Monday, October 31, 2011

Fantomist (Wermspittle)

No. Enc.: 1d4 (3d6)
Alignment: (80%) Chaotic, (20%) Neutral
Movement: 150' (50')
          Levitate: 300' (100')
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 1 + spells
Damage: 1d8+residue, by spell
Save: F5
Morale: 10

Liars, cheaters, thieves -- worst of all thieves-- but not of the vulgar sort, no that would not do for these horrid, wretched villains. They traffic in contraband spirits, abducted and purloined souls, encysted minds and the flickering remnants of other people's loved ones--they trade in shadows and memories and they are cruel in their dealings for they love no one.

Pallid, gaunt humanoids wreathed in masses of flowing and swirling ectoplasm, the Fantomists are terrifying even to those who know nothing about them. Those who do know their illicit and damned trade often find themselves fleeing before they have to face one of these hateful, greedy soul-mongers. (Treat this as a 10' radius Fear effect, as suggested by a brief perusal of Shane Mangus' excellent rules for Horror and Sanity in Fantasy available at his blog, Swords Against the Outer Dark.)

Fantomists are not quite undead. No longer merely living, they occupy a strange limnal state in-between, a grim twilight from which they derive a great deal of knowledge and power. They know the secrets that only the dead can whisper and they know the fear and loathing that can only burst forth from a still-beating heart. They know much that is forbidden, forgotten or better off lost for the sake of sanity and all that is good.

A Fantomist attacks with an ectoplasmic bolt or a range of spells and symbols. The ectoplasmic bolt does 1d8 damage and leaves a corrupting residue on the target that makes them more susceptible to necromantic effects for 2d4 turns. (-4 penalty on all saves versus Fantomist spells, -2 penalty against all other necromantic effects for duration of the residue. Also anyone dying while suffering from the residue has a base 40% chance to become some form of undead. Determine type randomly.)

But a Fantomist cares nothing for sanity, nor for the paltry concepts of good or evil. They are beyond such distinctions, doing as they please and wreaking havoc upon all who dare to oppose their nefarious schemes and long-range ambitions.

The Fantomists are nothing if not consummate schemers. They are ruthless yet patient, for they have all the time in the world, should they require it. Masterminds and manipulators behind the scenes, they specialize in blackmail, manufactured sedition, a hundred crimes and more--they care not one whit about laws or convention save that they are useful to their plans and give them such a wonderful web to work with like master weavers. And the worst thing of all is that they walk freely amongst the living and the dead, they capture souls, imprison minds and have been known to arrange for especially meddlesome interlopers to be incarcerated in the deepest dungeons where they have languished forlorn and forgotten, only to die and give up their soul unto their enemies who then set them to working mischief and mayhem on their behalf.

One might consider buying back the soul of someone dearly departed, but oftentimes what comes back isn't what you'd expect or hope for. Caveat Emptor.

Fantomists have a long-running enmity and wage a pernicious slow motion war of attrition against other necromantic factions such as possibly the Barrow-Men, the Soulless and/or the empty-eyed and alley-haunting Mediums all too familiar to the denizens of the shanty-camps of Wermspittle, should any such dwell within a city or town that the Fantomists have taken up residence within.

A Fantomist has a minimum of 4 levels as a spell caster and they always have the following spells: Cause Fear, Curse, Magic Jar, Phantasmal Force, Confusion, Feeblemind, Death Spell, Trap the Soul, and a range of Symbols unique to themselves. Fantomists also have a repertoire of spells unique to them, several of which have already been detailed here at Hereticwerks.

There are several competing groups of Fantomists in Wermspittle, necromantic mercenaries who switch their allegiances between the Ignobles and others based on what rewards they are promised and the rewards that they demand in the pursuit of their own weird agendas...

Fantomists employ agents to scour the markets and fairs. They seem to be looking for rare manuscripts, half-rotten scrolls and odd compendia that most of the book-sellers and looters have never heard of...yet.

