Friday, May 30, 2014


Alice found Wonderland by chasing a rabbit down a hole.  But what if the rabbit wasn’t a rabbit?  What if it was a rodent with the snout of a star-nosed mole—one who could see magic and bite spirits as easily as flesh?  What if it took her somewhere far stranger than Wonderland…and then tried to eat her?

Yet another Lovecraft creation from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, zoogs move between this and other worlds with seeming ease.  This is reflected in their ghost touch strikes and magic-detecting gazes.  As the Bestiary 3 indicates, they are loathsome little creatures liable to swarm upon and devour the unwary, but they can be spoken to and bargained with.  If successful, the party might receive a gourd of moon-tree wine, sage advice, or even a zoog familiar for their troubles.  They might also be led into a nest of gugs. 

Beneficiaries of the same eclectic scholar’s will, a group of young folk band together in an adventuring party to claim their respective legacies—all of which happen to be in the care of a leprechaun under a faerie mound.  One of the adventurers can call on the services of his family’s brownie servant to guide them there.  But the brownie has been too long out of the fey lands, and the path he takes them on leads not to Faerie, but to somewhere…else.  Soon the party encounters shrieking mushrooms, strange purple-black trees, and a village of lemur-like creatures worshipping scandalous gods.

Shadows threaten to overwhelm a party of adventurers until a conjurer with a zoog familiar drives them away.  The wizard has a price though: He and his familiar wish to accompany the adventurers—not on their mundane and trivial journey (he laughs to himself as he says this), but in their dreams.

A party of adventurers makes their way through a strange jungle not on any map.  Calamity occurs when a gang of rodents devours their leopard-spotted catfolk guide in mere moments.  The zoogs fall to arguing whether to devour the adventurers as well, which gives the party time to parley if they wish.  For the price of a magic ring or dagger, the zoogs will lead them to a safe path through the Ghoul Lands, to the (hated) City of Seven Hundred Cats, or into a dungeon half on the Ethereal Plane.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 288

Thursday, May 29, 2014


The zomok is a rejuvenating but dangerous entity of nature—think the Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke in vaguely draconic form.  It is the true master of the forest—actually, it is the forest; Pathfinder #36: Sound of a Thousand Screams describes a zomok passing through the forest like a wave, the trees themselves bending to become part of the its form and then returning to their places.  Zomoks have the spell-like abilities to create shambling mounds, remake oaks into treants, command plant creatures, and otherwise turn the very woods into a weapon.  And let’s not forget those nasty breath weapon, swallow hole, and trample attacks.

To really get a feel for the zomok, the original entry from Pathfinder #36 really is the way to go—it describes how zomoks are playful in springtime and dangerous and hungry in winter, how they ally with dryads and fey, and how they even eat shambling mounds so that their swallowed victims have something to fight inside their stomachs!  Oh, and they can heal 180 points of damage just by forest stepping.  So good luck trying to kill one on the first try.

In a campaign that’s stopping short of Level 14 or so, the zomok might be the final boss of the entire campaign.  In a campaign going all the way to 20, the zomok is the complicating force, the one obstacle the PCs didn't need that demands attention at the worst possible moment (Harry Dresden fans know what I’m talking about).  Nature has its own laws and demands its own particular forms of retribution—and it will always be the zomok who determines that timetable, not the PCs.

Cold riders and winter hags band together in an alliance to banish summer entirely and bring a winterwight into the world.  They succeed, turning spring into fall and kicking off a new ice age.  The unexpected corollary to this is that zomoks across the hemisphere go mad as their forests starve.  Denied the warm rays of the sun, the zomoks go on feeding frenzies, devouring animals, people, and even whole towns in order to return the energy to their home forests.

The dryad queen is not bound in one place like her sister-subjects, for her home tree became the spine of a zomok long ago.  Able to ride through the Great Meredi Forest at will, she has gone from being a voice for dryads to being a cruel faerie despot.  After the zomok smashes the elven city of Quistarthi into flinders, the Speaker of the Candles decides that the dryad queen and her plant steed must be stopped.

