This hulking, rotted mass of pale blubber and bone looks like it was once a whale. Ghostly flames glow in each of its eye sockets.
Bakekujira CR 17
Speed 15 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee bite +27 (6d6+16/19–20), tail slap +21 (4d6+8)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 30 ft.
Special Attacks capsize, leviathan’s call, resonant song, smashing breach
Str 42, Dex 10, Con —, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 23
Base Atk +18; CMB +42 (+46 bull rush); CMD 52 (54 vs. bull rush, can’t be tripped)
Feats Awesome Blow, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Greater Bull Rush, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Staggering Critical, Stunning Critical, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Intimidate +16, Perception +20, Swim +28
The tone of a bakekujira’s eerie song varies from that of a wistful memory to a burning hatred. As a standard action, a bakekujira can sing. Living creatures within a 120-foot radius of a singing bakekujira must succeed at a DC 28 Will save or become fascinated or frightened (bakekujira’s choice) for 1 round. Any creature that succeeds at this save cannot be affected by the same bakekujira’s leviathan’s call ability for 24 hours. This is a sonic mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
As a standard action every 1d4 rounds, the bakekujira can release a damaging resonance, dealing 12d8 points of sonic damage to creatures in a 60-foot cone (Fortitude DC 28 for half). The save DC is Charisma-based.
As a full-round action, a swimming bakekujira can make a special charge attack against a creature on the water’s surface. At the end of its charge, the whale breaches, slamming down with incredible force. Any Huge or smaller creatures in the bakekujira’s space must succeed at a DC 28 Reflex save or take 4d8+24 points of bludgeoning damage and be forced into the nearest empty square adjacent to the bakekujira. Humanoid creatures killed by this ability rise as draugr in 1d6 hours. A bakekujira can use its capsize special attack in conjunction with this ability. The save DC is Charisma-based.
A 30-foot-radius cloud of undead fish and sea birds surrounds a bakekujira. Creatures starting their turn within the cloud must succeed at a DC 28 Will save or be nauseated for 1 round and take 6d6 points of damage. Creatures with the ability to channel positive energy can suppress this aura for 1 round by expending one use of channel energy. The bakekujira receives a Will save against this effect. The save DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the channeler’s caster level + the channeler’s Charisma modifier. The channeled energy has no other effect. Sometimes, a whale that dies after days of anger and pain arises as an undead monstrosity known as a bakekujira.
Environment any ocean
The seas are home to many legends both living and undead, but the bakekujiras is perhaps one of the largest among these latter horrors. Some have trouble believing the old stories, but woe to anyone that discovers the truth. These embodiments of corrupted majesty prowl the seas, along with their flocks and schools of pestilent parasites.
A bakekujira weighs about 50 tons, though sometimes less, depending on how long it has been decomposing. Bakekujiras are as large as they were in their former lives, measuring from 50 to 60 feet long.
Though the exact circumstances vary, the story of each bakekujira is similar: It was nothing more than an ordinary whale when whalers attacked. The whale managed to escape, but sustained a grievous wound from a whaler’s harpoon. It died after days of anger and pain, only to arise as an undead monstrosity bent on taking revenge for its demise.
As a bakekujira goes about its new, corrupted existence, it continues to rot until all the flesh is stripped from its bones, leaving behind only an immense skeletal whale. The decomposition process draws all sorts of sea scavengers to the rotting whale, from gulls to fish. However, the flesh of a bakekujira is not only rotten—it is also toxic and deeply infused with negative energy. Any creature that eats of this flesh sickens and dies, only to rise shortly thereafter and continues its existence as an undead thrall inexplicably bound to the bakekujira. Normally these creatures take up residence in and around the putrefied body of the bakekujira, swarming throughout the creature and only emerging to push back any who would seek to do harm to their rotting host.
The bakekujira is relentless in its mission to upset and capsize any vessels reminding it of its descent into unlife, though because of the vastness of the sea, its quarry can be scarce. When a bakekujira does come across a ship, its rage is such that the beast cares little whether the vessel is an actual whaler or just a fishing sloop. The whale pits its full power against the ship, and is capable of capsizing all but the luckiest of ships with the most skilled captains. Bakekujiras are also able to affect the minds of the ships’ crews. Their usual song is gentle, evoking thoughts of peaceful days in the sea. However, bakekujiras are able to channel their fury through their music, transferring to their victims the terror and helplessness the bakekujiras themselves experienced in their last moments of life. Using it jaws, tail, and enormous girth, a bakekujira attacks relentlessly until its angry spirit is laid to rest.
While there are stories about pods of bakekujiras collaborating to lay waste to fleets and port towns, it is unlikely that the massive undead beasts would even notice each other. They are creatures of destruction and see other creatures, even their own kind, as mere obstacles in their pursuit to wreak as much havoc as possible. This doesn’t mean that multiple bakekujiras never attack the same target; rather, they simply attack independently, motivated by their own individual anger.
On rare occasions, large creatures such as giant vultures and dire sharks feed alongside the bakekujira’s undead parasites. These creatures frequently succumb to these parasites and join the throng, swimming or flying alongside the bakekujira and taking a more active role than the whale’s aura suggests.
A GM can enhance encounters with bakekujiras by providing other undead creatures as auxiliary foes. Below is a list of appropriate animals typically encountered among a bakekujira’s larger undead parasites, either with the skeleton or zombie template applied.
|Creature Base||CR||Hit Dice||Source|
|Albatross (use vulture stats)||1/2||1||B3|
|Seagull (use raven stats)||1/6||1||B1|
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 4 © 2013, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Savannah Broadway, Ross Byers, Adam Daigle, Tim Hitchcock, Tracy Hurley, James Jacobs, Matt James, Rob McCreary, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Tork Shaw, and Russ Taylor.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #59: The Price of Infamy © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Tim Hitchcock.