Far Corners of the World
Monsters of the Sky
(The Hidden Realm Above)
By James Jacobs

Cloudpost - Martina PilcerovaThe skies above are far from devoid of life. Birds soar on the great thermal drafts, scouring the land below for food. Insects swarm in writhing clouds or buzz alone while moving about on their mindless tasks. Bats flitter through the air at dusk and during the darker hours, filling the skies with tiny shrieks. And other creatures, such as manticores, chimeras, arrowhawks, rocs, dragons, flop and flap through the air on massive wings -- often seemingly too large to be supported by the air, yet too menacing to ignore.

In the distant heights of the hidden realm above, far beyond the powers of the naked eye to spy from the ground below, other creatures dwell. As creatures uniquely suited to this landless realm, they may never feel the touch of the ground beneath them, even in death.

Airjelly

SmallOoze
Hit Dice: 2d10+18 (hp 29)
Initiative: +6
Speed: Fly 80 ft. (16 squares) (perfect)
Armor Class: 17 (+1 size, +6 Dex), touch 17, flat-footed 11
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-5
Attack: Tendrils +8 melee (1d3-2 plus 1d6 electricity)
Full Attack: Tendrils +8 melee (1d3-2 plus 1d6 electricity)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. (10 ft. with tendril)
Special Attacks: Electricity
Special Qualities: Blindsight 60 ft., immune to electricity, ooze traits, translucent
Saves: Fort +9, Ref +6, Will -5
Abilities: Str 6, Dex 22, Con 28, Int --, Wis 1, Cha 1
Skills: --
Feats: Weapon Finesse[B]
Environment: Any sky
Organization: Solitary, pair, clot (3-8), or mass (9-21)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 3-6 HD (Small), 7-12 HD (Medium), 13-18 HD (Large), 19-30 HD (Huge), 31-45 HD (Gargantuan), 46+ HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment: --

This strange creature has a spherical body about 2 feet in diameter. Its translucent body contains unusual blobs of color that shimmer and morph. Dangling from its underside are several dozen, if not hundreds, of 10-foot long tendrils surrounded by a foul-smelling hissing white mist.

The airjellies occupy a strange dual role in the skies. The smaller majority of them often cluster in sizable groups. Other airborne creatures, such as thunderspikers, subsist on them. Yet those airjellies that survive can grow to monstrous size and proportions, and in so doing transition to the other end of the food chain.

An airjelly is composed almost entirely of electrically charged gas. A thick, slimy membrane encases it, and by venting the gas in pressurized jets, the creature can skip and shoot through the sky with shocking speed. Airjellies feed on tiny airborne particles of moisture, so they usually draw what little sustenance they require from rain clouds and the like.

Combat

Airjellies are unintelligent, and they react to any form of external stimuli in the same way: They lash at their perceived foe with their tendrils. These tendrils do little damage on their own, but they can emit a fairly painful jolt of electricity with each tendril strike.

Electricity (Su): Once per hour, an airjelly can concentrate its electrical charge and cause it to explode in a 10-foot burst. All creatures within this area must make a DC 20 Reflex save or take 1d6 points of electricity damage per 2 Hit Dice possessed by the airjelly and be dazed for 1 round. Those who make the save take no damage and are not dazed.

Ooze Traits: An airjelly is blind (blindsight 60 ft.) and immune to gaze attacks, visual effects, illusions, and other attack forms that rely on sight. It is immune to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, and polymorphing. It is not subject to critical hits or flanking.

Translucent (Ex): The airjelly is naturally translucent, and it gains the benefit of concealment (20% miss chance). Blindsense (and the Blind-Fight feat) cannot be used to target these ephemeral creatures; this may be the only thing that keeps large groups of airjellies from lashing out at each other. They simply don't realize other airjellies exist.

Advancing an Airjelly: An airjelly's reach with its tendrils is always double its space. When the airjelly increases in size, the additional damage inflicted by its tendril attack increases as if it were a physical attack.

Thunderspiker

Large Plant
Hit Dice: 10d8+50 (95 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: Fly 50 ft. (10 squares) (average)
Armor Class: 19 (-1 size, +3 Dex, +7 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple: +7/+13
Attack: Gore +8 melee (2d6+3 plus 1d6 electricity) or spike +9 ranged (1d4+2 plus 1d6 electricity)
Full Attack: Gore +8 melee (2d6+3 plus 1d6 electricity) or 6 spikes +9 ranged (1d4+2 plus 1d6 electricity)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Powerful gore, spikes, thunderclap
Special Qualities: Death throes, electricity, low-light vision, immunities (electricity and sonic), plant traits, vulnerable to fire
Saves: Fort +12 Ref +8, Will +5
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 17, Con 21, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 11
Skills: Balance +5, Jump +4, Tumble +16
Feats: Hover, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
Environment: Any sky
Organization: Solitary, pair, squall (3-6), or storm (7-16)
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 11-16 HD (Large), 17-30 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: --

This conical-shaped plant floats point up. The circumference of its base is a writhing forest of wide-veined leaves on flexible stalks that paddle the air and seem to serve as rudders. Its body glistens in various shades of green, and sharp, translucent green spines cover it. The conical body tapers to the top into a single branch tipped with a large emerald-tinted transparent hook or horn. Motes of electricity seem to dance over its body, arcing from spine to spine.

