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Giant hippocampus

A hippocampus resembles a horse built for the sea. Instead of hooves, they have fins at the end of their front legs and a fish tail instead of hindquarters. Their coloration varies from dark green to bright white, and many include shades of blue, silver, or both. Aquatic ancestries such as merfolk and athamarus1 tame them as steeds or beasts of burden, and are valued for their strength, speed, and intelligence. In the wild, hippocampi travel shallow waters in small herds, eating seaweed.23

Habitat and ecology

Like the herds of their overland counterparts, hippocampi form large schools for safety. Most types of hippocampi in wild waters gather in shallows near seaweed beds and kelp forests for food and protection against predators.23

Domesticated hippocampi

Barding hampers hippocampi, so handlers often outfit them as lightly as possible. They can only clumsily flop and suffocate on land. Despite these limitations, hippocampi are sought after by both land and sea dwellers since they are as easy to train as horses. Like horses, they are used in a variety of roles, whether as beasts of burden, transport, war mounts, or pets. They can pull underwater chariots and sleds.23

On Golarion

The hippocampus is one of the two mascots of the city of Absalom.4 This is because Absalom is the only land-based country with a sea cavalry, the Wave Riders. These knights ride hippocampi on scouting and hit-and-run missions against enemy ships,5 take on aquatic threats, and catch smugglers.23


There are numerous breeds or species of hippocampus that differ from the standard breed in subtle ways, such as possessing better reflexes or greater toughness. One especially hardy and powerful variety is the polar hippocampus native to arctic waters. Giant hippocampi are enormous beasts that dwell in the deepest seas6 and are often considered a legend fabricated by sailors.23


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Paizo referred to athamarus as locathahs until the publication of Rage of Elements.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 2, 142. Paizo Inc., 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Logan Bonner, et al. Hippocampus” in Monster Core, 196. Paizo Inc., 2024
  4. Owen K.C. Stephens. “Introduction” in Guide to Absalom, 3. Paizo Inc., 2008
  5. Owen K.C. Stephens. “People” in Guide to Absalom, 51. Paizo Inc., 2008
  6. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 155. Paizo Inc., 2010