When a zomok turns bad, the whole forest turns bad.  The Larchmarrow turns twisted and dark after the poisoning of its zomok, who now leads an army blighted fey satyrs (see the Inner Sea Bestiary) on guerrilla raids.  The culprit is an ancient forest dragon who sees the opportunity to remake the borders of his domain, smash his enemies at no risk to himself, and cause the miscarriage of the jinushigami egg that he suspects is buried in the zomok’s core.

Pathfinder #36 88–89 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 287

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Zombie Lord

At first glance, the zombie lord looks like end-of-the-alphabet filler.  (The Bestiary 4 even describes them as “the fleshy counterparts of skeletal champions,” which isn’t exactly a rousing endorsement.)  But after a little reflection, I think the zombie lord has a lot of potential

First off, I love undead with class levels that aren't liches or mummies.  As we discussed in the Worm That Walks entry, when a lich or mummy pops up, nine times out of 10 we already know that story.  But a zombie lord?  That’s a story I don't know.  Was she cursed?  Did a fluke of the reanimating process return her spirit to her body, or call another intelligence into the corpse?  Is she the result of a poorly worded wish that preserved her mind but not her mortal shell?  Is the merchant class of that land not allowed access to resurrection or true lichdom?  Is she patient zero for a local outbreak of zombie rot?  Or is she a zombie queen courtesy of some enchanted crown or scepter?  There’s no one default story for a zombie lord, and that’s really invigorating.

Second of all, let’s go back to yesterday’s comments about zombies being surprising when they're unexpected.  Zombie lords work especially well in settings where undead are rare.  I think I’ve said before that one of the many, many things that made the Dark Sun setting so interesting was that its undead were supposed to be unique—each was meant to have its own intellect, goals, abilities, and weaknesses.  In a low-magic Pathfinder game, zombie lords are one great way to emulate that.  Each one is a unique NPC, just …dead.  So snap on the zombie lord template, add in some variant zombie abilities cribbed from, say, Classic Horrors Revisited, and you’ve got a unique antagonist ready to go.

Finally, most undead have their signature sin: wrath, avarice, cannibalism, and so on.  With zombie lords as described in the Bestiary 4, envy is the driving force.  Zombie lords so desperately want what others have, even as the one thing they possess rots away beneath them.

Wei-Chen was a born martial artist, but her natural aptitude made her a lazy student.  The deeper monk mysteries eluded her, and in her impatience she made a deal with a bottled entity she found locked in her master’s study.  Promising her a shortcut to abandoning the concerns of the body, the entity turned Wei-Chen into a zombie lord.  Wei-Chen now hides under her old dojo, determined to reverse her condition.  Sadly, she still always looks for the easiest way to accomplish anything, and typically attacks magic-users she suspects might have charms to aid her.

Carmilla resented her beautiful daughter from the day Ilsa was born.  As Ilsa approached marrying age, Carmilla refused to provide a dowry or introduce her into society.  Carmilla’s death by stroke should have freed the poor girl to do as she liked, but Carmilla’s envy proved too strong.  She awoke as a zombie lord not half an hour after her death, before the wake could even be scheduled, and triumphantly locked her daughter away.  Now the trapped Ilsa languishes while Carmilla uses letters and magical couriers to invite over potential suitors in her daughter’s name.  She kills them when they fail to appreciate her new, “still beautiful” form.

Turva is the pickled crime lord of Knave’s Deep.  A fall from a factory gangway into a chemical vat pickled Turva so thoroughly that even death was no obstacle for the brutish made man.  His fellow rogues still follow him out of fear of his undead condition and his proficiency with a crossbow.  All Turva fears is black dragons (he’s heard they dine on briny corpses) and tengus, as it was a crow-man that pushed him off the gangway.

