Monday, May 5, 2014


Scarlet alien horses—give or take a good deal of nodosaurus somewhere in the bloodline—xanthoi travel the planes and the planets.  Along the way they catalog their obsessions and occasionally form relationships with other travelers (namely powerful adventures).  This makes them excellent companions for naturalists, scholars, and others in pursuit of knowledge beyond the terrestrial world. 

Most adventurers, though, can’t help but stir up trouble…and that’s a good way to lose one’s xanthos mount (possibly somewhere very, very far from home).  This is because, by ancient custom, xanthoi avoid using their powers to affect major events. 

Perhaps they have a good reason for not wanting to break this taboo.  Their namesake Xanthus was one of two immortal horses struck dumb by the Erinyes after prophesying Achilles’s death.  Should PCs get a xanthos to break its race’s ancient code, a visit from a trio of powerful erinyes isn’t a bad way to punish the space-horse and its rider…

All told though, these magical beasts are a GM’s dream—an easy yet plausible way to get PCs to whatever far-off plane or planet they want to see (but not get back too easily), or a way stranded or desperate PCs can earn a way home without you having to engineer a miracle (so long as they haven’t been out starting any wars.)

The interplanetary trip was botched from the start.  Half the crew were dark folk who mutinied, someone stashed hibernating fleshwarps in the hold, and then shantaks attacked midflight.  So the trip through the asteroid field was merely icing on the cake…making the crash landing in the middle of a formian colony the candles.  Their ship confiscated and disassembled , the adventurers’ best shot for a ride home is finding a friendly xanthos.

The “water horses” of the River Lethe are not horses or hippopotamuses, but rather xanthoi who have lost their way.  Having surrendered their memories but not their intellects to the River of Forgetfulness, the frustrated and aimless xanthoi lash out at passersby, hoping to overturn their crafts and feast on their flesh.  Luring the xanthoi out of the river is the first step toward retrieving their memories; the second involves either powerful magic (like a wish or miracle) or the sight of one of the artifacts belonging to the xanthoi’s alien breeders.

A xanthos saves adventurers from a nightmarish fight on the Plateau of Leng—but at great personal cost.  Upon arriving home, the battered adventurers and their exhausted mount must fight the erinyes enforcers who come to cut out the xanthos’s tongue.  Whatever the outcome of the skirmish, the erinyes’ presence raises new questions.  Specifically, what about the adventurers’ visit to Leng was so historically significant that rescuing them constituted a violation of the xanthos code?

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 282

Saturday’s show was a really good one.  Listen for Georgie James, the Belle Brigade, Alvays, Braids, 20 years of Live’s Throwing Copper, and more.  (And thanks to mistomaxo for showing some love!)  Download it!

(If the feed skips, try Saving As an mp3.  Link good till Friday, 5/9, at midnight.)

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