April 30, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Ziz

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.


Ziz

The first sign was a faint breeze touching his cheek. It was there in force and then gone. Back again and gone; a rhythmic cycle of breeze and no breeze. Then a sudden whoosh and the sun was gone. Looking up to where the sun had been, he saw the biggest bird in the world. And then it dove.

The Ziz is a giant bird of Jewish mythology. It is 100’ tall and its wingspan is large enough to block out the sun when unfurled. In appearance it is similar to a griffin or roc. It is part of a triumvirate of beasts that also includes the Behemoth and Leviathan. It is a powerful beast and should be considered to be something akin to a Tarrasque; a penultimate creature.

The Ziz is relatively harmless, other than incidental damage caused by its sheer size, but it is also a protector of birds. If it is aware of any harm coming to birds it will bring its full force against that person or group. It does, however, need to eat and will take its food where it can, usually horse, oxen and cows; unfortunately it does not have a sense of ownership so will often take such food from people’s herds.

Abilities
-Claw Grab: The Ziz can grab its target in its claw and then squeeze for considerable amounts of damage.
-Wing Buffet: By flapping its wings it is able to create severe gusts of wind knocking groups down and pushing them away.

Adventures
-A Ziz took an ox from the herd of a man and the man grabbed onto the ox trying to get it back. Of course the Ziz did not notice and flew off with the pair. The wife of the man now approaches the party and asks them to return her husband. They will need to figure out a way to find the nest of the Ziz and climb up to it (an arduous task as it nests on one of the highest mountains of the world). How they deal with the Ziz (if its home) can also prove difficult.

-The characters are approached by a group and asked to kill the Ziz. They bring various reasons for doing so; property damage, inadvertent loss of life, etc. In reality they are part of a nihilistic cult and a prophecy declares that with the death of the Behemoth, Leviathan and Ziz it will bring on the end of days.

-Rumors begin to spread of a local hunter who is rampantly killing birds. Rumors also spread that the Ziz is nearby. The local villagers fear what the Ziz may do and ask the characters to stop the hunter, however they must. The hunter is belligerent by nature (he lives alone for a reason) and simple conversation will be difficult. In reality, another person has determined there is buried treasure on the hunter’s land and is looking for a way to remove the hunter from said land so he can conduct a thorough search. He has been killing the birds and spreading the rumors.

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.


Yamabiko

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.”

Abilities
-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.

Adventures
-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.]

April 28, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Xiuhcoatl

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.


Xiuhcoatl

The ground was bereft of the living. Here and there were a few dried pieces of grass, brown and wilting, clinging to what little the grass could find for nourishment, but not much else. The ground itself felt warm to the touch, a warmth beyond that brought by the sun. And then something moved in the distance. At first it was small and low to the ground, but as it moved closer it was plainly to be seen as a large snake-like creature. Its scales shimmered in the heat. This is what they came here to find, that which had caused all this blight on the land. This is what they came here to kill.

A monster originating with the Aztecs, the Xiuhcoatl is a serpent. The name in Nahuatl (Aztec) means “turquoise serpent”, with a further meaning of “fire serpent”. It was the spirit form of the Aztec god, Xiuhtecuhtli, a fire deity. However, now when there are great conflagrations a Xiuhcoatl can be created spontaneously from the flames. Thus there are several of these in existence.

A Xiuhcoatl runs between 3-4 feet long and as expected is blue-green in color. Its eyes always are a bright red. Its body is segmented and its tail is pointed, though the tail is not used as a weapon. The haze of heat surrounding a Xiuhcoatl gives the creature a shimmering quality; this is an optical illusion only.

The creature is one of fire. Where it goes it brings drought and the scorching sun. It will despoil the land near a settlement, seeking either to weaken the community or drive the people from it. Thereafter it will hunt any stragglers. It is less a beast and more a force of nature. It seems to kill whenever it can; it will not face large groups of people. One theory is that the people it kills are automatically considered to be sacrifices to its parent god with no need of a more formal sacrificial ritual. This would help explain why it kills but does not feed.

As a side note: Similar to some other mythical monsters, the Xiuhcoatl name has been appropriated for military equipment. In this case, the FX-05 "Xiuhcoatl" is a rifle used by the Mexican army, first shown to the public in 2006.

Abilities
-Fire: The Xiuhcoatl has an aura of flame around it. Every time it attacks it does extra fire damage and every time a melee attack hits it the attacker also takes fire damage. The Xiuhcoatl can turn this aura on or off, though if is anticipating a fight it will leave it on.
-Heat: All those anywhere near the Xiuhcoatl will feel the moisture and life being drained out of them. Anyone near the Xiuhcoatl (and near means within range of interacting with the Xiuhcoatl) will suffer a “to hit” penalty.
-Bite: The bite of a Xiuhcoatl is exceptionally strong. It is able to bypass armor.

Adventures
-A cult that worships the fire deity from your world design have started setting fires in the hope a new Xiuhcoatl will be spawned. They have been setting smaller fires but the party stumbles upon plans for a huge inferno that will cover several blocks, destroying many buildings and killing many people. Can they stop the cultists in time?

-A Xiuhcoatl has been plaguing a town, with many burnt corpses of travelers found. In reality, this is the work of a cult dedicated to the fire god of your world; it may even be the same cult as above. This time, however, the cult is not an outside force, but rather made up of key townsfolk.

-A magician believes the eyes of a Xiuhcoatl can be used to see into the future, at least as far as potential fires; it can see the fires of the future. This would be a major boon for any large settlement. He is willing to equip the party with a lotion that will protect the characters from a Xiuhcoatl’s fire aura, allowing them readily kill one and take its eyes. However, the magician is really a cultist, similar to those in the other adventure ideas. The lotion, in fact, will cause the wearer to take more damage from fire. This is the magician’s way of sending sacrifices to the Xiuhcoatl.

April 27, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Water Leaper

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.


Water Leaper

He couldn’t understand why more people didn’t fish at this pond. He had already caught four large fish in under 30 minutes. And again his line went taut with another fish on the line. He worked the line, but this must be a larger than nromal fish since he was having a hard time bringing it in. In fact…it was…pulling him out into the water. He pulled to the right and then the left trying to gain the upperhand. Then there was a yank and he pitched forward into the water. He finally let go of the pole. Coughing, he regained his legs, standing in the water on the edge of the pond. Then he saw it, or rather, them. A half dozen frog eyes floated barely above the surface of the water. Then they launched themselves into the air and along the top of the pond’s surface. They flapped their leathery wings once and were upon him in seconds.

The Water Leaper is the common name of the Llamhigyn Y Dwr, part of the Welsh mythos. It looks much like a giant frog, with bat-like wings replacing its front legs and a long tail, with a spike, replacing the hind legs. It is amphibious, much like a regular frog, and its common name is readily apparent as it wings over its chosen habitat of ponds, swamps and lakes. In the water it swims like a tadpole, using its tail to move.

