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104 Shining Child

Intro


Creeping through the old ruin, the refreshing smell of moss and morning dew does little to ease the building anxiety. Except not for this new druid that’s tagged along. Nothing adds an extra skip to their step quite like a fresh morning. All confidence and positivity. It’s almost sickening.


Warnings to them that these ruins never quite appear as they seem have just been met with patronizing platitudes like “Not every child of nature can navigate the wilds” or “You’ve just a keen eye for the sharp angles of a city, and not the twisting shapes of a forest” or “You care too much about what cares so little for you in return. You’ll be as defeated as these ruins, that which was a structured and specific is always overtaken power of nature.”


That last one wasn’t even applicable to the concerns you had raised with the druid. But annoys you most of all. Because it’s probably more true than you’d care to admit.


After some delicate trekking through rough terrain, keeping your footing and keeping quiet is exhausting. The druid seems to respond otherwise. Another infuriating character trait. How can someone be so unfazed by...anything?

Wait until they see….

And there it is. A massive hole in the ground where one ought not be. Right in the middle of a forest ruin.

50ft wide and deep. And above it, floating in the air, unreachable by any mundane means is your prize. A light that shines so bright you have to shade your eyes.


The druid does indeed pause in awe and you have a brief moment of satisfaction at the sight. But then they smugly smile and nod. In the blink of your watery eyes they are a bird, flying up and up toward the object. A priceless jewel some legends say holding a small piece of the Dawnflower’s divinity, trapped for untold eons. Another myth tells of its mysterious role in the fall to demigodhood for The Shining Scourge. What you hope most however is the storied claims that this is the Garnet Brand itself…the prison of the Lambent King


As the soaring bird meanders casually, you can’t help but feel more annoyance. They may be a bird now, but that cocky attitude still exudes forth. And you have to catch a laugh in your throat. A cackle really. A guffaw. As the druid slams into a wall that isn’t there, like one giant stubbed toe. They fall fluttering in a panic toward the hole below and your heart skips a beat.


And the light in the air…moves. You see what is impossibly….unmistakeably…a mane of white hair flowing within the light. It sinks casually down closer to you and your mind is filled with a discordant psychic inferno.


And blackness. No light. No mane of hair. No druid and no ruins.

Just the smell of refreshing moss and morning dew.


Introduction

Nickname #1: The Dedicated Scholar Nickname #2: The Needlessly Violent

Source: Bestiary 1, pg. 292

Reading List: Planar Adventures (Final PF1e Core Book, 2018): https://paizo.com/products/btpya1am

Fortress of the Stone Giants (RotRL Book, 2007): https://paizo.com/products/btpy80hm


Fun Fact: If you google Shining Child without ‘Pathfinder’ or ‘2e’ you get images of the kid from the movie The Shining. DERP.


Pathfinder Lore

The Astral Plane & the Great Beyond

· The Great Beyond is a term that encompasses all Planes of existence across all the Multiverse

o This is divided into the Outer and Inner Spheres

o The Outer Sphere holds the Alignment-based planes (will be curious if/how this changes in the upcoming Remaster)

§ Neutral: Axis (LN), The Boneyard (N), The Maelstrom (CN)

§ Lower Planes (Evil): Abaddon (NE), The Abyss (CE), Hell (LE)

§ Upper Planes (Good): Elysium (CG), Heaven (LG), Nirvana (NG)

o The Inner Sphere holds all other planes.

§ The Material Plane (of course).

§ Elemental Planes of Air, Water, Fire & Earth (of which we can expect more, even if it’s just demiplanes like Metal and Wood).

§ Energy Planes: Positive & Negative

§ Transitive Planes: Ethereal, Shadow, First World & Astral Plane.

· Transitive Planes connect other planes or worlds and the Astral Plane in particular actually takes up the space between the Inner and Outer Spheres, and all around the other Planes.

o It also holds the countless branches of the River of Souls that lead to the Outer Sphere.

o Most natives/inhabitants of the Astral Plane give the River of Souls a wide berth.

§ Though it is unsure if it is by their own will, the will of deities or laws of the multiverse.

§ It’s even speculated that most cannot even see the River.

o The Astral Plane (and River) are a silvery haze.

· The Inner Sphere “ends” before the Astral Plane at the outermost edge by the Plane of Fire

o That plane causes the Astral plane to boil and churn with storms and eddies (as does the Maelstrom which surrounds the planes in the Outer Sphere).

o This churning combined with the travelling souls produces simulacra of the dead AND Demiplanes.

· This is where the Shining Child comes in….


