Basidirond

Basidirond

This strange plant consists of four spidery stalks, long green tendrils, and an inverted bell-shaped cap filled with spores. The strange fungal basidirond is a deadly plant monster that feeds on mineral-rich moisture, be it runoff from cave walls or fresh blood. By ensuring a constant flow of nutritious moisture, canny cave dwellers can use basidironds as guardians for their lairs, although they must take care to avoid the plant’s hunting routes lest they become its latest victims.

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Apostate Devil

Apostate Devil

 

Also known as deimaviggas, armored in the ceremonial garb of some grim knight, this figure stands unnaturally still, though the intricate metalwork patterns of its sculpted mantle writhe and shift as if alive. Claws the length of longswords extend from its armored fingers in razor-sharp fans, and no head or helm rests upon its ironclad shoulders. Instead, there hovers only a plain mask, an unnatural facade devoid of all empathy, emotion, or mercy. The words of deimaviggas are poison to the mind. Regal, fearsome, and unfeeling, deimaviggas seek to turn the faithful from their gods, using cold logic to proselytize the path of atheism, the freedom of the mortal spirit, and the order offered by Hell. Their slowly ever-shifting masks speak envenomed words and imply the hollow nature of their lies. Speaking out against all deities except for Asmodeus, whom they subtly tout as a bringer of discipline even as they downplay his divinity—these deadly intellectuals know that those who turn from their deities are more likely to succumb to the temptations of their diabolical brethren. Rather than attempting to sway the souls of individual mortals, these cunning fiends take on the roles of prophets of reason, disguising themselves beneath layers of illusion to evangelize the virtues and freedoms of lives unshackled from demanding deities. Occasionally one might focus its arguments on a soul of particular piety, delighting in throwing deities’ most devoted servants into endless crises of faith. Deimaviggas care little for what gods their depredations affect, disenfranchising the worshipers of the divine and the profane alike. In their natural shapes, deimaviggas stand 7 feet tall and weigh a mere 120 pounds. When disguised, though, they typically take the forms of wise old men, priests who have “realized their folly,” and even “angels” of truth. Deimaviggas prefer to spend their time upon the Material plane, swaying the weak and corruptible souls of mortals. There they seek out either vast mortal cities, where their heresy might reach many ears, or small communities where the isolated might fall to their blasphemous philosophizing. When in Hell, though, they linger in Caina, tormenting the souls of those trapped upon its lonely islands, developing and testing complicated and often confusing arguments. Preferring to operate alone, these poison-tongued devils rarely work with others of their kind, even though their status as greater devils affords them great control over their lesser brethren. They find their arguments benefit from simplicity, their endeavors complicated by even the most obedient minions. Pit fiends and infernal dukes sometimes utilize deimaviggas as spies and spreaders of dissension and confusion, though even among devilkind these enigmatic fiends are considered strange and unnerving.

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Witchfire

Witchfire

Bathed in sickly green flames, this insubstantial specter of a beautiful young woman floats just off the ground.

When an exceptionally vile hag or witch dies with some malicious plot left incomplete, or proves too horridly tenacious to succumb to the call of death, the foul energies of these wicked old crones sometimes spawn incorporeal undead known as witchfires. These ghostly creatures appear much as they did in life, although the grotesque undead energy that births them makes them appear young and attractive and wreathes their insubstantial bodies in a powerful aura of sickly green flame, a ghostly fire referred to as “witchflame” in local legends.

Strings of will-o’-wisps are often found in the immediate vicinity of witchfires and are typically led by the undead, leading scholars to speculate that the creatures feed off of a witchfire’s flames and fury.

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Viper Vine

Viper Vine

A voracious, flesh-eating carnivore, the viper vine has a single enormous bloom arising from a thick, leafy tangle of snake-like vines. When the plant senses the approach of suitable prey through its sensitive, shallowly buried root system, it rises up like an agitated snake and unfurls its brightly colored bloom, an act that releases a cloud of mind-numbing pollen. While stories speaking of the plant’s ability to lure prey into its clutches by virtue of its swaying motion persist, this effect is in fact created by this invisible, odorless pollen cloud.Since viper vines gain nourishment through the consumption of creatures rather than through moisture and soil, they have developed rudimentary locomotion and are able to drag themselves along the ground with their tentacle-like root system. They even possess a form of rudimentary sentience, allowing them to not only discern differences in prey and make limited tactical decisions, but also to avoid creatures that are particularly large or dangerous looking. The area around the hunting grounds of these predators is often strewn with the remains of victims, and it is not unusual to find the rotting corpses of wild animals, ill-fated adventurers, and even giants in their immediate vicinity, along with a scattering of incidental treasure left behind by the plant’s victims.

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Wood Golem

Wood Golem

This human-sized automaton resembles a crude humanoid figure made of cast-off pieces of wood. A wood golem is carved from rare woods, assembled into a roughly humanoid body with articulated limbs. Their creators usually leave their bodies almost unfinished, with individual pieces of lumber and unworked wood apparent and obvious as part of their construction. A wood golem stands 6-1/2 feet tall and weighs 400 pounds.

