April 12, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Jaculus

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.


Jaculus

The rogue had the party stop so he could listen. All the rest could hear was the wind in the leaves, but the rogue heard something moving in the trees, a soft rustle. However try as he might he could see nothing, certainly nothing large enough to be a bandit. He put it up to an animal and allowed the party to move on. The first sign that the rogue had made a mistake was the bolt that sprang from the trees up ahead and struck the fighter. There was a 3 foot long javelin protruding from his chest. Another javelin hit the ground near his feet and a third pierced his leg. The rest of the group all went to ground and looked for the attackers. It was then that the “javelin” twisted and the head struck at the fighter, fangs bared. The “javelins” were in fact snakes and they moved to attack the rest of the group.

There is no central origin for the Jaculus for it is similar to the Madagascar fandrefiala snake, is mentioned in Norse stories, detailed by a Roman scholar and in written about by a Spanish poet; the creature could be found all over the place. While the afore mentioned resources make note of its mythical attributes it may actually be based on the Ithycyphus perineti, for that snake has a V shaped head and thus looks like a spearhead.

The Jaculus is a winged serpent that can fly rigid, striking much the same as a javelin. They prefer wooded areas, both for comfort, but also because they like the higher ground trees afford them. They actually nest in trees similar to birds though they are most definitely reptiles.

They are more than willing to attack passersby as potential meals. They breed fairly fast so an area may find an infestation of these creatures appear almost overnight. The more there are in an area the more aggressive they become.

Abilities
-Javelin: The Jaculus launches itself from a distance and straightens itself rigid as it flies toward its target. This allows it to strike for considerable damage.
-Bite: The Jaculus’ bite is not venomous, but it does get a bonus to hit the next round after it hits with the javelin attack.
-Wings: While the Jaculus can fly it is not that good at it, i.e. other than the ability to move through the air, it does not gain any special attacks from its ability to fly. However, once it does gain height it can use its javelin attack again.

Adventures
-A magician is willing to pay highly for a specimen of the Jaculus, more so if it can be recovered alive. Finding a location where they can be found should be easy enough. The hard part will be surviving the encounter.

-Cult members that worship a snake deity are in the area looking for the Jaculus. They wish to capture a few to bring back to their temple. Unfortunately, part of their worship requires regular sacrifices and they have been taking those sacrifices from the animals and even people in the area. The party needs to stop the cult’s depredations. To make the problem worse the cult has found the Jaculus already and are easily able to control them. Can the party stop the cult or will they find themselves tracking them back to their temple far away, where things get even worse.

-A new type of Jaculus has been seen in the region. It is much larger than normal and also more aggressive. In fact someone, perhaps even the magician the characters captured a Jaculus for earlier, has been casting spells and breeding Jaculus to grow much, much bigger. Unfortunately, the large Jaculus have gotten loose and are terrorizing the region.

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