Monday, March 25, 2013


Originally gnomish creatures from Scottish mythology, pechs in fantasy role-playing are bridges between the worlds of fey and earth.  Pechs do not wish to be found by adventurers, but if they are they will likely give at least some aid, and their skill with stone is undeniable.

Since pechs are fey, one imagines they might have ties to the original gnomes and svirfneblin, back when these humanoids were still fey as well.  (And it’s interesting that pechs seem to be described as more stable and grounded (pun only kind of intended) and less volatile than the deep gnomes are.)  They also have sad ties to the derros—pechs irrevocably corrupted over the centuries (presumably by strange radiations, torture, war, slavery, sun poisoning, other races’ experiments, or any combination of the above).  And of course, who knows if the pechs’ original masters will ever return?

The timely aid of some pechs saves a party of adventurers from a rock troll.  They offer the party hospitality for the night.  The party may return once more, but if they attempt to reach the pechs a third time they find the cavern entrance smoothed over like it never existed.

Serpentfolk have enslaved a tribe of pechs.  Normally the pechs’ skill with stone magic would have aided their escape, but the snake-men have secured some relic the pechs revere too much to abandon.  They need a rescue, and this will not be easy—especially because some of these serpentfolk have gone rogue and are working with a seugathi.

Pechs are on the move across the deep realms—sometimes in small gangs, sometimes gathering into loose tribes and caravans.  As nomadism is rare in the Lands Below, this causes rumor and speculation to fly ahead of them.  One rumor mentions a fey Queen of Beryl and Echoes.  Another is full of portent: That one of the Old Masters has returned.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 206

I like Scott Purdy’s pech illustration in the Bestiary 2, even if the head-candle makes little sense—in folklore, candles on the head is a kobold thing, and in the game pechs have darkvision…though I guess it helps their low-light vision.

Responding to the paracletus entry, A.A. asked:

Something I was wondering, why don't you do any WotC/TSR monsters on this blog Mr. Patch? Is it for copyright reasons? Because you're more into Pathfinder now?

Despite what you think of 4e, there's a lot of great new monsters in it, like Banderhobbs, Arcanians, Apocalypse Spells, Dreadbreath Dracoliches, Flesh Cults, Offalians, Unrisen and more!

Hey A.A.!  Thanks for writing.  I have a bunch of answers for you.

The cop-out answer is that most of the monsters I reference are WotC/TSR monsters as well as Pathfinder ones.  This blog is chock full of blue dragons, gelatinous cubes, otyughs, etc., etc. that have been around since the ’70s.

The more serious answer you’ve already mentioned: I just don’t know 4e.  I hear it’s great for new players, but it’s a foreign system to me.  Like a lot of people, in 2008 I just wasn’t ready to make the switch away from 3.5.  So when the creators and writers I followed most passionately went with Pathfinder, so did I.

Then there’s the issue of hours in the day.  When I envisioned this blog, it was just going to be three adventure seeds written during my lunch.  But then I started putting in little intros and links to other sources and some of my own personal musings and shout-outs and radio show posts and…you get the idea.  So now…let’s just say my lunch break isn’t sufficient.  Focusing on Pathfinder monsters at least gives the blog a certain specific focus and tone…but even with that limit it’s still going to be a three-year project.  That’s on top of my way-more-than-full-time job.  Adding 4e D&D monsters would kill me.

(As it is, I’m three months late replying to some really important messages—to the gentleman who caught me during my January couch-surfing through Europe, I haven’t forgotten you; I’ve just been in a work hole and I apologize.  I also completely understand if you’ve given me up for hopelessly rude and/or dead.)

So I hate disappointing you, A.A.  But hey, it’s a small world.  If you like what I’m doing and want me to do it for D&D monsters, tell Wizards!  (Seriously.  You never know.  Word of mouth is a powerful thing.)

And you could always do your own blog about 4e monsters.  If you do, tell us!  I want to see your banderhobbs…

Finally, thanks for the birthday wishes, especially alphacop and justjingles!

This weekend was my birthday, and that meant a birthday-themed edition of The New Indie Canon.  This is one you might want for keeps, because it was pretty nuts: new Postal Service, new Vampire Weekend, and a mashup from the Hood Internet of Justin Timberlake’s new “Suit & Tie” with some Daft Punk.  Download it.

(Usual drill applies: If the feed skips, let load in Firefox or Chrome, Save As an mp3, and enjoy in iTunes. Link good till Friday, 3/29, at midnight.  Also, the Less Than Jake song cut off at the end was “Look What Happened.” Sadly though, the only copies I can find online to link you reference a slower, less upbeat track than the version I have.)


  1. How many pechs could a Good pech peck if a Good pech could peck pechs?

  2. "Queen of Beryl"? ... is that a Sailor Moon reference?