Monday, February 15, 2021

OSR: The Spirits of the Land

This is a post that has been in the long time coming.  Here's Red Kangaroo's take on the Spirit World and on gateways to the same.

                                                from here

The Astral Sea is the Spiritual World.  It includes everything from the dizzying heights and splendor of Deep Heaven to the miserable pits of Sheol.  It is a place where emotions are used as building materials, thoughts become food and ideologies form the landscape.  It is inhabited by a dizzying array of spiritual creatures, from spells to Demons to Gods.  It is a place of wonders and terrors.  And some of its inhabitants are very well known.

Angels are creatures of holy war and sacred violence, unbending paragons of virtue.  They serve God and Heaven, descending to Earth to wreak vengeance or carry out the will of their distant masters. 

Demons are free-agents of chaos, suffering and hatred, slithering up from the depths of Sheol and out of the darkened places of the universe to rampage through the higher spaces, spreading destruction and terror wherever they go.  They may serve some vile deity, or they may indulge freely in their dark appetites, unbounded even by reason.

Generally, mortals are unlikely to meet such creatures.  They are too powerful and too important to walk on Earth for long, requiring magic to summon them and a host to contain them while here.

But there is a third type of spiritual creature, the one most mortals are much more familiar with- the Spirit

Spirits dwell in the Shallows of the Astral Sea, the only area of that vast realm easily accessible to mortals.  They lurk just beyond our perception, living in the spiritual reflection of our world, a reversed 1:1 image of what exists on our side. This is part of the Spirit World, but unlike some other areas, here the Veil is thin enough that it can be peeled back so you can steal a peek inside.  Through the use of powerful hallucinogens, certain meditations techniques of magic spells, one can peer into the Shallows and see what spirits are splashing about.

The first thing you will notice are the creatures Sages identify as "spells".  These small spirits range from the size of your hand to the size of a grain of rice and swarm through the Spirit World in incalculable numbers, great schools of tiny creatures, overflowing with strange features and appendages.  Most of these spirits are only about as smart as insects and usually only serve the purpose of being captured by other creatures, either to be eaten or used.  Sages capture these spirits and use them to catch spells, though only some varieties are useful.  You should always be sure to test any spirit you capture, in case instead of grabbing the one that can produce a fireball, you got one that instead produces a furball or something equally useless, such as the ability to speak to doors. 

The second thing you will notice is the Lesser Spirits.  These spirits fill the role of mortals and animals in the physical world.  They are usually intelligent, or at least, capable of being dealt with by intelligent creatures.

The third type of creature you will, or perhaps will not notice, are the Greater, or High, Spirits.  These are the Spirits that stand at the same level as Angels, Demons or even Gods.  These Spirits are generally rarely encountered, as they are far too busy dealing with more important issues to interfere with the tourists.  

                                                        by Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau

Base Spirit Statblock:

HD 1d4+1 [Lesser]/1d6+4 [Greater]
AR 8 [Lesser]/14 [Greater]
Atk (1d6/1d6) [Lesser]/(1d10/1d10) [Greater]
Mor 13 [Lesser]/15 [Greater]
Saves (7+HD) or less

Native of the Shallows: Lesser Spirits can, as an action, leave or enter the Shallows of the Astral Sea at will.  When they does this, they vanish from our world but also loses any ability to affect it except indirectly, until they re-enter our world. 

Tactics:
- Underestimate mortal foes, unless they look really strong
- Pop in and out, using Natives of the Shallows
- Discretion is the better part of valor

To generate a random Spirit, roll on the tables below:

What kind of Spirit is it?

1d10

1- Nature Spirit. 
2- Ancestor Spirit. 
3- Mighty Ghost. 
4- Petty God.
5- Elemental. 
6- Chaos Spirit.
7- Law Spirit. 
8- Evil Spirit.
9- Beneficient Spirit. 
10- Eikone. 

What does this Spirit want?

1d6

1- Something that reinforces its nature.  For example, Ghosts and Evil spirits want to scare people, Good spirits want to see people joyful, Law Spirits want disorder dealt with, Chaos spirits want chaos, etc.  The Spirit wants you to help it with a problem or to give it the opportunity to do what it is meant to do.
2- Sacrifices.  Can take the form of anything the Spirit might value, from human or animal sacrifice to jewels to your magic sword.
3- Companionship.  The Spirit wants someone to spend time with it.  This person will be taken with the Spirit back to the Spirit World to be a bride/friend/servant or some combination.
4- Challenge.  The Spirit wants you to present it with a challenge, something it could accomplish but not easily.
5- Help with another Spirit.
6- Mortal Delicacy.  The Spirit wants you to bring it something from the mortal world, such as liquor, a child's artwork, an immature pine cone, a maiden's innocence.  

