He’s Like the Green Arrow, Except Not Green, and Doesn’t Use Arrows

Okay, it’s been too long since I’ve reviewed a creature from the Bestiary, especially since we’re almost out of the very first letter. So without further ado, let’s move on to the last group of creatures, who are also, thank the Seven Heavens, the final group of good Outsiders. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the

AZATA

The paragons of Chaotic Goodness were formerly called the eladrin in previous editions of the game. I’m guessing that Paizo changed the name because A) they thought this name was cooler, and/or B) they wanted to avoid using the name of the teleporting elves from Fourth Edition. (And before anyone says it, I know that “eladrin” is an original name by WotC, but you know what? A mistake on their part put it into the SRD, so Paizo could have used it if they’d really wanted to).

But issues of nomenclature aside, the azata are perhaps the coolest of the “big three” good outsiders (yeah, you still don’t count for shit, you Neutral Good agathions). This is because they exemplify the spirit that a lot of PCs seem to want to cling to; a devil-may-care, go-where-I-want-and-do-what-I-want attitude. Even the flavor text for azatas, while still trying to cling to that “hang in the background and influence mortals” schtick, can’t help but admit that they’ll very often just say “screw it” and move in to kick some ass.

In fact, the major problem with the azatas isn’t with their nature as paragons of Chaos and Good; they do that quite well. The issue with them is how they end up being pseudo-fey. What that means is that the fey overtones are quite clearly there for them, but at the same time they’re still not truly fey beings. They look a lot like them, act a lot like them, and even have a similar social structure…but aren’t them.

This makes for some awkwardness when trying to figure out how they relate to each other. Are azatas as far beyond fey as fey are beyond mortals? Are they cosmological neighbors who happen to share a lot of similarities? Or is it all nothing more than a couple of coincidences, with the rest of us drawing parallels that aren’t really there? I don’t know, and nobody else seems to either.

Having said all of that, let’s look at the first of the azatas.

BRALANI

You know, despite how a lot of gamers seem to look down their nose at anime, I’ve always been a big fan of it. Moreover, I like a lot of the concepts it introduces into tabletops games.

Gigantic pointed ears are not one of them.

Seriously, pointed ears should look the way they look on Mr. Spock, not like this! Who thought it was a good idea for anyone to have ears that jutted up over his head like antenna? Do they lift up when he’s happy and droop when he’s sad?

I’m sorry, but these things just bring way too much baggage with them – when someone gets around to finally writing the Ecology of the Bralani, please make sure to put that they have the ear version of a bris for little bralani newborns, so that they don’t have to go around looking like an extra from Record of Lodoss War.

Of course, for all the earful I’m giving you about that, we haven’t really gotten to the stupid part yet. Can you tell what that is? Look very closely at the picture there, and see if you see it. No? Okay, here’s a hint: try looking at what’s not there.

If you said “his arrow,” then you’re right! He’s actually holding his bow, and pantomiming nocking an arrow! What the fuck? Why is he doing that? It’s not that he’s got some sort of power to magically create new arrows when he draws his arm back – there’s no power like that in his description. He’s just pretending to get ready to fire one, like Garth in Wayne’s World going through the motions of making a toast even though he didn’t get a glass.

I can only guess that he’s run out of arrows, and is hoping that if he acts like he’s going to fire more, he’ll somehow frighten his enemies away through sheer badassery. Can you imagine the results if he actually makes his Intimidate check here? “Oh no! He’s acting like he’s got an arrow in his bow! Even though he was using arrows before, this must mean that he has some sort of arrow-related special power! Run away!”

You can really tell that the bralani has the power to assume a wind form, because this guy is really full of hot air.

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