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Nightshade

Source Bestiary 2 pg. 199

The malevolent nightshades are a mysterious form of necrotic abominations composed of equal parts darkness and ineffable evil. They are living wells of hatred and death, their mere presence sapping the light, heat, and life from all around them, leaving nothing but the heavy, hanging pallor of an open grave in their passing. To nightshades, life is a corruption and a blight. Creation must be purged of this disruption, so that all existence can be welcomed into the sweet embrace of darkness and death. To this end, nightshades seek nothing less than the annihilation of all that is, that was, and that will be.

Nightshades call to themselves legions of undead and shadow-spirits­—those who hate the burning sun and the sweet spark of life as much as they themselves do. They rarely ally with living beings who share their vision of extinguishing the sun and exterminating all who stand before them, though such alliances do, at times, occur. Adapting the forms of their kind to pursue the cause of death in every environment and situation, upon the land, in the sky and the sea, and even in the deep places of the world beneath, nightshades marshal their unliving armies. Yet for all their singleness of purpose, they are no mindless beasts. They are clever and patient planners, willing to grant favors to allies or minions as long as they prove themselves useful, and equally willing to turn on them and destroy them the moment their usefulness has been exhausted, rendering their tortured and murdered spirits into deathless slaves.

Nightshades originate in the deepest voids at the planar juncture of the Plane of Shadow and the Negative Energy Plane, where reality itself ends. Here lies a vast adumbral gulf where the weight of infinite existence compresses the null-stuff of unlife and the tenebrous webs of shadow-reality into matte, crystalline plates and shards of condensed entropy. Many fiends seeking the power of ultimate destruction have sought this place, hoping to harness its power for their own ends, but the majority discover the power of distilled entropy is far greater than they bargained for. Their petty designs are washed away as they become one with the nothing, with first their minds and then their bodies being remade, forged no longer of living flesh but of the lifeless, deathless matter of pure darkness incarnate. Recast into one of a handful of perfected entropic forms (some whisper, forged by a dark being long imprisoned at the uttermost end of reality), these immortal fiendish spirits still burn with the freezing fire of insensate evil, but are now distilled and refined through the turning of ages to serve entropy alone. To say that nightshades form from the necrotic flesh and transformed souls of powerful fiends is technically correct, but the transformation that these foolish paragons of evil undergo is even more hideous than such words might suggest.

While the majority of nightshades are the product of such fiendish arrogance, this is by no means the only source for these powerful undead creatures. Many nightshades commit themselves to the harvesting of immortal souls of every race and loyalty, casting their broken and shattered bodies into the negative voidspace, where the residue of their divine essence slowly precipitates and congeals in the nighted gulf. Whatever their origin, in this heart of darkness all souls embrace destruction. When a critical mass of immortal soul energy is reached, a new nightshade is spawned. The souls of mortals lost to the negative plane are drawn up and reborn as undead long before becoming co-opted within the gulf; mortal spirits are the servants of the nightshades, but only the essence of immortality can provide the spiritual fuel to ignite the fire of their unlife.

The most common nightshades are the nightwalkers, long-striding giant fiends often found at the head of undead armies. They are the generals of the nightshade army, the commanders of legions and the organizers of the deaths of worlds.

Yet in places the nightwalkers cannot easily reach, the vast gulfs of the sea and the soaring heights of the clouds above, other nightshades rule. Above flop the immense bat-like nightwings, deadly in their own right yet content to serve at the behest of their stronger cousins. When these monstrosities come to the Material Plane, they swoop down in the dawn to take shelter in abandoned necropolises or vast crypts, emerging at dusk to prey upon nations.

As above, so do the realms below quake from the passage of nightshades. Here, immense nightcrawlers slither and creep. These umbral worms do not often venture forth from the deep, forgotten caverns they dwell in, but when they do, entire kingdoms die as their nighted coils writhe and work their inevitable way through the population.

But for all of the nightmare potential posed by these undead paragons, they all pale in comparison to the mightiest nightshades of all—the shark-like nightwave. This monstrosity prowls the lightless depths of ocean trenches, gathering the souls of the countless drowned dead or preying upon deep aquatic races. Yet those who cleave to the shallows or ply the surface of the seas are not safe from the ravenous nightwaves either, for in the darkest night, these undead monsters rise up to harvest souls from ships and shore as well.

