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Purple tentacles emerge from a white, coral-like rock formation, tracing whirled patterns in the surrounding sand.

Ghelarn CR 2

Source Pathfinder #85: Fires of Creation pg. 86
XP 600
N Large aberration
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 30 ft.; Perception +10


AC 14, touch 9, flat-footed 14 (+5 natural, –1 size)
hp 22 (3d8+9)
Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +5
Defensive Abilities carapace; Resist fire 5
Weaknesses vulnerable to sonic


Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 tentacles +4 (1d6+3)
Space 10 ft., Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks entrap (DC 14, 1d8 rounds, hardness 5, hp 8), leeching tendrils


Str 17, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 3, Wis 14, Cha 3
Base Atk +2; CMB +6; CMD 16
Feats Combat Reflexes, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Perception +10, Stealth +4 (+14 in deserts); Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth (+14 in deserts)
SQ hibernate


Environment cold or temperate deserts
Organization solitary
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Carapace (Ex) A ghelarn typically shelters within a hardened, rocklike shell that houses all of its vital organs. By withdrawing its tentacles and sensory stalks into its shell, the ghelarn gains total cover until the beginning of its next turn. The shell doesn’t provide cover against targeted spells, and the ghelarn’s movement is limited to downward burrowing during this time. The benefits of the shell can be lost if sundered (hardness 5, 8 hit points, regenerates in 2d6 days), and a ghelarn caught without its carapace loses its natural armor bonus.

Entrap (Ex) A ghelarn secretes a quagmire of sticky fluid a few feet below the sand where it lives. This fluid extends in a 10-foot radius around the creature and acts to trap victims, making it easier for the ghelarn to attack prey with its tentacles or feed upon it with its leeching tendrils. This otherwise acts as the entrap universal monster rule.

Hibernate (Ex) When food is scarce, a ghelarn can enter a state of hibernation for an indefinite period of time. When it enters hibernation, the ghelarn nestles itself in the sand and fills in its porous carapace with sticky excretions that quickly harden to seal the creature from the elements. When hibernating, the ghelarn doesn’t have to eat or drink. A ghelarn remains in a state of hibernation until it senses another living creature within 10 feet, at which point it dissolves the seals on its carapace over the course of 1d4 minutes.

Leeching Tendrils (Ex) A living creature that spends more than a single round ensnared within a ghelarn’s entrapping fluid becomes targeted by invasive tendrils from the ghelarn’s lower body. These feeding stalks deal 1 point of bleed damage each round, and continue to do so for as long as a victim remains within the area of the ghelarn’s entrapping fluid.


Born on the desert plain of an alien world, the softbodied ghelarn is a non-aquatic arthropod living within a shell-like exoskeleton manufactured from its own hardened secretions. This outer carapace contains many perforations, similar to dry coral or air-blasted stone, providing ample room from which the ghelarn can extend its outer extremities and explore the world. Chief among these appendages are two main tentacles that it uses to pull itself through the upper layers of sand within its native home, burrowing just below the surface while its hardened carapace remains above ground. As a result, ghelarns give the impression of ambulatory stone formations when traveling, but they can also abandon their shells entirely and delve deeper into the sand to avoid predators.

Patient, quiet creatures, ghelarns prefer to ambush prey, waiting until suitable meals wander within reach of their tentacles or into the sticky quagmires they create just below the surface around their nesting grounds. Helpless victims soon find themselves pulled into the sand as the ghelarn extends invasive tendrils from its lower body. These lesser tentacles slowly bleed away moisture from anyone trapped in the ooze, leaving behind little more than dried husks and bones for scavengers to find, along with whatever equipment such victims may have carried.


During the creatures’ spawning season, an entire clutch of ghelarns produces a variant musk in their secretions to attract one another. Some travel for miles in search of this scent, and the resulting orgy once a group gathers allows for a communal intermingling of reproductive oils. This impregnates multiple ghelarn at the same time, enabling them to spawn new offspring as they separate again. A typical ghelarn can create 1d3 young, which gestate for consecutive 3-month periods rather than being born all at once. Pregnant ghelarns abandon these young to fend for themselves almost as soon as they’re born, moving to another region to birth more offspring rather than leaving them within the same area to compete for resources.

It takes a newborn ghelarn about 2 weeks before it can muster enough secretions to form a hardened shell of its own. During this time, it stays deep below the earth, seeking nourishment and moisture trapped in the desert soil rather than risking its vulnerable body to predators above ground. Once fully matured, it pushes upward, its shell rising from the sand to mark its domain. Sentient creatures wisely avoid these areas, though it’s often hard to tell empty shells from a living ghelarn’s hunting grounds. Many societies find the abandoned and cast-off shells useful for making tools and crafting weapons and armor. As a result, ghelarn habitats frequently draw those seeking to harvest them as a resource. Unfortunately for the scavengers, these shells also attract young ghelarns who haven’t yet formed their own and seek to use the abandoned ones as temporary homes.

Habitat & Society

Ghelarns typically live solitary lives. The extreme nature of their native habitat causes them to separate and spread out to avoid overhunting an area. They sometimes cooperate in pairs or packs known as clutches to defend themselves, but more frequently do so in preparation for mating season, so they can drag down large prey that they leave behind for their new offspring to feed upon. Sometimes a clutch will gather in geologically unstable regions, where quakes and tremors draw their interest. Mostly, they migrate in seemingly aimless patterns, driven away from the harsh sounds of overhead thunderstorms, as the noise causes them acute pain.

The rudimentary sentience of ghelarns places them just above animal-level intelligence. Though they have no real language of their own, they communicate warnings or call for help by turning their porous shells into the wind and adjusting the flow with their tentacles, allowing air to pass through the openings, and creating a musical “voice” similar to wind instruments. Each ghelarn’s voice is distinctly different from any other ghelarn. Some societies have also learned to domesticate young ghelarns—these cultures train them to understand simple commands and use them as guard animals.

Noble Ghelarns

Occasionally, evolution gives rise to a more advanced breed of ghelarn. These specimens have both the advanced and giant simple templates, and prove more intelligent than their lesser kin. The shell of a noble ghelarn encompasses a much greater area, appearing more like an outcropping of rock or a small hillside. This grants them the freeze special quality to appear as such, allowing them to take 20 on their Stealth checks to hide in plain sight. Noble ghelarns sometimes remain hidden within these massive shells and purposefully suppress their entrapping ooze in order to dupe other creatures into seeking shelter next to them. While the tall shell certainly provides shade from the sun and a windbreak against desert storms, those camping near a noble ghelarn inevitably find themselves assaulted during the night by the creature’s invasive tendrils. These appendages are more leechlike than the painful barbs of lesser ghelarns and require a DC 20 Perception check for sleeping creatures to notice.