Archives of Nethys

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Qlippoth

Source Bestiary 2 pg. 218
Before the Abyss was taught how to process and transform larvae into demons—indeed, before larvae even existed or the idea of mortal life had been conceived—it was rife with foul life. These creatures exist still, yet in drastically reduced numbers and often only in the deepest pits of the plane. Known as the qlippoth (the singular and plural are identical), these fiends may well be the oldest form of life in the Great Beyond—certainly, they were already in existence before the proteans discovered them. Some believe that the qlippoth come from an unknowable realm on what might be described as the “outside shell” of the Outer Sphere, but if the qlippoth are to be taken as indicative of what order of existence rules in such a realm, it is a good thing indeed that this outer realm is so impossibly distant.

The qlippoth do not possess in their forms anything approximating the human shape except by cosmic fluke or sinister mockery. In their twitching, squirming visages, the mad might make comparisons to life’s most primeval shapes—spiders and cephalopods, insects and worms, and even baser forms of life. What this might imply about these lower forms of life has disturbed philosophers for ages, and is not a train of thought that many enjoy lingering upon.

Since the rise of mortal sin, the rule of the Abyss has passed from the qlippoth to the much more fecund demons. When the Abyss first “learned” how to transform mortal souls into demons, the resulting explosion of demonic life culminated in a violent and destructive war with the then-rulers of the Abyss—the qlippoth. For unguessed millennia this war raged across the countless layers of the Abyss. The qlippoth had the advantage of knowing their ancient realm and, as a general rule, were individually more powerful than most demons, but the demons had numbers on their side. And as the demons continued to win battle after battle, new powers among their kind rose—balors, balor lords, nascent demon lords, and eventually demon lords themselves. Over time, the qlippoth were hunted nearly to extinction on the upper layers of the Abyss, and were forced to retreat deep into that realm’s darkest and most remote realms, to places even the demons feared to tread.

Here, the qlippoth have festered and lurked for ages. None can say how many qlippoth survived that ancient war, for none can know how deep the Abyss goes. The qlippoth dwell in these darkest pits, periodically emerging to do battle against their hated demonic foes, yet their wrath is not limited to the demonic host. The qlippoth know that daemons played a role in “teaching” the Abyss how to birth demonic life, and their war with the denizens of Abaddon is one fueled more by a driving need to punish than any need for survival. Yet as the eons have worn on, the qlippoth have come to realize that the true enemy is not a fiendish race—it is mortal life itself. For as long as mortal life continues to sin and die, the Abyss can continue to birth demons into its pits and rifts. The destruction of sin, by changing the way mortals live, would halt demonic growth, yet the qlippoth have no concept of how this goal might be achieved—to the qlippoth, only the murder of all mortality can suffice.

As a result, all qlippoth possess within their minds a burning hatred of mortal life, particularly humanoids, whom they know to be the primary seeds of sin. When a qlippoth is conjured to the Material Plane, it seeks any way to escape control in order to maul and destroy humans—they have a particular hatred of children and pregnant women, and if given a choice between harming someone already dying or close to death and someone with a full life ahead of them, they always choose to attack the latter, save for the rare case where the death of an elder or a dying loved one might result in a chain reaction of death among the young.

When called via spells like planar ally that require opposed Charisma checks or similar mechanics in order for the conjuring spellcaster to secure the outsider’s aid, evil humanoids take a —6 penalty when interacting with qlippoth due to the sin in their souls. The promise of a task that would afford the qlippoth the opportunity to kill many humanoids, or a sacrifice of a pregnant woman or a child, can sometimes offset this penalty. When a qlippoth shakes off the shackles of a conjuration, it attempts to remain on the Material Plane as long as possible, and during that time tries to murder as many mortals as it can, doing its part to deprive the Abyss of possible future sinful souls to build demons from.

Qlippoth Lords

That the qlippoth have among their kind paragons akin to demon lords is indisputable, yet these powers rarely, if ever, emerge from the deepest realms of the Abyss to interact with the rest of the multiverse. They are only rarely worshiped on the Material Plane, but such cults, where they exist, are singularly destructive and ruinous.

