Sahkil

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Sahkils are a fiendish race native to the Great Beyond, invented by Pathfinder to flesh out the malevolent cosmology of their Golarion setting beyond the Dungeons & Dragons trinity of Demon/Devil/Yugoloth. A form of fallen psychopomp, these corrupted, twisted entities have reshaped themselves into the living embodiments of fear, craving to literally terrify all other life into obsecience to themselves and rule as cruel god-kings until oblivion itself claims them.

No, seriously. These guys manage to out-edgy Kytons.

Sahkils inhabit the Ethereal Plane, making them unique amongst the vaster expanse of fiends. Their obligatory super-charged rulers are known as the Tormentors, although currently we have nothing for them beyond a list of names:

  • Ananshea, The Skin That Walks on Teeth
  • Chamiaholom, Skull Staff
  • Charg, The Typhon Wheel
  • Dachzerul, The Darkness Behind You
  • Iggeret, She Who Was Lost
  • Hataam, River Eater
  • Nameless, Upon an Empty Throne
  • Ozranvial, Despair’s Smile
  • Shawnari, The One Out of Place
  • Velgaas, Minds in the Dark
  • The Vermillion Mother
  • Xiquiripat, Flying Scab
  • Zipacna, The Mountain Below

The Sahkils first appeared in the Pathfinder Bestiary 5, and were expanded in Bestiary 6.

Official Pathfinder Fluff[edit]

Psychopomps oversee one of the most fundamental functions of the multiverse: the progress of mortal souls.

Through this infinite cycle of lives, deaths, and rebirths, the forces of the planes calibrate and evolve. Psychopomps serve as caretakers of this process, yet no matter their might or influence, they all know their place, their duty, and a shared secret: that the order of the planes is not perfect, and that one distant day it will end. For most psychopomps, this burdensome truth reinforces the great need for their diligence in fending off the decay of all things. For others, it is an onrushing nihilistic destiny.

And for the most brazen, selfish psychopomps, it is a reason to rebel.

Those psychopomps that dissent are known as sahkils.

Not content to serve as clerks in an endlessly deteriorating cycle of meaningless lives, these former psychopomps abandoned their duties. Escaping the strictures of their previous brethren, they flee to the empty places of reality—most congregating in the misty Ethereal Plane.

There, where the great procession of newly departed souls endlessly marches toward judgment, death’s rebels remake themselves. Embracing the dread with which mortals already view them, they restyle themselves as tyrants of terror. No longer servants to souls, they would become their terrifying masters. Reality’s days might be numbered, but for those finite eons, sahkils resolve to rule.

Sahkils bear little resemblance to the psychopomps they once were. Although some embrace the morbidity of their former brethren, most sahkil forms are inspired by common or particularly potent mortal fears. Unnatural fusions, insectile limbs, and bloody phantasmagorias abound among sahkil shapes, each designed and destined to terrify. The least sahkils have the most recognizable forms—familiar limbs seemingly twisted by unimaginable excruciations. The greatest of their kind, though, are near-indescribable horrors, obscene in both shape and proportions. Yet sahkils share the single drive to give all creatures reason to fear.

From the Ethereal Plane, sahkils watch. They slip tenuous tendrils into the dark and abandoned places of the world, infusing the mundane with dread and giving fangs to mortal imaginings. When they trespass upon the Material Plane, most sahkils prefer to remain veiled, corrupting nature and turning people into monsters.

They revel in the awe associated with terror and hear praises in every scream. When finally their victims have been sapped, drained of their capacities to hope and to fear, the sahkil feed. Not willing to let their playthings escape to feed the cycle they once served, sahkils delight in nothing more than tearing mortal souls apart or giving rise to blasphemous undead.

The most dangerous sahkils rise to dominate their brethren as nightmare warlords. These sahkil tormentors form vast, sanity-bending realms from which only tortured sounds escape. Unique in form and objectives, these demigods gather legions of sahkil servitors, uniting them in campaigns targeting vulnerable souls, entire mortal worlds, or even rival tormentors. Regardless of their goals, sahkil tormentors are the most secretive members of the race, cloaking themselves to preserve the terror of their true faces, or sometimes to hide the beings they once were.

