Jiang Shi
Name of species
Biological information
Type -
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Jiang-shis (often called “hopping vampires”) are grotesque
undead creatures that drink the breath of the living to feed
on their life energy, or “chi.” A creature can become a jiang-shi
when its spirit does not depart when the creature dies,
instead remaining within the rotting corpse. Eventually, the
decomposing body reanimates and the newly risen jiang-shi
goes in search of living creatures to feed upon.
A jiang-shi’s appearance depends on both the
circumstances of the creature’s death and the state of its
corpse at the time of its reanimation. A jiang-shi that fell to
its death on a warm, wet world would likely have twisted
or broken limbs and be in a state of advanced putrefaction,
while one who was killed by laser fire on an airless asteroid
in the void of space might exhibit laser burns but manifest
no signs of decomposition at all. Regardless of the state of
decay, most jiang-shis wear clothing or gear that is out of
style, if not completely outdated, due to the fact that it can
take decades—or even centuries—before a jiang-shi rises
from the dead.

All jiang-shis display a prayer scroll in front of their
faces. In ancient, pre-Gap days, these prayer scrolls were
handwritten on parchment and affixed to the corpse’s brow
with stitches or staples in order to protect the deceased from
the ravages of restless spirits. In modern times, holographic
prayer scrolls projected in front of a jiang-shi’s forehead
have typically replaced the parchment scrolls and protect
the jiang-shi’s body from both physical and magical harm. If
a jiang-shi’s prayer scroll is ever stolen or destroyed, it loses
the defensive benefits granted by the scroll (see above), but
the jiang-shi may replace it with a handwritten scroll. This
requires a strip of paper or cloth, a writing implement, and
10 minutes of uninterrupted work. Alternatively, a jiang-shi
can recreate a holographic prayer scroll by crafting a hybrid
holoskin (Starfinder Core Rulebook 220) to project the scroll.
This requires at least 2 ranks in both the Engineering and
Mysticism skills and UPBs worth 500 credits.

Because most jiang-shis become undead only after their
corpses have undergone some measure of decomposition,
their bodies often display signs of rigor mortis. The rigid
inflexibility of a jiang-shi’s muscle tissue makes the creature’s
movements especially stiff, and causes the distinctive
bouncing gait which gives jiang-shis their colloquial name of
hopping vampires. Nevertheless, jiang-shis can be surprisingly
nimble in rough terrain, and the stiffness of their joints has
little adverse effect in zero gravity.

Jiang-shis are horrified by their own reflections, and the
sound of a handbell or the call of a rooster fills them with
terror. Cooked rice, which reminds jiang-shis that they
are dead and can no longer eat normal food, shames them.
Curiously, uncooked rice and other types of grain (cooked
or not) don’t affect jiang-shis at all, though rice mixed with
vinegar and the dust of a destroyed jiang-shi prevents that
vampire from returning to unlife.

Although they normally try to avoid daylight, jiang-shis
suffer no detrimental effects from sunlight and can move
around during the day unharmed. Nevertheless, most
jiang-shis prefer to operate at night or in darkness, when
their more obvious physical traits are not as noticeable to
the living among whom they mingle. On the other hand, a
glowing holographic prayer scroll can be difficult to conceal
in the darkness.

Jiang-shis tend to lead solitary existences, but they
are not averse to working with other undead creatures,
especially if those undead feed on the flesh of the living,
leaving the victim’s chi for the jiang-shi to drain. However,
jiang-shis are known to be jealous of blood-sucking vampires
because of their ability to create their own undead spawn.
As a result, most hopping vampires refuse to cooperate with
their bloodsucking rivals, even if they might profit from such
an arrangement.

In the Pact Worlds, jiang-shis are most associated with
the dead world of Eox, though the hopping vampires can
be found anywhere there are living, breathing creatures to
feed upon. Some jiang-shis serve as officers in the exiled
Corpse Fleet as well, working just as tirelessly as their
other undead comrades-in-arms for Eoxian supremacy and
independence. At least one of the Golden League’s powerful
families is said to be led by an ancient jiang-shi matriarch who
was alive on pre-Gap Golarion, and inhabitants of Absalom
Station’s “Downside” swear that a cabal of seven jiang-shis
has inhabited an abandoned level of the Spike since at least
the end of the Gap. Each member of the cabal supposedly
“specializes” in drinking the breath of just one species, and
refuses to feed on the chi of a different race.

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