Yet the power granted by mortal worship can have a curious effect on a qlippoth—it can, in a way, infect it with the sins of its worshipers. Qlippoth who become so infected are either murdered by their kin or forced to flee to the upper realms of the Abyss, where they complete their transformation and, instead of remaining qlippoth lords, become demon lords. One can know the nature of a demon lord that began life as a qlippoth most easily by its shape—those demon lords, such as ichthyic Dagon or foul and festering Jubilex, bear little or no sign of a humanoid frame.

Creatures in "Qlippoth" Category

NameCR
Augnagar14
Behimiron13
Cataboligne16
Chernobue12
Cythnigot2
Deinochos5
Gongorinan11
Gorgoros9
Hydraggon3
Iathavos20
Nyogoth10
Shoggti7
Thognorok4
Thulgant18
Utukku8
Vexenion6

Qlippoth, Iathavos

This immense creature has four bat-like wings and a spherical body. Red eyes peer from all sides, and two huge claws dangle below.

Iathavos CR 20

Source Bestiary 2 pg. 222
XP 307,200
CE Colossal outsider (chaotic, evil, extraplanar, qlippoth)
Init –1; Senses all-around vision, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +37
Aura stench (DC 32, 10 rounds), cloak of chaos (DC 26)

Defense

AC 37, touch 7, flat-footed 37 (+4 deflection, –1 Dex, +2 insight, +30 natural, –8 size)
hp 372 (24d10+240); fast healing 15
Fort +28, Ref +15, Will +28
Defensive Abilities ichor, never surprised or flat-footed; DR 15/cold iron and lawful; Immune cold, poison, mind-affecting effects; Resist acid 30, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 31

Offense

Speed 20 ft., fly 50 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 claws +31 (4d6+15/19–20 plus grab), 4 wings +26 (2d8+7)
Space 30 ft., Reach 30 ft.
Special Attacks abyssal transformation, entropic beams, horrific appearance (DC 30)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +28)
Constant—cloak of chaos (DC 26), foresight, freedom of movement, true seeing
At will—dimension door, dispel law, greater dispel magic, magic missile, plane shift (DC 25), wind walk, word of recall
3/day—black tentacles, dimensional lock, horrid wilting (DC 26), insanity (DC 25), word of chaos (DC 25)
1/day—quickened heal, imprisonment (DC 27)

Statistics

Str 40, Dex 8, Con 31, Int 29, Wis 30, Cha 27
Base Atk +24; CMB +47 (+51 grapple); CMD 62 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Awesome Blow, Critical Focus, Greater Vital Strike, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (claw), Improved Vital Strike, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (heal), Spell Penetration, Staggering Critical, Vital Strike
Skills Bluff +35, Escape Artist +23, Fly +26, Intimidate +35, Knowledge (arcana) +36, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +33, Knowledge (geography) +33, Knowledge (history) +33, Knowledge (planes) +36, Knowledge (religion) +33, Perception +37, Sense Motive +37, Spellcraft +36, Stealth +10, Use Magic Device +35
Languages Abyssal; telepathy 300 ft.

Ecology

Environment any (Abyss)
Organization solitary
Treasure double

Special Abilities

Abyssal Transformation (Su) If an iathavos establishes a hold on a creature of Large or smaller size, it can place that creature deep within the bristly folds of its flesh. Treat this as an engulf attack, except that at the start of the iathavos’s turn, an engulfed creature must make a DC 30 Fortitude save or be transformed into a nyogoth qlippoth that immediately squirms out of the iathavos’s body to serve its new master. Creatures transformed into nyogoths are not controlled by the iathavos, but function and behave as if they were typical members of that species—they retain no memories or abilities they may have possessed in their previous lives. Items held or worn by the unfortunate victim remain lodged within the folds of the iathavos’s body and can only be retrieved if the iathavos is helpless or dead. A creature transformed into a nyogoth in this manner can be restored to its true shape via break enchantment, miracle, or wish. Otherwise, slaying the nyogoth allows the poor soul to be restored to life via reincarnation, resurrection, or true resurrection. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Entropic Beams (Su) As a standard action once every minute, an iathavos can fire beams of entropic energy from its 10 eyes. Each of these beams of energy can be directed at a single target within 300 feet of the iathavos, but no more than one beam may be directed at any one creature. Beams that are not directed at a creature are wasted. The qlippoth must make a +15 ranged touch attack to hit with each beam. Each beam has the same effect as a CL 20th disintegrate (40d6 damage, DC 32 Fortitude partial for 5d6 damage), except a creature killed by this damage explodes in a 5-foot burst of energy, flesh, shadow, and smoke instead of turning into dust. Any creature in this burst must make a DC 32 Will save or be staggered for 1 round. The save DCs are Constitution-based.

