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Protean

Source Bestiary 2 pg. 213
Beings of pure chaos, the serpentine proteans slither through the anarchic improbabilities of Limbo, remaking reality according to their whims. According to their own history, they were already here when the first gods pulled forth the other planes from raw chaos—and they have been battling against the indignity ever since. Hereditary and ideological enemies of Axis, Heaven, and Hell, and especially of the residents of those planes, all proteans see it as their sacred duty to return the bland, static expanses of mundane reality to the beautiful incongruities of Limbo, for the planes' own good and for the greater glory of their mysterious god, a dualistic deity which may be a living aspect of Limbo itself. They are Limbo's living, breathing immune system, rooting out infections of mundanity and replacing them with beautiful entropy.

Primeval in shape and philosophy, proteans are the race that most perfectly embodies the twin aspects of creation and destruction (although certain aeons might contest this claim). Even their language is mutable, evolving so quickly that few outsiders can understand it without magical aid. Ecological study is nearly impossible, as reproduction can take a wide variety of forms, from sexual union to fission to spontaneous generation. Despite their deceptively similar natural appearances, the two things that truly unify the protean race are slavish devotion to their strange god and a fervent desire for the dissolution of reality as we know it.

Proteans are organized into several sub-races or castes, each with its own individual abilities and roles. Other proteans than the four presented here doubtless exist, but they do not interact with other races nearly to the extent that these four types do.

Voidworms: Disowned by greater proteans, who find these tiny beings shameful, voidworms nevertheless retain all the characteristics of true proteans, and are frequently found swimming through Limbo in vast schools or serving as spellcasters' familiars.

Naunets: Possessing little in the way of culture, the powerful naunets are the most bestial of the true proteans, representing the lowest recognized caste. Naunets are the shock troops of the protean race, and patrol the borderlands between Limbo and other planes, seeking out lawful incursions and making daring, savage raids into the realms of their enemies.

Imenteshes: These cunning proteans seek to subvert the forces of order from within their own systems, whispering information and insinuations where they can do the most damage. Endlessly creative, they adore reforming the landscapes of Limbo to suit their fancies, but enjoy warping the vistas and creatures of other planes even more.

Keketars: Priest-kings and voices of Limbo itself, keketars rule their fellows in the name of their bizarre god. Though their forms are extremely mutable, keketars can always be recognized thanks to eyes that glow amber or violet and floating crowns of swirling and changing symbols that often appear above their heads. Organized into cabals called choruses, keketars seek only to understand and follow the will of entropy.

Protean Lords

While the keketars are the highest caste of the protean race, there exist a few scattered individuals who put even the mightiest chorus to shame. Equal in power to demon lords or empyreal lords, the beings known as protean lords are an enigma, far older than other proteans and perhaps spawned in a previous iteration of the multiverse or somewhere beyond the depths of Limbo. Disdaining direct leadership, protean lords act according to their own desires, occasionally appearing to advise their lesser kin or keep an inscrutable eye on entities whose powers rival their own.

Warpwaves

Many proteans, particularly the imenteshes, have the ability to create and manipulate ripples in reality known as warpwaves. Yet even a protean can't predict what effects a warpwave might have. When a creature is affected by a warpwave, roll 1d20 and consult the table below to see what effect the entropic energies have.

d20Warpwave effect
1Target takes 2 Strength damage.
2Target takes 2 Dexterity damage.
3Target takes 2 Constitution damage.
4Target takes 2 Intelligence damage.
5Target takes 2 Wisdom damage.
6Target takes 2 Charisma damage.
7Target gains 1 negative level.
8Target is blinded or deafened for 1d4 rounds.
9Target is confused for 1d4 rounds.
10Target is entangled by filaments of energy for 1d4 rounds.
11Target becomes fatigued (or exhausted if already fatigued).
12Target becomes nauseated for 1d4 rounds.
13Target is stunned for 1d4 rounds.
14Target is sickened for 1d4 rounds.
15Target is staggered for 1d4 rounds.
16Target gains 4d6 temporary hit points.
17Target is affected by a heal spell (CL = protean's CR).
18Target is turned to stone.
19Target is affected by baleful polymorph (CL = protean's CR).
20Portions of target's body burst with energy of a random type (choose between acid, cold, electricity, or fire), dealing 4d6 points of damage of the appropriate type to the target.

