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Blight


Before human civilizations rose and modern history began, ancient races like aboleths, saurians, troglodytes, and lizardfolk bickered and fought for dominion over the primeval world. Among the most powerful of these prehuman races were the serpentfolk. Few other races could match their power in magic, be it arcane, divine, or psychic in nature. The serpentfolk were inventive and persistent in their application of magical research to bolster their war machines, and those among them who followed primordial druidic traditions were no exception.

These ancient serpentfolk druids worshiped only the raw savagery of nature, and they sought ways to infuse the terrain itself with malevolence and sentience, recruiting the land as yet another minion in their endless wars against their enemies. But when these druids sought to invest the land with raw energies of life they’d siphoned violently from the realm of the fey, something went horribly wrong. The druids, their allies, and the land itself liquefied and then animated into a malevolent form of life that viewed all civilization as the enemy. The protoplasmic monstrosity split apart into countless blots of slimy hatred and infested regions throughout the serpentfolk realm, forcing the ancients to fight a new war within their own homeland. In time, the serpentfolk managed to defeat these intelligent oozes, creatures they came to refer to as blights—yet these life forms proved unnaturally tenacious.

They continued to reappear, retreating farther and farther into the wilds each time they were defeated, but always surviving. And when the time of the serpentfolk passed, the blights endured.

Today, blights remain rare, yet their hatred of civilization is stronger than ever, and when a wandering blight encounters the stain of society in the wilds, it takes the presence of such settlements as a personal affront.

Patient as they are cruel, blights think nothing of slowly transforming the lands adjacent to a small town or even a city to slowly starve its inhabitants of resources until the monstrous ooze can finally begin the task of reclaiming the urbanized lands as its own.

Although long ago the blights were of one primal nature, the passage of countless eons has seen these creatures evolve and adapt, and now seven notable variants of blight are known to exist in various reaches of the world. While it’s certain that other terrains have spawned unique blights of their own, these seven represent the most commonly encountered of these uncommon monsters. Blights have a universal hatred of all things civilized, a fury that extends even to druidic cults and fey. To a blight, any sign of intelligence (barring what might arise in certain plant monsters or magical beasts) represents a potential for civilization—something that cannot be allowed to endure.

A blight finds travel outside of its chosen domain to be physically painful, and when forced to leave its home, the monster avoids conflict and maintains a stealthy cover until it can find a new lair more appealing to its nature.

Once a blight settles into an area with the type of terrain its particular variant prefers, it infuses that realm with its presence, creating a domain of evil that fills a large area with magical effects. Typically, a blight creates such a domain in a region adjacent to civilization, so that it can both reduce resources available to nearby settlements and have nearby terrain to prey upon. Capable of magically commanding creatures that dwell within its domain, the blight begins its war against neighboring settlements by sending magically controlled animals and plants to savage citizens and sow terror.

When a blight claims a territory, it often catches more than just animals, magical beasts, and plants in its domain. While it detests creatures with intellects, it still understands that such denizens of its domains can be useful agents in its campaign against civilization.

Typically, a blight has little interest in or patience for less powerful creatures (as a general rule, this includes any creature with a CR equal to half the blight’s CR or less), and these unfortunate denizens are usually the first to die after a blight claims a domain. It approaches more powerful denizens, however, with offers of alliance.

Blights are both canny and sly; they understand that their innate spell-like abilities won’t work on things like dragons, giants, powerful aberrations, undead, and the like, yet they also know that most such creatures can be bought—be it with promises of material wealth, opportunities to plunder a defeated enemy, or chances to gain power. Some blights even specialize in usurping a primitive tribe’s religious center by convincing creatures that they are agents sent from their gods (such tactics work best on primitive tribes with few or no religious leaders, or tribes whose religious leaders have recently been slain in secret by the blight). Yet regardless of what a blight promises these creatures in return for their aid in attacking nearby pockets of civilization, in the end the blight always turns against its one-time allies. They are merely the last to fall to the hateful ooze’s wrath, the final sacrifices to the creature’s insatiable need to murder all thinking creatures it finds.

Although the individual powers of the various categories of blight vary, all blights share certain features in common, including a thick layer of malleable protoplasm that provides significant natural armor, a host of glaring red eyes, and a shared suite of blight abilities (see the Blight Subtype). The blights presented on the following pages represent the most well-known of the species, but other, stranger variants may exist in remote regions.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 6 © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Robert Brookes, Benjamin Bruck, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, James Jacobs, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, Jason Nelson, Tim Nightengale, F. Wesley Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Todd Stewart, Josh Vogt, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.