The plume of this red and yellow bird is so vibrant as to glow. Each movement sends a ripple of light and color down its feathers that flickers like flames. The air around the small creature shimmers with heat.
Sun Falcon CR 4
Source Pathfinder #79: The Half-Dead City pg. 86
LN Tiny magical beast (fire)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +15
Aura radiance (10 ft., DC 15)
AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +2 natural, +2 size)
hp 39 (6d10+6)
Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +6
Weaknesses vulnerable to cold
Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee 2 talons +11 (1d3 plus 1d6 fire and burn)
Space 2-1/2 ft., Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks blinding flash, breath weapon (30-ft. line, 3d6 fire, Reflex DC 14 half, usable every 1d4 rounds), burn (1d6 fire, DC 14)
Str 10, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 5, Wis 14, Cha 15
Base Atk +6; CMB +7; CMD 17
Feats Flyby Attack, Iron Will, Weapon Finesse
Skills Fly +15, Perception +15, Survival +5; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
Languages Celestial (can’t speak)
Environment warm deserts or mountains
Organization solitary, pair, or beam (3–6)
Aura of Radiance (Su) A sun falcon radiates heat and light with the intensity of the noonday sun. Creatures within 10 feet of a sun falcon must succeed at a DC 15 Fortitude save each round or become fatigued. A sun falcon can suppress or activate its aura at will as a free action. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Blinding Flash (Su) By spreading its wings wide, a sun falcon can blast an intense wave of heat and light in a 20-foot cone as a standard action. All creatures within this area must succeed at a DC 15 Reflex save or take 1d6 points of fire damage and be blinded for 1d4+1 rounds. Creatures that succeed at this save take no fire damage and are instead dazzled for 1 round. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Sun falcons are birds of omen in Osirion, with a reputation that goes back to the days of the nation’s most ancient gods. In many myths and stories, sun falcons act as the eyes of many deities, though most commonly for Ra, who considers these birds to be among his holy creatures on Golarion. Sun falcons seem to watch over important people and oversee noteworthy events—sometimes from far enough away to be mistaken as a star visible during the day, sometimes from close enough to appear as a second sun. Today, the ancient gods are largely forgotten, but sun falcons still gravitate toward Osirion’s heroes and pharaohs, suggesting that these abandoned gods are not so distant.
A typical full-grown sun falcon weighs 2 to 3 pounds and measures 18 inches from beak to tail, with a wingspan approaching 5 feet.
Scholars believe that the brilliant plumage of sun falcons wasn’t a natural or even a magical evolution so much as it was divine gift, granted by Ra in the first days of these favored birds’ existence. Ancient papyrus scrolls and carvings found in ruins claim the ancient gods of Osirion desired a way to inform mortals they were being observed, and so Ra created the first sun falcons from common desert falcons, imbuing them with his power to shine as bright as the desert sun so as to be seen across the land. This divine gift suffuses every feather on their bodies. Individual lost or stolen feathers shed light as a candle for up to 7 days after being detached, and are often in high demand to accent elegant attire for the upper class.
Despite being creatures blessed with the heat of the sun, sun falcons are mortal and require normal sustenance to survive. To avoid reducing their captured prey to unpalatable ash, sun falcons vent gouts of fire from within, slowly lowering their body in temperature to a level that allows them to consume their meals without first incinerating them.
Habitat & Society
Sun falcons live deep within the deserts of Osirion, though they aren’t unknown in Thuvia or even as far west as Rahadoum. They build nests atop rocky outcroppings from gravel, pebbles, and shards of metal capable of withstanding their natural heat, but often abandon their nests only months after creation. How long a particular nest has been inhabited can be identified by the darkness of the rocks it is made from. The stones from particularly well-used nests may even have begun to fuse together from the heat, and are typically lined with crude glass formed from melted desert sand. Some enterprising folk collect these abandoned nests wherever they can be found, and sell them in bazaars throughout the desert lands. But as a typical sun falcon may build dozens if not hundreds of these nests over the course of its life, only the most heavily used or otherwise impressive nests have any real value.
So long as a sun falcon remains in a particular nest, it ranges for hundreds of miles in search of prey, primarily desert rodents and other small birds, though they have occasionally been known to attack much larger prey. When fighting anything larger than itself, it begins the attack by making several passes close overhead, relying on its inborn radiance to scorch and exhaust its prey before diving in for the killing blow.
Sun falcons are only aggressive when hunting or provoked. Most often, this provocation comes from opportunistic profiteers searching for abandoned nests or molted feathers. An aggravated sun falcon takes to the sky, and over the course of several days it might attack everything it sees—stranding travelers, setting caravans ablaze, and even drying up oases in its rage. When fighting, a sun falcon usually opens combat with its blinding flash ability to confound its victim’s senses. Following this initial attack, the sun falcon keeps its distance and uses its breath weapon. It then uses Flyby Attack to strafe its target and remain out of the creature’s grasp. If its fiery attacks don’t seem to affect its victim, the sun falcon disengages from the fight and moves on.
Sun falcons have few natural predators, and they are canny enough to easily avoid most mundane hunters. Their ability to fly protects them from most desert predators, and their natural talents with heat and fire help them fend off any other foolish creatures. The biggest threat to sun falcons comes from efreet who walk the deserts of northern Garund. Immune to many of the sun falcons’ attacks, efreet hunt sun falcons for sport as if they were common pheasants, dining on the creatures and using their radiant plumage as decorations on their clothing and armor.
The mating habits of sun falcons have long confounded scholars, as every member of the species ever examined has been a mature female, carrying a single already fertilized egg. Because of the birds’ association with Ra, some postulate that these eggs are divinely fertilized, though sun falcons are capable of breeding with males of other falcon species, and the result of these unions is always a baby sun falcon. This method of reproduction creates slight variations in the appearance of offspring, but the creatures’ abilities are the same.
A sun falcon lays these eggs on an annual cycle, and each bird has its own cycle. It takes approximately a month for an egg to hatch once it has been laid, and a chick reaches full maturity after only 2 months. Sun falcons are often born already capable of flight. Until the chick matures, it hunts alongside its mother as she teaches the fledgling vital skills. After reaching maturity, the young sun falcon departs into the desert to build its first nest and begin its own cycle.
The only exceptions to this rule are when a sun falcon bonds to another creature. The subject of this bond is typically a humanoid who is suspected to have some great destiny in store. A sun falcon doesn’t live with its bonded creature or even have much direct contact, but it keeps nearby, flying above the village or city the person lives in or trailing the person in her travels if she happens to be a desert nomad or leaves her native lands. This bonding process has proven flawed as often as not in the current Age of Lost Omens—though the falcon follows this creature for the remainder of its life, the bonded person is no more likely to have a great future in store for him then might any other. While some skeptics claim that those who believe this legend grant such chosen individuals more chances than they would otherwise receive, artificially inf lating their chance of success, others’ beliefs also result in unrealistic expectations that these “blessed” individuals constantly fail to meet, which can lead them to instead despair or be rejected by the public.