Monday, February 29, 2016


(Illustration comes from artist Daniel López’s DeviantArt page and is © Paizo Publishing.)

As far as I can tell, the chuspiki is an original Pathfinder creation, a mouse with a fan-like tail that it uses to ride the breezes—many of which it creates itself, as it’s also a natural (or rather, supernatural) aerokineticist.

I’m not quite sure the physics of that (I love it in theory, but flying squirrel-like skin flaps seem way more practical, even for a magical beast)…but setting aside that qualm I am all about this little guy.  We’ve talked before about using an unusual low-level monster to add early flavor to a campaign, and the chuspiki is that in spades.  If your campaign were a manga, you know you’d see these guys on the very first page.  Like the sky bisons in Avatar: The Last Airbender or the fire-lizards of Pern or the Slimes of the Dragon Quest franchise, chuspikis instantly set your campaign apart—all the more so because they are magical creatures of air (whether you emphasis the psychic aspect of that magic or not).

And if you’ve already got a campaign underway…well, you need to introduce that hidden valley full of kineticists somehow, right?  Or you’re bored of medieval settings and want to turn the whole thing steampunk?  A crashed airship with chuspikis as the only survivors should do the trick.  Or maybe you just want to reward your party’s chaotic spellcaster with an equally chaotic Improved Familiar?  Aero-adventures (Occult and otherwise) are give in to the magical mouse with the weird tail.

In order to begin training as an aerokineticist, a young novice must first observe the habits of the chuspikis.  His fellow friends (themselves also novice adventurers of all stripes) may accompany him, but all must be careful not to offend the very social, highly intelligent magical pranksters.

Adventurers have adopted—or more accurately, they have been adopted by—a faerie dragon.  Which is all well and good, but this faerie dragon has pranked some folks with long memories, including a flock of chuspikis.  Time has only curdled the flying rodents’ attitudes toward the dragonet, and they are more than willing to sic gremlins and goblins on the party if their own air blasts and barbed tails can’t do the trick.

Adventures come across a strange metal…ship?  Horizontal tower?  Flying machine?  It’s hard to tell.  What’s certain is that it’s infested with strange glider-like chinchillas—that can talk!  Most speak a language unfamiliar to the adventurers, but the flock matriarch and her daughters have enough command of Common to explain that the wreck is a former “Sky Tiger,” a kind of airship.  With the chuspikis’ help, the adventurers can unearth the Sky Tiger’s lifeskiff…whose psychic magic-infused sails will take the adventurers toward a war they didn't even know was brewing, using technology and occult arts their continent has never seen before now.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 56

Saturday, February 27, 2016


And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

—Some bard, probably

There’s a lot of talk about the choirs of angels, but those are actually ranks more than actual choruses.  For the real heavenly singers, you turn to these guys: the choral angels.  In the Celestial Planes they contribute to the countless songs that ring throughout these sacred domains.  On the Material, they are more likely to be encountered individually as messengers.  In fact, despite their small size (they’re only the size of halflings) chorals have a number of sound-related powers to ensure they remain safe until their messages get delivered.  They're even more powerful in groups…but if you encounter a duet or an ensemble of chorals in the mortal realms, that probably means something has gone horribly wrong.

As with most neutral good outsiders, you have to be up to some pretty shady Scheiße to get on a choral’s bad side.  On the other hand, you know how singers are…there’s always one who thinks she should get more solos, belong to a better choir, or would be better off going solo.  And where there is pride and envy, there is temptation, even for angels…

Adventurers investigating a library haunting discover that the reports of floating scrolls and stolen musical scores are true.  The culprit is an invisible choral angel hunting for sounds she can’t find amid the tonalities of Heaven.  Her motives are innocent enough, but theft is theft…and the angel is so wracked with guilt and afraid of being confronted she may lash out with a piercing hymn prematurely.

Tired of centuries of choir practice, a choral angel coerces a messenger choral into letting her take over his route.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have the temperament or the exactitude required for the task.  When she delivers an annunciation to the wrong person, she sparks rumors of a new messiah.  Rather than admit her error, she remains in the mortal realms trying to force reality to fit the prophecy she delivered.

A misfiring rod of wonder takes adventurers plane-hopping—often quite against their will.  When they appear quite literally in the middle of vespers in the Platinum Vault of the Sixth Blessed Repose, the assembled chorals attempt to detain them so they cannot reveal what mysteries they have seen.

