Tuesday, October 6, 2015


History is written by the victors—or at least by whomever has the most ink and quills to hand after the fighting stops.  Which is why so many groups of people are named in fashions that originally marked them as alien, other, or less: barbarians (from barbaros, meaning the opposite of citizen, as well as babbling), for instance, or the Welsh (from wealas, strangers).  And so in first D&D and now Pathfinder we have troglodytes, who clearly did not name themselves. 

We always talk about troglodytes as a degenerate race, which clearly means there had to be an original (generate? pregenerate?) race out there: the xulgaths.  Not only are they more physically powerful than troglodytes, but their mental powers are also on point—able to telepathically communicate, share information quickly, and manipulate minds and senses.  Even their version of the legendary troglodyte smell isn’t smell at all—it’s a psychogenic aura that recalls the worst thing the victim has ever smelled (which is just freaky)!

Between the Occult Bestiary and the Monster Codex, there’s plenty of information out there about xulgaths, troglodytes, and their decline to inspire adventures in the xulgaths’ canal-lined temple cities, both in the Golarion setting and beyond.  With that in mind, here are a few other ways to approach these psychogenic threats…

The Silent Jungle is so named because those who enter it are never heard from again.  The cause is an isolated branch of the xulgath race who have retained their ancient psychic powers. Traveling in hunting packs—usually accompanied by well-trained and even awakened deinonychus dinosaurs—they carve up all interlopers they encounter without exception.

The troglodyte race didn't fall into degeneration—it was poisoned.  The same chthonic energies that power the drow and duergar nations sapped the strength and intelligence of the hapless lizard races.  Those xulgaths who survived were of a priestly caste that worshiped a god of drowning.  Traveling endlessly on barges they poled through the dark waterways of the Lands Below, they stayed healthy as their kin sickened from soil-born radiation.  Even now they build vast temple cities that are permanently afloat, and they sacrifice captives to their dark lord in a vigorous display of thanks.

The Aromaeum is a wonder of the world: a library that catalogs the smells, sensations, and mental imagery of ages past.  Here you can bathe in the brine that sank Morella, taste the timbers of the Wooden Titan that the Chell foolishly let pass their gates, and waft the incense that Yaenah smelled as he tattooed his one and only poem on the flayed skin of his bride.  The strange many-towered and many-tiered ziggurat library hosts mesmerists, occultists, and psychics of all kinds, but it was made by and for the xulgath race.  Awash in the scents and memories of their storied past, these xulgath librarians alone remained undiminished while the troglodyte race foundered.  They rule the Aromaeum with iron (and clawed) fists, and every decision they make is calculated to preserve their control and restore their race.  After all, the smell of a mammal’s blood as it dies is the sweetest smell of all, very worth cataloging for the museum...especially if they are calling your name when you start to devour them…

Occult Bestiary 61

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