Defrex CR 11
EAC 24; KAC 26
Fort +15; Ref +12; Will +13
Defensive Abilities ferocity; DR 6/—
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +23 (4d6+19 P) or claw +23 (3d8+19 S plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Offensive Abilities menace, prey on fear
As a full action, the defrex can attempt to demoralize a group of foes that are within 60 feet and able to see it. The DC of this check is equal to the highest DC to demoralize any one of the foes. If successful, all the targets become shaken for 1 round, increasing to 2 rounds if the defrex succeeds by 5 or more. Once a creature has been affected by this ability, it is immune to the menace ability of any defrex for 24 hours.
Prey on Fear (Ex)
A defrex gains a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls against any creature that is cowering, frightened, panicked, or shaken. The defrex also gains a morale bonus to melee damage rolls against such creatures equal to half its CR (+5 in this case).
Environment temperate forests and hills (Vesk -2)
Organization solitary, mated pair, or tumult (3–8)
Native to the archipelagos of Vesk -2, defrexes are mammals famed for their strength, tough hide, and aggression. A juvenile defrex is a quadruped with splayed, clawed legs and an array of spines along its back and tail. As it ages, the defrex becomes more muscular, developing broader jaws, thicker skin, the ability to stand upright for short periods of time, and a taste for meat. Over the millennia, defrexes have inhabited the majority of Vesk -2 and have diverged from their common ancestor into numerous distinct species. These animals are among the top terrestrial predators on the planet.
As mammals, defrexes give birth to live young, producing litters of 3 to 12 pups. The mother defends her offspring, but this instinct lasts only 5 to 7 weeks, depending on how well fed the mother is. After that, a female defrex views her offspring as competition and prey, consuming those that fail to leave the nest within a few days. Fortunately for them, young defrexes grow quickly and run even quicker.
After weaning, defrexes eat plants, insects, and smaller animals. Defrex juveniles form cohorts of unrelated creatures that rely on each other for help and protection, including from defrex adults. The eldest defrexes lead these packs, using the group’s knowledge to navigate the area, find food, and avoid danger.
Defrex adolescent stages last about 5 years, after which a defrex sheds most of its spines, developing thick osteoderms beneath its skin. Some of its juvenile teeth fall out, replaced by shearing carnassial teeth and piercing canines. The defrex’s gut likewise changes to accommodate a more carnivorous diet.
During this transition, defrexes are wild and bold, learning to hunt through trial and error. The more aggressive an adolescent defrex becomes, the more likely its cohort chases it away.
Adult defrexes are loners, but they form loosely connected social networks maintained through scent marking and vocalizations, including howls some have described as haunting. Ijtikris call such groups “tumults.” Each adult in a tumult maintains a territory that overlaps with that of several other defrexes. As a result, defrexes frequently cross paths, pausing to establish dominance when they do.
These encounters are more likely when a defrex makes a kill, the scent of blood attracting other defrexes.
Thanks to this behavior, an encounter with a wild defrex can escalate as the predators attract reinforcements with calls or the scent of blood.
Escaping one defrex is no guarantee of safety. However, defrexes’ social aggression can create an opening to flee as two defrexes become distracted by their dominance displays.
Defrexes are difficult to tame, although vesk have attempted to do so for centuries. Shortly after vesk first landed on Vesk -2, the defrex captured their imagination and respect as a reflection of vesk virtues of dueling and fearlessness. A defrex mount or pet is a status symbol among vesk. Demand for defrex hide has led to defrex ranches, which are risky enterprises.
Starfinder Alien Archive 3 © 2019, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Saif Ansari, Kate Baker, John Compton, Adam Daigle, Katina Davis, Eleanor Ferron, Crystal Frasier, Leo Glass, Sasha Lindley Hall, Amanda Hamon, Thurston Hillman, James Jacobs, Jenny Jarzabski, Virginia Jordan, Jason Keeley, Natalie Kertzner, Luis Loza, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, Crystal Malarsky, Robert G. McCreary, Hilary Moon Murphy, Adrian Ng, Joe Pasini, Lacy Pellazar, Samantha Phelan, Jessica Redekop, Simone D. Sallé, Michael Sayre, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, Jason Tondro, Diego Valdez, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.