Pathfinder Adventure Path #45 90–91 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 286

In my haste to get the Yeti and Zombie entries up yesterday, I completely forgot to mention that Ray Vallese has an entry on yetis in Mystery Monsters Revisited, and Rob McCreary has a chapter on zombies and other walking dead in Classic Horrors Revisited, with lots of adventure seeds and variants (including the first mention of the zombie lord).

A lot of folk, including ward358, have asked whether the Tumblr site has an index.  The short answer is to click “Archive” at the bottom of the page—every entry from Gar & Giant Gar is right there.  The other option (particularly if you’re looking for letters A–F) is to go to the original Blogger page.  There you’ll find all the monsters by date, and they're also tagged by type to help you find the ones you want faster.  Happy browsing!

(As I mentioned the other day on Reddit, the reason I link to the Tumblr is that it's way easier for people to share and easier for me to get immediate reader feedback. Also, I can't edit the Blogger site at all without horribly messing up the formatting...I'm assuming because of some bad code that sneaks in when I cut and paste from Word.  So if I make a single typo, I have to leave it there for all time or start the whole post over.  (The coding issue can even mess up the formatting of other entries—if you’re on the wrong browser, some of my entries near Kamadan, Kangaroo & Thylacine, and Kappa don't even show up because of this problem!)  So you can understand my Tumblr favoritism, though I still update the Blogger site every day.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


An obscure monster from Haitian and West African folklore, the zombie is…

Um, yeah, I’ll shut up now.  Pop culture is going through a bit of a zombie bubble right now.  It's actually hard to avoid zombies—I mean, a zombie episode popped up in my Star Wars: The Clone Wars binge just last night. 

Pop culture’s zombies don't actually much resemble Pathfinder and D&D’s shambling corpses (though Pathfinder Adventure Path #45: Broken Moon’s apocalypse zombies correct this).  But echoes of the same lessons can still apply.  First, in fiction zombie plagues are interesting for what they tell us about ourselves in times of crises—they are typically a metaphor for something else (often contagion or race/immigration, for instance).  The classic Pathfinder/D&D zombie probably doesn’t rise to that level of thematic import, but zombies still offer clues to a story: A grave has been defiled.  An evil spellcaster is on the loose.  Yellow musk creepers or akatas have infected the local populace.  When you have zombies, you have a disorder that must be corrected.

Second, in fiction zombies are scariest for how they make the everyday dangerous and strange.  In Pathfinder/D&D, this translates to finding unexpected ways to spring zombies on your players.  A zombie in a dungeon is not scary.  A zombie in a spaceship is terrifying.  The recently released Pathfinder Adventure Path #80: Empty Graves kicks off with a surprise zombie attack, and it’s awesome because (spoilers) it takes place in the middle of an auction, when PCs (and players) are prepared for social encounters.

Third, even when they're not infectious, zombies’ sheer numbers and implacability start to tell after a while.  If your players aren't scared of zombies yet, it just means you need to send more zombies…

The dead have no rights in Listerpol—the poor dead, anyway—and zombies are used for menial labor and as beasts of burden.  Listerpol’s aristocratic youths with spellcasting ability often make a game of wresting control of zombies from the local death priests and sending them to cause havoc in the streets.

In the New World, nothing is the same—the men shift into the skins of animals, the snakes have feathered wings, and crows whisper secrets to the linnorms.  And when the dead rise, as they too often do, they do not shamble—these so-called “fast zombies” run.

Peasants are ordered to line the streets and cheer when the army trudges home.  But this is no parade—included in the processional are litters and wagons bearing wounded officers on their way to the temple healers.  But necromancy was used on both sides of the war, and some of the officers have been infected with zombie rot.  When they die en route to hospital, their corpses immediately rise and attack the assembled peasants, causing mass hysteria and an outbreak of plague zombies.

Pathfinder Bestiary 288–289

I am not a zombie expert.  I’ve played maybe 15 minutes of The Walking Dead video game, haven’t yet cracked the comics, and watched Braindead in college and World War Z recently.  In today’s pop culture terms, that makes me practically a zombie virgin.

