This woman’s clothing is a jumbled quilt of fine fabrics and elegant stitching, topped with a magnificent mask of painted wood and feathers. Bruises and sores cover her skin.
Gurgist Mortic CR 6
AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 16 (+3 armor, +3 Dex, +3 natural)
hp 76 (9d8+36); fast healing 5
Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +5
Defensive Abilities death gasp, negative energy affinity; Immune pain
Weaknesses rotting flesh, vulnerable to consecration
Speed 20 ft.
Melee mwk dagger +10/+5 (1d4+4/19–20), mwk dagger +10/+5 (1d4+2/19–20) or mwk dagger +12/+7 (1d4+4/19–20)
Ranged mwk longbow +10/+5 (1d8/×3)
Special Attacks ferocious rush, sneak attack +3d6
Str 18, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 17, Wis 14, Cha 7
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 23
Feats Improved Initiative, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Quick Draw, Skill Focus (Craft [leatherworking]), Signature Skill (Craft [leatherworking]), Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (dagger)
Skills Craft (leatherworking) +18, Disguise +7, Knowledge (nature) +12, Stealth +15, Survival +14
SQ obsession skill, unliving nature
Ferocious Rush (Ex)
Once per day, a gurgist can push herself to act in a single, ferocious burst of energy. As a full-round action, the gurgist moves up to twice her speed and can make a single melee attack at the end of this movement. If the gurgist ends her movement adjacent to an enemy, that enemy is flat-footed against the gurgist until the beginning of the gurgist’s next turn.
Obsession Skill (Ex)
Every gurgist has some hobby or activity or skill she uses to keep the hunger away, and which she swiftly masters. A gurgist selects one of the following skills: Appraise, Climb, Craft, Disable Device, Disguise, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (any), Linguistics, Perform, Profession, Ride, Sleight of Hand, Spellcraft, Stealth, Survival, Swim, or Use Magic Device. That skill is a class skill for the gurgist. She gains Skill Focus and Signature Skill as bonus feats for this chosen skill, and she can reroll a failed check with her obsession skill once per day. This gurgist has chosen Craft (leatherworking) as her obsession skill.
Rotting Flesh (Su)
Gurgists are forever slowly rotting, their flesh growing soft and discolored and eventually sloughing off in rancid slabs. The only way a gurgist can arrest this decay is to consume raw meat. A gurgist begins to rot if she goes more than 1 week without eating roughly 10% of her body weight in raw meat. After 1 week, she takes 1 point of Constitution damage and 1 point of Charisma damage each day until she can feed. This damage cannot be healed until the gurgist has fed. A gentle repose spell extends the amount of time a gurgist can go without feeding for the duration of the spell.
Organization solitary, pair, hunting party (3–5) or patrol (7–9 gurgists with 1–2 trained animals or magical beasts such as ankhegs or griffons)
Treasure standard (studded leather armor, two mwk daggers, mwk longbow, other treasure)
A gurgist mortic is a keen mind trapped within a rotting, hungering body. Gurgists can feel the decay of their flesh, just as they can feel the urgings of their gullet to rend and consume meat until they bloat with it. But unlike zombies and other carnivorous undead, mortics still have their wits about them and use their minds to find solutions to their nature. They hunt and herd to keep the rot at bay, they obsess over crafts or skills to distract from the hunger, and they wear extravagant masks and colorful garments to hide their hideousness.
Gurgists are the same size as humans, averaging 5-1/2 to 6 feet tall, and weighing about 160 pounds.
Gurgists are among the more common mortics, created whenever a human being is afflicted with a little too much negative energy. A zombie’s bite will do the trick, but so too will a mummy’s curse or a necromancer’s enchantment, giving rise to a metaphysical anomaly that causes the gurgist’s body to think itself dead and free to rot. The body first grows pale, and then develops purple-red splotches on its skin as the blood stills and stagnates. If the gurgist isn’t careful, her flesh then grows gray or waxy and begins to rot, with hideous sores opening. A gurgist who allows this to persist will eventually see large parts of her body liquefy, which usually proves fatal to the gurgist in question.
The only way for a gurgist to stop the process is to eat raw meat—the more, the better. Through some occult means, the gurgist’s half-dead biology then repairs itself and can even reverse smaller changes. A recently fed gurgist can mostly pass for a human, albeit a pale and 86 sickly one, and gurgists who deal with the living are scrupulous in maintaining a daily feeding schedule.
As part of their cursed biology, gurgists suffer from a powerful hunger for meat, preferably fresh raw meat or offal. This hunger is a constant, gnawing sensation at the back of a gurgist’s mind, and while it doesn’t drive her to madness, it certainly drives her to distraction. Luckily for all involved, gurgists have at best a very mild preference for human flesh, and so most subsist on enormous quantities of raw beef, pork, or wild game.
Habitat and Society
Few gurgists can pass for long in mortal society. Their unceasing rot marks them, and their dietary needs limit them. Instead, most live in small villages out on the outskirts of civilization, in wild lands where law breaks down and a community of masked half-dead can live, if not unnoticed, then at least unmolested.
Gurgist villages devote great effort to dealing with the twin problems of rot and hunger. Gurgists ensure there is always plenty of meat around, and so they often become herders and hunters. Many extend their animal-tending skills to other beasts as well. Gurgists are infinitely creative when it comes to taming the local wildlife, and their half-dead hardiness means they can risk dealing with creatures that other people would avoid, such as ankhegs, chimeras, griffons, and mammoths. Gurgists also think of weaker undead as just one more type of beast to train, though no gurgist willingly deals with zombies of any stripe— the similarities are simply too close for comfort.
Dealing with the hunger is harder. Most gurgist communities use distraction to keep themselves sane. Gurgists find a hobby or activity and focus all their will and drive on that one thing, until it becomes greater in their minds than their hunger.
Gurgists might become master animal trainers or leatherworkers, painters, carvers, poets, or anything else that keeps the edge of hunger at bay. In some gurgist villages, all residents choose the same mania, elevating it to something akin to a religion. More often, they each pursue their own private obsessions, placing their skills in the service of their communities.
Masks and clothing are vital parts of gurgist culture.
While there are exceptions, most gurgists find their slow rot no more pleasing to the eye than outsiders do. They instead make beautiful and colorful garb, with particular emphasis placed on unique and eye-catching masks.
Gurgists wear their masks constantly, tying them with leather bands or in extreme cases even sewing them to their half-rotted flesh, and many gurgists consider their masks to be their true faces. Gurgist masks also often say something about the gurgists’ roles in their community.
Hunters or warriors have small, elegant masks, while artisans have more extravagant masks adorned with symbols of their trade.
Gurgist communities tend to be standoffish but not actively hostile to others in the area. In wilder areas, gurgists are sometimes even accepted as neighbors by local human communities—not necessarily comfortable or friendly, but as allies against more dangerous forces.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #140: Eulogy for Roslar’s Coffer © 2019, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Jason Keeley, with Eleanor Ferron, Sarah E. Hood, Lyz Liddell, Luis Loza, Crystal Malarsky, Jen McTeague, and Mikhail Rekun.