Silats were shapeshifting hags that roamed the wilderness of Zakhara, sometimes venturing into cities, in the search for food. Strangely for hags, they leaned more towards chaos than evil; chaotic evil silats existed but chaotic neutral and even chaotic good silats also made up a fair fraction of their population.
In their true forms, silats appeared as giant, crooked crones, female humanoids with withered bodies of pale green or blue skin barely covered by the rags they wore. Atop their heads was hair of a similar but darker coloration to their skin and curling ram horns which could be used to indicate their age, the horns growing another length of spiral every century. Their sharp teeth and nails were as yellow as ivory and tougher than obsidian.
While they could polymorph their entire lives, younger silats could only do so for most of their bodies, typically their feet, and had to go through great effort to hide the unchanged area with their rags until they reached adulthood.
Despite sometimes being parasitic or predatory, most humans and demihumans were indifferent towards the existence of silats from a combination of fear and the potential for beneficial relationships. Silats were solitary by nature, their most common wish being to be left alone, but if that wasn't possible the next best thing would be being treated with respect. Nearly every town had stories of someone mocking a disguised silat, only to wake up with some humiliating or hideous alteration, but even evil silats rarely attacked those who bowed and greeted them politely and respectfully, often going so far as to help those that displayed civility and manners.
The result of this extreme helpfulness when approached in the "proper manner" resulted in the world's respective ambivalence, but unfortunately for those wishing to gain a silat's aid, what qualified as the "proper manner", varied between individuals. Some accepted simple and polite good wishes while others required visitors to perform simple chores like tidying their home or combing their hair, and a few eccentrics were known to only help those who did the opposite of what was asked.
All silats, regardless of age, possessed the traditionally superhuman strength of hags, and were able to tear their enemies apart with their razor-sharp teeth and blade-like nails. Not only did they naturally regenerate over time, but they were immune to poisons, charms, illusions, other mind-affecting magic, and could only be harmed with weapons that were either iron or enchanted.
As silats aged their polymorphing magic became more powerful and could apply to more beings. As "juveniles" they could only use it on themselves three times each day, and not on their entire bodies, but as adults they could use it on themselves at will and polymorph others three times each day. The older silats, those over five centuries old, could not only polymorph themselves and others at will, the power being harder to resist than before, but they could also polymorph objects three times each day.
Evil silats were known to prey on humans and demihumans, luring their victims, typically unsuspecting youths, into isolated areas by disguising themselves as helpless elders or flirting young women.
Silats were most commonly encountered in Zakharan societies when hunting, moving unnoticed in the form of ugly women to avoid attention and interaction. If not alone when in the wilderness they were in small family groups consisting of the mother and her children.
Silats were in some way related to the shapeshifters known as the oni, the ogre mages themselves suspected to have some ancestral link to the annis hags. The silats, being hags, were all females and so had to propogate by mating with members of other races, in their case, the oni. Male offspring produced by a silat were always oni and females always silats. The children of the silat, male and female, were raised by the mother, with typically 1-4 children of either gender being in their care. Young silats became adults upon reaching a century old and upon becoming over five centuries old, the ancient silats would be granted the revered rank of matriarch.
- A Dozen and One Adventures
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 Wolfgang Baur, Steve Kurtz (1992). Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix. (TSR, Inc). ISBN l-56076-370-1.
- ↑ F. Wesley Schneider (July 2006). “The Ecology of the Annis”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #345 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 66.