Eldritch Excursion – A Lust for Life

Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog where I explore the intersections of flavor and mechanics. This week, I’m interrupting my promise for more Exsanguinator content because I had a really fun idea for a monster design and I wanted to do something with it. Enjoy!

It was a simple job, at least by the standards of our work. A cult of hedonist necromancers had taken root in the crypts of some noble family’s estate, turned the family into undead servants, and set up shop to do Gods-know-what the citizens of the nearby town.

What makes it easy? Well, our team of ‘independent investigators’ weren’t the first ones to check it out. The mayor was a good friend to that family, and sent a generous squad of the town guard to deal with the problem. And not just green-swords. They had veterans. Even had a cleric with them. I forget which god. One of the shiny ones. Not one that’s a fan of the undead, that much was certain.

The squad armed up, set out, and never came back. Next day, the mayor got a hold of my people and paid what I can only assume to be a fat sack of gold to get same-day adventuring. That’s where we come in. A swordsman, an apprentice thief, an alchemist, and me. I’m not the best in a fight, but I’ve got a nose for haunts and it’s saved us more than once.

The scene outside was an absolute mess. The alchemist looked at the field of entangled bodies with the grimace of a mildly offended art critic and said that the sides were evenly matched. Both sides fought like the next sunrise hinged on this victory. They all complained about the smell. Strangely enough, the air smelled faintly like fresh sweat and lavender.

We got deeper, and the fighting looked desperate. Improvised weapons. Long trails of blood from the ones who tried to fight through mortal wounds. Not a moving one among them, living or unliving, which was a mixed blessing. The smell became more potent, and I could have sworn I saw lilacs blooming between the cracks in the stone. No one else did.

That was the strange part. When I feel a haunt, it’s like the flat of a cold knife dragging across my back. Or bony hands closing around the back of my throat. Like a threat, or a warning. This was more like an invitation.

We got to the central chamber. I could feel my bare feet stepping on soft silk, even though my reenforced leather boots. There was the captain of the guard, or what was left of him, and a trio of demolished zombies that looked like they were all stitched together at one point. But at the profane alter, there were two priestesses. One with a skeletal left arm that was covered in dim runes, and one with an ornate bone scythe clutched in a death grip. Both were face down.

The alchemist said something about the two killing eachother, but I was far too distracted by what I saw. It was vaguely feminine, with a body wrapped tight in something between a straight jacket and a noblewoman’s dress. Except it was layered, like the petals to a flower bud, covering her entire body. Except for one part of the face, where one petal peeled back to show a single eye. Her left eye, but it was in the center of her head, and it was as big both my fists put together. And she had these long, blackened arms, like dark roots. They ended with ling fingers with bulbous tips, like they were made to feel every detail about everything they touched.

And it spoke to me. Well, it sang at me. No words, but just raw intent. Gratitude. I was the first person to hear its song. Something about how my brain was off kilter from most. She told me that dying was a new sensation, but she was done with it, and she wanted to feel something else now.

I remember picking up the scythe. When I did, she sang nostalgia and a bit of regret at me. I held the weapon tight, and she sang excitement. I knew, at that moment, that a pact had been made.

– Field report from Elward Valkin, Pathfinder and apprentice spiritualist

Unshackled from the conscious mind, desire begins to take surreal shapes.

Lust Phantom Eidolon
[Eidolon] [Ethereal] [Phantom]
Your eidolon is a lost soul, entwined with the mortal world by unfulfilled desires. Most phantom eidolons are humanoids with a spectral or ectoplasmic appearance, though some take far stranger forms. Your link with your eidolon prevents it from succumbing to corruption and undeath. Together, you enjoy the pleasures of life as a surrogate while your eidolon weaves the desires of others to protect you.
Tradition Occult
Home Plane Ethereal Plane

Size Medium or Small
Suggested Attacks fist (bludgeoning), tendril (bludgeoning), unarmed attacks shaped like a weapon
Indulgent Celebrant Str 12, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 16; +1 AC (+4 Dex cap)
Inured Hedonist Str 16, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12; +2 AC (+3 Dex cap)
Skills Diplomacy, Occultism
Senses darkvision
Languages one common language the eidolon spoke in mortal life
Speed 25 feet

Eidolon Abilities Initial alluring presence; Symbiosis mine alone; Transcendence ecstasy aura

Alluring Presence
Your eidolon can tap into the desires of foes in the heat of battle, redirecting in their violent impulses. It gains the Alluring Target reaction.

Alluring Presence [reaction]
[Eidolon] [Emotion] [Enchantment] [Mental] [Occult]
Trigger An enemy attempts to Strike ally or targets an ally with a spell that has the Attack trait, and both are within 15 feet of your eidolon.
The target’s desires are drawn towards the eidolon. The target takes a –1 status penalty to attack rolls, damage rolls, and skill checks against creatures other than your eidolon. This lasts for one round or until the target takes a hostile action towards the eidolon, whichever comes first.
The target may immediately redirect their triggering action towards the eidolon. If they are not within range, they may also move up to 10 feet towards the eidolon as part of that same action. This counts as forced movement and does not trigger reactions that are triggered by movement.

Mine Alone
Your eidolon knows what it wants and refuses to let go of what it has. Once per day, it may use the Request action against an ally to counteract the controlled condition for up to one minute. It may use this action against their own summoner, even if their controlled summoner would now allow it.

Ecstasy Aura
Your eidolon gains an aura that unshackles the inhibitions of those around it, bombarding their senses with overwhelming stimuli. It gains a 20-foot ecstasy aura, which has the aura, emotion, enchantment, mental, and occult traits. Any enemy that enters the aura must succeed at a Will save against your Spell DC. On a failure, they become dazzled and are affected by the eidolon’s Alluring Presence as long as they remain in the aura. On a critical failure, they become fascinated by the eidolon. The overwhelming sensations do not prevent pain, but change how creatures may react to it; This fascination is not ended by hostile actions, but does allow the victim to roll a new Will save. Any creature that rolls a success becomes immune to your eidolon’s Ecstasy Aura for 1 minute.

Another article, another excuse to make more summoner content! Plus, it’s been a little too long since I’ve dropped some good old-fashioned monster material. Feel free to make use of this to explore your own version of chasing desires. It doesn’t have to be the sort of thing that requires content warnings and signal flags, either. Consider all the forms of indulgence that can drive your phantom: exquisite sweets, exotic music, and even the excess of violent combat can all be suitable fixations.

Come back next time and I’ll see if I can’t wrangle up some vampire content this time.

Nate Wright

Hey there. I'm Nate Wright, author of the Eldritch Excursion blog. I'm also a credited freelance author on several releases from Paizo. When I'm not scooping up my thoughts and slapping them onto your feed like so much delicious ice cream, I can be found on social media where I retweet pixel art and talk about how great summoners are.