This wrinkled, pale humanoid has a hairless, eyeless head, quivering nostril slits, and an unsettlingly wide mouth lined with rows of sharp fangs. Its eyes glare freakishly from the palms of its clawed hands.
Tenome CR 4
Str 14, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 12
Base Atk +6; CMB +8 (+12 grapple); CMD 21
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will
Skills Intimidate +10, Perception +9, Stealth +11, Survival +9
If a tenome establishes or maintains a pin, it attaches its mouth to the victim and uses a sonic attack that liquefies the victim’s bones, allowing the monster to drink them through flesh and skin.
This deals 1d3 points of Constitution damage to the victim. A creature damaged in this way must succeed at a DC 14 Fortitude saving throw or be fatigued by the pain, or exhausted if already fatigued, or rendered unconscious for 1 minute if already exhausted. A tenome recovers 5 hit points each round it drinks liquefied bone (it cannot heal more than its maximum hit points). A creature reduced to a Constitution score of 0 in this way dies, its skeleton liquefied. This is a sonic effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.
A tenome can move twice its base speed once every 1d4 rounds.
A tenome can gaze at one opponent within 30 feet by presenting one of its eyes (a standard action) or both of its eyes (a full-round action). An opponent that fails a DC 14 Will saving throw is frightened if it is the target of a single eye’s gaze, or paralyzed if it is the target of both eyes’ gazes. These conditions last for 1d3 rounds. A tenome can use its gaze attack only actively; opponents do not need to attempt saving throws at the beginning of their turns if they meet the tenome’s gaze. Once a creature succeeds at its save against this ability, it is immune to that tenome’s terrifying gaze for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Environment any urban
Organization solitary, pair, or scourge (3–5)
Tenomes are hideous predators that stalk the fringes of civilization, ambushing travelers and invading the rural homes of families to feast on their bones.
They typically try to get close to their victims before attacking, hiding the monstrous elements of their appearance with hooded cloaks or voluminous robes, or by lying in wait along darkened trails. By revealing the unblinking stares of their angry eyes, one in the palm of each clawed hand, tenomes can paralyze a victim with fear or cause enemies to flee. Once they advance, they pin their victims and initiate the terrible vibrations that allow them to drink creatures’ bones. Because of the location of their eyes, however, tenomes that are grappling are practically blind against other opponents.
They avoid attacking groups that heavily outnumber them, preferring to patiently track and strike when they can take victims one at a time.
A typical tenome stands between 5 and 6 feet tall and weighs around 150 pounds.
While tenomes can sustain themselves on meat, including carrion, their constant hunger for living creatures’ bones drives them to frequently hunt at the edges of settlements, where they prey on docile livestock and the people who care for them. The liquefied skeleton of a large farm animal or its farmer can sustain a tenome for weeks at a time. When living victims are scarce, tenomes make do with skeletal remains, digging up graves if necessary. Careful to avoid notice, tenomes prey upon the same site repeatedly only if they are extremely hungry.
Folktales suggest that tenomes originated as a supernatural punishment for a community that did not adequately care for its elderly and disabled. Specifically, long ago, an old, blind widower lived alone for years, without comfort or help from other families in his village. From time to time, he became confused and wandered through the streets and farmlands at night. Instead of showing compassion, the farmers cursed the old man for worrying their livestock and openly wished he would die soon and relieve them of their burden.
One night, a group of local youths heard the alarmed bleats of sheep and found the man in a nearby field.
Bored and lacking empathy, they assaulted him, pushing him from attacker to attacker and raining fists and kicks upon him from all directions. The old man begged them to stop, but the thugs only laughed, ripped his clothes away, and tripped him whenever he tried to escape. Beaten and bloody, bewildered and frustrated, the old man began trembling and shaking as an inhuman rage grew within him. With screams that caused his assailants to step back in horror, the blind old man tore out his own eyes and crushed them with his own hands, damning them for their uselessness.
Overcome with revulsion, the youths quickly gathered rocks from a farm wall and stoned the man to death, smashing his bones to splinters before hiding the body.
The next morning, when they returned to the scene of their crime, the body was gone and so too, they assumed, was their problem. But when the boneless bodies of the youths and their families began to turn up during the following days, the villagers learned that their problem had only just begun.
Thus, the tale claims, was the first tenome created. The resulting devastation was, scholars believe, the source of all tenomes that came after, for legend holds that if the monster plucks the eyes from a humanoid victim and places them in the victim’s hands, the corpse may transform into a new tenome on the next nightfall.
Tenomes lair where the edges of society and wilderness meet, typically in the caves and burrows of wild animals they have slain, and whose skins and furs they wear in colder climes.
Tenomes are nocturnal creatures, and they travel miles from their lairs under cover of night to terrorize rural communities. They typically rotate their hunting grounds and try to cover their tracks when farmers take action to defend their lands or when they organize in order to locate the tenomes’ lairs. Fearing discovery, tenomes tend to keep to themselves. They associate only with others of their kind, and even then, gather only in small groups that rarely exceed four or five. In these bands, one serves as the leader, assigning roles to the others, such as lookout, scout, and defender.
If too many communities in an area become well defended and sources of food become difficult to access, tenomes migrate to a better habitat, usually finding a lair near the next cluster of towns down the road. They can also bury themselves in the earth and enter a state of hibernation, shutting down their bodily functions for months at a time, showing only the barest flicker of life. Knowing the superstitions that people hold about disturbing the dead, tenomes commonly use actual graves for this purpose. Indeed, sightings of ravenous tenomes, roused from their slumbers and clawing their way out of the ground, have contributed to the erroneous belief that these creatures are undead.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #99: Dance of the Damned © 2015, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Richard Pett, with Stephanie Lorée, Michael McCarthy, Alistair Rigg, F. Wesley Schneider, and Todd Stewart.