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Grisantian Lion

This massive lion’s fur and skin shimmer with a golden sheen.

Grisantian Lion CR 14

Source Pathfinder #132: The Six-Legend Soul pg. 86
XP 38,400
CN Huge magical beast
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +11

Defense

AC 29, touch 13, flat-footed 24 (+5 Dex, +16 natural, –2 size)
hp 184 (16d10+96)
Fort +16, Ref +15, Will +8
DR 10/epic; Immune disease, poison; Resist fire 10

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +23 (3d6+13 plus grab), 2 claws +23 (1d8+9)
Space 15 ft., Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks pounce, powerful bite, rake (2 claws +23, 1d8+9), tearing claws

Statistics

Str 29, Dex 21, Con 22, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 11
Base Atk +16; CMB +27 (+31 sunder); CMD 42 (44 vs. sunder, 46 vs. trip)
Feats Greater Sunder, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack, Run, Skill Focus (Perception), Vital Strike
Skills Acrobatics +16 (+20 when jumping), Climb +16, Perception +11, Stealth +8; Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics, +4 Stealth
Languages Common (can’t speak)

Ecology

Environment warm plains or hills
Organization solitary
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities

Tearing Claws (Ex) When a grisantian lion hits a creature with two or more claw attacks in a single round, it savages any armor worn by the target—this grants the grisantian lion a free sunder attempt against armor worn by the target if the victim fails a DC 27 Reflex save. The save DC is Strength-based. Powerful Bite (Ex) A grisantian lion’s bite attack adds 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus to its damage rolls instead of its normal Strength bonus.

Description

Taldan legends tell of the grogrisant, a golden-furred leonine beast that First Emperor Taldaris killed in the early days of the empire. The grogrisant has reappeared throughout history to test great Taldan heroes, and scholars disagree as to whether this is the same ageless mythic beast or a rare race of creatures. In either case, the mighty grogrisant has sired powerful offspring among the dire lions of the Whistling Plains north of the World’s Edge Mountains. Their legendary heritage evident in their great size, lustrous hide, and rending claws, grisantian lions stalk the plains and mountains of northern Taldor. Haughty and powerful, grisantian lions seek easy meals but cannot resist an opportunity for a challenging fight, hurling themselves against large foes such as mammoths and giants to demonstrate their formidable attacks and supernatural resilience.

A grisantian lion stands 14 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs around 8,000 pounds. Female grisantian lions are slightly larger than males.

Ecology

Descendants of an incredibly rare legendary beast, grisantian lions are themselves remarkably uncommon. Despite being few in number, grisantian lions are extremely hardy and long-lived. Their golden-hued hides, which retain some of their ancestor’s legendary toughness, protect them from parasites as well as the rare attackers that dare to challenge them. A grisantian lion can easily live 2 centuries, and even longer in an area where regular prey is plentiful.

Grisantian lions are choosy regarding their mates, selecting only the largest and most powerful dire lions. Unlike regular lions, grisantian lions do not congregate in prides; they return to their solitary lives shortly after mating. Grisantian lion cubs grow quickly, becoming adults within a year of birth. A grisantian lion parent may teach its cub the rudiments of hunting and caring for itself, but grisantian lions are not nurturing by nature and rarely express affection for their offspring. A grisantian lion parent forces its cub away from its territory as soon as it can survive on its own, but before it becomes large enough to effectively challenge its parent for control of the area. A dire lion parent may attempt to incorporate its grisantian lion cub into its pride, but the creature’s supernaturally resilient hide, savage cunning, and natural ferocity make it a danger to other dire lions, and the cub is quickly shunned. Adult grisantian lions therefore already have long experience in surviving on their own.

Grisantian lions are solitary hunters too large to stalk prey through tall grasses as effectively as their smaller cousins. Instead, grisantian lions bring their brute strength and intellect to bear, often targeting prey accompanied by their young; this forces the prey to either stand and protect their offspring, or flee and leave the lion an easy meal. Grisantian lions revel in challenging fights, and often attack larger animals just for the thrill of battle. Confident in their incredible hides, Grisantian lions have been known to attack mastodons, dinosaurs, hydras, and even dragons. Much like common lions, grisantian lions rarely attack humanoids when other food options are available. This reluctance is less out of a concern for self-preservation than because grisantian lions don’t see humanoids as large enough to pose a worthwhile challenge. If a grisantian lion learns otherwise—such as if a well-placed arrow manages to overcome its resilient hide—it leaps eagerly into battle. Many hunters have attacked a grisantian lion, believing the creature to be disinterested or even skittish, only to have a lucky shot provoke the lion’s assault.

Habitat and Society

Although the grisantian lions’ mythic progenitor inhabits the World’s Edge Mountains, the lions have spread over much of Taldor and even into neighboring nations. Grisantian lions prefer warmer climates, but they can thrive in almost any environment. Their thick fur and dense flesh allow them to survive severely cold climates for short periods of time, generally long enough to hunt before returning to whatever warm cave or den they’ve made for themselves. Their fur becomes thicker in such climates within only a few weeks, helping to keep the creatures warm. In hot regions, grisantian lions tend to shed weight, becoming much lighter, and grow very fine coats, with the males losing their manes entirely.

Aside from the urge to find a mate and produce offspring, which strikes only every few decades, grisantian lions are creatures of solitude. They deem mundane lions too weak and dimwitted to be worth their company for long, and they consider the irritation of sharing food and glory with another of their kind more bothersome than the difficulty of hunting alone. Grisantian lions rarely ally with larger, more powerful creatures, as their inclination is to fight such creatures to prove their prowess rather than work together.

Hunters and trappers eagerly pursue rumors of grisantian lion activity, hoping to craft durable armor from its hide. Unfortunately for these hunters, the lion’s skin nearly always loses its remarkable resilience after the beast is slain. Rumors of alchemical or magical treatments to preserve the hide are as pervasive (and, unfortunately, as frequently spurious) as rumors of the lions themselves.

Grisantian lions can’t speak, although they understand languages spoken in nearby communities. Unwise Taldan nobles sometimes sponsor hunts to recover grisantian lion cubs, but the creatures grow so quickly that keeping them caged is often a difficulty. Even young grisantian lions resist domestication with a petulant ferocity. With their keen intellect and ability to understand their keepers’ language, grisantian lions escape confinement frequently; at best, a would-be master loses only a few servants or some livestock as the creature escapes back into the wild; at worst, the noble finds herself at the claws of the creature she sought to keep captive.

Bargaining with a grisantian lion is difficult but not impossible; the creatures like to receive tributes of meat and other delicacies and can be convinced to provide short-term services in exchange for the promise of future spoils. Orcs, in particular, find a particular kinship with grisantian lions and sometimes attempt to convince one to join a raid against a well-fortified settlement, although such alliances are often temporary.