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Protean

Source Bestiary 2 pg. 213

Beings of pure chaos, the serpentine proteans slither through the anarchic improbabilities of Limbo, remaking reality according to their whims. According to their own history, they were already here when the first gods pulled forth the other planes from raw chaos—and they have been battling against the indignity ever since. Hereditary and ideological enemies of Axis, Heaven, and Hell, and especially of the residents of those planes, all proteans see it as their sacred duty to return the bland, static expanses of mundane reality to the beautiful incongruities of Limbo, for the planes' own good and for the greater glory of their mysterious god, a dualistic deity which may be a living aspect of Limbo itself. They are Limbo's living, breathing immune system, rooting out infections of mundanity and replacing them with beautiful entropy.

Primeval in shape and philosophy, proteans are the race that most perfectly embodies the twin aspects of creation and destruction (although certain aeons might contest this claim). Even their language is mutable, evolving so quickly that few outsiders can understand it without magical aid. Ecological study is nearly impossible, as reproduction can take a wide variety of forms, from sexual union to fission to spontaneous generation. Despite their deceptively similar natural appearances, the two things that truly unify the protean race are slavish devotion to their strange god and a fervent desire for the dissolution of reality as we know it.

Proteans are organized into several sub-races or castes, each with its own individual abilities and roles. Other proteans than the four presented here doubtless exist, but they do not interact with other races nearly to the extent that these four types do.

Voidworms: Disowned by greater proteans, who find these tiny beings shameful, voidworms nevertheless retain all the characteristics of true proteans, and are frequently found swimming through Limbo in vast schools or serving as spellcasters' familiars.

Naunets: Possessing little in the way of culture, the powerful naunets are the most bestial of the true proteans, representing the lowest recognized caste. Naunets are the shock troops of the protean race, and patrol the borderlands between Limbo and other planes, seeking out lawful incursions and making daring, savage raids into the realms of their enemies.

Imenteshes: These cunning proteans seek to subvert the forces of order from within their own systems, whispering information and insinuations where they can do the most damage. Endlessly creative, they adore reforming the landscapes of Limbo to suit their fancies, but enjoy warping the vistas and creatures of other planes even more.

Keketars: Priest-kings and voices of Limbo itself, keketars rule their fellows in the name of their bizarre god. Though their forms are extremely mutable, keketars can always be recognized thanks to eyes that glow amber or violet and floating crowns of swirling and changing symbols that often appear above their heads. Organized into cabals called choruses, keketars seek only to understand and follow the will of entropy.

Protean Lords

While the keketars are the highest caste of the protean race, there exist a few scattered individuals who put even the mightiest chorus to shame. Equal in power to demon lords or empyreal lords, the beings known as protean lords are an enigma, far older than other proteans and perhaps spawned in a previous iteration of the multiverse or somewhere beyond the depths of Limbo. Disdaining direct leadership, protean lords act according to their own desires, occasionally appearing to advise their lesser kin or keep an inscrutable eye on entities whose powers rival their own.

Warpwaves

Many proteans, particularly the imenteshes, have the ability to create and manipulate ripples in reality known as warpwaves. Yet even a protean can't predict what effects a warpwave might have. When a creature is affected by a warpwave, roll 1d20 and consult the table below to see what effect the entropic energies have.

d20Warpwave effect
1Target takes 2 Strength damage.
2Target takes 2 Dexterity damage.
3Target takes 2 Constitution damage.
4Target takes 2 Intelligence damage.
5Target takes 2 Wisdom damage.
6Target takes 2 Charisma damage.
7Target gains 1 negative level.
8Target is blinded or deafened for 1d4 rounds.
9Target is confused for 1d4 rounds.
10Target is entangled by filaments of energy for 1d4 rounds.
11Target becomes fatigued (or exhausted if already fatigued).
12Target becomes nauseated for 1d4 rounds.
13Target is stunned for 1d4 rounds.
14Target is sickened for 1d4 rounds.
15Target is staggered for 1d4 rounds.
16Target gains 4d6 temporary hit points.
17Target is affected by a heal spell (CL = protean's CR).
18Target is turned to stone.
19Target is affected by baleful polymorph (CL = protean's CR).
20Portions of target's body burst with energy of a random type (choose between acid, cold, electricity, or fire), dealing 4d6 points of damage of the appropriate type to the target.

