April 1, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Acheri

This is part of the A-Z Blog Challenge. Herein I will be presenting a new monster that hopefully has not been seen before in any RPG game. These will be drawn from stories and mythologies found in a variety of real-world cultures.

Acheri

The song was mournful and sad. Each note was held too long and a sense of the unnatural preceded the singing. Before the singer rounded the corner its shadow was seen first, creeping along the road. Longer than a shadow had the right to be, its caster, a small child came into view. The sight of the emaciated child captured the eyes of those looking, causing them to forget the shadow...until its darkness crept over them and then it was too late.

The undead form of a child that died in pain and suffering, the Acheri seek to do the same to living children. They appear as spindly children themselves, some in better condition than others; some can pass as living with the right clothes. They often exist on the fringes of civilized settlements, preferring hilly or mountainous regions. They have a modicum of intelligence and can act subtly.

Their shadow is able to spread a horrible disease that can then spread throughout an entire community very quickly. There are fables that a person wearing something red will protect them from an Acheri. Some claim to have witnessed this, but others claim the opposite.

Acheri are fond of singing dirges. Often the visit of an Acheri is presaged by the sounds of an unknown child singing. While an Acheri is dangerous in its own right, its shadow is where its true strength lies. Let not its shadow fall upon you.

The Acheri seem to exist only to bring the pain and suffering they experienced as they died to others. Their primary targets are children, but anyone can become the object of their attacks. They are often able to mingle with a community, spreading their diseases. If they do so, they tend to avoid direct contact and if confronted they will play up the part of a frail child.

The legend of the Acheri is unique in that it is in both a Native American myth and a myth of India. According to legend the Acheri is indestructable, though according to the India myth if it is worshipped on a home made altar and the altar is removed far away, the Acheri will follow it. In the Native American myth the Acheri can be driven away by the red scarf of a wise woman tied around its neck.

Abilities
-Disease: A highly contagious disease that can spread quickly and virulently. The disease can spread during a round of combat until the entire party has it. As such it should not be too deadly and more of a damage spike.
-Dirge: This mournful singing can cause a loss of willpower.
-Shadows: Increased damage if its shadow passes over a character.

Adventures
-Disease has gripped a village. It has targeted the children primarily. Stories told lead people to believe there is an Acheri operating in the area, but thus far they have not been able to find its lair. In fact, the first child lost to the village belonged to Martha the Seamstress. However, the loss of her child was too much for her and she saw the Acheri as a replacement for her lost child. She has since taken the Acheri in as her daughter and provides the Acheri a safe haven. In her deranged mind the Acheri/daughter must be protected from those that would harm it.

-The orphanage burned down over 10 years ago, but every year on the anniversary of the horrible fire death stalks the area. Many of the children who died in the fire came back as Acheri. They spread throughout the land taking misery with them. However, they feel compelled to return to the place of their undead rising on the anniversary of their deaths…and that time is coming again soon.

-After a few random Acheri attacks, it is noticed that there is an uprise in Acheri. Further investigation reveals a slave trade in children that have been orphaned or abandoned, some even sold into slavery by destitute parents. The slavers have no patience for the weaker children and waste no resources on their well-being, allowing them to die, whereupon they simply dump the body in the nearest ditch. However, these children are rising as Acheri and plaguing the area. The characters must put a stop to the slavers after discovering they are the source of the infestation.

My original intent was to stat out the A-Z monsters, but that will be impossible for me to do within the timeframe allowed, so instead I have decided to present system neutral monsters. However, I did have this monster statted for 4E so here it is...


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