The Brazen Tomb of Gargantua: Some Background

Most noble and illustrious drinkers, and you thrice precious pockified blades (for to you, and none else, do I dedicate my writings)...
We recently completed a very brief and cursory look at Gargantua by Rabelais over at Old School Heretic. In the course of describing Gargantua we noted the following bit:
To return to our wethers, I say that by the sovereign gift of heaven, the antiquity and genealogy of Gargantua hath been reserved for our use more full and perfect than any other except that of the Messias, whereof I mean not to speak; for it belongs not unto my purpose, and the devils, that is to say, the false accusers and dissembled gospellers, will therein oppose me. This genealogy was found by John Andrew in a meadow, which he had near the pole-arch, under the olive-tree, as you go to Narsay: where, as he was making cast up some ditches, the diggers with their mattocks struck against a great brazen tomb, and unmeasurably long, for they could never find the end thereof, by reason that it entered too far within the sluices of Vienne. Opening this tomb in a certain place thereof, sealed on the top with the mark of a goblet, about which was written in Etrurian letters Hic Bibitur, they found nine flagons set in such order as they use to rank their kyles in Gascony, of which that which was placed in the middle had under it a big, fat, great, grey, pretty, small, mouldy, little pamphlet, smelling stronger, but no better than roses. In that book the said genealogy was found written all at length, in a chancery hand, not in paper, not in parchment, nor in wax, but in the bark of an elm-tree, yet so worn with the long tract of time, that hardly could three letters together be there perfectly discerned.

I (though unworthy) was sent for thither, and with much help of those spectacles, whereby the art of reading dim writings, and letters that do not clearly appear to the sight, is practised, as Aristotle teacheth it, did translate the book as you may see in your Pantagruelizing, that is to say, in drinking stiffly to your own heart’s desire, and reading the dreadful and horrific acts of Pantagruel. At the end of the book there was a little treatise entitled the Antidoted Fanfreluches, or a Galimatia of extravagant conceits. The rats and moths, or (that I may not lie) other wicked beasts, had nibbled off the beginning: the rest I have hereto subjoined, for the reverence I bear to antiquity.
This is clipped from a wonderful Online English translation of Gargantua that you can find here.

Some workers out digging ditches uncover an ancient brazen tomb that is unmeasurably long (they never did find the end of the thing) that was sealed with the mark of a Goblet. A set of Etrurian letters around the Goblet spell out the phrase 'Hic Bibitur,' which in Latin means "Here They Drink." It's also the name of a cool Russian restaurant that we'd love to visit sometime. We'll pass over the oh-so-tempting Goblet=Grail connection as being too obvious, at least for now. Etrurian Letters are Etruscan letters. Etruscan is the ancient language of a people who were not the Romans, but who contributed a good bit to Roman culture the same way everyone else did--they were annexed, absorbed, and assimilated, then Romanified, like the Greeks, only less conspicuously as the Etruscans were a bit too rustic and were more suited to the role of providing cool bits of folklore, the Lars, and some odd-gods.

Once the Brazen Tomb was opened-up they found nine flagons underneath which was a "...big, fat, great, grey, pretty, small, mouldy, little pamphlet, smelling stronger, but no better than roses." Wow. What a great description of a potentially magical tome. Mighellito over at The Grumpy Old Troll does a very good job of describing a similar set of strange, weird old books for your dungeon-delving pleasure. You can find his excellent table of magical and mundane books here.

Inside the rose-smelling pamphlet, which is filled with pages made out of elm bark, is the entire recorded lineage of this giant-dude Gargantua. You can read more about Gargantua himself at Old School Heretic at this post.

We'll add this pamphlet to the Inside the Tome Table while we're at it.

So this Brazen Tomb that the ditch-diggers have uncovered is unmeasurable. They never can find the end to it. Doesn't that sound like a fun entrance to another Megadungeon? We thought so.

This might be a great opportunity to try out Al's Megadungeon Random Area Name Generator Tables, and maybe expand upon them a bit by adding a Rabelais-Inspired Sub Table to the mix.

This also looks like a fun way to make the Planes of the Paraverse project a bit more accessible and useful. What a cool means of entry into a vast and uncanny set of interconnected planes that have been lurking behind the thin veil of reality, just waiting to be discovered. And to think it was lying there in mud of a simple ditch in a meadow beneath an olive tree in 16th Century France.

Sounds like an excellent place to begin.

Maybe we should do some Micro-Fiction surrounding or concerning or inspired by this Brazen Tomb, like the Expanders!/Expansion Joints project that Porky started and is now going strong over at Nine Worlds, Ten Thousand Things...the notion of crafting 15 word installments of Weird Rabelaisian Fantasy Fiction has a certain lurid allure, at least to us...or maybe this could be the springboard for doing a set of entries for Porky's Fantasy Blogwalk?

Something to consider. We'll be coming back to this...eventually.


No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: chaotic
Movement: (Fly: 180'/60')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1 (Spit-Beam*)
Damage: 1d8*
Save: F1
Morale: 9

Special: Spit-Beam; use the Random Eye-Beam Table.

Rulak are weird aerial fungiform predators who flit about the peripheries of various unsavory wastelands and radioactive desert regions. They are always looking for victims to prey upon and to plant their spore-pods within.

