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Benaioh

This towering humanoid figure appears to be sculpted from clay. Fine cracks thread through the creature’s body, leaking a steady stream of putrescent slime.

Creatures in "Benaioh" Category

NameCR
Benaioh (Clay Vessel)7
Benaioh (Ooze Form)7

Benaioh, Benaioh (Clay Vessel)

Benaioh (Clay Vessel) CR 7

Source Pathfinder #93: Forge of the Giant God pg. 84
XP 3,200
N Large construct
Init –1; Senses blindsense 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, tremorsense 90 ft.; Perception –4

Defense

AC 18, touch 8, flat-footed 18 (–1 Dex, +10 natural, –1 size)
hp 52 (4d10+30)
Fort +1, Ref +0, Will –3
Defensive Abilities clay shell; DR 5/adamantine and bludgeoning; Immune construct traits; SR 15

Offense

Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 slams +12 (1d8+9)
Space 10 ft., Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks disease, spray slime

Statistics

Str 28, Dex 9, Con —, Int —, Wis 2, Cha 1
Base Atk +4; CMB +14; CMD 23
SQ freeze, symbiotic senses

Ecology

Environment any mountains or underground
Organization solitary, pair, or guard (3–12)
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Clay Shell (Ex) A benaioh is safely encased in an animated clay shell that is sculpted to resemble a giant humanoid. The shell provides the inhabiting ooze total cover. When the clay form is destroyed, it shatters violently, exploding in a spray of jagged clay shards that deal 3d6 points of damage to all creatures in a 30-foot-diameter burst centered on the benaioh. A successful DC 21 Reflex save halves this damage. This explosion releases the benaioh from its clay shell; thereafter it uses its ooze form statistics (see below). The save DC is Strength-based.

Disease (Ex) While a benaioh is immune to disease, it carries a contagion with which it both infects other creatures and propagates itself. Any creature struck by the benaioh’s spray slime ability is exposed to this disease.

Wormrot: Contact; save Fort DC 20; onset 1 minute; frequency 1/day; effect sickened plus 1d3 Con damage; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based. A creature that dies of wormrot transforms into a benaioh over the course of the next 24 hours.

Spray Slime (Ex) Once every 1d4 rounds (but no more than 6 times per day), a benaioh in its clay shell can force a stream of itself in a 20-foot line of worm-laden slime from one of the clay shell’s orifices. The putrescent sludge deals 3d6 points of acid damage and exposes the target to wormrot.

Symbiotic Senses (Ex) A benaioh can still use its blindsense and tremorsense abilities while housed inside its animated clay shell.

Description

Long before the Thassilonian empire rose to power on the western shores of Avistan, ancient tribes of stone giants migrated into the western reaches of Varisia and settled in the region now called the Mindspin Mountains. As their culture grew, so did their devotion to the deities who blessed them with the riches of the earth. They worshiped gods, the spirits of the wild world around them, and their ancestors. To show their respect, they erected dozens of small temples throughout the region. In later centuries, much of their culture was torn apart. Those who clung to their beliefs were slaughtered, and their temples were sacked, looted, and burned. Anything left behind fell into the care of aging priests, and over the centuries, as their caretakers passed on, these remnants slipped into obscurity.

One strange ritual from this time, typically practiced by the ancient priests of the giant goddess Fandarra, involved the preparation of corpses for the journey to the afterlife, but created benaiohs as a side effect. Corpses were prepared by decomposing them within a clay vessel that the priests believed would allow the soul to escape after the body decomposed. To augment this process, the priests used slender, flesh-devouring worms that were imbued with divine blessings. Over the course of a lengthy ritual, priests sealed the deceased’s entire body in sacred clay. As the clay hardened, they sculpted it to resemble the likeness of the deceased, forming a sort of statue-like sarcophagus that stood upright. The only portions of this clay vessel that were left unsealed were holes that allowed access to the individual’s eyes and mouth. Then Fandarra’s priests placed three of the sacred worms into each of the vessel’s openings. Lastly, the priests sealed the openings with wax. In this manner, the priests believed they were separating the deceased’s physical body from its soul, leaving the soul free to follow Fandarra (or her servitors) on to its final rest in the Great Beyond.

As a side effect, this strange burial practice provided guardians for the tombs, as the divinely imbued worms eventually animate their clay vessels as benaiohs. Since the worms are able to breed rapidly and then maintain a stable population indefinitely, benaiohs are capable of standing vigil for millennia. A benaioh in its clay vessel stands just over 12 feet tall and weighs 2,000 pounds.

Ecology

A benaioh is an ooze-like colony formed by a swarm of divinely imbued worms that live within a morass of their own waste and digestive secretions. When first created, the colony consists of only nine worms; however, the creatures breed rapidly, particularly when they have a readily available source of flesh. Over the course of several months, the worms reproduce hundreds of times, quickly increasing in population until they fill the clay vessel. During times of dormancy or when meat is scarce, the worms sustain their population through cannibalism, eventually balancing their reproductive and mortality rates. If the colony senses warm flesh, though, the worms stop eating each other. These worms never exhibit this type of swarming behavior when encountered naturally, which indicates that the divine ritual is necessary to create a colony.

The worms are coated with a fleshy, gelatinous slime that forms as they devour flesh, and eventually this slurry of worms and slime gains the ability to animate the clay vessel in which they are interred. The worms’ individual tiny jerking and wriggling movements work in unison to move the limbs of the clay vessel. The worms innately sense nearby motion as well as the body heat of most living creatures. As soon as a benaioh senses fresh meat, the worms begin jerking about in a sympathetic reaction, activating the clay figure and sending it lumbering off in the direction of the nearest living prey.

Habitat & Society

Being by-products of a long-forgotten burial practice, benaiohs have no society. Few of these ancient worm-filled statues have managed to survive the transition into contemporary times, though they can still be found in lost tombs dotted throughout western Avistan.

A number of prominent scholars have questioned their existence altogether. While most of these scholars accept the procedures and preparations performed during burial rituals, they discredit tales of magically imbued worms animating the clay vessels, in part because no one has ever created one of these creatures in modern times—or, for that matter, provided hard evidence for their existence beyond a few broken shards of clay and trace amounts of slimy residue.

Many of these scholars think that this burial practice is simply a variation of an unusual practice from distant lands, in which ochre jellies are used to dissolve the deceased’s flesh. They dismiss the tales of benaiohs springing to life as fables of a lost age invented by giants to protect their ancestral burial grounds.

While the practice of making benaiohs is most closely associated with the religious practices of ancient tribes of giants, tales and rumors of similar practices persist among primitive humanoids in the lower depths of the Darklands. In accounts of this practice, the flesh-devouring worm ceremony serves as a punishment or torture, but the end result is similar—the creation of guardians. These stories go on to describe guardians with powerful abilities.