As sahkils viciously impede the multiverse’s workings, these gluttons of fear are widely loathed. Nearly every celestial and lawful race opposes their selfish desires, hunting them as dangerous beasts and metaphysical brigands. Psychopomps most actively oppose sahkil interference with the progress of souls, yet rarely display racial malice against the traitors. Additionally, manasaputras violently resent sahkil schemes, as sahkil predation actively impedes the development of mortal souls. This often results in dutiful manasaputras or their agents defending vulnerable spirits or leading quests to liberate worthy souls before they’re destroyed.

The sahkil are not without allies, though. Divs, in their campaigns to spread misfortune and ruin among mortals, respect the motivations of sahkils and sometimes work with them to spread fear. Equally nihilistic, the end-seeking daemons delight in sahkil destruction of mortal souls and their hastening of the end times. Kytons, too, have a distant admiration for the avant-garde masterpieces of insanity and terror that sahkils work upon mortal minds.

Breeds of Sahkil[edit]

Naturally, there are many different kinds of Sahkil, and theoretically there could be an infinite number of different subspecies. So far, these are the ones that have been developed.

Esipil[edit]

This creature’s stout canine torso tops a slimy mass resembling an earthworm. Disgusting veins dangle from its face.

Esipils prey upon the unease that comes from living among beasts. The civilized world has domesticated animals, but those creatures are just a step away from wild animals, and esipils make sure that humanoids who live around them remember that.

They ingratiate themselves with humanoids (particularly neutral evil spellcasters who might take them on as familiars) by acting like loving pets. They then delight in aggressive episodes, barking and snapping until called down by their masters. They return to a fawning obedience for a time—until the next inevitable outburst.

Instead of gnashing jaws, an esipil’s bite involves a lashing mass of fleshy veins and viscera that can grasp at its opponent. Esipils use this attack to distract their opponents, savaging entangled victims with their vicious claw attacks until their masters pull them away.

Although an esipil’s ability to frighten its victims is potent, it relies on its cause fear spell-like ability only when grossly outnumbered, outmatched, or greatly injured.

Esipils like to fight and scrap with nearly anything, and prefer that their victims not simply flee in terror, as they wish to savor the fear. Esipils use their telepathic abilities to harass would-be opponents into attacking them first, flinging mental taunts that are vulgar and disconcerting.

Once they engage, they are resilient and dogged fighters.

An esipil stands 1 foot tall at the shoulder, and its thin, wormlike body stretches nearly 3 feet long. An esipil weighs around 13 pounds.

Though they make unruly companions, esipils actually enjoy serving those mightier than themselves, taking pride in their masters’ power, even if they continue to snap and snarl when given commands.

A neutral evil spellcaster of at least 7th level who takes the Improved Familiar feat can select an esipil as a familiar.

Ichkoh[edit]

This monstrosity looks like a massive cockroach made from putrid hair. A humanoid face leers in place of an insectile head.

Ichkohs savor the fear of the failure of the flesh, and enjoy tormenting those who take pride in their bodies. When an ichkoh selects victims, it torments them with the knowledge of how they failed to maintain their bodies in their youth.

Sometimes an ichkoh pursues a single creature for years, encouraging increasingly selfdestructive behavior that, if allowed to continue, can drive a victim to suicide.

An ichkoh stands 6 feet tall and weighs 140 pounds.

Kimenhul[edit]

Three monstrous, misshapen skulls top a twisted trunk balanced on three leglike splinters of flesh and bone.

Kimenhuls prey upon the fear of failure, and encourage self-loathing. While all sahkils delight in spreading fear, few can leave an indelible mark of terror on its victim like a kimenhul. Among the strongest of sahkils, kimenhuls rarely leave the Ethereal Plane. Aside from the sahkil tormentors, kimenhuls are the eldest of all sahkils, and some particularly powerful kimenhuls carve out territory in the Ethereal Plane and rule over legions of other sahkils in much the same manner. Kimenhuls that achieve long-term control are outliers among their kind, however, as the hierarchy among sahkils is more mutable and fluctuating than the rigid order of devils or kytons, or psychopomps’ strict adherence to the planar order.

