This spindly-limbed horror has pale eyes, bony fingers that end in dirty claws, papery skin, and long, sharp fangs protruding from a breathless mouth.
Nachzehrer CR 12
AC 27, touch 15, flat-footed 22 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +12 natural)
hp 161 (14d8+98); fast healing 5
Fort +13, Ref +10, Will +13
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; DR 15/cold iron and magic; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10
Weaknesses bound to the grave
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +19 (2d6+9), slam +19 (1d8+9 plus horrifying vision)
Special Attacks blood drain, call the fallen, horrifying vision
Str 28, Dex 19, Con —, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 25
Base Atk +10; CMB +19; CMD 34
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
Skills Bluff +21, Intimidate +24, Knowledge (nature) +17, Perception +23, Sense Motive +23, Stealth +21, Survival +16
Languages Common, Elven, Sylvan
SQ fey disguise
Blood Drain (Su)
A nachzehrer can suck blood from a pinned opponent. If the nachzehrer establishes or maintains a pin, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage to its victim. The nachzehrer heals 10 hit points or gains 10 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) each round it drains blood.
Bound to the Grave (Su)
Nachzehrers are susceptible to certain rituals meant to keep them bound to their graves. Forcing a single coin into the mouth of a helpless nachzehrer (a full-round action) instantly incapacitates it.
However, the nachzehrer is no longer incapacitated and can act as normal if this coin is removed, unless its head is also severed from its body (with the coin still in its mouth) and anointed with holy water, and both its body and head are buried at least 6 feet underground.
Call the Fallen (Su)
Once per day as a standard action while within any forest, the nachzehrer can harness the energies of the fey and humanoid creatures that have died nearby. This effectively causes 1d4 human juju zombies to rise from the earth in random places in a 30-foot radius around the nachzehrer. These juju zombies don’t provoke attacks of opportunity when they rise in this way, are under the nachzehrer’s control, and act on its turn. Juju zombies can’t rise in this way from any surface that isn’t natural soil (such as the floor of a structure or an area paved with natural rock or stone). Juju zombies the nachzehrer creates using this ability meld back into the earth after 24 hours and are permanently destroyed.
Fey Disguise (Su)
While in any forest, a nachzehrer can take on the illusory appearance of any Small or Medium fey creature. This does not affect the nachzehrer’s statistics or give it any special abilities. A nachzehrer so disguised exposes its true nature through subtle mannerisms or flaws in its appearance, and anyone who interacts with the glamered nachzehrer can see through its disguise with a successful DC 25 Perception or Sense Motive check or a DC 24 Will saving throw. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Horrifying Vision (Su)
A nachzehrer can channel the foul energy of the terrible fate that befell it into its slam attack.
Creatures damaged by its slam attack are panicked for 1 round as their minds are assaulted with the terrible trauma the nachzehrer endured, but the target can reduce this effect to shaken with a successful DC 24 Will saving throw. A nachzehrer can choose not to inflict its horrifying vision on a creature it attacks. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The saving throw is Charisma-based.
Environment any forest
The inspiration of much fear and dread among forest-dwellers, nachzehrers are better known as fey vampires in the woodland regions where they typically dwell.
Human locals often confuse them for true vampires, though in reality nachzehrers are a form of monstrous cousin to those hated undead. They rise from the fey victims of virulent disease; the more evil a pestilence’s origin, such as from an Abyssal blight, the more likely fey who succumb are to return as nachzehrers. Unlike true vampires, nachzehrers cannot create spawn, though their aggressiveness toward and hatred of the living is just as intense as those fabled horrors.
Tragically, nachzehrers typically rise from good or neutral fey, such as dryads, huldras, nymphs, and nereids.
Their appearances are sick parodies of the forms they took in life. Their graceful limbs become spindly and bony, their skin becomes thin and papery, and their delicate teeth sharpen into wicked fangs. Nachzehrers are typically 5-1/2 feet tall and weigh about 100 pounds.
Although rare no matter the location, nachzehrers are most likely to be found in blighted forests or in woodlands that have recently suffered sweeping bouts of disease. Many nachzehrers were once fey creatures whose bodies managed to resist a polluting blight that might have warped their bodies and minds (see the blighted fey template). However, these fey nonetheless contract debilitating, wasting diseases that visit terrible suffering upon them until they finally succumb. The most unlucky of these fey find themselves returned to unlife as nachzehrers. In fact, dying from such diseases is the hallmark of all nachzehrers’ rebirth.
When nachzehrers arise, they do so in a weakened state—typically, nachzehrers begin unlife with only 1 hit point. Since most find themselves risen in graves that contain other fey creatures who also succumbed to disease, nachzehrers feed off the stagnant blood in those bodies, gaining vigor even as they drain the corpses of those who once loved them. In the rare case that a nachzehrer arises near no easily obtainable source of blood, the wicked creature typically slinks back to its ancestral enclave, waiting to pick off young and weak members of its former clan to drain the blood it needs to gain strength.
Although they remember little about their lives before undeath, nachzehrers retain terrible memories of the pain and suffering they experienced during the infections that killed them. Worse, they can transmit these horrifying experiences to their enemies—and they count all living creatures as such, regarding them with equal parts hate and jealousy. Most nachzehrers wish to destroy life simply for the sake of doing so, but the oldest and most heinous of their number want to see as many creatures as possible suffer the same agony they did so long ago. Thus, because they don’t need blood to survive, some nachzehrers capture victims and continually torture them with horrifying visions, without ever granting them the release of death.
Habitat and Society
Because they suffered so deeply before rising as undead, nachzehrers particularly hate their ancestral fey clans, whom they blame for not finding a way to cure their disease or at least mitigate their agony. As a result, most nachzehrers stalk their former comrades, terrorizing them and waiting for opportune moments to steal lone victims. In the case of nachzehrers whose clans are gone—either wiped out by disease or otherwise fled from the area—the creatures roam about the woods, looking for other groups of living creatures to torment.
Wandering nachzehrers are often drawn to places of great suffering in the hope that they might drown out some of the agonizing memories they continually relive.
In fact, the most common place to find an unmoored nachzehrer is the site of a destroyed fey village in a blighted area or at the crossroads of woodland paths.
Here, nachzehrers absorb the area’s latent suffering while waiting for new victims to stumble upon their new lairs.
Although their behavior is practically feral, nachzehrers are fiercely intelligent creatures. They are at least nominally aware that they’re undead abominations, and that the hateful actions they commit are intensely evil.
Thus, nachzehrers assume that nearby fey or benevolent humanoids will eventually seek to destroy them, and they fear nothing more than the arrival of planar allies such as angels to send them to oblivion.
Nachzehrers hate and are uncommonly terrified of creatures that bear coins, which they assume are payment for a coming planar ally. Though nachzehrers can fight against coin-bearing individuals freely, placing a coin in a nachzehrer’s mouth paralyzes it as much as a stake in the heart incapacitates a true vampire. Savvy adventurers can fully destroy a nachzehrer incapacitated in this way by going through the same grisly ritual they’d use to kill a child of the night. Those clever enough to lure a nachzehrer into helplessness find that this is the easiest way to dispatch the creatures. Tragically, though, all but the most discerning adventurers and scholars tend to mistake nachzehrers for their more common vampiric kin, and attempt to destroy them as they would true vampires, without using coins—always to disastrous results.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #119: Prisoner of the Blight © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Amanda Hamon Kunz, with Paris Crenshaw, Crystal Frasier, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, and Larry Wilhelm.