Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Bandersnatches are consummate hunters,” begins the Bestiary 3 entry on these members of the Tane.  If anything, the Bestiary is guilty of understatement.  As creatures of the Golarion setting’s First World, bandersnatches are more than hunters: They are the rough draft of hunting itself.  Bounding over any terrain, at home on any plane, able to track relentlessly, shrugging off debilitating conditions in mere seconds, and dispensing quills and sheer pain in equal measure, bandersnatches embody the hunt like nothing this side of Herne or Cernunnos.

As with the other Lewis Carroll creations that made it into the Bestiary 3, Pathfinder gets points for making what could have been an utterly silly monster absolutely terrifying.  Check out all the variants, for instance.  “Oh, you want your bandersnatches frumious?  No problem—now they're on fire, hasted, and CR 19.  You’re welcome.”

Also, I don’t think it’s an accident that the Pathfinder’s bandersnatch shares some visual cues with Avatar: The Last Airbender’s shirshus.  While the more powerful varieties would beyond the reach of mortal handlers, lesser bandersnatches (or even smaller/younger variants) might well be found as mounts for high-level hunters, especially the servants of a powerful empire.

Following the regent’s usurpation of the throne, everyone assumes the dauphin is dead.  But when the new tyrant imports a lesser bandersnatch and its handler into the capital, wags begin to mutter that the boy must still be at large.  Tasked with saving a prince they cannot find, adventurers have no choice but to follow the bandersnatch and hope they arrive before the magical beast has the future king for supper.

Traveling through the azata realms will allow a party to access a back door into the Abyss.  To obtain safe passage, though, they need a boon from Cernunnos.  The best way to earn it: Bring him the hide of a bandersnatch.

The greatest hero of the Irsen folk is always a barbarian and mythic champion whose rage takes the form of a mighty warp-spasm.  But when Saoirse Silkwood bound Darach of Shannon, the aranea trickster goddess actually carved the warp-spasm out of the current Irsen champion.  The loosed rage became a frumious bandersnatch that bounded away.  Mightily weakened, Darach needs others to capture the bandersnatch so he may invoke his warp-spasm once again.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 32–33

What was the first hint that my college’s rare books library was awesome?  When it held an exhibition of prints for an edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland done by Salvador Dalí.  (My second hint was having a homework assignment where I was sent to look up a word in a first edition of Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language.  The massive Tom of Finland exhibit they did was pretty cool, too, though I’ll confess to being more of a Gil Elvgren man, myself.)

If you’re looking for the baluchitherium, we covered it just a few days ago.

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