Tuesday, July 14, 2015


GM: I want to spend a wish to get a new Arabian-inspired monster for my campaign.  Like a roc but worse.  But my budget’s tight—maybe just…a better roc?

Efreet Malik: How do you feel about vultures?  Like a roc but more vulture-y?

GM: I like where you’re going with this.  Can I get it with two heads?

Efreet Malik: Definitely.  That’s gonna drive your Perception checks through the roof.

GM: Really?  Sweet!

Efreet Malik: Plus your standard boost to Hit Dice, damage, etc. for going up a CR.  And a swallow whole attack comes standard with the upgrade.

GM: What about animal companion stats?

Efreet Malik: No good.  Multiple heads would be too much of an advantage in the hands of PCs.  And do you even know how much vultures puke?  Now imagine double that.  But I can stat up a juvenile option for you.

GM: Okay, write her up; I’ll take her!

Efreet Malik: There is the matter of price.  You said your budget was tight, and your debts are already quite substantial.

GM: Hey, I’m good for it!  And we said no souls!

Efreet Malik: Please, I’m not a devil.  But there is the matter of that Arabian Nights Magic: The Gathering booster pack you just won on eBay…  Since you had room in your “tight” budget for that, I’ve already taken the liberty of changing your shipping address to the City of Brass.

GM: Noooooooo!

Hey guys!  It’s the double-headed rukh!  (Where was this Arabian monster yesterday when I needed it?)

A garuda has fallen from grace, driven mad by the loss of his family to medusas.  He blames the local Vashites for doing too little to drive out the serpentkin from their cities, and he attacks their caravans and any soldiers or tax agents he finds.  His only companions are two rukhs, and in battle he augments them with spells so that they are terrifyingly quick and resistant to arrows.

Known to sailors as Jan and Shan, a rukh lairs near the cliffs off Agony Beach.  Its specialty is driving ships toward the charybdis that lurks there, then feasting on the unfortunates who risk the water when the aberration begins to tear into their vessels.  Jan and Shan have also recently mated, and any swallowed adventures may be vomited up to meet their juvenile fledglings.

Used to the disorganized and feral gnolls of the North, adventurers are unprepared for a devastating attack by Southern rageborn marauders and a flind pack (see the Monster Codex).  The good news: The adventurers aren’t killed.  The bad news: They are staked spread-eagle out in the desert to lure a rukh away from her nest so that the pack can claim her eggs.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 228

Efreet Malik: Hey, I got a rare card!

GM: You’re at least going to give my monster a badass new name, right?  Like “hypervulture” or “kaijubeak”?  Not like that ifrit guy you sent me.

Efreet Malik: Wow, this is awkward…


  1. Pathfinder's rukh is a pretty obvious reference to the two-headed, vulture like "roc" of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, animated by the inimitable Ray Harryhausen. As for the name, at least the rukh has good company in the gorgon, the ifrit, the oread, the naiad, the sylph, the...

  2. Yeah, my inbox is *overflowing* with people reminding me of that rukh. Totally slipped past me—I'm not sure if I've ever seen the whole film straight through, and I'm pretty sure I was in elementary school, so we're talking the '80s.