We’ve reached the letter S! Get comfy—we’re going to be here for a whopping 17 weeks, if my count is correct. And even more so than usual, it’s going to be quite the mix of classic, mythological, and new monsters—Bestiaries 2 and 3 really beefed up this section of the alphabet. I hope you dig it.
Speaking of digging, I’m a big fan of sabosan. For someone who’s always trying to mix genres and settings (note yesterday’s asteroid), I’m strangely allergic to vampires in my D&D—when I want to fight them I play Vampire. So it’s nice to have a bat monster that’s not a vampire spawn or dire bat by default.
Granted, they still suck blood, so they’ll work perfectly fine in a Gothic horror campaign…but their fell shriek, dust cloud, and powerful charge abilities (and even their 20-foot wingspans) broaden their stat block and their role-playing flavor nicely. These are creatures of the jungle. These are creatures that guard lost cities. These are creatures that worship forgotten demons and hate forgotten sun gods. If you need a quick stat block for some vampire minions, sabosan fit the bill effortlessly. But they can and should be much more…
Droughts are always hard, but especially so in Maraland. In the rainy season the jungles’ sabosan are content to hunt the plentiful game, but in the dry season they attack local human and elven villages instead, their wings whipping up dust devils from the dry soil to blind their prey.
The nation of Fellstrok abhors its strix citizens—former slaves who have thrown off their chains, both literal and metaphoric. No stranger to consorting with fiends or evil humanoids, Fellstrok’s rulers eagerly import sabosan to rid themselves of what they see as “ungrateful flying vermin.”
Sabosan are common in the Lands Below, especially the gorge-pocked region called Echofall, and aboveground in the flying city of Tunderos. This is no accident—a magical portal connects the two. Two vampire counts have gone to Echofall to set up an embassy in Tunderos, but so far have not been permitted to go through the portal. The sabosan are reluctant to let such obviously powerful individuals near their ancient home, powered as it is by magicks they no longer understand.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 233
Tim Hitchcock’s Heart of the Jungle has a wee bit more on sabosan, including their dualistic pantheon.
Also, if you ever want to see some really scary bat creatures (and perhaps get some hints on how sabosan might fight PCs or be pressed into service by evildoers) the BBC’s Primeval has you covered. (I loved that show…but I still need to go back and finish it—no spoilers!)
Don’t forget: I want to learn about you! See the bottom of this post for more details. Some nice emails have started to trickle in. So far folks are older than I expected—I feel like less of a geezer now. But I’m sure my Tumblr readers will fix that…
Finally, the sabosan reminds me of my favorite Alvin and the Chipmunks moment ever:
“That's the worst banjo player I've ever heard!
“That’s not a banjo, Alvin; that’s a samisen.”
“That's the worst samisen player I've ever heard!
Music! (I’m a day late, but that’s better than last week.) With special guest DJ and Brooklyn underground expert Adam Schreiber (of every grammar stickler’s favorite Tumblog, That's Not How You Spell Sandwiches), music from our friend Dorothy Gambrell (of Cat and Girl fame) and college classmate Nick Zammuto (of Zammuto and The Books), and humid weather by Maryland in June. Download it!
(Does the feed skip on your computer? Load it in Firefox or Chrome, Save As an mp3, enjoy forever in iTunes or whatever you use. Link good till Friday, 6/7, at midnight.)