Any Rulak suffering more than half damage in a single attack must roll a Save or burst into a cloud of corrosive spores inflicting 3d8 acid damage on anyone within a 60' radius. Anyone taking more than 3 points of damage needs to roll a second Save -2 or be infected with the Rulak's spore-pods, which will infest their flesh causing 1d4 damage per hour as they squirm and writhe within the victim's muscle-tissues until they grow into immature versions of the Rulak, usually within 4d4 hours. Cure Disease only prolongs the agony by doubling the time needed for the spore-pods to mature. Once they are mature, the spore-pods wriggle out of their host, causing a messy 3d4 damage as they burrow out and flutter off never to be seen again, hopefully.

It is rumored that the Scrapmongers out along the fringes of the Scarlet Badlands of Khofrom not only know how to capture and domestic the Rulak, they also can remove the spore-pods from a victim without damaging either the host nor the fungiform vermin. It is said that they make an exquisite liquor from the spore-pods that they retrieve from involuntary hosts. It is for this reason that few will sell slaves to the Scrapmongers of Khofrom.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fictional Works Mentioned in Gargantua (Random Table/Any System)

The following is a Random Table derived from Public Domain resources at Wikipedia and a few other sources. Not only is it designated Open Game content, it's Public Domain, so use it as you wish wherever you wish, it is doubtful that Rabelais will care overly much. Just be sure to include a poop joke or some mention of mustard...
Books and Manuscripts of Dubious Provenance as Mentioned in Gargantua
  1. Abbots' Donkey-Size Pricks.  Alleged to contain 1d4 quite inapproriate spells.
  2. Advanced Asslicking, for Graduate Students
  3. Adversus quemdam qui vocaverat eum fripponatorem, et quod fripponatores non sunt damnati ab Ecclesia, by Sutor
  4. Alchemists' Windpipes
  5. And Cheese, Too.  Contains the spell: Call Cheese.
  6. Antidotarium animae, by Merlin Coccaius
  7. Antipericatamentanaparbeugedamphibricationes, or Discussions on All Manner of Subjects by Shit Monks. Possession of this book carries a base 30% chance of attracting the attention of the Shit Monks. Reading it has an 80% chance. Never read it out loud.
  8. Ars honeste petandi in societate, by Hardouin de Graetz
  9. Astrology's Chimney Sweep
  10. Badinatorium Sophistarum
  11. Ball-biting Promoters
  12. Barbouilamenta Scoti, by Scotus
  13. Batwing Hats for Cardinals
  14. Begging Monks' Stew. Suspected of being the source of a variant form of Create Food and Drink.
  15. Bell Ringers' Ballgames
  16. Bigot's Stew
  17. Bigua salutis
  18. Bishops' Antidotes for Aphrodisiacs. Notorious source of the dreaded spell Cause Impotence.
  19. The Bishops' Bagpipes. A rather loud book known to attract wandering monsters once opened.
  20. Blinders for the Road to Rome. Save -2 or be struck blind.
  21. Boots for the Stouthearted
  22. Bragueta juris
  23. Cacatorium medicorum
  24. Callibistratorium caffardie, actore M. Jacobo Hostratem hereticometra, by Jacobo Hostratem
  25. Campi clysteriorum, by Symphorien Champier
  26. Cardinal Cajetan's Whinnyings
  27. Catalogue of Academic Candidates
  28. The Chains of Religion
  29. Cheated Husbands in Court
  30. Close-Shaven Clerks, by Ockham
  31. The Clownishness of Little Priests
  32. Commercial Rope Tricks
  33. The Cost of Letting Monks Beg
  34. The Crucible of Contemplation
  35. Cullebutatorium confratiarm
  36. De auferibilitate pape ab ecclesia, by Gerson
  37. De Baboinis et cingis, cum commento Dorbellis, by Marmotretus (Presumed to be written by a sapient Marmot)
  38. De batisfolagiis principium, by R. Lullius
  39. De bobelinandis glosse Accursiane baguenaudis repetitio enucidiluculidissiam, by Pilloti Raquedenari (A known pseudonym of the infamous cutpurse 'Penny Squeazer')
  40. De brodiorum usa et honestate chopinandi, by Silvester of Priero
  41. De cagotis tollendis, by Justinianus
  42. De calcaribus removendis decades undecium, by Aubry de Rosata
  43. De capreolis cum chardoneta comedendis, tempore Papali ab Ecclesia interdicto, by Pasquilli
  44. De castrametandis crinibus, by Ejusdem (Spurious forgery committed by a delusional doppleganger writing in mirrorscript)
  45. De compotationibus mendicantium, by Friar Lubinus
  46. De croquendis lardonibus, by Reverend Father Friar Lubinus
  47. De Differentiis soupparum, by Guillaume Briçot
  48. De emulgentiarum profectibus enneades novem, cum privilegio papeli ad triennium, et posteanon, by Bishop Boudarinus
  49. De grabellationibus horarum canonicarum lib. quadraginta by Maîstre Fripesaulcetis (Mage with a Disembodied Tongue...)
  50. De Magistro nostrandorum magistro nostratorumque beuvetis lib. octo galantissimi, by Chaultcouillon (Author also noted for creating the infamous testicle-destroying Hot Balls spell)
  51. De modo cacandi, by Tartaretus
  52. De modo faciendi boudinos, by Majoris
  53. De moustarda post prandium servienda lib. quatuordecium, apostilati per M. Vaurillon, by M. N. Rostocostojambedanesse
  54. De optimitate triparum, by Beda
