The Introduction to the Inner Sea Bestiary reads:
Erik Mona brings us the delightfully strange ghoran, a plant race from Nex, because, as Erik says, it was upsetting that there wasn’t a plant race in the game. Sometimes it’s good to be the publisher.
I don’t think I met Mr. Mona when I visited Paizo, or else I would have asked him two questions: 1) What the heck does a publisher do, anyway? (Seriously, I know what a publisher is when you’re referring to a company, but when it’s a single dude whose business card says “Publisher”? I don't know how that guy fills his timesheet, and I would like to.) And 2) what inspired his love of plant races, and how did that love birth the ghoran? I must know more!
Anyway, the ghoran is a race of plant creatures: part humanoid, part melon, part sunflower. They were created to feed a starving people in a wasteland, but then “evolved sentience and ambulatory bodies mimicking the appearance of their human farmers and consumers.”
In other words, you are what
you eat eats you! And, what the hell!?! (Seriously, one of the ghoran’s traits
is that it is Delicious (Ex)!) How
does that work in practice? And
how does it shape their attitude toward humanoids? Do ghorans view them as predators or, like, dependent children? Particularly charismatic ghorans can
cast goodberry as a spell-like
ability, which makes sense. But
thanks to the ability to expel a copy of itself as a seed and retain its
memories, even an ordinary ghoran can literally plant its future self and then
offer up its present body to be consumed…sooooo no hard feelings, I guess?
There is, hands down, no more fascinating monster in the ISB. (The syrinx may be my favorite, but even those badass evil barn owls don't make me question the very basics of man’s relationship to his food.)
And in your campaign? Well, ghorans might serve a similar role—as gardeners and emergency foodstuff for a mythic mage. They might be a natural race that has to stand up to oppression from other races that view them merely as food. They might be amoral murderers or anti-mammal vigilantes. (Imagine Children of the Corn where the children are the corn. And I bet chopped-up adventurers make good fertilizer). Or they actually might raise other humanoids as servants and slaves—when you can retain your personal and race memories while constantly improving your skills, and at the same time make others dependent on you for sustenance, how could you fail at becoming a master race?
Adventurers are hired to smuggle a family of ghorans from Tuzane to Eaglemarch. Keeping them safe from highwaymen and marauding monsters is one thing. But the last stretch of the journey takes them through Karolinus, where ghorans were first created and where the laws still allow any ghoran to be immediately placed into captivity…and where ghoran bounty hunters sometimes turn in their own kind to win their freedom.
Dehydrated and lost after a brutal dust storm, adventurers are saved from a pack of werecoyotes (treat as werewolves with the Young template) by a plot of ghorans. They have nearly recuperated when half-orc gauchos arrive for the annual ghoran roundup.
Adventurers passing through ghoran territory are invited to partake in a sacred feast…which includes the ritual consumption of the presiding priestess herself. Their hosts reassure them that to refuse would be an insult, and even show them the seed planting that follows such a meal. Yet the next time the adventurers pass this way, the priestess’s duplicate charges them with murder.
—Inner Sea Bestiary 14
I’m still holding off on tackling reader comments for a while as I get back into the swing of things, but Doktor Archeville is back to blogging and man did he research the gholdako.