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Sisiutl, By The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The curly-horned head of a monstrous sea serpent rears up out of the waves before you. At almost the same time, an identical head rises out of your wake. Moments later, a huge coil breaks the surface on your starboard side, bearing a grimacing human face. You realize, with mounting horror, that all three heads belong to a single organism.

Sisiutl often appears in A-senee-ki-wakw folk art or drawings or songs. A two headed sea serpent that has the power to transform itself into any person or animal. Looking at the sisiutl can turn a person into stone. A-senee-ki-wakw warriors traditionally wear the sisiutl’s emblem for protection in battle.

Sisiutl are two-headed sea serpents which prowl the deep waters off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. They are deeply revered by Native tribes, who consider them potent totems of war, strength, and death/rebirth. Warriors and shamans alike seek to slay them from time to time, in order to add the sisiutl’s considerable strength to their own.

The sisiutl’s middle “head” is actually not a head at all: by a fluke of natural selection, the scale patterns of its midsection roughly correspond to the appearance of a grimacing human face.

Sisiutls speak with both heads at once, and always refer to themselves in the plural. Though they can act independently, both heads share memories, a name, and an identity.

Although Native tribes associate them with leadership and the office of chiefdom, sisiutls are largely solitary creatures, at least where their own kind are concerned. After hatching from the coastal shallows where their eggs were fertilized, those who survive predation spread out from their siblings as rapidly as possible, each seeking to claim as much territory as it can, usually by commanding as many larger sea creatures as they can possibly control at one time to defend them and their food supply, as soon as they are powerful enough to do so. Once they reach full adulthood (at 14 HD), they gain the ability to change their size at will, and are able to shrink down as small as an inchworm or grow large enough to block off an entire bay with their bodies. It generally takes about 20 years for them to reach this size; it is not known whether sisiutls have a maximum age.

As adults, sisiutls claim huge stretches of territory – sometimes thousands of square miles of open water, bays, tidal inlets, and other bodies of salt-water – and set themselves up as kings (or at least as very, very touchy game-wardens) of the local aquatic wildlife and sentient magical creatures. Sisiutls often demand tribute from human vessels which seek to sail through their territory, and there have been reports of a wicked sisiutls taking entire fishing villages hostage.

Despite their severe demeanor, sisiutls are extremely honorable, and listen with respect to all who show them proper deference and make the traditional gifts which are given to great chiefs (especially seal-meat, woven blankets, copper jewelry, and tobacco). Although they fully expect to receive the gifts which are their due, sisiutls always show their gratitude towards gift-givers, and always render any service or oath they promise (but rarely more than was agreed-upon in advance).

Sisiutls are famous for their eternal feud with thunderbirds, whom they despise. Sisiutls believe that thunderbirds encroach upon the sisiutls’ rightful territory by stirring the skies into storms, without a care for the sisiutls’ kingdoms. It enrages them that these mere mindless animals are given dominion over the skies and winds, to freely muddy their waters and bring chaos to their carefully-ordered worlds. They like to think of themselves as masters of all they survey, but thunderbirds can always trespass freely above their demesnes, flying maddeningly just out of reach. A thunderbird is also one of the few creatures powerful enough to slay an adult sisitul singlehandedly, so sisiutls slay the thunderbirds’ young and destroy their nests whenever they can; likewise, thunderbirds consider sisiutl roe and hatchlings to be delicacies, and eat huge amounts of them whenever they get the chance.

Designed by Super Dave for Crossroads: The New World

Sisiutl, CR 16
XP 76,800
LN Gargantuan magical beast (aquatic)
Init +6; Senses darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision; Perception +8
AC 25, touch 8, flat-footed 23 (+2 Dex, +17 natural, –4 size)
hp 204 (18d10+105)
Fort +16, Ref +13, Will +7
Defensive Abilities elusive; Immune cold; Resist fire 30
Speed 20 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee 2 bites +26 (3d6+18/19-20 plus grab)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks capsize, constrict (3d6+18), stony gaze (30 ft., Fort DC 23, 1d6 Dex drain), swallow whole (4d8+18 bludgeoning damage, AC 18, hp 18)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 18th; Concentration +18)

  • At-will – animal trance (aquatic animals only), calm animals (aquatic animals only), command (aquatic creatures only), discern lies, see alignment
  • 3/day – lesser geas (intelligent aquatic magical beasts only), control water

Str 34 (+12), Dex 14 (+2), Con 25 (+7), Int 15 (+2), Wis 18 (+4), Cha 18 (+4)
Base Atk +18; CMB +34 (+38 grapple); CMD 46 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Stealth), Snatch, Stealthy
Skills Appraise +6, Diplomacy +8, Escape Artist +6, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (Geography) +4, Knowledge (History) +4, Knowledge (Nature) +6, Linguistics +14, Perception +11, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +13, Swim +9 (total ranks: 56)
Languages Haida (4 ranks/fluent), Mandarin (3 ranks/conversational), Salish (native-speaker), Chinook Jargon (4 ranks/fluent), Tsimshianic (1 rank/novice)
Culture(s) Native (Northwest Coast)

All-Around Vision (Ex)
A sisiutl sees in all directions at once. It cannot be flanked.

