Miala paced back and forth on the beach, waiting impatiently. Impatience was new to the druid, and not pleasant. She had come at the request of a group of fishermen who had been attacked by a strange creature. Three of their number were dead, and six others awaited healing of serious injuries in the nearby temple of Pelor. The creature, they said, was like a centaur, but more horrible than anything they could imagine. It had come from the sea to attack them on the beach while they cleaned their nets.
This was the first group to survive an attack by whatever it was. Nine fishermen had been found dead on or near the beach in the last month. Apparently whatever it was had arrived about that time.
Miala was here because one of the fishermen thought the creature might be a fey of some kind, and Miala was reputed to know much about such beings. She had never heard of anything like this, but she liked to learn about new creatures.
"I don't see any tracks along the whole beach," shouted her friend Scout, a ranger and cleric of Ehlonna. "The creature hasn't been here since at least the last high tide, and probably not for three days or more." That timing corresponded to the attack on the fishermen, and since no other humans had been on the beach since the attack, Miala believed that the creature struck simply to hurt humans. Or humanoids. It was impossible to tell at this time if it had a grudge against humans or simply killed creatures that got too close to the water.
"Night's about to fall, Scout. We'd better head back to the village. Tomorrow we can go for a swim."
"You can go for a swim tomorrow, Miss I-can-turn-into-a-fish-whenever-I-want," Scout replied. "But I agree about heading back now. Maybe we can get some divinations and learn more--"
Scout's words were cut off as the sounds of pounding hooves and splashing water met their ears. They turned to see a hideous centaurlike creature with pointed ears, a head way too big for its body, and strange fin-like growths at its feet. What made Miala turn and put a hand on her mouth to keep her lunch down was seeing that it had no skin at all. She could see black lines where veins ran across the creature, and its muscles. It looked as if something had skinned it alive and turned it loose.
Scout drew her swords and stepped forward to meet the charge, but was flung back and to the left as the creature impacted her body. Miala dived out of the way as it tried to take a swipe at her, too. Scout moved behind the creature as it stopped and turned toward the druid; she hit hard with her two swords. The creature shrieked and kicked out at her, but did not connect. Scout moved in to take a swipe, then moved away before it could return the favor, as it seemed able to attack with its long arms, its hooves, and its huge mouth. Miala stepped back to cast a flame strike on the creature, which opened up its blood vessels and caused it to look even more hideous. The creature charged Miala and knocked the druid down, injuring her severely and tearing away a piece of flesh from her arm with its teeth.
Scout's attacks were not having as much effect as they should, and the creature was getting in licks of its own. Miala stepped back and cast another damaging spell, this time a waterball. As the fresh water exploded around the creature, it hissed in fright and turned toward the sea. It galloped away at a full run and plunged into the waves, leaving the two women shaking and breathing hard.
"That was probably what we were looking for," Scout said. "I wonder why your spell drove it off."
Miala finished a cure light wounds spell that closed up the bite wound somewhat. "We'd really better get back to the village now," she said. "Divinations are definitely in order. And maybe some help. I wonder if Iron and Rannell are somewhere close by . . ."
|Large Fey (Aquatic)
||12d6+24 (66 hp)
||60 ft. (12 squares), swim 50 ft.
| Armor Class:
||14 (+4 Dex, -1 size, +1 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 10
|| Slam +12 melee (1d6+7)
||2 slams +12 melee (1d6+7) and 2 hooves +10 melee (1d6+3) and bite +10 melee (2d8+3)
||10 ft./5 ft.
||Improved grab, stench
||Amphibious, damage reduction 10/cold iron, fear of fresh water, low-light vision
|| Fort +6, Ref +12, Will +8
||Str 25, Dex 18, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 4
|| Hide +9, Jump +19, Listen +15, Move Silently +16, Search +11, Spot +15,Swim +15
||Awesome Blow, Combat Reflexes, Improved Bull Rush, Multiattack, Power Attack
|| Temperate aquatic
||Solitary or pair
||Always neutral evil
||13-24 HD (Large); 25-36 (Huge)
This bizarre creature appears as a large horse with a human torso and head, and flippers at the end of its legs. Its head is far too large for its body. It seems to have no skin at all, and it reeks of rotten fish.
A nuchlavis is a horrible-looking fey creature of unparalleled evil that preys on humanoids near the coast. It also preys on other fey, and whatever else it can physically dominate. A nuchlavis is a sea-dwelling faerie creature that can come onto the land for brief periods to bring terror.
Similar to a centaur in appearance, a nuchlavis possesses a horse's body and a human-like torso and head. Its head, however, is more than four times as large as it should be, and sometimes lolls to the side, as if the neck cannot support the weight. It has a single red eye in its face, from which it looks hatefully upon the world. Its mouth is almost too wide for its face, and vaguely porcine. Within this mouth the creature has long, sharp teeth that easily tear flesh. Long, powerful arms hang simianlike down its body. The creature has fins or flippers on its feet, yet somehow can run on land. Some theorize that the leg ends in a hoof and a flipper, and that the creature can move the flipper aside for running on land.
The nuchlavis's lack of skin constitutes the most horrible aspect of its appearance. Its white sinews and red muscles are visible when it moves, and one can see its black blood flowing through its yellowish veins if one gets close enough to look. A nuchlavis smells horrible as well, the scent a mix of rotting eggs and spoiled, mildewed fish.
A nuchlavis speaks Common and Sylvan.
Brutal combatants, nuchlavises prefer direct attacks. They fight with fists, hooves, and their terrible bite.
Improved Grab (Ex): A nuchlavis that hits with a slam attack may start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. A nuchlavis that has successfully grappled a foe automatically bites on the same round.
Stench (Ex): A nuchlavis has a horrible odor that can be detected up to 100 feet away. All living creatures (except nuchlavises) within 30 ft. must make a Fort save (DC 18) or be sickened for as long as they remain in range and for one round thereafter. The save DC is Constitution-based. A successful save grants immunity to the stench for 24 hours. If a creature that has failed a save against the stench escapes from the stench's area, but later enters it again, it must save again. The stench is not a poison, so resistances and spells that affect poison do not negate the effects of the stench.
Amphibious (Ex): A nuchlavis can breathe both air and water, though it usually does not remain outside its aquatic home longer than necessary to attack its prey.
Fear of Fresh Water (Ex): A nuchlavis is deathly afraid of fresh water, even though fresh water has no ability to harm the creature. A nuchlavis will hide under the sea whenever it rains, and will not cross fresh-water rivers, lakes, or even streams. If splashed with at least a gallon of fresh water, a nuchlavis must makes a Will save (DC 15) or become panicked until it can hid beneath the sea, and for 1 minute thereafter. If struck by a water-producing spell, the DC for the panic effect is the same as the DC for the spell.