Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bloody Bones Servitor (Wermspittle)

Bloody Bones
(Spellbound Skeletal Servitors)
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 2 claws or 1 bite
Damage: 1d6/1d6 or 2d4, plus see note below
Save: F4
Morale: 11

Gruesome travesties of the living, these servitors are made to literally rip themselves free from the still-warm  flesh of those most recently killed whether it is on the battlefield, at an unhallowed altar, or in some nameless back-alley. Bloody Bones are unconscious slaves, their minds broken and driven off, their bodies ruined  beyond recovery. There remains no shred nor hint of sentience within these things. They are more akin to horrible manikins or machines, cobbled together from fresh bones and ectoplasm, still dripping with gore and raw flesh. Few of these things endure for longer than a few hours unless care is taken to stabilize their constantly deliquescing condition, a step only taken if the spell-caster creating these things has plans that go beyond simply dealing with intruders or interlopers. In Tsan Yian, for example, this spell is a pre-requisite for certain rituals among the Brethren of Bone and Blood and it is rumored to play an important central part in the eventual Transfiguration each member of the Inner Sanctum is expected to partake of along their respective path to power. The Necrotects of Palash and Nidure are equally renowned to have designed and codified over a hundred different variations upon the Bloody Bones spell that creates these skeletal servitors...a situation both competing sects finds intolerable, so they continue to wring still more and even more twisted and distorted variations upon this one spell, this one relatively simple monster.

The alley-squatting mediums of Wermspittle are notorious for using one version or another of the Bloody Bones spell to interfere with the Goules of Latterkamp, whenever those groups find themselves at odds over some point of esoteric prestige or sorcerous standing. It is worth noting that the spells employed in these situations are altogether different from any offered for sale by the above-mentioned Necrotects, and represent an alternative lineage of development that has so far baffled scholars and brought a number of pet theories regarding the provenance of certain here-to-fore 'common' spells into question.

Fantomists will sometimes employ these creatures as ectoplasmic reservoirs, and others (especially those suspected of having ties to the Corruption Trade) have been known to use them as walking Gore-Worm farms. At least one apprentice has dared serious injury over-casting some ill-gotten variation of the Bloody Bones Spell in order to mislead or misdirect an Ordrang or Sanguinovore. It is also an article of faith among some apprentices that the Triple Shadow Spell will cause a Bloody Bones Servitor to slide laterally into an Adjacent World. Few apprentices are up to the task of actually casting this particular spell, and those who achieve the skill and puissance required rarely discuss such matters with apprentices, so the urban folklore persists.

Murlantrik the Octoscholar is known to pay good coins for variant versions of the Bloody Bones Spell or even more for a few choice samples taken from such a servitor--if it is one that she does not already possess. Good luck getting an appointment, though.

To create a Bloody Bones Servitor, the caster utters a blasphemous formula known in most references as a Bloody Bones Spell. Of course, as already noted, there are quite a few variant and modified versions of this spell available. According to some sources, this spell is best rendered in Aklo or D'honnik. This might be some sort of subtle distinction made by the Necrotects, perhaps to allude to the way that the particular language used to commit this spell affects the outcome. Unfortunately, no source outside the Necrotects has given this matter any in-depth study. Those who show signs of making real progress are often co-opted, forcibly inducted into a sect, or rendered undead before they can reveal their insights or findings. Occasionally, a necromantically-inclined Prodigy will cause quite a stir by publishing preliminary findings along these lines, but more often than not they disappear in the ensuing bombings, kidnappings, or assassinations. Some find this something of a sport. Their mentors would rather they took up something less disruptive, like politics or spell-fighting.

Note: These particular skeletons are usually turned as zombies, and anyone struck by their claw-like hands --or bitten-- must make a saving throw versus poison or become sickened for 1d6 hours, during which time they can only move at 50% normal movement and no other physical activity is possible.

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