For what is essentially a giant spider, the shriezyx seems to occupy an outsized place in the folklore of Golarion. The fact that shriezyx are a storied threat to the good-leaning city of Magnimar is likely one reason—no one wants to see a beacon of light in the wilderness fall. And their CR is high enough (4) that the city watch alone can’t handle them—adventurers have to step in. (In fact, a save-the-city fight against shriezyx might essentially be the fight that graduates a party from the ranks of low-level-and-unknown to mid-level-and-renowned.) Plus shriezyx have ties to the Runelords, and we long-time fans love anything relating to those villains.
But what about in your campaign? (For you newbies in the audience, this blog is devoutly setting-neutral.) In general, shriezyx are good for bug hunts that go wrong—PCs think they're dealing with spiders…but these spiders are 300 pounds…chitter in a strange language (rudimentary Aklo)…regenerate…and coordinate attacks with a crude intelligence. So then it becomes a battle of wits and endurance. Can PCs keep their tortures lit? Can they keep the fires going? And can they seal these things back below the earth where they belong?
Adventures find mushroom-capped bodies strung up in webs—myceloids apparently abandoned once the spiders realized they weren’t tasty. The myceloids are husks, but their decomposing bodies now host shriekers and other dangerous fungi. If the shriekers start screaming or the bodies are otherwise disturbed, the “spiders”—actually deadly shriezyx—come rushing back from their current hunting lair.
All that is left of a joint dwarf-elf outpost, the Last Watchtower is a subterranean column with bridges at its base and peak connecting two layers of the Lands Below. If adventurers probe the Watchtower’s lower levels, they will disturb several hives of shriezyx, servants of the treacherous wizards that ended any friendship between the elf and dwarf nations. Worse yet, the air in the cavern has spoiled over the centuries. The more fires the adventurers light to fight off the aberrations, the more they risk suffocating themselves.
In the Crane Holds, beings with three eyes are universally regarded as horrors and servants of the oni. Shriezyx are said to be the descendants of samurai who were turned into spiders by a jorogumo witch, their blades becoming the aberrations’ razor-sharp claws. Whether or not this is true, shriezyx often seem to drawn to sites that have seen blood magic and evil sorcery, and some witch hunters track shriezyx sightings to help them spot oni, penanggalens, spirit nagas, and worse.
—Magnimar, City of Monuments 60 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 244
In retrospect, it’s almost surprising how little published Pathfinder material has spent below the surface. Into the Darklands and the Second Darkness Adventure Path are so old they predate Pathfinder as a game system, and since then (unless there has been serious Pathfinder Society content I don’t know about) only the Serpent’s Skull Adventure Path has spent serious time down there. All the more reason, then, that the shriezyx get our attention, because they hint at further horrors currently unexplored down below.
I never posted Tuesday’s radio show! It…was a radio show. I didn't have any prep time and they were doing equipment repairs in the booth literally in between my talk sets, so it may not be up to my usual standards. But maybe you will dig it anyway! Download it here.
(Link good till Monday, 8/3, at midnight. If the feed skips, Save As an mp3 and enjoy in iTunes.)