Today’s Exotic Encounter is a different take on a classic (if somewhat complex) monster: the chimera. Though the marsh chimera is very different from the standard chimera in a number of ways, it still captures the spirit of that dreaded three-headed beast. Enjoy.
This creature resembles a giant snake, with two additional heads: one which resembles that of an enormous fly, and another with the long toothy grin of a crocodile. The creature rears up before you and waves its tail menacingly, showing off the three-foot razor-sharp protrusion of bone at the end.
CHIMERA, MARSH CR 9
CE Large magical beast
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +13
AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 21 (+1 Dex, +1 dodge, +12 natural, -1 size)
hp 126 (12d10+60)
Fort +12, Ref +9, Will +7
Speed 30 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee bite +15 (2d6+4), bite +15 (1d8+4 plus poison), tongue +15 touch (3d6 acid), tail slap +12 (2d8+6 plus rattling blow)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks ambush, breath weapon (30-ft. cone, 8d6 acid damage, Reflex DC 20 half, usable every 1d4 rounds)
Str 19, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 4, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +12; CMB +17; CMD 28 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness
Skills Perception +13, Stealth +8 (+12 in swamps and marshes), Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception, +4 Stealth in swamps and marshes)
Environment temperate swamps
Organization solitary, pair, clutch (3-6), or nest (7-12)
Ambush (Ex): A marsh chimera is an ambush predator, and is particularly effective in acting quickly and decisively to end a conflict. A marsh chimera can take a full round’s worth of actions during a surprise round, and gains a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls made on the first round of combat (whether that is a surprise round or not).
Poison (Su): Bite—injury; save Fort DC 20; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Dexterity damage; cure 1 save. A creature whose Dexterity is reduced to 0 by this poison is physically transformed into a venomous snake, as though by the spell baleful polymorph.
Rattling Blow (Su): The base of a marsh chimera’s tail blade is ringed with a rattle, similar to that of a rattlesnake, which makes an unnerving noise whenever the marsh chimera successfully hits a creature with its tail slap attack. A creature hit by the marsh chimera’s tail slap attack must succeed on a Will save (DC 17) or be shaken for 1d4 rounds. The saving throw DC is Dexterity-based.
Marsh chimeras are not actually believed to be related to the more well-known type of chimera, but instead get their name from their superficial similarity to such creatures. Whereas the “average” chimera takes the form of a lion with the heads of a dragon and a goat, the marsh chimera resembles a giant serpent with the heads of a fly and a crocodile. Beyond their multiple heads, however, the two species do not have terribly much in common.
The exact origins of marsh chimeras are unclear, and, much like other chimeras, there is rampant speculation on the subject, most of which involves experiments by mad wizards, the dark imaginations of evil fey, or the whims of some strange god.
A marsh chimera’s heads act independently of one another, and occasionally squabble with and bite at one another. While the central snake head is generally the dominant one, this can vary from one marsh chimera to another.