Yet even the dreaded nightwaves are not enough to fill the nightmares of great heroes. Rumors of more powerful nightshades are whispered fearfully in certain circles—creatures of such immense power that their mere existence can drain entire planets of life in a matter of weeks. If such monstrosities truly exist, then all life may be but a fleeting spark in the dark folds of a forever-doomed future.

Creatures in "Nightshade" Category

NameCR
Nightcrawler18
Nightprowler10
Nightwalker16
Nightwave20
Nightwing14

Nightshade, Nightprowler

This bulky predator’s feline form is cloaked in shadows, save for its red eyes, which glow with a baleful hatred.

Nightprowler CR 10

Source Pathfinder #102: Breaking the Bones of Hell pg. 90
XP 9,600
CE Large undead (extraplanar, nightshade)
Init +9; Senses darksense 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., detect magic, low-light vision, scent; Perception +20
Aura desecrating aura (30 ft.)

Defense

AC 25, touch 15, flat-footed 19 (+5 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 natural, –1 size)
hp 136 (13d8+78)
Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +14
DR 10/good and silver; Immune cold, undead traits; SR 21
Weaknesses light aversion

Offense

Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +18 (3d6+10/19–20 plus creeping dark and grab), 2 claws +18 (1d8+10 plus creeping dark)
Space 10 ft., Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks channel negative energy (DC 20, 5d6, 7/day), creeping dark, rake (2 claws +18, 1d6+10), shadowpounce
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +14)
Constant—detect magic, magic fang
At will—deeper darkness, unholy blight (DC 18)
3/day—dispel magic, contagion (DC 18), invisibility
1/day—air walk, confusion (DC 18), cone of cold (DC 19), haste, hold monster (DC 19), summon (level 4, 2 shadows)

Statistics

Str 25, Dex 20, Con —, Int 14, Wis 19, Cha 19
Base Atk +9; CMB +17; CMD 33
Feats Combat Reflexes, Command Undead, Dodge, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Acrobatics +18, Climb +23, Knowledge (religion) +18, Perception +20, Stealth +23 (+31 in dim light and darkness), Survival +17; Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth in dim light and darkness
Languages Abyssal, Common, Infernal; telepathy 100 ft.

Ecology

Environment any (Negative Energy Plane)
Organization solitary, pair, or pride (3–9)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Creeping Dark (Su) The nightprowler’s natural attacks leave a stain of dark shadows that linger in and around the wounds, known as the creeping dark—this condition can be resisted with a successful DC 20 Fortitude save. If the victim fails, it becomes staggered for 1 round, after which the creeping dark affects the victim further by preventing healing and hampering vision. A character attempting to use magical healing on a creature damaged by the nightprowler’s creeping dark must succeed at a DC 26 caster level check, or the healing has no effect on the injured creature. As long as a creature suffers the creeping dark, its vision is obscured with shadows as well—all creatures gain a 20% miss chance from attacks by the victim. The creeping dark is a curse effect that lasts until removed or until all damage afflicting the victim is healed. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Shadowpounce (Su) Nightprowlers have the pounce ability, and when they use this ability, they can also make rake attacks. Up to three times per day when a nightprowler pounces from an area of dim illumination, it generates a shimmering aura of false images that grants it a 50% miss chance, as if under the effects of a displacement spell, for 1d4 rounds.

Only a fool would underestimate the danger presented by the hateful nightprowler, despite its position as the least powerful of the undead monsters collectively known as nightshades. The bestial nightprowler is a fearsome opponent armed with the same cruel and calculating intelligence possessed by all nightshades.

Nightprowlers are feline quadrupeds that seem to be composed of living shadow. Their eyes, like the eyes of all nightshades, glow with red light. A nightprowler is 16 feet long from head to tail and weighs 8,000 pounds. Nightprowlers have all the nightshade traits found on page 308 of Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2, except that they have darksense out to only 30 feet.

