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Witchcrow

With a raucous cry and a flurry of feathered wings, this jet-black bird takes to the air, an unnatural gleam in its otherworldly eyes.

Creatures in "Witchcrow" Category

NameCR
Greater Witchcrow3
Witchcrow3

Witchcrow

Witchcrow CR 1

Source Pathfinder #67: The Snows of Summer pg. 88
XP 400
CE Tiny magical beast
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect magic, low-light vision; Perception +6

Defense

AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 size)
hp 13 (3d10–3)
Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2
Resist cold 5

Offense

Speed 20 ft., fly 50 ft. (good)
Melee 2 talons +4 (1d3–1)
Space 2-1/2 ft., Reach 5 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3rd; concentration +4; save DCs are Intelligence-based)
Constant—detect magic, speak with animals (birds only)
3/day—perceive cuesAPG, vanishAPG, ventriloquism (DC 12)
1/day—ill omenAPG, mirror image

Statistics

Str 8, Dex 15, Con 8, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 11
Base Atk +3; CMB +3 (+5 steal); CMD 12 (14 vs. steal)
Feats Combat Expertise, Flyby AttackB, Improved Steal
Skills Fly +15, Knowledge (arcana) +2, Perception +6, Sleight of Hand +11, Spellcraft +3, Stealth +14; Racial Modifiers +8 Sleight of Hand
Languages Aklo, Common; speak with animals (birds only)

Ecology

Environment cold and temperate forests and plains
Organization solitary, pair, covey (3–12), or murder (13–30)
Treasure standard

Description

The dreaded witchcrow, renowned as a harbinger of ill deeds and misfortune, preys on the weak and spies on the unwary. Clever, manipulative, and avaricious in the extreme, these foul birds have no conscience and know no fear. Witchcrows strive to steal not only victims’ most cherished possessions, but their hopes and dreams as well. They delight in bringing anguish, sowing doubt even as they feign friendly advice designed to tear down alliances, dupe the gullible, and compromise the virtuous. Despite their deceptive nature, witchcrows can also hold valuable information—or come by such if paid to retrieve it.

Witchcrows value arcane magic above all else, not simply as practitioners—the birds certainly have their own innate talent for witchcraft—but also as collectors. In exchange for their services or valuable information, witchcrows trade for scrolls, potions, and other lesser magic items. Even if such items go unoffered, an intense covetous streak drives witchcrows to pilfer these things if they sense them among a bargainer’s possessions. Often, they single out arcane casters as targets for thievery, closing on casters from a distance with their vanish ability and executing flyby attacks to snatch away any baubles they desire. They carry such loot back to their nests to proudly share stories of their daring raids under the preening adulation of their peers. Prolonged spellcasting (casting spells with a casting time greater than 1 round) often attracts witchcrows in the area. They stalk spellcasters in groups, watching for opportunities to steal from them.

Ecology

Legends claim the first witchcrows spawned in the Dimension of Dreams—hatched from corrupted eggs nurtured by night hags and released onto other planes to carry out misdeeds. Whether this tale is true or not, these birds often keep company with hags. They sometimes treat with more powerful magical beings as messengers, spies, or informants, traveling in groups for mutual protection. Each covey or murder also follows a migratory pattern, moving between sites of power and areas of unusual magic.

Greater witchcrows not only hoard arcane items, but also are dependent on them for reproduction, siphoning away subtle emanations of magical power to aid their gestation process. The likelihood of an egg hatching into a greater witchcrow increases in direct correlation to the time it spends in close proximity to such items. As a result, female witchcrows are much more active in stealing arcane objects for their nests and aggressively fend off rivals to retain any treasure in their possession. Witchcrows can lay a clutch of up to five eggs every year and remain fertile throughout their entire adult lifespan—approximately 20 to 30 years.

As a greater witchcrow nears the end of its life, it experiences an unusual phenomenon called the Dreaming, in which it enters a fugue state lasting nearly a week. During this time, it molts and meditates as it comes to terms with the end of its life and attempts to pinpoint its final resting place. Usually, this is a place it particularly enjoyed in the past. Once the bird determines the location and fixates on it, the remaining members of its group invoke their apportation to send it there as its life’s reward. Thereafter, the others argue and bicker over any magic items left behind by the elder witchcrow.

Habitat & Society

Witchcrows have an affinity for colder climes, and often masquerade as normal crows living in the fields and forests near the civilized settlements of other creatures. They particularly seek out magical societies where they can gain greater access to arcane items. On Golarion, this makes witchcrows most prevalent in Irrisen, where they’ve developed a terrible reputation—enough so that the witches of Irrisen (and the people they rule) both fear and revile the birds, marking them for destruction whenever they find them.

In witchcrow society, greater witchcrows always establish dominance over their lesser kin, rising to lead large congregations of the malicious birds and shepherding them from one habitat to another. Witchcrows always mutually support one another even as they compete for the same resources, following a strict social hierarchy that aggrandizes the most successful thieves among them. Leaders of any given covey collect and dispense the spoils of their activities, assigning arcane treasures to the strongest of their kind during mating season. Those witchcrows that contribute little to the group’s success often find themselves with empty nests during these gatherings—or cast out of the flock entirely.