Thursday, May 28, 2015


The morrigna is a masked, spider-silk-clad psychopomp that acts as an investigator and sometime assassin for the Powers of Death. Whereas other psychopomps seem to have well-defined tasks, territories, or bailiwicks, morrignas get to take a more freelance approach to their duties, acting on their own recognizance as they scour the planes.

Having witnessed an apparently masked and blind morrigna see and fight through her spider servants’ gleaming eyes, an adventuring party of drow took her for an avatar of their demonic queen and swore to serve her.  These neutral evil drow now hunt down those whom they deem offensive to her spider sight, especially wizards, monks, and other folk who have artificially extended their lives.  Interestingly, the morrigna seems to tolerate the drow and even accompanies them on some of their hunts.  Do the drow now execute the morrigna’s will, or has she fallen under the spell of their bloodlust?

Even angels aren't above a little hustling for souls.  Psychopomps, however, consider a deathbed conversion to be the thumb on the scale of justice.  When a noted slaver pays a conjuror to have an angel called to his sickbed, the conjuror hires adventurers as insurance.  Should a morrigna appear, it is their job to hold off the psychopomp for the crucial few seconds needed for the confession and last rites to be recorded in the Register of Dooms.

Adventurers are charged with escorting the bones of a saint to their new resting place.  There is only one problem: it turns out the saint isn’t dead.  He’s that rarest of things, a good lich, and the vessel holding his remains is no coffin but rather a palanquin.  Obviously enemies of the faith would go to great lengths to end the saint’s existence if it were publicized, and even followers might consider his existence a blasphemy.  But the adventurers’ first hurdle is defending the saint from a morrigna determined to send his soul Beyond.

Pathfinder Adventure Path #48 88–89 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 219

The full entry on the morrigna comes from Pathfinder Adventure Path #48: Shadows of Gallowspire.  Morrignas seem to owe their name to the Morrígan of Celtic myth, dusted with suggestions of other Triple Goddesses (especially the ever-spinning Fates) and a healthy dose of straight-up fantasy elements including summoned spiders (shades of Egypt’s Neith maybe?), magical fetishes, and anime-style defensive mummy wrappings.  In other words, you don’t need to have read the Táin Bó Cuailnge to get the most out of these psychopomps—“spider-obsessed bounty hunter of Death packing inquisitor spells” will do fine for the CliffsNotes version.

Hey all, just a heads up: Tomorrow if all goes well I board a plane to Seattle and then hop on a cruise to Alaska.  I should have no problem getting the “Moxix” entry up, but after that next week is a big question mark—I don't know how regular (or expensive) Internet access will be aboard ship.  My goal is to keep posting—March’s unexpected computer troubles put me two weeks behind, and that was before I had two more Bestiaries looming on the horizon.  But we’ll see what happens and I hope you’ll bear with me and reblog from the archive like mad.

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