This week’s Exotic Encounters is devoted to one of my favorite things in spellcasting: transmutation. The formidon is a formidable monster which was created as the ideal creature to be polymorphed into—no longer must transmuters dig through tome after tome of bestiaries to find a suitable shape to take. The formidon is kind of like the holy grail of monsters for polymorph specialists, and as such many wizards and sorcerers spend their time trying to hunt one down, only to become victims of the formidon itself, which is itself a master of polymorph magic.
The hideous amalgamation before you was clearly the result of magical experimentation, or else a cruel twist of natural evolution. Its overall form resembles that of a shark, held aloft by massive feathery wings, and it has a single crystalline structure where its eyes should be. Its mouth is filled not with rows of teeth, but with venom dripping fangs.
FORMIDON CR 10
N Large magical beast
Init +5; Senses blindsight 120 ft.; Perception +2
AC 24, touch 10, flat-footed 24 (+1 Dex, +14 natural, –1 size)
hp 123 (13d10+52)
Fort +12, Ref +9, Will +8
Resist acid 5, cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5, sonic 5
Speed 5 ft., fly 120 ft. (good), swim 60 ft.
Melee bite +18 (2d6+7 plus poison)
Special Attacks breath weapon (30-ft. cone, 5d6 force damage and stun for 1 round, Reflex DC 20 for half and negates stun, usable every 1d6 rounds), devour, poison, roar, web (+13 ranged, DC 20, 13 hp)
Str 20, Dex 13, Con 18, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 18
Base Atk +13; CMB +19; CMD 30
Feats Cleave, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Iron Will, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (bite)
Skills Fly +19
Languages Common (cannot speak)
SQ change shape (any but formidon, greater polymorph), mastery of form
Breath Weapon (Ex): A formidon can unleash a burst of stunning force as a breath weapon once every 1d6 rounds.
Change Shape (Sp): A formidon is capable of using innate magic to assume the form of any creature (except that of a formidon) that could be assumed with greater polymorph. A formidon may return to its natural shape as normal.
Devour (Ex): A formidon is capable of gobbling up any creature entangled in one of its webs. As a full round-action which provokes attacks of opportunity, a formidon can devour a single entangled creature. A creature devoured in this way immediately takes bite damage and gains the grappled condition (though the formidon does not). Each round the target creature remains devoured in this way, he automatically suffers bite damage each round, though the formidon can act normally. A formidon can only devour one creature at a time in this way and can only devour creatures of Large size or smaller.
Mastery of Form (Su): Because of its magical nature, a formidon retains some of its special attacks when it changes shape. A formidon always retains its breath weapon, roar, and web special attacks when assuming another form with its change shape ability, and if the assumed form has a poison attack, it may choose to add its poison to that attack, in addition to the poison possessed by the new form.
Poison (Ex): A formidon possesses a toxin which damages a creature's optic nerves, temporarily blinding him.
Bite—injury; save Fortitude DC 20; frequency 1/round for 2 rounds; effect blinded for 1d4 rounds; cure 1 save
Roar (Ex): A formidon can roar up to 3 times per day. Each character within 100 feet of the formidon must succeed on a Fortitude save or be deafened, and must also succeed on a Will save or become frightened for 1d4 rounds. This is a sonic effect, and the frightened effect is a mind-affecting fear effect.
While many creatures similar in nature to the formidon have obscure or hotly debated origins, the roots of the formidon are exceptionally well documented. The first formidons were created by the mad wizard Garion Ventyrus to be the ultimate subject of his polymorph magic. Through countless and tedious trials, Garion managed to combine all the traits he most prized, and which could be easily adapted by a magician with the correct spells, into one creature. The results of his labor were the formidons, which, through careful engineering, possess abilities which push the limits of his beast shape IV spell, allowing Garion to maximize his wizardly gains.
Because they were created with the intent of being the perfect objects of polymorph magic, the formidons obtained some semblance of shape-altering ability themselves, a fact which the formidons, growing increasingly intelligent with each passing generation, kept hidden from the mad wizard, but which they would often use to escape their cages, designed to hold only very large creatures, and wander the surrounding lands. Ultimately, the formidons proved Garion’s downfall when, after breeding a specimen which could itself cast spells like a wizard (and which was by necessity much smarter than previous attempts), the creature transformed itself into a house cat when Garion had turned his back, escaping its cage and then entombing his master in a web and subsequently eating him. The creature then took on the form of Garion himself and freed the other formidons, commanding them to go out into the world and to keep themselves hidden from men, lest they become imprisoned again.
Today formidons are all but unknown to the general populace, as their shape-changing abilities allow them to hide almost perfectly from mortal eyes, and their exceptional combat skills usually suffice for slaying those who do stumble upon them. Even so, many mages of all stripes dream of encountering and learning enough of the formidon to transform into one, gaining exceptional benefits which have the potential to far exceed the power of the formidon itself.