This hovering, translucent humanoid appears to sleep serenely, even as shards of flickering energy encircle it, each fragment reflecting younger or older versions of itself.
Fluxwraith CR 17
Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +28 (15d6 plus time shift)
Special Attacks temporal madness, time shift
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +26)
Str —, Dex 28, Con —, Int 18, Wis 20, Cha 23
Base Atk +19; CMB +28; CMD 45
Feats Ability Focus (time shift), Alertness, Combat Casting, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Initiative, Lunge, Mobility, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (deja vu), Stand Still
Skills Acrobatics +25, Diplomacy +25, Fly +36, Intimidate +28, Knowledge (arcana) +23, Knowledge (dungeoneering, planes) +18, Knowledge (history) +24, Perception +37, Sense Motive +37, Spellcraft +23, Stealth +20
Languages Common, Cyclops, +3 others
Slow Aura (Su)
Fluxwraiths constantly emit a 30-foot-radius aura of temporal distortion. Any creature within this aura is affected as if by slow, but it gets no saving throw. If a creature exits the radius, the effect ceases at the end of its turn. If the fluxwraith moves more than 30 feet away from an affected creature, the effect ends immediately for that creature. Creatures affected by freedom, freedom of movement, or haste are unaffected by the slow aura.
Temporal Madness (Su)
As a ranged touch attack with a range increment of 30 feet, a fluxwraith can grant a target a mind-shattering glimpse of its own existence as it appears to a time-displaced entity. The attack deals 1d6 points of Wisdom drain, although this drain is reduced to 1 point if the target succeeds at a DC 29 Will saving throw. This is a mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Time Shift (Su)
A creature struck by the fluxwraith’s touch attack must succeed at a DC 31 Will saving throw or be thrust forward in time, vanishing and then, 1d4 rounds later, reappearing in the same location. If the space has become occupied by an object or another creature, the affected creature is shunted to a random adjacent space, taking 6d6 points of damage. From the creature’s perspective, the time shift is instantaneous.
Any duration effects active upon the creature become suspended during the time shift, resuming when the creature reappears. Creatures that succeed at their saving throws cannot be affected by the same fluxwraith’s time shift ability for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Organization solitary or cluster (2–4)
A fluxwraith is an incorporeal undead with a host of extraordinary powers owing to its singular status as a time-displaced entity. Its serene appearance and dreamlike demeanor hearken to its origins, for in life it slept away the centuries in a state of magical or technological stasis. Now, whether by accident or malign intent, the fluxwraith’s soul lies scattered across the timestream. Demented by its paradoxical consciousness, it yearns to destroy any living being audacious enough to exist within a single point of time.
Because its appearance depends upon its state when it first entered suspended animation, viewers may sometimes be able to deduce clues about its former life, as well as its motivations for entering hibernation. Some seek interminable sleep while they are in the prime of life, aiming to awaken and embrace immortality as a perfect specimen, while others hope to defer a terminal diagnosis. However, the sleeper’s motivations in life seldom define a fluxwraith’s outlook, as the process of becoming undead erases all but the most deeply ingrained mortal traits.
The first hint of the fluxwraith’s destructive nature manifests in the caul of energy that winks on and off around it. This ever-shifting network of temporal energy contains fragments of its consciousness, appearing as flickering aspects of itself as a youth, an adult, or a corpse. Scrutinizing these vignettes may provide further clues about the fluxwraith’s former existence, although any creature that enters the fluxwraith’s aura, or any creature affected by its attacks, may begin to see its own reflections appear within the shards as well. These disturbing images depict a creature not as it is, but as the fluxwraith perceives it in the past or future.
Fluxwraiths tend to speak ancient or dead languages, often murmuring incomplete or garbled statements that blend past and future tenses in unsettling ways.
While some sages seek to cheat mortality through necromancy, others use potent temporal magic or even cryogenic technology to survive the eons, aspiring to awaken in a future when death has been rendered obsolete. Yet temporal stasis carries many risks, and any damage to the sleeper’s pod may kill its inhabitant, or worse. Some types of malfunctions kill the sleeper’s physical body but scatter its awareness across the timestream, causing its consciousness to exist in every moment at once. This process shreds the sleeper’s sanity but imbues its spirit with terrifying temporal powers, resulting in a fluxwraith.
The malfunction also causes most fluxwraiths to lose the skills and abilities they had in life.
They do retain a sharp intellect, although they see the world through a distorted lens of madness, malice, and heightened temporal awareness.
A fluxwraith perceives living creatures as knotted threads of time-bound energy begging to be untied and twisted into more pleasing patterns, and it revels in its capacity to shift victims through time or even freeze them for eternity.
Occasionally, a demented spellcaster may purposely create a fluxwraith seeking to harness temporal power for her own use. In such cases, the sleeper is usually tricked into entering its slumber with promises of immortality, after which its malice and fury are only increased by the betrayal. A fluxwraith does not remain subservient to any master, and it invariably overpowers its creator.
Habitat and Society
Though no one knows why, fluxwraiths rarely drift far from the damaged sleeping chambers that spawned them. Some might harbor an unconscious hope that their pods might be repaired, enabling them to return to a more peaceful time-bound sleep; others might simply feel no need for physical movement, since their minds now roam unfettered through the timestream.
A fluxwraith may prefer solitude, attacking intruders on sight. Others relish the chance to toy with visitors before severing them from the timestream. An ambitious fluxwraith might employ underlings to kidnap living beings, providing it with a steady stream of organic “puzzles” to unravel. Occasionally, a system-wide malfunction results in the creation of several fluxwraiths at once. These clusters become monomaniacal, plotting to spread their influence far beyond their lair. Using tantalizing glimpses of the future, they entice evil mortals or lesser undead to scour the world for time-based artifacts in order to vastly boost the range of their innate abilities.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #126: Beyond the Veiled Past © 2018, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Thurston Hillman, with Robert Brookes, Eleanor Ferron, Crystal Malarsky, and Scott Sharplin.