Chronicle of the Righteous 60 & Pathfinder Bestiary 5 22

The fact that angels speak Draconic is a fascinating hint that maybe dragons are as old and as integral to the multiverse as celestials are.  Also, I’m amused that angels speak Infernal but not Abyssal, as if they already know it’s just not worth trying to talk to demons, period.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Chicken, Flying Fox & Penguin

Once more we go back to the familiar well, this time drawing up a truly fearsome bucketful of critters from the Familiar Folio and Bestiary 5.  Chickens are good companions for witches, hedge wizards, and other stay-at-home-type spellcasters.  Spellcasters living under antimagical regimes also sometimes rely on chickens—no one questions the presence of a chicken coop.  Flying foxes are friendly frugivores that grant their Fortitude to their masters.  And penguins are comical on land but a boon to the seagoing mage.

All forms of arcane magic are forbidden in Astapolis, save for the tightly regulated (and closely watched) guild mages.  Naturally, rogue mages sometimes band together for protection in small secret societies.  The Greater Astapolitan Poultry Fanciers & Breeders Association is a cover for one such group of mages.  They wryly refer to themselves as the Lesser Astapolitans, and their exotic-looking prize hens and bantams are actually valued familiars.

A blight is racing through the Diskari Jungle, a strange fungus that fells mahogany trees, goats, chimeras, and men alike.  The Green Mage Obedian the Younger seeks aid in stopping the disease…but as he blames Outlander sailors for the blight, he and his flying fox Asijj may first encounter Outlander adventurers as enemies rather than friends.

Adventurers have wrecked against a rocky beach in the Antipodean Reach.  They are greeted by a marching colony of penguins…with fiery embers for eyes…which turn out to be zombie penguins, actually.  And that’s just the start of a very bad day.

Familiar Folio 24–27 & Bestiary 5 112–113

All I know is the flying foxes I saw in Australia were size Small, not Tiny.  Those things were huge.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Today’s monster, the cherufe, comes from Chile courtesy of the Mapuche people.  If you’re looking for the classic volcano monster that demands sacrifices, this is it.  Cherufes actually don't have any control over their volcano homes, but they can fake it pretty well by hurling fiery rocks and causing an earthquake once a month (which is no idle threat near an active volcano).  Plus, on their home turf they’re nearly impossible for ordinary mortals to kill…but adventurers are no ordinary mortals.

It's easy enough to make a cherufe an encounter during a high-level dungeon crawl, especially if you’re a GM who likes setting fights in dangerous landscapes full of lava rivers and boiling mud pots.  Where it gets really interesting is when you make the cherufe the star of the show.  As solitary creatures who live for thousands of years—and who tend to lord over and demand sacrifices from their neighbors—cherufes are bound to be full of personality and idiosyncrasies.  The characteristics and customs of whole mountain ranges and island chains might be determined by which cherufe you live closest to.  But the truth is cherufes are just really strong brutes—they’re not that smart and have only one magical trick—who rely on their size, fire healing, and the fact that their homes occasionally erupt to get by.  So the real adventure is in exposing these charlatans, as well as tearing down any corrupt support structures (like false priesthoods and mystery cults) that have grown up to placate them over the centuries.

And heck, not every campaign needs to go to Level 20.  The aim of overthrowing the local cherufe might be the entire reason an adventuring party gets together, and the creature’s eventual demise could be a very fitting end to a mini-campaign that only goes to 10 or 11 levels.

The cherufe N’Tok Mala and the magma dragon Xitlorix have ruled the island chain of Xitleesha for centuries.  Explorers can easily suss out the borders of their respective empires by carefully observing the local customs and practices of their mystery cults.  Xitleeshans under N’Tok Mala wear yellow sashes until they are married and bury carved fetishes of the cherufe’s image when in need of luck.  Xitleeshans under Xitlorix wear cowrie shells in their hair before marriage, and every village sports a totem arch made of logs for the dragon to alight upon.  N’Tok Mala’s hunger for virgins to torment has grown more rapacious of late, and the goddess Miana the Wave Healer has decided enough is enough.  She sends her servants to obliterate both fiery monsters once and for all, along with any kalkus (sorcerers) who aid and abet their depravities.