  55. De originbe patepelutarum et torticollorum ritibus lib. septem, by Moillegroin (Actually this book was penned by Moillegroin's dog who was notorious for having a wet nose)
  56. De patria diabolorum, by Merlin Coccaius
  57. De pelendis mascarendisque cardinalium mulis, by Marforius
  58. De re militari, cum figuris Tevoti, by Franctopinus
  59. De terribiliditate excommunicationum libellus acephalos, by Jo. Dytebrodius
  60. De usa et utilitate escorchandi equos et equas, by "Our Master of Quebecu"
  61. De vita et honestate braguardorum by Lourdadus (The Sage of Dubrame noted for creating the Stupefy Self spell, killed by a rogue dumb bell in Pasquo)
  62. Decretum universitatis Parisiensis super gorgiasitate muliercularum ad placitum
  63. Decrotarorium scholarium
  64. Dribbling Tipplings by Useless Bishops
  65. Fairy Tales of the Law
  66. Faking the Holy Cross
  67. Folk Dances for Heretics
  68. Forcible Removal in Matters Requiring a Conscience
  69. Formicarium artium
  70. Fun With Dice -- The first RPG?
  71. Garters, or Patience's Knee-Boots
  72. The Guzzlers' Den, by Alcofrybas Nasier
  73. Heretics' Hides
  74. Heroes' Elephant Balls. Source of the Elephant Balls spell.
  75. The History of Elves, Brownies, and Hobgoblins. Perusal of this book will reveal 1d4 rumors, legends or secrets of each of the three named races.
  76. How a Vision of Saint Gertrude Appeared to a Nun, at Poissy, When She Went into Labor. Banned book known ot have caused at least 6 documented spontaneous pregnancies amongst various ecclesistics, two of whom were men.
  77. How Fast Friars Fool Around
  78. How Grabby Beggars Grab, collected by Brother Cut-your-wallet
  79. How Priests Cover Themselves
  80. How Priests Say No
  81. How to Get to the Bottom, in Discipline
  82. How to Keep It Up Till You're Ninety
  83. How to Make a Nobleman Shut Up
  84. How Virgins Shit. Illustrated by three blind men.
  85. How Wine Spurs You On
  86. Humility's Worn-out Shoe
  87. The Hungry Jaws of Lawyers
  88. Incessant Fartings of Ecclesiastical Scriveners: Scribes, Copyists, Abbreviators, Court Clerks, and Calendar Fixers, compiled by Regis
  89. Ingeniositas invocandi diabolos et diabolas, by Guingolfus (Author was a notorious werewolf)
  90. Judges' Bulging Bellies. Contains 2d4 spells of gastro-intestinal destruction and discomfort.
  91. Ladies' Finger Bells
  92. Landing in Brazil, by Antonio de Leva. Contains 3/4 of the outline of a spell for opening a gate-way to Brazil.
  93. Lawyers' Complaints about the Abolition of Bribes
  94. Lyripipi Sorbonici Moralisationes, by Lupoldus
  95. Magistrates in Cat Fur -- There were furries back in the 16th Century? Surely it's evidence of time travel most foul...there truly is nothing new under the sun...
  96. Magnanimity's Stewpot
  97. Making Money on Indulgences
  98. Malogranatum vitiorum
  99. Maneries ramonandi fournellos, by Eccius
  100. Marriage Tied Around with a String
  101. Misers' Mountains
  102. Monks' Cowls
  103. The Musty Mustard-Pot of Penitence
  104. The Notary's Basket
  105. Official Swindlers
  106. Old Soldiers and Other Bums
  107. On the Clownishness of Country Priests
  108. On the Serving of Mustard after Meals, fourteen volumes, collected by M. Vaurillon
  109. Pantofla decretorum
  110. Peas in Lard, with commentary
  111. Perpetual Almanac for Those Afflicted with Gout or the Pox
  112. The Pharmacists' Fart Sucker. Contains the spell Summon Fart Sucker.
  113. Piety's Handcuffs
  114. Pleasures of the Monastic Life
  115. Poetasters' Bellybuttons
  116. Poiltronismus rerum Italicarum, by Etienne Brulefer
  117. Political Glue
  118. A Pot for All Seasons
  119. The Preacher's Featherduster by a bum
  120. Prognostication, by Songecruyson, the "Master of Useless Dreams"
  121. Quaestio subtilissima, utrum Chimera in vacuo bombinans possit comedere secundus intentiones, et fuit debatuta per decem hebdomadas in concilio Constantiensi
  122. Rear-Flapping Trousers for Shitheads
  123. Roman Fanfares
  124. Stories of the Kings of Canarre, by Marotus du Lac
  125. Stratagemata Francharchieri de Bagnolet
  126. Stupid Noises by Celestine Monks
  127. Surgery's Kiss-My-Ass
  128. The Sweat Stink of Spaniards, by Iñigo de Loyola
  129. Tarraballationes Doctorum Coloniensium adversus Reuchlin
  130. Theologians' Rat Traps. Holds 2d8 different Clerical spells for trapping and getting rid of rats.
  131. Theology's Tennis Ball
  132. Thieves' Dens
  133. Travelers' Trinkets
  134. Tricks by Trixies and Elves
  135. The Tripe-Pod of Noble Thought. Alleged to have a 40% chance to cause readers to develop a third lobe to their brain...
  136. Virevoustatorium nacquettorum by F. Pedebilletis (Author afflicted by the dreaded Pin Head Curse...)
  137. What Bothers Priests about Holy Confession
  138. Why Hermits Have Pendulous Beards
  139. Why Monkeys Smack Their Lips When They Pray
  140. Widows' Bald Asses. Summons a herd of hairless Asses to trample the reader.
  141. Worm Powder for the Poor (A notorious grimoire from Wermspittle)
  142. (Dare we attempt to add more to this list? Maybe you have some suggestions? Leave us a comment.)
Now we just have to figure out what's inside each of these fictional books...

