This creature resembles a cross between a turtle and a crab, with flippers instead of legs, a snapping beak, and two pincers.
Tojanida CR 5
Speed 10 ft., swim 90 ft.
Melee bite +9 (1d6+3), 2 claws +9 (1d6+3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks ink cloud
Str 16, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 9
Base Atk +6; CMB +9; CMD 21 (29 vs. trip)
Feats Blind-Fight, Dodge, Power Attack
Skills Bluff +5, Escape Artist +10, Knowledge (planes) +9, Perception +14, Perform (act) +5, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +7, Survival +7, Swim +11; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception
A tojanida can emit a 30-foot-radius sphere of ink once per minute as a free action. The ink provides total concealment in water, and persists for 1 minute. If used out of the water, the jet of ink is a line 30 feet long, and creatures in the area must succeed at a DC 16 Reflex save or be blinded for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Tojanidas are bizarre natives from the Plane of Water that resemble mixes between monstrous crabs and enormous snapping turtles. Originally elemental beings of water, tojanidas were bound into their strange forms long ago for unclear reasons, and no longer know how they might eventually return to their pure and formless state. Determined to preserve their pride, the grotesque tojanidas ply the waters of the planes seeking hedonistic pleasures—especially culinary ones—and the adoration of other races. Loquacious when addressed with the proper respect, they make excellent heralds and emissaries for more powerful beings, and often enjoy posing as such even when operating on their own. When riled, however, tojanidas make fearsome opponents, violent and eager juggernauts with snapping jaws and clacking pincers.
Adult tojanidas are roughly 6 feet long, and weigh several hundred pounds. When threatened, a tojanida can retract its limbs most of the way into its shell, which is an irremovable part of its body. The ring of eyes completely encircling the tojanida’s shell along its equator makes the creature extremely difficult to catch by surprise, though it does retain small blind spots both directly above and directly below its body. While tojanidas adore eating, as they find flavor and texture to be two of the most fascinating senses, they don’t actually need to consume food, instead drawing sustenance directly from the magic of their shells.
Blessed (or cursed) with extremely long racial memories, tojanidas wander the oceans and lakes of innumerable worlds, attempting to find unusual physical pleasures or conversation capable of distracting them from the insufferable ennui and apathy born of remembering their ancestors’ experiences. Though the tojanidas themselves may not appreciate the burden of memory, adventurers and scholars can sometimes make good use of a tojanida’s recalled lore.
Tojanidas are bizarre natives of the Plane of Water that resemble crosses between monstrous crabs and enormous snapping turtles. Originally elemental beings of water, possibly related to marid genies, tojanidas were bound into their current forms long ago for unclear reasons, and no longer know how they might eventually return to their pure and formless state. Determined to preserve their pride, the grotesque tojanidas ply the waters of the planes seeking hedonistic pleasures—especially culinary ones—and the adoration of other races. Loquacious when addressed with the proper respect, they make excellent heralds and emissaries for more powerful beings, and often enjoy posing as such even when operating on their own. When riled, however, tojanidas make fearsome opponents, nigh-unstoppable juggernauts with snapping jaws and clacking pincers.
Adult tojanidas are roughly 6 feet long, and weigh several hundred pounds. When threatened, a tojanida can retract its limbs most of the way into its shell, which is an irremovable part of its body. The ring of eyes completely encircling the tojanida’s shell along its equator makes the creature extremely difficult to catch by surprise, though it does retain small blind spots both directly above and directly below its body. While tojanidas adore eating, as they find flavor and texture to be two of the most fascinating senses, they don’t actually need to consume food, instead drawing sustenance directly from the magic of their shells. Blessed (or cursed) with extremely long racial memories, tojanidas wander the oceans and lakes of innumerable worlds, attempting to find unusual physical pleasures or conversation capable of distracting them from the insufferable ennui and apathy born of remembering their ancestors’ experiences. Though the tojanidas themselves may not appreciate the burden of memory, adventurers and scholars can sometimes make good use of a tojanida’s recalled lore.
