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Stymphalidies

Every feather like a plate of shimmering armor and its beak the length and sharpness of a knight’s lance, this towering, ibis-like bird looks to be sculpted from silver and brass. Standing upon long legs ending in powerful metallic talons, its beady eyes dart about voraciously.

Stymphalidies CR 8

XP 4,800
N Large magical beast
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +12

DEFENSE

AC 22, touch 11, flat-footed 20 (+2 Dex, +11 natural, -1 size)
hp 94 (9d10+45)
Fort +11, Ref +10, Will +5
DR 10/magic and adamantine; Immune fire
Weaknesses vulnerable to sonic

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft., fly 120 ft. (poor)
Melee bite +14 (1d8+6 plus bleed), 2 talons +14 (1d6+6), 2 wings +9 (1d6+3 plus bleed)
Ranged 2 wing razors +10 (1d6+6 plus bleed)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks bleed (1d6), glare, wing razors

STATISTICS

Str 22, Dex 15, Con 20, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 17
Base Atk +9; CMB +16; CMD 28
Feats Critical Focus, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Fly +4, Perception +12

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Glare (Su)

As a standard action, in any area of normal or brighter light, a stymphalidies can ruffle its metallic feathers in such a way as to blind all creatures nearby. Any creature within 30 feet must succeed at a DC 19 Fortitude save or be blinded for 1d6 minutes. A creature can defend against this effect in the same way it would a gaze attack. This is a sight-based effect. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Wing Razors (Ex)

A stymphalidies’s metallic feathers are razor-sharp. In addition to being able to slash creatures with its wings as a melee attack, it may beat its wings, flinging two large, feathered shards at a single target. These wing razors deal 2d6 points of damage and cause bleed, with a range increment of 50 feet. A stymphalidies can use this attack a number of times per day equal to its Constitution modifier (5 times per day for most stymphalidies).

ECOLOGY

Environment warm plains or coastlines
Organization solitary, pair, or flight (3-9)
Treasure incidental

Man-eating birds of prey, the rare creatures known as stymphalidies stalk plains and coastlines, shredding warm-blooded animals and unwary travelers with their steely-bladed feathers and daggerlike beaks. From a distance, stymphalidies might easily be mistaken for cranes, ibises, or other long-necked birds, though in full sunlight their gleaming feathers and the haze of blood lingering from past meals are impossible to mistake.

When not at rest, flocks of the creatures soar high on warm currents of air, relying upon their keen eyesight to spot suitable prey far below. Because of their voracious appetites, flocks of stymphalidies must claim a vast swath of territory to maintain their feeding habits.

Fortunately for the folk of civilized lands, stymphalidies rarely encroach upon areas well traveled by humanoids and other creatures clever enough to bring down one of these metallic-winged avians. Stymphalidies breed at an astonishing rate, however, and overpopulation and exhaustion of game frequently force extraordinarily large and deadly groups of the creatures to band together in search of new lands and new prey to devour.

The wings of stymphalides are as sharp as knives and often lacerate their prey as the birds swarm and beat their wings against their unfortunate victims’ skin. Similarly, their beaks are supernaturally sharp and can pierce the tough hides of animal prey or the armor of those warriors foolish enough to hunt the creatures. Even if a victim of a stymphalides swarm’s frenzied attacks manages to fend off the vicious creatures, the wounds caused by the birds continue to bleed long after being inflicted, and the victim often perishes from loss of blood before ever reaching help.

Most stymphalides stand approximately 2-1/2 feet tall and weigh little more than 40 pounds. Although mean-tempered and territorial, lone stymphalides prove relatively harmless, thus traveling in swarms of several dozen, relying on strength of numbers to bring down large or dangerous prey. Many tales also tell of enormous breeds of these monstrous birds, powerful enough to prey upon wyverns. These giant stymphalides are said to grow up to 13 feet tall and weigh over 250 pounds, with wingspans reaching upward of 25 feet. Such gigantic stymphalides are rarely seen, preferring to lurk upon desolate cliffs or even amid harsh extraplanar realms.

Unlike vultures and other birds of the deserts and plains, stymphalides do not scavenge carcasses, although they are not above driving away natural scavengers if a large, fresh kill looks particularly inviting. When traveling in flocks, stymphalides prove fearless predators, swooping in and swarming any creature that wanders into their territory. The birds actively hunt their prey, harrying and killing lone individuals or stragglers. The attacks of a stymphalides swarm often prove so vicious that the creatures can take to flight once they have wounded prey, wait for it to bleed to death, and return to pick the corpse clean.

Stymphalides generally avoid attacking large groups of people, unless the birds have gathered in a particularly sizable flock.

Stymphalides are not purely carnivorous. A lone stymphalides might resort to eating fruit and other plants if it is separated from its flock or food is scarce, and orchards and fields of crops have been devastated by stymphalides when great swarms of the birds, starving from overpopulation or lack of prey, migrate to new territories. Yet although the birds are omnivorous, they seem to prefer meat. Those plainsfolk or desert-dwellers whose livelihoods depend on livestock have learned to fear the sight of flocks of birds silhouetted against the sky, as herds of cattle and other grazing animals have been ravaged by their swarms.

Habitat & Society

Most swarms of stymphalides roost near watering holes, rivers, and coastal cliffs, preying upon unfortunate creatures desperate enough to seek food or water so near to the dangerous birds’ nests. The nests of stymphalides are frequently made from the bones of the creatures’ prey, piled into macabre ziggurats upon which entire flocks of the birds rest. Particularly large flocks of the birds construct enormous nests, and giant stymphalides can create towers visible for miles.

When not at rest, flocks of the creatures soar high on warm currents of air, relying upon their keen eyesight to spot suitable prey far below. Because of their voracious appetites, flocks of stymphalides must claim a vast swath of territory to maintain their feeding habits. Stymphalides are fiercely territorial, and flocks of the birds frequently fight with one another in swooping aerial battles to determine possession of land.

Fortunately for the folk of civilized lands, stymphalides rarely encroach upon areas well traveled by humanoids and other creatures clever enough to bring down one of these metal-winged avians. Among the people of the plains, the metallic birds are often regarded as nearly legendary creatures. Stymphalides breed at an astonishing rate, however, and overpopulation and exhaustion of game frequently force extraordinarily large and deadly groups of the creatures to band together in search of new lands and new prey to devour.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3, © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Michael Kenway, Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, Chris Sims, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, and Russ Taylor, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

Pathfinder 26: The Sixfold Trial. Copyright 2009, Paizo Publishing LLC. Author: Richard Pett