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Skapraun

This dark-furred creature wielding a horn bow looks like a burly humanoid with the head and hooves of a mountain goat.

Skapraun CR 1

Source Pathfinder #92: The Hill Giant's Pledge pg. 88
XP 400
LN Small fey
Init +1; Senses low-light vision; Perception +7

Defense

AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 11 (+1 Dex, +1 size)
hp 16 (3d6+6)
Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +4
DR 2/cold iron; Resist cold 5

Offense

Speed 30 ft.
Melee gore +3 (1d4+1)
Ranged composite longbow +3 (1d6+1/×3)
Special Attacks nature’s traps

Statistics

Str 12, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 11
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD 12
Feats Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot
Skills Acrobatics +11, Climb +11, Craft (bows) +8, Craft (traps) +8, Knowledge (nature) +4, Perception +7, Stealth +11, Survival +4; Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics, +4 Climb, +4 Craft (bows), +4 Craft (traps)
Languages Sylvan
SQ effortless leap, mountain stride

Ecology

Environment temperate or cold mountains
Organization solitary, pair, patrol (3–5), band (6–12), or tribe (13–32 plus 1 chieftain of 3rd–4th level)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Effortless Leap (Ex) A skapraun attempts Acrobatics checks to jump as though it had a running start.

Mountain Stride (Ex) A skapraun takes no penalty to speed or on Acrobatics checks when moving on steep slopes or through rubble or scree.

Nature’s Traps (Ex) A skapraun is particularly skilled at crafting traps that mimic natural hazards. A skapraun doesn’t require gold to build its traps, merely time. Rules for crafting traps can be found in Chapter 13 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, and examples of traps typically built by skaprauns are provided on page 89.

Description

Because of their mighty horns, cloven hooves, and aggressively territorial behavior, skaprauns are often mistaken for hellspawn or other minions of evil. Although these fey actually have a deep sense of honor, even those who know them for what they are generally view them with suspicion—their stubbornness and isolationist traditions leave little room for alliances or friendships with other creatures. Skaprauns stand 3-1/2 feet tall and weigh 60 pounds.

Ecology

Much like the animals that they resemble, skaprauns have beards, short tails, and long, curved horns. Their fur has a fine, woolly layer and a longer layer of hollow guard hairs, offering protection against wind and cold temperatures. Their feet have inner pads and sharp dewclaws to prevent slipping, and their cloven hooves can spread apart to ensure a better grip on uneven surfaces.

Skaprauns are mainly herbivorous, but they supplement their diet with meat from animals they hunt and with clay to obtain minerals. They eat animals primarily for ritualistic purposes rather than out of necessity. Their main purposes for hunting are to maintain balanced animal populations within their territory, to obtain raw materials such as bone and sinew for building tools and weapons, and to hone their combat tactics.

Although skaprauns have mortal lifespans averaging 18 years, they are in a sense immortal. The death of a skapraun triggers a form of reincarnation that occurs inside the body of the dead skapraun. The new skapraun leeches proteins and other nutrients from its precursor’s body to build its own. When the newborn skapraun crawls out—a process that takes roughly 4 weeks—only a withered, fragile husk remains of the precursor’s body. The horns of the precursor remain fully intact, however.

A newborn skapraun is hairless, hornless, and nearly helpless, but it learns to walk within 5 minutes of its birth. The skapraun remembers nothing of its former life, but it instinctively knows to collect the horns of its precursor and protect them at all costs so it can later build a bow from them. A skapraun usually reaches full maturity within 2 months of its birth, but it may take longer if the precursor’s body was badly damaged.

A skapraun is not identical to the one from which it was born, but its psyche and physique are always shaped in some way by the decisions its precursor made—and particularly by how the precursor met its end.

Habitat & Society

Skaprauns make their homes in rocky, mountainous areas where their physique gives them a distinct advantage over less agile beings. They live almost exclusively above the treeline, where their enemies have less of a chance to find shelter from their arrows. However, the territory of a skapraun tribe extends far below the treeline; the creatures hunt and gather plants and other resources in these lower regions.

To skaprauns, the concept of holding the higher ground is a central cultural aspect and a matter of great pride, and it also makes them fiercely territorial. They often do not allow any other intelligent beings to inhabit a higher location on the same mountain and do not tolerate intruders near their homes, even travelers who just passing through. However, skaprauns do not usually resort to violence unless stern warnings fail to remove the threat.

While the inhospitable terrain skaprauns live in is enough to keep most intruders away, they take great care to fortify the slopes of their mountain homes against attacks. They build traps in natural choke points and prepare many defensive fighting positions from which they can shower any attacker with a rain of arrows. The defensive positions have rocks piled as low walls, camouf laged to look like naturally occurring piles of rubble. These are usually difficult to reach from below, but if the enemies are particularly mobile, the skapraun sentries retreat into another defensive position farther up the mountain rather than risking a melee that may go against them.

When a tribe of skaprauns ends up in a prolonged conflict, the fey also employ offensive tactics that mostly involve quick hit-and-run attacks or feigned retreats in order to lead the enemy into an ambush. They also study weather patterns and use the treacherous mists of the mountains to their advantage, advancing when the mists rise and retreating when they recede.

Skapraun chieftains are born from the deaths of heroic individuals. The chieftains often have unusual physical traits that marks their births, such as very large horns, snow-white fur, or a greater stature. Skapraun leaders often take class levels in barbarian, druid, hunter, oracle, ranger, or shaman.

The birth of twins is considered a very auspicious sign in skapraun society. It is the only way in which a skapraun tribe can grow, and the twins are often uniquely gifted with oracular powers. Each inherits one of the precursor’s horns and builds a spear instead of the usual recurve bow. These twin-oracles often speak in unison and seem to share a single mind. Any later generations born of the twin-oracles are usually normal skaprauns, however.

On the bottom rung of skapraun society are arkas—outcasts who are allowed to perform only the most menial tasks within a tribe. A skapraun becomes an arka if it loses and cannot recover its weapon. Similarly, a skapraun who for some reason cannot extract its precursor’s horns or make a weapon out of them is marked an arka. Rather than facing the shame of not being considered a warrior, it is common for an arka to go on a self-imposed exile. Over time, these lone skaprauns lose their supernatural connection to nature, including their ability to reincarnate. They may find themselves in the company of humanoid creatures, getting along best with dwarves, perhaps because of dwarves’ similarly dour dispositions and love of mountains.

Skapraun Traps

The following are examples of traps favored by skaprauns.

Scree Slide Trap - CR 1

Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20

Effects

Trigger location; Reset repair
Effect CMB +10 check (vs. target’s CMD; target falls prone); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-square area); for every 5 by which the attack exceeds the CMD, the target also slides 5 ft. down the slope

Rockfall Trap - CR 2

Type mechanical; Perception DC 20; Disable Device DC 20

Effects

Trigger location; Reset repair
Effect Atk +10 melee (2d6); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-square area); affected squares are treated as dense rubble (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 412)