A series of seven standing stones known as March of the Cherufes looms over the southern caravan route through the Vashmahar Desert.  Legend hold that these vaguely humanoid stones are actually petrified cherufes, their features worn away by time.  For this reason, most caravan drivers tend to steer clear of the stones and never shelter in their shade.  They whisper that the cherufes are not dead, but merely sleeping.  And given the extreme daytime heat of the Vashmahar, perhaps the legends are true—perhaps some ember inside each stone still smolders, waiting to be reignited.

On many worlds, cherufes demand sacrificial victims mainly for sadistic sport.  On Eimar, though, these victims are the fulfillment of an ancient pact.  An annual levy of immolated innocents is what keeps the fires of Eimar’s cherufes banked for another year.  Otherwise these fiery lizards will be snuffed out and revert back to their original state as diseased, half-mad xulgaths.  For on Eimar, cherufes are a creation of the devil known as the Mephistar, and it was only his fiery hand that kept these former xulgaths from degenerating into troglodytes.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 55

For another monster from the Mapuche, check out the chon chon from Pathfinder Adventure Path #53: Tide of Honor.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chalicotherium & Kaprosuchus

Seemingly part sloth and part…horse? okapi? who knows…chalicotheriums are herbivorous megafauna common in Lost Word forests.  Like most herbivores, they’re content to leave you alone, but are surprisingly dangerous if you get between one and its young.  Meanwhile the kaprosuchus is a crocodilian-like creature.  Don’t look for them in the water though; they lunge through the woods instead, which may explain their ramming attack.

While making a courier run, adventures’ gliders crash-land in the Shivering Forest.  They soon find out how the woods got that name: from the way the undergrowth quivers as hungry kaprosuchuses lunge for their prey.

In their last adventure, a party of sellswords shut off an artifact that had been powering a mini ice age.  As the glacial sheets retreat, a new land bridge is revealed connecting Falconyr to distant Ikari.  Among the first creatures to take advantage of the bridge are the great chalicotheriums, knuckling their way toward the new grazing lands they scent on the winds.

Adventurers receive reports of drake attacks in the nearby woods.  It turns out the attacks are really being caused by primitive crocodile-like creatures—kaprosuchuses, the local sage says.  Weirdly though, these great lizards disappear upon being slain.  A sorcerer has discovered a way to use ancient cave paintings to summon prehistoric animals.

Pathfinder Adventure Path #91 86–87 & Pathfinder Bestiary 5 170

Note that Pathfinder Adventure Path #91: Battle of Bloodmarch Hill has animal companion statistics for chalicotheriums.

Speaking of primitive crocodilians, a little while ago askserithal wrote:

I'm trying to make statistics for this prehistoric croc and I can't really think of any good bases for it because it has so many things it's like.  Any suggestions?

I would try the dwarf caiman from Pathfinder Adventure Path #55: The Wormwood Mutiny.  Maybe advance it to 1 or 2 HD and give it some kind of speed surge (like drakes have) or similar special ability to reflect its quickness.

Did you guys hear about my research project?  I’m investigating what makes tortoiseshell cats so adorable.  That’s right, I’m trying to prove…the Calico Theorem.

In other news I’m traveling at the moment but will try to update as best I can.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


(Illustration by Wayne England comes from the Paizo Blog and is © Paizo Publishing.)

Sea dragons are blustery but basically good-hearted commodores, forever wandering across the vast domains they protect.  Krakens are slave takers and empire builders, grasping for more power above and especially below the waves.  Sea serpents are practically natural disasters, violent irruptions (it's a word) that shatter a captain’s calm, control, and keel.

But when you want the classic sea-monster-that-holds-a-city-hostage, that’s when you turn to the cetus. 

This is the monster that Perseus fought, and I admire Bestiary 5 for being willing to go to the mat to make this monster live up to its mythological rep (even if there are no mythic ranks in its stat block).  It’s Colossal in size.  It regenerates damage.  It can control water, winds, and weather, allowing it to box opponents into their own harbors and foil aerial attacks.  Speaking of aerial attacks, it can leap 1,200(!) feet in the air to lunge at flying opponents…and even if the cetus’s victims are not unlucky enough to get fast-swallowed whole, the cetus’s dispelling bite is bound to ruin many of their enchantments (including possibly the ones keeping them aloft).  Heck, the cetus is even just plain bad luck—literally just being in its vicinity can be enough to screw up your dice rolls for the next minute (an eternity in combat).

