Rift drakes are among the largest drakes, and at CR 9 they rival many younger dragons in power. On the whole, they are going to be hazards of the wastelands—soaring shapes on the horizon who dive without warning and attack, or who leap up out of crevasses spitting slowing acid just as the PCs are negotiating a narrow defile. With their speed surge, savage bite, and a cascade of critical hit feats, they are superb ambush hunters how know how to make a single lunge count.
If anyone in the party speaks Draconic however, you have the chance to serve up a bonus: rift drakes who are utter jerks…especially from cover or in the dark. A rift drake can pretend to be a wounded traveler or a giant dragon, concoct sob stories or make elaborate ransom demands, and otherwise string a party along in order to get whatever treasure or food from them it can…and then it will likely just attack them anyway.
Hearing a party’s sorcerer reading aloud in Draconic, a rift drake hides in a gorge and calls for help in the same language. He tries to lure the party into mounting a rescue expedition down the gorge—ideally with them all tied together, so he can snatch them up like fish on a line.
Rock trolls aid a rift drake in hunting for victims. Cowed by the rift drake’s acid, the giants aid the dragon by picking off any obvious archers or spellcasters with thrown rocks or avalanche traps before the drake attacks the most succulent victims.
A blood mage hires a party of adventurers to escort him through the badlands. His bulk draws the keen eyes of some thermal-riding rift drakes. Used to stringy goats and other canyon fare, they are beside themselves at the chance to sample such a juicy meal.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 106
Do rift drakes remind anyone else of Arkady and the ferals from Naomi Novik’s Black Powder War?
Oh, and we covered Halfling’s Best Friend, the riding dog, way back here.
Speaking of utter jerks, I would really love to know which of my neighbors complained that my grass had grown too high and had me cited by the city. This apparently happened last week. …When I was on my back with a fever and up every night past 2 a.m. coughing.
(Adding insult to injury, I live next to a vacant house. You know, like in Season 4 of The Wire. And normally I do that house’s landscaping, too, just to be a good neighbor. Which just piles on the irony extra thick.)
Hmm, I think rather than pay the $60 fine, I will go for the “Request a Hearing” option. And—gosh, wouldn’t you know it?—I will be checking the box stating that both the inspector and the affiant need to show up at the hearing, too. If you’re going to ruin my day, you’re more than welcome to do so…to my face.