A kimenhul appears as three enormous, fused humanoid skulls with mouths full of jagged fangs, sitting atop an ever-shifting mass of limbs and faces.

These latter manifestations constantly try to pull free of the kimenhul’s bulk, shrieking and wailing in fear.

Sometimes a creature gazing into this fluctuating horror sees a face all too familiar—a scolding parent, an old bully, or a lost lover. This may or may not be real, as the terrifying forms stretching out from a kimenhul’s body incorporate both images from the viewer’s mind and those creatures that have fallen prey to the kimenhul’s eternal fear ability. A typical kimenhul stands 25 feet tall and weighs roughly 10,000 pounds.

When a kimenhul telepathically communicates with those marked by its eternal fear, it constantly reminds them that they will never be good enough, and that they are utter failures in everything they do. These sahkils derive a perverse amount of pleasure from these brief mental interjections, and those that have made their horrific impression on large numbers of beings spend hours of each day engaged in this long-distance abuse.

This lingering torment often drives a kimenhul’s victims insane, or forces them into desperation as they attempt more and more drastic means to rid themselves of the sahkil’s influence and predation. Many of these victims end up in the care of others, as their paranoia overtakes any ability to care for themselves and they constantly worry over whether they can actually achieve anything on their own. Doubt and distrust seep into every thought. The victim can’t get the denigrating voice out of his head, and self-destruction seems the only thing that can keep it at bay.

Kimenhuls don’t bother with those they consider “lesser” minds, unless their intention is to cause havoc or rampant violence. They instead focus on instilling fear in the best and brightest they can find. Kimenhuls appreciate a challenge and even dedicate themselves to breaking down creatures that are immune to fear effects. Kimenhuls delight in tormenting the brave and confident. These cruel outsiders track down great heroes and famed generals—women and men known for courage and righteousness—and infect their otherwise strong minds with the static of constant fear. Kimenhuls share stories of their conquests with each other and any allied sahkils, bragging about the reduction of onceproud warriors to twitchy, frightened children who jump at the slightest noise.

In combat, kimenhuls combine the use of their spell-like abilities and their physical might. Enemies out of reach fall victim to a host of different effects meant to frighten or weaken, while those nearby are at risk of being trampled or snatched up by one of the kimenhul’s fanged mouths. Kimenhuls sometimes grab enemies with their bite attacks and then use their snatch between ability to bring their victims to the Ethereal Plane.

Once back on the Ethereal Plane, kimenhuls bring their kidnapped victims to their lairs, where they and their sahkil allies subject them to a host of frightening stimuli in hopes of driving them mad. Some of these victims linger in this prison of terror for decades, while others die from fright—or take their own lives to escape the torture of constant dread. Otherwise, kimenhuls do their best to keep their victims alive.

Kimenhuls generally linger near those places on the Ethereal Plane where a mortal peering into that realm might brief ly glance upon their horrific visages. Most viewers only catch a terrifying, half-remembered glimpse of the sahkil and go on their ways, shaken but unscathed.

Yet if the viewer looks too long into that hazy realm, a kimenhul doesn’t hesitate to expose the creature to its look of fear or eternal fear abilities, or to attempt to drag the victim back to its lair for a proper dose of terror.

Pakalchi[edit]

Thorny vines with tiny red flowers grow from this emaciated woman and flow like a train behind her.

Pakalchis feed on the fear and insecurity of failing relationships. They delight in seeing social bonds shatter, as they know that mortals broken or set adrift by such conflicts are more susceptible to their malign influence.

Consummate puppetmasters, pakalchis use their powers of domination to turn friends and lovers against each other, relishing how even a single word can cause an avalanche of destruction as panicked victims make their situations worse.

Pakalchis then draw the despondent mortals to their sides, playing cat-and-mouse games and slowly increasing physical and psychological pressure until their quarry breaks.

While they may sometimes work though intermediaries, these creatures prefer to personally witness the anxiety they cause.

Pakalchis stand 7 feet tall and weigh 160 pounds.

Qolok[edit]

Terrible jaws ringed with clawed arms open atop this towering mass of flesh. A probing tongue flops from another orifice.