Primordial creatures from the dark recesses of history, tojanidas are tangled masses of madness and willful ignorance sealed inside formidable shells. Once a proud race of elementals, these frequently misunderstood beings are bound by ancient pacts to their strange and crab-like forms, transformed from magnificent and noble creatures into self-serving hedonists. Yet snatches of greatness still lie buried deep within the racial memories of these shelled wanderers. Beneath their juvenile search for sensation, the subconscious desire to reclaim their lost honor and glory drives tojanidas to seek out others and pass along their stories, awe them with their combat prowess, or acquit themselves with great valor. For though the tojanidas have lost much—their memories, their sense of purpose, and even their original physical forms—they remain adamant that no one will ever rob them of their dignity.
Aquatic outsiders native to the Plane of Water, tojanidas lack both the patience of water elementals and the capriciousness of marids. Instead, they are living embodiments of water’s reluctance to be contained. The iconic shells and strange appendages that make them so formidable also serve as biological prisons, and tojanidas’ spirits chafe at these restrictions and long for a racial memory of mutability and ultimate freedom. This limitation constantly tugs at their minds, driving some individuals to madness, and even the most optimistic of these strange beings curse their beautiful carapaces even as they shield the creatures from attack.
Tojanidas pass along fragmented memories to their offspring at birth. These half-forgotten images hint at former greatness, filling every tojanida with a sense of entitlement and pride to match the vainest human nobles. This mindset also contributes to a racial boredom and ennui; tojanidas constantly thirst for new sights, experiences, and culinary discoveries. Modern tojanidas ply the waters of the planes alone or in small clutches, seeking out anything to momentarily stimulate or delight them in the face of a thousand generations’ memories.
Though native to the Plane of Water, tojanidas are nomadic and journey wherever water flows, from the stygian depths of Hell to the gentle lapping shores of Heaven, and even to the waterways of the Material Plane. In their quests for new experiences, they sometimes partner with other outsiders or powerful mortals, though such alliances crumble when the tojanidas’ inherent laziness and egotism rise to the surface. More commonly, a tojanida ingratiates itself into an isolated community by feigning importance as a divine messenger.
There it wallows in whatever extravagance its patrons offer until it grows bored or the beleaguered hosts chase it off. In the end, even other tojanidas often tire of their kindred’s arrogance, and groups commonly fracture or exile members over minor disagreements.
History fails to record either the origins of the tojanidas or the crime that warranted their racial imprisonment, but it’s generally believed that tojanidas began as a noble and powerful race of aquatic outsiders on the Plane of Water, beings with a physical form as free and manipulable as water itself. Some even suggest that the tojanidas may have begun life as a clan of marids. Whatever the impetus—whether punishment for a transgression, the loss of a wager, or a willing penance—the first tojanidas are believed to have been rounded up by marid pashas and bound within the bizarre, shelled form they now bear, which is somewhere between that of a snapping turtle and an immense crab.
Trapped in a single physical form, no longer able to disperse into the surrounding water or create works of art with their bodies, the newborn tojanidas were filled with rage and despair. This in turn the marids used to their advantage, unleashing their armored creations upon their enemies as frontline siege-breakers in a now-forgotten war, after which they turned their living war engines loose to make their own way in the world. Even the tojanidas’ vaunted racial memory reveals nothing more about this time; the era of the tojanidas’ downfall is scoured clean from the species’ memory, leaving them with little more than an abiding distrust of genies.
