Mountain Eel CR 6
EAC 18; KAC 20
Fort +10; Ref +10; Will +5
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +16 (1d8+11 P)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Offensive Abilities paralyzing gaze (60 ft., DC 14), trample (1d8+11 B, DC 16)
Paralyzing Gaze (Ex)
Looking into a mountain eel’s strange compound eyes causes the muscles of most living creatures to freeze up. A living creature that can see and begins its turn within 60 feet of a mountain eel must succeed at a DC 14 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1 round. A creature who succeeds at its save is immune to that mountain eel’s paralyzing gaze for 24 hours.
Creatures without a sense of sight and other mountain eels are immune to this effect.
Environment temperate or warm mountains
Organization solitary, pair, or bed (3–5)
Due to some quirk of parallel evolution, these massive creatures have features resembling their waterborne kin’s, especially their gaping maws filled with terrible teeth. On the other hand, mountain eels have large, arthropodan compound eyes, and their coloring tends to range from dark to very dark green. Mountain eels dwell on the slopes of mountains, gliding quietly between the trees as they hunt for prey. The gaze of a mountain eel paralyzes most creatures, allowing the beast to run its victims down and feast on their corpses. A typical mountain eel is about 5 feet tall but 60 feet from nostrils to tail if laid out in a straight line, though it constantly squirms and contorts its body. Despite its size, a mountain eel is very light, weighing approximately 300 pounds.
Mountain eels are carnivores, and they prefer their meals to be freshly dead before they tear into the flesh.
However, they need to eat close to their weight in food every day, so they have been known to devour long-dead creatures if enough meat remains on the bones. If a mountain eel has sated its appetite before completely consuming its prey, it simply leaves the body to rot, sometimes coming back to it the following day or leaving it for scavengers (or other mountain eels). Mountain eels get almost all of their hydration from eating, and they tend to avoid larger bodies of water, though it isn’t uncommon to spot a mountain eel splashing through a small stream or turning its face up toward the sky during a rainstorm.
Despite their massive bulk, mountain eels are surprisingly quiet in most of their movements, as they distribute their weight across the length of their bodies using their multitude of winged armlike appendages. The creatures also use these arms to push underbrush and small trees to one side as they travel, to avoid the telling sounds of snapping branches and crunching twigs.
As a mountain eel closes in on its prey, however, it abandons all attempts at subtlety to gather up enough speed to crush its targets.
In addition to their uncannily quiet locomotion, mountain eels only very infrequently vocalize in any way. After years of study, scientists have discovered that the creatures’ vocal chords are almost completely vestigial. After noticing dozens of small scent glands located just under their scales during their dissections, these researchers posited that mountain eels communicate with one another through smells. Xenobiologists are still unsure exactly how this ability works, but mountain eel hunters and others who live in mountain eel territory have learned that certain smells mean danger.
Mountain eels give birth to live offspring, a messy process that produces a handful of nearly translucent, mucus-covered elvers that are each almost as big as a human. Though newly born mountain elvers’ size might allow them to hunt right away, their fearsome fangs don’t grow in for several weeks.
During this time, the parent eels bring small chunks of meat to their offspring, which swallow the food whole. As they start feeding, their pigmentation slowly comes in, and when they do finally develop their teeth, the elvers can take down their own, albeit smaller, prey. It takes several more years of constant eating before an elver becomes a full adult mountain eel and another few years before it reaches sexual maturity.
Judging by appearance alone, it is difficult to tell an elderly mountain eel from an adult. A mountain eel close to the end of its life tends to move a little slower, however, and the odors it emanates become more flowery. Once it becomes unable to catch enough food, the beast slowly starves to death. A mountain eel’s corpse quickly succumbs to the elements, rotting faster than most other dead flesh and attracting teeming swarms of insects. Even a dead mountain eel’s bones seem to disappear after a few days in weather; they are often mistaken for fallen logs covered in a thick layer of bright-green moss.
Some lashuntas and formians enjoy hunting mountain eels, despite (and many would say because of) the danger they pose. These thrill seekers equip themselves with sniper rifles and veils before setting out for the planet’s mountainous areas. The eels leave very little trace of their movements through the foliage, so hunters must be on the lookout for partially chewed carcasses and other signs of mountain eel habitation, such as an increased insect population. Once they find one of the beasts, they make sure to isolate it before striking. Successful lashunta hunters skin the dead eels to make items of clothing, which they sometimes enchant (like the items presented below). Formians, on the other hand, enjoy cooking mountain eel meat, using an array of exotic spices.
Mountain Eel Leather
Mountain eels’ hides are easily worked, and talented leatherworkers who dabble in enchanting often make them into magic items such as the ones listed below.
Level 1 Magic Item (Worn) Price 250 Bulk L
These thick leather gloves are often worn by aggressive vehicle pilots. Increase the collision DC of any vehicle you are driving by 2, and gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your Piloting checks when taking the ram and run over actions.
Level 2 Magic Item (Worn) Price 600 Bulk L
This waterproof leather jacket functions as a travel outfit. Once per day as a reaction, you can reroll a failed Fortitude saving throw.
Level 4 Magic Item (Worn) Price 2,500 Bulk L
These rugged boots are made from the finest mountain eel hide. You can ignore difficult terrain, but only in hilly and mountainous environments. In addition, once per day as a full action, you can move up to your speed through other creatures’ spaces (as long as those creatures aren’t larger than you are). Each creature in your path automatically takes 2d6+4 bludgeoning damage. A target of this trample ability can make an attack of opportunity against you as you pass through its space but at a −4 penalty. A target can forgo this attack of opportunity to instead attempt a DC 16 Reflex save to take half damage.
Starfinder Alien Archive © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: John Compton, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Jason Keeley, Jon Keith, Steve Kenson, Isabelle Lee, Lyz Liddell, Robert G. McCreary, Mark Moreland, Joe Pasini, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, and Josh Vogt.