More zombies can be found in…well, pretty much every low- to mid-level adventure ever.  In particular, check out the aforementioned PAP #45: Broken Moon and the voidstick zombie from PAP #57: Tempest Rising (as well as the also-aforementioned PAP #80: Empty Graves.)  Meanwhile, we already covered the juju zombie and will tackle the zombie lord tomorrow.

Oh, and by the way, break out the champagne—with this entry, we have completed the Pathfinder Bestiary.  That’s from start to finish, every monster from the aasimar on down.  (What about the yeti, you ask?  Check it and like it, yo.)

The good news is we’ve now knocked out two out of the four hardcover Bestiaries.  The bad news is that those tend to be readers’ favorite monsters (if likes and reblogs are any judge), and they offered the most overlap for D&D 3.5 fans (as well as our many 1e and 2e AD&D-playing readers).  As we move into a lot more unfamiliar and Pathfinder-specific beasties, I hope you all will stick with us—there are still lots of great monsters to come, and I'd hate to lose any of you just because the syllables start to get weird. 

Besides, if you stick around till C we’ll be covering Cthulhu…

Holy long weekends, Batman!  With yesterday still being part of the weekend, it didn’t occur to me to give you my usual Monday link to my radio show.

The tech guys have been doing some end-of-the-semester monkeying with the board that I haven’t become accustomed to yet, the net effect of which meant that I had the music way too hot and the mic levels way too low.  So forgive me if the sound quality is a bit off.  Hopefully all the new Tangerine, new Jurassic 5, old Veruca Salt, and new(!) Veruca Salt will make up for it.

(As usual, if the feed skips, go up to the File menu and Save As an mp3.  Link good till Friday, May 30, at midnight.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame

Blazing up from the pages of the Inner Sea Bestiary, Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame is a fiery daemonic harbinger (a unique and powerful daemon still short of Horseman status, analogous to a nascent demon lord or Duke of Hell) with long ties to Golarion’s Egypt-like nation of Osirion.  In your campaign, Zelishkar’s stats could serve for any supremely powerful neutral evil spirit of flame and fire—perhaps only steps away from becoming the Horseman of War, and who will laugh as the multiverse burns.

The nascent demon lord of pyromania and the Hellduke of Arson meet on the field of battle, immolating each other.  Rising from the ashes of the conflict like some dire phoenix is a new entity, Zelishkar of the Bitter Flame—all trifling notions of law or chaos having been burnt away.  A band of heroes has been fighting agents of the nascent demon lord since their very first adventure, when they apprehended a firebug and his mephit sidekick.  While they arrive too late to stop their foe’s dread apotheosis, they might be able to kill this new Zelishkar before the flames of his fury can spread.

Fire rages throughout Utopia.  In the abacus-like region of Ordo Lucidus, adventurers race from ring city to ring city on a clockwork dragon, putting out the burning libraries and record halls of Law.  The culprit is an entity that once was the Cleanser, tender of the Plane of Law’s High Crematorium, but who has long since been disgraced and turned foul, becoming the resentful agent of evil known as the Bitter Flame.

They say the Firecat of Dubral was once a rakshasa (as evidenced by her fiery but definitely feline countenance) but she long ago became something else entirely.  Called onto this plane by the rune giant sorcerer Ysarn, the Firecat leads an army of fire giants, red dragons, and purrodaemons.  She herself rides an iron colossus powered by bound efreet.  Freeing these enslaved spirits of fire from their sarcophagus-like batteries is adventurers’ best chance to stop the Firecat.

Inner Sea Bestiary 62–63

Thanks for all the support and great shout-outs on Friday!  Hello to any new readers we might have picked up (from Reddit or elsewhere)!  And (for my American readers at least) hope you had an excellent long weekend!  (I still feel gross.  I did nothing.)

Friday, May 23, 2014


Ladies and gentlemen, we have done it.  Welcome to the letter Z.  We have reached the end of the alphabet.

