An undead creature inspired by Anishinaabe legends and The Song of Hiawatha, the baykok is a flying undead hunter with a terrifying cry. It’s been retooled slightly for RPG purposes: Its arrows are bone, not invisible, and it’s gone from devouring the liver of its victims to devouring their souls as well. All in all, a really satisfying mid-level undead.
Three notes: With their neutral evil alignment and their obsession with devouring souls, baykoks pair naturally with daemons. They are likely common inhabitants of daemonic planes (Abaddon in Pathfinder, Hades or Gehenna in 3.5, etc.), and they can serve as useful agents for daemons who want to obscure their handiwork in the mortal world.
Second, given that baykoks prefer to target the most powerful member any party, the Predator franchise might be a nice source of inspiration (especially if you can trick them into splitting the party).
Third, those infinite bone arrows have to come from somewhere. I love the image of an undead creature ripping out its own bones to fire at PCs, and I bet you do too.
The ranger Callem Fenmaeril was a rank chauvinist in life, believing women had no place on a hunt. When the half-elf was slain by a single arrow from the bow of a veiled woman, his rage was such that he reanimated as a baykok. He hunts his mysterious killer to this day, attempting to slay any female archer he meets.
A daemon is smuggling soul gems out of a city. To hide his involvement, he relies on baykoks to be his enforcers. Currently, they hunt Watch veterans, taking out the most knowledgeable and experienced members of the city guard who might otherwise ferret out his plot.
An oracle of bones has stolen the precious couatl egg relic venerated by the Seven Waters tribe. Members of the Bear lodge recruit volunteers to hunt the oracle down, but any who answer the call find themselves hunted in return by baykok allies of the wayward spiritualist.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 35
Given how obsessed I currently am with the audiobooks of Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper novels (so good), you’re lucky only one of my adventure seeds involved a city watch.
In an effort to be less of a humorless pedant, I am trying to wean myself off of always using a comma before “too.” …This is going to be a struggle.
(Oxford comma 4 lyfe, though.)
Reader comments! Doktor Archeville likes gunslinging apes. I see your comment and raise you, Herr Doktor. And filbypott is a fan as well. Doktor A. also served up some cyberpunk re: bandersnatches and some Pokemon re: bakus. Also, holy crap, do I want to be in one of demiurge1138’s campaigns. Props to dailycharacteroption re: the bakekujira too.
And can we all agree that icantdrawgood needs to do this, like, now?
To this day I love the hell out of Ghostwalk. My obsession is slowly adapting it to a new Pathfinder setting I like to call Ghost Sails, which adds piracy to the mix.
Adapt and share! This needs to be a thing.
(Combining two books is both a) one of my favorite campaign-building mental exercises and b) one of my favorite things to read about. I’ve mentioned this in passing before, but Wolfgang Baur’s “Scimitars Against the Dark” in Dragon Magazine #198, which offered ways to import Ravenloft-style terrors into Al-Qadim’s Land of Fate box set, was a revelation to high school sophomore me. Ghostwalk plus piracy sounds like a perfect idea, whether you tackle it solo or crib from resources like Skull & Shackles, Freeport, or Razor Coast.)