Brazen Tomb of Gargantua: Where to Find Gargantua Online

Free Gargantua and Pantagruel for Everyone
Bonus: Gustave Dore's Illustrations for Gargantua

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Withering Mist (Wermspittle)

"I lock myself away, cut every cable, but it bleeds under doors, leeches through walls. Creeps up, washes over me, cracks my face. It's time."

Withering Mist
(Dejuvenatory Miasma)

No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 210' (70')
Armor Class: 9 (May only be struck by Blessed or Magical weapons)
Hit Dice: 4 to 9
Attacks: 1
Damage: (see below)
Save: F5 to F10
Morale: 8

Ego: Withering Mists gain 1 point of Ego per 4 hit points. They use their Ego similar to how a Magical Weapon might attempt to possess or influence it's wielder.
  • A typical Withering Mist occupies 1 cubic foot of space per hit die. 
  • It is unaffected by Charm, Sleep or Fear spells/effects. 
  • Most recorded Withering Mists appear to be nocturnal 
  • They surprise a victim on a roll of 1-7 on a d8. 
  • If encountered during daylight, as in the case of a collapsed building, the Withering Mist will surprise a victim on a roll of 1-3 on a d4, but will not move outside of their area of shade. 
  • When the Withering Mist successfully strikes, their victim suffers 1d4 hit points of damage and must make a Save or lose 1 point of CON for 10 turns. Any victim completely drained of CON collapses into a coma and will die in an additional 1d6 turns, unless they receive magical healing, etc. Anyone killed in this method will become a dessicated husk that crumbles into toxic dust as it exudes a foul miasma that slowly forms into a new 1HD Withering Mist. 
  • The Withering Mist moves through all physical barriers and cannot be contained except by certain forms of magic, miasmic wards and for some reason cloves will repel them, as will bright fires and burning coals. The shrine-tenders in Wermspittle include generous amounts of dried cloves in their incense-mixtures precisely for this reason...

Foul and fetid wisps of putrescent vapors, the Withering Mist is a specific type of miasma that forms and flows from out of the unhallowed cemeteries, unmarked mass-graves and trenches of forgotten battlefields, the ancient sewers of ruined cities and other desolate, deserted and abandoned places. Riding just above the evening fog, the Withering Mist swirls and weeps, infiltrates and seeps through walls and windows, bleeding through the plaster, wall paper and paneling of even the most comfortable homes to prey upon those it can reach. The silver wards and crossed sprigs, the strings of garlic and small mirrors mean nothing to this monstrous gaseous pestilence. It is not undead, nor is it truly alive in any way that makes sense. It is considered a disembodied appetite, a disjunctive proto-spirit, and has quite a number of other esoteric and obscure names, titles and designations, but in the end it is a cold, unnatural miasma that moves of its own volition and feeds upon the living by draining away their youth and vitality, aging them into premature senility or death...unless the victim chooses to either make a deal with the Withering Mist or enter into its service as a Wither-wight.