When I started this blog, there were only two Pathfinder Bestiaries (plus the 16-page Bonus Bestiary) and zero readers.  I was just writing for myself to see if I could do it.  (I don't think I told another soul about it until the letter D.)  Almost three years and three books later—the Bestiary 3, 4, and the Inner Sea Bestiary—somewhere between 800 and 1200 of you read every day, and many of you regularly offer great comments and encouragement as well.  Thanks to all of you for the awesome support, vocal or otherwise.

Today we also close the book (literally) on the Bestiary 2The Daily Bestiary now has an entry for every single monster on its pages—from the accuser devil and the achaierai (which are listed out of order in my Bestiary 2’s Table of Contents) to the zelekhut (including the silvanshee, whose nine-month-delayed entry I just put up this morning).  And pretty soon we’ll be done the Bestiary as well. But don't worry, we’ve still got decent chunks of the newer Bestiaries to cover as we finish up Z and swing back around to A.

Thanks again for reading!  And please tell your friends, gaming buddies, and fellow Pathfinder/D&D/fantasy RPG fans that if they like monsters and adventure seeds, this is the place to be every weekday.

Okay, onward!

Zelekhuts are probably the most distinctive-looking inevitables—I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a clockwork pegataur with barbed chains for arms?.  They are also among the most commonly encountered, being the bounty hunters of the inevitable race. 

I once wrote that kolyaruts were more likely to be faced by adventurers (since almost every adventuring company I’ve ever played in has had problems sticking to the letter of a contract), but I’m thinking now that in my haste to snark I misspoke.  People flee the long arm of the law all the time, and PCs might run across one of these otherworldly bounty hunters/executioners almost anywhere. And as with all inevitables, their dogmatism can make them the PC’s enemy one moment and their ally the next.  The zelekhut that tries to chain the leaders of an underground railroad one week might be defending them from wanted killers the next.  All a zelekhut cares about is seeing criminals brought to justice—questions of whose justice and how just the system really is are of no concern to it.

Adventurers are being chased by an indefatigable zelekhut.  Ironically, they have the means to call off the inevitable—a writ of amnesty—right in their satchels.  But the writ is worthless until it is registered in the Hall of Records, and that means a cross-country race against a creature that never sleeps.

Summoned to court as witnesses to a riot, adventurers are shocked to be arrested as “inciters of violence” instead.  It quickly becomes clear that the system is rigged against them—particularly when the prosecution and the judge are revealed to have ties to the infernal planes.  If the party attempts to escape, they find their way blocked by a zelekhut who will not be swayed from his duties to the law of the land, however corrupt.

Having fled the hangman in Eire, Matthias Dylan crossed Atlantis and reinvented himself as a gunslinger in the United Colonial Territories.  Now a respected lawman himself, Dylan realizes he can't outrun his past when a zelekhut arrives intent on returning him to the king’s justice.  Though he is too proud to ask, Dylan needs adventurers to either prove his innocence, cover his caseload, or take the zelekhut out of the picture for good.

Pathfinder Bestiary 2 167

Yes, I snuck a Gunsmoke reference in there.  Because blog writing is a chancy job, and it makes a man watchful…and a little lonely.

Still more yrthak mail—uwtartarus wrote:

For once, an issue of Dragon that I have read and cherish! That issue [Dragon #325] alone drove me down the dark path of New Weird, "Bugs and Drugs" fantasy.  Plus the Ythrak Kaiju was pretty solid too!

Yep, I can confirm that that issue of Dragon was directly responsible for me buying Perdido Street Station.

And as I mentioned above, the Silvanshee entry is now up.  Go read!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Note: Before we get started, I have a request for you all, so be sure to stick around to the end.  Cheers.

According to the Bestiary 3, “A yuki-onna is the restless spirit of a woman who froze to death in the snow and was never given a proper burial.”  Of course, there’s freezing to death because of bad luck and there’s freezing to death because of neglect, ostracism, foul play, and the like…and you can guess which option is more likely to cause a yuki-onna to rise.  Thus, a yuki-onna-focused adventure might be only half about defeating the undead herself; thorough PCs will also want to uncover what caused her death in the first place.

