This crab-like creature has the torso and head of a human, one arm ending in a massive claw, and another arm wielding a scimitar. It scuttles on six legs that emerge from beneath a massive shell with glinting metal and gems embedded into its surface.
Paguroida CR 9
Speed 30 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee +2 scimitar +16/+11/+6 (1d6+6/18–20), claw +16 (1d6+6 plus grab)
Ranged +2 javelin +13/+8/+3 (1d6+6)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +9)
Psychic Magic (CL 9th; concentration +12)
22 PE—detect psychic significance (1 PE), hallucinatory terrain (DC 17, 4 PE), identify (1 PE), locate object (2 PE), make whole (2 PE), mirage arcana (DC 18, 5 PE), object reading (1 PE), shatter (DC 15, 2 PE), sound burst (DC 15, 2 PE)
Str 19, Dex 13, Con 20, Int 17, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +11; CMB +16 (+20 grapple); CMD 32 (44 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Quick Draw, Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Focus (illusion)
Skills Diplomacy +11, Knowledge (arcana) +14, Perception +16, Spellcraft +20, Stealth +11, Survival +16, Swim +12, Use Magic Device +11
Languages Aquan, Common
SQ amphibious, embedded magic, undersized weapons
Embedded Magic (Su)
A paguroida can embed a magic item in its shell as a full-round action. Once the item is embedded, its magic is channeled into the paguroida’s body and the item no longer functions normally. It is not considered to be wielded or worn, and the item functions as though in an antimagic field while embedded in the paguroida’s shell. A paguroida that has embedded magic items with a total caster level that is at least equal to its Hit Dice (11 for a typical paguroida) gains a +4 deflection bonus to its AC and a +2 enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls. A paguroida with embedded magic items whose total caster level is at least twice the creature’s Hit Dice doubles these bonuses and gains the advanced creature simple template. A paguroida can remove an embedded magic item as a full-round action, adjusting the total caster level of its embedded items accordingly. The magic item can then be wielded or worn, but it still functions as if in an antimagic field for 1d4 minutes, after which time it returns to normal function.
Nondetection Aura (Su)
A paguroida emits an aura out to a radius of 30 feet that makes divination difficult. All creatures and objects within the aura are affected by a nondetection spell that requires a successful DC 20 caster level check to overcome. Creatures or objects revealed to a spellcaster who succeeds at this caster level check remain detectable for 24 hours to that spellcaster, even if the creature or item exits and reenters the aura. A paguroida automatically succeeds at the caster level check to overcome this effect when using its constant detect magic spell-like ability.
Psychic Magic (Su)
A paguroida begins each day with a number of PE equal to twice the total caster level of all magic items embedded in its shell. (The statistics above assume that the paguroida has items with a total caster level equal to 11 embedded in its shell.) Removing or adding a magic item after the start of the day does not increase or reduce this number until the next time the paguroida regains PE.
Undersized Weapons (Ex)
Although a paguroida is Large, its upper torso is the same size as that of a Medium humanoid. As a result, it wields weapons as if it were one size category smaller than its actual size (Medium for most paguroidas). Additionally, because it has only one hand—its other appendage is tipped with a massive pincer—a paguroida can wield only a shield or a light or one-handed weapon at a given time.
Environment temperate coastlines
Organization solitary, pair, or enclave (3–8)
Treasure double (masterwork scimitar, 3 masterwork javelins, 11 caster levels of embedded magic items)
Believed to have been created by the aboleths in ages long past as part of the alghollthus’ experiments on the murajau, paguroidas are reclusive, hermit crab–like monstrous humanoids who live in hidden grottoes and seaside estuaries, typically on isolated or remote coastlines. One of their upper limbs terminates in a humanoid hand, while the other ends in a large pincer capable of gripping and crushing prey. A paguroida’s face is similar to that of a crab, with protruding eyestalks and a wide mandible-filled mouth, though its torso is distinctly humanoid in shape and size. A typical paguroida stands 7 feet tall and weighs 1,200 pounds.
Paguroidas live solitary but long lives—their isolation and extreme paranoia about interaction with other species precludes many unnatural causes of death. In most cases, a paguroida eventually succumbs to old age after having lived for as many as a dozen centuries. Despite their longevity, paguroidas are not fecund, and they reproduce only once every 200–300 years after reaching reproductive maturity at the age of 150. Female paguroidas each lay a single egg in a secluded location, which they abandon among a small cache of magical items from their shells.
Nearby male paguroidas locate the eggs by following the unique magical aura they exude, as well as the magical auras of the items in the eggs’ cache-nests. Once fertilized, an egg ceases to emit such an aura, but the male that fertilized it remains nearby to protect it during the 6 months it gestates before hatching.
Hatchlings are incredibly vulnerable, their shells taking as many as 5 years to harden. Paguroida fathers often give their offspring one or more magical items from their own shells, and they assist the offspring in embedding them and the items from their mothers’ cache-nests into their soft shells to bolster their defenses in their first year.
Habitat and Society
Paguroidas live almost entirely alone, only rarely congregating in groups, generally for purposes of defense or to consolidate resources. Even then, these groups almost never exceed 10 members, as paguroidas have an innate understanding that the valuable items embedded in their shells would draw more treasure hunters to them, negating the advantages of greater numbers.
Typically making their lairs near ancient ruins filled with long-abandoned magical relics, paguroidas prefer to dwell in underwater grottoes inaccessible from the surface. They protect these lairs with powerful illusions and abjurations, counting on remaining hidden to protect themselves and their treasures from potential thieves. A paguroida who encounters an intelligent interloper first attempts to trick the creature into leaving its territory, preferring to avoid conflict altogether. If discovered and unable to persuade the trespasser to leave, a paguroida may offer one of the magic items from its shell as a bribe to send the unwanted guest on its way. This is often a last resort, however, as most paguroidas know that once granted a single item of power, most creatures will seek more and respond with force if their demands are denied.
Because of their mutual penchant for hoarding wealth, dragons are a paguroida’s primary threat, and the crabfolk avoid even good and neutral dragons out of a strong sense of self-preservation. Only when offered substantial magical wealth as signs of good faith do paguroidas cooperate with dragons, and even then they do so warily.
Origins of the Paguroida
The paguroida was conceived in the monster design panel at Gen Con 2016, in which developers Adam Daigle and Mark Moreland guided the attendees through a brainstorming session. Participants contributed to the creature’s abilities, appearance, and flavor. If you were part of this seminar, drop by the message boards on paizo.com and let us know how you think it turned out!
Pathfinder Adventure Path #122: Into the Shattered Continent © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Robert Brookes, with Ayla Arthur, Adam Daigle, Lucas J.W. Johnson, Robin Loutzenhiser, Ron Lundeen, and Mark Moreland.