Fleshwarping is the term given the the process of violently transforming an entire body into a completely new one. It refers to two different practices: true fleshwarping wherein the entire body is violently transformed into another form and fleshcrafting wherein the body is transformed by mutation and/or replacing body parts with the features of vermin.1
Creatures created using this process as commonly known as "fleshwarps."
Most fleshwarping subjects come from drow stock. While the drow often capture members of other races and choose fleshwarping as a means of eliminating the threat they pose without actually killing them, they find far more candidates for these alterations among their own kind. A drow who instigates a rebellion against an established matron is sure to become a drider. Other candidates include any drow who are born with birth defects or mental deficiencies, caught after committing a vicious crime against another drow who is politically in favor at the time, or who simply find themselves on the outskirts of drow society and run afoul of the wrong house.2
Victims of the twisted drow art of fleshwarping are known as fleshwarps. The best known fleshwarps are the arachnid-bodied driders but there are numerous other forms of these abominations as well. What creature a victim becomes in the process of fleshwarping is determined by their race, and members of the same race always warp into the same monstrosities.3
While the average drow is too vain to submit to permanent body modification, their inclusion of Haagenti in their pantheon means that some are willing, under the right circumstances, to make a few adjustments. The claw of a scorpion, the fangs of a spider, the chitinous shell of a centipede—all come in useful, from time to time. For most drow, temporary physical alterations via a fleshcrafting poison provide enough of an advantage for most short-term goals. More permanent alterations involve the terror of fleshwarping and offer larger benefits, but come with numerous drawbacks. All permanent alterations run the risk that the procedure will result in death.5
"Fleshwarper" is a term that refers to the alchemist-butchers and Haagenti worshipers who perform fleshwarping rituals. Haagenti's fascination with magical concoctions and unnatural experimentation upon living creatures is legendary, and he imparted his knowledge to the drow so they can both aid in his research and reap the benefits of his work. Fleshwarpers have very little regard for life outside of their twisted curiosity and perverse need to experiment.
Fleshwarping laboratories are filled with all manner of surgical devices, some of which bear more resemblance to torture implements. Scalpels, forceps, spreaders, and other, more specialized equipment can be found throughout a typical laboratory. All are meticulously sterilized before slicing, poking, or otherwise exploring the skin of a subject—though they care little for their patients, they'd hardly want infection to set in after they were done and destroy their work.
Fleshwarpers are craftsmen at heart. They see themselves as drow who specialize in taking inferior individuals and modifying them until they become useful again. In cases where the modified creatures fulfill no purpose when they are done, such as the gomnits, they view these transformations as holy artwork devoted to Haagenti—or, for the more pragmatic fleshwarpers, simply the disposal of an enemy in a way that brings amusement to all.
In Zirnakaynin, the Haagenti-worshiping drow of House Parastric perform the majority of the city's fleshwarping and fleshcrafting. While members of their own house often take on fleshwarped augmentations, they also offer these services to all with the wealth to pay. As such, an untold number of slaves, soldiers, and horrific guardians throughout the city bear the shocking results of House Parastric's perverse alterations.6
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- J.D. Wiker & Darrin Drader. (2008). Abominations of the Drow. Endless Night, p. 58. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-129-9
- J.D. Wiker & Darrin Drader. (2008). Abominations of the Drow. Endless Night, p. 59. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-129-9
- F. Wesley Schneider. (October 24, 2008). Could It Be Worse?, Paizo Blog.
- F. Wesley Schneider. (2008). Endless Night. Endless Night, p. 60–61. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-129-9
- F. Wesley Schneider. (2008). Endless Night. Endless Night, p. 61–62. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-129-9
- F. Wesley Schneider. (2008). Endless Night. Endless Night, p. 59–60. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-129-9