So the sayona is like a vampire…except it absorbs blood through its skin. Essentially, it’s the ShamWow! of undead.
I sound like I’m trivializing it, but I’m not. A) It’s hard to trivialize a CR 12 undead; B) I’m pretty sure a GM of your talents can make the sight of a corpse bathing/drinking in blood though its skin a pretty vivid one; C) the fact that this undead can register as human for short periods of time could make for some amazing whodunit adventures; D) “weeping vampire” is one of the best monster aliases ever. This is a cool beastie.
I should note that the mythological sayona (for those of you who like pulling undead from new and different corners of the world, it’s a Venezuelan monster) seems to be more about punishing adultery. But we have plenty of monsters that can carry that water (such as the aoandon), and the quest for youth—especially such a futile, doomed, and temporary quest for youth—adapts more easily into a fantasy game like Pathfinder.
But to me perhaps the most interesting thing about the sayona is this line (with my emphasis added):
When a sayona kills a humanoid or fey of Medium or Small size with its absorb blood or blood drain ability, the victim rises 24 hours later as a ghoul with the advanced creature simple template and the blood drain ability.
It’s interesting to see a creature that can target humanoids and fey alike! Moreover, they can trap the more spirit-based beings of the woodlands in their bodies as slavering ghouls. That’s really interesting to me, and I wonder what spurred the designers to make that choice. A murderous CR 12 sayona could either divide or unite mortals and faeries like few other threats could, and the cross-pollination of cultures, magic, weapons, and…well, the other kind of pollination, if you get my drift…could have long-lasting effects in an area.
The vault at Moorhead’s Bank has been robbed! No living being should have made it through the antilife shell, no undead should have survived the aspergillum trap, and no construct but a marrowstone golem would have turned the mage-killing dwarven crossbowmen stationed in the vault’s heart into bloodthirsty ghouls. So clearly there is a marrowstone golem in town…or a very clever rogue willing to hire the undead (or become one herself) to pull off the score of two lifetimes.
When a swan maiden, two mortal cavaliers, and even a cold rider (from Carnival of Tears) are found as ghouls, the twin mortal and fey courts of Shaxdrake and Willowdeep are left in turmoil. Suddenly paladins and nuckelavees are riding patrols together on the shores of the mirror lake they share. But every day the culprit is not caught is a day the alliance begins to fray. Investigation or luck will reveal that a banshee is manipulating a retinue of sayonas to both snuff out the line of Shaxdrake and poison the tree roots of Willowdeep.
Not all sayonas are female. The opera singers of the Shallot (so named for its unusual slanting onion dome) whispers of the Alto’s Revenge, a ghost known for killing talented singers. In truth, the murderer is a sayona, the walking corpse of a talented boy soprano and would-be castrato who was not cut in time to preserve his voice. (In life, the little narcissist lied about being a half-elf, leading the opera’s chirurgeon to assume she had several more years before she needed to wield her scalpel.) Desperate to reclaim his lost youth, the sayona murders singers in masked roles or heavy makeup and takes their place to relive one more glorious night onstage.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 4 231
I can't decide if Shaxdrake and Willowdeep live on opposite sides of the lake, or if they reflect each other in the mirrored surface, united and divided by special water magic. Yeah, probably that second one.
One of the unfortunate side effects of missing Friday’s post is that I didn’t get to tell you that my college friend Brian was dropping an album that day. He and his bandmate are pretty excited about it. I’m told it’s called Attitude City, and it has tracks about Goldilocks, cookies, and the power of math. At least that’s what I’m assuming a song called “6969” is about. Perhaps you would like to download it. Though it’s totally your decision.
If the above is too ribald for your sensibilities, try my friend Stephen Reichert’s poetry journal Smartish Pace, Issue 22 of which dropped today.