In folklore some yuki-onnas carry a child, and anyone who accepts the child from her arms freezes to death.  The ability to cast icy prison (from Ultimate Magic) or a similar effect might be a good way to replicate this for Advanced specimens.

Then again, maybe the key to the yuki-onna’s condition is not her frozen death, but her hatred of men (however justly or unjustly come by).  If that's the case, one might find these undead far from the frozen poles…

Beaten down by attacks from grendelkin (the local name for saltwater merrows), the folk of Vanir’s Steading refuse to open their doors for a lost traveler late at night.  The woman dies and becomes a yuki-onna.  She lingers by the doorstep where perished so that the longhouse is battered by the winds and snow that swirl around her, and she picks off Vanir’s men one by one when they venture out for food and firewood.

Cammy was a lowly errand girl who discovered the slaughterhouse she worked for was gutting people as well as cattle.  Before she could reveal her epiphany, she was caught by the foreman and left in a magically maintained freezer room to die.  Now she lurks amid the frozen carcasses as a yuki-onna, trapped in her refrigerated home and blasting all who come near with ice storm.

Every night, an impossible blizzard erupts in the courtyard of Al-Kerim University.  This is the work of yuki-onna Fadaya Moshet.  In life, she was mocked, denied tenure, and even assaulted for no other reason than that she was a plain but intelligent woman working in a nearly all-male university.  Her resolve curdled to bitterness as illness took her, and upon her death her spirit was so filled with cold hate that she has returned as an undead like no scholar of this desert college has ever seen.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 287

When I wrote about glacier yrthaks yesterday, I had forgotten that Pathfinder Adventure Path #54: The Hungry Storm features boreal yrthaks.  Great minds think alike!  Speaking of which, I guess I’m not the only one who likes yrthaks; ohgodhesloose linked us to this really nice illustration.  And regarding Dragon’s “The Ecology of the Yrthak,” weschneider wrote:

Yay! I was in charge of the ecologies back in those days. That one was a blast! Since I thought yrthaks sucked so hard I figured we could go flat-out insane with them. I also drew the initial sketch of that dissection of the inside of a yrthak’s head…still have it around here somewhere.

Good times! :D

Um…I really, really, really hope it wasn’t Wes who edited the barghest article that I got feedback on but never sent in revisions for. 

I’m just going to crawl into a hole of shame now.

Leave me in peace, all of you.

Wait!  No!  No hole-crawling for me, shame-filled or otherwise!  Because I have a favor to ask you all.

Thanks to the rigors of this weekend’s travel and the subsequent fever that I’m still trying to cough out of myself—anyone want some phlegm?—this week has not been the triumphal homecoming lap I hoped it would be.  But tomorrow is still a big day for The Daily Bestiary, because we are going to leave the letter Y behind and tackle the zelekhut. 

I’m going to try to get the entry up as early in the day as possible, and when I do, it would be awesome if you could go out of your way to tell your friends, your gaming group, and any message boards you frequent that The Daily Bestiary has reached the letter Z.  I’ve been at this for nearly three years now, so to me it feels like a pretty big deal, and if you feel the same I could really use your help getting the word out. 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The yrthak was one of the standout new monsters from the 3.0 Monster Manual.  It’s also one of the rare cases where I prefer the original D&D art to the Pathfinder version.  Don't get me wrong—Mike Corriero’s pteranodon-like yrthak from the Bestiary 2 is really well done and makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.  But something about the original yrthak—scrawny, eyeless, with a too-large, gulper eel-like mouth—really spoke to me.  It called to mind all those shrieking dragons from old Hanna-Barbera cartoons like The Herculoids, and that imagery is too deep in my DNA to ignore.  (Which yrthak you prefer is, of course, up to you.)

