Monstrous Physique — Calaca and Catrina Psychopomps (2E)

Hey, everyone! I hope you had a nice, spooky time on Halloween! Rather than do a Halloween monster, I wanted to do a monster themed with what comes after: Día de Muertos! In particular, there are two creatures in Pathfinder that are themed around the aesthetics of Día de Muertos, the calaca and catrina psychopomps. The catrina made its first appearance in Bestiary 4 while the calaca’s premiere was in Borne By the Sun’s Grace. Each of these psychopomps serve to ease the passing of souls into the afterlife, the catrina help by easing new souls to the Great Beyond while the calaca works to ease the hearts and minds of the family members of those who passed. Considering the connection to the afterlife and their looks, the two just seemed perfect for today. I’ve done the work of porting them over to Pathfinder Second Edition, so let’s take a look at how they turned out!

Catrina                            Creature 5
N, Medium, Monitor, Psychopomp
Perception +15; darkvision, lifesense 60 feet
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal, Requian; tongues, telepathy 100 ft.
Skills Diplomacy +13, Boneyard Lore +12, Medicine +10, Occultism +12, Stealth +12
Str +2, Dex +4, Con +4, Int +3, Wis +4, Cha +5
Lifesense (divination, divine) A psychopomp senses the vital essence of living and undead creatures within the listed range.


AC 19; Fort +9, Ref +12, Will +15; +1 status to all saves vs. magic
HP 60; Immunities death effects, disease; Resistances negative 5, poison 5
Calm Emotions Aura (aura, emotion, enchantment, incapacitation, mental) 30 feet. The catrina emanates a calming aura. Creatures within the aura must save against the effects of a 2nd-level calm emotions (Will DC 22). Whether or not a creature fails its save, it becomes temporarily immune to the aura for 1 hour.


Speed 30 feet
Melee [one-action] fist+11, Damage 2d4+6 bludgeoning and Grab
Divine Innate Spells DC 22; 6th teleport (self only); 5th illusory scene4th talking corpse (at will); 2nd invisibility (at will; self only); Cantrips (6th) dancing lights
Compel Condemned [two-actions] (enchantment, incapacitation, mental) The catrina casts 6th-level dominate (Will DC 22). The catrina can only command an affected creature to approach and kiss her. This action is not considered to be self-destructive. Any damage taken by the target (other than damage the catrina deals) immediately ends this effect. Whether or not a creature fails its save, it becomes temporarily immune to Compel Condemned for 24 hours.
Kiss of Death [two-actions] (death effect) The catrina kisses a grabbed or willing creature. The creature takes 4d6 damage (DC 22 basic Fortitude save). Any creature damaged by the same catrina’s kiss for three consecutive rounds instantly dies, regardless of how many hit points it has remaining.

Catrinas welcome the dead into the afterlife, doing what they can to lessen the shock and terror experienced by mortals who haven’t accepted their own deaths or who still grieve for themselves. Eschewing the funereal themes and colors preferred by most other psychopomps, catrinas dress in festive shades, surrounding themselves with light and color to dispel a measure of death’s gloom. However, they don’t disguise their skeletal bodies, for despite any gilding they might put on the moment, they don’t seek to disguise the finality of death.

A catrina’s motivation for easing the transition from life to death has more to do with making the soul’s progression calm than compassion for the soul—after all, screaming and outrage disrupts the processing of the dead. Catrinas rarely ever visit the Material Plane, but when they do so it’s typically at the command of a more powerful psychopomp or deity of death who seeks to ease the passing of a mortal of singular importance—such as a high-ranking priest of a death goddess. In such instances they serve as companions and ushers into the realm of the dead, not executioners. However, they’re capable of serving in both capacities, especially if misguided mortals try to keep them from their duty, using their deadly but painless kisses to end a life in an instant.

Catrinas always appear as festively dressed skeletons—usually in women’s garb but sometimes in colorful men’s formal wear, and usually decorated with or carrying f lowers. They do not have true genders, but an individual catrina may have a more masculine or feminine voice and personality. They typically stand between 5 and 6 feet tall and weigh about 20 to 30 pounds.

Calaca                            Creature 9
N, Medium, Monitor, Psychopomp
Perception +18; darkvision, lifesense 60 feet
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Infernal, Requian; tongues
Skills Deception +19, Diplomacy +20, Intimidation +19, Occultism +16, Performance +21
Str +3, Dex +5, Con +4, Int +3, Wis +5, Cha +6
Lifesense (divination, divine) A psychopomp senses the vital essence of living and undead creatures within the listed range.


AC 26; Fort +15, Ref +20, Will +21
HP 145; Immunities death effects, disease; Resistances negative 10, poison 10


Speed 30 feet
Melee [one-action] guitar +19, Damage 2d6+9 bludgeoning
Melee [one-action] fist+19, Damage 2d4+5 bludgeoning
Ranged [one-action] pistol +19 (range increment 60 feet, reload 2), Damage 2d10+13 bludgeoning
Divine Innate Spells DC 25; 8th uncontrollable dance6th heroism, modify memoryteleport (self only); 2nd invisibility (at will; self only)
Occult Spontaneous Spells DC 25; Cantrips (8th) allegro, dirge of doom, inspire competence, inspire courage, inspire defense, triple time
Antique Weapon Each calaca carries a single antique weapon, typically a pistol. Only the calaca knows how to use its antique weapon properly and does not work for any creature other than the calaca.
Show Stopper [two-actions] (auditory, enchantment, incapacitation, mental, sonic) The calaca smashes its guitar, creating a deafening boom of sound. All creatures within 30 feet must attempt a DC 25 Will save.
Critical Success The creature is unaffected.
Success The creature is deafened for 1 minute and stunned 1.
Failure The creature is deafened for 10 minutes and paralyzed for 1 round.
Critical Failure The creature is deafened permanently and paralyzed for 4 rounds. At the end of each of its turns, it can attempt a new Will save to reduce the remaining duration by 1 round, or end it entirely on a critical success.
Smashing the guitar destroys it. Without the guitar, the calaca cannot use any of its occult spells. A calaca who returns to the Boneyard for 24 consecutive hours acquires a new guitar to replace the one that it has destroyed.

Calacas are unusual psychopomps in that their purview is not the dead, but the survivors who must carry on in the dead’s absence. A calaca’s purpose is to abate the sorrow of family members and loved ones of the recently departed. It accomplishes this by way of soothing wisdom and its celebration of the deceased’s life through song. Although mortals who know calacas’ true nature may think them simply magnanimous spirits, these psychopomps have a very pragmatic reason for soothing the aggrieved, which is to dissuade any with the know-how or desire from attempting to raise the dead using necromancy or other foul means.

In order to mingle with mortals without alerting them to its nature, a calaca disguises itself from head to toe in local finery, wearing gloves and colorful masks to hide its true nature. Beneath its facade, a calaca resembles a large skeleton, its bones a somber gray. A typical calaca stands around 6 feet tall and weighs only 40 pounds.

That’s it for this week! If you end up introducing these psychopomps into your game or you have any request for a future Monstrous Physique, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com.

Luis Loza

Luis Loza is a developer at Paizo, working on the Pathfinder World Guide line and formerly on Campaign Setting and Player Companion lines. He's done freelance 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 Nova the cat, and walks with heather the wife. He is eternally plagued with a hunger for tacos.

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