Creatures in "Protean" Category

NameCR
Azuretzi5
Hegessik15
Imentesh10
Keketar17
Naunet7
Ourdivar4
Pelagastr8
Voidworm2

Protean, Pelagastr

This glittering serpent’s body ends in a tangled, looping length of tail. Its scales glow softly in ever-changing patterns.

Pelagastr CR 8

Source Pathfinder #99: Dance of the Damned pg. 88
XP 4,800
CN Medium outsider (chaotic, extraplanar, incorporeal, protean, shapechanger)
Init +10; Senses blindsight 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., detect law; Perception +16

Defense

AC 20, touch 20, flat-footed 14 (+4 deflection, +6 Dex)
hp 85 (10d10+30); fast healing 5
Fort +8, Ref +13, Will +10
Defensive Abilities amorphous anatomy, freedom of movement, incorporeal DR 5/lawful; Immune acid, polymorph; Resist electricity 10, sonic 10

Offense

Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect), swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +16 (1d4), tail slap +12 (1d6 plus grab)
Special Attacks constrict (1d6), overshadowing ego, spirit coils, warpwave
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +14)
Constant—comprehend languages, detect law
At will—dispel magic, greater teleport (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only), mage hand
3/day—hypnotic pattern (DC 17), pilfering handUC
1/day—chaos hammer (DC 18)

Statistics

Str —, Dex 23, Con 17, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 19
Base Atk +10; CMB +16 (+20 grapple); CMD 30 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Bluff), Weapon Focus (tail slap)
Skills Acrobatics +16, Bluff +23, Diplomacy +17, Fly +22, Knowledge (planes) +16, Perception +16, Perform (sing) +17, Sense Motive +16, Stealth +19, Swim +16
Languages Common, Protean; comprehend languages
SQ blending scales, change shape (polymorph)

Ecology

Environment any (Maelstrom)
Organization solitary, pair, or convocation (4–6)
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Blending Scales (Ex) A pelagastr has bioluminescent scales that either reflect its emotions or blend into its environment. So long as it remains motionless, a pelagastr gains a +20 racial bonus on Stealth checks. It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action.

Overshadowing Ego (Su) Once per round, the pelagastr can merge its body with that of a corporeal creature. This ability is similar to a magic jar spell (the caster level equals the protean’s number of Hit Dice), except that it does not require a receptacle. To use this ability, the pelagastr must be adjacent to the target. The target can resist the attack with a successful DC 19 Will save. A creature that successfully saves is immune to that same pelagastr’s overshadowing ego for 24 hours.

Spirit Coils (Su) A pelagastr can dip its long tail into reality, allowing it to attack corporeal creatures using its tail slap, grab, and constrict abilities. It can suppress or resume this ability as a swift action, and suppressing it causes the pelagastr to immediately release any corporeal creature it is grappling. A pelagastr’s tail can lift or manipulate a maximum of 5 pounds of solid matter.

Warpwave (Su) A creature that takes damage from a pelagastr’s constrict attack must succeed at a DC 19 Fortitude save or be affected by a warpwave (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 213). To determine the effects of a pelagastr’s warpwave, roll a d12 and consult the warpwave effect table to see what effect its entropic energies have. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Pelagastrs, also known as asomatous wyrms, are the most ephemeral of the proteans, woven from gossamer strands of chaos that blow from the deepest heart of the Maelstrom. Just as other proteans delight in bringing change to the grotesque stagnancy of the physical world, pelagastrs dedicate themselves to inviting chaos and freedom into the dull, stale lives of its inhabitants. Devoid of physical form, they exist out of phase with reality, drifting along on the same unseen currents of potential the rest of their kind swim through in place of water. Unrestrained by the limits of a physical body, they spy on private spaces and secrets, and hop from host to host to savor the strangeness of the physical world using as many senses as possible. They are able to bind themselves to corporeal beings like possessing ghosts; they wear others’ flesh simply to delight in new experiences, and they see their own carefree attitudes and disregard for the future as wondrous gifts shared with lesser beings, rather than as gross invasions of privacy that may ruin relationships or lives.

