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Snowking

Snowking CR 10

XP 9,600
NE Huge magical beast
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +21

DEFENSE

AC 21, touch 7, flat-footed 21 (–1 Dex, +14 natural, –2 size)
hp 149 (13d10+78); regeneration 5 (fire)
Fort +14; Ref +7; Will +7
Weaknesses trappings of royalty
Speed 40 ft.

OFFENSE

Melee bite +25 (1d8+19 plus poison)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks poison, trample (2d8+19, DC 29)

STATISTICS

Str 36, Dex8, Con23, Int6, Wis13, Cha7
Base Atk +13; CMB +28 (+30 vs bull rush and overrun); CMD 37 (39 vs bull rush and overrun)
Feats Improved Bull Rush, Improved Iron Will, Improved Overrun, Iron Will, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Perception +21, Swim +18
Languages Common
SQ longstanding grudge

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Trappings of Royalty (Ex)

A snowking cannot resist the accouterments of royalty and political power. When a creature displays a crown, scepter, or robe worth at least 5,000 gp to a snowking, the snowking treats that creature as if it were affected by a sanctuary spell (no save allowed). The snowking must be able to see the item. (At the GM’s discretion, a creature may display another garment or object associated with local royalty to create this same effect.) This effect lasts for 1 minute for each 5,000 gp value of the item or until the creature violates the conditions of sanctuary. The sanctuary effect does not extend to the creature’s allies, and the same snowking cannot be affected by this ability for 24 hours, even if a different creature presents the object.

Because this weakness is a well-kept secret, it takes a successful DC 30 Knowledge (nature) check to discover this vulnerability. This is a mind-affecting effect with visual components.

Longstanding Grudge (Ex)

A snowking is immune to spells and effects affecting its memory, such as memory lapse, modify memory or drain memory attacks.

Poison (Ex)

Bite—injury; save Fort DC 22; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Dex damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.

ECOLOGY

Environment cold deserts, forests, and plains
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure double standard

This huge creature has the legs and torso of a gigantic polar bear, though its arms are disproportionately short for its size. A crown made from ice and snow sits atop its head, which is covered with thick white fur.

While its skull bears telltale ursine features, its elongated mouth features a serpent’s fangs and a forked tongue.

An ancient polar poet once opined, “Ambition can change the course of history and sculpt the land in ways previously unimaginable, yet in the course of its great enterprise, it always corrupts the soul and snow with the stain of evil.” The desire to attain worldly power often accomplishes mighty deeds and performs great wonders at a tremendous price. However, yearning to dominate others is not an exclusively humanoid trait. The potent force drives the actions of men and monsters alike. Whether it is a bloodthirsty king provoking global wars to expand his territory or a scheming ruler depriving his subjects of their fundamental human rights to tighten his grip over his oppressed people, ambition compels its charges to toss ethics aside and instead sate their appetites for absolute authority regardless of the cost. Rather than ponder the consequences and ramifications of its decisions, the creature lets its thirst for power guide its hand in all pursuits.

In this vein, legends about a race of monstrous polar bears who lord over the ice and snow circulate throughout every polar community. The people refer to the creature by many different names, but regardless of language and dialect, the term “snowking” somehow wriggles its way into the local vocabulary when describing the enormous beast. Snowkings originated from a noble line of polar bears blessed with the gifts of sentience and speech. The gigantic animals used their wisdom and intellect for the common good until the fateful day when a minor dispute forever changed their destiny. During the course of their travels, a herd of these enormous beasts marveled in wonder at a strange, icy obelisk towering over an otherwise featureless glacier. Curiosity and awe soon gave way to want as the normally placid bears bitterly quarreled over the puzzling object’s origins and ultimately its control. While the debate raged on, the overly trusting bear who originally saw the obelisk grew dismayed at the unfolding course of events, leading him to wander off onto the glacier in the futile hopes the tumult would eventually die down. There, he encountered a mysterious serpent slithering through a crevasse atop the glacier. Also imbued with the ability to speak, the devious serpent pounced on the obvious worry etched into the concerned ursine’s troubled expression. The treacherous deceiver told his naive acquaintance if he swallowed the serpent whole, his wisdom combined with the bear’s judgment would bring the heated discussion to an immediate halt. The fool agreed, and as promised, the transformed beast ended the deliberation in bloody and gruesome fashion, claiming dominion over the obelisk and the worthless expanse of ice and snow surrounding it. The dreaded snowking came into being at that terrible moment.

As the preceding story suggests, this magical beast combines the features of a polar bear and serpent in previously unforeseen ways. It retains the bear’s size and general body type including its tail, though its arms inexplicably shortened during the metamorphosis. Although its hands end in sharp claws, its stubby, vestigial limbs can weakly grasp objects such as a scepter or rod, yet cannot wield weapons or be used for natural attacks. Its head has a pronounced snout featuring savage fangs, though it still looks more like a polar bear than a snake. Since its creation, the snowking expanded its territory beyond the glaciers to include cold deserts, forests, and plains. The notion of peacefully coexisting with others eludes these competitive creatures. Thus, their potent inner drive coupled with their insatiable appetite for conquest ensures conflicts with other sentient beings they claim fall under their aegis. Despite their love of authority, snowkings show little interest in governing their subjects and certainly none in bettering their lives.

Their short-lived and usually tumultuous kingdoms predominately exist to boost their gargantuan egos and indulge their violent whims. The monsters demand crippling tributes, endless conscripts, and tireless adoration from their oppressed citizens, yet they offer nothing in return for their efforts. Needless to say, these poorly managed states constantly teeter on the edge of anarchy and rebellion. Snowkings have an uncanny knack for sensing when their political position becomes untenable. When revolt hangs in the air, they hastily abdicate their thrones and abscond with the riches they stole from the populace. Deposed snowkings temporarily lead nomadic lives far from others of their kind and permanent settlements until another opportunity to rule a new humanoid settlement or claim undisputed territory presents itself.

Nonetheless, the snowking rarely learns its lessons from past experiences and instead repeats the same mistakes that led to its current predicament. An exiled snowking kills trespassers on sight, though it is possible to bribe the greedy monster with the trappings of royalty to gain safe passage through its lands and, in the case of an enormous tribute, some grudging assistance in the interlopers’ endeavor. Nonetheless, snowkings are untrustworthy, and any creature striking a bargain with one of the monstrous beasts must keep a wary eye on it at all times lest they fall victim to the conniver.