I could have sworn I posted this yesterday, but apparently I didn't. Apologies!
Figures from Norse mythology, valkyries “scour the battlefields of the Material Plane for warriors of great prowess and legendary renown,” according to the Bestiary 3. All well and good. They also “claim the soul of the slain or aid the living to continue the fight.”
And that’s where the problems come in, for all kinds of reasons. Because valkyries are not angels. They’re not interested protecting or claiming the good; these chaotic neutral maids are interested in the mighty and the valiant. Sometimes that will make them allies of your PCs, but it might just as easily set them at odds.
For instance, say the PCs are fighting or have just killed a hated enemy when a valkyrie appears. If it was a fair fight, the valkyrie might honor them for their victory or collect the slain soul and depart. But say they got lucky punching above their weight class...or they ganged up on their enemy…or used a dirty trick to make him vulnerable…or he was just a better servant of the gods of battle than the PCs are. A valkyrie isn’t about to let some upstart mercenaries and tomb robbers dishonor this man…and so she’s liable to heal or give the breath of life to the enemy your PCs just worked so hard to kill.
Or say the PCs are mighty, but one of them falls. The manifesting valkyrie might not be so keen to allow the PCs’ resurrection. If there is a place reserved for him in Odin’s hall, she’s not about to keep the Allfather waiting. She will attempt to claim the soul over and above the rest of the party’s objections.
The point is, these are women who serve battle first, might second, and honor third. When push comes to shove, they’ll display the rough benevolence of grizzled veterans—they’re not demons, and they prize courage and valor—but their concerns are those of another realm, and PCs had best get used to that fact.
Obviously, you can divorce valkyries from their Norse heritage and sprinkle them throughout your multiverse—they could be attending dervishes and aboriginals as easy as sea raiders. Their preference for flying mounts can lead to interesting encounter combos, as can their natural alignment and choice of patron deity. A valkyrie might be found in the company of an orc paragon, a demon, a norn, an azata, a fey lord, and King Arthur’s spirit all in the same night—and all while riding an imperial foo lion. So next time you’re gambling in a planar bar, speak politely to the woman with the feathered helm—she might have unlikely friends.
A party’s warrior is cut down by a demon and then raised—but not before an Abyssal parasite latches onto his soul. A valkyrie arrives, determined to save the valiant soul by carving out the hitchhiking outsider…but she’s not too concerned about what that would do to the warrior’s body or his chances at a second resurrection.
Dyania left her sisters and hung up her spear to marry Regus, the rogue she found pilfering a mythic troll’s treasure cave. Regus comes out of retirement for one last score but runs afoul of adventurers…and should they be too rough with him, Dyania will come out of retirement to be rough with them.
Valkyries serving the Lady of Battle ride pegasi or white dragon horses. Valkyries serving the Wrestler ride unfettered eidolons whose serpentine bodies emulate their lords’ skill at grappling. Valkyries who serve the Slaughterlord ride ash-gray dragon horses or nightmares. One of their company is always an Advanced ghast, left behind to consume the bodies of dead warriors so that their spirits remain bound to the Slaughterlord’s service.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 277
Radio stuff! Last week I took off my show because of the flood in my basement…but then ended up popping by artisticlicensetokill’s Nerd Connection, where naturally we talked about The Daily Bestiary. Sadly I completely spaced and failed to either record the show for myself or post about it here. If you’d like AL2K to have me back on, shoot her or me a message and we’ll find another time.
Anyway, this week I was back on my usual time. There’s still some dead air at the start of the file because the stream ripper is being antsy, but download, skip ahead three minutes and enjoy.
(Link good till Friday, 1/24, at midnight. If the feed skips, Save As an mp3 and enjoy in iTunes.)
For bonus fun, listen to me do the weather. Notice no mention of snow. That’s how crazy-fast this storm developed—Saturday we had no clue; today we’ve gotten almost seven inches so far…