Creatures in "Protean" Category

NameCR
Akizendri3
Azuretzi5
Hegessik15
Ibshaunet11
Illureshi9
Imentesh10
Keketar17
Naunet7
Ourdivar4
Pelagastr8
Voidworm2

Protean, Azuretzi

Brilliant blue scales mottled with purple blotches cover this sinuous creature’s body. Its shifting hide forms the shapes of laughing faces.

Azuretzi CR 5

Source Pathfinder #98: Turn of the Torrent pg. 86
XP 1,600
CN Small outsider (chaotic, extraplanar, protean, shapechanger)
Init +10; Senses blindsense 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., detect law; Perception +11

Defense

AC 20, touch 17, flat-footed 14 (+6 Dex, +3 natural, +1 size)
hp 57 (6d10+24)
Fort +6, Ref +11, Will +7
Defensive Abilities amorphous anatomy, DR 5/lawful; Immune acid, polymorph; Resist electricity 10, sonic 10; SR 16

Offense

Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (perfect), swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +11 (1d4+3), 2 claws +8 (1d3+1), tail slap +8 (1d4+1 plus grab)
Special Attacks constrict (1d4+4), mocking touch, spell pilfer
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +9)
Constant—detect law
At will—dimension door, shatter (DC 15)
3/day—dispel magic, hideous laughter (DC 14)
1/day—chaos hammer (DC 17)

Statistics

Str 16, Dex 23, Con 19, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 17
Base Atk +6; CMB +8 (+12 grapple); CMD 24
Feats Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Acrobatics +15, Bluff +12, Diplomacy +9, Escape Artist +9, Fly +25, Knowledge (planes) +9, Perception +11, Sense Motive +11, Stealth +19, Survival +11, Swim +17
Languages Abyssal, Protean
SQ change shape (polymorph), mimic form

Ecology

Environment Any (Maelstrom)
Organization solitary, pair, or cackle (3–6)
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Mimic Form (Su) Azuretzis are masterful shapeshifters. An azuretzi can perfectly mimic other forms by spending a full-round action studying a specific creature and registering the creature as an icon in its memory. An azuretzi can assume the form of an iconic creature as a swift action, or revert to its natural form as a free action. This ability functions as polymorph, granting the azuretzi relevant abilities and ability score adjustments, and the azuretzi can assume the specific form of an iconic creature, reproducing its appearance exactly or twisting and exaggerating features to make itself a caricature of its target. An azuretzi can maintain a mimicked form indefinitely. It can store a number of icons equal to its Intelligence modifier (three for most azuretzis), after which it must consciously discard the memory of one icon to study a new creature.

Mocking Touch (Su) An azuretzi can borrow another creature’s talents with a successful touch attack, suppressing a target’s ability to use a single spell or spell-like ability (up to 4th level) of the protean’s choice for 1d4 rounds, after which the target regains the use of the spell or spell-like ability. When the azuretzi suppresses the use of a spell, the targeted spellcaster cannot cast that spell, even if he prepared it multiple times. The azuretzi can cast that spell once, using its own caster level and Charisma modifier to determine the spell’s effects and save DC. When the azuretzi suppresses a spell-like ability, it can use that ability up to three times, or as many times per day as its target could, whichever is fewer. Unwilling targets can resist the azuretzi’s mocking touch with a successful DC 16 Will save. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Spell Pilfer (Su) Two azuretzis can work together as a standard action to redirect an ongoing spell effect from one creature within 30 feet to another. The proteans can move a spell’s effect to themselves, sharing its effects as if they were a single creature, or else shift it to any single valid target of the original spell within 30 feet. The spell’s effects, caster level, and remaining duration are unaffected, and continue as if the new target were the caster’s original target. With a successful DC 16 Will save, an unwilling creature can resist having a spell effect taken from it or applied to it. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Description

Azuretzi proteans, also known as mockery wyrms, personify the whimsical side of the Maelstrom’s profound antipathy toward order. Among the smallest true proteans, they enjoy taunting creatures that fall short of their own embrace of chaos—a metric that encompasses most every creature across the planes.

