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Tauslek

The carapace of this large centipede-like creature is black and green, with snapping mandibles as its four alien eyes radiate a spectrum of rainbow-colored light like backlit prisms.

Tauslek CR 1

XP 400
N Small aberration
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +6

DEFENSE

AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 13 (+2 natural, +1 size)
hp 16 (3d8+3)
Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +4; Immune mind-affecting effects, poison

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +5 (1d6+3 plus poison)
Special Attacks steal memories

STATISTICS

Str 14, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 15
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 13 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Improved Initiative, Step Up
Skills Climb +10, Perception +6, Stealth +8
Languages Aklo
SQ sound mimicry (voices)

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Poison (Ex)

Bite-injury; save Fort DC 12; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Wis drain; cure 1 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Steal Memories (Ex)

When a tauslek kills an enemy with its bite attack, it may extract the memories and Intelligence of its victim as a free action. It temporarily gains an Intelligence score equal to its victim, all languages the victim spoke, and an equivalent total skill bonus for all skills based on mental attributes (Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma) which the victim possessed when they died (including skills like Sense Motive and Bluff). Despite this advantage, tausleks are strictly limited in their capacity to utilize certain skills due to their physical form, much like a wizard’s familiar. The tauslek also gains familiarity with a victim’s past, their relationships with other creatures, and a sense of their personality. This awareness does not govern their actions but may be used to trick their intended prey. Tausleks never gain spells, spell-like abilities, or other special abilities or class abilities the victim may have possessed.

The temporary Intelligence and skill bonuses last 24 + 2d12 hours, after which they fade entirely. If a tauslek slays additional creatures, it continues to acquire more memories, but only maintains the single highest Intelligence score and skill bonuses of all the creatures it devours (that is, it keeps the highest total skill bonus of any skill thus far, but never compounds them).

Furthermore, devouring another victim with an Intelligence score of 6 or higher resets the duration on all of the personalities it has subsumed. When the tauslek reverts to normal, it loses all its stolen personalities and bonuses at once. This ability has no affect on spells which require a victim’s soul to restore them to life, as the tauslek only acquires a copy of the stolen memories.

ABOUT

Environment temperate ruins/dungeons or underground
Organization solitary, pair, community (3-10)
Treasure incidental

The tauslek was first discovered by jagladine explorers on a forgotten world many centuries ago. Since then, they’ve been subjected to repeated research and experimentation with the tauslek’s unusual ability to acquire memories and intellects spawning a number of bio-engineered technologies pertaining to memory extraction and manipulation. Young tausleks are roughly the size of a small dog, while the more advanced matriarchs rival a large horse. They most closely resemble centipedes with two scintillating eyes and a fierce set of mandibles capable of piercing armor. The plates of their carapace are green and outlined in black towards the end of their length.

Although tausleks may appear as vermin, an adult matriarch proves far more cunning than any low-order animal, one of the many advantages it uses to hunt sentient prey. In rural areas, tausleks have enough presence of mind to attack less dangerous children, while avoiding guard animals and more mindful adults.

Communities of tauslek prefer remote nesting sites, located within a short distance of well-traveled roadways or small settlements. Intellect absorbed by slain prey imparts the tauslek with enough insight to seek shelter back at their nest. By the time their boosted mental capacity wears off, the now animalistic urges drive it to seek further sustenance, thus repeating the cycle. Complications often arise during these hit-and-run tactics when it slays adventurers and community guardians attempting to route them. More often than not, the tauslek use the newly acquired memories from such encounters to take advantage of what their would-be killers know to inflict further harm on the communities which sent them.

A tauslek matriarch is a nightmare to behold, a ravenous beast eager to carry off prey and devour its mind one memory at a time. Weighing nearly 500 pounds, it manages to permanently retain some of its stolen intellects, able to call on specific memories from its subconscious when necessary. A matriarch lives well beyond the hunting instincts of an animal, because it doesn’t merely hunt to survive, lusting instead for power, the savored intellects to improve itself, and the shared insights to terrorize others. As such, they prefer to grab lone opponents and retreat with them into cover where they can consume the memories of a held foe. Once it slays this initial target, the matriarch then uses the stolen memories to coax the creature’s remaining allies into an ambush, where it repeats the process.

Enhancing its own frightening reputation, tauslek matriarchs create a temporary bond with those infected by the poison of its kind, able to perform subtle sinuous motions to captivate those succumbing to the poison’s effects.

Members blame the appearance of tauslek matriarchs on their Hegemony enemies, claiming such creatures never existed on other worlds before the meddling of jagladine scientists spread their threat across the multiverse.

These ‘slanderous rumors’ as decreed by the Hegemony are in fact true-the mythic nature of the tauslek matriarch is directly tied to genetic modifications performed by the jagladine intent on weaponizing the tauslek for the Hegemony. Indeed, the inevitable result of these experiments created the matriarch- now considered a blight throughout scattered worlds, each blaming the other for smuggling these enhanced tauslek past their respective borders.

Even among Hegemony worlds, tausleks are well known and feared. Their appearance often signals extreme torture and interrogation by jagladine inquisitors intent on breaking the will and minds of their captives. The jagladine maintain that tauslek research has led to significant breakthroughs in intelligence gathering, the psychoanalysis of new alien species, and psionic enhancement. But cultivating and taming a tauslek nest has proven a daunting task even for their fearless klaven jailers in service to the jagladine. As a result, most Hegemony worlds have strict regulations concerning the importation and trade of tausleks.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Legendary Planet Adventure Path © 2019, Legendary Games; Authors: Authors: Matt Goodall, Jim Groves, Steven T. Helt, Tim Hitchcock, Jason Nelson, Richard Pett, Tom Phillips, Mike Shel, Neil Spicer, Mike D. Welham.