Ecology

Spawned by the fusion of pure darkness and the depraved souls of fiends, nightprowlers originate in the fell borderlands between the Shadow Plane and the Negative Energy Plane. These creatures are weak by nightshade standards, but truly terrifying to most mortals unlucky enough to encounter them.

Although a nightprowler appears similar to a great cat, no tiger has ever had claws so long and sharp, and no lion has sported as murderous a maw. These creatures relish the taste of living flesh and the sight of life leaving a creature’s eyes, but most of all, they enjoy fear. If a nightprowler feels confident in its kill, it prefers to attack with tooth and claw until the victim is crippled, then plunges the area into darkness and glories in the sight of the helpless creature struggling in vain to escape. On an even battlefield, or if a nightprowler realizes that it is outmatched, it summons shadow allies to harry its opponents. Nightprowlers do not respond to bribes or pleas for mercy, and will chase their prey to the ends of the earth.

Nightprowlers do not retreat from fights, even when near destruction—they trust that they will be reborn in the umbral cradle that originally gave them unlife. Even so, these beasts value their own existence, and their powers of judgment do not allow them to undertake obvious suicide missions. If a nightprowler locates a formidable enemy, it often bides its time until it can recruit other undead to the cause. To this end, a nightprowler may promise allies pieces of the spoils, but often reneges on payment once the fight is finished. The other creature, surprised by the betrayal and weakened from battle, then becomes easy prey for the treacherous nightprowler.

Habitat and Society

Like all nightshades, nightprowlers hail from the Negative Energy Plane. Born in that dread gulf and spurred by a seething hatred for all life, nightprowlers find cunning and clandestine ways to leave their horrid spawning grounds and travel to other planes. They particularly like to follow on the heels of other, more powerful nightshades, knowing that there is a share of the slaughter to be had in the wake of mightier allies.

While nightprowlers often work with other nightshades, primarily playing reconnaissance roles, they don’t serve living masters willingly. Even a truly sadistic mortal doesn’t merit a shred of respect in the eyes of a nightprowler. If one of these deadly undead is forced into the service of a mortal master, it makes a poor servant at best. It remains patient and opportunistic, striking at the master’s first sign of weakness. While nightprowlers despise mortal existence in all forms, they are known to accept the offerings of creatures that foolishly seek to become their minions. The mortal servants of such a creature are typically psychotic or sociopathic killers who see in the nightprowler a patron of murder and mayhem. Nightprowlers accept the supplications of their minions for a time, but out of either boredom or capriciousness, they inevitably turn their claws on their former servants.

A mortal who wishes to catch the attention of a nightprowler must carry out a series of gruesome murders as sacrifices to the creature. Any killings will do, but nightprowlers prefer such sacrifices to be innocent victims or the clergy of good-aligned deities. Quick kills displease nightprowlers, while signs of torture on the offerings delight them. Supplicants who kill friends or family members garner special notice from nightprowlers. While pleasing a nightprowler is relatively easy initially, it demands ever-greater massacres using increasingly cruel methods, and it soon tires of even the most wicked mortal master.

From time to time, nightprowlers stalk the Material Plane alone or in groups. They generally keep to caves, deep forests, and the cover of night when traveling this way. Nightprowlers prefer to move as solitary hunters, but are intelligent enough to collaborate when necessary. Packs of nightprowlers are loosely organized and can erupt into chaos in an instant. A pride forms when a particularly vigorous nightprowler lures others to its cause with promises of tender flesh and glistening entrails. This leader must mastermind sufficient destruction to keep the pride obeisant, for boredom in a nightprowler is a dangerous thing.

Ultimately, the common goal of all nightshades is nothing less than the desecration of all that is pure, and the death of all that lives. Mortals in the grip of madness rant of the coming night when nightshades great and small will march to rid all the planes once and for all of the curse of life. Nightprowlers will be the outriders in that terrible army, the mad ones warn, bringing undead allies with them into that final fray. It is easy to ignore these fevered prophecies or label them the ramblings of the insane. But in the baleful dark, when all lights have been extinguished save for a pair of red eyes, the potential truth in those words is undeniable.