In other words, this is a beast truly out of legend.  Normally I don’t like monsters that seem specifically designed to foil PC (and player) actions and drain their spell reserves (I’m looking at you, golems).  But for the hostage-taking, sacrifice-devouring, city-extorting cetus, it feels right.  The designers even throw the players a bone straight from the Perseus myth—the cetus is vulnerable to petrification.  So the next time your adventurers are at the flea market, keep an eye out for pickled medusa head…you know, just in case.

Petrified does not mean dead.  Adventurers race to stop a locathah terrorist from resurrecting a legendary cetus, currently lying like a stony statue at the bottom of the Devilfish Deeps.

What’s more terrifying than a cetus?  Any being powerful enough to use a cetus as a mount.  A greater dullahan antipaladin rides a cetus into the mouth of Hellbone Harbor, bringing dark tidings from below.  The cetus also bears a howdah containing all the souls of the dullahan's many, many victims.

The Afterlife is a river—one that flows every onward toward Oblivion.  Even what mortals conceive of as the Four Blessed Heavens or the Thirteen Precincts of Hell are merely ports of call along the river’s course.  But one rule of the Afterlife is ironclad: No vessel may travel upstream.  Individuals may sometimes escape the River of Death through powerful magic, fell bargains, or even dogged, determined fording upriver (usually resulting in undeath by the time the pass back into the mortal world).  But any attempt to build and sail a ship upstream is met with a fiendish cetus determined to crush the blasphemous vessel and all aboard.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 54

Speaking as someone whose eldritch knight nearly single-handedly took out an ulgurstasa courtesy of fireballing while flying, I can tell you the cetus’s Impossible Leap (Su) ability is terrifying.

One fact I didn't tackle above is that the cetus is technically a dragon.  I’m a huge fan of one-off dragons, and I like the idea of one of these crashing an otherwise stately gathering of metallic, chromatics, and imperials…

Have I mentioned yet how much I enjoyed the Pathfinder setting sourcebook Distant Shores?  In that book the mythic hero-gods of Aelyosos have a thalassic behemoth problem, but in your campaign maybe a cetus would do the trick instead.

Also, I’m repeating myself from my last entry, but the cetus is an excellent monster for a Scarred Lands campaign.

It’s last night’s radio show!  From folk songs about First Communion to Beyoncé in just two elegant hours.  With new music from Dr. Dog, Deep Sea Diver, the Frights, and more.  Stream or download it here. 

Monday, February 8, 2016


From a modern vantage point, gods of the hunt are weird.  Kill any other deity’s favorite creature or totem symbol, you’re likely to be permanently polymorphed into a frog—if you’re lucky.  But kill the sacred hind of a hunting god, and he’ll likely give you an attaboy and a new magical bow as a reward.

The cerynitis is just such a hind.  (Don’t be fooled by the antlers; it’s a doe.)  You can mount the head of a cerynitis on your wall and Herne will not shed a tear.  …That is, if you can catch it, because cerynitises are crazy fast, uncannily dexterous, and graceful to boot.  Failing that, they’ve got a decent gore attack and can see invisibility too.  Oh, and they speak Sylvan and speak with animals as well, so if you do kill one you’ll alienate all your brownie friends and animal companions.  But still, it’s fair game for hunting.

That is, if the cerynitis you picked was sacred to a good of hunting or a red-in-tooth-and-claw nature deity.  Pick one beloved by a pastoral earthmother and you’re totally frogged.  Ditto if it was sacred to a chaste huntress.  Y’know what?—ignore this whole intro.  If you see a cerynitis, just go for catch and release.  It’s worked for better adventurers than you.

Part of an adventurer’s mythic trial is the retrieval of a cerynitis’s “greatest treasure.”  One would think that would be her golden hide…but really, it is her memory of the shattering of the crystal city of Orien, as she is the only eyewitness to the event still living.  If she is killed, the adventurer’s pursuit of mythic power will become much more difficult as word of the deed spreads through the Sylvan-speaking community.

The coat of arms of House d’Ontaign is supported by a golden stag and a golden lion.  Adventurers are hired to capture similar animals for the duke’s private menagerie: an aurumvorax and a cerynitis.

