Continuing on with the monsters from the Bestiary, we come to the next of the azatas.
And immediately, we’re again struck with how-the-hell-do-you-pronounce-it-itis. Seriously, does anyone know how to properly vocalize this name? Is it “gale”? “Gha-el”? “Gay-lay”? None of the above?
You know, back during the later days of Second Edition, TSR’s home page (or maybe it was WotC’s page by then, I’m not sure) had a download that answered questions like this. For Planescape, it was a series of .wav files of people speaking various words like “tanar’ri” and “baatezu” simply so you’d what they sounded like. From what I can tell, that’s since been lost to time, but man does Paizo ever need to bring back something like this for Pathfinder.
But let’s take at look at our ghaele ghirl here.
Despite her being fairly pretty, I waffled as to whether or not this monster deserved the pin-up girl tag. After all, she really seems to be armored up pretty well, eschewing the traditional skimpy armors that a lot of women warriors wear. So really, the ghaele seemed to be trying more for practicality than enhancing beauty.
However, the more I thought about it, the less true that seemed. Yes, her armor does cover a lot of her…but there’s still a fair amount of skin on display here. Take, for example, her legs; her knee-high boots are impressive, but above that: nothing.
That by itself wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t seem to be wearing a chainmail miniskirt. I can’t believe I actually just typed that, but there it is – a chainmail miniskirt. I’m sure that it’s actually some real piece of armor that served a particular function, and had its own weird name that almost nobody remembers today, but we let’s dispense with the plausible deniability. The chainmail miniskirt is more respectable than the chainmail bikini, but not by much.
Further up, as if to truly put the issue of “which comes first: form or function?” to rest, we find that there’s a large hole in the armor covering her torso, which shows off her cleavage quite nicely. Tip for lady adventurers here: if it’s puts your chest on display, don’t use that armor. I’m just saying.
But then, we come to the cherry on this particular sundae. As if Paizo wanted to make sure that we couldn’t take this particular monster seriously no matter how hard we tried, they added the finishing touch to the ghaele’s ensemble: a tiara.
I really don’t know what to say about this. Why is she wearing a tiara? It’s not a status symbol; the book says they’re the knights of the azata race. Did she just finish the “armor & eros” part of a planar beauty pageant? Or maybe she moonlights as a runway model? It’d certainly explain the pissed-off look she’s got, since models seem to be forbidden from smiling on the job.
Between this picture and the relative dearth of descriptive text we’re given, it’s hard to know what to make of the ghaele. In all honesty, she seems to be like a contemporary superheroine – intent on fighting evil, and dressing to impress while doing so for no reason that can be determined. It’s not necessarily unwelcome, just undefined. Still, as we’ll see next time, there are much more audacious azatas…