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Protean, Pelagastr

This glittering serpent’s body ends in a tangled, looping length of tail. Its scales glow softly in ever-changing patterns.

Pelagastr Protean CR 8

XP 4,800
CN Medium outsider (chaotic, extraplanar, incorporeal, protean, shapechanger)
Init +10; Senses blindsight 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., detect law; Perception +16

DEFENSE

AC 20, touch 20, flat-footed 14 (+4 deflection, +6 Dex)
hp 85 (10d10+30); fast healing 5
Fort +8, Ref +13, Will +10
Defensive Abilities amorphous anatomy, freedom of movement, incorporeal; DR 5/lawful; Immune acid, polymorph; Resist electricity 10, sonic 10

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect), swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +16 (1d4), tail slap +12 (1d6 plus grab)
Special Attacks constrict (1d6), overshadowing ego, spirit coils, warpwave
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +14)

Constantcomprehend languages, detect law
At willdispel magic, greater teleport (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only), mage hand
3/dayhypnotic pattern (DC 17), pilfering hand
1/daychaos hammer (DC 18)

STATISTICS

Str —, Dex 23, Con 17, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 19
Base Atk +10; CMB +16 (+20 grapple); CMD 30 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Bluff), Weapon Focus (tail slap)
Skills Acrobatics +16, Bluff +23, Diplomacy +17, Fly +22, Knowledge (planes) +16, Perception +16, Perform (sing) +17, Sense Motive +16, Stealth +19, Swim +16
Languages Common, Protean; comprehend languages
SQ blending scales, change shape (polymorph)

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Blending Scales (Ex)

A pelagastr has bioluminescent scales that either reflect its emotions or blend into its environment. So long as it remains motionless, a pelagastr gains a +20 racial bonus on Stealth checks. It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action.

Overshadowing Ego (Su)

Once per round, the pelagastr can merge its body with that of a corporeal creature.

This ability is similar to a magic jar spell (the caster level equals the protean‘s number of Hit Dice), except that it does not require a receptacle. To use this ability, the pelagastr must be adjacent to the target. The target can resist the attack with a successful DC 19 Will save. A creature that successfully saves is immune to that same pelagastr’s overshadowing ego for 24 hours.

Spirit Coils (Su)

A pelagastr can dip its long tail into reality, allowing it to attack corporeal creatures using its tail slap, grab, and constrict abilities. It can suppress or resume this ability as a swift action, and suppressing it causes the pelagastr to immediately release any corporeal creature it is grappling. A pelagastr’s tail can lift or manipulate a maximum of 5 pounds of solid matter.

Warpwave (Su)

A creature that takes damage from a pelagastr’s constrict attack must succeed at a DC 19 Fortitude save or be affected by a warpwave. To determine the effects of a pelagastr’s warpwave, roll a d12 and consult the warpwave effect table to see what effect its entropic energies have. The save DC is Constitution-based.

ECOLOGY

Environment any (Maelstrom)
Organization solitary, pair, or convocation (4–6)
Treasure none

Pelagastrs, also known as asomatous wyrms, are the most ephemeral of the proteans, woven from gossamer strands of chaos. Just as other proteans delight in bringing change to the grotesque stagnancy of the physical world, pelagastrs dedicate themselves to inviting chaos and freedom into the dull, stale lives of its inhabitants.

Devoid of physical form, they exist out of phase with reality, drifting along on the same unseen currents of potential the rest of their kind swim through in place of water. Unrestrained by the limits of a physical body, they spy on private spaces and secrets, and hop from host to host to savor the strangeness of the physical world using as many senses as possible. They are able to bind themselves to corporeal beings like possessing ghosts; they wear others’ flesh simply to delight in new experiences, and they see their own carefree attitudes and disregard for the future as wondrous gifts shared with lesser beings, rather than as gross invasions of privacy that may ruin relationships or lives.

Though they lack tangible bodies, pelagastrs are among the most strikingly beautiful of the Maelstrom’s children. Impossibly long and covered in bioluminescent scales, a pelagastr’s body perpetually changes colors as it slithers in a hypnotic, iridescent dance. Its long tail allows it to stir up eddies of potential to harm its foes, and can carry treasures from the physical world that its incorporeal form is otherwise unable to move.

Ecology

The life cycle of pelagastrs differs in many ways from that of other proteans. Pelagastrs don’t develop directly from mortal souls, nor are they lesser proteans transformed into members of a new caste. Pelagastrs instead emerge fully formed from the depths of the Maelstrom—much like voidworms—devoid of youth or age. Asomatous wyrms are created in the plane’s infinite depths by some natural process, spawned by the sheer potential that bubbles up in the intangible sea in which all proteans swim. Some claim they are intentionally created by one of the protean lords or keketar cabals as a unique protean caste dedicated to exploring and understanding the experiences of stable reality. Pelagastrs certainly enjoy interacting with the solid world more than many proteans, though because of their incorporeal natures, they are confused and fascinated by even the most mundane experiences; a pelagastr views its host’s pleasure and pain with equal delight and curiosity.

As distinct as they are from the other proteans, pelagastrs generally lack the capacity to evolve into any other caste. Yet the meandering, paradoxical stories of imenteshes tell of choruses of incorporeal keketars in service to a protean lord—itself a creature without defined physical form. Whether or not the whispering wyrms’ tales are true, the only certainty is that within the Maelstrom any rule preventing such a transition can and will be broken.

Habitat and Society

Pelagastrs exist as a side branch of proteans, distinct in many ways from the more familiar castes. Rarely interacting with or congregating under the banner of the keketar cabals, they more often cavort where the Maelstrom borders the other planes of the Outer Sphere and—whenever possible—in the planes of the Inner Sphere. Scholars speculate the Maelstrom’s gentle currents of chaos disperse these frail proteans far and wide, just as real winds scatter the delicate seeds of a dandelion.

Pelagastrs obsess over the Material Plane, where they delight in running amok with little to no regard for the consequences of their actions. In the process of migrating from the Maelstrom to the Material Plane, they typically make themselves profoundly unwelcome among the geniekin of the Elemental Planes, with the lawful efreet in particular barring or even hunting pelagastrs within their borders. Although such trespassers are frequently killed or banished as punishment for their gleeful activity, more pelagastrs follow in their wake to begin new revels there.

Pelagastrs occasionally find like-minded and willing hosts with which to temporarily merge. Such relationships blur the lines of typical possession, as protean and host mingle their memories, desires, and bodily control, resulting in a careful if unpredictable dance.

Mortals who harbor a pelagastr (willingly or not) forever carry a subtly chaotic stain on their souls, which may manifest as protean bloodlines in their children or grandchildren.

Though they’re relatively easy to summon, pelagastrs prove extremely difficult to control even after bargains are struck. Riddled with curiosity, they raise whatever havoc their masters fail to forbid, ignoring orders beyond their original agreement, rearranging the belongings of the one who called on their services in a bizarrely artistic fashion, and joyriding in any available bodies. If unprepared, one who summons a pelagastr may awaken one morning in a strange bed, only to discover that days or weeks have passed, and his planar “servant” has used his body to accomplish the task for which he had bargained. The social and legal ramifications of a pelagastr’s time in its presumed master’s skin gives the proteans a reputation for often being more trouble than they’re worth. Regardless, the prospect of binding a powerful, intangible spy still tempts the foolish, headstrong, and overconfident.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

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.