Archives of Nethys

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Kasthezvi

Cracked skin stretches across the body of this gangly humanoid creature. A crown of bone floats above its grotesque, misshapen head and its mouth is open in a silent scream.

Kasthezvi CR 12

Source Pathfinder #135: Runeplague pg. 88
XP 19,200
LE Medium aberration (shapechanger)
Init +8; Senses blindsense 120 ft., darkvision 60 ft; Perception +22

Defense

AC 27, touch 15, flat-footed 22 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +12 natural)
hp 152 (16d8+80)
Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +15; +9 vs. mind-affecting effects
Defensive Abilities mind blank; DR 15/magic; Immune sonic; SR 23

Offense

Speed 30 ft.
Melee subsonic touch +14 (1d8 plus 12d6 sonic)
Special Attacks word of sundering
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 16th; concentration +19)
Constant—mind blank
shatter (DC 15)

Statistics

Str 14, Dex 19, Con 20, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 17
Base Atk +12; CMB +14; CMD 29
Feats Blind-Fight, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lunge, Mobility, Nimble Moves, Spring Attack
Skills Climb +21, Knowledge (arcana) +22, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +19, Perception +22, Spellcraft +22, Stealth +31, Survival +22; Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth
Languages Common, Kasthezvi, Thassilonian (can’t speak)
SQ change shape (any humanoid; alter self), death throes, soundless

Ecology

Environment any underground (Kaer Maga)
Organization solitary, pair, or cabal (3-6)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Change Shape (Su) While in an alternate form, a kasthezvi retains its special abilities. A kasthezvi can remain in an alternate form for up to 8 hours each day.

Death Throes (Su) When killed, a kasthezvi explodes in a 100-foot-radius burst of long-suppressed sound. This burst deals 16d6 points of sonic damage and permanently deafens creatures in the area. Affected creatures can attempt a DC 21 Fortitude save to reduce the damage by half and negate the deafness. This is a sonic effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Soundless (Ex) A kasthezvi never causes sound through its actions, whether mundane or magical, except when it uses its word of sundering ability. This includes its movement, abilities, contact with other creatures or objects, attempts at vocalization, spell effects, and any other possible sources of sound. This does not prevent sounds made by the victims of its attacks. A kasthezvi that can cast spells does so as if its spells were modified by the Silent Spell feat, but without increasing the spell’s level or casting time.

Subsonic Touch (Su) A kasthezvi’s touch is a touch attack that deals 1d8 points of damage that bypasses damage reduction, plus 12d6 sonic damage. Though this additional damage is sonic damage, it makes no audible noise.

Word of Sundering (Su) Once per minute, a kasthezvi can speak a silent word of sundering; this takes 1 full round. When it finishes speaking the word at the beginning of its next turn, the kasthezvi targets a 40-foot-radius spread within 800 feet. This area is targeted by an earthquake spell. In addition, creatures in the area take 8d6 points of sonic damage (Fortitude DC 21 half) and unattended nonmagical objects of ceramic, crystal, glass, or porcelain in the area silently break into dozens of pieces, as if affected by a shatter spell. The kasthezvi’s caster level for these effects is equal to its racial Hit Dice (CL 16th for most kasthezvis). If the kasthezvi is killed, stunned, or otherwise prevented from vocalizing while uttering its word of sundering, the word ends with no effect. If a kasthezvi speaks a word of sundering while it has changed its shape, it immediately reverts to its true form. This is a sonic effect, though it is not blocked by spells or effects that create silence. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Description

Malicious and immortal, kasthezvis are among the most ancient creatures inhabiting the deep places beneath Kaer Maga. Their long-dead creators crafted these abominations to be utterly incapable of causing sound, as their very bones are vessels for primal words of power.

If a kasthezvi could fully speak the primordial words etched into its bones, it could cause catastrophic devastation with a simple phrase. However, kasthezvis’ creators intended kasthezvis to contain and conceal the words, not use them, and etched primordial silence onto the kasthezvis’ souls. This suppressive magic has slowly deteriorated with each passing century, and as it has, kasthezvis have drawn strength from the ancient words contained within. They are now capable of issuing powerful, silent utterances that can level entire buildings. Given time, there is no telling the extent of their power.

A kasthezvi’s body is roughly humanoid in shape, though otherwise alien in appearance. Its dry, cracked skin stretches across misshapen bones. Its skull is typically at an unnatural angle to its body, and its silently screaming face is asymmetrical. A crown of bone floats above its head, vibrating erratically. A kasthezvi’s every movement appears deceptively lurching and uncoordinated.

A kasthezvi is 6 feet tall but weighs only 100 pounds.

Ecology

The origin of the kasthezvis, whose existence is unknown to virtually everyone except the enigmatic caulborn beneath Kaer Maga, is long forgotten. Some caulborn speculate that the kasthezvis are living weapons, while others claim that the creatures were originally benign, and that the death of their masters caused them untold suffering, corrupting their true purpose. Most caulborn agree that the kasthezvis’ bone crowns act as magical dampeners and allow the kasthezvis to speak powerful words without imploding, but no one has ever managed to acquire an intact crown for study.

As the creations of ancient beings, kasthezvis cannot procreate. They frequently band together in small cabals and rarely feud with one another. Learning the process to create more kasthezvis may be their greatest desire, beyond harnessing the primordial power they contain.

Habitat and Society

Kasthezvis have complete contempt for all living things and show only the barest respect for those more powerful than themselves. Yet theirs is a patient, meticulous evil. Kasthezvis are extremely cautious when speaking words of sundering or making their clandestine trips to spy on the surface world, knowing that their power is greater if no one knows they exist. When kasthezvi visit the city above, they disguise themselves as mute beggars or pious, quiet Sweettalkers. Few notice that they make no sound, and those who discover these spies’ unnatural silence typically vanish in fatal “accidents” beneath the city. The purpose of kasthezvis’ espionage is unknown. Some caulborn speculate that the kasthezvis are preparing to collapse the entire city in a single, silent cataclysm; others believe they seek to refine the ancient words that give them power or to discover a process by which they can procreate among the fecund surface dwellers.

Kaladurnae, Thassilon’s first Runelord of Greed, had a tenuous arrangement with the kasthezvis. In exchange for knowledge of the ancient city and snippets of powerful words and phrases, Runelord Kaladurnae trained a select few kasthezvis in wizardry. These powerful runespeakers still live, but are cursed with greed. They hoard their arcane knowledge and venture from their lairs only when enticed by the prospect of learning new secrets. Kaladurnae also taught the kasthezvis to write. Kasthezvis cover their austere lairs with runes, scratches, and ancient Thassilonian letters, occasionally mixed with silent explosive runes inscribed by their runespeakers. These writings would be the greatest source of knowledge about the kasthezvis’ history, culture, and motivations—if anyone could locate and decipher them. Aside from these writings, Kasthezvis communicate using a unique sign language known only to their kind, in which they use their entire bodies in an inhuman display of contortions and jerking limbs.

All kasthezvi can speak words of terrible, sundering power, but some caulborn claim to have witnessed kasthezvi speak other words with different destructive effects: storms of hail and fire, endless swarms of insects, and the reversal of gravity or even time.

Frustrated by their inability to understand kasthezvis, some caulborn hire adventuring scholars to try to infiltrate and study kasthezvi lairs. No such mission has yet succeeded.