Let's Make a Deal...
Those who attempt to bargain with the Withering Mist must promise it victims to feed upon in their stead, or else it will simply consume their vitality and leave them a dried-up husk or a pitiful shell of their former selves.

Anyone striking a bargain with the Withering Mist will gain an infusion of false vitality and youth directly from the Withering Mist that will take up residence within their very body. The Bargainer will literally inhale the Withering Mist into their lungs and it will slowly infiltrate and integrate it deep within their flesh over the course of a few hours. Once integrated, the Withering Mist will seek to feed, and it will only be content if it can drain the vitality of 2d4 HD worth of fresh victims per week at a minimum. If satisfied, the Withering Mist will remain quiescent, sharing a portion of its ill-gotten vitality with the host by way of casting Cure Serious Wounds up to three times per day, and/or Regenerate once per week. The host gains a breath weapon attack (Spew Withering Mist) once per turn.

Should the Withering Mist become dissatisfied or its minimum requirement of new victims isn't met, it will attempt to take control of the host and go on a feeding frenzy. Treat this as the Withering Mist attacking from within (automatically hitting), forcing the host to make a Save each attack or suffer the loss of 1 point of WIS or INT until the victim reaches zero, and the Withering Mist completely takes them over. Forcing the victim to drink Holy Water will cause them to vomit forth the Withering Mist, which might save them from the possession-attempt, but will expose everyone in the area to the normal vitality-draining attack of the Withering Mist.

Anyone reduced to zero WIS or INT by such means has little hope of ever being recovered, though it is conjectured by certain scholars that it might be feasible, but incredibly difficult.

Mist-Hosts (Withered Bargainers), Wither-wights are detailed in their own are Miasmic Wards...

Special Thanks to Porky for permission to use his especially apt bit of Flash Fearsday Fiction up above as an intro to this rather unpleasant monster.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sanguinovore (Wermspittle)

No. Enc.: 1d2 (1d2)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (60')
Armor Class: 2 (+1 or better, or silver weapons required to hit)
Hit Dice: 6 to 12
Attacks: 2 (see below)
Damage: 2d6+Terror, Flame, or Drain
Save: F8 to F14
Morale: 11

All that feeds is in turn fed upon, even among the undead and there are worse things than vampires in the Eight Known Worlds.

Wrathful, vengeful spirits caught-up in their hatred over having been slain and drained by oupirs, nosferati and other vampiric types, Sanguinovores prowl the catacombs, cemeteries and desolate places of the night in search of these vain and arrogant hunters of blood. They hunt the hunters. In their unhallowed existence  they prey upon those who once preyed upon them in life -- as well as anyone tainted by their service to such masters (blood-minions, bitten-servants, etc.). They hunt the vampiric types, but will prey upon any undead they encounter, draining them of their unholy energies and feeding on their ectoplasm. Lacking undead to feed upon a Sanguinovore will sometimes attack the living, but this is a very rare occurrence.

Sanguinovores seek out those vile creatures that would sup upon the blood of the innocent and the corrupt alike and they violently drain them of their unholy vitality, devouring the stolen life-force and consuming the remnants of whatever soul these things still possess, destroying them utterly, leaving behind only a singed and scorched non-shadow and some ashes. Any vampire destroyed in this manner is completely irrecoverable. Even a Wish won't bring them back.

It is because of the incredible fury of the Sanguinovores that many vampires seek out charms, wards and spells of protection against intruders. Sometimes it helps, other times it only delays the inevitable. Sanguinovores are implacable foes driven by a hatred that will not die, with an appetite for vengeance and destruction that is a grotesque inversion of the vampire's own already twisted thirst for the blood of the living.

Sanguinovores can opt to inflict Terror instead of damage upon their foes, and this ability affects the living and the undead who would normally be immune to such things, though the victims do gain a Save against this ability. (Treat as Cause Fear or Feeblemind as you prefer). If the Sanguinovore successfully hits the same opponent twice in a row, the Save is at -2.

They can also elect to inflict 3d6 burning damage once every 4 turns, which will affect any opponent living or dead. If the victim set afire fails their Save, they will burn for an additional 2d6 next turn, then if they fail another Save, they will burn for 1d6 the turn after that. This will affect immaterial, insubstantial and those undead in gaseous form. All sanguinovores can likewise assume gaseous form, and even at their most manifest, they are still more spirit, shadow, ectoplasm and foxfire than anything truly material.

Sanguinovores can also inflict a draining attack on any form of undead that feeds on blood, effectively parasitizing them. They never drain blood from the living, though they have been known to kill people in order to later drain their they are not altogether 'friends,' nor defenders of the living by any means.

