Thursday, August 15, 2013


It’s not fair that the shoki is buried in the Inner Sea Bestiary.  Not only can I not link you to its stat block, but I also can’t show you its amazing picture: a ram-headed man hunched under a snail shell, from which hangs all manner of things (including some burning censers (and a fish!)), and holding a staff with an angry soul locked in its head. 

Seriously, wow.  Too cool for words.  I want this guy in all my campaigns. 

Wait, let’s back up.  Created by Wes Schneider, shoki are psychopomps—servants of the gods of the dead, who usher souls safely to their final judgment.  (For those keeping track, they were introduced in the Carrion Crown Adventure Path.)  Most of the ones who must interact with mortals go masked, but the shoki, being more concerned with persuading the dead to come peacefully than with dealing with the living, don’t bother with such symbols of office.  They also aren’t much interested in good or evil (and they have protection from both).  They just want to gather their target souls—by force words if possible, by spirit lock if necessary, and be on their way.  Of course, that could be a problem if it’s a recently deceased or raise dead-abusing PC whose soul they covet…

A cleric loses her holy symbol in a pit of acid.  Without the symbol of her faith to fortify her, her ability to channel holy energy lacks focus.  Hearing this, a shoki sheds his invisibility and offers the appropriate charm from the string of holy symbols hanging from his belt…provided the cleric and her compatriots agree to help him round up a troublesome soul.

A shoki and a soul argue at the banks of the River Styx, the psychopomp warning of the terrible things that lurk to snatch up unattended spirits.  Soon the argument becomes violent—first the enraged soul begins manifesting the powers of a ghost and attacks the snail-man, then a mob of hydrodaemons ambushes them both.  Saving the shoki and his charge would be a boon that even a jaded and standoffish psychopomp could not ignore—especially if those that rescued him needed an escort into the City of the Dead.

Adventurers need to reclaim a lost soul.  Divination and a lot of legwork reveal the soul to be in the +2 cold iron quarterstaff of a shoki.  The psychopomp himself has been lurking (with the offensive metal of his staff carefully concealed) in the fey Court of Evening’s Promise, where his snail shell and ram’s horns attract no notice, while he tracks down another fugitive spirit.  He is in no mood to bargain, though, and will attack anyone who reveals his identity or attempts to relieve him of the soul already in his possession.

Inner Sea Bestiary 40

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