Monday, December 15, 2014

Drowning Devil

Before I tackle today’s entry, let’s get the important stuff out of the way first.  This past week I was on vacation bouncing between Portland and Seattle.  And while I was there, thanks to the diabolical machinations of Wes Schneider, I was fortunate enough to get to meet a whole bevy of Pathfinder/Paizo authors, editors, designers, and staff.  I’m hesitant to name names because I’m terrified of leaving someone out, but James Jacobs, Owen K.C. Stephens, Rob McCreary, the Pathfinder Society guys (whose names I really am blanking on), and everyone I met were incredibly warm and welcoming.  Thanks especially to James Sutter for the tour and to Adam Daigle and Wes for a fantastic night of monster talk, old-school (A)D&D reminiscences, Pathfinder wisdom, and general good craic. 

Okay, it’s sarglagon time! 

Just how nasty are these guys?  So nasty they have sea anemones for hands.  (You were expecting tridents?  Lobster claws?  Passé.  Bring on the venomous tentacle punches!)

The Bestiary 4 entry on the drowning devil is by necessity pretty short, so for the real skinny you need to check out Pathfinder Adventure Path #60: From Hell’s Heart.  As you might expect, drowning devils are Hell’s aquatic agents.  But it turns out there’s more to them than that.  They are also determined gatekeepers and guardians, so if you’re thinking about escaping Hell via the sewer system, think again.  Fully eight of their abilities and spell-like abilities affect water in some fashion—even being near one is to enter the crushing presence of the deep—and they can drown a victim at 10 paces.

But just because drowning devils are most adept in water, nothing says they have to remain there.  The mingled devotion and greed inherent in their natures might cause them to take up guard contracts far from their beloved oceans and swamps.  Even weirder, according to PAP #60 sometimes a sarglagon will serve as a kind of fairy goddevil for a tiefling, at the bequest of the original devil who inserted itself into the family bloodline. This means even the most good-hearted tiefling (or sorcerer!) might be shadowed by a faithful but malevolent devil…and freeing this poor soul without offending his diabolic sire or grandsire will be tricky…

An oath has escaped one of Hell’s libraries.  Manifesting in a form similar to a psychopomp (albeit with a papier-mâché mask), it flits about the Swamps of Remorse blindly searching for a way home. Adventurers might return the oath to its owner, or even use it to control the oath-swearer instead.  Either way they have to contend with a pair of drowning devils who have come searching for the truant vow.

Adventurers are hauled before an inquisition for questioning.  A number of people are dead, and all of them were on less than good terms with the party.  Eventually the innocent adventurers are released, but a cloud of suspicion hangs over them—and the murders don’t let up.  It turns out that one of the adventures (or a close ally) has fiendish blood, and the inheritor’s sire has sent a drowning devil to keep a closer eye on his prodigal kin.

Jonatar the Prophet was to bring water to the tribes and unite the Besij.  So believed the multitudes that flocked to his name and the sheiks and Kingdom of Salt pharaohs who tried more than once to have him killed.  Now it looks like someone has succeeded…and the only water to be found is in Jonatar’s lungs.  Someone drowned the Prophet—in the middle of the desert, no less.  Adventures investigating the murder will have to fight desert assassins and fend off corpse-devouring ghuls.  One possible murder weapon is a decanter of endless water…or so it appears, until opening it reveals a watery demiplane guarded by drowning devils.

Pathfinder Adventure Path #60 80–81 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 52

Hi all!  I’m back from vacation.  Hello especially to all you new readers who joined while I was out of town.  This week is going to be more than a little crazy as I try to get back up and running and contend with pre-Christmas crazy, but I’ll do my best to keep the entries coming.

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