This hulking merfolk has rotting skin, dull black eyes, and four thick tentacles ending in toothy maws protruding from its back.
Litanu CR 11
AC 25, touch 15, flat-footed 20 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 natural)
hp 147 (14d8+84)
Fort +11, Ref +8, Will +12
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; deep dweller; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 20
Str 27, Dex 18, Con —, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 21
Base Atk +10; CMB +18; CMD 33
Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Multiattack, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth), Toughness
Skills Acrobatics +18 (+10 when jumping), Craft (traps) +16, Intimidate +22, Perception +20, Sense Motive +13, Stealth +27, Swim +26
Languages Aquan, Common
Deep Dweller (Ex)
Litanus are immune to damage from water pressure.
Seclusion Empowerment (Su)
Litanus draw strength from other creatures’ feelings of isolation and loneliness. A litanu gains a +1 profane bonus on saving throws, attack rolls, and weapon damage rolls for each non-litanu creature within 60 feet that does not have line of sight to an ally, including any creature affected by the litanu’s sequestering paralysis. These profane bonuses stack, up to a maximum equal to the litanu’s Charisma modifier (maximum +5 for a normal litanu).
Sequestering Paralysis (Su)
Creatures affected by a litanu’s paralysis cannot breathe and begin to suffocate, and they are blinded and deafened. Although effects such as remove blindness/deafness can remove the blinded or deafened condition from a creature paralyzed by a litanu, this does not remove the paralysis. This ability is a necromancy and paralysis effect.
Environment any oceans
Organization solitary, pair, or school (3–8)
Treasure standard (masterwork trident, other treasure)
Litanus are undead abominations created by vile necromantic rituals and psychological torment. All litanus were once merfolk, but were tortured to death and animated as undead creatures. Litanus are sneaky, spiteful creatures who seek prey suffering from loneliness and fear.
Resembling merfolk that have hyper-developed musculature, litanus have wide mouths with narrow, sharklike teeth. Four tentacles sprout from a litanu’s back, each a few inches wide and 4 feet long. These tentacles end in toothy maws and excrete a paralyzing toxin so powerful that victims are rendered insensible and unable to perform most autonomic functions, including breathing, until the toxin wears off.
A litanu is about 7 feet long from head to tail and weighs around 300 pounds.
Because litanus are created from merfolk subjected to horrifying tortures and necromantic infusions, they generally arise in underwater torture chambers or corpse pits. Although they have no need to hunt for sustenance, they derive a perverse joy from ambushing, paralyzing, and killing prey. Most litanus prefer to hunt intelligent prey, as complex feelings of isolation and desperation resonate with the undead creatures. Angry at their fate and resentful that their kin were spared it, litanus prefer merfolk as prey over all others. A hunting litanu might even allow non-merfolk to pass by unharmed if it believes that a little more patience might allow it an opportunity for merfolk prey instead.
Litanus are immensely strong for their size, and their long, toothed tentacles are exceedingly nimble. These tentacles are grafted to a litanu’s body in the final part of the reanimation ritual, rather than spontaneously grown.
Litanus are protective of their tentacles, taking care to keep them clean and prevent them from becoming tangled together as the undead swim or fight.
Despite their strength, litanus are reluctant to attack humanoids that are traveling in packs, preferring to use traps or trickery to scatter groups so they can attack the isolated individuals one by one. If given time to prepare, a litanu might set a harmless trap that triggers a large spray of mud, sand, or another material that temporarily obscures visibility in the water. When the trap is triggered and the members of the group are disoriented and blinded, the litanu sneaks forward, paralyzes the nearest target, and swims away while its victim is incapacitated.
To draw a single target away from a group or community, a litanu might stake down a small sea creature into the seabed and wound it sufficiently so that it cries out in pain. The litanu hides nearby, ready to ambush an individual that comes to aid the suffering creature. Not all litanu tricks are so complex; some litanus simply lurk out of sight and make quiet rhythmic tapping sounds to draw the more curious members of a group to investigate, slipping away if too many come to investigate together.
Although any isolated creature suffering from fear or loneliness is a delicacy for a litanu, most litanus attempt to exacerbate feelings of dread and isolation as much as possible before feeding. A litanu might drag a victim into the deep, dark ocean waters—not so deep as to kill their prey outright from cold or water pressure, but deep enough to amplify the victim’s fear and suffering. When the victim’s feelings of terror and isolation are at their peak, the litanu finally kills its prey with slow, deliberate bites from its tentacles.
Once a litanu slays its victim, it usually loses interest in the corpse. The litanu might steal any valuables or trinkets from the body but otherwise leaves it to drift away on the ocean currents. A litanu does not value this plunder for its own sake, but it collects items, such as shiny necklaces or colorful baubles, that might be useful in luring away future victims.
Habitat and Society
Litanus live underwater and prefer the seclusion of dark ocean waters. Unaffected by cold or water pressure, they can be found in deep ocean trenches. From there, they range into brighter, shallower waters to hunt for prey. If a litanu’s prey escapes onto land, the litanu is unlikely to pursue; although litanus can propel themselves on land by using their tails and tentacles if necessary, they prefer to remain in the water.
To merfolk, litanus are terrifying bogeymen that lurk in the deep, set traps to catch the unwary, and drag their victims away.
Fortunately, litanus are rare, so most merfolk have never seen one; some merfolk believe that they don’t even exist, and were invented to explain away strange disappearances or half-glimpsed natural predators such as octopuses. Those merfolk who have met a litanu (or worse, have been terrorized by a litanu that arose from the corpse of a friend or relative) know firsthand the fear and carnage even a single litanu can create.
Litanus are sufficiently rare as to normally be solitary; a litanu might hunt for decades without meeting another of its kind. On the rare occasions when litanus do find each other—or when they are created alongside each other— they gather into small gangs called schools. Litanus are selfish by nature, so this tendency to congregate is unusual and perhaps due to some dimly instinctual sociability from their merfolk heritage.
Even so, litanus don’t work well together. They might initially discuss building complicated traps or agree to divide up spoils in an equitable fashion, but each litanu considers itself more worthy than the others. They therefore subtly sabotage each other’s traps, secretly steal one another’s victims, and even interfere with attacks, purely out of malice. Litanu schools inevitably come to blows after a few weeks or even days, leaving only the strongest litanu as a survivor.
Only a powerful master, such as a necromancer or mighty aquatic undead creature, can compel them to cooperate with each other on a long-term basis.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #125: Tower of the Drowned Dead © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Ron Lundeen, with Nathan King, Isabelle Lee, Erik Mona, Kalervo Oikarinen, and David Schwartz.