A noxious mustard-colored vapor hangs low over the battlefield, concealing the lurching forms of dead soldiers.
AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 6 (+5 Dex, +1 dodge, –4 size)
Str —, Dex 20, Con 16, Int 7, Wis 13, Cha 10
A trench mist can animate any corporeal creature that is slain while engulfed within the mist’s form. The victim rises as a juju zombie in 1d4 rounds, and is under the control of the trench mist that created it. A juju zombie becomes free-willed if it is separated from its parent trench mist. A trench mist can animate and control a number of juju zombies whose Hit Die total does not exceed twice the trench mist’s own Hit Dice.
Any additional juju zombies beyond that become free-willed.
A trench mist can engulf foes (see the engulf special ability). A creature engulfed by a trench mist does not gain the pinned condition and can move normally—such a creature is not in danger of suffocating, but as long as it begins its turn engulfed, it takes the trench mist’s touch damage. A trench mist’s vapors obscure sight as per the spell obscuring mist. The save DC to avoid the engulfing mists is Constitution-based.
A trench mist has a body composed of vapor. This form grants it the amorphous defensive ability and allows it to pass through small holes or even mere cracks with no reduction to its speed, but it can’t enter water or other liquids. A trench mist doesn’t have a Strength score. It can’t manipulate or wear objects, and it is treated as a creature three size categories smaller than its actual size (Medium for most trench mists) for the purpose of how wind affects it.
Because of its symbiotic relationship with the juju zombies it creates, a trench mist shares its senses with its animated zombies as long as they are engulfed within its form, granting them lifesense and making them immune to the concealment the trench mist imposes upon creatures within and outside of its foggy form.
Organization solitary, pair, or horror (3–5)
Trench mists are created anywhere that deadly gas attacks are used for the wholesale slaughter of troops, whether attacks of a mundane poisonous nature, or from the magical effects of spells such as acid fog. Under mysterious circumstances likely born of the horrors of war and the final throes of young soldiers dying before their time, these mists linger over the battlefield, absorbing the departing souls of the slain. This commingling of loosed life energy and strange chemicals grants the miasma a sly, malevolent sentience. Once so born, the trench mist then seeks only to impart misery and share its singular fate with those fortunate enough to have escaped the poisonous attacks that birthed the creature in the first place. As it preys upon the living it absorbs the afflicted into its growing horde of shambling servants. Victims of its acidic mist rise as hateful zombies under the creature’s control, and a trench mist that gains a horde of zombies is a dangerous foe indeed. On battlefields where trench mists are known to have arisen, wise commanders arrange cease-fires during which both sides abandon the site, lest their troops succumb to the horrifying fate of their comrades.
Part of the trench mist’s self-awareness comes from the symbiotic trench zombies it gains as it slaughters its victims, as the zombies under the mist’s control retain the abilities they had in life as well as some snippets of their former memories, which all feed into the collective consciousness of the trench mist. This allows the mist to learn and adapt, granting it a relatively keen intelligence compared to other similar creatures, and allowing it to make canny combat decisions and cleverly manipulate its surroundings.
Trench mists wander battlefields looking for prey so they can add more shambling zombies to their collective hordes. Occasionally they might even enter inhabited areas to seek out fresh ammunition and armaments for those of their symbiotic undead who may have exhausted their weaponry. When bereft of such foul company, trench mists often persist for years after the tides of war have receded, settling into the soil and slumbering until fresh prey arises. The lifespan of trench mists is unknown, though through this sort of hibernation they very well may be immortal, reemerging without warning at the scenes of ancient battles centuries after they have taken place, whether turned up by an unsuspecting farmer’s plow or war waged anew.
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.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #71: Rasputin Must Die! © 2013, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Brandon Hodge.