An acidic tang fills the air of this small, glittering cave. Several extremely sharp formations are as large as a human head.
Glimmerhollow CR 9
AC 15, touch 3, flat-footed 15 (–5 Dex, +12 natural, –2 size)
hp 119 (14d8+56)
Fort +8, Ref –1, Will –1
DR 10/—; Immune acid, cold, ooze traits; Resist electricity 20, fire 20
Weaknesses brittle, vulnerable to sonic
Attacks that deal bludgeoning or sonic damage can inflict critical hits on a glimmerhollow. The glimmerhollow remains immune to precision-based damage, such as damage from sneak attacks.
A glimmerhollow can attempt to engulf all creatures adjacent to it at the start of its turn, provoking attacks of opportunity as normal. Each target that does not make an attack of opportunity must succeed at a DC 20 Reflex saving throw to avoid being trapped and take a free 5-foot step away from the glimmerhollow. Engulfed creatures are pinned and risk suffocation, and they take 6d8 points of piercing and slashing damage from the creature’s crystal formations and 2d6 points of acid damage from its digestive secretions each round. The save DC is Strength-based.
Hypnotic Lure (Ex)
The scintillating colors of the crystals on the glimmerhollow’s interior create a mesmerizing display that further entices its prey. All creatures within 30 feet of the glimmerhollow must succeed at a DC 18 Will saving throw or move at their full speed toward the crystal formation until they are adjacent to it. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected by the same glimmerhollow’s hypnotic lure for 24 hours. If the glimmerhollow loses more than half its hit points from sonic damage, it loses the use of this ability until it is fully healed. This is a visual mind-affecting compulsion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based and includes a +6 racial bonus.
Razor Sharp (Ex)
A glimmerhollow’s slam attack deals both piercing and slashing damage and threatens a critical hit on a roll of 18–20.
Environment any underground (Plane of Earth)
Treasure double (gems and crystals)
Travelers may be familiar with carnivorous crystals—crystalline oozes that prey on living creatures to gruesomely hasten their own reproduction. Less known, even among the greatest planar scholars, is that carnivorous crystals are not the only oozes that hail from the Plane of Earth and gain sustenance from living things.
Unlike their more aggressive cousins, the carnivorous geodes known as glimmerhollows rely entirely on the enticement of rich mineral deposits to attract prey. They still leach minerals from the earth around them for food, but they use some of those minerals to grow wondrous crystal formations. Creatures that lust after such treasures, either for wealth or for food, find that the glimmerhollow relishes the minerals in their bodies above all else.
A mature glimmerhollow can cover the inside of a 10- foot cube and weighs a staggering 100,000 pounds.
Glimmerhollows are among the rare ooze creatures that were not spawned by the careless experimentation of renegade wizards. Like carnivorous crystals, they originated on the Plane of Earth, but even in those endless tunnels, glimmerhollows are fairly uncommon.
Of course, it is precisely because they are not well known that glimmerhollows manage to survive.
A glimmerhollow hunts by moving into a small cavern or similar space and spreading itself over the chamber’s interior, covering the walls, floor, and ceiling, while leaving an opening for prey to enter. If no natural cave of sufficient size is available, the glimmerhollow wedges itself into a crack or fissure, spending a day or more to slowly burrow and consume enough earth and rock to create a niche for itself. Once inside, it uses consumed minerals to grow a layer of crystals on its inner surface.
These crystals are spectacular to behold. The formations can be heavy and impressive or thin and delicate. They may be squat clusters or sharp spikes. Whatever form they take, the crystals create the false image of a massive geode, filled with some of the purest, most exquisite specimens ever seen. Some of the crystals even possess an inherent luminosity, causing the whole space to glint and sparkle.
The glimmerhollow can use this luminosity to generate a hypnotic effect that draws in victims.
Like other oozes, glimmerhollows can produce pseudopods to defend themselves, often using them to drag victims that resist the other lures into their central cavities. Glimmerhollows prefer, however, to let greed, hunger, or their hypnotic power bring in targets. Once the prey is inside, an ooze quickly snaps the trap shut.
The crystals that once promised treasure now serve as lacerating gizzard stones. Victims are macerated and mixed with acidic digestive fluids to break them down into their constituent mineral elements, which the glimmerhollow absorbs. The process usually kills the prey quickly, either through injury or suffocation, but digestion can take several days, depending on the size of the creature’s meal.
On the Plane of Earth, glimmerhollows prey on the plane’s native creatures that eat rocks and gems. In general, this means crysmals and xorns, though they demonstrate a preference for xorns. If a crysmal is inside a glimmerhollow and a xorn is nearby, the ooze will wait long enough for the crysmal to escape, hoping to fool the xorn into thinking its chamber is a safe place to gather food. On the Material Plane, glimmerhollows rarely encounter xorns, but they have developed a taste for living creatures, whose bodies contain several delectable minerals as well as carbon, which it can also convert into crystalline materials.
Glimmerhollows reproduce by a form of mitosis.
Given time and enough food, mature glimmerhollows grow to about one and a half times their adult size. Then the ooze splits, forming two identical creatures that slither into the darkness to feed on rock and mineral deposits until they are big enough to make geode traps of their own.
Habitat and Society
Glimmerhollows are solitary creatures and have no discernible culture or society. Their method of feeding requires them to stay far apart from one another unless food is abundant.
Generally, if two glimmerhollows encounter one another, they will fight until one kills or drives out the other.
Glimmerhollows relocate when an area has been exhausted of prey. Over time, they may come across well-traveled paths. They instinctively avoid areas that are too busy, instead keeping to hidden paths and niches nearby. This allows them to capture the occasional curious, unwary traveler without drawing too much attention to themselves.
Treasure Although the crystal formations inside a glimmerhollow’s trap serve the creatures as lures, many of them do have great monetary value. After slaying a glimmerhollow, characters can harvest a small trove of precious and semiprecious gems and crystals. These are mainly grade 3, 4, or 5 crystals, but at least one gem will be a greater precious gem (grade 6) worth at least 3,500 gold pieces. In perhaps one or two out of a hundred cases, a glimmerhollow’s strange anatomy produces an extremely rare crystal, like a blue garnet, red emerald, or brilliant green diamond. Such a specimen could be worth more than 10,000 gold pieces simply for its rarity, but these gems are also prized by alchemists who can use them in elixirs, potions, tinctures, or even wondrous items.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #117: Assault on Longshadow © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Benjamin Bruck and Thurston Hillman, with Liz Courts, Paris Crenshaw, and Jason Keeley.