                                             artist unknown

Types of Spirits:

Nature Spirit.

The spiritual personification, or representative of a particular natural feature.  Depending on the power of the Spirit, this can be anything from a patch of grass to an entire forest.  Nature Spirits are the nameless soldiers of the Green Gods, the allies of the Druids and the Folk.  They struggle mightly against civilization, or merely passively resist it.

This Lesser Nature Spirit is...

1d6

1- A beetle the size of a cat, with gossamer wings that refract light like a prism.  Speaks through the vibrations of these wings.  It has the ability to refract sunlight through its wings to cast Prismatic Ray.  Wants: For you to knock over an annoying tree, tasty bugs.
2- A pile of stones that shift and move to indicate the Spirit's feelings.  It cannot speak, or chooses not to.  It has the ability to trigger rock slides or cause the stones under your feet to move and trip you up.  Avoid hills or mountains if you have angered it.  Wants: For you to move a particular stone to another hill, to be immersed in fine liquor.
3- A Dragonfly with jewels for eyes.  Can speak, but is very quiet.  Has the ability to reflect magic spells cast on it back at the caster and its wings cut like razors.  Wants: For you to drive away the Awakened parrot two trees over, for you to get the local Harpy to leave or shut up, the Spirit cannot stand her off-key singing anymore.
4- A rotten stump covered in fungi and moss, with the vaguest suggestion of a face on top of it.  Has the ability to summon living roots out of the ground to ensnare and crush, or to drag creatures down into the earth and bury them alive.  Wants: To be left alone, for the lumberjack who cut down an important tree to be sacrificed on top of it.
5- A small man, shorter than a hound, with the lower body of a deer and antlers.  Has the ability to animated nearby plants and make them want to strangle you.  Wants: Sweet corn, fresh vegetables.
6- A glowing ball of light that upon closer inspection is revealed to be a tiny, translucent woman surrounded by a corona of light.  Has the ability to turn invisible, fly or and to cause hallucinations.  Wants: For someone to follow her into a treacherous bog and possibly be eaten by crocodiles, to play cruel jokes.          

This Greater Nature Spirit is...

1d6

1- A lion made of stone, with a mane of living grass and stone claws.  It has the ability to sense innocence and corruption, cannot be hurt by anything that could not hurt a boulder and can summon the ghosts of tigers, leopards and lions to savage enemies.  Wants: to protect the innocent, to hunt those who do not respect the forest.
2- A giant made of molten rock, with eyes of flame and a mouth that pours smoke.  The spirit of a volcano.  It has the ability to hurl boulders that split open, spraying hot lava, and is so hot anything it touches or gets near that can burn does.  It is also a giant.  Wants: Human sacrifices, For a particular Spirit of the Upper Air to notice its affections.
3- A living mass of clouds, a lithe sillohuete occasionally appearing in the midst of the storm.  It has the ability to hurl giant hail stones, lightning and freezing winds at its enemies.  It also cannot be harmed by anything that could not hurt a cloud.  Wants: Mass celebrations or orgies beneath it (so it can watch), for large amounts of alcohol or tea to be boiled (so it can have some). 
4- An enormous serpent, with aquamarine scales and horns.  It has the ability to transform into water and create bubbles of water to trap people in.  Wants: To be flattered and praised, for something obstructing a river, such as a dam, boulder or pile of logs to be removed.
5- A walking tower of white spikes, with a rotating mouth full of a million needle teeth and eyes that glow blue.  The spirit of a blizzard.  Has the power to create snowmen minions, exhale clouds of freezing wind and freezes any living creature it touches solid.  Wants: For hot-blooded creatures to die, a spouse or lover to torment and abuse.
6- An enormous lizard covered in downy green-blue fur.  Has the power to almost perfectly camoflague and can exhale clouds of spores that make people hallucinate.  Wants: To be introduced to a real dragon, for you to take a token of its love to Court of Queen Titania, Lady of Summer and return with her reply.

                                                  by Jason Nyugen

Ancestor Spirit.

