Book of Sorrows
|Climate/Terrain:||Sri Raji (most commonly)|
|Treasure:||K,U (no gems)|
|Armor Class:||10 (See below)|
|Movement:||0 (See below)|
|No. of Attacks:||1|
|Special Attacks:||See below|
|Special Defenses:||Spell Immunity|
|Magic Resistance:||Nil (see below)|
|Size:||M (6’ tall)|
A pisacha is a dangerous, nearly undetectable vampire that slowly drains away its victim’s health without actually coming into contact with the victim. All pisachas are undead males whose bodies do not decompose after their interment. They are often mistaken for invisible ghosts, but defenses normally employed to combat ghosts are ineffective against these killers.
Combat: A pisacha can attack any human, half-elf, or half-Vistani within five miles of its interred body. The target must be asleep, and usually the young are favored over their elders; the target may be either male or female. Once a pisacha has attacked a particular target, it will continue to attack that same target until the target dies or the attacks are deterred. A character who is protected from scrying and similar detection effects will not be selected as a target by the pisacha, but gaining such protection after being selected will not deter the pisacha or prevent subsequent attacks.
Once the pisacha has located a sleeping target, it begins to consume the victim’s breath as he or she exhales. Anyone observing the target will see his or her chest rising and falling with each breath, but no flow of air can be discerned emerging from the victim’s nose or mouth. After at least one hour of having his or her breath stolen, but only once each night, the victim must make a Constitution check. If the check is successful, the victim wakes the next morning feeling unusually weak and suffers a -2 Dexterity penalty for 2d4 hours. If the check is unsuccessful, the character awakes feeling cold and weak, suffers a -2 Dexterity penalty for 4d4 hours, cannot memorize or receive any spells without an additional six hours of rest, and permanently loses 1 point of Constitution. When a character’s Constitution reaches 0, the character dies. Characters killed by a pisacha do not necessarily become vampires themselves. On a second or subsequent feeding, if the pisacha’s victim is under the effects of feign death or a similar spell, if the victim is sleeping in a sealed (not necessarily air-tight) coffin, or if the victim sleeps with a ripened coriander fruit on his or her chest, then the vampire will pass over the target in favor of another. The following night, the pisacha will try again for its first target; if it is again deterred, it will settle on the second target as its victim thereafter. If there are no eligible targets sleeping within five miles of the pisacha’s body, it goes without feeding but suffers no ill effects.
A pisacha typically resides in the coffin in which it was buried; it has no ability to move its own body. The body itself remains just as it did at death. If struck by a piercing weapon, the body will bleed in a steady flow that continues for 3d10 rounds. This blood is a mild poison that does 4d4 damage to anyone who comes in contact with it (or 2d4 to those who make a successful save vs. poison). If the pisacha’s body is dismembered and its parts scattered, any one of these could continue to serve as its lair. The individual dismembering the body must make a Dexterity check during each round of such activity or come in contact with the poison. This roll may be modified if appropriate precautions are taken, but dismembering a corpse does require a powers check.
Once every three months a pisacha may transfer to a different lair, provided parts of its body have been appropriately separated. However, the pisacha cannot transfer in this fashion to a body part outside the domain it is in.
If all parts of the pisacha’s body are burned to ashes then the vampire is destroyed. This fire must be natural, as pisachas are immune to magical fire. Additionally, pisachas are unaffected by sleep, charm, and hold spells, and they are immune to poison, paralysis, petrification, and death magic. They take no damage from damage-causing spells and magical effects. A pisacha whose body is splashed with at least two vials of holy water cannot feed for 2d4-1 days but is otherwise unaffected.
Only characters and creatures with the ability to speak with undead can communicate with a pisacha. They are likely to find the vampire intelligent and polite, and, though the pisacha will enjoy the rare opportunity for conversation, it will do whatever it can to protect itself, such as suggesting false means of destroying itself. A raise dead cast on a pisacha will not bring it back to life but it will restore the memories (but not the personality) of its former life. No one has yet reported the effect of casting animate dead on a pisacha’s body.
The pisacha is undetectable at the site of the feeding, but detect charm and similar spells can determine that the victim is under some unnatural influence during the feeding. Detect undead will reveal the presence of an undead creature during the feeding, provided the pisacha fails its saving throw. The spell will also reveal the presence of the vampire if it is cast directly on the pisacha’s body. During the feeding, the victim’s body temperature becomes abnormally low. He or she lies generally still and cannot be awakened until the feeding is complete. As described above, the victim’s exhalations produce no breath. The feeding can be disrupted by a priest who successfully turns the vampiric attack within one hour of its beginning. In this case, the pisacha is turned as a wraith, and the priest becomes the pisacha’s next victim.
If the victim is killed while the vampire is feeding (within the first hour) in any way other than the vampire’s Constitution drain, the pisacha ceases feeding and will be unable to feed again for 2d8+1 days. At the end of this period, there is an 80% chance the pisacha will select the killer as its next victim, provided the killer qualifies. This chance is decreased by 5% for every day beyond the seventh.
Habitat/Society: Pisachas form in one of two ways. Any male human, half-elf, or half-Vistani who dies and is buried in a coffin in Sri Raji transforms over the next 3d6 nights into a pisacha. The newly formed undead creature possesses no knowledge of its former life; it knows only its hunger. The pisacha’s treasure consists of those items buried with it; it has no use for them and will be unconcerned if they are taken.
The second way for a pisacha to form is for a native of Sri Raji who is also a worshiper of Kali to die and be buried outside of Sri Raji. Native Sri Rajians typically burn their dead in great pyres (except those eaten by Arijani). Both types of pisacha possess the same characteristics and abilities.Generally, pisacha are formed from deceased adventurers who have traveled to Sri Raji from elsewhere in the demiplane or from outside the demiplane. Killed in Sri Raji, they were buried by their companions and left to become vampires. The natives of Sri Raji discourage foreigners from burying their dead there, but they do not prevent it.
In the unusual case that there are two pisachas within the same feeding area, neither will feed on the other’s target, but otherwise they will not interact.
Ecology: Clearly, there is some connection between the creation of pisachas and Sri Raji itself; however, what that relationship might be is unclear. Arijani has recently taken notice of the few pisachas in his domain, but he has taken no action regarding them. So long as they don’t present a substantial threat to his food supply, he sees no reason to interfere with them. No one is certain why only males become pisachas.
Because a pisacha’s feedings kill the victim slowly over a couple of weeks, the victim is often thought to be suffering from some type of illness or disease, as there are no outward signs of injury. Pisachas usually select victims within some proximity to recently consumed ones, as doing so helps perpetuate the suspicions of contagion and makes it more difficult for others to locate their lairs.
Scholars have pointed out that it is easier to defeat a pisacha in Sri Raji than elsewhere because the scarcity of grave sites makes the pisacha’s lair easy to find once it has been determined that that is the nature of the danger. On the other hand, most other domains (excluding Souragne) feature a large number of grave sites which could be lairs of pisachas, and the stones that mark these graves do not always reveal their true inhabitants. Of course, a pisacha’s body could consist of as little as one of its teeth, and finding and destroying such a thing in any domain would be difficult.
By Bil Boozer
Last Modified: March 01, 2014, 20:20:20 GMT
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