The sapphire scales of these lesser proteans shimmer with meandering purple blotches that shift disconcertingly to form smirking faces. Azuretzi proteans are highly skilled shapeshifters, able to copy almost any creature’s appearance. Those encountering them report taunting and childish games of copycat, which azuretzis seem to consider the highest form of art. Their ability to steal the shapes and abilities of other creatures makes azuretzis unpredictable and dangerous opponents.

Ecology

Scholars have put forth many theories on the origin of azuretzis, though given the nature of proteans, multiple such theories may be true. Like voidworms, some azuretzis emerge spontaneously from the Maelstrom’s raw possibility, imbued with life and set adrift to do as they please. Others can and do breed conventionally, setting off in pairs or trios of mixed and shifting gender and even forming massive mating balls like some terrestrial serpents with great enthusiasm. Less commonly, azuretzis emerge from the souls of mortal petitioners that have been judged by Pharasma and delivered into the Cerulean Void. Some azuretzis readily admit such descent, but many confuse their own memories with those they experience when mimicking mortal beings. Higher breeds of proteans seem reluctant to share—or perhaps are confused by—any deeper secrets of azuretzi births.

Given their exuberance and small size, many outsiders think of azuretzis as the “child” caste of proteans, with their shapeshifting abilities serving as a sort of cosmic puberty. Many of these small creatures do eventually settle into the forms of larger proteans, though it’s unclear whether they gestate into true imenteshes or naunets, or simply retain these larger shapes as part of some long-term play-acting. Most likely, both scenarios take place; protean castes operate according to no rational or self-consistent rules, and the suggestion that they could offends protean sensibilities.

Habitat and Society

Within the Maelstrom, azuretzis frolic and cavort amid their ever-changing environment, defining themselves by whom and what they chose to copy. Much smaller than the rest of their kind, groups of azuretzis follow greater proteans like younger siblings, eagerly serving as acolytes for whatever creation or destruction the larger wyrms enact. More rarely, azuretzis congregate around more imposing keketar proteans, basking in their presence and stammering like excited children. They appear in the highest concentration within the Maelstrom’s borderlands, but are also known to travel the Outer Planes, sating their curiosity and ever-shifting whims. On other planes, they swarm portals and gates to the Maelstrom, and flock to chaotic planar cities such as Galisemni or the Wandering City of Emerald Song, where they form roving gangs of pranksters and thieves.

Azuretzis form mock choruses among their own kind, imitating specific cabals of proteans. They adopt the appearance of greater proteans, playing the parts of imenteshes, keketars, and naunets, but inevitably descending into nonsensical debates amid fits of giggles. Despite such apparent impertinence, azuretzis’ games are born of great reverence—their attempt at respect simply suffers because of the creatures’ short attention spans and irrepressible senses of humor.

Outside of the Maelstrom, the discomfort of stagnancy encourages azuretzis to grow increasingly more erratic and mischievous, pushing against what they perceive as a flaw in other planes. Most escalate their games of play-acting beyond the Maelstrom, imitating a chorus of angels or a cadre of demons to tell silly stories and have imaginative adventures. However, few outsiders appreciate their creativity, and sour reactions can drive the fickle proteans into angry fits. When azuretzis take umbrage toward other creatures, they stalk, observe, and ultimately impersonate them, using mimicry to undermine and humiliate these targets of their ire, sometimes destroying careers and relationships with cruel pranks.

Left to their own devices, azuretzis cause only minor—if endless—mayhem. Under the mandates of a higher chorus, their mimicry gains an underlying purpose and the potential for immense damage. When directed, azuretzis become agents of protean infiltration, saboteurs, and sowers of misdirection and discord. They rarely act as assassins, being too shortsighted and distractible for such serious work. Unable to cross planar boundaries alone, azuretzis delight in being summoned by mortal spellcasters. While they gleefully aid chaotic conjurers, they subvert and influence all others, smiling and nodding to terms presented and hoping to figure out a loophole later.