Thursday, August 1, 2019

Trois Monstres

Shrifling

Named for the noise it makes.

One arm, one leg, one jaw, and one eye--it only needs one eye to see out of both sides of its paper-thin head.  If you reached out and touched it, it would squirm away, sharp hairs rushing under your fingers like the frayed rope connected to a falling boom.  The fibers are silky, but the tips are like knives.

Supposedly, they are born when rope kills its owner.

A competing theory maintains that they are cooperative colonies of tiny rockworms, akin to a migratory slime mold.  Everyone admits that this theory is less exciting, and therefor less likely to be true.

HD 4  (HP 1)  AC chain  Bite 1d12
Move horse  Climb spider  IntMor 10  Str 1

Threadlike -- Takes no fall damage.  Can creep along ceilings without falling.  Can leap through keyholes without slowing its gallop.  Looks like a thin strand of hair when it holds still.  Coiled up, a dead one barely fills your palm.


Confused by Hair -- Supposedly, it believe that the hair on a human's head is a baby.  It will attempt to 'rescue' the hair from a corpse, carry it to safety, and 'mourn' when it is unable to rouse the hair.

A shrifling I drew while waiting for the PCR to finish.
Barlutra

Giant carnivorous otters that hunt in packs.  Stats as wolves, except with a swim speed and a lower land speed.

They seem to show no fear of humans, and will occasionally prey on humans.  There is a tremendous amount of fear surrounding the barlutra, perhaps more than it deserves.

Superstitions:

1. Barlutra are drawn to pregnant women, who they seek to disembowel.
2. If a barlutra tail is waved over a sleeper, they will sicken.  Do every night for 7 days and they will die.
3. If a barlutra skull is buried beneath each room of a house, and the house is near a river, the house will be destroyed in a flood.
4. If a barlutra jumps over a corpse, the corpse will speak blasphemies until 3 am, damning the soul of the deceased.

When a pack of barlutra gets large enough, it will build a dam.  The dam forms a reservoir, and eventually multiple families of barlutra may take up residence around the reservoir.  Over a few years, they will dig and shape the reservoir until it is a perfect circle.

Then, the barlutra will contruct four false 'dams' at equidistant points around the circumference of this circular lake.  All dead creatures within the area will be raised as undead in service of the barlutra, who generally ignore the shambling, flopping things.

The rooms within their dams are lined with the skeletons of fish.  Animate, but waiting.  The corpses of their prey are often too scattered to recompose themselves, but those that can do so will drag themselves to the nearest 'dam' and incorporate themselves into the dam's structure.

Paladins and firebombs usually get involved long before this critical stage.  Still, barlutra in the remote parts of the world can remain undiscovered for generations, and the five towers of their reservoirs can grow to prodigious sizes.

Sidebar: Secret DM Knowledge

The reservoirs are summoning circles, waiting for someone with the knowledge to activate them.

Barlutra were corrupted long ago by Shadoom, in order to build his infernal infrastructure around Centerra.  Being beasts, they would never understand what they were building.  They would never betray him; they would never steal his secrets.  (Goblins were created for much the same reason.)

Grievous Insect Nebula

Insects rip each other apart with a cruelty that is unfathomable to humans, but these depredations are impersonal.  In fact, the insect kingdoms are closely allied with one another.  They speak freely to each other, even as they tear the legs off one another.  They are united in their alien morality.

When the insect kingdoms become overcome with grief (when sorrow crushes them like a boot), they will mourn.  They do not weep nor pace.  Instead, all of the holometabolous insects in an area (except moths) come together and form a cocoon.

When a caterpillar forms a cocoon, the first thing that it does it to release enzymes that dissolve itself.  If you were to cut open a cocoon at the right time, a thick soup would dribble out.  The only parts of the caterpillar to survive are the soul discs, maintained by a webbing of nerves.  Safely encased in this nutrient soup, the insect regrows itself.  Unbound by its previous form, it is free to take any shape it wishes.

A grievous cocoon follows much of the same steps.  Each grievous cocoon is formed from hundreds of immature insects, and each cocoon is about the size of a soda can.

What emerges is a globular cloud of scintillating hatred, about a meter across.

HD AC none  Bites 1d6
Fly moth  Int Mor 14

Gaseous -- All attacks against a nebula hit it.  Most attacks deal 1 damage.  Fans deal 1d4.  A bucket of water deals 1d3.  A strong gust of wind deals 2d6 (or perhaps [sum], if caused by a spell).  A nebula cannot enter the water.

Bites -- Small, deep punctures, like the wounds from buckshot.  (Feels like buckshot.)  These attacks leave debris: butterfly scales, insect legs, urticating hairs.  If you are bitten by a nebula, you will be unable to derive any benefit from non-vegetarian food, and will immediately vomit it back up.

By New York State Museum;University of the State of New York.

4 comments:

  1. I love Shadoom's work ethic. Why do things, when I can make animals do them for me?

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  2. Shadoom seems to be doing genetic biomancy as opposed to modifying a single creature at a time. Far more efficient as well! That does make me think though: if I cast Mutate on a creature, and it has offspring, will the offspring inherit those mutations as well?

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