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Palace Skelm

Skelms crave power, and the palace skelms who stalk the halls where such power concentrates are among the most dangerous of their kind. They assume titles that allow them maximum freedom to punish or hurt others with minimal oversight: any vindictive guard captain, tyrannical viceroy, or needlessly cruel magistrate could be or become a palace skelm. They delight in the wealth and status of their positions, garbing themselves in ornate finery that reflects their station.

Palace skelms ingratiate themselves with powerful individuals and gather followers by stoking fears of losing long-held or hard-earned power—especially power gained through illicit means. They undermine their enemies by encouraging competition, jealousy, and outright paranoia by way of magic and false messages. These skelms possess an unnatural ability to twist spoken words and worm their manipulative magic into others' speech, sowing confusion and hatred that might explode into violence.

A political upheaval is a palace skelm's greatest fear and opportunity alike, upsetting the balance of power he has built but providing countless new opportunities to sow hatred and evil. This conflicting goal leads palace skelms to self-sabotage and undermine their own efforts more than any other skelm.

Recall Knowledge - Humanoid (Society): DC 24

Elite | Normal | Weak

Palace SkelmCreature 8

LEMediumHumanoidSkelm
Source Bestiary 3 pg. 240
Perception +15; scent (imprecise) 30 feet
Languages Aklo, Common; tongues
Skills Athletics +18, Deception +21, Diplomacy +17, Intimidation +17, Occultism +16, Society +16, Stealth +16, Thievery +16
Str +6, Dex +4, Con +3, Int +4, Wis +3, Cha +5
Items
AC 27; Fort +17, Ref +16, Will +15; –2 to all saves vs. emotion effects
HP 155; Weaknesses cold iron 10
Corrupt Speech ReactionReaction (auditory, illusion, linguistic, occult) Trigger The skelm hears a creature speak within 30 feet; Effect The skelm sows paranoia by putting treacherous words on another's lips. The skelm whispers up to 12 words and attempts a Deception check against the Perception DC of a creature other than the triggering creature within 30 feet.
Critical Success The target hears the skelm's words as if they were spoken by the triggering creature. This can alter linguistic effects. The skelm also casts paranoia or suggestion on the target, if he likes.
Success As critical success, except the skelm can't cast paranoia or suggestion.
Failure The target doesn't hear the skelm's words, and they have no effect.
Critical Failure The target hears the skelm speak the words.
Speed 25 feet
Melee Single ActionSingle Action fist +20 [+16/+12] (agile, magical), Damage 2d8+9 bludgeoning plus GrabMelee Single ActionSingle Action antler +20 [+15/+10] (magical), Damage 2d12+9 piercing plus KnockdownOccult Innate Spells DC 26; 4th clairaudience, enthrall, outcast's curse, paranoia (at will), private sanctum, suggestion; 2nd invisibility (×3); Cantrips (5th) daze, message; Constant (5th) tongues
Rituals DC 26; 2nd inveigle
Change Shape Single ActionSingle Action (concentrate, occult, polymorph, transmutation) The palace skelm can take on the appearance of any Medium male humanoid. This doesn't change his Speed or his attack and damage bonuses with his Strikes but might change the damage type his Strikes deal.Incite Violence Two ActionsTwo Actions (emotion, enchantment, occult, mental) Frequency once per day; Effect The skelm gives an impassioned speech calling for his followers to act upon their convictions. Each creature within 30 feet must attempt a DC 24 Will save.
Critical Success The creature can immediately Strike an adjacent creature of its choosing.
Success The creature is unaffected.
Failure The creature immediately Strikes an adjacent creature; if multiple creatures are adjacent, the skelm chooses the target. If no creatures are adjacent, the creature is flat-footed and fascinated with the skelm until the start of its next turn.

All Monsters in "Skelm"

NameLevel
Palace Skelm8
Shrine Skelm5
Soul Skelm10
Street Skelm3

Skelm

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 238
Rage-filled skelms are drawn to any settlement with more than a few hundred souls. Using magical disguises and leveraging societal norms to their benefit, these antlered monsters crave fearful respect and brutally punish any who dare disagree with their lofty opinions, even in the slightest degree. Although quite dangerous on their own, skelms are at their deadliest when leading an angry mob. Their cruel and exploitative nature has made their name synonymous with villainy.

An existing skelm can transform any evil humanoid who's overwhelmed with rage into one of their kind. Skelms heap enraging humiliation on potential new brothers as a form of indoctrination, convincing these recruits that some other person or group is responsible for their misery. This practice ensures skelms begin their new existence with sufficient vitriol to plot their revenge.

Many newly forged skelms carry on their lives in the roles they held as mortals; and in fact, these roles often shape the type of skelm they become. Skelms can arise among members of nearly any ancestry, though they're more common among cultures with deeply entrenched gender roles, unjust hierarchies, and those that don't offer healthy ways to experience and process anger.

Sidebar - Related Creatures Mockeries of Masculinity

Skelm women don't appear to exist. The few researchers who have tracked skelm mating behavior have found skelms' offspring are undifferentiated members of the mother's ancestry. The fact that skelms are cruelly manipulative shapeshifters, but all male, has led to the theory that skelms are the mystical male counterpart to hags.

Sidebar - Additional Lore Skelm Antlers

All skelms have branching antlers resembling those of a stag. Skelms with smaller antlers shame and bully skelms with larger antlers, although they always use some other excuse. However, skelms pretend they don't have antlers at all when dealing with non-skelms, regardless of evidence or argument. Skelms will even gore enemies with their antlers in combat, even if afterwards they deny the action they obviously just took.

Sidebar - Additional Lore Skelm Origins

The transformation from man to skelm takes place over a remarkably short period of time—sometimes as little as a few hours—as the physical changes involved are relatively minor compared to the emotional devotion required.

Sidebar - Additional Lore Skelm Society

Alliances between skelms rarely last long, as it's only a matter of time before one wounds another's incredibly fragile ego, breaking the alliance. Many form hierarchical clubs with mortal members to delay such conflict while also identifying prospective new skelms.