The snakes that form this spectral woman’s hair writhe and knot, and her eyes burn with uncontrollable rage.
Medusa Animus Shade CR 9
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 14 (+4 deflection, +2 Dex)
hp 68 (8d8+32)
Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +7
Defensive Abilities all-around vision, channel resistance +4, incorporeal, mental schism; Immune undead traits
Speed fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +10 (animus insinuation, DC 16)
Ranged rend psyche +10 touch (9d6 plus 1d6 Charisma damage, DC 18)
Special Attacks animus insinuation, corrupt intent, petrifying gaze, rend psyche
Str —, Dex 15, Con —, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 19
Base Atk +8; CMB +8; CMD 20
Feats Improved Initiative, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +10, Disguise +15, Intimidate +23, Perception +24, Stealth +13; Racial Modifiers +8 Intimidate, +12 Perception
All-Around Vision (Ex)
Petrifying Gaze (Su)
Environment temperate swamps or underground
The typical intelligent mind exists as a war of aspects—primitive survival urges and base wants opposing intellectual reason and high-minded goals. Some of these aspects dominate the mind, defining a creature’s personality, while others are shackled away. Sometimes psychic injuries can loosen these shackles, revealing aspects a creature would normally control and suppress.
When a creature dies from a psychic injury, its conscious mind may shear away, leaving only those subconscious aspects—the creature’s animus—behind. Called animus shades, these spectral undead are gripped with feral rage and lash out at the living. Individuals who engage in psychic combat are particularly prone to succumbing to this form of undeath, and their shades sometimes seek out their former opponents, not content until their one-time adversaries are slain.
Animus shades always bear a superficial resemblance to their former, living selves, but manifest in death as wild brutes, made powerful by their anger and feral by their long suffering. They often appear hunched and contorted after a lifetime of being crushed beneath the weight of the dominant psyches, and can sport wicked claws, overlong limbs, cracked flesh, severed (but still present) body parts, and other nightmarish deformities reflecting the fears their living selves harbored about the dark corners of their own minds. Any gear or items the creature had appear rotted, cracked, and torn in spectral form, though it may carry ghostly versions of the weapons it used in life, deadly implements still capable of harming the living.
Most often, animus shades linger near the sites of their deaths or wander without any specific purpose. As many psychic contests occur in mindscapes or on far-flung esoteric planes, animus shades are frequently found roaming such realms, endlessly raging over the sometimes centuries-old defeats that resulted in their demises. Even when not consumed by such losses, animus shades commonly target those they happen across who remind them of the dominant selves that repressed them in life—whether because of similarities in physical appearance, personality, or activity. However, some rare animus shades have greater clarity of focus and are gripped with the need to undo the accomplishments they achieved in life, taking pleasure in destroying those things they once loved or took pride in.
Because they’re created through psychic violence, animus shades usually appear among intelligent races and beings known for mastering occult forces. Among such races, these undead prove far more common within cultures and groups that cultivate psychic prowess. They’re easy to mistake for ghosts or other undead—often to tragic ends. Fortunately, in lands that value physical strength over mental prowess and in strictly martial cultures, animus shades are almost unknown. Members of races such as hobgoblins, kobolds, and orcs, which seldom give rise to psychically talented individuals, almost never return as animus shades.
Poisoned by the psychic violence that spawned them, animus shades rarely, if ever, cooperate. In death, even animus shades created from former allies slain by the same foe viciously strike out at each other. The mental trauma that fills them and holds them to the world scars these undead deeply, but ultimately makes them most resentful of themselves—they know it was their own weaknesses or distraction that resulted in their deaths. Much of their rage is thus pointed inward, and they take particular satisfaction in viciously unleashing their hatred on those who resemble them, especially if the resulting conflicts remind them of the battles in which they died.
Section 15: Copyright Notice
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 6 © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Robert Brookes, Benjamin Bruck, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, James Jacobs, Thurston Hillman, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, Jason Nelson, Tim Nightengale, F. Wesley Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Todd Stewart, Josh Vogt, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.