Most tojanidas measure roughly 6 feet in length and weigh a healthy quarter ton. The flesh on a tojanida’s flippers and beneath its shell is firm and rubbery, like that of an octopus, but its turtle-like beak and terrifying pinchers are both formed from huge slabs of steel-hard chitin. Their eyes, equally spaced around their armored bodies, give them a strange, 360-degree view of their surroundings that makes them almost impossible to sneak up on; those who seek to challenge them are advised to approach from directly above or below, where the creatures have something of a blind spot. The tojanidas’ notorious shells, though often compared to those of turtles or crabs, are in fact as varied in their shape as the tojanidas are in personality, and sometimes seem eerily reflective of their residents’ temperaments. The shells of aggressive or violent tojanidas often develop the ridges and barbs of a snapping turtle’s shell, while the most sedentary blossom into smooth, bubble-domed crab shells. The farthest flung examples of the race even exhibit conch-like swirls and spines, or the suggestion of a nautilus’s spiral. Like those of turtles and crabs, a tojanida’s shell grows from its body and contains several key bone structures that make removing it by force invariably fatal to the resident.
In addition to two lobster-like pinchers protruding from apertures to either side of its stumpy head and parrot-like beak, a tojanida also has two pairs of paddle-like flippers. All of these appendages can be quickly withdrawn into the tojanida’s shell for protection. Ironically, the formidable defenses that allow tojanidas to live lives dedicated to luxury and hedonism also propagate a species-wide laziness that often prevents them from achieving their goals. Though tojanidas eat for the joy of it, ancient magic woven into the creatures’ shells at the time of their ancestors’ imprisonment provides the creatures with all the basic necessities for survival. In addition to protection and sustenance released directly into the creature’s bloodstream when no other food is taken in, the tojanida’s shell even provides rudimentary entertainment to its inhabitant in the form of simple patterns of light and color that manifest on the shell’s interior surfaces, a display which would barely interest a human outside of infancy, but which can keep a tojanida engaged for long periods.
Many young tojanidas perish by growing apathetic and literally withdrawing into themselves, eventually drifting into the elemental depths, never to be seen again. When the outside world grows dull, or an encounter shatters its confidence, even a mature tojanida may withdraw into its shell for weeks at a time.
Despite their magical ability to sustain themselves—or perhaps in rebellion against it—tojanidas greedily devour any new sensory stimulation, especially the flavors and textures of exotic foods. Most feed whenever possible, if only to relieve boredom. Frequently losing interest in meals they’ve had before, tojanidas are always on the lookout for new culinary experiences, which sometimes causes problems when their tastes run to the crops or flesh of intelligent creatures. The few substances a tojanida can’t digest completely are either immediately vomited up or are broken down into tiny particles by the creature’s gut and used to feed the creature’s supply of defensive “ink,” which it uses to muddy the water when in need of a quick getaway.
Fully hermaphroditic, tojanidas mate freely with any other members of their species, and occasionally with those outside it. Their coupling defines whirlwind romance, as tojanidas fall in love within minutes, and their grandiose desires and imaginations turn mild attraction into legendary passion. Little keeps an infatuated tojanida from its mate, and this emotional investment can turn horrific if the attraction is onesided or the tojanida becomes enthralled with a non-tojanida incapable of reciprocating. These same strong feelings invariably doom the relationship: insensitivity and miscommunications become heart-rending betrayals and lead to violence or empty threats of suicide. By the time the egg-sack forms 6 months later, the parents have invariably parted ways.
An egg-sack contains up to two-dozen leathery, apple-sized eggs. Rather than hatching completely, the eggs slowly harden, developing into the young tojanidas’ shells while the embryos inside quicken into fully formed, miniature tojanidas. Parents pass on a mishmash of their memories to their offspring in lieu of raising them, and abandon the young once the egg-sack is thoroughly concealed.
Despite being invested with a lifetime’s experience, young tojanidas don’t develop sentience for nearly a decade. Until then, they cluster together for protection and speak in a continuous, gargled stream of nonsense words and phrases. These so-called “chattering swarms” are considered a nuisance on the Plane of Water, and make easy prey for predators. Upon reaching sentience, juvenile tojanidas quickly grow to adult size over the course of several years.
Tojanidas grow continuously throughout their lives, and elders are double or triple the usual girth. The average specimen lives for a century or two, but rare individuals—often with shells cracked or damaged over the years—can sometimes be far older.
