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Hunting Horror

This vast draconic serpent has a pair of leathery wings that don’t appear to be strong enough to allow the creature to fly.

Hunting Horror CR 14

Source Pathfinder #113: What Grows Within pg. 88
XP 38,400
CE Gargantuan magical beast
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect scrying, low-light vision, scent, see in darkness; Perception +19

Defense

AC 29, touch 11, flat-footed 24 (+5 Dex, +18 natural, –4 size)
hp 202 (15d10+120); fast healing 10
Fort +17, Ref +14, Will +11
Defensive Abilities freedom of movement, no breath; DR 10/magic and slashing; Immune acid, cold; SR 25 Weaknesses light sensitivity, susceptible to sunlight

Offense

Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee bite +23 (2d6+12), tail slap +23 (2d8+12 plus grab), 2 wings +21 (2d6+6)
Space 20 ft., Reach 20 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (2d8+18), crush, squeezing coils, swallow whole (2d6+18 bludgeoning plus 6d6 acid damage, AC 19, 20 hp)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 14th; concentration +19)
Constant—detect scrying, freedom of movement
At will—gaseous form, locate creature, locate object, telekinesis (DC 20)
3/day—demand (DC 23), limited wish (to duplicate sorcerer/wizard spells of 6th level or lower only)
1/day—discern location, ethereal jaunt, scrying (DC 19), vision
1/year—interplanetary teleport

Statistics

Str 34, Dex 20, Con 27, Int 15, Wis 23, Cha 20
Base Atk +15; CMB +31 (+33 bull rush); CMD 46 (48 vs. bull rush)
Feats Awesome Blow, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Flyby Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Multiattack, Power Attack, Snatch
Skills Fly +20, Knowledge (geography) +12, Knowledge (local) +12, Perception +19, Spellcraft +20, Survival +27; Racial Modifiers +8 Spellcraft, +8 Survival
Languages Aklo, Common, Draconic
SQ answer beckoning, contingency, hunter, manipulate magic, powerful tail

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or pack (3–6)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Answer Beckoning (Ex) Although a hunting horror is not an elemental or outsider, it can be conjured via gate, greater planar ally, or greater planar binding, provided the caster of the spell is a worshiper of one of the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods or specifically alters the words of the spell to invoke a hunting horror, and provided the spell is not cast in an area of direct sunlight. When invoking a hunting horror in this way, the spellcaster must succeed at a DC 30 Spellcraft check as part of the casting of the spell, or when the hunting horror arrives it is automatically free to act under its own will.

Contingency While the exact details of a particular hunting horror’s contingency effect can vary wildly (as the monster has an immense range of potential spells to choose from due to its ability to manipulate magic), most settle for the simple but effective tactic of causing a greater invisibility spell to activate on the hunting horror as soon as it takes damage.

Crush (Ex) A flying hunting horror can land on foes as a standard action, and then use its lengthy coils to crush them. This attack is effective only against creatures three or more size categories smaller than the hunting horror (Medium for most hunting horrors), and affects as many creatures as fit in the hunting horror’s space. Any creature in the affected area must succeed at a DC 25 Reflex saving throw or be pinned, automatically taking 4d6+18 points of bludgeoning damage each round it is pinned. If the hunting horror chooses to maintain the pin, it must succeed at a combat maneuver check as normal. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Hunter (Ex) Hunting horrors are efficient and talented at tracking prey, and Survival is a class skill for these creatures as a result. In addition, they gain a +8 racial bonus on Survival checks. When a hunting horror succeeds at a Survival check to follow a creature’s tracks, the hunting horror can declare that creature to be its prey. If there are multiple sets of tracks from a group of creatures traveling together, the hunting horror can choose which specific creature becomes its prey if it knows the target is among those in the group; otherwise, its chosen prey is determined randomly. The next time the hunting horror begins a battle against its prey, it gains a +10 bonus on its initiative check. In addition, its prey takes a –2 penalty on all saving throws against the hunting horror’s spell-like abilities. A hunting horror can have only one creature as its designated prey at any one time, and if 24 hours pass without the hunting horror succeeding at a Survival check to follow that prey’s trail, that creature ceases being the hunting horror’s prey.

Manipulate Magic (Sp) A hunting horror is gifted at manipulating magic to affect a wide range of spell-like abilities beyond those that it normally can access. In effect, this allows each hunting horror to use limited wish three times per day as a spell-like ability, but only to duplicate a sorcerer/wizard spell of 6th level or lower. Hunting horrors typically use this ability to deal with foes who manage to stay at a distance, favoring potent attacks like chain lightning, disintegrate, and flesh to stone. Most save the third and final daily use for emergencies—teleport to escape from a battle gone unpredictably poorly, for example, or break enchantment or greater dispel magic to remove a debilitating effect. All hunting horrors use this ability to maintain a contingency effect on themselves as well.

Powerful Tail (Ex) A hunting horror’s tail slap is treated as a primary natural attack.

Squeezing Coils (Ex) A creature that takes damage from a hunting horror’s constrict ability after being struck by the hunting horror’s tail slap attack must succeed at a DC 29 Fortitude saving throw or fall unconscious for 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Strength-based.

Susceptible to Sunlight (Ex) While the glow of a distant star does not inconvenience a hunting horror, this creature cannot abide the light of a sun in relatively close proximity—including sunlight on a typical habitable planet such as Golarion. When in natural sunlight (but not in an area of daylight or similar spells), a hunting horror can’t attack and is staggered. In sunlight, its fast healing ability doesn’t function, it loses its damage reduction, and it takes 2d6 points of fire damage per round. In areas of natural sunlight, a hunting horror’s light sensitivity increases to light blindness.

Servitors of the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep, the serpentine hunting horrors excel at tracking and seeking prey, talents that often see them called on by cultists or spellcasters to hunt down enemies. They speak in great and powerful voices, when they deign to speak at all.

A typical hunting horror is 60 feet long but weighs only 2 tons.

Ecology

A hunting horror abhors light, as it is a creature of inky blackness, some scholars theorize to be akin to the darkness that makes up the Dark Tapestry. Certainly these creatures seem uninterested in obeying the laws of physics in flight; their ability to fly is supernatural, rather than the result of physical exertion—some hunting horrors even have but a single wing that flops lazily as it slithers with great speed through the air. The material that composes their bodies is also supernatural, for although they burn like straw when exposed to sunlight, their hide is thick and difficult to damage with most weapons; only magical blades have a chance of fully penetrating it.

Habitat and Society

Hunting horrors are often called on to perform tasks for wizards or priests, but they are themselves notable scholars of magic. While very few ever bother to become actual spellcasters, their ability to manipulate magic allows them significant variety and alacrity when it comes to generating magical effects. Many hunting horrors take to the creation of magic items, but they are unconcerned with scaling their magical devices for other users, which reduces their utility for smaller creatures. A hunting horror that focuses on item creation generally replaces its Combat Casting feat with Craft Wondrous Item.

Origins

As with many of the monsters that have come to be associated with the Cthulhu Mythos, like the byakhee, the dark young of Shub-Niggurath, and the gnoph-keh, the hunting horror’s original incarnation in fiction was as a vague fragment and a few evocative words. Sandy Petersen ran with these scraps when creating the bestiary section for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, and fully fleshed out the hunting horror into an iconic monster in its own right.