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Kushtaka

Kushtaka, or “land otters” as they are sometimes known, are devious shapeshifters. They propagate by luring a humanoid away from the shelter of their home and slowly transforming the kidnapped creature into a new kushtaka. Kushtaka have an easier time transforming willing prey, so they prefer to use their shapeshifting ability and innate magical powers to convince their chosen targets to follow them away to a kushtaka village.

Once a humanoid has been lured to a kushtaka village, they slowly begin to change, a bit at a time, until their body transforms fully into that of a kushtaka and ejects their mortal soul. These ejected souls often linger before giving rise to ghosts or haunts, though the kushtaka themselves are unaware of the souls' presence, having completely forgotten who they once were due to the magic that transformed them.

Kushtaka can be a scourge to small human villages, slowly pilfering villagers away one person at a time. This might mean the kushtaka village displaces the human one, or leaves the human village unable to survive with too small a population to hunt, fish, defend against threats, or raise the next generation.

Recall Knowledge - Beast (Arcana, Nature): DC 19

KushtakaCreature 4

NESmallAmphibiousBeast
Source Bestiary 3 pg. 158
Perception +12; darkvision, scent (imprecise) 30 feet
Languages Common, Sylvan
Skills Acrobatics +11, Athletics +9, Deception +11, Stealth +11 (+13 in oceans and forests)
Str +3, Dex +5, Con +2, Int +0, Wis +4, Cha +3
Canine Vulnerability Dogs and other canines are natural enemies of kushtaka. Canine animals, including creatures transformed into a canine using animal form or a similar effect, ignore the kushtaka's resistance to physical attacks. In addition, a canine with imprecise scent can use it as a precise sense when detecting a kushtaka.
Null Spirit Kushtaka exist completely separated from their mortal souls, making them immune to the effects of haunts and most effects from incorporeal spirits and undead, but also unaware of their presence; incorporeal undead are both invisible and inaudible to them. Incorporeal spirits and undead can affect a kushtaka only with effects that manifest in the physical world. For instance, a ghost mage casting a fireball or a poltergeist throwing objects could harm the kushtaka, but a ghost commoner's Frightful Moan and ghostly hand Strike would not.
AC 21; Fort +8, Ref +13, Will +12
HP 40; Resistances physical 5
Persuasive Rebuttal ReactionReaction Trigger A creature fails a check to Strike or Demoralize the kushtaka; Requirements The kushtaka has a charm spell available; Effect The kushtaka casts charm on the target.
Speed 25 feet, swim 40 feet
Melee Single ActionSingle Action jaws +14 [+9/+4] (finesse), Damage 2d8+5 piercing plus GrabMelee Single ActionSingle Action claw +14 [+10/+6] (agile, finesse), Damage 2d6+5 slashingOccult Innate Spells DC 21, attack +13; 2nd charm (×2), invisibility (×2), sleep; Cantrips (2nd) ghost sound, mage hand, telekinetic projectile; Constant (2nd) undetectable alignment
Change Shape Single ActionSingle Action (concentrate, polymorph, primal, transmutation) The kushtaka takes on the specific appearance of a unique Small or Medium humanoid. Every time the kushtaka uses this ability, it takes on the same chosen form, though it can use non-magical disguises to further alter its appearance. This doesn't change the kushtaka's Speed or its attack and damage bonuses with its Strikes, though it does change the damage to an appropriate type, typically bludgeoning.

Sidebar - Additional Lore The Shaman's Test

Some Varki villages in the far north acknowledge an aspiring shaman only after the acolyte has returned a tribe member transformed into a kushtaka back to their original form. This requires capturing the kushtaka in a net barbed with sharpened dog bones and then forcing the two halves of the soul back together.