Friday, April 3, 2015

Frightful Fridays! A Mythical Monster from Ancient Lore

"Hark now. Hear the sailors cry. Smell the sea and feel the sky."
—Van Morrison, "Into the Mystic"

Hello again, Ramblers!

It's been a long time, but I'm back to share another Pathfinder RPG monster with you. I created this week's submission to the Frightful Fridays collection in response to a request from our good friend, Justin. Justin is working on a campaign set on the archipelago of Iblydos in the Pathfinder setting. Since Iblydos is noted for being Golarion's source of many creatures that we know from Greek mythology, Justin was looking for stats on as many other Greek mythological creatures as he could find. He discovered that, while there are stats for land-dwelling centaurs, there aren't any stats for their aquatic cousins, ichthyocentaurs.


In mythology, the two main ichthyocentaurs, also known as sea centaurs, were sea-gods named Bythos and Aphos and were said to be the half-brothers of the centaur Chiron. I took these beings as the inspiration for the personalities of the monster race and imagined them not as simply half-centaur and half-fish, but rather, half-merfolk and half-hippocampus.


I hope that you enjoy using these wise, yet wild creatures in your own campaigns.


A sculpture of Bythos by "EvilInstinct" (http://evilinstinct.deviantart.com/art/Bythos-Sage-of-the-Sea-134118596)

Ichthyocentaur

By Paris Crenshaw
This creature has the pale-skinned upper body of a powerful warrior, while its lower body combines the foreparts of a horse and the hindquarters of a sleek fish. Its forelegs end in splayed fins rather than hooves.

Ichthyocentaur         CR 3
XP 800
N Large monstrous humanoid (aquatic)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +9

DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+4 armor, +1 Dex, +4 natural, -1 size)
hp 30 (4d10+8)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +7

OFFENSE
Speed 5 ft., swim 50 ft.
Melee trident +5 (1d8+2), tail slap +0 (1d4+1)
Ranged underwater heavy crossbow +4 (1d10/19–20)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 16, Cha 12
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 18 (22 vs. trip)
Feats Endurance, Improved Initiative
Skills Diplomacy +5, Knowledge (nature) +2, Perception +10, Survival +10, Swim +11
Languages Aquan, Common, Sylvan
SQ amphibious
Gear bone scale mailUE, crossbow bolts (10), trident, underwater heavy crossbowUE

ECOLOGY
Environment Any water
Organization solitary, pair, shoal (3-10), or school (11-30 plus 3 hunters of 3rd level and 1 leader of 6th level)
Treasure NPC gear (bone scale mail, crossbow bolts (10), trident, underwater heavy crossbow)


Ichthyocentaurs (or “sea centaurs”) appear very similar to merfolk, but with a lower half resembling that of a hippocampus. Some ichthyocentaurs wear crowns of coral, shells, ferns and seaweed. Some variations of these creatures are said to possess horns that resemble the claws of crabs or lobsters. Although they can breathe out of water, sea centaurs cannot move well at all on land and prefer not to venture there unless absolutely necessary.

Sea centaurs are generally peaceful creatures. They are fiercely loyal to their families and friends, and extend that loyalty to land dwellers if they form friendships with them. They tend to get along well with merfolk, most of the aquatic fey, and other neutral or good-aligned aquatic races. They despise the sahuagin and will usually attack them on sight.

An example of shell armor by J-ndrax (http://j-ndrax.deviantart.com/)
Although they dwell in the sea, ichthyocentaurs still share some of the wild nature of their air-breathing cousins, though they tend to be less prone to violent outbursts. They are, however, harsh protectors of their kin and their domains. Attacks or insults will result in swift and harsh reprisals. They are quite capable warriors and have learned to fashion exquisite armor and weapons from the bones of large animals. They even craft some armor from the iridescent shells of creatures like abalone.

Despite their military prowess, ichthyocentaurs are still not as aggressive as other centaurs. Their inherent wisdom makes them excellent advisors, emissaries, and diplomats. Their relations with the fey and other races of the sea makes them valuable resources for those who ply the surface waters, as well.

Scholars are unsure how long ichthyocentaurs actually live, but many of them possess intimate knowledge of the sea that can only be gained from decades of experience and exploration. Some say that the sea centaurs made a deal with the fey to extend their lifespans, but this has never been proven.



An average ichthyocentaur stands over 7 feet tall and weighs upward of 2,000 pounds. However, just as there are variants of the hippocampus (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2), there are many regional variations of sea centaurs.

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