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Ghriestby Jamie Baty
Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 4d10+4 (26 hp)
Initiative: +3 (+3 Dex)
Speed: fly 70 ft. (good)
Armour Class: 13 (-1 size, +3 Dex, +1 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 10
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+12
Attack: Beak +7 melee (2d6 +4)
Full Attack: Beak +7 melee (2d6 +4)
Space/Reach: 10 ft. /5 ft.
Special Attacks: Belch flames, impale
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft., low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +2
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 11
Skills: Listen +8, Spot +9
Feats: Flyby Attack, Hover (B), Wingover
Environment: Temperate hills, mountains
Organisation: Solitary, Pair, or Family (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: Pilot Feathers
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 5-8 HD (Large); 9-12 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: -
This large flying creature spends its entire life in the air, hunting the skies over the Savage Coast.
The ghriest's body is wedge-shaped, hanging mostly below its extremely wide wingspan. Its large eyes give the creature near-perfect vision, with a 360-degree range. The creature's long, narrow head tapers up into a kind of fin. The ghriest's sharp beak is lined with a row of tiny teeth.
Two feet lay along the underside of the ghriest; atrophied from generations of disuse, these scrawny appendages are weak but agile. The ghriest's body is covered with feathers except on its head and along a bony ridge lining the front of each wing.
Ghriests travel in family units. The creatures carry their eggs with them in belly pouches, transferring both eggs and newborn ghriests back and forth with their nimble feet. Once able to fly on their own, a young ghriest stays with its family for protection for at least six months. Ghriests generally have two young per year. Males tend to be somewhat bigger and more colourful, though the female is the more deadly hunter.
Though its weak legs could not possible maintain its weight, this is not the reason that a ghriest never lands. Strangely, a ghriest cannot land, or it will die. Requiring a constant and heavy flow of air past its breathing cavities, if it were to land, the ghriest would choke to death within a few minutes. Even after the first few seconds, it is unlikely that the creature would have the strength to return to the air.
Ghriests live above the Forbidden Highlands and over the mountains on the Arm of the Immortals. They prefer to soar above hills or mountains, relying on the numerous updrafts to help keep them aloft while eating or mating. They also prefer to stay away from humanoid habitation, with the exception of the ee'aar. The ee'aar have even been known to join the creatures in flight.
Ghriests occupy a spot near the top of the aerial food chain. Ghriests hunt almost anything else in the air. They can be befriended and tamed by ee'aar, but they are occasionally hunted by other races for their feathers. Every ghriest possesses 4d4 "pilot" feathers along its wings with special flying abilities. Arrows and crossbow bolts fletched with these feathers have a 50% bonus to their range increment and are considered masterwork arrows or bolts.
The ghriest attacks by stabbing an opponent with its long, pointy beak. Despite its sharp, tiny teeth, it never bites. It rarely uses its belch flames ability unless in grave danger.
When attacking, the ghriest flies above its prey; it then dives toward the target with incredible speed and accuracy, usually impaling the target. After a successful dive, the ghriest uses its feet to pull the victim from its beak. If the victim is still alive, the ghriest then stabs it again while holding on tightly. The ghriest can remain aloft even while carrying a Medium-sized victim.
Belch Flames (Su): Once per day, a ghriest may belch a 20ft cone of flames. These flames cause 4d6 damage, and anyone affected is allowed a Reflex save vs DC 13 (Con based) for half damage.
Impale (Ex): At the end of a charge, a ghriest may impale a Medium or smaller size foe hit by its beak attack. An impaled foe is stuck to the beak of a ghriest and can only free itself with a DC 25 Escape Artist check or Strength check (note the victim will suffer falling damage as the ghriest is always airborne). Each round the victim is impaled it automatically suffers beak damage.
A ghriest may make a grapple check against an impaled victim with a +8 bonus to the check. If successful, it has pried the victim from its beak with its claws and is holding it firmly. Subsequent beak attacks against the grappled foe receive a +4 bonus to attack. If the grapple check fails, the victim is dropped.
Scent (Ex): This special quality allows a ghriest to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
Skills: A ghriest has a +4 racial bonus to all Spot and Listen checks.
The Red Curse
Ghriests never gain Legacies or need cinnabryl.