Thursday, August 24, 2017


(Illustration by Alexandru Sabo comes from the Paizo Blog and is © Paizo Publishing.)

In myth, the Muses were goddesses of the arts, inspiration, and knowledge.  So it makes sense that in Pathfinder muses would be outsiders who…

But wait.  They’re not outsiders. 

They're fey.

From a design perspective, this makes sense: We already have azatas (particularly lillends) to do our inspiring from on high.  And besides, the Bestiary 5 authors probably just needed some more heft in the fey section. 

But for us at TDB, unexpected things in stat blocks are always germs for stories…and stories soon lead to adventure ideas: 

Maybe the Muses really are goddesses, and scholars just borrowed their name for these inspirational fey.  But perhaps some of these lower-case muses take advantage of the label to prey upon unwary artists in a fashion similar to the leanan sidhe…

In most myths, the Muses were the daughters of Zeus and a Titaness.  Maybe all fey are the scions of titans, children of an old order grudgingly allowed to persist in the new world of the gods…

If muses aren't gods, how many of them are there?  How easy are they to make?  Does the birth of a new muse give birth to a new art…or vice versa?  And what about scientific muses?  Urania is the muse of astronomy...could there be a muse of siege warfare?  Engineering?  Firearms?  Planar travel?…

Finally, muses in Bestiary 5 are presented as chaotic good.  But what if they’re not so good…or they’re just good at failing into bad company?…

A dispute of honor has Clan Tigart and Clan Oberin at war.  Key to the whole mess is the satyr satirist Cloven Shane, whose scathing verses have added fuel to the conflict whenever it might otherwise have cooled.  If Cloven Shane could be captured, imprisoned, or otherwise removed from play, the two clans could soon be reconciled.  But Cloven Shane is a powerful bard and summoner in his own right, determined to see his wit rewarded with a glorious battle.  He is also protected by a muse who is thoroughly infatuated with his savage wit.

A new muse has been born—Sanguila, Muse of Blood Sport—and with her a new art form: bloodraging.  Her followers soon fill both the gladiatorial pits and the wild places of the world.  The other muses wish to curb their sister’s violent followers, but since they are forbidden from interfering with one another directly, they need mortal agents to fetch Sanguila to them.

The Lay of Lyrisiana was long thought lost forever.  And while casual scholars of music mourned the lost, more serious students knew that Lyrisiana’s disappearance was by design.  Not only did it make a violent case for elven racial supremacy, but also the structure of the piece owed inspiration to complex rhyming couplets found only in that dread play, The Amber King.  When a choral master starts hearing The Lay of Lyrisiana from bards who should not know the piece, she discovers the foul work has been resurrected and is spreading fast.  Soon it becomes apparent that a muse is responsible.  No matter what her motives, for the good of human- and elvenkind the fey must be silenced…one way or another.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 179

This post is late because I was watching the eclipse!  I also got a new state in the process (South Carolina—only six to go!) but the ride back was brutal and took half a day longer than it should have.

(South Carolina fans, don’t fret; I’ll be back soon.  My college friend Carrie (yeah, that one—go read her stuff!) and I just missed each other, so I’m going to pay another visit ASAP.)

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