April 14, 2011

Mythic Monsters-La Chusa

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.

La Chusa

She awoke to a sound. Clearing the fog of waking she realized it was a rustling on her window. Despite the chill suddenly running up her spine she took a hard look at it and was shocked to see it was the wings of a large bird flapping at the window. She knew what this meant. It fortold her death. She had heard the stories of how the mayor’s daughter ahd heard the same thing and two days later she was dead. However, she ahd heard other stories. She grabbed a shawl and left her room and her home. She could just barely catch a glimpse of the creature in the trees outside her home. Gathering up a handful of rocks she yelled at the beast and hurled a rock at it. It turned to face her and the most hideous face of a women looked at her in surprise. She threw another rock and the creature squawked and hopped a step back. She picked up a third rock and struck the creature again, not really doing any damage, but certainly surprising it with her audacity. The beast then took to wing. This is the story she told her grandchildren years later.

Originating in Mexico this is a creature with the head of a very ugly witch and the body of a large owl with a huge wing span. The creature is often a harbinger of death; if you hear the beating of its wings on your window at night it means you are to die soon. However, if you face a La Chusa resolutely you can drive it off and forestall your death. Whistling is a sign of fear (whistling to cover nervousness) and it draws a La Chusa directly to its target.

The La Chusa is a cunning individual, with human level intellignece. They are able to use magic, but tend to rely on their special abilities over any rituals they may be able to cast. However, they have been known to fall back on their magics if they are thwarted in their attacks.

The La Chusa appears to be under some type of curse. Apparently their compunction to bring death to others is a part of this curse. Stories tell of how the curse can be lifted by capturing the La Chusa during the night, when it is active, and expose it to the light of day. Doing so will break the curse and leave in its place a beautiful woman. How this curse is initially applied is unknown. One story says a truly evil woman is cursed and lifting the curse gives them a rebirth wherein they forget who they were before. Another story says the La Chusa starts its life in this evil form and lifting the curse changes the creature into something else, where upon a new La Chusa is created somewhere.

-Harbinger: When death is near the La Chusa becomes more powerful. When its target is severely hurt (bloodied) the creature does more damage.
-Hearing: The creature is very good at hearing. It is impossible to hide from a La Chusa unless abilities allow you to negate all sound as well. A La Chusa can find stealthed, hidden, invisible, concealed beings.
-Wings: Its oversized wings allow it to propel the air such that its target is moved or knocked to the ground.

-A man comes to the characters asking them to save his daughter. A La Chusa has been spotted in the area and since then his daughter has been missing. He fears she is under a curse and been turned into the creature. He hopes the party can capture the creature and hold it until the sun’s rays hit it; this should reverse the curse. How this adventure ends is up to the DM. Perhaps the daughter is under the curse and this tactic will set her free. Or perhaps, the daughter woke to the sound of the La Chusa at her window and she fled into the night, only to be killed by the creature. It all depends on what tone the DM is trying to set up for the campaign.

-There is something a cabal of La Chusa want that lies beneath the statue in the center of the village. They have taken to spending each night at the windows of as many residents as possible in the village, in an attempt to frighten them away. That way they can dig up the statue and surrounding area to find the item; until then they feel the villagers will attack them during the process. The villagers, of course, come to the party asking for help. The party can either attempt to kill all the La Chusa, a difficult but not impossible task, or can negotiate with the La Chusa. However, it will be difficult to get the La Chusa to reveal what it is they are after as they fear the humans in the village will destroy or make off with the item if they reveal what they are looking for.

-A local woman is under a curse by a witch. Her face is twisted (making her incapable of coherent speech) and she now has the body of a large owl. She is not, in fact, a La Chusa but that doesn’t mean those who see her do not know this. She is being hunted by those who know her in their mistaken belief she killed her true self (since she has been “missing” since the appearance of the “La Chusa”). The characters have been hired to participate in this search for “the beast”, however they find several clues relating to her true predicament. Of course, the only way to remove this type of curse is to kill the witch who cast it; not an easy thing to do.
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