Alebrijes travel through dreams, visiting creatures as they sleep in hopes of answering questions, jogging memories, or providing inspiration. Alebrijes can take the shape of any animal or magical beast found throughout the Material Plane, though they have unique colorations and patterns all over their bodies, and some grow wings.
These colorations typically include bright, vibrant hues and decorative patterns like spirals and stripes.
Alebrijes can form in a variety of ways. The most common is through the wishes of particularly imaginative or vivid dreamers, such as children and artists. While in contact with these extraplanar energies, the dreamer dreams of specific creatures, such as an animal they saw once at a carnival or an infamous monster from their homeland. These energies coalesce and suffuse that creature with the powers of dreams, creating an alebrije. At times, particularly potent dreamers can cause an alebrije to form even when the creature they’re dreaming of no longer lives, such as a childhood pet or a slain monster, or is purely imaginary.
Other times, a creature may transform into an alebrije if it wanders into a place where the border between the Material and Ethereal Planes is thin. Such planar borderlands allow creatures to enter the plane of dreams, where exposure to the dimension’s strange powers changes the beings into alebrijes. Most creatures that visit the dimension in this way end up remaining there, preferring the unique landscapes to their relatively mundane homes. Because of this, alebrijes are commonplace throughout the dimension, which is why they so often appear in peoples’ dreams.
In the most rare cases, an alebrije can form when an animal or magical beast learns lucid dreaming. The minds of these creatures create subconscious connections to the plane of dreams that lead to a gradual transformation.
In some cases, these creatures may be part of a lineage that included an alebrije, much in the same way a sorcerer may have a dragon or demon in her lineage. This bloodline connection to an alebrije helps push the creature past the tipping point of their dreaming capabilities.
Some alebrijes are content to continue their lives in their home environments, using their connection to the Dimension of Dreams to travel throughout the Material Plane. Others use their improved mental and physical abilities to rise as the superior member of their pack or the apex predator in their region, retreating to the Dimension of Dreams only to rest. Still others find that their newfound knowledge inspires them to visit the dreams of other creatures.
House pets and local legends that become alebrijes tend to visit the individuals who took care of them or brought them into being. These alebrijes serve as guardians and mentors, particularly to small children, and move on when their charge no longer needs their guidance. Alebrijes with a particularly strong connection to an individual may even search for the mortal’s soul once that person has passed into the Boneyard, protecting the soul from astral predators and easing its transition into the afterlife, much like a psychopomp.
Creating an Alebrije
“Alebrije” is an acquired template that can be added to any animal or magical beast (referred to hereafter as the base creature). An alebrije uses the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Base creature’s CR + 2.
Size: An alebrije with 8 Hit Dice or more increases in size by one category.
Alebrijes are able to notice and locate sleeping creatures within 500 feet, as well as creatures engaged in similar rest, such as meditation or resting trances.
Armor Class: Natural armor bonus increases by 2.
Defensive Abilities: An alebrije with 5 Hit Dice or more gains DR 5/magic (or DR 10/magic if it has 11 Hit Dice or more) and SR equal to its new CR + 6 (or SR equal to its new CR + 11 if it has 11 Hit Dice or more). In addition, an alebrije gains cold resistance 5 and fire resistance 5 (or cold resistance 10 and fire resistance 10 if it has 11 Hit Dice or more). Finally, an alebrije gains light fortification, as the fortification armor special ability.
Speed: An alebrije with 5 Hit Dice or more grows wings and gains a fly speed of 20 feet (average). If the alebrije has 11 Hit Dice or more, it gains a fly speed of 40 feet (average) instead. An alebrije that already has a fly speed improves its maneuverability by one step instead.
Melee: An alebrije’s natural attacks grow mighty and fantastical. Increase the damage die of the base creature’s primary natural attacks by one step. An alebrije’s natural attacks are considered magical for the purposes of damage reduction.
3/day—dream, nightmare; 1/day—dream council, dream travel, mind thrust III, plane shift (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only). The caster level equals the creature’s HD (or the caster level of the base creature’s spell-like abilities, whichever is higher).
Ability Scores: Str +4, Dex +6, Con +4, Int +4, Wis +6, Cha +4.
Skills: Alebrijes have a +8 racial bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (planes) checks. They always treat these skills as class skills. Otherwise,their skills are the same as the base creatures’.
Languages: An alebrije gains telepathy (100 ft.) and can speak one language of its choice.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #144: Midwives to Death © 2019, Paizo Inc.; Authors: John Compton, with Adam Daigle, Eleanor Ferron, Thurston Hillman, James Jacobs, Jason Keeley, Luis Loza, Ron Lundeen, Robert G. McCreary, Erik Mona, Michael Sayre, Owen K. C. Stephens, Mark Seifter, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.