 

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Water Drake

Water Drake

Drakes were draconic creatures that were distantly related to wyverns. They were smaller and not as powerful as dragons but were much easier to train, so they were commonly used as mounts. Not quite sea serpent or dragon, this vicious beast is covered with shiny blue-green scales. Its arms serve as both wings and flippers. A water drake can, as a standard action, breathe a ball of electricity that strikes one target first, then arcs to other targets like chain lightning. The most solitary of all drakes, water drakes prefer to hunt alone. Occasionally, however, they band together in packs to hunt larger prey. Such rampages can be a significant danger to coastal shipping.

Water drakes are commonly found on the Elemental Plane of Water.

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Decapus

Decapus

This swollen cephalopod has ten writhing tentacles and a hideously monstrous face with pale, milky eyes on its bulbous body.

Named for its resemblance to a 10-armed octopus, the strange decapus is one of many bizarre creatures that hail from the deepest caverns of the world. When they are encountered aboveground, their affinity for forests (they particularly enjoy clambering around in tangled canopies) suggests that their original source might be some strange, deep underground cavern wherein magical jungles grow.

The decapus is a fairly intelligent creature—an ambush predator that makes excellent use of its ability to weave magical visual illusions and to imitate the voices of other creatures it has heard speaking. Typical decapuses know only the Aklo tongue, but when they use their sound mimicry ability to imitate creatures speaking in other languages, they can typically form short (up to three words long) sentences even when imitating a language they don’t actually know.

The decapus’s physical structure most resembles that of a bloated octopus with 10 tentacles. It lacks bones and takes its shape from its rubbery, muscular flesh. Most have sickly, olive skin patched with scraggly tangles of hair, with darker blue or purple coloration around their faces and crimson or orange tips to their tentacles. These tentacles are covered with tiny suction cups and hooks, affording them great skill at climbing or clutching prey. On the ground, though, they are slow, plodding creatures that flop and wriggle relatively inefficiently. As a result, they prefer regions like forest canopies, narrow fissures, stalactite forests, or other regions where they can use their climb speed.

The decapus favors humanoid flesh over all other food; most are quite fond of gnome flesh in particular. This creature has an enormous appetite that often drives it to consume whatever food is available—the decapus is not above cannibalism when other food sources are scarce. For this reason, these monsters are largely solitary creatures, except when the urge to mate overwhelms their urge to feed. Females give birth to small litters of 2–4 live offspring. The females often need to defend them from the males, which, if left unsupervised, typically eat the newborn decapuses. The young mature rapidly, growing to full size after a mere 7 to 11 months, after which they depart to claim their own territories. Once a decapus reaches maturity, it can live to 100 years old—although their violent natures usually result in much shorter lifespans.

 

 

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Ghul

Ghul

Draped in fine dark robes, this undead creature’s body seems to be made of equal parts bone, leathery flesh, and blood-red smoke. Ghuls are undead jann whose eternal existence was twisted by fate. As if the curse of undeath and ravenous hunger were not enough, these once-majestic creatures now bear donkey hooves as feet. Despite their horrific undead appearance, this feature shames them the most, and they hide their feet from view. Ghuls, like ghouls and ghasts, haunt cemeteries and other places of the dead hoping to feed on corpses. They also hunt mourners and grave tenders, as they enjoy the taste of living prey as well as that of the dead. Selective in their diets, ghuls choose their victims by personality, believing innocence and youth taste more delicious than the barely palatable flesh of the bitter and old. Sometimes a ghul follows a funeral procession in hyena form, keeping a safe distance until the ceremony, whereupon it changes into its true form to attack and feast. Sorrow and despair taste as delicious as innocence to a ghul.

While not directly affected by sunlight, ghuls despise its presence and only move about during the day if forced to by necessity. They primarily hunt at night, sometimes straying far from their graveyard lairs and burial caves in search of fresh prey to sate their hunger. The longer a ghul goes without feeding, the more ferocious and primal the creature becomes. A well-sated ghul organizes with others of its kind and lesser undead, tormenting nearby towns and settlements. A ghul involved with this level of organization often has a scattered set of lairs throughout the desert. These allow the ghul to strike far from its home lair and hide again without having to travel during the blistering daylight sun. When a ghul goes for too long without feeding, it becomes increasingly feral and violent—its statistics don’t change, but it grows less concerned with fleeing combat, even when it is obviously outmatched.

 

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Phantom Fungus

Phantom Fungus

This creature looks like a brown and greenish-brown mass with a cluster of nodules atop the main mass, though it is visible only when dead. A cluster of nodules atop the main mass serve as sensory organs. The creature feeds and attacks with a gaping maw lined with rows of teeth. Four stumpy legs support the creature and allow it to move about. This ambulatory fungus is naturally invisible, making it a feared predator among subterranean inhabitants.

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Velociraptor

Velociraptor

Velociraptor (commonly shortened to “raptor”) with three strongly curved claws, which were similar in construction and flexibility to the wing bones of modern birds. They are small in size but can travel in pairs and can be deadly. Velociraptor can be located in the south jungle much like the other dinosaurs of Esperia.

 

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