Home >Bestiary >(Bestiary) By Type >Fey >

Baba Yaga’s Riders

Baba Yaga’s Rider

Many fey creatures aided Baba Yaga’s invasion of the eastern kingdoms, doing so for the sheer love of carnage and chaos. Others, however, possessed more inscrutable motives. Every century, in the year that precedes the return of Baba Yaga, three fey beings astride sorcerous beasts descend on the land. They herald the coming of Baba Yaga, and gallop across the wintry countryside, coldly judging peasant and princess alike by criteria known only to the Riders and their otherworldly patron. Incorruptible and relentless, they strike fear into all who live in the snow-covered realm.

The Three Riders change with each century—Baba Yaga chooses beings every 100 years to serve as her heralds, and she imbues them with potent magic, transforming them into fey creatures with many magical powers. She selects the Riders seemingly at random, from among dozens of different worlds. Some past Riders found themselves granted this position without ever seeking it, and Baba Yaga rarely presents the opportunity to those who too eagerly reach for it. Others became Baba Yaga’s heralds as part of deals they made with her—deals that would give them something they truly desire in return for serving her for a century.

Upon choosing her Riders, Baba Yaga gives each of them a special magical weapon, robes that protect it and allow it to mask its forms, and the ability to call special supernatural mounts. Though every centennial anniversary is greeted by the arrival of new Riders, their titles remain unchanged. The White Rider, called “My Bright Morning” by Baba Yaga, is seen only in the hours after sunrise, riding a sleek, white destrier. The Red Rider, or “My Red Sun,” sits upon a reddish-gold stallion; the citizens encounter this creature in the daylight hours after noon. The third is the Black Rider, mounted upon a fierce black warhorse. She calls this Rider, seen only in the hours between sunset and sunrise, “My Dark Midnight.”

What follows are the Three Riders heralding Baba Yaga’s most recent return. Among other abilities, Baba Yaga grants each of her Riders a mount, magical robes, and a special weapon. While the details of these gifts vary from Rider to Rider, they share many of the same properties, as described below. Details specific to each Rider appear in the Rider’s stat blocs.

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Conjure Mount (Su)

As a standard action, one of Baba Yaga’s Riders can summon a special mount. This effect allows the Rider to use the spell phantom steed at will at caster level 13th. The Rider has full control of the appearance of the mount, and Ride is always a class skill for her.

Rider’s Robes (Su)

The Riders wear robes that provide an armor bonus, but don’t take an armor check penalty or have a maximum Dexterity bonus. In addition, the robes allow the Rider to use disguise self as a supernatural ability at caster level 13th. If the Rider is killed, his robes melt away like ice thrown into a fire.

Rider’s Weapon (Su)

Rider’s Weapon (Su): A Rider cannot be disarmed of his weapon. If the Rider is killed, his weapons melts away.

Weal or Woe (Su)

A Rider can bring harm or fortune to those judged. As a standard action, a Rider can bestow a curse (–2 penalty on attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks until the curse is removed) or a boon (+2 bonus on attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks for 24 hours). A targeted creature can resist the curse with a successful Will save. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Editor’s Note

Baba Who?

In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being who appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking woman. Baba Yaga flies around in a mortar, wields a pestle, and dwells deep in the forest in a hut usually described as standing on chicken legs. Baba Yaga may help or hinder those that encounter or seek her out and may play a maternal role and has associations with forest wildlife. According to Vladimir Propp’s folktale morphology, Baba Yaga commonly appears as either a donor, villain, or may be altogether ambiguous.

Information courtesy of Wikipedia
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Irrisen, Land of Eternal Winter © 2013 Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Mike Shel.