Shantak CR 7
This scaled, elephantine creature has two legs and a pair of massive wings, giving it a roughly bird-like outline. Its head is elongated and horse-like.
AC 20, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+3 Dex, +9 natural, –2 size)
hp 85 (9d10+36)
Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +6
Defensive Abilities slippery; Immune cold, disease, poison; Resist acid 10, fire 10
Weaknesses susceptible to fear
Speed 20 ft., fly 200 ft. (average)
Melee bite +14 (1d8+7), 2 talons +14 (1d6+7)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks fearsome display, feed on fear
Str 24, Dex 17, Con 19, Int 8, Wis 17, Cha 16
Base Atk +9; CMB +18; CMD 31 (39 vs. grapple)
Feats Flyby Attack, Hover, Power Attack, Snatch, Wingover
Skills Escape Artist +11, Fly +11; Racial Modifiers +8 Escape Artist
SQ no breath, share defenses, starflight
Fearsome Display (Su)
As a swift action, a shantak can adopt a fearsome posture against a single target within 30 feet. The target of this fearsome display must make a successful DC 17 Will save or become shaken for 1d6 rounds. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Feed on Fear (Su)
Shantaks are enhanced when they sense fear in their prey. Once per round when a shantak damages a creature suffering from a fear effect, the shantak gains 1 fear point, to a maximum number of fear points equal to its CR (7 fear points for the typical shantak). Fear points, once gained, persist for the duration of a combat—once a shantak spends more than a minute out of combat it loses all accumulated fear points. As soon as a shantak gains a fear point, it immediately negates any ongoing fear effect that it is suffering from.
A shantak gains a bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls equal to its current fear point total. A shantak that has accumulated at least 5 fear points also gains the effects of haste for as long as it maintains at least 5 fear points. A calm emotions spell (or similar effect that deadens a creature’s ability to feel emotion, at the GM’s discretion) causes a shantak to lose 1d6 fear points per round it remains under the effects of the spell.
A shantak drips slippery slime. This grants the creature a +8 bonus on all Escape Artist checks and to its CMD against grapples, and imparts a –5 penalty on all Ride checks made by creatures attempting to ride a shantak.
While a shantak can fly at rapid speeds, its speed increases astoundingly once free of a planetary atmosphere. In outer space, a shantak can fly at an incredible speed, slipping in between dimensions to travel vast distances much faster than expected.
Although exact travel times on these interstellar journeys vary, a trip within a single solar system should take 3d20 hours, while a trip beyond a solar system should take 3d20 days (or more, at the GM’s discretion), provided the shantak knows the way to its destination.
Susceptible to Fear (Ex)
While a shantak is immune to the fearsome display of other shantaks, when subjected to a fear effect from another creature, its intrinsic ability to sense and feed on fear creates a negative feedback in the shantak’s mind. As long as a shantak is affected by a fear effect, it suffers a –2 penalty to its Armor Class, attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, and saving throws; these penalties stack with any caused by other fear effects such as shaken. A shantak loses all accumulated fear points if it becomes affected by a fear effect.
Environment cold mountains or outer space
Organization solitary, pair, or flock (3–12)
Also known as shantak-birds, shantaks are intelligent and innately malign. They can be easily persuaded to cooperate with a competent master, and have proven highly useful for transport due to their incredible speed.
A shantak is large—as big as an elephant and weighing 2–4 tons—and though it is often considered to be a bird, it has scales rather than feathers. It has an elongated snout, making its head slightly resemble that of a horse or, more closely, an iguanodon. It has four limbs—two legs and two wings—giving it a body arrangement rather like that of a wyvern. Shantaks lay eggs in excavated hollow places in mountain peaks and elsewhere to tend their young.
Shantaks secrete a thin coating of slime as an insulator and protective coating, making their scales very slippery. They have the ability to fly into and through space and other dimensions. Their slime protects against almost all environmental effects and is effective in mitigating many attacks.
Even the bravest person typically has some slight degree of trepidation while facing a shantak, which boosts the shantak’s effectiveness. This often terrifies the shantak’s opponents, creating a feedback loop that empowers the birdlike monstrosity.
There are two situations in which the shantak’s empathic fear power does not work. First, if the target is so powerful that it doesn’t fear the shantak in the first place, then there is no “foothold” for the empathic loop to get started. Secondly, if the prey creature is something that is incapable of fear but is able to cause fear, this sets up a negative feedback loop that weakens the shantak. As a result, they avoid entities such as nightgaunts or undead.
Shantaks are omnivorous but need protein to breed, so they tend to prefer hunting prey.
Naturally empathic, their neural structure is focused on their prey’s emotions. If their target feels fear, this stimulates and boosts the shantak’s abilities. Naturally, they like to chase their prey down to induce the maximum amount of fear or panick before feeding.
Shantaks, as semi-intelligent creatures, cannot truly be domesticated, but they can be induced to work for a strong and evil master in return for the obvious considerations (such as terrified prey to toy with and then devour).
Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2017, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.