The pink, fleshy underside of this flat, aquatic creature features a large circular maw of fangs.
Str 22, Dex 15, Con 18, Int 6, Wis 15, Cha 9
Base Atk +5; CMB +12 (+16 grapple); CMD 24
Feats Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Perception +12, Stealth +11 (+21 in mud or muddy water), Swim +14; Racial Modifiers +10 Stealth in mud or muddy water
SQ amphibious, compression
A cuero can flap about in the water within 10 feet of a riverbed or lake bed and stir up mud, pebbles, sand, silt, and other debris. This creates a hemispherical cloud in the nearby water with a radius of 30 feet (or to the edge of the water, whichever is closer). The cloud obscures all vision, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. Creatures 5 feet away have concealment, while those farther away have total concealment. In non-flowing water, the muddy cloud dissipates in 2d6 rounds. In flowing water, the duration is reduced by 1 round for every 10 feet per round the water flows beyond 20 feet.
Environment temperate lakes or rivers
Organization solitary, pair, or pack (3–5)
Farmers who graze their cattle near slow-moving rivers or placid lakes warn their neighbors when rumors of a cuero pass from village to village. These strange, flat creatures haunt waterways in search of large prey to satisfy their voracious appetites. When more passive, cueros lie in wait at the bottom of a lake or river for suitable prey to swim overhead. In lean times, cueros sit just beneath the water’s surface near the shore and stay perfectly still until an animal comes near to drink. They sometimes even bury themselves in the muddy banks of a river to surprise passersby.
When prey gets within reach of a cuero, it strikes from camouf lage. It wraps its prey up in its leathery hide and begins draining its victim’s blood. After feeding, the cuero discards the drained husk on the riverbank or drags it into the water to float downriver. Cueros prefer the ease of catching Small and Medium mammals, but they seem to have a special taste for Medium and Large ungulates. When their preferred prey is unavailable, cueros act as bottom feeders, sifting through the lake bed or river bottom in search of crabs, clams, and slow moving fish. Following this behavior, cueros can strip fishing areas of fauna, an act that enrages local anglers.
Most cueros prowl muddy waterways alone, capitalizing on choice hunting grounds, but some cueros form small families and dig out dens in lakebeds and beneath riverbanks. These crude structures often house only a handful of these creatures.
When a den reaches capacity, one or two cueros set off to form their own group instead of expanding the current den.
Cueros typically keep to small family groups, but when the full moon occurs on an equinox or a solstice, these creatures crowd the bodies of water they call home.
These congregations are unsettling to witness, as the creatures thrash about in the water and emit droning moans punctuated with the chittering of their rasping teeth. Many scholars believe these gatherings to be mass breeding events, and those able to speak to cueros find that the creatures believe that the strongest of their kind are conceived during these times.
Cueros aren’t very intelligent, but they can speak and understand Aklo. Their normal lines of conversation are often confusing, as the creatures tend to ramble on when speaking about topics such as food, water conditions, and the phases of the moon.
A cuero’s flat, rounded body spans 10 feet, and the beast weighs close to 1,000 pounds.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 5 © 2015, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, John Bennett, Logan Bonner, Creighton Broadhurst, Robert Brookes, Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Joe Homes, James Jacobs, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Ben McFarland, Jason Nelson, Thom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Alistair Rigg, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, Wes Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Mike Shel, James L. Sutter, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.