The defining feature of tojanida behavior is their driving need to alleviate boredom. Inheriting a thousand generations’ memories leaves little for an individual to accomplish or experience that it can’t already recall. Many sate this emptiness through travel and indulgence, seeing the great sights of the planes and feasting on whatever exotic treats they encounter. Food and other physical sensations occupy much of their interest, as even the memory of a good meal can’t compare with the act of eating one.
Anyone observing a tojanida’s interactions with other creatures would be hard pressed to tell that the race’s relevance in the Outer Planes passed long ago. Layer upon layer of pageantry and unnecessary drama come with every tojanida interaction, and flattery, backhanded compliments, and feigned offense transform even mundane conversations into swirling operas. These theatrical productions inject some amount of interest and entertainment into the perpetual boredom with which every tojanida grapples.
This constant improvisational theater makes tojanidas surprisingly sophisticated conversationalists, despite social skills stunted by their weird sense of propriety and desire to give every interaction the “proper” pomp and circumstance. They easily pick up the undercurrent of a conversation or spot lies, and delight in toying with such insights like a sadistic cat might tease a mouse. Nothing delights a tojanida quite so much as clever wordplay that leaves a rival fumbling and confused. Conversely, the shelled creatures hate having their own words turned on them, and a sound rebuttal may provoke grudging respect or outright violence.
Because so much of their shared misery is due to their long racial memories, tojanidas have developed a curious reverence for ignorance and forgetfulness. Ostensibly, tojanidas who have yet to experience something or who regularly forget things have the opportunity to experience more new events, and hence live happier lives. Tojanidas envy this quality enough that their social jockeying sometimes involves feigned ignorance, and some members even seek out memory-altering spells or drugs, or form strangely protective attitudes toward senile old beach hermits.
Tojanidas sometimes form into groups (known as clutches) of up to five individuals, though most spend long periods traveling alone. With their love of drama, they happily ally with more powerful creatures. Krakens and brine drakes sometimes count tojanidas among their forces—the creatures’ long memories and usefulness in a fight compensate for their flightiness. They serve such masters as scouts or armored shock troops, but truly shine as heralds and negotiators. Their boisterous natures and ability to read others grant a flare for the dramatic that any megalomaniacal monster can appreciate, and those in service long enough often discard their legendary egotism in favor of tying their self-worth to their masters’ reputations, becoming groveling sycophants of the first order.
Unless clearly overmatched, tojanidas prefer to lead rather than follow. Many dabble with cults and secret societies, posing as messengers from the gods or terrible ancient spirits so they can wallow in the attention and wealth the position provides. Such scams may last years before the locals learn the truth or the tojanida grows bored and wanders off. Tojanidas care little about valuables for their own sake, instead squandering what resources they have on exquisite foods and luxurious lifestyles. Adventurers penetrating a coastal cult’s stronghold might be shocked to discover the cult’s obscene “god” is actually a tojanida soaking in a pool of expensive wine and tended by the hands of a half-dozen masseurs.
A rare few members of the species claim to have recaptured those insights torn from the racial memory, recalling the true glories of the tojanidas’ past and the vile treacheries heaped upon them by marids. These tojanidas, who sometimes refer to themselves as living legacies, turn the stereotype of their kind on its side, caring little for the day-to-day thrills and fixations of their immature kin and focusing instead on long term plots and carefully cultivated networks of spies and allies. They claim that forbidden knowledge flows through flesh, and practice vile blood magic and cannibalism. Some kidnap their uninitiated brethren and force-feed the young tojanidas “enlightened” flesh cut from the captor’s own body to stir dormant memories. They revile “the Circumscription,” as they refer to the shells placed upon their kind, and pursue the goal of “the Abrogation”—a method to forever cut themselves and their offspring free of the shells—with a religious fervor.
