This stout, hunched predator has a ruff of dirty feathers and a crocodilian skull for a head.
Esobok CR 3
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 30 (4d10+8)
Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +6
Defensive Abilities eater of the dead; DR 2/adamantine; Immune death effects, disease, poison; Resist cold 10, electricity 10
Str 14, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 5, Wis 14, Cha 15
Base Atk +4; CMB +6; CMD 19
Feats Combat Reflexes, Power Attack
Skills Climb +8, Intimidate +8, Perception +2, Stealth +9, Survival +8
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal
SQ spirit touch
Eater of the Dead (Su)
Wrench Spirit (Su)
If an esobok begins its turn grappling a living or undead creature, it can attempt to wrench that creature’s animating spirit free as a standard action. If the target succeeds at a DC 14 Will save, it takes 1d6 points of force damage; if the target fails, its spirit is stripped from its body.
All other targets are paralyzed. Once per round, a creature dazed or paralyzed by this effect can attempt a new saving throw to free its soul from the esobok’s jaws. An esobok can’t use its bite attack while it holds a disembodied spirit, but it can release the spirit as a free action, at which point the daze or paralysis effect ends. Creatures without souls (such as constructs and oozes) and creatures whose bodies and souls are one unit (such as outsiders) are immune to this ability. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Esoboks are the blunt and vicious predator caste of psychopomps. They patrol as feral hunters, hungry for undead flesh. Though as outsiders esoboks don’t have to eat and draw no sustenance from this behavior, the spark of undeath is a feast for their every sense, and they pursue and ravenously consume undead creatures given the chance.
Esoboks’ unruly nature and limited intelligence make them ideal border guards and “attack animals,” although their behavior can be alien and unsettling to those who expect them to display either more animalistic instincts or the sophisticated intellects of other psychopomps. These predators are never trusted to retrieve the souls of the fallen, but they are often called to the Material Plane to help contain outbreaks of undead—in such situations, their joy at the taste of undead flesh generally prevents them from attacking living targets, despite their lust for battle.
Some psychopomps (particularly vanths) have developed methods of training esoboks to realize greater potentials, allowing the creatures to tap into newfound reservoirs of magical ability. These trained esoboks have the advanced creature simple template and gain access to the following spell-like abilities, each usable once per day: ear-piercing scream, haunting mists, and teleport.
The typical esobok stands 3 feet tall at the shoulder, is nearly as wide, and weighs upward of 300 pounds.
While as outsiders they have no need to eat or drink to survive, esoboks’ gnawing hunger and focused purpose cause them to grow restless, irritated, and unpredictable if denied prey too long. They favor unliving meals, but will hunt anything they can chase. Esoboks prefer rich sources of negative and positive energy—such as characters who can channel energy, beings that radiate these energies naturally, or potions and scrolls of various cure and inflict spells—but most every entity in the multiverse holds some shining seed of energy that an esobok would savor.
Most psychopomps arise from the souls of the unaligned dead, and bring an unusual amount of their living selves with them into eternal services. A few scholars of esoteric lore believe they are forged from lingering shreds of soulstuff that have flaked from the countless weary dead. Whatever their origins, esoboks lack the strong personalities common among other psychopomps. They have few personal proclivities and loathe individuality.
Packs of esoboks roam like wolves, constantly searching for intruders and those who would raise the dead or interfere with their tombs. These feral packs carve out territories and defend them from outsiders and even other psychopomps. While they prefer the taste of undeath, esoboks eat their fill of infernal or celestial trespassers. Only petitioners and other psychopomps escape their predation.
While vanths serve as eerily disciplined soldiers, morrignas hunt fugitives of the system, and other psychopomps tend to the bureaucracy of death, esoboks are her guardian beasts. Uncorrupted by ethical questions or personal desires, they simply shred whatever they encounter.
Their unruly nature and limited intelligence make esoboks ideal border guards and attack animals. Like vanths, their behavior is alien and unsettling, seemingly devoid of the mortal heritage of most outsiders. Vanths find the creatures comforting, and frequently recruit them to direct their savage fury against astradaemons, night hags, and others who might profit from interfering with the River of Souls. Only the most disciplined of esoboks are permitted within sight of great palaces of justice and record halls, and even then only when tightly chained.
Esoboks are never trusted to retrieve the souls of the fallen. Despite their fondness for petitioners, they are rough and simple-minded brutes that are difficult to control. Even if allowed to visit the mortal world, they require short leashes and disciplined masters. They most frequently accompany vanths to sites of undead infection, and more rarely act as muscle for morrignas tired of subtlety. Occasionally, mortal summoners call forth esoboks to contain outbreaks of undead—their joy at the taste of undead flesh usually keeps them from causing much harm to other creatures. If they lack undead prey, however, esoboks stranded on the Material Plane prey on whatever they can chase and catch.
Though esoboks respect and fear more powerful psychopomps, only vanths seem capable of training them into anything more than crude animals. Such trained esoboks grow substantially in power, as their newfound discipline taps into their latent magic. These war dogs have the advanced simple template and gain the following spell-like abilities, each usable once per day: ear-piercing scream, haunting mists, and teleport.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #80: Empty Graves © 2014, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Crystal Frasier, with Thurston Hillman, Will McCardell, Rob McCreary, and Amber E. Scott.