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Shotalashu

This large, four-legged reptile has a brown scaled hide and a long, powerful tail.

Shotalashu CR 2

Source Occult Bestiary pg. 53
XP 600
N Large magical beast
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +9

Defense

AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +3 natural, –1 size)
hp 25 (3d10+9)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +3

Offense

Speed 60 ft.
Melee 2 claws +4 (1d6+2)
Space 10 ft., Reach 5 ft.

Statistics

Str 15, Dex 17, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 14, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 19
Feats Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Acrobatics +7 (+19 when jumping), Perception +9, Stealth +3
Languages Lashunta (can’t speak)
SQ jungle strider, telepathic link

Ecology

Environment any jungle (Castrovel)
Organization solitary, bonded mount (1 plus 1 lashunta), or pack (3–5)
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities

Jungle Strider (Ex) Shotalashu are adept at traversing jungle terrain. While in a jungle, a shotalashu’s speed is not impeded by natural difficult terrain.

Telepathic Link (Su) A lashunta can spend 1 hour and attempt a DC 20 concentration check (using her highest concentration bonus) to form a telepathic bond with an unbound shotalashu. If the lashunta is successful, the rider’s link allows her to concisely explain what she wants the shotalashu to do, allowing her to attempt Handle Animal checks to command the shotalashu as a free action, even if the lashunta pushes the shotalashu. The bonded lashunta gains both a +10 bonus on Handle Animal checks and a +5 bonus on Ride checks involving the shotalashu. A lashunta can break her link with one shotalashu in favor of another at any time, but a lashunta can’t be linked to more than one shotalashu at a time. If either linked being dies while bonded, the surviving creature suffers telepathic backlash, becoming dazed for 1 round and taking 1d6 points of damage per Hit Die of the slain bonded partner.

Description

Within the alien beauty of the jungles of Castrovel lie untold dangers, as the planet’s wild flora and fauna vie dramatically for dominance. To maintain order and security in their settlements, Castrovel’s native lashunta required steeds with power, speed, and an instinctive knack for traversing the planet’s thick jungles. No creature met these requirements better than the shotalashu, large reptilian creatures that maintained a relatively high place in their ecosystem’s food chain and yet were strangely receptive to the lashunta’s initial friendly overtures. Once incorporated into lashunta society, the shotalashu and their riders quickly became iconic symbols of lashunta culture.

Sometimes called “shota” for short, shotalashu possess rudimentary telepathic abilities similar to those of the lashunta, so taming the beasts and training them to be mounts proved relatively simple—in fact, the first shotalashu mounts surprised their lashunta riders with their enthusiasm for the partnership. Once linked, a shotalashu carries out the will of its rider effortlessly, often seeming to anticipate her desires and directions before she conveys them.

While it’s common for a lashunta to switch between shotalashu throughout her life, some bonds between beast and rider deepen over time, and it is not unheard of for a warrior to bond with a single shotalashu mount for life. Lashunta whose mounts die suffer psychic trauma and often require time to recover before they can bond with another mount, and shotalashu who lose their bonded riders have been known to grieve for months, or even years. Though they might accept other riders for short periods of time, the bereaved creatures don’t seem to communicate as well until they have ceased grieving and bonded with a new rider, and might even be withdrawn and uncommunicative with other shotalashu during their grieving period.

A typical shotalashu is over 10 feet long from snout to tail-tip, and weighs more than 1,000 pounds.