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Pyrogeist

A malevolent face emerges from within this roiling mass of ghostly fire. Several smaller faces writhe within the flames.

Pyrogeist CR 10

XP 9,600
CE Large undead (incorporeal)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +23

DEFENSE

AC AC 23, touch 23, flat-footed 16 (+7 deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge, –1 size)
hp 126 (11d8+77)
Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +12
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, incorporeal, rejuvenation; Immune fire, undead traits

OFFENSE

Speed fly 50 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +13 (10d6)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon (30-ft. cone, 10d6 negative energy damage, Reflex DC 22 half, usable every 1d4 rounds), pyrokinetic whirlwind (3/day, 10–30 ft. high, 10d6 negative energy damage, DC 15), soul consumption
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 11th; concentration +18)

At willghost sound (DC 17), hold portal, mage hand
3/daymajor image (DC 20)
1/daynightmare (DC 22)

STATISTICS

Str —, Dex 23, Con —, Int 17, Wis 21, Cha 24
Base Atk +8; CMB +15; CMD 33 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Skill Focus (Intimidate)
Skills Bluff +18, Fly +26, Intimidate +27, Knowledge (engineering) +14, Perception +23, Sense Motive +23, Stealth +16
Languages Common

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Breath Weapon (Su)

A pyrogeist can spit a cone of spectral fire that damages living creatures. When a creature fails a saving throw against the pyrogeist’s breath weapon, the creature’s flesh ignites in ghostly flames for 2d6 rounds or until the pyrogeist is destroyed. While the creature is affected by the flames, it is illuminated as though under the effects of faerie fire and takes 1d6 points of negative energy damage at the start of each turn. Subsequent breath weapon attacks don’t increase this damage but can extend the duration. An affected creature can attempt a DC 22 Fortitude save as a full-round action to quench the flames. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Pyrokinetic Whirlwind (Su)

A pyrogeist can transform into a spectral whirlwind (as per the universal monster rule) to entrap its victims. Creatures caught in the whirlwind take 10d6 points of negative energy damage each round. A pyrokinetic whirlwind does not create a swirling cloud of debris when it touches the ground.

Rejuvenation (Su)

A pyrogeist that is destroyed restores itself after 2d4 days, forming near its mortal remains. To permanently destroy a pyrogeist, its corpse must receive proper burial rites, including a sprinkling of holy water.

Soul Consumption (Su)

The spirit of a creature that dies while subject to a pyrogeist’s pyrokinetic whirlwind is trapped within the pyrogeist (as per soul bind) until the pyrogeist is destroyed or chooses to set it free. The spirit remains trapped whether or not the pyrogeist is in whirlwind form.

ECOLOGY

Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Pyrogeists are the burning ghosts of arsonists and pyromaniacs who were killed in the fires they started.

Whether the pyrogeists’ deaths were accidents or suicides, the horribly painful and often humiliating deaths create pyrogeists from the arsonist’s or pyromaniac’s soul. A pyrogeist is a mass of spectral fire that emits no heat and damages only living creatures. A large face floats upon its surface, resembling a twisted mockery of the person the pyrogeist was when alive. A pyrogeist haunts the area surrounding its remains and is consumed with a desire to immolate others. A pyrogeist most often haunts its victims with terrifying illusions before engulfing them and adding their souls to the creatures’ perpetual torment.

The form of a pyrogeist flows and roils, its large face appearing and disappearing along with the faces of the other souls the pyrogeist has consumed. The ghostly inferno changes colors based on the pyrogeist’s mood.

Most often an angry red and orange, as of flickering flame, the pyrogeist’s hues might shift to an envious green, a calm blue, or a haughty violet at a moment’s notice.

Although a pyrogeist rarely chooses to communicate with the living except when mocking or haunting them, when it chooses to speak, its voice sounds like roaring and crackling flames.

Pyrogeists are obsessed with sharing their torment with the living, but they are too clever and sadistic to simply immolate their foes. Pyrogeists prefer to first drive their victims into paranoia and insanity. When feasible, they first start with minor events that could be explained as accidents or unfortunate events, such as by using mage hand to push flammable items near open flames or ghost sound to emulate the crackling of a fire in another room. When the pyrogeist’s victim starts to doubt its senses, the pyrogeist inflicts increasingly horrid nightmares that always involve fire. These nightmares usually culminate in people or places the victim loves being set ablaze, often by the victim’s own hand. The pyrogeist then uses its major image spell-like ability to bring these nightmares into the waking world, causing its victim to see charred corpses or dancing flames wherever it looks. Eventually, the pyrogeist moves in for the kill, destroying its victim with whirling spectral fire that annihilates flesh and bone but leaves clothing and other items intact.

A pyrogeist can make its victim’s torment endless by consuming the victim’s soul, creating another face that flows across the pyrogeist’s churning form. Pyrogeists are reluctant to release souls it has entrapped, usually doing so only as part of a bargain that ensures its ongoing existence or promises additional souls in exchange.

Pyrogeists draw pleasure from burning victims with their ghostly fire, but they are aware that this manner of death leaves distinctive clues for ghost hunters. As the pyrogeist’s attacks deal negative energy damage, they cannot harm objects, clothing, or equipment. To cover its tracks, the most devious pyrogeists—especially those that have been destroyed and rejuvenated in the past—ignite normal fires to hide their tracks. Although a pyrogeist might knock over an oil lamp or shove a flaming fireplace log with its mage hand spell-like ability, it prefers to have its victims set the blaze on its behalf, perhaps promising an end to their psychic torment in exchange for an act of arson.

Identifying a pyrogeist’s supernatural burn marks is much more difficult after a mundane fire has swept through a location.

Pyrogeists choose their victims based on their proclivities in life and the circumstances of their death.

Some pyrogeists prefer to target victims of certain classes or occupations, or by targeting buildings of specific architectural styles or colors. Pyrogeists that formed from murderous psychopaths often continue gruesome trends in undeath, such as collecting trophies from their victims or leaving certain calling cards at crime scenes.

Other pyrogeists spend their time forcing victims to recreate the circumstances of their own deaths.

Putting a pyrogeist to rest permanently requires burial rites be performed with at least some piece of the pyrogeist’s mortal remains. As those remains have usually been reduced to little more than ash and bone fragments, they often go unnoticed among the smoldering wreckage of a destroyed building. A pyrogeist senses when its mortal remains are disturbed and usually moves quickly to prevent anyone from disturbing them.

Habitat & Society

Pyrogeists most often form in heavily populated cities, where structure fires are more common and the anonymity of crowded streets allow arsonists and pyromaniacs to blend in as they do their wicked work. These pyrogeists have no contact with their former families or friends, but they sometimes seek out their old acquaintances to become their first victims. Pyrogeists can also originate in remote villages or in the wilderness, usually during forest fires or other calamities triggered with malicious intent.

Pyrogeists are almost always solitary creatures, so consumed by their hunt for souls that they rarely interact with anything else, living or dead. On rare occasions, multiple arsonists die together and merge into a single pyrogeist, sharing a morbid coexistence. These pyrogeists are usually the most erratic, as different personalities vie for control.

Powerful necromancers sometimes attempt to create or control a pyrogeist, in search of an incorporeal assassin that prevents its targets from being brought back to life. Pyrogeists resent these attempts, making them highly dangerous minions; if the necromancer’s control slips enough to allow the pyrogeist any amount of freedom, the incorporeal horror would surely focus its murderous attention on the one that enslaved them.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Adventure Path #130: City in the Lion’s Eye © 2018, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Mikko Kallio, with Eleanor Ferron, Mike Headley, Joe Kondrak, Kalervo Oikarinen, and Liz Smith.