Sanguinovores cannot normally cross sanctified thresholds, nor can they trespass holy ground. Holy Word will drive them off with no save on their part. Silver weapons affect them normally, but they will generally seek to avoid confrontations with those so armed.

Truly Hell-Bent
Sanguinovores are known to slowly grow more powerful with each gory victory they win over their eternal enemies. But this pursuit of the vampiric is not any sort of redemption for them--the Sanguinovores are damned to wander eternally, feeding upon their most hated enemies and never to be reborn, even if they are destroyed, unless they are first Blessed.

Destroying a Sanguinovore without first blessing it will cause it to rise as an even more twisted and vengeful form of undead that will then prey upon any and all sources of blood -- living, dead or undead. These re-risen necromantic abominations retain all of their  previous abilities...and may develop others...and their unmitigated hatred will thenceforth be focused upon those who brought it into this state.

Blessing one of these creatures will send it into a frenzy (double attacks/double damage/double movement), but is the only way to make sure that they are really, truly and completely destroyed and never to rise again.

There are hierophants, theopolitans, sacred savants and others who have pondered the grim and terrible nature of the Sanguinovores and several have put forth various theories and ideas of methods that might work in terms of recovering these raging, lost souls, but so far few have had the chance to actually attempt such thing outside of the confines of cloistered academia.

Sanguinovores are ruthless, fearless creatures of unremitting hatred obsessed with destroying vampires at all costs, but they do fear one thing -- the Ordrang are, if anything, even more implacable and unrelenting and will consume a Sanguinovore's mostly ectoplasmic remains with a mindless ferocity. The Ordrang are also the one creature completely immune to the Sanguinovore's Terror ability.

Folklore or Fact?
There are rumors of extraordinarily powerful Sanguinovores that have spell-casting capabilities and of course there is the tale of the Scabrous Lord, a great and powerful Sanguinovore that became somehow corrupted and distorted by having drained a demi-god's lich, inhuman mummy or some mythical Lord of Vampires (the story changes according to location and who is telling it). This Scabrous Lord is reputed to have become something twisted and despicable, a blasphemous being that fed upon the living and the dead equally, indiscriminately, and that no longer respected any boundary, including the wards of the pious. But of course such a thing is too terrible to contemplate. It's just a bed-time tale used to frighten the gullible and to keep children indoors during the cold drizzly nights of October...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wermic Journal of the Transgressive Octavoid (Wermspittle)

Banned, damned and denied to even exist by the majority of planar adepts, the wermskin-bound journal has been in circuitous, underground circulation amongst select occult scholars, serious pataphysicians, clandestine metafictionaries and discrete parahistorians, for centuries across any of the eight planes that it migrates through on a seemingly endless cycle of temptation, corruption and destruction.

Originally hand-written in a distinctive psycho-reactive green-black ink derived from a distillation of brain-fluids taken from the still-living corpses of gargantuan werms native to an unnamed and so-far unrevealed 'ninth plane,' the Wermic Journal exerts a peculiar influence over any who attempt to read its contents. It is a well-documented and mostly accepted premise that the Journal reveals different things to different readers, rarely if ever repeating itself.

The last known sighting of this work was in Wermspittle.

Occult Formulae Allegedly Derived From This Tome
  • The Double-Square Figure of Containment
  • Crafting the Jewel of Souls
  • Diagram: Octohedral Bulwark
  • Committing Purple Prose
  • Formula: Psycho-reactive Violet Ink of Jaloo
  • Diagram: Eightfold Perambulation
  • Spell: Planar Entanglement
  • Red Letter
  • Diagram: Triangle (Five)
  • Ritual: Circle of Four Twins

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ractur (Wermspittle)

No. Enc.: 1d6 (1d12)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120'
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1+1
Attacks: 1 (bite or weapon)
Damage: 1d4+infection, by weapon
Save: 6
Morale: 4

Thieves, cut-throats and rootless vagabonds, the Ractur no longer have any sort of permanent home since their ancestral forests were destroyed in a great fire. They have adapted to life in the alleys, rooftops, cellars and sewers of the great cities of the world.

The bite of a Ractur carries a nasty infection with it (Save or take 1d4 hp damage per hour until either dead or cured by spell, potion or magical effect).

It is because of their terrible bites that the Ractur were originally driven from their forest nests by people attempting to eradicate the nasty little beasts.

