Living Doldrums

The air here is eerily still, and the normal sound of the wind is replaced by a barely audible hum.

Living Doldrums CR 12

XP 19,200
NE Gargantuan outsider (air, elemental, extraplanar)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +27
Aura stagnant (240 ft.)


AC 8, touch 8, flat-footed 6 (+1 Dex, +1 dodge, –4 size)
hp 162 (13d10+91)
Fort +11, Ref +9, Will +15
Defensive Abilities gaseous, natural invisibility; DR 10/magic; Immune acid, elemental traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; Weaknesses vulnerability to magic wind, vulnerability to sonic


Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 hypoxic touches +9 touch (6d6 and slowed)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Special Attacks hypoxic heart (DC 23, 6d6 and slowed)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th; concentration +20)

At willdetect thoughts (DC 19)
3/daycrushing despair (DC 21), quickened murderous command (DC 18), quickened oppressive boredom (DC 19), quickened paranoia (DC 19)
1/dayenvious urge (DC 23), malicious spite (DC 21), song of discord (DC 22)


Str —, Dex 13, Con 24, Int 9, Wis 24, Cha 24
Base Atk +13; CMB +17; CMD 29
Feats Alertness, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (murderous command, oppressive boredom, paranoia)
Skills Fly +19, Knowledge (planes) +15, Perception +27, Sense Motive +27, Stealth +5
Languages Auran, Common (can’t speak any language); telepathy 100 ft.


Gaseous (Ex)

A living doldrums has a body composed of stagnant air. It can pass through small holes, narrow openings, and even mere cracks, but it cannot enter water or other liquid. It has no Strength score and cannot manipulate objects as a result.

Hypoxic Heart (Ex)

A living doldrums can engulf foes, as per the universal monster ability. A creature engulfed by a living doldrums doesn’t gain the pinned condition and can move normally, but it is still in danger of suffocating.

A creature that begins its turn engulfed takes 6d6 points of damage and must succeed at a DC 23 Fortitude saving throw or be slowed (as per the spell slow). This condition lasts as long as the creature is in the living doldrums’ space and for 1d4+1 rounds after it leaves. Creatures that don’t breathe take no damage from the living doldrums’ engulf attack and do not risk being slowed. The living doldrums extinguishes all non-magical fires in its space.

The save DC is Constitution-based.

Hypoxic Touch (Ex)

A living doldrums’ touch attack hinders a creature’s ability to breathe. A creature that takes damage from this attack must succeed at a DC 23 Fortitude saving throw or be slowed (as per the spell slow) for 1 round. Creatures that don’t breathe are immune to this attack. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Natural Invisibility (Su)

This ability is constantly in effect, even when the living doldrums is attacking, and is not subject to invisibility purge. Against foes that are unable to see invisible creatures, it gains an additional +20 bonus on Stealth checks when moving, or +40 when stationary; these bonuses are not included in the statistics above. Because of its size and pervasiveness within the area it occupies, a living doldrums gains only a 20% miss chance due to its invisibility.

Stagnant Aura (Su)

The air within 240 feet of a living doldrums is always still. Naturally occurring winds flow around this radius without disturbing anything inside (though precipitation falls as normal). Mundane attempts to create airflow within the aura (such as with a fan) are only half as strong as normal. Air elementals, gaseous creatures, and winged creatures (other than living doldrums) have their maneuverability reduced by one category within the aura. This aura does not inhibit magical air and wind effects.

Vulnerability to Magic Wind (Ex)

Damaging effects from moving air (such as a kineticist’s air blast) deal 50% more damage to a living doldrums. A living doldrums that begins its turn in the area of a nondamaging magical wind effect takes 1d6 points of damage per spell level of the effect.


Environment any air (Plane of Air)
Organization solitary
Treasure incidental

When people imagine elementals that thrive on the Plane of Air, they are most likely to think of the spirits of rushing wind and thundering storm, but not all air elementals are so dynamic. Living doldrums are elementals that embody stagnant air. Those who can see invisible creatures describe the living doldrums as a cloud roughly 20 feet in diameter that resembles a knotted snake with a head at both ends. The scent of stale air lingers around a living doldrums, even if one only recently arrived to the area.

Living doldrums project an aura of unmoving air that lures those seeking shelter from the wind or becalms those who rely on wind to travel. Once it has them trapped, the living doldrums torments its victims until they eventually kill themselves or one other. Though they do not need to eat in the traditional sense, scholars believe that living doldrums derive from their victims some sort of psychic sustenance that enables them to become more powerful.

The most dangerous aspect of these predators is their natural invisibility. They avoid direct conflict with their victims, many of which die unaware that either the dead calm of the air or the desperate actions of their allies were anything other than natural. Only when victims become aware of the living doldrums’s influence—whether through magical means or mundane deduction—and take action against it does the elemental resort to physical attacks. It may be that it is the madness and not the death of its victims that feeds the living doldrums, or perhaps it merely serves them as cruel entertainment. Creatures immune to mind control are of little interest to the living doldrums, though it might use its powers to turn others against those that it can’t affect directly.

Though living doldrums are resistant to many physical attacks, magic that creates wind or loud noises is especially harmful to the elementals. Spellcasters are thus often the first target of the living doldrums’ mind-controlled victims. Even mundane noises are an annoyance to a living doldrums (especially percussion and wind instruments), though they cause it no damage, leading some who know of living doldrums to believe that loud or discordant music drives them off. In practice, though, this tactic is more likely to cause the elemental to physically attack the musicians, making it a dangerous but effective way to draw the creature into revealing itself.

Habitat and Society

Living doldrums are native to the Plane of Air, where they haunt trade routes, feeding on unwary or ignorant travelers until put to flight by more powerful creatures (such as a combined force of djinn). On occasion, they slip into the Material Plane, often through temporary portals located in the eyes of hurricanes and tornadoes. Living doldrums are most often found at sea and consider sailing ships a favorite target—once trapped within the elementals’ aura, sailors can do little to escape their fate. Away from the water, living doldrums make their lairs in desolate locations, such as desert oases and mountain valleys, preying on those who seek refuge there.

These pious elementals see their actions as an extension of their god’s mission to rid the multiverse of solid and visible creatures.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Adventure Path #123: The Flooded Cathedral © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Mikko Kallio, with John Compton, Adam Daigle, Kalervo Oikarinen, and David Schwartz.

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