The derhii are a race of intelligent winged gorillas. So in one sentence you already know if this is a monster for you. Me? I’m a fan. (Real apes kind of trigger my uncanny valley alert, but apes in fantasy I like. Speaking of which, fantasy illustrators and comic artists tend to love apes—maybe because of the expressive faces? Gorilla Grodd…Gorillaz…Six-Gun Gorilla…Frank Cho’s entire career… In fact, I’m not even done this first paragraph, and I’d bet ten bucks that justjingles has already roughed out a derhii sketch in pencil and is setting up her inks.)
In Golarion, derhii are associated with the Mwangi Expanse and the (now-crashed/lost) flying cities of the Shory. In your home campaign…well they might fit in anywhere, because when you’re an ape with a flying charge attack who can knock victims prone with your falchion, you don’t need to ask permission.
Lone or small troops of these apes often find it beneficial to ally with dragonnes, who are less intelligent but more powerful. Larger family groups can fend for themselves but still might ally or offer fealty to powerful creatures like dragons and sphinxes. And wise adventurers would do well to keep an eye on those or any other alliances the winged apes have. As neutral carnivores, derhii aren’t immediately a threat, but they don’t promise peace either, especially in lean times. Knowing if a derhii tribe owes allegiance to a benevolent dragon, a bloodthirsty dragonne, a mysterious magocracy, or no one but its silverfeather chieftain (and the mouths he’s honor-bound to feed) could be a crucial bit of intelligence to have before the Diplomacy and Intimidation checks start rolling.
Entering a mystic wood, adventurers find themselves observed by silent kodama for mile after mile. Eventually the kami begin playing a percussive song on hollow logs, summoning derhii sentinels to question the party further. The derhii are stern but will not offer violence if the adventurers do not. However, under no circumstances will they allow the party to approach the lord of the wood, a near-mythical shedu.
Reincarnated as a strix, a warrior must relearn his craft in his new body—and hopefully pick up some new skills along the way. His journey takes him and his companions to the cloud forests of Mobitar, where derhii dervishes wheel above the trees and stony agoras of a lost city. The warrior is allowed to enroll and study with other derhii and strix. Over time it becomes clear that something is rotten at the city’s core, and it involves the city’s owl-like priest caste, the syrinx.
Even the basest ape in Juwar pays homage to the Lord of Storms, a derhii king named for his booming voice. An adventuring party has letters of passage signed by the king, but early in their journey the drums announce that the king is ill, and soon their letters are worse than useless. At least two factions of derhii seek to overthrow the king’s tribe, and a spiny peluda and his girallon servants are taking advantage of the conflict to gorge themselves on apes and humanoids alike.
—Crucible of Chaos 28–29 & Pathfinder Bestiary 3 75
Really, really close readers of my vaugebooking (vagueblogging?) will note that I was supposed to be on vacation in Portland/Seattle this week, but then…not so much. More on that another day. I’ve rescheduled for December if you want to point me to awesome game/used bookstores and other fun things to do.