Psychopomp, Shoki

Habitat: Underlands, Prime

Alignment: Neutral

Challenge Rating: 8 [5e]; 9 [PF1e, PF2e]

The grand carnival of souls, where the line between the here and hereafter is as blurry as a barmy’s babble, there prowls the shokti, a psychopomp both grim and resolute. A hunched figure, weighed down by the burden of duty, a with a gnarled staff in hand, and upon its back, a massive snail shell, as if carrying the weight of the world. And let’s not forget those ramlike horns, adding to its grizzled appearance.

These shoki, they’re the collectors of the lingering, the reluctant, the downright stubborn souls. Their job ain’t an easy one, cutter. They’re the ones who nudge, cajole, sometimes even drag the deluded dead towards the first steps into the River of Souls. Think of them as the multiverse’s shepherds of the stray spirits, guiding the lost back onto the path they’re meant to tread. And they’re not afraid to resort to using a big stick.

Shokis ain’t just muscle, though. They’re thinkers, debaters, masters of theological discourse. They use a mix of high-minded arguments and blunt truths to persuade the wayward dead. And let me tell ya, the things that lurk in the dark, hungry for lost souls, are enough to turn even the most stubborn spirit towards the light.

Each shoki is armed, not just with wisdom, but with the solemn tools of their trade—a collection of holy symbols, and a staff with a cage on the end, a prison for the most obstinate of souls. When words fail, when reason falls on deaf ears, they use these staves, capturing the unruly spirits and personally escorting them to the Underlands for judgment. It’s a last resort, but a necessary one in the endless struggle to maintain the balance.

Their staff is no ordinary walking stick. It’s a cold iron quarterstaff, a soul snatcher for those on death’s threshold. Corporeal undead crumble to dust at its touch, while the incorporeal find themselves trapped within its iron grip, unable to rejuvenate or escape. And once a soul’s caught, it’s stuck there, immune to all but the most powerful magics—miracle, true resurrection, wish. Only the shoki can release a trapped soul, and only when it deems it right.

So there’s your shoki, a solemn wanderer in the realm of the dead and dying, a stark reminder of the finality of fate and the inexorable march towards the afterlife. They’re the grim negotiators in the great game of souls, a force of inevitability in the ever-turning wheel of life and death.

See Also:

Sources and Stats:

  • Bestiary 6 [PF1e] p222 here
  • Pathfinder #168: Ghost King’s Rage [PF2e] p82 here
  • D&D conversion by d’Artagnan [5e] here

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