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Marax

Dense, bony growths line the back of this bipedal predator. Between its gnashing, toothy underbite, scythe-like claws, and spiked tail, no part of this beast offers mercy.

Marax CR 11

Source Pathfinder #90: The Divinity Drive pg. 86
XP 12,800
N Large animal
Init +6; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +20

Defense

AC 25, touch 11, flat-footed 23 (+2 Dex, +14 natural, –1 size)
hp 152 (16d8+80)
Fort +17, Ref +12, Will +7; +2 vs. poison

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +20 (2d6+9/19–20), 2 talons +20 (1d8+9), tail barbs +18 (1d6+4 plus poison)
Space 10 ft., Reach 10 ft. (5 ft. with talons)
Special Attacks poison, pounce

Statistics

Str 28, Dex 15, Con 21, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 6
Base Atk +12; CMB +22; CMD 34
Feats Bleeding Critical, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Multiattack
Skills Perception +20, Stealth +10; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +4 Stealth

Ecology

Environment warm forests or plains
Organization solitary, pair, or pack (3–12)
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Poison (Ex) Tail barbs—injury; save Fort DC 23; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Dex; cure 2 consecutive saves.

Description

Cunning and brutal, maraxes are far-ranging predators from Castrovel’s mist-shrouded landscape. Gifted with vicious weapons, dense armor, and a paralytic venom, a single marax is a match for even the greatest hunter. A pack can easily bring down Castrovel’s largest creatures and defend their territory against the planet’s most fearsome competitors.

Variations of maraxes dot Castrovel’s different regions just as big cats stalk Golarion’s. Different subspecies can be identified by their varying fur colors and patterns and the arrangement of ridges on their dorsal plates. Maraxes typically stand 9 to 10 feet tall and weigh up to 900 pounds.

Ecology

While they are far from the most dangerous predators on their homeworld, maraxes stand among the planet’s more successful hunters thanks to their inherent adaptability. Perfectly suited to the forests and plains of Castrovel, they roam enormous territories as lone hunters or in small packs. Their seasonal migrations create famine in their wakes as they drain a region of fauna, and entire lashunta (Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Bestiary 25) villages may relocate seasonally to avoid starvation. Maraxes possess only a single lung, and those introduced to alien environments often become extremely irritable due to shortness of breath.

Maraxes are overwhelmingly carnivorous. The larger, more aggressive females dominate their packs, bringing down prey and eating first. Maraxes have voracious appetites, and will make a meal of almost anything—in lean times the animals turn to carrion, fruit, and in rare cases even soil and stones to sate their voracious appetites.

Straddling the line between mammal and reptile, maraxes are warm-blooded creatures with resilient bodies. Soft fur covers tough scales across much of a marax’s body, while bony knobs protect the head, back, thighs, and tail. A marax’s most identifiable feature is its tough dorsal osteoderms that offer protection. They lack forelimbs, and balance instead on a single pair of legs tipped with vicious, scythe-like claws. Their oversized jaws can crush both bone and stone, and larger specimens can even tear through metal armor. A cluster of venomous barbs sprout from the end of a marax’s tail, which can inject enough paralytic venom to bring down prey twice the creature’s size.

These statistics represent a typical marax. Various subspecies may be larger or smaller (use the giant creature or young creature simple templates accordingly) and possess a variety of different special abilities. The arctic-dwelling tundrax is smaller, but can hibernate for months beneath the snow and reawaken in moments to pounce upon unsuspecting prey, while females of the bioluminescent ghostback marax possess a resin-producing gland that grants them an ability similar to the web special ability.

Habitat & Society

Maraxes are found all across Castrovel, but exist primarily in its primeval forests and vast savannas. Dozens of subspecies fill the planet’s various ecological niches, and maraxes range from the polar tundra to steaming tropical jungles. Thanks to Castrovel’s dramatic tides and powerful weather systems, regular migration is a way of life, and packs can cover hundreds of miles between seasonal hunting grounds. Some subspecies follow staple herds, while others alternate between a variety of environments and diets throughout the year. Most maraxes spend dry seasons stalking small prey in wooded areas or deep in Castrovel’s countless hidden valleys, then during wet seasons move onto open savanna to take down larger prey. Wherever they settle for a time, packs use their powerful claws to dig out shallow nests, which shelter a complex ecology of scavengers and opportunistic mammals once the beasts move on.

Most breeds of maraxes are social animals that form complex hierarchies. They vocalize a variety of chirps, growls, and rasping grunts, and establish relative status with bellowing exchanges that lashunta call “debates.” The largest female typically leads the pack, and surrounds herself with the other breeding-age females for hunting and territorial defense. Males and females not of breeding age rely on this matriarch’s circle for food, and are expected to groom the hunters and one another for parasites. All members of a pack contribute to marking and defending territory and to scavenging during lean times. The social bonds are knit tight, and packs are more likely to move on to new hunting grounds than drive out members in hard times. An alpha female remains fertile so long as she is well fed, and especially successful matriarchs can grow to enormous sizes and dominate packs of fifty or more, cultivating legends and nicknames among lashunta hunters.

Non-alpha females breed only two or three litters in a lifetime. Females attract the attention of males using their tail barbs, and engage other females in mock combat to claim the healthiest mates. If a male shows interest, the female bonds her clutch of two to four eggs to his underbelly with a sticky resin. The father becomes incubator and guardian for the next 16 months. Hatchlings are born with soft, flexible back plates, and adults claw and nip at a pup’s back to transform the soft cartilage into thick, sturdy osteoderms. The venom both males and females produce in their tails is a complex array of proteins and enzymes that the hatchlings suckle for nourishment during their vulnerable first few days. As one would expect, maraxes are very protective parents; packs will chase kidnappers for miles and tear them apart with an almost gleeful cruelty.

Thanks to Castrovel’s numerous planetary portals, maraxes occasionally migrate to other worlds. A smaller, wheezing variety prowls Akiton’s equator, riding the planet’s massive dust storms from hunting ground to hunting ground. On Golarion, a few small packs roam Numeria and southern Garund, preying on the megafauna in these locations.

Among Castrovel’s civilizations, capturing or slaying a marax is an impressive achievement. As maraxes’ natural weapons can be used to craft vicious daggers, spears, and terbutje, those capable of reliably trapping or hunting the creatures earn impressive fortunes and high prestige.

Near rural settlements, maraxes stalk domesticated herds for easy meals, and even pick off careless hunters and shepherds without fear. Their hunting tactics are so effective that some lashunta have bred a loyal domesticated subspecies to guard their wilderness settlements from predation. Though ravenous and ill tempered, these tame maraxes are unf laggingly loyal. Druidic sects see the creature as a powerful totem, crafting fetishes from the animal’s bones and plates and divining prophecies from packs’ seasonal migrations.