Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Predatory Projection (Wermspittle)

Predatory Projection
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 150' (50')
             Fly: 300' (100')
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 5+
Attacks: 1 (See Below)
Damage: Drain STR/CON, or by Spell
Save: F3
Morale: 7

Sorcerers and others engage in any number of ill advised and unsafe practices. Astral, aethyric, and other forms of Projection allow many to overcome their otherwise debilitating physical limitations, such as those incurred from eldritch injuries, the ravages of extreme age, the marks of their various pacts and contracts, or in not a few instances sorcerous imprisonment. By projecting their minds, spirits and souls outwards unto the various planes and strata of reality it is possible to learn much that is otherwise hidden, to gain forbidden or restricted knowledge, to acquire power. And there are few as obsessed with Power as a sorcerer or wizard.

Sometimes, when things go terribly wrong under a specific set of circumstances, whether planned or unforeseen, deliberately or involuntarily, the projected form of a spell-caster is severed from their body. Most of the time this results in a gradual dissipation of the projection as it erodes down into constituent energies, the aura peeling away like a brittle scab and the inner essences boiling or leaking outwards like so much noisome effluvia. Most of the time.

I Shall Endure...
Some projections retain enough raw power, sheer determination or stubbornness that they persist long after their bodies have collapsed into dust. Beings of will and spite, unbalanced shells seething with transplanar energies, these projections wander the interstices and junctures, the crossroads and Weak Points where worlds merge or the boundaries In-Between are thin enough to allow them to prowl the perimeters of existence for likely prey.

Dwellers in Darkness
Lingering on the very threshold of reality and forever cut-off from life itself, these perverse beings seek out those they can overpower with their spells and then drain of their life essence, leaving behind a shriveled corpse, their face locked in a horrible rictus of fear. In extreme cases the corpse left behind is so terribly drained that they will themselves drain 1d4 STR or CON from anyone coming into contact with these grisly remains.

A Chill and Loathsome Touch
They need to touch a victim in order to drain their essence, claiming 1 point of STR or CON with each such attack. Victims who survive the depredations of these foul things regain their vitality normally, as long as they were not drained down to zero points in either attribute. Those drained to zero points suffer premature aging (1d100 years), and the affected attribute will be permanently reduced by 1d4 points, irregardless of any healing short of a Restoration spell, and that only has half-effect.

Predatory Projections cannot recover spells in the normal manner. They must convert the essential energies of their victims into either replacement hit points for themselves (1 drained attribute point giving them 1d6 hit points), or expending the ill-gotten energies to regain spells (1 attribute point granting them 1d4 random spells). A typical Predatory Projection will have 3d6 random spells left in its personal repertoire and they can only use the spells that they have lodged or imprinted upon their mind & memory. They cannot use any object, weapon or scroll/book.

But Wait, There's More...
Some Predatory Projections have the ability to infiltrate the dead husks of their victims and reanimate them, after a fashion. These things are easily spotted due to the way that whole sections will be missing and the weird energetic form of the Projection will be visible. Such an Indwelling Projection is AC 9 and has full hit points, otherwise they're the same nasty creature that they've always been, though they often get mistaken for Cacozombies or simple cadavers. They will often try to use this to their advantage in ambushing unwary adventurers.

A Few Last Details...
  • Predatory Projections avoid Horla, whom they apparently fear a great deal. No one is certain just why.
  • They are especially attracted to Somnambulists, whom they seem to prefer over all other victims because there is a good chance that they can possess the body of these individuals and take on a quasi-living existence that they crave dreadfully.
  • A circle of purified salt will ward off a Predatory Projection, inflicting 3d4 damage upon it if it comes into contact with the circle. Using plain salt will keep the thing away, but not cause it any damage.
  • Ordrang hunt down these things eagerly, passing-by other, less-appealing fare. Many occult survival manuals recommend summoning or attracting an Ordrang whenever any sort of malefic Projection is suspected of being active in the immediate vicinity.

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