Monday, April 3, 2017

Lotus Leshy

(Illustration by Daniel López comes from the Paizo Blog and is © Paizo Publishing.)

Why create a lotus leshy?  That, I think, is the most interesting question about these flower-faced homunculi. 

I use the term “homunculi” on purpose.”  Most leshys have clearly been created by fey or druidic masters to serve certain servitor roles: as assistants, gardeners, gamekeepers, guards, and the like.  In this, they resemble many constructs of similar power and ability created by wizards.

Lotus leshys, on the other hand, are clearly meant for higher purposes.  Certainly, they serve a role in guarding specific sacred pools and lakes. But they’re also strikingly intelligent (Int 16) and superhumanly wise (Wis 19).  In fact, in most cases they’ll probably outstrip their humanoid creators in raw mental talent, if not formal schooling.  So, why create a servitor who is bound to be smarter than you?

First off, many druids are loners or outright hermits.  A lotus leshy is excellent companionship and a source of conversation, albeit one the druid can still command—never a bad thing for a nature priest who has trouble with social graces.

Second, leshys are amazing companions for druids (and clerics and monks for that matter) of a philosophical bent.  When you’re probing the mysteries of existence, you need someone to explore and ask the hard questions with. Lotus leshys serve as a metaphysical bridge between the natural world and their humanoid masters.  They are also boon companions for meditative activities like sitting zazen or creating sand mandalas.

Third, leshys help masters who have sworn vows of nonviolence.  Most Pathfinder campaigns take place in worlds where steel and spells matter more than soft words.  That makes vows of nonviolence all the more laudable and profound…but having a lotus leshy around (with aura of tranquility, seed spray, and dream pollen at the ready) helps stop fights before they start.

Finally, legacy.  Not every druid is part of a circle.  Not every apprentice is ready to wear her master’s stole and shoulder his burdens when it’s time for him to pass on.  A lotus leshy can be the repository for a lifetime of natural and metaphysical study, quietly tending its sacred pools until the right student passes its way, ready to learn, question, challenge, and blossom into mastery.

The Pool at Nuar is only a minor holy site—just one of the Seven Dwarven Teachers lectured there—but the lotus leshy who minds it is devout, practicing the bhāvanā of the Still Pool and mentoring pilgrims.  The leshy mistrusts goblinoids, though, so as long as adventurers travel with their hobgoblin guide they get a cold reception (and possibly even an enforced nap or two).

To atone for a past sin, a cleric’s master gives her a water lily floating in a jug to deliver to a shrine 300 miles away.  The lily is actually a lotus leshy tasked to quietly spy on and occasionally test the young cleric to see that her contrition is sincere.

After invaders murdered the blossom kami Glorious Hatsue, chopping her down as surely as they chopped down her cherry tree.  All that was left of the toshigami was a handful of lotus leshys she enchanted to watch the many ornamental pools that filled her park.  The shock of Hatsue’s murder—not to mention the ruination of her beautiful park during the lean years of occupation afterward—turned most her servants reclusive and fearful.  But one of the lotus leshys believes she is the heir to Hatsue’s park—perhaps even the kami’s reincarnation—and she seeks revenge.  The philosophical questions she asks reveal a dark nihilist streak, and many of those she engages in conversation end up suspiciously drowned

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 157

Greetings from Oklahoma.  Specifically, Ft. Sill in Lawton.  Last time I was here I was 5.  TWA was still a thing.  Datsun was still a thing.  Auto-flush toilets and the Internet were definitely not.  We live in magical times.

(Actually, now I’m back in Maryland, but I wrote most of this in OK.  I was hoping to post every day I was away but I was busy with my family, so that didn’t quite happen.)

Looking for the locust plague swarm?  It’s back this way.

Edit: Once again, apologies to my Blogger readers, who only get a few hours to download this.

Am I losing my edge?  That’s for you to decide as you enjoy Tuesday night’s radio show.  Since it was my (belated) birthday radio show, I spun songs to work out a little aging anxiety and remind myself that a) life is awesome, b) my friends are great, and c) I was there!  Enjoy classic Beta Band, some Socalled, new Mother Mother, and more.  Stream/download it now through midnight (Monday, 04/03/17).

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