Bits of feather and flesh buzz around this swarm of rotting ravens like flies, countless lifeless eyes staring out from the chaos.
Carrionstorm CR 1
A carrionstorm never initiates an attack on a creature that openly wears a holy symbol to an evil god or that is itself undead. If attacked first by such a creature, the carrionstorm’s swarm attack deals only 1d3 points of damage to that creature rather than the usual 1d6 points.
A carrionstorm takes 150% as much damage as normal from channeled positive energy.
Environment any near ghouls
Organization solitary, flock (2–4 swarms), or murder (5–12 swarms)
Where the dead walk, the carrion birds follow. In most cases, the unfortunate birds that feast on the remains of fallen undead creatures simply grow diseased and die. Yet the flesh of some ghouls has an altogether different effect upon such scavengers, and when they die of the poisoned repast, they do not stay dead for long. Alone, an undead crow or vulture is little more than a hideous mockery, but in rare cases where ghoulish activity is thick, entire colonies of carrion birds can succumb to undeath, retaining their flock mentality yet no longer seeking the flesh of the freshly dead to sate their hunger. Carrionstorms, as these flocks of undead birds are called, find brief respite from their morbid hunger only when their meals are warm and screaming.
Carrionstorms are typically found near graveyards, haunted structures, or abandoned villages where ghouls have been active. Many necromancers and cultists have a particular fondness for carrionstorms, and since the birds have a strange respect for the symbol of the Pallid Princess, rookeries of them are often found roosting in the nooks of the goddess of undeath’s macabre cathedrals.
Although the individual undead birds that make up a carrionstorm are little more intelligent than they were in life, as a whole, a carrionstorm forms a rudimentary hive mind that grants its members a slight bit more intellect than the typical bird. This not only allows the undead birds to utilize basic tactics, but allows rudimentary speech as well. Most carrionstorms understand a few dozen words in Necril, the language of the dead, and the sound of thousands of these undead carrion birds croaking out strange words can be truly unsettling to those who aren’t prepared for the horror. This same hive mind allows necromancers to treat an entire carrionstorm as a single undead creature with regard to the effects of spells like command undead and control undead, or feats like Command Undead. The swarms make excellent scouts, and even better threats against small towns and superstitious communities.
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Wolfgang Baur, Stephen S. Greer, James Jacobs, Nicolas Logue, Richard Pett, and Greg A. Vaughan.