I spend a lot of time in these posts talking about how X monster or Y race is more interesting than it first appears.  But yrthaks are a throwback in more ways than one—to the good old days when a monster just needed to be a monster, preferably with a single unique special ability.  Yrthaks don't form societies or gather followers or do anything more complicated than hunt.  They live in inaccessible canyons, badlands, and escarpments, swooping down to terrorize the plains with their sonic lances.  They exist to populate the random encounter table and surprise your players with their odd abilities.  They are simple and simply violent, and I think that’s simply fine.

On the Dark Isle of Telosan, yrthaks have almost completely replaced the native pteranodons.  Instead of diving to catch their meals, the yrthaks stun fish with explosive blasts and then skim them off the top of the water with their needle-like teeth.  Fringed with white fur, glacier yrthaks are resistant to cold but loathe fire magic; they are known to use sonic lance blasts just to put out campfires.  And Tiempran skyships all come armed with yrthak bells or gongs to drive the creatures away.

A yrthak captured a bard, and found itself captivated in turn by the half-elf’s melodious piping.  Now the two rove as bandits, tormenting the cliff folk of Highhall and Red Sands.  Capturing the pair will not be easy, as they travel frequently and rig their hideouts with deadfalls and avalanches that can be triggered by sound alone.  But killing them would be equally unwise, as the half-elf is the son of a very prickly elf chieftain who will go to war over any insult to his children, even his half-human bastard.

Sonic attacks are one of the few types of energy that affect nearly all fiends.  Certain celestials have taken advantage of this fact, training yrthaks as mounts for aerial assaults.  The reptiles are too wild for the taste of most angels and archons, but the lower orders of agathions and azatas (especially vulpinals and bralanis) take great pleasure in blasting demons and devils with their yrthak steeds’ sonic lances.

Peter Bergting’s “The Ecology of the Yrthak” appeared in Dragon #352 (and featured a kaiju yrthak to boot!).  But the real reason to get that issue is for the in-depth look at China Tom Miéville’s world of Bas-Lag (including monster stats!).  It’s also got a nice quick-and-dirty approach to warforged, a look at the Isle of Dread’s natives (both articles from Nicolas Logue, incidentally), and two Aztec deities.  Definitely a classic of the latter-day Dragon issues, and well worth your time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


The ypotryll sports “the tusked head of a boar, humped body of a camel, legs and hooves of an ox or goat and tail of a serpent,” according to Wikipedia (though the Bestiary 4’s looks a bit more reptilian from the neck down).  It’s also pretty much a blank slate, as it is an obscure creature from heraldry. So deploy it however you like.  When your players are yawning at T. rexes and nightmares, a CR 15 structure-destroying ypotryll might be just what’s called for.

Evangelus Mumford’s coat of arms is emblazoned with an azure ypotryll—and he can’t claim his inheritance until he kills one.  He plans to do no such thing and will handsomely reward anyone who can slay one for him.  On a side note, researching the history of the blue charge on the Mumford coat of arms unlocks a secret about a weakness in Fang Citadel’s southern gatehouse.

Desert folk know that hippopotamuses are dangerous.  So there is bemused excitement when the pharaoh fills the arena with water for a mock river battle in hippo-infested waters.  But when it turns out the river battle is to be fought by slaves, giants, captive adventurers, and ypotrylls, the betting and doomsaying begin early.

The ratfolk are on strike.  They’ve stopped trash collection and street sweeping, and refuse to go into the city dump under any circumstances.  The reason is an immature (use the Young template) ypotryll that has taken up residence there, jealously killing anyone who intrudes on its new home.  That explains the ratfolk’s fear but not their militancy—they blame forces on the Council for putting the demon-shoat there.  And where are the ypotryll’s parents…?

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 285

An obscure creature from heraldry, eh?  At least it’s not the roving mauler.

And yup…adventure seed #2 features an ypodrome.

You know what sucks?  Fevers you get from sharing the air with a planeful of people.  But at least I got this entry up!