Savage Tide; Pathfinder
This creature may have once been a normal example of its species, but now its gray skin, strangely flopping arms and legs, and the vacant-eyed vestigial head hanging from its neck make it anything but. It’s body is a writhing, malformed parody of its former self, with vestigial tendrils sprouting from its leprous flesh and spurs of sharp, gnarled bone protruding from beneath its pallid flesh. Yet perhaps worst of all is the creature’s mouth, a cavernous wound in its twisted face filled with a twisting landscape of teeth, a mouth evolved for one thing only; the tearing of flesh from bone.
This knowledge reflects only what qualities the party have observed to occur in Savage creatures:
- Savage creatures are characterized by abominable growths over their bodies in the form of bone spurs, vestigial limbs, writhing clusters of tentacles, black sores that weep blood or pus, and exaggerated, feral characteristics like teeth and claws.
- Savage creatures are naturally resistant to damage, having both a Natural bonus to AC and damage reduction to nonmagical weapons.
- Savage creatures can infect targets with a bloodborne pathogen via a bite or other exchange of bodily fluids. The infection is characterized by a fever, a black rash that sprouts tiny, sharkskin-like, bony hooks, and a fugue state that results in decreased intelligence.
- upon death, Savage creatures are capable of making a single, powerful last attempt to kill their slayers, lashing out with a bite.
- once defeated, Savage creatures rupture and explode, their flesh and organs boiling over into an acidic goo that splashes into the surrounding immediate area.
According to the account as relayed by Captain Harliss Javell of the Crimson Fleet]], Savage creatures were created by the destruction (activation?) of a fist-sized black pearl that was in the possession of the Crimson Fleet en route to a buyer in Sasserine. During Vanthus’ attempt to rob the Crimson Fleet, he dropped the pearl, which reportedly spewed out an acrid, black smoke and cast a shade of darkness over the area, causing everyone present to go into a fugue of rage and hunger. When the fugue passed, most living things in the area had turned Savage. It is unknown how Javell, Vanthus, or anyone else resisted the change, what quality spared them, or indeed, why some were chosen and others not.
Savage Creatures Encountered:
Many creatures have been afflicted by Savage Fever since the party’s first encounter with the disease at Kraken’s Cove. Perhaps there is some wisdom to be gained in determining what creatures could be affected and where?
Kraken’s Cove Afflicted:
- monkeys, parrots, humans, raptor lizards
Amedio Coastline Afflicted:
- hundreds of men, women, and children found in a mass grave from over a century past
- jungle trees, ferns, insects, snakes, terror birds
Isle of Dread Afflicted:
- Rakasta Olman tribe
- several members of the Crimson Fleet
- Kedward Bone(?)
Afflicted Encountered Elsewhere:
- City of Cauldron, following the detonation of the shadow pearl hidden there
According to the research of Tobin Gray, the nature of so-called “savage fever” appears to be that of a binary virus: magical and natural. Evidence indicates that the shadow pearls, suffused with hatred, negativity, chaos, and wickedness of the Abyss, release a sort of toxic cloud that, when coming into contact with a living creature (it is not known if the vector is inhalation or mere skin contact), brings about a natural and radical evolution that provokes the growth of tumors and horrid bone spurs. The change affects the parts of the brain linked to aggression and impact upon the speech centers of the brain, as well as those parts responsible for the impulse control. The result is an atavistic monstrosity, a creature that exists only to act on its basest urges. More horribly, that creature can further spread the virus through contact with others, ensuring that anyone capable of withstanding the initial onslaught will be either torn apart by those who did not, or forced to contract it as they suffer from multiple wounds from the afflicted.
Once contracted, the disease escalates in aggression quickly, giving the victim a matter of hours or even minutes until the transformation is complete. Tobin hypothesized that a practical and timely intervention of restoration magic would prevent the disease from spreading, something that proved effective when members of the Gang of Five were bitten by the creatures.