Shining Children

Creation: During the spontaneous creation of these demiplanes, sparks of living light sometimes shear off in the process.

· For unknown reasons, these pieces of pure planar energy sometimes transform into a Shining Child.

o Each one is imprinted differently by the plane that “created it”, giving them a semblance of a unique identity, but also connecting them to each other in a way.

o They are able to recognize siblings of the same demiplane via their telepathy alone with ease.

§ I don’t mind saying this was NOT well worded or explained in the 2e description. Pathfinder wiki FTW.

o Though they still confuse others with a refusal to use individual names and instead switch between referring to each other singularly or collectively.

o (They/Them pronouns? I think so!)

Physical Description: gaunt, long white hair, four-fingered hands.

· They are familiarly a humanoid form, but very otherworldly beyond that.

o To start, they are barely visible thanks to the intense light they emit.

o They have overly large eye…sockets? And wide, stretch mouths. Both of which reveal a void filled with unnatural light inside.

o This unnatural light is their nature however, and they use it to create illusions and weaponized it into brilliant fiery light.

Otherworldly Nature: Their nature is a conflicted one. They act in a way befitting someone trying to understand their role in then multiverse and why they were suddenly “birthed” at all.

· This is futile (though they may not know it) and causes them to obsess about two conflicting things: an intense dedication to scholarship and knowledge gathering, and pure unadulterated violence.

Reputation: Scholars of the alien and eldritch some times gain knowledge of these creatures.

· Powerful wizards and occultists who find this knowledge sometimes attempt to summon them in hopes of acquiring rare lore/knowledge.

o But the Shining Child never gives what they have for free.

o The price for such knowledge is usually a “contemptable deed” that helps the child’s strange and far-reaching plans.

· Sidebar: Old Thassilon had a popular practice of conjuring and binding Shining Children to serve as guardians for important locations.

o Some can still be found today bound to old ruins, guarding lore and treasure from thousands of years ago.


Pathfinder Wiki/1e Details

· Prehensile Tails (though I don’t see it in any artwork…or stat blocks for both editions)

· The shapes of their heads varied, but skull-shaped has been documented.

o Some have speculated this is an example of sexual dimorphism or an indication of different life stages.

· Their telepathy takes the form of “a discordant psychic inferno”.

o Or they could speak in a “worn, scraping voice.”

· Part of the creation of Shining Children involves Quintessence.

o It adheres the to “brightest sparks of energy and light” from the demiplane creation process.

· A demiplane could spawn anywhere from zero to “scores” of them.

o Which is a flavorful word for….20s of them…

· Their “birth” is described as’unjust’ (in both editions) and ‘traumatic’.

o Nothing describes why it is either of these.

o But it is used to explain their violent spite.

· They do not eat, sleep and possible do not even die.

o They are also said to be unaffected by gravity (which is not reflected in the stat block below)

· They do not leave a physical body behind when they die.

o Instead they explode with light and leave a shadow-like after-image on a nearby surface.

o This ‘burn’ on whatever surface always seems ‘brighter than its surroundings (even in daylight).

· Per Thassilonian: On Golarion they are also know as Shining Children of Thassilon.

o They were discovered accidentally via teleportation research.

o They referred to themselves collectively as “the Shining One” rather than using a plural.

o They did ally themselves with Thassilonian Wizards, and allowed themselves to be summoned.

o It’s not clear why the Thassilonaions were an exception, but they did not hold any others in high regard

o Even still, they followed orders only if they could be allowed to torment sentient beings in return.

o They were used to guard artifacts, lead armies, educate scholars of ‘alien truths’ etc.

· Alternate Origin Theories: The number of theories basically matches the number of ‘scholars’. Meaning…almost no one agrees.

o A highly advanced race that shed their physical forms to become beings of pure light.

§ (buuuut…light is physical technically?)

o Celestials from a utopian future who see the present people of Golarion as horrifically evil.

o Come from the ‘edge of reality’.

o My personal favorite: Projections from “a vast, sentient star whose dying agony sends psychic ripples through time and


Mechanics


Story and Mechanic Ideas

· Would totally give an explosion effect upon death.

· Maybe prehensile tail should be considered…?

o Person Friend and Friend of the Show Michael Bernard made a good point about some of the inconsistencies in the writing and the artwork.

o Could very well be a breakdown in communication from Artist to Writer.

· In the spirit of sharing the Love…

o Anyone who happens to want a DnD 5e version of this creature the Dungeon Dad YouTube channel did it in Jan, 2020 for their Monster of the Week! So check out the video in the description below! (I believe it’s built off the PF 1e version however).


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