Posts Tagged ‘azata’

She’s Giving You That “Come Zither” Look

July 10, 2010

At long last we come to the final entry among the A monsters of the Pathfinder Bestiary, and this curvaceous creature is one that makes sure this section ends with a bang. Let’s take a long look at the


What to say about the lillend? A picture is worth a thousand words, and really, they’re necessary. She’s a woman above the waist, a snake below, and she has wings to boot. The Freudian imagery is so thick here that I’m sure there must be a shrink somewhere using this picture as an aid in checking patients for psychosexual disorders.

Needless to say, we’ve come to yet another of the Bestiary’s pin-up girls. Far from the chaste aasimar or the ghaele, the lillend is the most prurient (in terms of appearance) creature we’ve seen yet.

Or is she?

Part of me (I won’t tell you which part) wonders if maybe the fact that the lillend is going around pretty much topless is her overcompensating. After all, most ordinary men are going to balk at the idea of fucking a girl who’s all scaly down there; hence, wearing nothing but pasties with the chain between them is her way of trying to make sure guys’ eyes stay up top.

The “I’m a sex object!” getup aside, the Bestiary talks about how the lillends are the artists of the azatas, giving us some fairly blase information about their love of music and protection of pastoral splendors and inspiration of artists, etc. It’s nothing to write home about, which is a shame, since I think they really could have put a more interesting spin on things.

Back in 2E, lillends were noted for all wearing masks that were heavily stylized, so much so that no two lillends’ masks were the same (this may have been specific to Planescape, I’m not sure). I think Paizo should have taken that concept and expanded upon it. Not the masks, per se, but rather the thematic idea that all lillends are artists who express and define themselves through body art.

My interpretation of the lillend is that she sees her own identity as an artistic abstraction – the idea of “who she is” is something that must be expressed rather than simply answered, and her body is the canvas on which that expression takes place. Hence, lillends spend their eternal existences looking for new ways to paint, pierce, modify, and otherwise alter their bodies in a way that defines them; a never-ending quest to find the perfect representation of who they are as art.

Of course, given that, the lillend pictured above must be uninspired at the moment. She’s not so much feeling blue as she is feeling blank, which is a shame.

Won’t someone grab his brush and apply a few coats to her?

There She Is, Miss Elysium

July 1, 2010

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…

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

June 25, 2010

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


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.


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.