The Water Leaper is carnivorous and has been known to attack animals and people. One method it uses to eat fishermen is to snap onto the fishing line and then if the fisherman does not let go they drag the fisherman to them. Also, its tail spike has a mild poison; this poison rarely kills healthy adults, but does slow down a person affected by the poison.

Abilities
-Grip: Once a Water Leaper latches onto something with its mouth it is very hard to dislodge it. They gain a supernatural strength that belies their size and weight.
-Tongue: Their tongue has a good reach and can be used as a ranged attack.
-Tail Spike: This utilizes a poison that does a little bit of damage, but also reduces the “to hit” chance of its target.















Adventures
-The priest of a local village has received a blessing from his god and the crops are both plentiful and productive. The livestock that partakes of this grain also grow quicker and larger than normal. Unfortunately, some Water Leaper have gotten into the grain and have grown to larger, and more dangerous, sizes. The party is asked to deal with the Water Leapers, but as long as the grain continues to exist it can happen again (and will). The real question (and struggle) becomes one of whether or not the grain should be allowed to continue to exist.

-A nearby pond has long been known as the home of a nest of Water Leapers. Everyone knows of them so they are easily avoided. However, someone has come into town and is looking to have the Water Leapers killed. He is willing to pay good money for the party to clear out the nest. What the party does not know is that there was an old temple dedicated to an evil god that was destroyed ages ago. The temple was torn down, but the lower sections were inaccessible so they created a pond over the ruins to hide it. The man is a member of a cult that worships this evil god and is looking to retrieve an evil artifact from the lower sections, but the Water Leapers proved too much for him. Will the characters discover his true intent before he gets away with it? Will they explore the ancient lower sections?

-A child in the village was attacked by a Water Leaper. She managed to escape, but was struck by the tail spike and is now suffering from the poison. The local priest says she will die unless the poison can be cured and for that to happen they will need the tail of the Water Leaper that attacked her. Can the heroes do this and in time?

April 26, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Vodnik

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.


Vodnik

It rose out of the water, sending a ripple of waves outward. At first it looked like a part of the bog had lifted itself out of the depths until it revealed itself fully in a vaguely humanoid form. The thing let out a hissing gurgle and reeked of rotten mulch. The fisherman gagged and took a step back. He stumbled backwards onto the shore of the lake. He turned to flee but then felt the tug. It was like a steel beast had grabbed his arm but there was nothing there. He turned frantically and saw the creature concentrating and gesturing; obviously it was the cause. Then the invisible grip began to pull him toward the water and the creature. The fisherman scrambled away but was still slowly pulled against his will. He jammed his pole into the muddy shore to stop the movement. It held and the fisherman pulled himself away from the water. Then the fishing pole snapped and the fisherman was pulled into the water, never to be seen again.

A Slavic and Russian monster, this is the undead form of a man or boy who drowned in a body of fresh water. No matter what age the person died at, the Vodnik always appears as a naked old man with green hair, green skin and algae covering his body. There is some variation in their forms as some take on blackish scales instead of undead flesh. Some also gain webbing between their fingers and/or gills.

A Vodnik is always tied to the body of water wherein he drowned. As a warning to the unwary, they can leave their water source for short periods of time so simply leaving the water is not enough to escape them. However, they have greater strength when they are actually in their water; in fact, their added strength is proportional to how much of their body is actually beneath the surface of the water. Thus they try to drag their victims beneath the surface as quickly as possible.

The Vodnik can control the fish in their water. This can range from simply having an extra set of eyes everywhere, to having minions to attack with. This gets even worse if there is a monstrous fish in the water as well. Also, when a Vodnik kills a victim within its water source, the soul of the victim does not pass on or even turn into another Vodnik. Instead the soul is transferred into one of the fish in the body of water, trapped there until the fish is killed.

Vodnik are naturally hostile to those not of their kind. However, it is possible to placate them enough so they will leave a person alone. This starts with overtures of kindness to the Vodnik from the edge of the water (woe to the person who tries to enter the water uninvited). First it begins with doffing your hat to the Vodnik as you pass by. Thereafter giving it tobacco or fish will help. Never will a Vodnik become friendly with a person, but at most, they will refrain from automatically attacking the person.

As a side note, the Russians built the GAZ-3937 "Vodnik", an amphibious vehicle.

Abilities
-Drag: The Vodnik is able to drag its victim toward it. The Vodnik must be in water to use this ability, but this drag does not require physical contact and can be done at range.
-Drowning: The Vodnik can fill the lungs of its victim as a special attack, basically causing the victim to immediately start drowning. This attack requires the victim to have some part of itself in the water.
-Water Strength: While within the water the Vodnik gains bonuses to hit and damage. How much this bonus is depends on how much of the Vodnik is in the water. To keep things simple, apply a bonus when the Vodnik is half or fully in the water.

Adventures
-A magician has a theory that since there has never been any Vodnik found in salt water, there is something about salt water that can harm them. The party is tasked with gathering some salt water and “attacking” a Vodnik with it. According to the real-world myths this should actually work, but of course you can decide to change that.

-Tragedy has struck. For a long time there has been a monstrous squid-like creature in the lake the village was built next to. The creature would disrupt fishing and trade and the village decided to do something about it. They hired a party of adventurers to kill the beast. Unfortunately the beast was too much for the group and it destroyed their boat and they drowned. Now the village has to content with a pack of Vodnik and the monster they now control. Hopefully, the player characters can do better than the last group of adventurers.

-A woman has lost her son to a Vodnik. She knows her son’s soul is trapped in the lake inside a fish. She beseeches the party to kill the fish housing her son’s soul so it can go on. Of course that means dealing with the Vodnik as well.

-While passing near a lake the characters are attacked by a Vodnik. As they finish dispatching the creature they are seen by a native of the nearby village and he is outraged. It seems the villagers had all been able to reach an agreement with the Vodnik, wherein they fed it tobacco and fish and it left them alone. Of course the nearby lair of orcs had not reached this agreement with the Vodnik and it killed them on sight. The lake lies between the orc lair and the village, so the Vodnik inadvertently acted as a protector for the village against the orcs. Now that it is gone the village lies vulnerable to the orcs. The village will attempt to guilt the party into destroying the orc lair.

April 25, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Uwan

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.


