Archives of Nethys

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Herald

Source Inner Sea Gods pg. 274
Heralds are a special class of unique, godly servants. With few exceptions, each of Golarion’s deities has its own herald, a favored minion that serves as a messenger and emissary throughout the planes. Creatures of myth, the heralds’ interventions on the Material Plane mark lives and are events of legend.

Heralds are unique outsiders of approximately CR 15 with 18 or fewer Hit Dice, making them available for summons via greater planar ally. Only a deity’s worshipers can summon its herald; thus, even the most powerful worshiper of Sarenrae can never summon the herald of Iomedae. In addition, only divine spellcasters can summon heralds, preventing arcane casters and spells like planar binding from effectively calling upon such beings. Even if a character proves powerful enough to call out to a herald, a deity has the final say in whether or not its emissary answers a worshiper’s summons, granting its herald’s service only to followers in the most extreme need or whose acts directly further its will.

Herald Subtype: Heralds are unique representatives of their respective gods and sometimes have a specific outsider subtype such as “devil” or “psychopomp” that grants it additional abilities. A herald has the following traits.
  • Always Armed (Su) Heralds can summon their signature weapon as a standard action. If its herald doesn’t have a signature weapon, it can summon any nonmagical weapon as a standard action (including adamantine, etc.); the weapon disappears if it leaves the herald’s grasp.
  • Emissary (Ex) Heralds can always be summoned by the faithful using greater planar ally or gate, regardless of limitations of that spell, even if it’s not an outsider.

Creatures in "Herald" Category

NameCR
Arcanotheign15
Basileus15
End's Voice15
Gravedragger15
Great Elder Iuu15
Hand of the Inheritor15
Latten Mechanism15
Lawgiver15
Mother’s Maw15
Night Monarch15
Personification of Fury15
Steward of the Skein15
Sunlord Thalachos15
Tarrasque25
Thais15
The First Blade15
The Grand Defender15
The Grim White Stag15
The Menotherian15
The Old Man15
The Prince in Chains15
The Spirit of Adoration15
The Stabbing Beast15
The Stabbing Beast (Scorpion Form)15
Yethazmari15

Herald, Gravedragger

This creature’s body rises from the ground in an amorphous mass of grave dirt and eroded bone. Its upper half is humanoid-shaped and wields an enormous pick made from a giant’s rib and skull.

Gravedragger CR 15

Source Pathfinder #89: Palace of Fallen Stars pg. 86
XP 51,200
NE Large outsider (evil, heraldISG)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft., scent, see in darkness; Perception +23
Aura frightful presence (30 ft., DC 22), unluck (30 ft.)

Defense

AC 29, touch 17, flat-footed 25 (+4 Dex, +4 luck, +12 natural, –1 size)
hp 195 (17d10+102); fast healing 5
Fort +15, Ref +18, Will +17
Defensive Abilities unearthly luck; DR 10/cold iron and magic; Immune fear; Resist cold 30, fire 30; SR 26

Offense

Speed 50 ft., fly 30 ft. (average)
Melee +2 heavy pick +24/+19/+14/+9 (1d8+7/19–20/×4)
Ranged +2 heavy pick +23/+18/+13/+8 (1d8+2/19–20/×4)
Space 10 ft., Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks bury alive, long arm of the reaper, pull (heavy pick, 5 ft.)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th; concentration +21)
At will—dimension door (self only), invisibility (self only)
3/day—bestow curse (DC 18), greater invisibility (self only), gust of wind (DC 16), ice storm, slay living (DC 19)
1/day—animate dead, chain lightning (DC 20), telekinesis (DC 19)

Statistics

Str 20, Dex 19, Con 22, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 19
Base Atk +17; CMB +23 (+25 dirty trick, +25 drag); CMD 37 (39 vs. dirty trick, 39 vs. drag)
Feats Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Improved Critical (heavy pick), Improved Dirty TrickAPG, Improved DragAPG, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (heavy pick)
Skills Acrobatics +21, Bluff +24, Fly +2, Handle Animal +15, Intimidate +21, Knowledge (history) +15, Knowledge (planes) +15, Knowledge (religion) +23, Perception +23, Perform (dance) +12, Sleight of Hand +24, Stealth +20
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal; telepathy 60 ft.
SQ change shape (human; alter self)

Ecology

Environment any (Abaddon or Astral Plane)
Organization solitary
Treasure standard (+2 heavy pick, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Bury Alive (Su) As a standard action, Gravedragger can telekinetically pull a target within 100 feet into a grave (or a similar physical hole in the ground that is an appropriate size for burying the target) and bury it. Gravedragger must be adjacent to the grave he intends to drag his target into. Treat this as a special drag combat maneuver. The target takes 4d6 points of damage (Reflex DC 22 half) and is buried alive (see Cave-Ins and Collapses on page 415 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook). The save DC is Charisma-based.

Long Arm of the Reaper (Ex) Gravedragger can throw his heavy pick up to 100 feet away as a ranged attack with no range increment. The weapon automatically returns just before the herald’s next turn, as if it had the returning weapon quality.

Unearthly Luck (Su) Gravedragger adds his Charisma bonus as a luck bonus on all his saving throws and to his Armor Class.

