Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, but the argus has ugly covered.  (And since beholders are WotC IP anyway, we’re going to stick with the argus for today’s post.)

First, some background.  You remember the myth of Argus Panoptes, right?  Zeus, randy philanderer?  Io, sexy nymph turned equally luscious cow?  Argus, one of the titans, had one hundred eyes, set by Hera to guard her?  Hermes lured him to sleep, killed him, and Hera put his eyes on the peacock’s tail to memorialize him?  Remember?  Of course you do!  So the argus is Pathfinder’s take on that guy, and a mythic one at that.

In Pathfinder, arguses are misshapen monsters related to titans, being somewhat less than them—they are aberrations rather than titans and outsiders, and lack the titans’ 20+ challenge ratings—but with a wellspring of mythic power and abilities all their own.  As one might expect from a creature covered in eyes, nearly all the argus’s abilities are sight-related, and some of them are truly superhuman: never surprised, ignore almost all cover and concealment, no distance penalties on Perception checks whatsoever, etc.  In other words, you will not get the drop on it, and it will strike you with appalling accuracy.

It’s unclear whether arguses are a true-breeding race or not; it’s implied that each argus is singular, transformed by a deity for some slight and then forced into service.  So it's likely that argushood is a punishment reserved for titans and similar near-divine creatures.  It might even be the fate for one of your campaign’s recurring NPCs—a fitting punishment for failing to kill the party before they reached such a high-level that the gods had to get involved…

Or…what if there is only one argus?  It’s such a rare creature already, but what if it were unique?  Might your PCs try to find more creative way to defeat it, such as with storytelling or song, if they know they are facing the only specimen of its race?  And if you kill a thing a god has made, the only one of its kind in the multiverse…surely that’s going to tick somebody off.

Oh, one final note: If you’re one of my 3.5 readers, you might want to consider converting the argus’s stats for use in the world’s oldest role-playing game.  Because when you hint that they're going to be facing a monster with lots of eyes, a titan that has an eye gouge special attack is not what they are going to be expecting…

A time dragon has only recently come into adulthood.  Still uncertain in his stewardship over the fourth dimension, he spends long hours studying the orrery in his gleaming skymetal lair.  An argus, a gift from the time dragon’s sire, guards the lair while his master is so indisposed, winding the mechanisms of thousands of elaborate timepieces with his hundreds of discerning eyes.

On an outcropping in the planes, a lone lighthouse stands overlooking the shores of a long-dead sea.  Manned by demodands, the lighthouse casts a beam of darkness over the land, describing a black circle in its sweep.  The lighthouse keeper is a lonely argus.  He actually despises his demodand servant-jailors and he will defend any visitors against them if the visitors agree to entertain him with tales.  But if they try to stop or snuff out the dark beacon, or claim any treasure from the dried-up seafloor, the argus immediately attacks.

According to legend, the argus has tangled with both the Mother of Monsters (said by some to be the mother of evil dragons and by others to be the mother of lamias) and a man-eating bull of mythic power.  When mythic minotaurs and a conclave of lamia harridans unite under the banner of Baphomet, the only answer might be to rouse the argus from his slumber…assuming the hundred-eyed beast is not a legend himself.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 13

This post brought to you by that SAFT FLÄDER elderflower syrup from Ikea, which is just so damn good on a hot summer night.  (No, I do not actually have an underwriter; I am just thirsty and I like umlauts.)

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