Uwan

Ensis heard nothing. All he could see was the moss covered wall, or rather, the remains of a wall. The ruin looked old. A person could easily see where the weather of ages had worn down the remaining sections of the wall. The rogue gave the signal and moved over the wall. Ensis made sure his arrow was targeted at the wall so he could provide covering fire if the rogue ran back quickly with something on his tail. He felt the weight of his sword at his side in case he had to run forward to get the rogue out of trouble.
Ensis heard nothing. The rogue staggered back over the wall, holding his hands over his ears. Blood seeped through the rogue’s fingers and he collapsed on the other side of the wall. Ensis cursed and drew his sword as he ran forward. He cursed again as he leapt the low wall, not knowing what was on the other side. All he saw on the other side was a vague, nebulous figure. He ran toward it.
Ensis heard the screaming. It came from the figure and sounded like pure rage. The sound pierced like a bolt into his brain. Blood began to trickle from his own ears now. He lost his sense of balance and stumbled.
Ensis heard nothing.

Part of the Japanese Yokai (monsters), the Uwan is a disembodied voice. Largely inhabiting ruins, its main form of attack is its voice, which it uses to screeching effect. One odd part of this voice is that it can only be heard within the ruin it haunts and not outside the building. I should mention that despite my use of the word “haunts” this creature is not in fact any type of undead. Rather, it is a manifestation of an emotion, usually rage.

It is unknown how Uwan come into being but it is speculated they are spontaneously created when there are large amounts of hatred and rage in an area. Further conjecture also suggests that whatever caused the original building to fall into ruin or neglect may also be a contributing factor. Some further theorize the Uwan is actually the building itself crying over its abandonment. Whatever the reasons, they are a serious hazard to adventurers who like to explore old ruins.

Abilities
-Voice: When it yells it can do damage and stun its opponents in an area.
-Disembodied: This is a defensive ability. The Uwan is extremely difficult to hit with weapons. Non-magic attacks do the absolute minimum damage a weapon can do.
-Inner Ear: Combining its Voice and Disembodied, the Uwan enters the ear of its target letting loose a horrendous scream. This does high amounts of damage and can incapacitate or deafen its target.

Adventures
-Bodies have been turning up dead in the city. None of them have any physical signs of what killed them though blood has leaked out of their ears. Also there were no sounds of a struggle though there were witnesses in the next room in some cases. After a fair amount of investigation it is revealed they each had possession of a large fire red opal. The opal is not cursed, but rather, it was once part of the architecture of a temple dedicated to a fire god. When the temple ruin was looted by a group of adventurers the Uwan went along with the opal. Now it kills. The party must recover the opal and return it to the ruin. To complicate the issue, the opal has been stolen by a group of thieves.

-The party is on the track of a group of bandits and the items they stole. They locate their hide-out, but the place is also the home of an Uwan. The Uwan leaves the bandits alone as they are actually working to rebuild (fortify) the ruin. The party must contend with both the bandits and the Uwan if they are to recover the stolen goods.

-A wizard has a ritual to banish Uwan. He wants the party to test its effectiveness at the known ruin of an Uwan. Will the party be able to complete the ritual while dealing with the Uwan? Will the ritual work? Will the party have to fight the Uwan if it fails?

April 23, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Tatzlwurm

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.


Tatzlwurm

Keeping downwind, the hunter moved smoothly through the forest. This was a new part of the hills for him, not many people ever travelled here. It was a primal forest, deep and old. However, the tracks he was following indicated a large smake or lizard. From the length of the beast’s foot placement, he estimated the size to be nearly 3’ in length. This would provide a few days meal. It was then he saw the creature, It was indeed 3’ long. Its scales were small and when the sunlight through the trees caught them just right they glinted in soft reds and blues. It should be easy enough to gut and drag out of the forest.
Taking careful aim, he let fly an arrow. It struck the beast just below the neck. However, it did not penetrate the scales. The creature turned and looked in his direction. Seeing him it suddenly leapt through the air landing a couple of feet from him. The hunter stumbled back in surprise, fumbling for his next arrow. He never got it out before the beast breathed a gout of sulfurous venom at him. He briefly clutched at his stricken throat and then fell limply to the ground, not to move ever again.

From the European Alps, this is a moderately sized, cat-faced lizard, first mentioned in the 15th century. It runs between 2-3 feet in length and has 2 front legs but no hind legs, though it is able to rear up on its tail. However, for its small size it is extremely deadly. It breathes venom capable of instantly killing a person. Also, its hide it extremely tough, able to turn normal weaponry. It is not intelligent and works from basic animal instincts.

It is known by various names depending on what region it can be found in; Stollenworm, Bergstutzen, Springwurm, Dazzelwurm, Praatzelwurm, Arassas. Of interest is that there are many people to have claimed to have seen the creature with over 60 sightings of similar description. The latest report of a sighting was in October of 2009. It also shows up in some wildlife books alongside normal animals.

The Tatzlwurm is very aggressive. It violently and quickly moves to defend its territory allowing nothing at all to live within that area. The area of a Tatzlwurm is often marked by dead bodies and bones; nothing living can be found within the area. Thankfully they prefer remote areas.

Abilities
-Breath: This does an extreme amount of poison damage similar to a dragon.
-Armor Hide: Its hide is tough enough to shrug off non-magical attacks. Weapons without a magical bonus do half damage.
-Leap: As a free action the Tatzlwurm is able to leap 15’.

Adventures
-A recent caravan was attacked. A survivor of the attack claims it was a Tatzlwurm and that the creature was fascinated by the gems and jewelry that the caravan was carrying. He managed to follow the beast back to its lair but he was too fearful to go into the cave. However, he is willing to sell a map to the cave. Whether or not any of this is true is up to the GM.

-Reports that a Tatzlwurm has been seen in the area start to make the rounds. The rumor was started by a group of miners that struck a rich silver vein in the hills and are fearful others may also strike silver, so they are spreading the rumor to make people avoid the area so they can continue to mine in secrecy. If the characters pursue the rumors they will be led on a merry chase of rumors from one person to another until they eventually lead back to the miners. The miners will not take kindly to someone asking so many questions.

-Rumors of a Tatzlwurm sighting begin to spread. Soon hunters and adventurers from around the area arrive, all wanting to be the first to finally kill such an elusive beast. They congregate near the Resting Way Inn. In fact, these rumors were started by the Inn as a way to draw people to the area and thus drive up their business. However, unknown to them there really is a Tatzlwurm in the area, which until now was content to leave the area alone as long as no one invaded its territory. However, all these people tramping around the area will likely rile the beast very soon. Even worse is the fact that the Tatzlwurm is not alone and there is in fact a nest of them.

April 22, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Sciritae

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.

Sciritae

It had no nose. I wanted to look away but it had no nose, just holes where a nose should be. At first I thought it was an old injury but they all had no nose. They walked, no, they glided out of the trees and now my eyes were immediately drawn to their legs and feet, or lack thereof. Instead of legs they had two snake-like appendages. It wasn’t natural. Those with me reached for their weapons expecting an attack from these hideous creatures. Then one of them spoke, clearly and succinctly, as a man and not as a beast.

