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Baiste-Na-Scoghaigh: The Bestial Unicorn

Baiste-Na-Scoghaigh: The Bestial Unicorn

The creature galloped across the outcrops and lurched before us. It was a great beast akin to some sort of huge ram or shire horse with a single great horn erupting from its head. It stood for a moment, as though considering its next move, and then, with a snort, it lowered its head and charged.

Most unicorns are dull; this one is anything but, and it comes with full statistics and a killer adventure hook. Beware the wild deceptions of the Baiste-Na-Scoghaigh!

Baiste-Na-Scoghaigh CR 6

Large magical beast
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +10, Spot +10

Defense
AC
18, touch 12, flat-footed 15
(+3 Dex, +6 natural, -1 size)
hp 47 (5d10+20)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +3

Offense
Spd 50 ft.
Melee horn +12 (2d6+12)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th)
At will—charm person (DC 14)
1/day—greater teleport (only within home)

Tactics
Before Combat
Unless seeking to sire, a baiste uses Move Silently to approach any intruders to its lair.
During Combat The baiste is a fearsome opponent, and it charges into combat whenever possible.
Morale Fiercely territorial, the baiste teleports away from combat only when mortally injured (less than 5 hp), and it returns to the fray to deal with the intruders as soon as it heals.

Statistics
Str
26, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 17
Base Atk +5; Grp +17
Feats Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack
Skills Listen +10, Move Silently +11, Spot +10, Survival +6; Racial +4 Move Silently
Languages Common, Sylvan
SQ scent

Ecology
Environment
any temperate
Organization solitary
Treasure none
Advancement by character class

Special Abilities
Deceitful Appearance
(Su) The baiste can assume the appearance of a unicorn at will. Additionally, the baiste can assume the form of any Medium or Large humanoid whose heart it has eaten. In humanoid form, the baiste loses its horn attack. A baiste can remain in humanoid form until it chooses to assume a new one. A change in form cannot be dispelled, but a baiste reverts to its natural form when killed. A true seeing spell reveals its natural form.
Wild Empathy (Ex) Like its gentler cousin, the baiste is able to use this druid class feature; the baiste, however, has a +6 racial bonus on the check.

Only male baistes exist, relying on human mothers to bear their progeny. The creature often uses its unicorn-like appearance to lull maidens into a false sense of security, pretending to be a unicorn and initially behaving in a gentle way. If it succeeds in its initial approach, the creature tries a charm person on the object of its desire with a view to siring a child while in human form. Fortunately, they have this impulse only during the spring months. The rest of the year they are bestial and strongly territorial creatures that cannot abide to share their lairs with any other.

Hen-Pecked Husbands
The baiste-na-scoghaigh (translation—Beastie of the Scoghaigh) is a creature fueled by lusts. It cannot tolerate weak men whom it regards as an affront to its own virility. A baiste can use its scent ability in a special way, and it can scent such men at a distance of up to 60 ft. It seeks to ambush said husband, kill him, and take his place, aiming to sire a much more (in its eyes) worthy male son.

Children sired by baistes are always male, which is why they rely on human mothers. One in 100 of these children becomes a true baiste; the remainder become mongrelmen. However, by the time the child appears, the baiste is always long gone. The birthing of a true baiste always kills the mother and few baiste children survive the wrath or horror of the days and months following their birth.

Adventures with the Baiste
The baiste-na-scoghaigh makes a good one-off creature that the PCs could encounter between adventures. A sample adventure synopsis is listed below.

The Travelling Man Whose Eyebrows Meet
Reverend McUlyam is a troubled man. His church and his faith offer him little solace.
It is spring, and the heady air is bringing forth more fruit than the reverend is comfortable with. Three unmarried maids have fallen pregnant in the last few weeks, and to make matters worse, not only has this outrage been committed by the girls in this fiercely gods-fearing community, but each girl claims to have no knowledge of the event. A traveling man whose eyebrows meet is the number one culprit and local feelings are running high.

However, the appearance of this stranger has also coincided with a flurry of attacks on Sgurr nan Eag mountain, and the local laird has recently lost several stags and his best gamekeeper—Alistair Tween.

A baiste is at the heart of the troubles. The Ringill King has come to the area fueled by its spring lusts, thanks to a chance encounter on the road with local crofter Donnae McHale. Scenting the crofters weak will and henpecked nature, it trailed him back to his croft, watched him for a few days, and then slew him, taking his place that night. The Ringill King has taken a liking to the great grey mountain of Sgurr nan Eag and has decided to lair here permanently. Unfortunately, it was followed while in its natural form by Alistair, who tracked the creature but met his end by a small burn at the foot of the mountain; he was gored to death just the day before yesterday.

Adventure Synopsis
Into this explosive mix walk the PCs, who immediately recognise the man whose eyebrows meet as a ranger with a good heart who has helped them in the past. The PCs must prevent the locals from burning their friend for assaulting the maidens and question locals to learn that the local crofter’s wife Elli McHale has suddenly started sporting bruises after ten years of marriage and is pregnant when no one thought Donnae had it in him. Finally, the PCs must chase the baiste down in a hunt across the mountainside in a driving storm.

To make matters worse, unless the PCs act quickly, events soon turn nasty as the local’s patience, and that of their Laird, grows thin. Perhaps the PCs themselves become objects of suspicion and locals begin to demand that they are killed for the outrage.

Other Encounters
Perhaps the PCs encounter a baiste serving a powerful druid or ranger as a companion or lover, or maybe they simply wander into the moor or forest lair of one of these territorial creatures. What would happen if a lustful baiste manages to charm a female PC?

Baiste-na-scoghaigh in Lore
Scotland has its own unicorn—the Baiste-na-scoghaigh of Skye—which was a great, lumbering one horned creature similar to the bicorne (a two-horned animal that dined on hen-pecked husbands). Its happy, well-fed appearance was because its prey was so plentiful.

The Isle of Skye is a magical place, also called the Misty Isle (an apt name for a place wreathed so often in cloud). While climbing the towering peaks of the Cuillin, or walking down the fairy glen it is all too easy to imagine some curious, musky creature wandering into view sniffing the air.

Internet searches for images of the Isle of Skye will give you a good selection of lairs for this folk beast and give you some views of this magical place.

Got your own monster to share? Let us known what you like or what you don’t in Comments.

Open Game License for Baiste-Na-Scoghaigh

3 thoughts on “Baiste-Na-Scoghaigh: The Bestial Unicorn”

  1. Great monster Richard. Anyone who delves into mythology to pull out a rarely-heard-of monster gets my votes in spades.

  2. Why thank you most kindly gentlemen:)

    Originally the baiste was going to be pitched more as an unusual herd animal – it’s odd how things develop but I’m pleased that you both like it. Having a monster that is, in essence, a cad, could be fun for an adventure. Wolfgang basically said what you did Phil – ‘as I’ve never heard of it, please get on with it’:)

    This was the last of four legendary creatures for the charming Mr Baur, but there are still some wonderful untapped tales out there so I hope he’ll let me loose on them again some time.

    Rich

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