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A shen.

(aquatic, mythic, water)
24 / MR 9
Any water
Source: Bestiary 5, pg(s). 230

Shen1 are mysterious, powerful dragons related to the imperial dragons.2


A shen's true form is that of an enormous serpentine dragon adorned with glistening green and gold scales. It constantly writhes into a pattern of twirls and knots. Shen are rarely seen in their true form and prefer to appear as a pheasant, shellfish, or pearl. Instead of sleeping, a shen might spend years or decades as a pearl before emerging again in their natural form.2


Shen are typically benevolent and have been known to answer prayers for rain or to herd fish into the nets of needy fisherfolk. However, they might become petty and capricious when slighted, and these transgressions can seem random, such as eating a swallow (their preferred food), trespassing in their hunting grounds on special ceremonial days, or committing acts of petty vandalism. This suggests that shen are creatures of balance who seek to maintain the natural order. They bring about an early thaw to a harsh winter or destroy predators to return everything to a state of balance. More often than not, unusual good or bad fortune is attributed to shen.2

Shen prefer quiet contemplation amid large bodies of water, or more rarely in large rivers. They need little food, preferring fish and fowl. When taking their petty revenge, they eat livestock and freeze crops but do not typically engage in feasts or destruction.2

Shen, like most dragons, accumulate hoards of treasure. These hoards are usually comprised of offerings, but sometimes include loot from those they have vanquished. Shen are extremely protective of their hoards from disturbance and go to great lengths to restore even trivial items that go missing or are stolen. Shen are powerful illusionists and manipulators of weather and climate, and to protect their treasures shen create immense, elaborate mirage castles resembling human dwellings, whose surface resemblance only serves to confuse visitors.2


Shen are more gregarious than most dragons and occasionally work with other shen to accomplish some great task or deed. They rarely interfere with mortals but are known to show pity and aid in times of great need. Because of this, and out of fear for them, local people give shen considerable reverence and pay them tribute with sacrifices or treasure.2


  1. Shen is used for both singular and plural.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 5, 230–231. Paizo Inc., 2015

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