A mythical race from India, but recorded in ancient Greek writing, they are humanoid with no nose, just slits for a nose similar to a snake, and their legs are snake-like. They are a full-fledged race instead of solitary monsters. They are intelligent, sapient and fully capable of interacting with the rest of humanity.

There are not a lot of them but they are separated into a few tribal groupings. While they can interbreed with humans they prefer to stay within their own race. They run the gamut of humanity, in that they can be evil or good much the same as anyone else. However, when first encountered by other races they are often faced with fear and hostility and this has caused many of them to wish to either withdraw from the rest of humanity or fight for their place. Most tribes of this race tend to fall into one of those two extremes.

Also of note is the fact there was a tribe of humans with the same name. They were allied with the Spartans and often fought along side them in prominent positions. It is possible that the stories of the snake-like Sciritae were confused with the real tribe. This could have come from the helmets they might have worn at that time.

Abilities
-Movement: Their snake-like legs allow them to move faster than normal. This provides an increase in speed and ability to move rapidly on a battlefield.
-Poison: More of a cultural aspect than any sort of racial ability, they are adept at using poisons. These poisons range from debilitating to damaging.
-Smell: Their sense of smell is greater than normal. They are able to smell their target even if it is concealed in some manner. All penalties for concealed/invisible/hidden targets are halved.

Adventures
-It is said a tribe of the Sciritae lives in the hills north of the city. Normally this would not be a concern for anyone, as they have not been seen in the lifetime of anyone alive, but it also is said they hold a cure for the most virulent of poisons. However, an assassin has struck the lord of the land with just such a poison. The party is tasked with journeying to the hills, finding the tribe and negotiating for their knowledge. And it must be done quickly.

-A tribe of the Sciritae has long lived side by side with the people of the region. However, of late rumormongers and neer-do-wells have been stirring the people up against them. A few confrontations have led to injury and near death. There is talk of banishing the tribe from the land. The party has been asked to find out where the problems are coming from. Has the relationship with the Sciritae changed? If not where is the hostility coming from? In reality, a rival government seeks to remove the Sciritae from the region. They are planning an invasion and the Sciritae have scouts working for the government of the local region. These scouts are able to scent out any intruders and the rival government needs them removed if they wish to move their troops into position quietly.

-A new religion has sprung up in the region. It promises power and enlightenment if only the people will worship their god. The priests are really some Sciritae in deep robes to hide what they look like. This tribe is adamant about serving their snake god and is looking to convert the people in the area, whether they want to or not. One useful tool they employ is a special poison that dulls the mind of the person who partakes of the poison. Can the aprty stop them before they take over the minds of everyone.

April 21, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Roblon

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.


Roblon

The first sign was the birds taking flight; they took wing an mass and filled the sky briefly before flying off. The second sign was the sound of thunder, only as it came closer it was clearly something large crashing through the trees. The third sign was when the ground began to shake. It was then the impossiblly large tree burst through the trees and stopped upon seeing the people. It actually made an incomprehenible sound as it struck out at them.

This is a tree, from northern Spain, that gained sentient from killing a girl. This girl was out walking when a storm struck, so finding a hollow nook at the base of a tree she went in to get dry and warm. The tree felt her warmth and squeezed tighter, crushing her. Her blood then seeped into the tree and it grew and grew until it was able to move on its own. It then went in search of more of this empowering food and now seeks more persons to eat. In its wake, when a seed drops into the blood it spills, a new Roblon is created. However, a Roblon slowly grows stronger as it continues to feed and the older trees can be a serious threat.

To all appearances a Roblon is a normal tree, an abnormally large tree, but a tree nevertheless. When it moves through a forest it knocks the lesser trees over. Now that it and its progeny are purely evil it cares nothing for the forest; it is not an avenger of those who despoil nature. It also consumes large quantities of water and can actually drain small lakes.

Abilities
-Grab: It is able to grapple its target with its limbs.
-Swallow/Crush: After it grapples a target it can stuff the target into its hollow base and then start crushing. This does a lot of damage since it also drains blood as well.
-Stomp: Being bigger than a normal tree its stride is more of a thunderous stomp. This can disorient nearby targets and even knock them off their feet.

Adventures
-The elves have long protected the nearby forest, sometimes with a violent vengeance. However, an understanding was reached many years ago and has held true ever since…until recently. The elves have been striking at outlying farms and homes. The characters are brought in to find out what is wrong and put a stop to it. Upon being able to interact with the elves, a difficult task in itself, they learn someone is destroying the forest, leaving wide swaths of fallen trees. This is a Roblon moving through the forest as it hunts for new food; in fact some of the attacks on the farms were actually the Roblon. The creature is hiding out in the forest in between feedings.

-A wizard has determined that only the progenitor of the Roblon can create new ones. He also knows where the creature is currently or at least near the location. The players are tasked with slaying the creature and thus ending the possibility of new Roblon being spawned. This is a high level adventure as the original Roblon is very old and powerful, almost a force of nature at this point. Whether or not the wizard’s assumptions are true (perhaps other older Roblon can also procreate) is up to you.

-A group of bandits has made an alliance with some younger Roblon. If the bandits continue to help the Roblon find easy prey to feed on, they will help the bandits. The bandits thus have become a scourge in the area, attacking where they are strong and hiding within the Roblon when they are outmatched. Thus far no one has been able to track the bandits as they rest within the Roblon while they move from location to location. Can the party stop them?

April 20, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Quinotaur

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.


Quinotaur

There was a crashing noise from the bottom of the ship. At first it felt as if the ship had hit a reef, but the ship continued to move. Then a cry a went up that water was entering the hold. Puncture marks appeared in the hull and the water was coming in rapidly. The carpenters rushed to the hull, but then the bottom of the ship heaved up again as the ship was again struck. More hoels appeared and more water came in. It was then theat the tail swept over the edge of the rails taking two sailors with it.

This is a bull headed fish. As expected it has 5 horns on its head. It can be aggressive when its territory is threatened, otherwise it is fairly docile. It has been known to attack passing ships. It is an herbivore so tends to only attack when threatened. It is able to function just fine in and out of the water, moving similar to a walrus while on land. It is in the water that it is the most elegant though.

The Quinotaur figured prominently in ancient legends. It is said to have sired the start of the Merovingian dynasty, which was the pre-cursor to the Carolingian dynasty and Holy Roman Empire. While the Quinotaur is first specifically mentioned by that name during the Merovingian mythos, there was a similar creature as far back as the Phoenicians, wherein the daughter of the king, Europa (for which the continent is named), was taken by a sea-bull. The Greeks also included a similar story as part of their mythos.

Abilities
-Horns: With 5 horns the beast can do considerable damage, especially to a ship.
-Tail: Its tail is fairly large and can strike, even those on the deck of a ship.

