Friday, September 21, 2012


Kalavakus demons are made from the souls of slavers, to enslave yet again in the afterlife.  Their greatest trick is to enslave souls—an ability that makes the target that much more susceptible to their various enchantments, and turns their victims into walking potential potions of heal.

Do-gooders fight a kalavakus who always surrounds itself with a quartet of drugged slaves in chains.  Should it be badly bloodied in combat, the demon enslaves the soul of one of four, then uses telekinesis to snuff the slave’s life with the chains, healing itself as a result.

Lazy gnolls and horned demons have immense affinity for each other as bestial creatures who lord over others for sustenance and leisure.  But gnoll deities and demons also jealously squabble and jockey for rank like any hyena pack.  A party hunting gnoll slavers led by a kalavakus might find itself allied with or caught between gnoll packs devoted to powers of slaughter, disease, and gross fertility…each with their own demonic emissaries…

Perched on a planar bay that serves tributaries of both Oceania and the Styx, Whydah is a city frequented by slavers.  The mercane and vishkanyas who run Whydah have performed a neat trick—contracting kolyaruts and zelekhut inevitables to police the slave pits (known ironically as the Hope Terrace) while keeping the largely lawless city neutral in alignment (to prevent planar migration).  Thus, kalavakus demons are common visitors, and they delight in using their enslaving gazes to smuggle away new chattel from right under the inevitables’ notice.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 78

Old business: Can I get a do-over on the jungle giant?  I woke up the other morning wanting to run/play in a whole campaign where PCs try to found a jungle colony on the ruins of an older city, only to have to simultaneously ward off attacks from Lovecraftian things down below and mastodon-riding jungle giants at the palisade walls.

Also, I have super-polite readers—lots of nice notes, no dice rolls.  Don’t be afraid to jump in with some.  Help craft some adventure seeds (or just watch me bend over backwards trying to cobble a hook out of your evil rolls).

New business: It’s already the letter K!  This is the speedy section of the alphabet.

“Kalavakus” has this cool Eastern European ring to it.  I wish I knew anything about Eastern Europe.  Literally every thing I know comes from one Bosnian Muslim friend from college (now a doctor in Vermont), one trip to Prague, and Dragon 290—Paul Leach’s triplet articles “Red Sails: Tempests on the Steppes,” “Red Sails: Bright Sun, Mother Earth,” and “Red Sails: Fell and Forlorn Bestiary: Monsters of Eastern Europe” were wonders of early 3.0 writing/design, when any campaign was possible.

I stole the name “Whydah” from here.  History!

Quick reviews: Finally getting through my reading backlog.  The last Skull & Shackles entry Pathfinder Adventure Path #60: From Hell’s Heart may have by necessity had slightly less adventure (the final issues always do, thanks to the big stat blocks), but was simply overflowing with unique monsters and adventure hooks.  If you like this blog, you will like that issue.

Blood of Dragonscar I should have loved (a dragon that swallowed a gem that swallows souls!) but it lacked a certain oomph, at least as a read (though I suspect it plays much better; I don't have a lot of experience with high-level campaigns and reviews online loved it).  Rather than pages of possible hazards on the way to the dragon’s lair, I definitely could have used another map or two of the mountain lair itself.  The recently released The Moonscar took us to Golarion’s moon and featured a really nice variety of monsters.  My only complaint is the usual Patch one: I wanted more!  After all, it’s the moon(!) and for 16th(!)-level characters.  I don’t know the publishing/printing economics, but I would have paid a little more for the signatures necessary for a 48- or 64-page book; 32 felt like too short a visit.  But I absolutely loved Stephen S. Greer’s No Response from Deepmar and am surprised the reviews online seem so mixed.  It pulled off the neat trick of providing both a story and a dungeon crawl really well without forcing the hand of either.  Ignore the mixed reviews and give it a look.

Have a good weekend!

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