April 29, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Yamabiko

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


At first he had thought it was a fault on his part. Occasionally he would hear something on the edge of his hearing. It was always soft and just out of reach. He would catch himself turning and looking, or peering off into nothing, looking for something that was not there. He looked as his companions and saw they were doing much the same. It was said the hills here were haunted by ghosts and spirits. Likely this was true; it certainly felt that way to him. It was four days before they passed out of the hills but those four days were the most nerve-racking he had ever experienced. He vowed to never pass that way again.

The Yamabiko is a spirit from Japan. At first glance it looks like a small man, but upon closer inspection it can be seen he is “not all there”. If a person tries to touch a Yamabiko it will feel like their hand is moving through molasses.

The Yamabiko prefer mountainous areas, as this usually facilitates their echo abilities. Therefore they like valleys, tops of ranges, and if forced underground, they like large cavernous areas. They usually are not malicious, but similar to other beings, can run the gamut of alignment. More often than not, a Yamabiko will be heard but never seen. If a conversation is struck up with one of these spirits they will often repeat what the previous person said before answering. For example, “What is your name?” is answered with “What is my name? I am known as Yamabiko.”

-Echo: The Yamabiko is able to use an ability one of the player characters used in the previous round. The attack only has to be made in the vicinity of the Yamabiko, and does not have to target the Yamabiko.
-Thrown Voice: A Yamabiko has the ability to make it seem as if they are somewhere else. During each round, the first successful hit against a Yamabiko has a 50% chance of hitting the wrong spot and thus missing the Yamabiko. Subsequent hits in a round are rolled normally.
-Silence/Spirit Form: If the Yamabiko does nothing on its turn, it turns invisible to all forms of detection until it next attacks.

-In order to complete an ancient prophecy/quest the party must “capture an echo”. This phrase could apply to a Yamabiko. Of course, the hard part will be finding and capturing a Yamabiko.

-A peasant approaches the characters and asks for their aid. His daughter had her voice taken by a Yamabiko (for being rude to the creature). Can they get her voice back? After finding this particular Yamabiko the party can take various approaches to their goal (intimidation, attacking, trickery, etc), but the Yamabiko is willing to return the voice if they can beat it in a game. This game consists of each person saying one word and then the next person repeating the word and adding a new word. People continue to repeat and add words until they mess up. The Yamabiko will only play against the “Champion” so the party will first have to play amongst themselves to see who is the best at the game; then they can challenge the Yamabiko. If the “Champion” fails to beat the Yamabiko it will play against the second place party member, etc. If it beats them all it still gives back the voice because they all played with it. [It is recommended you actually play this game out.]
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