Why has it taken us this long to get the peluda in fantasy gaming? Like the gorynych, this is a wonderful one-off dragon species with a proud medieval pedigree, a throwback to when dragons were terrible fire-breathing beasts and not chatty sorcerers. Part dragon and part porcupine, it’s a nasty customer (for all that it is only size Large). Best of all, it has built into its stats one of the crucial elements of a mythological monster: a weakness. Now in a campaign where PCs are slinging fireballs as if they were at pitching practice, maybe that’s not a big deal. But to me, there’s something nice about rewarding the scholarly/bardic PC who takes the time to actually listen to the locals’ tales about the creature, plus the excitement of the cost/benefit analysis that taking advantage of that weakness requires (i.e. is the lost damage per round worth the sunder attempt?).
Peludas are no brain surgeons or mighty masterminds; even the expanded ecology from Pathfinder Adventure Path #33: The Varnhold Vanishing indicates that they are brutes who at most might have a few humanoid tribes serving them. But that’s fine, because plotting is not what they’re for. Peludas are for throwing at PCs before they’re ready, for terrifying them with a quill barrage, and for being as deadly in defense as they are on offense. Peludas is how you scare PCs into fighting smart (or at least extra bloody and determined), making their eventual victory all the more sweet.
Marsh giants have been flattering a peluda, calling it the Great Master and the Lord of Narrow Swamp. In truth, they are angling for the peluda’s eggs, which they use to mutate their own kin and their skum servants into spiny monstrosities. The peluda has only surrendered one so far, but as the power goes to her head she may offer more, not realizing to what ends her clutch is being put to.
A saint is famous for having vanquished a local peluda. There’s only one problem: the tale isn’t true—the peluda lived. When it resurfaces, the church hires adventurers to discreetly dispatch the beast. Then it sends bounty hunters after them, determined that the saint’s famous first miracle remain so in the eyes of the faithful.
Adventurers are sent to save a prince’s life—or end it, depending on their employer. Either way, they are too late—they find the prince’s headless body still in its armor, impaled by a barrage of terrible quills. (His less-well-armored horse has been devoured.) Just as they come across the body, so too does another search party, who for their own reasons immediately accuses the adventurers of being in league with the beast. Now it’s a race through the swamp to be the first to tell their version of the tale, while dodging both the still-hungry peluda and a black dragon keen on taking over the spiny dragon’s territory.
—Pathfinder Adventure Path #33 86–87 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 212
Not gonna lie: I love reblogs. Dungeon Inspiration in particular has been really great about boosting my bandwidth lately—thanks! And getting reblogged by Paizo’s official Tumblr…? That was pretty awesome. Cheers, Paizo social media mavens—you made my day.