The thunderspiker is a strange breed of airborne carnivorous plant that preys upon small airborne creatures like birds and airjellies. Its body generates large amounts of buoyant gas to keep the plant afloat; once a thunderspiker dies, the gas quickly becomes unstable and causes the plant to explode in flash of lightning.

Thunderspikers are nearly mindless, and they fill a role in the skies far above similar to those filled by sharks in the seas below.

Combat

When a thunderspiker attacks, it generally opens with its spikes, firing them at anything that remotely resembles some sort of prey. Against larger creatures, they often close to melee with their central blade-tipped branch and then hack away at the enemy with stunning force. All these attacks are charged with powerful bursts of electricity, which adds to the thunderspiker's dreadful efficiency as an airborne hunter.

Powerful Gore (Ex): The thunderspiker's primary gore attack is quite powerful, and it adds 1.5 times its Strength modifier to attacks with it at all times. Additionally, any creature that suffers a critical hit from a thunderspiker's gore attack must make a Fortitude save (DC 20) or be stunned for 1 round.

Spikes (Ex): Thunderspikers are covered with hundreds of knifelike spikes. By exerting pressure on these spikes, they can fire them with surprising force. These spikes have a range increment of 100 feet.

Thunderclap (Su): Once per day, a thunderspiker can generate a thunderous bolt of electricity from its primary spike. This bolt is a 60-foot line of electricity that inflicts 8d6 points of electricity damage to all in its path (DC 20 Reflex save for half damage). Anyone within 20 feet of a thunderspiker when it uses its thunderclap ability must also make a DC 20 Fortitude save or become deafened for 1d10 rounds.

Death Throes (Ex): When a thunderspiker is reduced to negative hit points, it loses 1d4 hit points per round rather than the normal 1 per round as the gasses within its body quickly deteriorate. When a thunderspiker reaches -10 hit points, it explodes in a burst of lightning and spines, with a radius equal to twice its reach (typically a 20-foot radius). All creatures caught in this blast take 8d6 points of damage, half of which is electricity and half of which is piercing (DC 20 Reflex save for half).

Electricity (Su): A thunderspiker's body carries a constant and powerful electrical charge. Any creature that strikes a thunderspiker with a natural weapon automatically takes 1d6 points of electricity damage.

Zyern

Gargantuan Aberration
Hit Dice: 28d8+168 (294 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: Fly 50 ft. (10 squares) (clumsy)
Armor Class: 31 (-4 size, -1 Dex, +26 natural), touch 5, flat-footed 31
Base Attack/Grapple: +21/+45
Attack: Bite +30 melee (3d8+12)
Full Attack: Bite +30 melee (3d8+12) and 6 tentacles +24 melee (2d6+6)
Space/Reach: 20 ft./20 ft.
Special Attacks: Breath weapon, constrict 2d6+18, frightful presence, improved grab
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 15/magic and piercing, darkvision 60 ft., immunities (cold and electricity), regeneration 10, spell resistance 28
Saves: Fort +15, Ref +10, Will +19
Abilities: Str 34, Dex 8, Con 22, Int 5, Wis 17, Cha 12
Skills: Hide +9, Move Silently +12
Feats: Awesome Blow, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Stealthy, Weapon Focus (bite), Wingover
Environment: Any air
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 18
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually chaotic evil
Advancement: 29-34 HD (Gargantuan), 35-84 HD (Colossal)
Level Adjustment: --

This massive bloated menace floats idly at the edge of the thundercloud. Its body vaguely resembles that of a massive purple and gray six-armed cuttlefish with thick webbing between its tentacles. Leprous mounds of thick, blubbery flesh heaped on its dorsal surface culminate in a hideous massive toothy-beaked head with five eyes the size of tower shields.

Of the many creatures that haunt the skies above, few are as repulsive and deadly as the zyern. Hateful of all life, especially their own kind, these asexual monstrosities possess an uncanny gift of hiding at the edge of high thunderclouds, where they wait patiently for rocs, dragons, enormous airjellies, and other creatures to blunder close enough to them to allow the zyern lunge at them.

Zyerns are, despite their appearance, somewhat intelligent. Most can speak a few words of Auran, but they only rarely have any interest in speaking with other creatures, which they almost universally view as food.

Combat

A zyern almost always lunges into combat from a hiding place within a cloud, and it initiates combat with its breath weapon and frightful presence. It then tries to snatch as many creatures as possible with its tentacles before retreating back into the cloud to hide.

Breath Weapon (Su): 90-foot cone of poison gas, once every 1d4 rounds, poison (DC 30 Fortitude save, initial and secondary damage 3d6 Strength). The save DC is Constitution-based.

Constrict (Ex): A zyern deals 2d6+18 points of bludgeoning damage with a successful grapple check.

Frightful Presence (Ex): When a zyern charges or attacks, it inspires terror in all creatures within 60 feet that have fewer Hit Dice or levels than it has. Affected creatures must succeed on a DC 25 Will save or become shaken, remaining in that condition as long as they remain with 30 feet of the zyern. A successful save leaves that opponent immune to that zyern's frightful presence for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a zyern must hit with a tentacle attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.


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