Monstrous Physique — Chocobo

When talking about RPGs, a lot of people jump to video games. From basic RPGs to strategy RPGs and everything in between, video games have probably covered it. If you asked someone what the seminal video game RPG was, most would probably answer Final Fantasy. The series has plenty of influence from Dungeons and Dragons and was probably many gamers’ first taste into the world of fantasy roleplaying. Just as D&D has taken many forms throughout the years, including influencing the creation of our beloved Pathfinder, so too has Final Fantasy having reached 15 main series title and countless spin offs. One staple of the series even with all of the changes is the chocobo. Many would consider these birds one of the, if not the mascot of the series. As I love these birds as much as any other Final Fantasy fan, I though it was high time they made their way in to Pathfinder.

This large bird is covered in bright, yellow feathers. It sports a long neck and tall, slender legs.
Chocobo                           CR 5
XP 1,600
N Large magical beast
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent, treasure scent; Perception +11
DEFENSE
AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 51 (6d10+18)
Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +4
OFFENSE
Speed 60 ft.
Melee bite +8 (2d6+2), 2 talons +8 (1d6+2)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks chocobo stampede
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 19, Con 17, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 10
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 22
Feats Iron Will, Run, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +12, Perception +11, Survival +1 (+9 to follow tracks); Racial Modifiers +8 Acrobatics, +8 Survival to follow tracks
Languages Common (cannot speak)
SQ celerity, encounter avoidance, quick digger
ECOLOGY
Environment any forest
Organization solitary, pair, or flock (3–15)
Treasure none
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Celerity (Ex) A chocobo ignores the effects of mundane difficult terrain but is affected normally by difficult terrain created by magical sources.
Chocobo Stampede (Ex) Once per day, a chocobo can call more of its kind for assistance as a full-round action. At the beginning of its next turn, the chocobo designates a 20 foot radius area within 60 feet. A throng of chocobo rush through this area, trampling all creatures in their path. All creatures in the area take 6d6 bludgeoning damage and are knocked prone. A successful DC 16 Reflex save halves this damage and negates the prone effect. These extra chocobos vanish after the attack. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Encounter Avoidance (Ex) A chocobo has an uncanny knack for avoiding danger. When rolling to determine the chance of a random encounter for characters on or near chocobos, the GM rolls twice and chooses the more favorable option for PCs (typically no encounter).
Quick Digger (Ex) A chocobo can dig up items from the ground with extraordinary speed and skill. A chocobo digs through 150-foot square patches of earth as move earth. When using this ability, the chocobo immediately digs up any valuables it locates with its treasure scent. The area dug up in this way shows no sign of digging afterward.
Treasure Scent (Ex) A chocobo can locate treasure and hoards with its scent ability, even through earth, stone, and other barriers. A chocobo can smell treasure of at least 10 gp in value normally. Treasure at least 1,000 gp in value is always treated as upwind for a chocobo.

Chocobos are large, flightless birds that make up for their lack of flight with an incredible land speed. The birds’ long, sturdy legs allow them move quicker than a horse. Their legs’ tough exterior allows a chocobo to move through brambles, gravel, and other rough terrain without bother. Many riders, especially nobility, regularly seek chocobos out due to these desireable traits. The bold and independent natures of chocobos usually means they are difficult to train and only the most persistent and skilled trainers are able to tame these beasts. Chocobos live in forests, usually in large groups, and feed on plants. Thanks to their great ability to traverse terrain, however, chocobos are found all over with especially audacious chocobo ending up in remote locations. Although they are no more endearing than other large birds, their more docile appearance once trained causes many to see them as delightful as cats, dogs, or other small animals. This leads to the development of many adorable renditions of chocobos, including cute chocobo dungeoneers.

Yellow chocobo are the most common breed of chocobo, but alternative colors of chocobo exist, each with their own unique abilities.
Black Chocobo (+0 CR): A black chocobo has a greater wingspan and is capable of flight. Its Dexterity increases by +2 and it gains a fly speed of 60 feet (perfect)
Blue Chocobo (+0 CR): A blue chocobo’s down allows it to traverse water. Its natural armor bonus increases by +2 and it gains a swim speed of 60 feet.
Gold Chocobo (+2 CR): A gold chocobo is the pinnacle of the species, specially bred as the finest and most powerful breed of chocobo. It gains the advanced simple template, DR 5/—, resist acid 5, resist cold 5, resist electricity 5, spell resistance equal to 11 + CR, a fly speed of 80 feet (perfect), a swim speed of 60 feet, and increases the damage dice of its natural attacks by one step.
Red Chocobo (+0 CR): A red chocobo are exceptionally muscular and physically powerful. Its Strength increase by +2 and the damage for its natural attacks increase by one step.

In Your Game

Catching a Ride
An upcoming journey requires travel through treacherous terrain. The best means for making the journey is riding on chocobos. The beasts are especially elusive, however, requiring the PCs to trek into a nearby forest and attempt to locate and tame the creatures.

The Injured Rider
A chocobo trots into town with a rider on its back. The rider turns out to be a member of royalty, injured while out on a stroll. The PCs must help heal the royal rider and convince the chocobo that they mean no harm to its master.

Treasure Hunt
The PCs join in on a chocobo treasure hunt. They are each given a chocobo and access to a small island. Various small treasures and knick knacks are buried throughout the island. The PCs are competing against various other teams. The team to collect the most treasures after one hour is declared the winner!

Monstrous Origins

As mentioned above, the chocobo originates from the Final Fantasy series of games. In the game, the chocobo is usually used as a mount in the overworld, allowing the player to traverse the map quickly and safely. Most of the time, a chocobo can traverse any piece of land in the game, allowing players to reach previously inaccessible areas of the map. This was the inspiration for the celerity ability. Eventually, the series started introducing different colors of chocobo, each with their own unique abilities, including flight, so of course I had to offer these alternate color abilities. Some of the games even allow you to summon chocobos to aid in battle which is the reason that this chocobo can call on its friends to fight in battle. Just like in the game, the chocobos appear and disappear seemingly out of nowhere. Finally, in the ninth game, which I consider to be the best in the series, the chocobos are used for the Hot and Cold minigame. This minigame has players riding chocobos in a treasure hunt where they dig up loot with the help of the chocobo. With so many different takes on chocobos over the years, it’s hard to pin down the exact abilities that the quintessential bird should have, but I feel like this does a good job. Kweh!

That’s it for this week! Please let me know if you are interested in seeing more video game icons here. If chocobos trot in to your campaign, or you have any request for a future Monstrous Physique, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com.

Oh, one last thing, just because it’s stuck in my head, it’s only fair that it gets stuck in yours, here’s the Chocobo Theme! Doo do do do doo do doo do do doo…

Luis Loza

Luis Loza is a freelance writer from Lincoln, Nebraska. He has written for Paizo Inc, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and more third-party publishers. His hobbies include gaming both tabletop and video, making jokes, obsessing over time travel, taking naps with Hugo the cat, and walks with Heather the wife. He is eternally plagued with a hunger for tacos.

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