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My GM had us encounter a monster some months ago. We know that it was for sure shadowland tainted because the kami of the river it swam in felt grossed out by the thing's passing and wanted us to dispatch it.

It killed a farmer's daughter (aged somehow between 13 and 20, as that was the age of the other living children in the family) and somehow stole her skin, leaving only the skin it wore before as a bloody, unidentifiable heap in the reeds. It then did the same several days later in a small patch of woodland, just after we had discovered that there was a monster there. However, it apparently did not gain the knowledge of how to pass as a farmer, which allowed it to be detected - and then dispatched by combat and healing rain.

However, as a good Samurai doesn't have Lore: Shadowland Creatures, we were never told what it was but here's what we could piece together: it wears the skin of its victim to take their place, and at least that specimen had a preference for younger, good-looking females. And apparently, something in its attacks could have had a lasting effect because our GM had the samurai that was wounded by it roll a single luck die for something but never elaborated what that roll was for.

Now, reading Sword and Fan, I think that there is a picture of this or a similar creature, tending to the skin of a human on some sort of rack. It is depicted on page 198, but the picture is not directly commented upon in the surrounding text.

Is this the hallmark of a specific creature with a known statblock, or just a generic monster ability any shadowland beast might have?

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The text near the picture you mentioned describes Tainted infiltrators and gives reference to pages 84-86 of Book of Earth. From page 86(with my emphasis):

Many of these creatures do not maintain a human appearance at all times. Pennaggolan, for example, must go forth from their human bodies to feed each night, and after gorging themselves on blood they must use vinegar to squeeze themselves back into their body; thus if a Witch Hunter encounters signs of vampiric activity, he will often begin looking around for the nearest vinegar salesman. Bog hags need human skins to disguise themselves, and must periodically acquire new skins when the old ones become rotted or torn. Once again, patience here is key, since the creature is likely to eventually reveal itself at some point.

So, your creature might be a bog hag, whose statblock can be found in core rulebook on page 324. They are aquatic, and do prefer to target young women.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That sounds very much what the GM threw at us, especially since the core book describes the Bog Hag to be of a greenish color and bloated. Though the statblock given there also indicates that it is a powerful one, and weaker ones exist. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented May 13, 2021 at 12:31

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