Adventures
-A magician wants a horn from a Quinotaur and is willing to pay highly for it. He will provide a ship and crew. The task takes on unexpected dimensions when the crew begins to rebel at the thought of fighting a Quinotaur. There are also other sea monsters in the area, as well as pirates. This simple job is rife with complications.

-A Quinotaur has begun attacking within a well travelled sea lane. Reports indicate the Quinotaur has always made its home here, so the question is, why is the Quinotaur attacking now? The Quinotaur recently gave birth and the while the child was out learning to swim and exploring one day, it was caught in the nets of a fishing vessel. The fishermen decided to keep the child instead of releasing it, in the hope they could sell it for large sums of gold. The Quinotaur will continue to attack until it is dead or the child is returned.

April 19, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Phi

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.


Phi

As usual the rogue had avoided the brunt of the attacks and had patiently waited for the right moment to strike. The moment came a bit later than the wizard would have liked. The wizard had exhausted most of his spells and the fighter had taken a serious beating at the hands of the possessed man. The man had fought with abandon, not paying attention to the wounds they were inflicting on him. However, when the moment did arrive the rogue took it quickly. He drove both his daggers into the spine of the man, severing it in a second. The man twitched once then fell.
The priest began to enact the ritual that would permanently banish the ghost. But it was the wrong ritual for the wrong ghost. The wizard realized this when the rogue went stiff. The rogue then drove his dagger into the priest and turned to the wizard. Their information had been incomplete and they were about to pay the price of that mistake, a heavy price.

Phi is the Thai word for ghost. There are a multitude of them and they come in many variations. The majority of these ghosts inhabit specific places, but a few, such as the Phi Pop, inhabit people instead. Each of these is unique, with different powers for each and often different ways of dealing with them. Within Thailand there is an entire class of people whose job it is to expel these ghosts from their haunts. They are known as the Mho Phi, or ghost doctor.

Phi Graseu
Similar to the familiar Vargouille, this ghost’s form is that of a floating female head with the intestines hanging there from. It is always on the prowl for dead bodies and usually haunts cemeteries, though living bodies will do as well.
Abilities-Entangle, Flight.

Phi Hua-Kad
This is the ghost of someone who has been beheaded. This could have been intentional, such as during wartime or an execution, or as the result of an accident. These ghosts seek to inflict the same death on others.
Abilities-Damage to prone (neck exposed) targets, Thrown head.

Phi Pop
This ghost does not haunt places, but rather people. It takes possession of a body and then begins to eat it from the inside out. After it is done consuming the body it then moves onto another one. Thus it is very hard to get rid of and requires a special ritual to force it from the land of the living.
Abilities-Possession, Ongoing damage.

Phi Pret
This ghost is insatiably hungry. This hunger is manifested in a variety of avenues, not just food. It also desires copious amounts of money, power or sex. However, it is never satisfied and continually pursues its goal to the detriment of those around it. This ghost is easily recognized by its incredibly small mouth; it is the size of an eye of a needle. This may have something to do with its evil temperament.
Abilities-Increased damage if it hits the same target.

Phi Tai Hong
These ghosts died due to an accident of some sort, something not of their own fault and something sudden, such as being murdered or dying in a traffic accident. They remain as ghosts with the overriding desire to inflict the same pain on the living.
Abilities-Speed, Swift change of target.

Phi Tai Tong Glom
This is the ghost is a fusion of a woman who died giving birth and her baby who died as well. Sometimes it is also the ghost of a pregnant woman who has died. It is said this ghost is twice as powerful due to it consisting of two spirits.
Abilities-Double attacks.

Phi Ton Mai
These ghosts haunt trees. These ghosts are rather benign largely avoiding people. However, if their tree is ever in danger, such as nearby logging, the ghost will fight to protect itself. Some communities have taken to wrapping the tree of a Phi Ton Mai with cloth to mark it as the home of a ghost. Here you can see the Thai word for ghost and often these clothes had the symbol placed on them for further guidance.
Abilities-Entangle with roots, Multiple limb attacks.

Adventures
-A Phi Pop has been terrorizing the area, feeding on a new victim every two or three days. Nine people have been lost so far. The priest of the area claims there is a ritual that will banish the ghost but he does not know it. However, he does know there is a copy of the ritual in the ruins of an old temple. Of course, this ruin is inhabited by monsters and traps against the unfaithful.

-Rumors are spreading that a Phi Tai Hong is attacking a village. Apparently, a woman and her child were killed within the village a few months ago as they were suddenly run down by stampeding horses. However, all attempts to put the ghost to rest have failed thus far. Some suspect it may really be a Phi Tai Tong Glom and thus requires a different ritual to lay it to rest. In reality, it is the husband of the woman who is enacting revenge against the village that allowed this to happen to his family.

-A necromancer has made a deal with a Phi Graseu. The ghost keeps people clear of the cemetery and the necromancer promises to keep the ghost fed with fresh bodies. The necromancer is using this unrestricted access to the dead in the cemetery to build himself a small undead army. The party is tasked with removing the Phi Graseu, but will find a much larger problem on their hands.

April 18, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Obayifo

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.


Obayifo

The field was withered; its plants meager and barely standing. The priest ran his hand across the tops of the plants and they snapped to the ground. This was why they had been brought in, to find the cause. At first they had thought a few prayers and sacrifices to the local gods would suffice, but soon they determined this was not a natural plague. This was the work of an evil creature and they had chosen this night to hunt it down.
It was into their third hour of the night that the farmer approached the party. He raised his hand in greeting and they responded likewise; they remembered him from the village meeting where the problem was presented to them. It was not until the farmer was close that they realized something was wrong, unnatural. The farmer went to speak and light escaped his mouth. The creature had been found, or more precisely it had found them. They raised their weapons and battle was joined.

This is a powerful undead vampiric creature with ties to West Africa. It is also known as the Asiman. It has a form, that of the body it had while still alive, but in reality it is a ball of blue light now. In this form of light it can inhabit other bodies, even animals. Conceivably it could take over another form for extended periods of time, especially if it no longer has access to its first body. However, they have a natural preference for their original body.

Fortuantely, there are three tell-tale signs a body is inhabited by an Obayifo. The foremost means is that their light escapes from the host body, usually from various orifices. This is really easy to see at night. Second is that the Obayifo has trouble adapting to the new body and its eyes shift around a lot. Third is an intense obsession with food; they eat as much as possible in their new body.

The Obayifo has an insatiable need for liquids that form a part of life. They get the most nourishment from blood, which they can drain at a distance, but they also will drain different fluids from other things, such as plantlife; they have been known to drain the juice from entire crops.

Abilities
-Dominate: The creature is able to gain control of a person’s body for a short time; until the target makes a saving throw vs. the attack.
-Drain: This is a ranged attack that drains fluids from its target. While the Obayifo does not gain an increase in power from this, its target is weakened because of it.
-Ball: Its natural form is a ball of light. In this form it gains damage resistance and speed, but it loses its other attacks. This is usually a defensive measure.

