Investing In: The Mwangi Expanse’s Bestiary

The Mwangi Expanse inspires countless legends of multi-headed terrors, ravenous beasts, and enigmatic evils. Most are misinterpretations and exaggerations fed by foreign imaginations, yet for every ill–founded myth are at least three very real threats…1

Oh did you think I was done talking about the The Mwangi Expanse? Shame on you. If you thought so then clearly you haven’t read through this book. Jump on the hype train with me and this wonderful collection of creativity from Development Leads Eleanor Ferron and Luis Loza! We’ve discussed the exciting, not exotic of the Mwangi Expanse’s culture, people, and lands. Then last time we dove into some choice pieces of lore from a few specific individuals and cities (and there is far more to discover)! But as we’ve seen this diverse expanse, these lost civilizations, these ancient ruins hold dangers for arrogant outsiders and even wary locals! Maybe there’s some hope out there for our explorers too.

The Bestiary holds a number of entries inclusive of monstrous creatures and sophisticated peoples, and while I’ve very excited for a few in particular, even this chapter is but a fraction of what you might find in the Mwangi Expanse. Above you see a number of Charau-Ka on their skull-adorned boat, a hint of what you might find in the city of Usaro. The fierce rage in the faces of these demon-worshipping warriors. There’s whispers that the priests who follow the demon lord Angazhan can even cause their slain enemies to reincarnate as new Charau-Ka. They’ll be great to use as anyone explores the jungles or near Lake Ocota. You can find stats for them at levels 1, 3, and 6. (Thank you Nethys, I mean Blake!) They’re strong and quick with a shrieking frenzy sure to scare your players. I do appreciate the sidebar (mmm lore) that there are Charau-Ka who don’t follow Angazhan and have found a haven in other settlements like Kibwe. Let’s hope we meet those altruistic individuals instead.

I don’t want to forget our big (literally gargantuan) friend at the beginning of the chapter and also the banner art of this article: the Maliadi. Our uncommon friend does look like a hippo, but they’re not. They’re ringed by flame and incredibly arrogant! They’ll let others serve it but don’t want to associate with their own. Oh it might also change shape and hide as a river before it capsizes your boat, swallows you whole, and tramples anyone who managed to get up to shore. They’re not exactly nice and they enjoy destruction. Depending on the level of your party – and how foolish they might be – this level 17 creature could make for a great chase scene or social challenge as your players convince it not to destroy them, a local village, etc. It doesn’t look like the one in the chapter art was offered enough.

Not as large and maybe not as dangerous, but far more disturbing, is the Aigamuxa. These often hungry creatures may be born of demons or giants – perhaps both – but only Lamashtu might truly know. Their eye sockets are dark hollows but they have long claws and sharp teeth once they catch their prey. That can be difficult considering their eyes are in their feet and keeping focus on a target is at best difficult, even if they’re very fast. It’s a level 8 creature that hide after digging though its feet stick out. The ambush ability it gets after hiding is humorous to me as it claws the target then the Aigamuxa gets a free stride. How creepy in the dark of the jungles to catch a brief glimpse of floating eyes before a being grabs you, dragging you off into the darkness. I promise that the players of the game I run will know this terror.

Maybe it’s all the wonderful multiverse possibilities ahead with the Marvel Cinematic Universe or maybe it was the fact they exist as only half a being, but the K’nonna are equally disturbing and also level 8 creatures. Again the sidebar calls out that it’s believe the K’nonna came from another world. Yet now in modern times where Mwangi scholars have sought out worlds and universes beyond this one they still haven’t found out where the K’nonna came from. The art in this book is wonderful and some are truly disturbing like the wicked grin of fangs drawn for this creature. They love a fine meal of humanoid and will easily pounce on you should they wish to catch you. Oh yes, that’s right, even though they appear to only be half a being – usually the left half – they walk and run like they had both legs. However, they don’t talk like they have both. Every other word is garbled, missing, lost as if half of this being truly is somewhere – or somewhen – else. It’s misty, a barely there shimmer to the air. I don’t think Loki would like this trick and highly doubt Doctor Strange would appreciate dining with the K’nonna. 

I first mentioned the Anadi with my wangi article. I love them and Grandmother Spider – or as they might say Nana Anadi. I do hope to see them in the Strength of Thousands adventure path. Okay, spoilers, we do! I actually have the first adventure Kindled Magic already and it’s incredible! Available on PDF by the time this article hits the web! We get some status at levels 2, 4 and 6: the hunter, the sage, and the elder. Considering their long tradition of shapeshifting magic and even attendance at the Magaambya, it’s not surprising to see the sage and elder have some arcane spells to supplement their fangs, talent with the short blades, or their venom, sure to make you slip up. A nice touch is their spin silk ability, allowing them to craft one garment a day of the silken cloth. I’m sure Nana Anadi appreciates this weaving. They may be shy but they are intelligent, creative, and beautiful. Spiders may bother some but these are not simple arachnids, but an ancient and exciting culture. Thankfully they despise combat, but they are more than willing to fight. I’m sure new students to the Magaambya might find some wonderful allies amongst the Anadi…

Now the Anadi as a whole are a joyous and good people, but you might not actually know you’re meeting one considering their ability to change shape. A solar ibis on the other hand? If it chooses to appear you’re going to have difficulty forgetting, let alone you might get a bit of a headache if its halo blinds you. Your adventurers might face dangerous, cannibalistic charau-ka or get picked up by an aigamuxa but there’s hope and light, a purity of power in meeting a solar ibis. At first you might not realize it is nearby, watching some sacred area or seaking good creatures to aid it. Small purple-winged birds tend to nest and fly where the ibis goes, though they don’t stick around if it appears. It’s sacred to those in the Mwangi Expanse, but you might still run afowl (ha! …sorry) of poachers seeking its feathers or simple hunters wishing to capture its alleged treasure. Unfortunately for them they may not be aware this level 7 being can blind as I noted before, rip at you with its beak and talons, or shatter its halo with an explosion of light and fire, which is particularly bad for demons or undead nearby. Seems like a solar ibis would be good to know should any of the demon-worshipping denizens of the Mwangi Expanse be threatening you.

So many reasons to invest in The Mwangi Expanse! There’s still more to discover in its Bestiary like the crocodile-humanoid fey Biloko or the Karina plague-birds! Whether you’re exploring the lush jungle environs or visiting one of the Mwangi’s many cities, you will love its diverse peoples and dangers. You can bring the various creatures and societies to your game as well. Many thanks again to the many artists, authors, developers, and editors who helped bring this book to us!

Investing In:

I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!

I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!

Sources

Banner – Bestiary chapter art, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo

  1. Bestiary chapter excerpt, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo
  2. Usaro city banner art, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo
  3. Charau-Ka, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo
  4. Maliadi, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo
  5. Aigamuxa, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo
  6. K’nonna, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo
  7. Anadi, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo
  8. Solar Ibis, The Mwangi Expanse, Paizo

Rob Pontious

Rob Pontious works in web commerce by day and is a writer for KnowDirectionPodcast.com's #InvestingIn, a player for Roll for Combat's #ThreeRingAdventure podcast, and also a player for GehennaGaming's #GehennaValley MonsterHearts2 twitch stream. He's a lover of TTRPGs for over three decades, a gamer, and a GAYMER. You can find him on social media as @silentinfinity.