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Sahkil

Source Bestiary 5 pg. 212
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.

Sahkil Tormentors

A fractious group of godlike warlords dominate vast numbers of sahkil. They have been the most effective in the goals of their race, amassing power and worship through terror. From their nether-realms upon the Ethereal Plane, these sahkil tormentors sow new horrors among mortal worlds and minds. Some of the most dreadful tormentors include the following.
  • 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

Creatures in "Sahkil" Category

NameCR
Esipil2
Ichkoh7
Kimenhul20
Nucol4
Pakalchi9
Qolok16
Wihsaak6
Ximtal17
Zohanil10

Sahkil, Kimenhul

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

Kimenhul CR 20

Source Bestiary 5 pg. 214
XP 307,200
NE Huge outsider (evil, extraplanar, sahkil)
Init +9; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, true seeing; Perception +37

Defense

AC 37, touch 17, flat-footed 28 (+9 Dex, +20 natural, –2 size)
hp 362 (25d10+225); fast healing 20
Fort +23, Ref +17, Will +23; +8 vs. mind-affecting effects
Defensive Abilities all-around vision, mind blank; DR 15/good; Immune death effects, disease, fear effects, poison; Resist cold 20, electricity 20, sonic 20; SR 31

Offense

Speed 50 ft., climb 50 ft.
Melee 3 bites +35 (2d8+11 plus grab), 4 claws +35 (1d8+11/19–20 plus 1d3 Charisma bleed)
Space 15 ft., Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks bleed (1d3 Charisma), eternal fear, look of fear (120 ft., DC 32), snatch between, spirit touch, trample (2d8+16, DC 33), unsettled mind
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th; concentration +28)
Constant—detect thoughts (DC 20), mind blank, true seeing
At will—air walk, enervation, greater teleport (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only), magic circle against good, tongues
3/day—blasphemy (DC 25), crushing despair (DC 24), dispel magic, fear (DC 24), malicious spite (DC 24), suggestion (DC 21)
1/day—antipathy (DC 28), eyebite (DC 26), summon (level 9, any one CR 19 or lower sahkil 100%), symbol of fear (DC 26), weird (DC 29)

Statistics

Str 33, Dex 29, Con 29, Int 22, Wis 28, Cha 26
Base Atk +25; CMB +38 (+42 trip); CMD 57 (61 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Dazing Assault, Dazzling Display, Greater Trip, Improved Critical (claw), Improved Trip, Power Attack, Staggering Critical, Stunning Critical, Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Acrobatics +26, Bluff +36, Climb +37, Diplomacy +36, Intimidate +36, Knowledge (arcana, religion) +20, Knowledge (dungeoneering, nature, nobility) +10, Knowledge (local, planes) +23, Perception +37, Sense Motive +37, Spellcraft +31, Stealth +29, Use Magic Device +33
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal; telepathy 300 ft.
SQ easy to call, emotional focus, skip between

Ecology

Environment any (Ethereal Plane)
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Eternal Fear (Su) As a standard action, a kimenhul can present itself in a terrifying manner to all creatures within 300 feet that can perceive it. Other sahkils are immune to this effect. All creatures within range must succeed at a DC 32 Will save or forever hold the kimenhul in the darkest corners of their minds. Once per day as a free action, a kimenhul can telepathically communicate with a creature affected by this ability for 1 minute as long as both creatures are on the same plane. For as long as the creature remains affected by a kimenhul’s eternal fear, each time the affected creature finds itself in a stressful situation (such as combat), it has a 50% chance of being shaken for 1 minute as it recalls the horror of its encounter with the kimenhul. This lingering fear persists even if the creature defeated or killed the kimenhul. This effect is instantaneous and can be removed only via a wish or miracle. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The save DC is Charisma-based and includes the +2 bonus from the sahkil’s emotional focus ability.
Look of Fear (Su) A creature affected by a kimenhul’s gaze is paralyzed with fear for 1d4 rounds as the victim imagines its body being warped and transformed. Even on a successful save, a creature is shaken for 1 minute, and creatures immune to paralysis that fail the save gain the cowering condition for 1d4 rounds instead. While paralyzed, the victim appears to those viewing it to transform into a terrifying creature as ghostly appendages of bone and gore randomly sprout from its body. Any creatures adjacent to the victim must succeed at a DC 32 Will save or be shaken for 1 minute. The ghostly appendages are an illusion (glamer) effect. Spells that provide immunity to fear, such as greater heroism, are automatically dispelled if they come within range of a kimenhul’s look of fear. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Snatch Between (Su) While using skip between, a kimenhul can bring along any creatures grappling it or grappled by it, with no saving throw. A kimenhul can use skip between as either a swift or a move action.
Unsettled Mind (Su) Any creature affected by a kimenhul’s spell, spell-like ability, or other effect with the emotion or fear descriptor (even those that have a lesser effect on a successful save) takes a –4 penalty on caster level checks, concentration checks, Will saves, and skill and ability checks based on Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma for as long as it is affected by that effect and for 1d4 rounds thereafter.

Description

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 f luctuating 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 f luctuating 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 inf luence 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 f ind. 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 spelllike 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.