Adventures
-People have begun disappearing from town. At least one per night, sometimes more. A few instances there were witnesses close to the time of the disappearance but the person acted normal. Investigation reveals the missing people simply walked off. An Obayifo has recently found an abandoned ruin and is kidnapping people by the simple expedient of taking over their bodies and walking to the ruin. Once there he imprisons them so he can eat them later; he has combined his obsession with food and his need for bodily fluids together by eating the people and draining them as well. He is building a larder of food.

- Animals in the area have become rabid. There have been several attacks in the region, several had led to deaths. Worse, while there were animal bite and claw marks, the victims had also been drained of their life essence, leaving withered husks behind. The party has been hired to solve this problem. In reality, this all the work of an Obayifo taking the bodies of the local animals. Soon after the party begins their investigation it will alter its tactics and start using human forms instead.

-Will-o-wisps have been seen in the area. When the party goes to deal with them they will be surprised when they learn they are really dealing with some unusual vampires.

April 16, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Nuberu

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.


Nuberu

It had been raining for eight days. Normally this was a good thing but the rain was flooding the fields, threatening to literally wash the crops away. The wind also was fierce throughout this time, bending the crops and causing much to be blown away or broken. After the local shaman cast her rituals, it was determined to be the work of a Nuberu, and the fault of the village’s baker. The entire village went to the Nuberu, including the protesting baker, who claimed he had done no wrong.
Humbly they approached the Nuberu’s home by the sea. They tentatively knocked on the door. It swung open fiercely as the Nuberu stood there.
“What?!” it asked.
The baker was pushed forward. “We…we wish to ask you to stop the storms. We wish to ask what we have done wrong and how we can fix it?”
The Nuberu stared at the baker. “I know you. You are the man who ignored me in the street last week. You have brought this upon yourself.” And the door shut loudly.

Of Spanish origin, the Nuberu is a short man, with big ears and brightly colored eyes. It dresses in furs and wears a hat and a cloak made of feathers. It has great powers associated with storms; he can make it rain, hail, and lightning. It enjoys bringing harm to people, ruining crops with hail, bringing storms at sea when ships are near, hitting people with lighhtning. This all seems to amuse it. However, if it is ever helped by a person it is kind to that person, irrigating their land and helping as it can.

Abilities
-Lightning: Its lightning can fork and hit multiple targets.
-Hail: This is not normal sized hail, but rather large enough to damage property and homes. As such, it can pack a punch when it hits during a fight.
-Air: It can also manipulate the air. It uses this to fly and move other beings around at its whim.

Adventures
-A Nuberu is tricked by a bandit into believing the nearby village has slighted it. In its usual irritation it sends a plague of ill weather against the village. Then the Nuberu is captured by the bandits and carried off. Now the storms rage on without stopping. The bandits have heard of an ancient cairn beneath the village and are hoping to drive off the villagers so they can plunder it at will. The characters are hired to deal with the Nuberu. They will first need to discover the Nuberu is missing, find where the bandits are holding it and then release it from their stronghold. Thereafter, they may wish to investigate the cairn themselves.

-A natural drought has hit the region. The people have beseeched the Nuberu to aid them, but it first wants a new set of clothing made for it. Unfortunately, the materials needed for this new wardrobe is beyond the capabilities of the people to procure, so they turn to the characters for aid. Some of these materials include gorgon hide for a new hat, the feathers of a roc for a new cloak and the skin of a werewolf for a new set of furs.

-A local farmer has garnered the good-will of a Nuberu. The Nuberu keeps the farmer’s fields healthy and vibrant. The farmer has also been able to convince the Nuberu to send ill weather against the other farmers. Soon the farmer will be the sole provider of foods stuffs in the area, able to charge any price for his goods. The other farmers in the area wish to hire the party to somehow remove the advantage of the sole farmer. How they do this is up to the characters, but the farmers need results and soon.

April 15, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Mara

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.


Mara

She knew she was dreaming. She was being chased, but her legs were sluggish and moved slow. The goblin chasing her was gaining ground and no matter how hard she tried she could not move any faster, in fact she was slowing down. She was in her nightgown, running through the streets, but she could not yell for help. She ran past familiar faces in a blur and she opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. Then the goblin leapt with a cackle and knocked her to the ground. She tried to twist away but only managed to end up on her back as the goblin leapt into her chest. Then she woke up. To find a goblin sitting on her chest in her bed in her room. This time she screamed and all in the house could hear it.

Of multiple origins, the Mara is a goblin that affects sleep, specifically inducing nightmares. In Swedish, Icelandic, Norwegian it is known as Mara. From there it has alternate spellings, but they all mean the same thing; bad dreams, or nightmares. Mara is the root of the word nightmare, night-mara.

The Mara creeps into rooms at night and induces nightmares upon its victims. Normally the Mara “attacks” during the night as people sleep, but it can also use its powers during other times and against the waking. The Mara usually does not do this to cause death, but as with most goblins, they come in different temperments and some can seek death for their victims.

In form, they look much the same as your typical goblin. Short, grubby, with large ears and wearing a colored cap. It is only in their choice of attacks that they can be differentiated from other goblins.

Abilities
-Mute: The target is unable to speak for a limited time. The best way to handle this is to simply not allow the player to speak during this time (other than game mechanics).
-Paralysis: The creature is able to paralyze its target, not allowing them any movement. This loss of movement starts simple enough, making it impossible to move their feet, but this paralysis can get worse if the appropriate saving throw is not made. The paralysis will start to affect the rest of the target’s body until he can not move any part of his body.

Adventures
-People have been dying in the night with no visible wounds. The characters are tasked with looking into it. The problem lies in the fact there are so many possibilities to pursue. It could be doppelgangers, illithids, astral beings, psychic worms, magicians, etc. Eventually, after wading through a slew of possibilities and encounters, they will discover it is a malevolent Mara goblin.

-People have been committing crimes throughout the city. All these crimes occur at night. The people committing them are not the usual sort to do such acts; in fact, they remember nothing about the crime when captured. A Mara goblin is using its ability to affect people’s dreams to have them commit the crimes. It then makes off with the loot and leaves the person to take the fall.

-A woman has not been sleeping for the past several weeks. She has become withdrawn and unhealthy. Her husband approaches the party asking for them to investigate as this smells of some type of sorcery. Quickly the characters will discover it is the work of a Mara. However, it seems the woman had made a deal with a Fey Lord. This Fey Lord saved her husband’s life when he was desperately ill and as payment the woman must attend to the Fey Lord during her sleeping hours; the Mara simply is tasked with sending her there. Unfortunately, the woman will die soon if not released from her vow. The party will need to enter the Dream Realm as well and somehow persuade the Fey Lord to release her from her deal. Perhaps this will entail going on a special adventure for him.

