Water orm

From PathfinderWiki
Water orm

Magical beast
Any lakes
Source: Bestiary 2, pg(s). 280

A water orm, or lake monster, is a secretive beast lairing in freshwater lakes. They are thought to be distantly related to sea serpents and linnorms.12


Water orms a physically very variable species, and individual specimens can differ significantly from each other, although most or all are large, aquatic lake-dwelling reptiles. Many resemble plesiosauruses, sea serpents, linnorms, and other serpentine creatures, but others instead resemble dragon turtles, bizarrely elongated seals, whales, and even gigantic seahorses. Whether this is due to extreme physical variation among water orms, the presence of multiple variants or of separate water orm species, or shapeshifting abilities among these creatures is not known.12


Water orms are largely solitary creatures, and spend most of their time isolated from each other. They prefer to lair in deep lakes, and are often found in proximity to humanoid settlements, which they associate with easy and plentiful food. Water orms are carnivores, and typically subsist on fish and on livestock such as sheep that they snatch from the waters' edge. However, they are also known to attack humanoids, and some specimens develop dangerous preferences for diets based on humanoid meat. Water orms require large quantities of food to survive, often more than their lakes can reliably produce, and as such the creatures spend long portions of their lives in torpor as they wait for their lakes' stocks of fish and other animal life to return to levels that can sustain them.3

Water orms only seek each other out to mate, something rendered difficult by their otherwise solitary lives and the isolated habitats in which they live. Courtship is typically initiated by the males, which will travel extensive distances to search out females and attempt to attract their attention with high-pitched calls. A male water orm's search may last several years before he finds a mate; after coupling, the orms part ways and return to their solitary lives.3

Orms almost always give birth to a single child per pregnancy. During both the pregnancy itself and the newborn's infancy, the orm mother becomes consumed by a need to procure large amounts of food to ensure her offspring is fed sufficiently. This often drives her into conflict with nearby humanoid communities as the orm preys on them and the animals they depend on, which may result in the mother's demise. If the young orm survives its infancy, it reaches adulthood after a dozen or so years and seeks out a lacustrine lair of its own.3

Although they rarely have more than distant and tenuous relationships with each other and with lakeside humanoids, water orms often come in contact with aquatic races such as ulat-kinis, scrags, and hags when these share their homes. Orms may be made into servants or guardians for such aquatic communities, but in other cases these may come to revere the orms as living gods.3

On Golarion

Although rare, several water orms have gained notoriety around the Inner Sea region.

The Stjallberg Serpent inhabits a fjord north of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, beneath a mountain known as the Spear. She was hatched from an egg incubated by the white dragon Thysfregnn, and as such possesses abilities, such as flight, beyond those of normal water orms. She often raids the Ulfen lands to her south, and is worshipped by a tribe of frost giants that lives close to her fjord.4 The Black Tarn, on the island of Dragon's Rib in the Ironbound Archipelago, is home to an ancient orm named Blackfin, whose presence has led to the development of rumors that a linnorm inhabits the waters of the tarn.5

Kallas Lake, in the River Kingdoms, is home to an orm known as the Wild Bore Shepherd that travels up the Sellen River every twenty years in an event marked by a massive tidal bore that the orm drives ahead of itself. This event has come to be considered sacred by the worshippers of Hanspur, who consider the Shepherd to be a messenger from their god.4

Lake Ocota, in the Mwangi Jungle, is home to an immense orm known as the Fetid God by the local Zenj and Bonuwat peoples, as well as its numerous crocodile-headed offspring.4

The Lake Lost to the Sun in the Sarkoris Scar hosts a particularly large population of fey-touched water orms. The lake is one of the deepest lakes in all Golarion and has a direct link with the Cerulean Sea of the First World, home to Ragadahn the Serpent King. Because of this link, many of the water orms here worship the cruel fey Eldest known as "The Water Lord" and serve his proxy within the lake, the fjord linnorm Ilirjastehr.6


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

  1. 1.0 1.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 280. Paizo Inc., 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 Richard Pett. Water Orm” in Mystery Monsters Revisited, 53. Paizo Inc., 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Richard Pett. Water Orm” in Mystery Monsters Revisited, 53–55. Paizo Inc., 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Richard Pett. Water Orm” in Mystery Monsters Revisited, 55–56. Paizo Inc., 2012
  5. Matthew Goodall, et al. “The Proving Grounds” in Lands of the Linnorm Kings, 35. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. Larry Wilhelm. “Blighted Lands” in Prisoners of the Blight, 62. Paizo Inc., 2017

External links