Horrific Appearance (Su) Creatures that succumb to the iathavos’s horrific appearance are affected by a feeblemind effect and permanently blinded.

Ichor (Su) As long as the iathavos has taken any hit point damage, thick and stringy ropes of black ichor weep from the fissures and folds in its bristly hide. This ichor extrudes from the creature’s body in a writhing nimbus of filaments at a rate of 5 feet per round, to a maximum range equal to its reach (30 feet). At the start the iathavos’s turn, all creatures in reach of these strands of ichor must make a DC 32 Reflex save or become entangled. At the start the iathavos’s turn, all creatures entangled by the ichor take 4d6 points of acid damage. If the qlippoth ends its turn with no hit point damage, the ichor melts away into harmless mist, releasing all entangled creatures. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Stench (Su) The iathavos’s stench ability is supernaturally disgusting—creatures that succumb to this ability are nauseated, while those that save are still sickened.

Description

The most terrible of the qlippoth, with the exception of the qlippoth lords, is doubtless the immense iathavos. Believed by many to be a singular entity, a unique qlippoth so abhorrent that even the Abyss cannot bear to allow more than one to exist at any one time, the iathavos is often encountered attended by numerous nyogoth qlippoth that squirm over its body or under its bulk, feeding upon the wastes and fragments left behind by its shuddersome passing. These nyogoths are invariably other creatures that the iathavos has absorbed and remade—they represent one of the most heinous fates that could await would-be explorers of the deepest Abyssal rifts.

The iathavos crusades against the demonic scourge, but the monster does not limit its attentions to seeking out and destroying demons in preparation for the return of the Abyss to qlippoth rule. Indeed, the iathavos has the ability to shift among the various planes of the multiverse, and often travels to Material Plane worlds to systematically scour realms clean of mortal life, thus ensuring that these worlds can no longer provide the raw materials—sinful mortal souls—the Abyss relies upon to create new demons. Worlds visited by the iathavos are notable for the widespread devastation and the unusually large populations of nyogoths that remain behind to consume every last speck of decay the iathavos leaves behind.

The iathavos can be called via the most powerful spells, such as gate, but its immunity to mind-affecting effects and its vast size ensure that only the most desperate or most insane ever attempt such a self-destructive act. In all known cases, the deliberate conjuration of the iathavos to another world has done little more than draw the attention of the powerful creature to that world, so that even if it is banished back to the Abyss before it can cause too much devastation, the iathavos remembers the visit. It often returns under its own power at a later date to pursue its own goals on the newly discovered world. Only if the iathavos is presented with defenders that prevent it from achieving its destructive ruin does it flee back to the Abyss via plane shift—in such cases, the qlippoth often waits for centuries or even millennia before returning to that world, for there are always easier realms to destroy.

The iathavos is a powerful and horrifying monster made all the more devastating by its incredible intellect. The creature takes care to plan its major assaults on demonic enclaves or mortal cities, even though it is powerful enough that few creatures in the multiverse can give it pause.

When the iathavos is slain, the multiverse typically has only a relatively short time before the Abyss births a replacement monstrosity for the defeated qlippoth. This newly born iathavos is an entirely new creature—it does not share the memories of the previous incarnation, nor does it possess any advanced hit dice or class levels the previous monster may have gained, yet its appetite and hatred for demonic life and the sins that create such life remain constant and unending.

To call such an iathavos a “newborn” is somewhat misleading. Although technically a freshly created creature, newborn iathavoses do not undergo a “childhood.” They form fully grown, as presented here. Yet with each new incarnation of the qlippoth monstrosity, changes can occur. A new iathavos might have slightly different spell-like abilities, for example, or the nature of its horrific appearance might change from that presented here. As an iathavos continues to hunt and destroy, it grows more powerful—an advanced iathavos typically gains more racial Hit Dice as a result. An iathavos that gains power by taking class levels is not unheard of, but it is quite rare—most who do take levels in sorcerer.