In a lot of these entries I go on and on about monsters and their likely places in a fantasy ecosystem—habits, predator/prey relationships, evolution, blah, blah, blah.
There’s none of that with the scylla. Scyllas are aberrant even by aberration standards. They have no natural place in the world. They might be the result of divine curses, the afterbirths of spiteful deities, the spawn of spiritually incompatible outsiders, the hideous outcomes of pollution on a grand scale, or some other vile irruption of evil into the world. (If you’re looking for a recent published example, one makes a nice appearance at the end of the Shattered Star Adventure Path.) They exist to be nothing but menaces—less monsters than terrible landmarks to be avoided, particularly if partnered with a charybdis, as in the original Greek myths. And if PCs mess with one, they can expect a horrific fight—scyllas are CR 16, and just getting to their aquatic or cliff face lairs will tax PC resources. Should they succeed, they can also expect to be either heroes or the hunted—removing a dangerous monster may be a boon to shipping, but killing the daughter of a god, even one with wolf heads coming out of her waist, is never a bright idea.
A scylla and charybdis have guarded the Strait of Orkesh since time immemorial. If defeated, the shipping lanes to the Jasper Coast will be opened to trade. Yet adventurers trying to kill either beast will find themselves up against unlikely zookeepers: a leonal and cetaceal. The agathions believe that removing the monstrous bottleneck will enable the spread of devil worship north from Jasper.
Howling Gretchen is a scylla who dwells in a river delta north of Iron Head. She has spawned countless children—mostly skum and evil, fish-headed cecaelias that menace sailors in the region. But recently she has given birth to another scylla, and the ravenous hunger of two such beasts will soon decimate fishing stocks (and fishermen) up and down the delta.
When Tanwe the Sea Mother birthed the moon, according to legend, she left the birthing hut too early—a taboo act that spoiled the purity of the arrival. Apparently she wanted to wash the newborn moon in the waters of her ocean, but breaking custom allowed evil spirits to enter her womb, infecting her placenta with alien vigor. The afterbirth came alive and morphed into the first scylla. This creature, an Advanced specimen of near-divine power, still lurks in the waters of Lost Albatross Coast, if legends are to be believed, guarded by demodand menservants.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 2 241
It’s still nice to be back!
Tumblr readers, take heart—we covered the charybdis on the Blogger site way back here.
“Irruption”: It’s a word! Thanks, college Religion 101 class!