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.

Abilities
-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.

Adventures
-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.

April 13, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Kludde

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. These are drawn from stories and mythologies found in a variety of real-world cultures.


Kludde

He quickly made his way homeward, but his thoughts were racing. He realized he should have never stayed at her house as long as he had. This would be hard to explain to his wife, not even claiming to be drunk at the tavern would be enough to fool her this time. His thoughts were intruded upon by the barest of sounds and movement. Something caught his brief attention and drew him out of his self absorbed thoughts. It took a moment for the sound to register, but it indeed did sound like the rattling of chains. Then he saw the small blue flames flickering in the tall grass. He broke into a run and he could hear it running through the grasses running parallel with him. He veered to the left, away from the creature, but then it burst from the grass and leapt at him, moving at a speed beyond normal. The last thing he was to ever see was the large black dog right before it ripped his throat out.

There have long been myths and stories of evil apparitions of dogs; this is the Flemish version. The Kludde can actually take multiple forms, but the shape of a large black dog capable of walking on its back legs is the predominate form. It is a malignant water spirit that exists to harm others, particularly travelers in the early morning, just before dawn. The appearance of a Kludde is presaged by the sounds of chains rattling, for the creature is covered in them, and by the two blue flames that are its eyes.

It appears to serve no ecological niche; it just kills to kill, though it does eat that which it kills. While it appears physical, it is a spirit apparition and things that affect spirits will affect this creature. In addition, due to its ties to the world of spirits it is unable to manifest during daylight hours, disappearing at dawn.

While it sticks to its dog form mostly, it has been seen in other forms. In each of its other shapes the distinctive chain rattling can still be heard and each form has blue flames for eyes, so it is readily apparent a person is dealing with a Kludde.

-Horse: In this form it will appear docile and allow a person to ride it. However, once a rider is on it, it moves at an unnatural, break-neck speed, running for over an hour. At the end of the run the Kludde dumps the rider into a water source, thereby allowing the rider to “safely” dismount. In this form the Kludde is more of a nuisance than a killer.
-Cat: This form is used more for stealth. When the Kludde actually goes to attack it will switch to its dog form.
-Raven: This form is used for scouting. Again the Kludde goes into dog form when it wants to attack. If the creature finds itself in trouble it can switch to this form to escape.

During my research it seems the Kludde has, in fact, been statted for Shadowrun. However, I liked the monster concept; I think it would make an excellent monster for a fantasy setting.

Abilities
-Weight: The Kludde has the mystical ability to increase its own weight. It first pounces on its victim and then increases its weight to keep its target down on the ground, so it can better ravage its victim.
-Speed: A person can not outrun a Kludde. It is able to always move one space further than its target.
-Tenacity: The Kludde is persistent (some would even say dogged) in its attacks. It prefers to attack the same target each round and if it does so it gains a successive bonus to its attacks.

Adventures
-Someone has managed to gain control of a Kludde. It could be a necromancer able to speak to the spirit or a magician who has managed to bind it to his will. Either way, a Kludde under the control of an intelligent and cunning adversary can lead to many dangerous adventures. Such a combination can quickly spread terror throughout a region.

-A Kludde is rumored to in the region. As such the residents have taken to killing all cats and ravens in case it is the Kludde in one of its forms. In reality, there is no Kludde and news of its appearance are nothing but rampant rumor mongering, a case of a story being told and retold until it takes on a life of its own. However, a powerful high elf from the Fey, has heard of the killing of the ravens and since he serves the Raven King he can not allow this to continue. The characters will have to figure out a way to convince the residents of the area there is no Kludde (something for which they will need to provide sufficient proof of) and do it before the elf begins to systematically destroy the residents.

-The party is approached by a man on the run. For some reason a Kludde has chosen him as its target, continuing the chase at nightfall until dawn each day. The man has been on the run for a week now, only able to keep ahead of the monster because he travels non-stop, day and night. And yet, the monster almost catches up to him each day at dawn. The man knows if he ever stops running for even half a day the Kludde will catch him. He asks the characters to destroy the monster for him.

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.

April 11, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Ieles

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.

Ieles

The song was a thing of beauty. How it came to be out here in the middle of no where was unknown, but it held a haunting call; half a promise and half a plea. The caravan guard called a halt in the road as he tried to determine where it was coming from. The song filled his mind as he moved away from the road bringing a dullness. His mind came instantly awake as the cat-man leaped at him and sank its teeth into his flesh, but by then it was too late.

Part of the Eastern Europe set of mythos, the Ieles is a large, bipedal cat creature that preys on travelers. They tend to stalk crossroads in particular. Crossroads seem to be a focusing point for their power. The closer they are to a crossroad the stronger they are, but if they actually enter the crossroad the focusing point drains them of all power. Thus they entice their potential prey away with alluring songs of a mystical quality.

They are similar to vampires in that they drain blood from their victims. This is how they feed. They are hunted by nearly all other life forms as they are a societal pariah so they prefer to stalk near old abandoned crossroads.

Abilities
-Blood Drain: They are able to latch onto their victims and are hard to shake off. In addition, they drain for damage but this also heals them as well.
-Crossroads: Depending on how close they are to the crossroad center they gain bonuses to hit and damage.
-Song: Their song is mesmerizing and its attack forces their target to move toward them. If the song is continued the victim also loses defenses.
-Pounce: Their initial attack can cover a large amount of distance.

Adventures
-A pack of Ieles have been plaguing the area. It is known how to defeat them; by forcing them into the center of the crossroads they set upon. The party has been tasked to accomplish this feat.

-A party member has managed found a young kitten and it has latched onto the character as well. As it starts to grow up it is revealed to be an Ieles. Conflicts will start to arise when other people realize this. There are claims they can not be domesticated and are dangerous for everyone. The cat begins to show signs it is regressing to its natural state. What is the character to do, and how will the rest of the party react?

-A group of mercenaries is out hunting a pack of Ieles that have been plaguing the area. In reality, it is the mercenaries that have been doing to attacking and making it look like it was the Ieles, though there are really none in the region. Thus far the mercenaries have not been able to stop the Ieles attacks, so the party is hired to try and stop the Ieles themselves. Things will get ugly soon.

April 9, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Hyter Sprite

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.


Hyter Sprite

The child fell to the ground in a heap. Blood began to flow from her nose. People stood around not sure what to do. She was the man’s daughter after all and it wasn’t their place to interfere. It was then that a bird darted into the square, landing on the statue therein. Then another bird flew in and landed on a tree. Then another and another, until there must have been over 30 of them. Then the first bird spoke and began to berate the man who had struck the child.
“What type of man would strike a child?”
“She is my daughter to do with as I please,” was his angry response.
It was then the birds took wing and flew straight at the man.