A demigoddess lies at death’s door.  Her malady is more spiritual than physical: A cerynitis invested with her power has been tainted by an otherworldly corruption.  To save her life, adventurers must find and slay the beast.  But it flees before them into wyvern country.  There they must face not only the tainted hind and similarly polluted fey, but also backcountry wyverns, forest dragons, pukwudgie necromancers, and rifle-wielding werewolves who worship a blood goddess even the orthodox thorn elves have forsworn.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 53

With 5e D&D opening up to third-party creators, it looks like Scarred Lands may be back in business for both D&D and Pathfinder.  By the time you read this the Kickstarter will likely be over—sorry, guys, this one snuck up on me—but as a huge fan of the original setting I’ll be interested to see where things go from here.  Anyway, I bring this up because the cerynitis is perfect for the god- and Titan-touched Scarn.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Most agathions are animal-headed humanoids, but the cervinal switches it up, going the centaur route.  And since I’m a big deer-centaur fan—for instance, I believe that in a perfect world the Forgotten Realms’ hybsils wouldn’t have gotten buried in the overpriced Monsters of Faerûn—I’m all about these guys.

That said, they’re not easy monsters to write combat encounters for.  Unless your group’s characters are absolute mercenaries or outright evil, they’re not going to have much reason to fight these neutral good, noble agathion knights.  (You can’t even get mad at them for being snooty or goldbricking since they like to take the lead in fights.)  Cervinals are the heavenly (Nirvana-ly?) version of your cool older neighbor who always used to let you tag along despite your age, or the three-sport valedictorian at your high school who was also hella nice.  There’s just too much to like.

In other words, if you get on the wrong side of this guy, he’s probably not the problem.  Then again, adventurers are very good at getting on the wrong side of people, even noble-hearted celestials.

Archons are holding a devil prisoner—a monster the azatas desperately want to see tried.  When the archons refuse a change of venue, some of the more rebellious azatas decide to take things into their own hands…and they know just the adventurers who can help them out.  But when a vulpinal spy catches wind of the plan, she makes sure a collective of cervinals are waiting to stop the plot before any archons are roused to anger.

Cervinals are often entrusted with securing dangerous artifacts…artifacts that adventurers want.  It’s a race against time across three Outer Planes—the wilds of Thornhold, the gray geysers of Daemonhaunt, and the mathematically-perfect seashell expanse of Nautilheim—to beat galloping cervinal knights to the Organ of Magard’s Deep.

A cervinal burst into Crown Prince Ronan’s wedding ceremony, cut down several guards (though not fatally), and dosed the bride with a sleeping agent.  Then he escaped with the somnolent girl slung over his back.  The kingdom is in an uproar, the king’s inquisitors have put the bishops under house arrest, and everyone is talking sides now that the very heavens seem to have turned against the union.  Who was the cervinal who took the bride?  To where?  And why?  The answers to those questions could make an adventuring party very, very rich—and landed and titled—indeed.

Chronicle of the Righteous 58 & Pathfinder Bestiary 5 12

For more deer-like monsters I love, check out the polymorph gas-breathing actaeons from Rules Cyclopedia-era “basic” D&D.  (Here’s a Dragon“Ecology Of” article they were in.)  Planescape’s goat-like bariaurs are another favorite.

It’s Tuesday’s radio show!  Got a couple new tunes for you, including Chumped, who I am tragically late to the party for (and who play their final show this week).  Tune in!

(Bear with the initial muddy audio…it’s fine after the first 50 seconds.  Link good till Monday, 2/8, a midnight.  For best results, Save As an mp3 and listen via iTunes.)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cerebric Cyst

Cousins of brain oozes, cerebric cysts feed on the mental energy of psychically gifted people.  Now, lots of psychic creatures do that, and lots of them look like brains*, so you’d think I would hate the cerebric cyst.  And I would, except for this line from the Occult Bestiary:

[C]erebric cysts occasionally establish facades such as fake schools for gifted children in order to lure such pliable chattel to them and thus avoid the need for arduous hunts for psychic sensitives.

The notion of Tiny floating purple brains (shades of Futurama?) covered in eldritch symbols being able to set up entire fake schools(!) despite being Tiny floating purple brains (and being only one rung up the evolutionary ladder from brain oozes, to boot) is really appealing to me for some odd reason.  Go on with your bad, barely-there selves, cysts!

