Friday, June 13, 2014


Our first kaiju!  We’ve covered kaiju-esque monsters before…including behemoths, the tarrasque, and other spawn of Rovagug…but now we’re getting into proper Japanese monster movie territory.

Agyra is not Rodan.  (For one thing, she has two heads.)  But Agyra is also not not Rodan, because duh, she’s obviously totally Rodan (with a dash of Mothra thrown in).  And I think that’s just fine.  After all, most players who want kaiju in their games do so for a reason: They want to fight Rodan.  They want to fight Godzilla.  But to actually invoke these monsters’ names carries you out of the game world in a way that say, invoking Cthulhu doesn’t (likely because one involves 100-year-old stories and the other involves rubber suits).  So to my mind, the analogues in the Bestiary 4 deliver the goods without breaking the game…and if you’re the kind of player who categorically doesn’t want to fight Rodan, there’s always Bezravnis.

Obviously, an encounter with thunderous, hurricane-calling Agyra is likely the campaign climax—unless the intention is not to fight her at all, but to send her after one of her kaiju rivals.  But the real fun is in getting to Agyra.  Finding the secret island she guards should be a quest in and of itself.  And the realm has likely lived so long outside the ordinary flow of history that it is a blank check for you to put in some of the weirdest and wildest cultures and creatures you can think of, all in close proximity, and logic be damned.  Asking questions of her “children” will only make Agyra angry…

Every 200 years, Mogaru rises to attack the Forbidden City, and every year the oracles and priests gather to perform the rites that bring Agyra out of her slumber to drive the titanic carnosaur away.  Only this year, a disguised wind yai infiltrated the ceremony and ruined it before the binding was complete.  Now two kaiju roam free and the Forbidden City is defenseless.

Dragon storytellers speak of Steel, the first metallic dragon; Queen Malar, a green who vanished into the stars and returned part aeon; and Xartan the Cannibal, a creature of rock and fire who gobbles up whole breeding grounds in his volcanic mouth.  Most sages regard these as mere figures from fables, meant to instruct and impart morals to hatchlings.  But they also speak of Agyralla, Mother of Yrthaks and Lightning, who brings hurricanes howling in her wake—and there have been too many corroborated sightings to dismiss her as a myth.

The Isle of Emerald Longing lies somewhere in the Filth Fever Sea, where ghouls sail catamarans and whales sing songs made of faerie fire.  The Isle itself is like no other—a tropical paradise where yeti barter with fishwives despite the broiling heat, halflings ride howdahs mounted on gnolls the size of hill giants, and samsarans glide effortlessly from one life to the next.  No samsaran may leave the Isle though, even for the most noble of reasons…or the Wings of Destiny will rise in her fury.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 166–167

How much fun is the kaiju subtype’s hurl foe ability?  I think that’s a nice touch.

Confession: I’ve actually never seen a single Godzilla film, nor the other Toho films.  My amazing elementary school media teacher (librarian, to those of you how didn’t grow up in Jim Rouse’s Narnia) did an afterschool program were he showed the old Universal monster films, but we never touched on the Japanese ones.  Instead I read about them courtesy of the orange-spined Crestwood House Monster Series books (which were AMAZING).  But somehow I’ve never yet seen a single one of the films—I’ve never even rented one—and I have no idea why.

Confession #2: Yesterday I got so distracted looking up deities in Serpent Kingdoms that I never reeeally finished my third paragraph.  In particular, I completely forgot to mention that aghasuras seem like obvious otherworldly allies for serpentfolk—particularly for offshoot sects that turned away from the gods after their civilization’s decline and downfall.  Fortunately dr-archville picked up the ball for me.  (Speaking of which, dr-archville is back!  Beware: He is going to reblog your face clean off.)

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