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Couatl, Xiuh Couatl

Wreathed in flame, this winged serpent sports brightly colored feathers sparking with electricity.

Xiuh Couatl CR 12

XP 19,200
NG Large outsider (native)
Init +9; Senses detect chaos/evil/good/law, darkvision 60 ft., thoughtsense 60 ft.; Perception +29

DEFENSE

AC 29, touch 14, flat-footed 24 (+5 Dex, +15 natural, –1 size)
hp 157 (15d10+75)
Fort +14, Ref +10, Will +16
Immune electricity, fire; SR 23

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft., fly 80 ft. (average)
Melee bite +22 (2d6+12 plus burn, grab, and poison)
Space 10 ft., Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon (60-ft. line, 6d6 fire and 6d6 electricity, Reflex DC 22 half, usable every 1d6 rounds), burn (1d6 fire, DC 22), constrict (2d6+12), poison
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +21)

Constantdetect chaos/evil/good/law
At willdetect thoughts (DC 18), invisibilityplane shift (DC 23)
1/weekatonement

Psychic Spells Known (CL 15th; concentration +21)

7th (4/day)greater arcane sightvision
6th (7/day)greater dispel magiclegend loreveil (DC 22)
5th (7/day)commune with naturemind thrust V (DC 21), psychic crush I (DC 21), wall of force
4th (7/day)divinationdreamlocate creaturesending
3rd (7/day)clairaudience/clairvoyancedeep slumber (DC 20), dispel magichaste
2nd (8/day)anticipate thoughts (DC 18), auguryaversion (DC 18), demand offering (DC 18), scare (DC 19)
1st (8/day)anticipate peril (DC 17), charm person (DC 18), forbid action (DC 18), mindlinksleep (DC 18)
0 (at will)bleed (DC 17), detect magicdetect poisonghost sound (DC 17), know directionlightmage handread magicstabilize

STATISTICS

Str 26, Dex 20, Con 20, Int 23, Wis 25, Cha 23
Base Atk +15; CMB +24 (+28 grapple); CMD 39 (can’t be tripped)
Feats AlertnessFlyby AttackHoverImproved InitiativePersuasivePower AttackQuicken SpellWingover
Skills Acrobatics +20, Diplomacy +28, Fly +21, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (arcana) +13, Knowledge (geography) +14, Knowledge (history) +24, Knowledge (local) +24, Knowledge (religion) +24, Perception +29, Sense Motive +29, Spellcraft +21, Survival +22, Use Magic Device +21
Languages Celestial, Common, Draconic; telepathy 100 ft.
SQ instrument of retribution

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Instrument of Retribution (Su)

As a full-round action, a xiuh couatl can transform into any simple or martial weapon. The weapon is always a +2 flaming shock weapon and can be sized for any creature. The xiuh couatl is limited to only light or one-handed weapons if sized for a Gargantuan creature or light weapons if sized for a Colossal creature. In weapon form, the xiuh couatl gains hardness equal to that of a weapon of its type and retains its type, senses, hit points, saving throws, and telepathy. A xiuh couatl can return to its normal form as an immediate action.

Poison (Ex)

Bite—injury; save Fort DC 22; frequency 1/minute for 10 minutes; effect 1d6 Str; cure 2 consecutive saves.

Psychic Spells

A xiuh couatl casts spells as a 15th-level psychic.

ECOLOGY

Environment any mountain
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard

Xiuh couatls are a fierce variety of couatl commonly associated with vengeance and retribution. They seek out vile creatures, offering one final opportunity at redemption. Those who do not accept this offer or cannot be redeemed face the xiuh couatl’s fearsome and absolute punishment. In cases where its might alone is not enough, a xiuh couatl offers its assistance to a powerful, righteous figure to mete out justice on its behalf. The winged serpents glow with an intense plume of flames, draped in arcing electricity. Their feathers range in color from bright crimson to deep violet, encompassing the shades of the setting sun. A typical xiuh couatl is 20 feet long with a wingspan of 25 feet. It weighs 4,500 pounds.

Unlike their cousins, the common quetz couatl and the roving auwaz couatl, xiuh couatls are rarely seen, but are a sight to behold when they make themselves known. The beat of each wing is a brilliant display of terrifying flames and magnificent flashes of lightning that send cacophonous echoes through the sky. The couatls’ flight can be heard up to a mile away. As they move through the air, they resemble thunderstorms with flaming rain. These fiery tempests are said to be omens signaling the imminent fall of wickedness or a forthcoming new beginning, born of a purifying inferno.

A xiuh couatl’s snout glows red hot for minutes after spewing forth its elemental breath. This breath, like the xiuh couatl’s wings, is a coalescence of fire and electricity—a fearsome ray of powerful energy. The breath is used not only to attack enemies, but also to burn away decayed or corrupted lands with cleansing flame. The couatl’s tail ends in a small conflagration that moves and flickers in response to the couatl’s moods.

The mind of a xiuh couatl is powerful and wise, bordering on the transcendent. It uses its extraordinary psychic gifts to track down evil foes, making use of its ability to see into possible futures to quickly find its targets. Once it locates a creature, the xiuh couatl sends portents to the target’s dreams to dissuade it from a life of evil. If these visions are not enough, a xiuh couatl visits the creature and offers to share its knowledge of goodness and virtue. The xiuh couatl shows the creature the differences in its life if it continues on a path of evildoing and if it accepts redemption. If these steps fail, the xiuh couatl destroys the creature’s body or its mind, whichever is found to be a more fitting punishment, as a last resort.

Xiuh couatls are extremely long-lived, with some said to have been alive before Earthfall. During its lifetime, a female xiuh couatl lays only a single egg. The egg is as black as ash and hatches anywhere from a single couatl to a litter of eight to 10. As native outsiders, xiuh couatls must eat, and they are known to feed on large wildlife such as bison, deer, or wild horses. Occasionally, they consume larger creatures that pose threats to local civilizations or environments, such as rocs or young dragons.

Habitat and Society

Unlike their more common cousins, xiuh couatls are seen only during the gravest of times. When not actively seeking foul creatures to redeem, they nest in dangerous, remote places where they are likely to be undisturbed. Volcanic calderas, remote valleys, and high mountaintops wrapped in continual lightning storms are notable locations where xiuh couatl nests have been found. For years after they have been abandoned, the nests are known for their tendency to attract fire and lightning elementals.

While solitary creatures, xiuh couatls occasionally form a close bond with a partner with whom they may even mate (should they have not done so previously in their long lifetimes). The closest of these relationships are forged between a couatl and one of the offspring born from its sole egg. While a parent cannot mate again, such a bond is universally platonic and can span centuries, far longer than most similar pairings. While a partnership may last as long as a millennia, nearly all xiuh couatls eventually return to lives of solitude. They can acquire many allies during a crusade for good, but move on as soon as they have vanquished a particular evil.

Though they tend to rely on their own visions and divinations to seek out evil, xiuh couatls are sometimes called on by the gods to tackle given tasks. Sarenrae, in particular, makes the most of use of all types of couatls, but xiuh couatls can be called upon by Desna, Shelyn, or, in Arcadia, Kazutal, goddess of community, liberty, and safety. As usual, xiuh couatls first attempt to redeem the creatures they are tasked with destroying, but follow with violent retribution if required. Gods may also assign xiuh couatls to aid individuals who require assistance in times of adversity. These individuals are gifted weapons by their divine patrons, and may never know they actually wield xiuh couatls, even after their tasks have been completed.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder #106: For Queen and Empire