of the creepiest new undead to come out in a long time.  Any creature that can flay the skin off your body in combat, force you to watch it wear you (as you die of Constitution—and, one must presume, blood—loss), and hide in that form till it takes damage is definitely a memorable monster.

In an unprecedented move, a doppelganger king comes forward and voluntarily unmasks every member of his troupe in the city—revealing more than one minister, clergyman, fat merchant, and crime boss to be not what they appear.  It does this in order to earn enough trust to ask for a boon: help eradicating an undead incursion.  It turns out that ghasts have cleaned out the doppelgangers’ sewer hideouts, while three terrifying ecorches are wearing the skins of men the doppelgangers has planned to impersonate themselves.

A botched assassination attempt—crossbowman, barbed quarrel, contact poison—misses the queen but injures her lady-in-waiting, revealing her to be an ecorche.  The undead monster kills the assassin and rends the queen before being driven off.  Now the wounded monarch needs heroes who can put a name to not one, but both parties responsible for the assaults on her life.

Most ecorches are created, but in very singular cases one might spawn from a soul who dies in a state of intense yearning for or envy of another. Two years ago, a mousey shopgirl named Clarissa died by her own hand, after being belittled by one of the marchionesses she waited upon—and longed to be noticed by.  Coming back as an ecorche who preys on the noble class, she has spent the past 24 months alternately horrified by the bloated beast she has become, and revealing in the exquisite fabrics—and skins—she gets to wear.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 109

Our first Bestiary 3 entry!  And boy did we pick a doozy.  There have been a few skin/face/body-stealing/snatching creatures in RPGs, but the ecorche stands out for its brutality and ease of mechanics.  Also props to Paizo for naming it using a real word, rather than some string of nonsense syllables.  To put it another way: Who needs mind flayers when you can have just plain flayers?

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