Qoloks prey on the fear of not having enough, urging mortals to overindulge in every way possible.

Wihsaak[edit]

Buzzing wings hold this gaunt creature just above the ground. A grasshopper serves as the creature’s head.

Wihsaaks prey on the fear of creeping, crawling, and buzzing insects. Instead of whispering from the shadows, wihsaaks blatantly present their unnerving insectile forms to frighten and demoralize humanoid mortals.

Wihsaaks use their suggestion spell-like ability to coerce victims into terrifying circumstances and make them believe that their horrific actions are their own ideas.

Wihsaaks savor their targets’ fear, drawing it out whenever possible. When facing a group of enemies, wihsaaks don’t immediately attack foes affected by their fear effects, and instead try to frighten all possible enemies before delivering the killing blows so as to properly season their prey in terror. When these sahkils do finally attack, their claws rip and tear flesh as easily as paper.

Wihsaaks stand 7 feet tall, have a 5-foot wingspan, and weigh around 170 pounds.

Ximtal[edit]

A rat’s head sprouts from the front of a crab-like body, and two tentacular tails ending in hands erupt from the towering bulk.

While psychopomps usher mortal souls to the proper judgment, sahkils have no care for souls and want to only torment and frighten mortals, often toying with their feelings of unease about their very mortality. Sahkils want to remind mortals that they are just that—mortal and alone in a complex and dangerous universe.

Ximtals feed on the fear of not belonging, and on the fear of isolation from the rest of a community or society. A ximtal stands 14 feet tall and weighs nearly 1,000 pounds.

Ximtals are manipulative schemers by nature. Having no concern whatsoever for any law, and feeling only contempt for joy and freedom as well as a total disdain for the overarching principles of society, a ximtal uses any insecurities and other weaknesses it perceives in order to slowly erode positive thoughts and actions and keep strong-willed mortals from acting on beliefs that would aid the greater good. They foster the vulgar and abusive voices in all sides of a conflict, subjecting the sensible and sensitive to ill treatment from the loud and malignant. These sinister outsiders instill feelings of dread and hopelessness, and make people feel as if they were alone and unacknowledged even in the presence of their friends and allies.

Ximtals delight in finding impressionable and aggressive voices to do their work. They know that if they can get someone who thinks she is fighting for a good cause to use terrible tactics in her pursuit of the ideal, they can corrupt that message and seed fear, shame, and dread in what would normally be seen as a constructive endeavor. In this way, ximtals hope to transform the righteous into fanatics.

More subtly, ximtals sometimes focus their attention on friends and allies of the truly virtuous—their ultimate targets—to indirectly discredit these paragons. In these cases, ximtals encourage associates of a target to misrepresent the target’s intended cause.

They work their way into the minds and ideologies of people who focus their actions on advertising their ideals and motivations; they gradually corrupt such folk, leading them to treat other voices with barely concealed aggression and contempt and make hasty decisions that run counter to their final goals. Eventually, the ximtals hope, these agents of discord will subvert the paragon’s message and mire her in despair and isolation.

Ximtals tend to remain isolated from others of their kind. They don’t often cooperate to target a certain individual or cause unless it holds some fascination specific to individual ximtals or sahkils. Instead, they spread themselves out through the multiverse to focus on divergent ideologies or selective societal crusades. Despite their tendency to be alone, some ximtals work in partnerships with pakalchis, as pakalchis focus on breaking down the bonds of friendship. Working in parallel, these two types of sahkil can destroy not only friendships, but entire families or organizations.

Zohanil[edit]

This monster is vaguely humanoid, but stands on three legs. A foul liquid drips from the needlelike tips of its long, hooked arms.

Zohanils delight in haunting those who fear needles and invasive medical procedures. They also enjoy sowing addiction in hopes of heightening despair. A zohanil stands over 6 feet tall and weighs roughly 200 pounds.

The Fiends of Pathfinder
Lawful: Asuras - Devils - Kytons - Rakshasas
Neutral: Daemons - Divs - Sahkils
Chaotic: Demodands - Demons - Qlippoth
Any: Oni
Lords: Archdevils - Four Horsemen - Ahriman - Demon Princes