This flabby, fish-like humanoid has the wide mouth, bulging eyes, and dangling, luminescent flesh lure of a deep-sea predator.
Ceratioidi CR 3
Speed 30 ft., swim 50 ft.
Melee 2 shortspears +8 (1d6+3) or 2 slams +7 (1d4+3)
Ranged 2 shortspears +5 (1d6+3)
Special Attacks lure
Str 17, Dex 10, Con 15, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 12
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 17
Feats Ability Focus (lure), Weapon Focus (shortspear)
Skills* Bluff +5, Intimidate +8, Perception +9, Sense Motive +6, Stealth +7, Swim +10
Languages Aquan, Common
SQ dual mind, primitive amphibian
The fact that each ceratioidi is actually two creatures sharing the same body gives it a number of unique abilities. A ceratioidi can delegate various actions and physical processes to the individual minds, allowing it to fight with two weapons simultaneously without any penalties. It can also select two favored classes. The telepathic tangle between its twin consciousnesses makes a ceratioidi impervious to mind-affecting effects.
As a free action, a ceratioidi can light the dangling lure on its forehead, forcing all non-ceratioidi within a 20-foot radius to make a DC 15 Will save or become fascinated for 1 round. Regardless of the preceding interaction between the ceratioidi and its target, a creature affected by this ability does not view the ceratioidi who has fascinated it as a potential threat until that ceratioidi actually attacks—allowing it to approach without breaking the fascination. Once a creature successfully saves against this effect, it is immune to the same ceratioidi’s lure ability for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Ceratioidi have rudimentary lungs capable of breathing air indefinitely, but their skin must be bathed in salt water regularly or it begins drying out painfully. They can go for a number of hours equal to twice their Constitution score (30 hours for most ceratioidi) before they need to be bathed in salt water—if they don’t, they take 1 point of Constitution damage per hour. Any Constitution damage accrued is reversed after they spend at least 10 minutes immersed in salt water.
Environment any saltwater
Organization solitary, mated individual, or clan (3-20)
Rulers of the deep ocean trenches, ceratioidi are powerful, intelligent humanoids who share several unusual traits with the aquatic predators of the ceratiidae family, also known as angler fish. From their strange, spired cities beneath the waves, ceratioidi cast their nets of influence far and wide, using their alien intelligence, natural affinity for magic, and hypnotizing lures to manipulate other creatures throughout the oceans—and beyond.
Perhaps the strangest aspect of the ceratioidi is that each individual is in fact two entities—a powerful, imposing female, and a rat-sized parasitic male who spends most of his life attached to his mate’s neck. A female without a mate loses her dual mind ability, while a male unattached to a female retains his intelligence but otherwise has the same statistics as an electric eel (without the electricity special ability or electricity resistance).
Rulers of the deep ocean trenches, ceratioidi are powerful, intelligent humanoids who share several unusual traits with the aquatic predators of the ceratiidae family, also known as angler fish. From their strange, spired cities beneath the waves, ceratioidi cast their nets of influence far and wide, using their alien intelligence, natural affinity for magic, and hypnotizing lures to manipulate other creatures throughout the world’s oceans—and beyond.
Perhaps the strangest aspect of the ceratioidi is that each individual is in fact two entities—a powerful, imposing female and a rat-sized, parasitic male. Averaging 7 feet tall and weighing roughly 300 pounds, a female ceratioidi’s fleshy body belies both its tremendous strength and its startling intelligence. Males, though equally intelligent, appear to outside observers to be nothing more than fish with vaguely anthropomorphic faces. Born from ribbon-like egg clusters, ceratioidi mature quickly and are ready to mate when 1 year old. During the mating ritual, the tiny male ceratioidi affixes itself to the back of a female’s neck and begins secreting an enzyme that dissolves both creatures’ skin and transforms them into a single unit. Within a few weeks, what was two creatures has become one—though each retains its own independent consciousness, the male joins his respiration, digestion, and other biological functions with those of the female, becoming nothing more than a bulging organ on his partner’s back. While unintelligent angler fish use similar methods in order to self-fertilize at will, a ceratioidi male retains independent thought, and the two linked entities remain in constant telepathic communication, using their combined mental faculties to excel at wizardry and maintain absolute physical precision in combat. This uniquely divided mental structure also makes it easy for ceratioidi to study multiple fields or callings, such as the powerful witch/wizard combination that is their trademark, though it’s also common for them to act as underwater rangers.
In addition to their dual nature, ceratioidi share a number of other intimidating characteristics with their angler fish cousins. Along with its wide mouth full of inward-curving, needle-sharp teeth, a ceratioidi also possesses the angler fish’s fleshy forehead lure, called an esca. This bioluminescent blob dangles at the end of thin spine just above eye level and is the focus for the ceratioidi’s innate hypnotic abilities. Through this lure, the ceratioidi can paralyze foes in combat, forcing them to stand still or approach and be culled by the ceratioidi’s barbed fishing spear; it can even hypnotize creatures so thoroughly as to make them susceptible to subliminal commands. This ability to manipulate others, combined with the immobile male’s natural affinity for magical study and other deeply contemplative arts, makes the ceratioidi masters of their surroundings.
Though almost all ceratioidi encountered outside of their homes are fully mated pairs, unmated females can be represented by removing the dual mind ability from the creature’s stat block. Males can be simulated by using the statistics for an electric eel without the electricity special ability.
Because they normally construct their cities on the floors of deep ocean trenches or near mineral-rich underwater vents, ceratioidi are rarely encountered by terrestrial races, and little is known about their society. The ceratioidi, with their manipulative magic and ability to exist on land for long stretches of time, make perfect gobetweens and bureaucrats for the strange kingdom.
Though the ceratioidi are rumored by many to be a product of aboleth experimentation, the ceratioidi believe differently. They believe themselves to be the direct descendents of their god, an immense and omnipotent angler fish that accompanied them on their journey and now resides in the flooded caverns.
Additional Ecology Section 15: Pathfinder 32: Rivers Run Red. Copyright 2010, Paizo Publishing LLC. Author: Rob McCreary
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3, © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Michael Kenway, Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, Chris Sims, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, and Russ Taylor, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.