Mostly an English creature, the Hyter Sprite is a type of small sprite. They run sandy brown in color with vivid green eyes. They are able to shapeshift into martin birds, retaining their eye color in both forms; this is the best way to realize you are dealing a Hyter Sprite. They tend to get along with other races, though they care for children in all forms and brook no harm to fall to a child within their region.

Abilities
-Peck: The Hyter Sprites go for vulnerable spots on their target, such as eyes, fingers, throats, etc. As such each of their beak strikes can be more debilitating than normal.
-Swarm: They travel in large swarms when on the prowl. As such they will become more dangerous and harder to kill.
-Darting Speed: They move quickly and are able to attack and fly during the same attack. This allows them to move in, attack and move out after, all before their target can react.

Adventures
-A bird lands near the characters and asks for their help. Children have been disappearing from the area and they suspect a ring of kidnappers. Thus far they have not been able to find who is doing it or any of the children. They seek the aid of beings with greater ability to move among the populace. Will they help?

-Someone is poisoning a local pool. The Hyter Sprites in the area have long used the pool as a bathing and watering hole. Someone is trying to kill the Sprites but who is it? It is a local well-known figure in town that fears a public beration by the Hyter Sprites, as he has on occasion beaten his children. He is looking to destroy the Hyter Sprites before they can destroy his reputation.

-If ever the party is responsible for the death of any children (including those of evil races such as goblins, orcs, etc), they will getting an unpleasant visit from a swarm of Hyter Sprites.

April 8, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Guarana

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.


Guarana

It moved naturally. For all intent, it was the blacksmith’s son coming back from a rendezvous with his girlfriend. It was odd that he did not repsond when called to. It was only when it got closer they could see its eyes and they were not human. The eyes then snaked out of the body and wrapped themselves around it’s victim.

This is a real-life vine plant grown in Brazil for actual medicinal purposes. It is made into health food and drinks including forms of soda. It also has twice the caffeine of a coffee bean. It has large green leaves with vibrant red bulbs. When these bulbs open they reveal a white inner with a black seed at its center, making them look like eyes.

The mythology comes in how the plant was created. A local god killed a favored child. To console the villagers the god took the left eye and planted it in the wild, creating the wild form of the Guarana. It then took the right eye and planted it in farmland, creating the domesticated form of the Guarana. While the domesticated form of the Guarana is safe and useful for people, the wild form is highly dangerous.

The wild Guarana feeds on living flesh. It is able to grab hold of a being as it walks nearby. After it has access to a corpse it will climb into the body, with its “eyes” replacing the eyes of the corpse. The corpse is then able to move around under control of the vine. The Guarana are constantly looking for more food and will use the corpse to get close enough to other living beings to feed again. Note that the corpse is not considered to be undead.

Abilities
-Vinewrap: The Guarana is able to wrap itself around an opponent keeping them from moving. Being held for an extended time will increase any damage taken.
-Control: Once their opponent becomes wounded (half hit point loss) the plant can take partial control of the target. This control only lasts for 1 round, but has a chance to be reapplied next round if the attack hits again.
-Corpse: Part of the damage the Guarana takes during a fight is actually taken by the corpse it is using so until the damage reaches a certain threshold, the damage to the actual Guarana is minimized.

Adventures
-Corpses have been disappearing from the local cemetery. People fear necromancers of some type, but all divinations belie that theory. In fact, all attempts to track the undead with magic detections have failed. This is because the corpses are not in fact undead, but rather are now being used by a pack of Guarana. One of the plants managed to get near the cemetary and is now bringing more of the plants there. They have been gathering and will soon strike the village.

-A body has been found with telltale marks of a wild Guarana attack; marks where the vines wrapped around the body and the eyes are missing. A local merchant claims some wild Guarana have infested a field of domestic Guarana and are hiding therein. In actuality, the merchant, who also controls a domestic Guarana field, planted the body and is looking to stir things up so the other field must be destroyed. This will leave him as the sole merchant of domestic Guarana in the area. If things do not move fast enough for the merchant, more bodies will start to appear.

-A mutant strain of Guarana develops in the area. This strain is able to access some of the mental abilities of its corpse and is more able to pass as normal. It can make the corpse use its vocal capabilites and gains some of its memory, though they do tend to become withdrawn from society as much as possible. Several people have already been taken over by a pack of Guarana and their goal is to claim even more. The characters are brought in by a member of the village whose father disappeared a month ago. She wishes the party to find out what happened to him. He was one of the first to be taken by the Guarana, but his corpse decayed too fast and was abandoned. During the party’s inverstigation of the father, they will stumble upon the greater danger of the Guarana.

April 7, 2011

Mythic Monsters-Fetch

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.


Fetch

There was a warning. A single light, very much like a candle, hovered in the air on the path ahead. As the group moved cautiously toward the light, the wraith coalesced around the flame. They all instinctively knew it was a ghostly form of the fighter. A chill ran through the fighter as he knew he was looking at his own death. There had been a warning.

A part of Irish lore, the Fetch is the wraith-like form of a living being. It is in a ghostlike image of a specific person and often presages the death of the person it is a copy of. This warning usually happens right before the death of the person, but there are stories of those who were able to avoid this fate.

Particularly gifted necromancers or witches can summon a specific person’s Fetch. This requires some type of personal effect of the target’s, something they have been in contact with for an extended period of time or a part of their person, such as a lock of hair. This form of Fetch will then seek out the person it is a copy of in an attempt to kill that person.

Abilities
-Image: While the Fetch can be affected by everyone during a combat it takes reduced damage from all other beings, except for the person he is an image of.
-Lesser Fetch: The Fetch is able to make copies of other members of the party as well. These lesser forms die easily but they can only be affected by those they are a copy of.
-Candle: The fetch-light is sent against someone, disallowing the target to use any sort of stealth.

Adventures
-The characters are approached by a person who is being hunted by his Fetch. He has been able to elude the Fetch thus far, but his time is running out. Can the characters kill the Fetch before it kills him? In reality he stole from a necromancer and this is recompense, something the necromancer will make clear to the party. Will the party still aid the target of the Fetch after they gain this knowledge?

-There have been a series of Fetch sightings within the city. Thus far the targets have been able to kill their Fetch leaving the copy behind, though there is much cause for concern. In reality, a group of doppelgangers has arrived in the city and while taking the form of their target they also embellish it with wraith-like trappings so any suspicions are placed upon the Fetch. So far they have been able to kill and replace 4 prominent people after they “defeated the Fetch”.

-For four nights running one member of the party has seen his Fetch. Rumors say reaching seven sightings spells instant death. Rumors also state that this type of Fetch is tied to a particular location and it is possible to avoid this death. In reality, this encounter occurs while the party is pursuing another adventure. This is all an elaborate plan to try and get the party to leave town.