Unluck Aura (Su) Gravedragger radiates an aura of unluck to a radius of 30 feet. Any creature in this area must roll two d20s whenever a situation calls for a d20 roll (such as an attack roll, a skill check, or a saving throw) and must use the lower of the two results. This is a mind-affecting effect that doesn’t work on worshipers of Zyphus. Any creature that gains any sort of luck bonus (such as that granted by a luckstone or divine favor) is immune to Gravedragger’s unluck aura.

Description

Gravedragger is a cruel prankster who enjoys murdering innocents in unexpected, horrid, ironic, and tragic ways. In the same way that children fear the mysterious bogeymen, adults cower at the thought of Gravedragger bringing them to a painful end. Unlike Pharasma, who enforces fated and inevitable death, the herald of Zyphus is a break from destiny’s plan—a sudden deviation that leads to danger and ruin. Gravedragger appears as a vaguely humanoid mass of grave dirt and bones, and wields a heavy pick made of a rib bone punched through a giant’s skull. He also takes the form of an old, thin human man with shifty eyes and a sickening, toothy smile. In this form he is known as “Grinning Jack,” often shortened to “Grinjack.” Gravedragger speaks in a high, mad voice, and is prone to outbursts of cackling even when cloaked by invisibility.

Divinations by the faithful show that Gravedragger was once a mortal farmer. When his wife and family fell ill with a sickness, he traveled to the nearest village to get aid from the healer. When he returned with a curative potion, he found that his home had been struck by lightning and burned to the ground; his family, too sick to crawl out, had perished in the fire. The man’s mind snapped, broken by the idea that he could have prevented his loved ones’ random and pointless deaths if he hadn’t been away from home. He embraced the cult of Zyphus and began studying magic, using his abilities to stalk and kill clerics of rival faiths as well as to ambush adventurers to slay them in their sleep or after difficult battles. After a long, successful life at this morbid career, he died in his sleep, and in Zyphus’s realm he was infused with divine power and became the god’s herald. Remorseless and vindictive, Gravedigger now enjoys his role as the bringer of bad luck and the foil of fate, and every death he causes buries a little bit deeper the guilt he feels for his family’s deaths.

Although Gravedragger enjoys lurking in graveyards, where he can easily use his bury alive ability, he isn’t a harbinger of deserved deaths and is bored by the idea of dispatching wounded soldiers—something he feels is the job of psychopomps. Instead, Gravedragger revels in unexpected methods of murder, such as causing a fallen armored knight to drown in a couple inches of mud after being pulled from his horse.

The herald uses invisibility and greater invisibility to sneak up on his targets and afflict them with curses or blindness, blow them off cliffs (with gust of wind or telekinesis), call sudden bolts of lightning, or create symptomless deaths (using slay living). He might attack from invisibility for 1 or 2 rounds, then leave if he fails to kill anyone quickly—his interest is in spontaneity and sudden death, not extended battle. He usually employs these tactics even if tasked with slaying a specific person, as it’s more entertaining to him to set up an elaborate ambush than to confront his opponent directly. Sometimes he’s content to just follow his prey unobserved, creepily breaking the silence with his tittering laugh and unnerving the victim so much that it stumbles into a natural trap or flees in terror toward a wild creature’s lair.

Ecology

Created from a mortal soul and raised to his station by a god, Gravedragger is sustained by divine power and like other outsiders has no need to eat or drink. However, he has often been seen hovering over a dead or dying victim, inhaling deeply as if sucking out remnants of the mortal’s soul. He claims these breaths sustain him in place of food or air, but there’s no evidence that he actually needs to do this; the habit is probably just some perverse torture intended to unnerve his victims in their last moments. When in his Grinjack form, he often pretends to be a Pharasmin priest, administering false last rites to doomed mortals just to enjoy the sound of their death rattles.

While Gravedragger’s physical body appears to be composed of nonliving materials, he’s a living creature and this appearance is only his outer “skin.” When damaged, he bleeds red blood, pungent yellow bile, and—if the wound is large enough—dismembered humanoid body parts such as hands, limbs, and heads. As he doesn’t eat, these parts are probably physical manifestations of the countless lives he has taken in the name of Zyphus. Immortal and able to recover from severe wounds, he would rather escape a fight than allow himself to die, for he has felt death as a mortal and has no desire to repeat the experience.

Habitat & Society

Gravedragger spends most of his time in Zyphus’ realm in Abaddon, exchanging grisly stories with the souls of Zyphus’s faithful and other divine servitors. Left unsupervised to perform whatever murderous mischief he pleases, Gravedragger visits Golarion to enact petty revenge, blasphemous murders, and countless “accidental” deaths.

The herald sometimes associates with various daemons who help him effect these structured accidents, particularly hydrodaemons (death by drowning), leukodaemons (death by plague), meladaemons (death by starvation and thirst), and crucidaemons (death by traps). In the mortal world, Gravedragger has a fondness for pugwampis and trickster fey, especially bogeymen, and has been known to guide their efforts or even transport them over long distances to save them from extermination or help them to find new victims. He sometimes sneaks into a city in his Grinjack form carrying a sack of pugwampis and releases them upon an unsuspecting urban population, cackling glee as he watches the aftermath.