Though they lack tangible bodies, pelagastrs are among the most strikingly beautiful of the Maelstrom’s children. Impossibly long and covered in bioluminescent scales, a pelagastr’s body perpetually changes colors as it slithers in a hypnotic, iridescent dance. Its long tail allows it to stir up eddies of potential to harm its foes, and can carry treasures from the physical world that its incorporeal form is otherwise unable to move.

Ecology

The life cycle of pelagastrs differs in many ways from that of other proteans. Pelagastrs don’t develop directly from mortal souls, nor are they lesser proteans transformed into members of a new caste. Pelagastrs instead emerge fully formed from the depths of the Maelstrom—much like voidworms—devoid of youth or age. Asomatous wyrms are created in the plane’s infinite depths by some natural process, spawned by the sheer potential that bubbles up in the intangible sea in which all proteans swim. Some claim they are intentionally created by one of the protean lords or keketar cabals as a unique protean caste dedicated to exploring and understanding the experiences of stable reality. Pelagastrs certainly enjoy interacting with the solid world more than many proteans, though because of their incorporeal natures, they are confused and fascinated by even the most mundane experiences; a pelagastr views its host’s pleasure and pain with equal delight and curiosity.

As distinct as they are from the other proteans, pelagastrs generally lack the capacity to evolve into any other caste. Yet the meandering, paradoxical stories of imenteshes tell of choruses of incorporeal keketars in service to the protean lord Il’surrish the Wanderer—itself a creature without defined physical form. Whether or not the whispering wyrms’ tales are true, the only certainty is that within the Maelstrom any rule preventing such a transition can and will be broken.

Habitat and Society

Pelagastrs exist as a side branch of proteans, distinct in many ways from the more familiar castes. Rarely interacting with or congregating under the banner of the keketar cabals, they more often cavort where the Maelstrom borders the other planes of the Outer Sphere and—whenever possible—in the planes of the Inner Sphere. Scholars speculate the Maelstrom’s gentle currents of chaos disperse these frail proteans far and wide, just as real winds scatter the delicate seeds of a dandelion.

Pelagastrs obsess over the Material Plane, where they delight in running amok with little to no regard for the consequences of their actions. In the process of migrating from the Maelstrom to the Material Plane, they typically make themselves profoundly unwelcome among the geniekin of the Elemental Planes, with the lawful efreet in particular barring or even hunting pelagastrs within their borders. Although such trespassers are frequently killed or banished as punishment for their gleeful activity, more pelagastrs follow in their wake to begin new revels there.

Pelagastrs occasionally find like-minded and willing hosts with which to temporarily merge. Such relationships blur the lines of typical possession, as protean and host mingle their memories, desires, and bodily control, resulting in a careful if unpredictable dance. Mortals who harbor a pelagastr (willingly or not) forever carry a subtly chaotic stain on their souls, which may manifest as protean bloodlines in their children or grandchildren.

Though they’re relatively easy to summon, pelagastrs prove extremely difficult to control even after bargains are struck. Riddled with curiosity, they raise whatever havoc their masters fail to forbid, ignoring orders beyond their original agreement, rearranging the belongings of the one who called on their services in a bizarrely artistic fashion, and joyriding in any available bodies. If unprepared, one who summons a pelagastr may awaken one morning in a strange bed, only to discover that days or weeks have passed, and his planar “servant” has used his body to accomplish the task for which he had bargained. The social and legal ramifications of a pelagastr’s time in its presumed master’s skin gives the proteans a reputation for often being more trouble than they’re worth. Regardless, the prospect of binding a powerful, intangible spy still tempts the foolish, headstrong, and overconfident.