A brightly colored creature swoops down to land on the branch above. Its head is overly large, with a mouth full of sharp teeth and bright, shiny eyes. The thing chirps, lashes its long thin tail, and then with a flap of leathery wings is in the air once again.
Pterosaurs are often found in regions where dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures are commonly encountered, yet they are not dinosaurs themselves. The pteranodon is the most well known and widespread of these flying reptiles, but numerous other species exist, such as the relatively small rhamphorhynchus, the venomous dimorphodon, and the lumbering, giraffe-sized quetzalcoatlus. While the larger pterosaurs are awkward fliers, the smaller ones can be quite agile and quick. Pterosaurs generally dwell on coastlines, along rivers, or near swamps or lakes, for the majority of their diet consists of fish snatched from the water in daring dives. Pterosaurs are quite territorial, though, and most won’t hesitate to swoop down and hiss, shriek, and attack things their size or larger.
This pterosaur is a quick-moving reptile with a 5-foot wingspan, a narrow snout filled with dozens of needle-like teeth, and a long tail tipped with an arrowhead shaped ridge. Males are generally quite brightly colored, displaying brilliant reds, greens, and bright blues, often bearing complex patterns like stripes; females tend to be more drably colored. Although tiny, the rhamphorhynchus is swift and aggressive, and its attack method of swooping down suddenly to attack creatures allows it to bite with increased damage and ferocity. At the end of a sudden swoop, a rhamphorhynchus is typically at a disadvantage, and most won’t stick around to keep fighting in melee, instead taking to the air once more to gain enough height to swoop again in a few rounds. Their tiny size, erratic flight patterns, and swift reflexes make them difficult to affect with area effects. A pterosaur on the ground walks in a quadrupedal gait; the tips of its wings arc up alongside its body, while its lower torso remains closer to the ground than its shoulders and head as it moves.
N Tiny animal
Init +3; Senses Low-Light Vision, Scent; Perception +6
|AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dexterity, +2 size)|
hp 4 (1d8)
Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +2
Defensive Abilities evasion
|Speed 10 ft., Fly 40 ft. (good)|
Melee bite +0 (1d3-2)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 2-1/2 ft.
Special Attacks sudden swoop
|Strength 6, Dexterity 17, Constitution 11, Intelligence 2, Wisdom 14, Charisma 11|
Base Atk +0; CMB +1; CMD 9
Feats Lightning Reflexes
Skills Fly +11, Perception +6, Stealth +11
|Sudden Swoop (Ex)|
If a rhamphorhynchus makes a charge attack while flying, it does not provoke attacks of opportunity when it enters an opponent’s space to make a melee attack. It also
gains a +2 bonus on damage rolls with its bite attack when it makes a sudden swoop.
|Environment warm coastline or forest|
Organization solitary, pair, or flock (3-16)
Rhamphorhynchuses (also called swoop lizards) make excellent familiars for spellcasters who are looking for a quick and nimble minion. A rhamphorhynchus familiar grants its master all of the typical benefits familiars grant, but their jittery and quick reactions also impart a +2 bonus on the master’s Initiative checks. A rhamphorhynchus is generally too small to serve well as an animal companion’ if a character wishes to take one as a companion anyway, they have the same statistics as bird animal companions.
Section 15: Copyright Notice – Pathfinder Adventure Path #37: Souls for Smuggler’s Shiv
Pathfinder Adventure Path #37: Souls for Smuggler’s Shiv. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: James Jacobs.