Tojanidas’ need for stimulation leads them to fill many roles in their lifetimes. Though not particularly inclined toward combat unless threatened or offended, tojanida enemies are fearsome when roused, and prove excellent masterminds for a low-level party taking on a local cult or exploring a coastal dungeon, as well as perfect go-betweens or local commanders for more powerful aquatic threats. Tojanidas’ speed underwater makes them prime candidates for exciting chase scenes or races, in which the creatures may resort to any tactics to win or escape. When they occasionally settle down, tojanidas lair in hazardous environments, such as thermal vents or acidic pools. They can even cross short distances on land, and may lair in an isolated pool deep within an ancient temple or other grandiose structure. Tojanidas obsessed with recovering their racial memories make for especially violent and chaotic underwater encounters, and some gain levels in the sorcerer class or ally with clerics of terrible, insane gods.
Tojanidas also make for engaging role playing encounters. They may work as a powerful outsider’s bard or jester, verbally sparring with newcomers to the court, or they may embrace the lost glory of their race as obnoxious, spoiled brats. Some widely traveled tojanidas act as savants in possession of esoteric knowledge from their own experiences or buried deep within their racial memory. As guides to locations such as underwater ruins or the secret holes between the Material Plane and the Plane of Water, tojanidas are unparalleled. Few races travel the planes’ aquatic reaches as extensively in a single lifetime, and every tojanida has multiple lifetimes’ experience to draw upon. Employing one, however, requires the players to keep its interest piqued and soothe the outsider’s fickle ego. Groups unprepared for a tojanida’s unique personality may find themselves stranded in distant and unpleasant spaces of a remote plane, or have their flesh sampled (perhaps even apologetically) in the tojanida’s search for new cuisine.
Nomadic tojanidas value experience and consumable goods more than physical wealth. Most carry what treasures they accumulate in the crevices of their shells, in the form of rare wines and expensive spices—and inevitably eat through whatever fortunes they earn. Still, fast and easy routes to power appeal to them, and most don whatever magical accessories they can make use of with their bizarre physiology. Tojanidas frequently collect potions, as much for their flavors and narcotic potential as for any magical effects. Elemental gems are especially prized, as they afford tojanidas the authority over water elementals they believe they deserve.
Though already rare and bizarre, the tojanida family is home to several variants that are rarer still.
Chattering Swarm (CR 4): Packs of nonsentient, larval tojanida are nuisances and pests in the Plane of Water, but present a genuine danger to the unprepared Material Plane sailor or explorer. Use the stats for a crab swarm, but change the type to “outsider (extraplanar, water),” reduce base speed to 10 feet, and increase swim speed to 40 feet. The swarm’s constant, nonsensical babbling increases the difficulty of any concentration checks within 50 feet by +4.
Young (CR 4): A tojanida’s physical growth is tied directly to its emotional and intellectual development. Juvenile tojanidas are distinguished both by their smaller size and their curious, clinging personalities. Apply the young creature simple template.
Elder (CR 7): Tojanidas who survive their first century or so grow to immense size. Even more so than standard tojanidas, elders are likely to gather cults or underlings around them. Elder tojanidas have the advanced creature and giant creature simple templates, and many have levels in the sorcerer class (elemental bloodline).
Living Legacy (CR 5): The rediscovery of its lost heritage fills a tojanida with a level of control and dignity otherwise unseen among its kind. Such a creature gains a +4 racial bonus on Bluff, Intimidate, and Knowledge (planes) checks. It also gains the change shape ability (aquatic animal or magical beast, beast shape III), though obvious remnants of their shells remain regardless of their chosen form (such as a shell on a dolphin’s back, armored plates on an eel, and so on), revealing the tojanida’s true nature to anyone who knows what to look for.
Ishian (CR 5): An Ishian tojanida’s ink cloud is acidic. Underwater, creatures in the ink cloud take a number of points of acid damage equal to the tojanida’s Hit Dice; above water, the acid deals 1d6 hit points per Hit Die of the tojanida (a successful Reflex save halves the damage and avoids the ink’s normal blindness effect).
Additional Ecology Section 15: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Misfit Monsters Redeemed. Copyright 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, Colin McComb, Rob McCreary, Jason Nelson, and James L. Sutter.
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.