Tuesday, August 4, 2015


When a wizard or hedge witch wants to scare, they use a scarecrow.  (No need to get up; I’ll say it for you: “Um, duh.”) 

But when they want a true guardian, or wish to harness the power of the vermin in their land, they construct a skinstitch. 

The skinstitch superficially resembles a scarecrow, but it is a more hulking thing (size Large), more deadly (sword-wielding), more resilient (with resistances and DR), and more horrific in general (given that it is covered with sewn-together scraps of skin, not clothes, and may hide a vermin swarm in its body).

Bestiary 4 notes, a wee bit judgmentally, that, “Skinstitches are usually created by a spellcaster lacking the power, talent, or gold to craft a flesh golem.”  And to be fair, I used the pejorative “hedge witch” above.  But while that often may be the case, there’s also a case to be made that skinstitches are the rural flesh golem, the common man’s construct, a sign of the rage and power lying dormant in a farm, hedgerow, or moor.  Your mad wizard makes a flesh golem because he is mad and has the power.  Your local witch makes a skinstitch because she is has been driven mad and doesn’t...but the power she does have, she knows how to marshal, and how to pack in a few extra surprises to boot.

The piñata is an important icon in the folklore of the Tortle Range.  Driven by the demands of her dark patron, a witch that has been masquerading as the governor’s estranged wife provides a truly giant and elaborate piñata of the Rag Man for the Day of the Chimera.  When struck three times, the construct will animate and attack, pulling a sword out of its gullet and vomiting a swarm of venomous snakes.  The witch will meanwhile release the actual estranged wife to face the ensuing mob justice, while she absconds with the relics (the hand and tongue of a grippli saint) from the local temple.

Adventurers track a rogue tengu summoner and anarchist through the North.  He has the support of the locals, though, and caltrops, ferry mishaps, boggard ambushes, and poisoned food all take their toll on the adventurers and especially their mounts and retainers.  The goal is to get the adventurers on foot and weakened so that a skinstitch wielding a life-drinker can either end them or at least put the cursed weapon into their hands.

A cunning shredskin regularly rides a skinstitch.  The undead cannot control the construct, but as the skinstitch’s master is engaged in a campaign of revenge against a rival clan of hill folk, the shredskin has been provided with plenty of corpses to possess.  (When that body falls apart, the undead then returns to the skinstitch, which it now considers its “home.”)  Meanwhile, weeks of exposure to the undead have rendered the skinstitch both enhanced in power and resilience when not in the presence of positive energy.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 246

Today I learned the piñata come from Italy, or possibly China.  Who knew?

Shout-out to all you Mystara tortle fans out there.

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