Friday, February 21, 2014


The voonith is another Lovecraft beast from his Dreamlands, courtesy of The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath.  And for once it isn’t a horrible, mind-ruining thing that comes from beyond the stars; it’s just an intelligent lizard with an unsettling howl.  Granted, as a race vooniths’ collective sense of humor leave something to be desired, but for a Lovecraft creation, these things are practically cuddly.

I think of vooniths as canary-in-the-coalmine monsters.  They’re not so bad in and of themselves—provided the PCs don’t look like easy prey—and they might serve as decent guides or temporary companions.  But their presence is a warning that things are not right…and getting worse.  Demon-led lizardfolk or boggards are more dangerous, but when a party encounters vooniths, they know they are on the border of places—or states?—of madness, dreams, other planets, and worse.

Adventurers seeking a guide into the Malgavi swamps find one in the form of a cowled man who speaks little.  He makes up for his taciturn nature with his woodcraft, ably guiding them away from snares, boggard traps, and even a dire crocodile.  But as the journey progresses, the guide gets stranger and stranger, reading the stars as much as the swamp, speaking to the villagers they meet in the dark tongue of Aklo, and leaving bloody handprints on certain tree trunks.  The land changes, too, until eventually it becomes apparent that the party has left the natural world behind.  After nights spent listening to howls of vooniths from all around, it is almost a relief when the cowled guide turns on them…

Vooniths ambush explorers, chittering and howling horribly as they try to snare the humanoids with stolen nets.  A few rounds of combat reveal that the vooniths do not actually want to hurt the explorers; they just know of no better way to announce themselves to armed men.  An animate dream is stalking the vooniths from the Dimension of Dream, and the vooniths seek folk able to drive it off.  If the explorers comply, the vooniths can reward them by guiding them to a supposedly relic-filled secret catacomb hidden behind a waterfall.

Not all realities have an Ethereal Plane.  Turngard is bounded instead by the Blinkscape, a kind of spirit world that can be reached by certain creatures (blink dogs chief among them) and adept spellcasters (those above 4th level and that have a certain feat, along with anyone in skin contact).  Vooniths are among the most common creatures of the Blinkscape, and many a blinker has fallen to a voonith clutch before they learn the safe ways to move about the unreal swamp.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 283

I probably should have made “Lovecraftian” a tag here.  Oh well.

Finally survived my huge presentation, so desperate to catch up on sleep.  Reader mail and other ranting s to come soon!

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