Capsize (Ex)
A sisiutl can attempt to capsize a boat or ship of its size or smaller by ramming it as a charge attack and making a combat maneuver check. The DC of this check is 25 or the result of the boat captain’s Profession (sailor) check, whichever is higher.

Change Size (Ex)
As a standard action, a sisiutl can shrink down to as small as Fine size or grow as big as Colossal. It can retain its new size for as long as it chooses. Returning to normal size is a free action. It takes all the standard bonuses and penalties for its new size (see Table: Size Changes). Until it reaches adulthood, a sisiutl can only use its Change Size ability to become as large as the largest size-category it has attained.

Elusive (Su)
Sisiutl have long been the stuff of maritime legends, but despite countless attempts to hunt them, they are rarely encountered unless they wish it. As a full-round action while in water, a sisiutl can move up to its run speed (300 ft.) without leaving any trace of its passing (identical in effect to a pass without trace). An elusive sisiutl gains a +40 circumstance bonus to its Stealth check. In addition, except when in combat, a sisiutl is considered to be under the effects of a nondetection spell. Both of these spell effects are at caster level 20th and cannot be dispelled.

Split (Ex)
Each of the sisiutl’s heads functions independently of the other. On a successful critical hit with a slashing weapon, a sisiutl is cut in half. A sisiutl that is cut in half continues to function normally (each with half its current hit points) and reattaches its body together in 1d2 days. A sisiutl that has been split cannot be split again until it reattaches.

Stony Gaze (Su)
All living creatures that can see and are within the 30-foot range of a sistiutl’s gaze attack must attempt a Fortitude save (DC 23 negates) or take 1d6 points of dexterity drain each round at the beginning of their turn. If a target is reduced to 0 Dexterity this way, it becomes petrified. A stone to flesh spell removes all Dexterity drain from this source. A sisiutl can suppress this ability as a free action. The save DC is Charisma-based, and sight-dependent (i.e., it only affects living creatures with functional eyes).

Environment any ocean
Organization solitary

  • A sealskin canoe that uses the bones of a sisiutl as its ribs grants a +4 competence bonus on all Survival checks to maneuver the canoe, as long as the vessel is traveling on salt-water; the canoe performs normally on freshwater bodies. The canoe must be ritually painted with a pint of seal’s blood every seven days; if it is not, the competence bonus decreases to +2 until you next manage to supply it with fresh blood. For more information on maneuvering canoes, see Ultimate Combat Vehicles: Water Current.
  • band of the stalwart warrior can be crafted by harvesting and curing the scales of a sisiutl’s central “head” (effectively, only one band can be harvested from each sisiutl), without expending any of the normal item-creation costs. The band is covered in the sisiutl’s scales, glittering as if covered in tiny flakes of mica, and it smells faintly of seawater.
  • When mixed with sacred herbal dyes, the blood of one sisiutl yields 4d6-4 doses of tribal war paint. Using a sisiutl blood as a construction component halves the cost of making tribal war paint, though the creator must still meet the other crafting requirements for each separate color of war paint.
  • Each sisiutl has two hearts, each of which is an extremely powerful magical artifact.

Heart of the Sisiutl
Aura: Strong Conjuration
Slot: Special; Price: 30,000gp; Weight: 5 lb

The heart of the Sisiutl is a huge, crimson organ, the size of a small watermelon, still filled with the lifeblood of the great beast. Pulled from the body of a slain Sisiutl, the heart glistens with blood, and you can practically feel the magic that radiates off it. The blood contained within has potent restorative power, but it must be consumed quickly lest the magic fade away.

To gain the effects of the heart of the sisiutl, the user must drink the lifeblood directly from the heart, and the heart must be fresh, as well. Drinking the blood from the heart requires a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity. The sheer volume of blood requires a strong stomach, and the drinker must make a fortitude save (DC 19) or vomit, becoming nauseated for one minute and sickened for 24 hours. A character who fails this save does not gain the effects of this item, and the heart is consumed in the process. In addition, the heart must be fresh. Its magic normally lasts for 24 hours once removed from the sisiutl’s body, but it can be preserved up to one week by preserving the heart, through magic such as a gentle repose spell, or through mundane means such as packing the heart in snow.

A character who successfully drinks the lifeblood feels a soft, reassuring warmth deep within their body until the effect is triggered. The effect is permanent until triggered and consumed, and cannot be dispelled. The effect is triggered if the user dies for any reason, reaching -10 HP, or being killed by some other effect, even if the effect would normally leave no remains. While they will still die normally, their soul does not leave their body to go to the spirit world. On the round after their death, at the start of their former initiative, the body is magically restored, the heart’s effects restoring any hit point damage, ability damage, ability drain, negative levels, lost limbs, diseases, or conditions, even creating a new body entirely if necessary. On the following round, the soul is reconnected to the body, and it returns to life, able to act immediately, though the user may return to find their new body in the same situation that killed them in the first place. There is no level loss, as with some other methods of resurrection.

Construction Requirements:
The Heart of the Sisiutl cannot be crafted or created by any means, it can only be harvested directly from the body of a Sisiutl. Each Sisiutl has two such hearts.

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