If D&D flirted with Lovecraft and early Pathfinder began a love affair with him, by now 6+ years in we’ve achieved a full-blown marriage. While the aboleths’ skum servants echoed Lovecraft’s deep ones, now we have the (fully statted) real thing courtesy of Bestiary 5.
And while the base model skum is slightly more physically powerful than the default deep one, the deep one is the bona fide article: equally immortal, capable of dwelling far deeper below the waves, preferring claws or magical wands and staves to crude tridents, breeding with humans for hedonist pleasure and out of religious fervor rather than crude necessity…and of course, they’re in much closer communion with their dark lords Cthulhu, Dagon, and the other watery powers of the deep.
Deep ones’ low CR and magical aptitude mean you can use them early in your game and then scale them up throughout the life of the campaign. Their plots are often as murky as the waters they live in, hinted at only by the fish-eyed hybrid children they leave in their wake. Unless signs in the stars or some other dark portents force their hands, deep ones can afford to be patient. Effectively immortal, they have all the time in the world to bring about the end of the world.
A judge has been sentencing women to jail for all manner of minor offenses. Some have come back chastened, some broken…and some pregnant. Adventurers who investigate find ample evidence of bribery and clues leading to an odd cult. They might even catch a deep one in the judge’s chambers, demanding in bubbly Common that the crooked magistrate (a deep one hybrid) supply even more sinners to fill the cells of the Sodden Jail.
Adventurers are sent to a gillman village to take delivery of a coral wand crafted by a merfolk artisan. While there they meet a strange fishlike creature claiming to be a vodyanoi who demands the wand for himself. He promises that if they agree he will teach them a series of recitations guaranteed to unlock great power within them. If they refuse, they find themselves in the path of a flood (courtesy of a sabotaged levee) soon after.
Deep ones and fey used to share the Elder World, until the deep ones’ worship of dark powers grew too foul and the fey ended the world to save it. Today, in what they call “the Twilight World,” they rarely cross paths. But the deep ones remember their humiliation. Over the eons they have worked to poison the icy realm of the Winter Queen, subtly polluting the waters that are the genesis of her iceberg lair. Now all winter fey bear a trace of the queen’s corruption, and they are beginning to turn to worship of the Great Old Ones. Of course, the human world is ignorant of these developments, until adventurers uncover a cult of winter fey and deep ones attempting to take over their village.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 5 68
I’m typing this from the set of a commercial shoot (video and photo). Those of you who know me know how much I’m enjoying myself. #spotthesarcasm #seriouslyshootsaretheworst
[Edit: Actually it went rather well. I’ll stop complaining now.]
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