Sahkils are former psychopomps who rebel against their role as soul shepherds for the River of Souls. Their knowledge of multiversal entropy drives them away from their service to reform themselves into dominating horrors of the Ethereal Plane.
Sahkils most often take on forms of mortal fears and are designed to induce the fear that they embody. There are many types of sahkil, some more powerful than others, and the greater sahkils' forms take increasingly incomprehensible shapes.
While each species of sahkil has its own abilities, all sahkils revel in extending their influence into dark corners of the Material Plane, where they inspire fear and superstition. When they cross into the Material Plane to feed, they frighten the will from their prey, consume them, and destroy their soul or—in their strongest rebuke of their former roles—twist their prey's souls into undead creations.
Sahkils have no other needs to distract them from their pursuit of fear. Instead of quick bursts of panic, sahkils prefer to slowly build their victim's terror over time, which makes it sweeter for them. Since sahkils mask their true forms to keep victims at bay (at first), breaking free of one is difficult, requiring an acceptance and awareness of fear that few possess. If they can elicit but screams of terror, sahkils shred their victims' souls or arrange for their return as undead. Once a victim dies, the sahkil loses interest, as the dead can no longer feel fear.
Due to their preference for long hunts, sahkils often seek out young victims, who are also easier to manipulate due to their myriad fears which age with them. Sahkils often trade victims with each other, knowing that a sahkil with the right speciality can elicit the maximum amount of misery. Sahkils who own large collections of victims, or have proven their capacity to break those that others of their kind cannot, command great authority.
Each species of sahkil has its own powers. These species include:
A handful of sahkil species, such as esipils, submit to being summoned by spellcasters.
The most powerful sahkils lead their kin as sahkil tormentors: secretive demigods with nightmare realms.
Xibalba serves as the domain of the sahkils on the Ethereal Plane, though in practice, few consider it a true home, often being absent from it for many lifetimes. Instead, they hide in the mists of the Ethereal Plane, from which they slip easily to the Material Plane; the most powerful sahkils can ride their victims' nightmares from the Ethereal to their physical location on the Material. On other planes, sahkils are rare, except in the largest cities.
The first sahkils were psychopomps frustrated with their endless duties and began to see a horrid beauty in the slow degradation of mortality. In a great rebellion, they broke from their roles, deciding that they would no longer serve souls thanklessly, but instead would force souls to cower in fear. In doing so, these psychopomps warped into something entirely new: sahkils. At the same time, their ranks were established: the weakest ones obtained dominion over basic fears, more powerful ones chose esoteric ones, while those who engineered the rebellion became sahkil tormentors, the demigods who rule over the sahkils, who do not concern themselves with individual fears but craft terror on large scales. Fleeing the Boneyard, they raised their realm of Xibalba in the mists of the Ethereal Plane, where they could have easy access to the Material Plane.
Sahkils generally do not get long with each other, but are also rarely in direct competition. Infighting is rare, and usually limited to sahkils of the same type, and even then, most of the time the weaker sahkil prefers to depart to hunt elsewhere. Most disputes are claims that a sahkil's scheme was ruined or co-opted by another of equal standing (if the power dissonance is too large, the greater sahkil simply eliminates its lesser rival). In a mockery of the psychopomps' courts, Xibalba has a byzantine bureaucracy designed to settle these disputes. Unfortunate mortals are sometimes kidnapped to serve as exhibits or witnesses, in a soul-shattering experience.
Sahkils relish being summoned to the Material Plane, and are usually capable of escaping most magical binding, but might nonetheless speak to their summoners to learn about their fears and concerns.
Their perversion of psychopomp duties and disruption of the metaphysical order make them enemies of almost all other extraplanar creatures. Manasaputras in particular will escort valuable souls or stage daring raids against sahkils to liberate captured souls. Unsurprisingly, their former psychopomp kin are sahkils' sworn enemies, since sahkils are effective in disrupting the flow of souls. Psychopomp strike teams often raid sahkil holdings and free victims, and have even attacked Xibalba a few times.
Likewise, sahkils find that divs and daemons—all of whom also spread fear and destroy mortal souls—are willing to work with them, and velstracs respect their work as abstract manifestations of terror. The demigoddess Mahathallah holds a special kinship with sahkils for sharing their knowledge of the end of all things, and for her living among them for eons. She also hosts scholarly sahkils in her temple of Adyton.
- See also: Category:Sahkil/Inhabitants
Few sahkils are known by name to mortals, though the more powerful among them are known to other divine entities across the Great Beyond.
- Belitod Goremouth, who holds a grudge against Mahathallah.
- Agra the Ridwife, who claims Mahathallah as her mother.
For additional resources, see the Meta page.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Dennis Baker et al. (2015). Bestiary 5, p. 212. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-792-5
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 John S. Roberts. (2020). "Ecology of the Sahkils". Ruins of the Radiant Siege, p. 61. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-294-5
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 John S. Roberts. (2020). "Ecology of the Sahkils". Ruins of the Radiant Siege, p. 62. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-294-5
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Dennis Baker et al. (2015). Bestiary 5, p. 213. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-792-5
- ↑ Robert Brookes et al. (2017). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6, p. 243. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-931-8
- ↑ Dennis Baker et al. (2015). Bestiary 5, p. 214. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-792-5
- ↑ Benjamin U. Fields, Kim Frandsen, Jim Groves, Amber Stewart, and Diego Valdez. (2020). "Adventure Toolbox". Ruins of the Radiant Siege, p. 85–86. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-294-5
- ↑ John Compton, Adam Daigle, Amanda Hamon Kunz, et al. (2017). Book of the Damned, p. 253. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-970-7
- ↑ Dennis Baker et al. (2015). Bestiary 5, p. 216. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-792-5
- ↑ Benjamin U. Fields, Kim Frandsen, Jim Groves, Amber Stewart, and Diego Valdez. (2020). "Adventure Toolbox". Ruins of the Radiant Siege, p. 84–85. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-294-5
- ↑ Dennis Baker et al. (2015). Bestiary 5, p. 217. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-792-5
- ↑ Dennis Baker et al. (2015). Bestiary 5, p. 218. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-792-5
- ↑ Robert Brookes et al. (2017). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6, p. 244. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-931-8
- ↑ Robert Brookes et al. (2017). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6, p. 246. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-931-8
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 John S. Roberts. (2020). "Ecology of the Sahkils". Ruins of the Radiant Siege, p. 63. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-294-5
- ↑ F. Wesley Schneider. (2015). Mahathallah, Dowager of Illusions. Dance of the Damned, p. 71. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-788-8
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 F. Wesley Schneider. (2015). Mahathallah, Dowager of Illusions. Dance of the Damned, p. 74. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-788-8
- ↑ F. Wesley Schneider. (2015). Mahathallah, Dowager of Illusions. Dance of the Damned, p. 73. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-788-8