Where cerebric cysts really shine is reaction time.  Not only are they never surprised or flat-footed, but if they get in a tentacle strike they can lash out at that target with a spell-like ability as a swift action.  And given that list of spell-like abilities—including mind thrust II and dominate monster—it’s no wonder these floating oozes are so effective in their plots and subterfuges.

Adventurers investigating arson at a school for gifted children come across far stranger crimes.  The school was actually a front for a flight of cerebric cysts.  But when the king’s chamberlain inquired about the crown prince attending the academy, the cerebric cysts decided the risk of exposure wasn’t worth the proximity to the throne.  The cysts attempted to have their dominated thralls torch the school so they could relocate without offending the royal family.  Unfortunately, these troublesome adventurers now represent a loose end…

Astral caravels run on brainpower—often, the harnessed power of batteries of brain oozes.  But too much time in the psychic winds of the Astral can prompt these oozes to mature into cerebric cysts.  Then it is only a matter of time before the cysts stage a mutiny and take the helm of the caravel for themselves, with their former masters now serving as both crew and provisions.

Malfus isn’t a familiar per se. But the foul-mouthed—or rather, foul-cerebrumed—perches like a loathsome parrot on the shoulder of his blood kineticist “master,” Ephril.   Really the relationship is more like that of an abusive, cigar-chomping older uncle…but it works, as Malfus’s guidance has helped Ephril unlock darker and darker talents, while Ephril’s growing status and wealth help Malfus find new minds upon which he can snack.  (In fact, in social situations Malfus has a disturbing habit of telepathically broadcasting just how delicious he thinks future victims’ minds will be—but only to Ephril and the victim in question.

Occult Bestiary 13

*Every Psionic Book Ever: “Behold, we have unlocked the infinite and inscrutable mysteries of the mind!”
Me: “Do all the monsters on your pages have big heads or look like brains?  And do they eat thoughts, usually with tentacles?”
Every Psionic Book Ever: “Um…yes.  And yes.  Also yes.”
Me: “So kind of finite then.  Also scrutable.”

That said, Occult Bestiary suffers this a lot less than most psionic monster books.  Again, the Pathfinder team’s skill at synthesis comes to the fore.  By making the Occult Adventures/Bestiary/Realms rules about other mental and mystic phenomena besides psionics—from phantoms to chakras to ley lines to the migration of souls—the authors broadened the scope of the books and avoided a lot of the traps other games/editions fall into when tackling psionics.  I heartily approve.

Ceratosaurus & Plesiosaurus

Ceratosaurus was always the dinosaur with a little extra—literally—with an unusual (for a theropod) horn and eye-ridges that gave it a star quality that the larger allosaurus lacked.  Small wonder then, that it’s been a staple of Saturday morning cartoons for decades.  And now it’s ready to be imported into your game, again with another little something extra (blood rage) to make it stand out.

Technically plesiosaurus isn’t a dinosaur, but why be picky?  Smaller than elasmosaurus, plesiosaurus adds a Lost World feel to aquatic encounters, from marshes to the open seas to deep underground in subterranean lakes and streams.  Pathfinder’s version, while only CR 2, is a superior ambusher that makes quick attacks and then retreats (ideally with a gobbet of adventurer flesh in its mouth).

Ceratosauruses are typically pack animals, so when Serissa found an abandoned youngling, the druid took it upon herself to raise him.  Now that the dinosaur is an adolescent, without a family group he becomes a target for bigger males who see him as a future rival.  Serissa needs adventurers who can help guard her pet until he can fend for himself or escort him to safer territory.

A deep mountain lake moves back and forth in time.  Locals know to avoid the crystal-blue loch, but a young boy new to the area goes wandering and vanishes.  Adventurers who go to rescue him risk being attacked by opportunistic plesiosauruses until they find the boy…who, due to the vagaries of time travel, is now 16 and living in the care of band of prehistoric grigs.

Seeking to get close to a rival, adventurers pose as gladiators in the Yellow Sands Arena.  The handler promises them a showstopping but secretly safe fight to help them build some notoriety.  This arrangement is a setup, though.  When the handler brings out the ceratosauruses the adventurers are to fight, he lashes the beasts with his scorpion whip to send them into a blood rage during the match.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 83