Magical beasts are tricky. You want something that’s fantastic but still realistic, wondrous without being silly. Pathfinder’s take on the delgeth works nicely. Nature is more comfortable with fire than Bambi would have us believe—heck, lodgepole pines rely on forest fires to flourish (their pinecones don’t open until exposed to extreme heat), and black-backed woodpeckers prefer to nest in burn zones. So a deer* that actually causes forest fires is a perfect addition to your magical ecology. Meanwhile, the delgeth’s ability to spark fires in any square within 30 feet is a perfect addition to your battlemat, giving you a fun tactical challenge for the players to overcome (particularly if the PCs are facing the delgeth in flammable surroundings). And if you ever wanted to start a fight between your orphan-saving paladin, your nature-preserving druid, and your pyromaniac sorcerer, a flaming deer is perfect for lighting that little pile of tinder…
*I’ve seen some references online that indicate that delgeth is a Navajo creation, and more of an antelope than a deer (as well as possibly a flesh-eater or a spirit of vengeance). So if you’re looking to highlight more non-European monsters, keep the antelope-delgeth in mind! And I made sure to put a darker delgeth in the seeds below…
Delgeths instinctively start fires in areas that need clearing and create natural firebreaks to stop wildfires from spreading out of hand. Their instincts don’t take human settlements into account, however. Homesteaders looking to protect their lands often set high bounties for delgeths. Their hides are also much sought after as the base component in wondrous item creation, particularly for magical clothing that causes or quenches flames. The shamans and shugenja who live among tribes of wild elves, taiga halflings, and lodge-dwelling humans also seek out delgeth hides and skulls for ritual cloaks, allowing them to act out the part of the smoky wendigo in winter rituals and morality plays.
All male delgeths trace flaming mating patterns. But a delgeth of Advanced size and intelligence traces more sinister glyphs—some of which cause magical effects or mimic patterns in the constellation. An archdruid sends adventurers to investigate…and if necessary, put down the potentially tainted beast.
Not all delgeths are so beneficial to the natural order. The delgeths of Heran are scaly, winged creatures (treat as half-forest dragon delgeths) resembling horrible flaming perytons. Able to spew gouts of stone shards and bring fires to life with a stomp, they are undisputed masters of their woodland and prairie homes who are fond of devouring tengus, kitsune, brownies, and huldras.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 5 71
Tuesday’s radio show was the usual indie rock, pop, and folk…and a rather unusual dose of Prince and Prince covers. Stream/download it here till Monday, May 2, at midnight. (There’s some bleed-over from the previous show, so bear with me at the start.)