One in six Ractur will be able to gain levels as an actual thief, and not just be some opportunistic scavenger-type. They are illiterate and will ignore books, maps or scrolls as worthless or possibly they'll use them in lining their nests. They are driven to avarice by the mere sight of shiny baubles and have been known to be drawn into traps by dangling glass beads or other cheap trinkets in front of them...though they are starting to catch on now that they live in the city...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hagtessa (Wermspittle)

No. Enc.: 1(1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (see below)
Armor Class: 3(9)
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks: 2 Spells/Abilities, claws or weapon
Damage: by spell/ability, 3d4+paralysis, or by weapon
Save: F9
Morale: 9

Wicked, shriveled and screeching mockeries of humanity, these daemonical  wizened crones wander the interstitial intervals between sane universes and other unnameable places. Once they were living, even young, but now they are bitter, babbling and blasphemous things that have lost their humanity along with their morals and whatever former virtues they might have once had.

Foul and frenzied, these depraved minions of terrible unnameable masters commit all manner of unspeakable acts, horrible crimes and worse. They delight in tormenting those who delve a little too deeply into the dark arts or the mysteries that other, more kind powers have forbidden. These sly and cunning crones will gladly whisper the foulest sorts of secrets to those who would listen to their mad discourse and they will act as mentors to those who seek after knowledge, power and revenge via the blackest and vilest of sorceries and pre-human rituals. The Hagtessa know many, many such things and if it costs a few souls or causes great suffering, they will joyfully share these things as they delight in corrupting those who still retain some semblance of freedom or free will.

Not All Their Fault...
Because the Hagtessa serve terrible powers and what remains of their souls are held in a terrible bondage to these masters they resent those who are not likewise slaves. And they especially hate the proud and those who do not serve, unless it is one who serves only their own selfish interest--those ones the Hagtessa dearly adore and seek out at every opportunity as they are the most delightful to torture and taunt and drive mad.

The Basic Repertoire
Hagtessa have the innate ability to cast Charm Person, Darkness, Putrefy Food and Drink, Cause Fear, Ventriloquism up to 3 times per day each. They can automatically Read Magic and Detect Magic at will. Once per day a Hagtessa can cast Arcane Eye, Clairvoyance, Contact Other Plane (but only dismal, horrific domains), and/or Commune (with their Masters). The favored spell of choice for a Hagtessa tends to be Feeblemind. They generally also have 3d4 random spells of various levels, types and sorts, most of which may or may not be particularly useful in combat such as Curdle Milk.

Not Just Another Un-Pretty Face...
However, the Hagtessa have worse things to do to you than simply cast spells. Their claws inflict terrible wounds that only heal fully by use of a spell or potion and any such attack requires a Save or the victim is paralyzed for 1d4 turns. They also know how to both physically and psychically travel via Hyperspatial Geometries and often use a form of oneiric or dream-oriented astral projection to seek out and clutch onto the sleeping minds of vulnerable dreamers. Once they latch onto a dreamer, the Hagtessa inflict 1d4 damage, and attempt to paralyze their victim (Save at -2 penalty unless adequately protected, see Dream Wards), and then they will fill the dreamer's mind with all manner of cruel and disgusting nightmares in an attempt to cultivate insanity and unbridled turmoil in their minds, which the Hagtessa can then feed off of, draining 1d4hp / hour of dream torment that the Hagtessa then gains as temporary hit points. Anyone being so 'ridden' must Save every morning, or when they are awakened if earlier, or suffer the loss of 1 point of WIS.

Transgressive Things
The Hagtessa can travel across planar boundaries by use of a bizarrely ritualized form of Hyperspatial Geometry that employs fear, pain and suffering to act as a catalyst to open the way. They must expend 4d10 hit points (by no means necessarily their own) to open the way to another planar location. For the use of just 1d10hp they can teleport across any distance within a particular plane, as distance is effectively a bad joke to them. They can also teleport others for double the cost if the victim fails a Save, but the victim gains a +1 bonus to their Save for every 100 miles of distance involved. Anyone with an INT of 16 or better gets a second Save within 1d4 turns of arriving, and if they make that second Save, they can force a return for the same cost in hit points.

Got Skills
Some Hagtessa retain the ability to craft wands, brew potions, and commit other such acts of magical crafting and creation, often incorporating grotesque, unsavory and revolting things into their work -- in many ways the Hagtesa are artists after their own foul idiom and despite their deplorable, even one-track approach to all things evil, they have managed to fashion some incredibly useful, if repugnant magical weapons and other items that few really appreciate.

It is alleged, probably falsely, in certain rare tomes of disrepute that the Hagtessa can earn their freedom in exchange for several hundreds of innocent souls led into damnation and despair via their cruel, corrupting ministrations.

Let's Make A Deal...
The Hagtessa know a number of obscure and awful spells that they will trade to the unsuspecting and ill-informed for magic items, relics, etc. but you can be sure that they intend to always come out of such deals with a clear advantage...