Ancestor Spirits are spirits spawned by the people who dwell in a land.  They can collective manifestations of a people's unconscious wills, an undirected sentiment that chooses a new vessel whenever that people is in danger, or they can the ghosts of ancient heroes sculpted and molded by decades or centuries of veneration into proud and valiant protectors.  Ancestor Spirits are often, but not always warriors, and usually represent the ideals of that culture- whatever that culture deems heroic or virtuous.  However, in the case of degenerated or evil culture, their Ancestor Spirits may choose not to respond, or may be twisted into villainy.  In other cases, an Ancestor Spirit might have been a complicated person in life, and their descendants may simply choose to overlook this part of their personality.  Sometimes this causes those moral wrinkles to fade over time, while in other ways it remains a part of the Spirit itself.

This Ancestor Spirit is...

1d4

1- Yuto Vica Bylo Manz Fragi, The Night Spear.  A Frogling Assassin-King who raised his people in revolt and led a guerilla war against the Handsome Men and the Crocolings for decades.  He won victory after victory and in the end, was only overcome when he was betrayed by a woman who he thought loved him.  Yuto possesses the ability to jump great distances, stick to walls and trees and fights with poisoned javelins which he throws or stabs people with.  His cult is still very strong, despite many attempts to stamp it out by the authorities.  He is said to still protect his people to this day, leading a host of ghost-soldiers that lurk in the depths of the bogs and fens of the North, punishing those who abuse Froglings. 
2- Lafar, Son of Olipa.  A Human soldier who united his entire people under the banner of rebellion and overthrow the Soul-Weavers.  He was the leader of the revolt that overthrew the terrible monsters that oppressed his people, controlling their minds and feeding on them like cattle.  He is said to have been immune to their mind-control abilities.  He fought with a spear, which he twirled and spun like a quarterstaff.  After finally driving the enemy from his shores he was crowned King and ruled for twenty long years, before dying surrounded by his many, many children.  To this day, many Human Kings claim to be descended from him and it is said that should the Humans ever be oppressed again, Lafar will awaken from his long sleep to lead them to freedom once more.
3- Princess Hizibi, the Virgin Queen.  A Dwarf Princess who was hatched prematurely, she never developed properly and thus could not mature into a Queen.  Despite this, she set about working her hardest to help her people, training in all the Queenly arts.  She served 3 different Queens, all who passed before her, her life extended by the spirits.  She is said to be the first Dwarf to ride a Kergeden and she led a band of mounted Dwarves against the enemies of her tribe, but she was never above helping Dwarves of other tribes.  She longed for all Dwarves to join together in universal brotherhood- though sadly this was yet to be achieved.  She was so famous that multiple tribes actually try to claim her and almost all of them have at least one story about how she delivered them from some evil.  Hizibi is said to return whenever a conflict between Dwarves becomes too destructive or when there is a problem that concerns all Dwarves.
4- Arton Hali.  A Wolfwoman archer, Hali was so skilled she was said to be able to shoot the tail feathers off a bird in flight.  Her feats of archery were so impressive that she was permitted to join the males of her tribes in the warring, where she proceeded to utterly trounce all of them.  After saving her entire tribe dozens of times, Hali began receiving prophetic visions.  These visions led her to take control of her tribe and conquer the other local tribes, uniting them under her banner.  Then, leading them on the warpath, she marched South and struck at the Vulkari Empire, crushing their armies and sending the bald-heads scurrying back to their low-land cities.  Since then, the Spine of Tarraq has belonged exclusively to the Wolfmen, and any attempt to reclaim it from them has resulted in the return of Hali and her arrows.

Powers of Ancestor Spirits:
- They can bless particular warriors with extraordinary skill, resistance to fear, charm or damage
- They can send omens to their kin or false omens to an enemy
- They can possess creatures (willing or otherwise) to lend them the skill and powers they had in life

A Creature possessed by an Ancestor Spirit counts as a Level 1d4+4 Adventurer, with a Damage Threshold equal to its level and at least one unique ability.  For example, Arton Hali can see 1 round into the future, knowing what the defense rolls of her enemies would be, while Yuto Manz Fragi has the ability of being able to secrete poison from his skin that instantly forces those affected by it to save or die.  

                                                           by TimLiljefors

Mighty Ghost.                         

Ghosts are usually created from tragedy.  Unfinished business sometimes, but usually this business is the worst sort of sorrow and hatred.  And generally, there are two things that decide how powerful and how intact a Ghost is- the strength of the person while they were alive and the suffering they endured upon their death.  Someone who was weak or did not suffer greatly will leave behind only a pale shade, a fragment of a personality.  The Mother whose son never came home will leave a faint shape that is occasionally seen through the windows or in the halls at night, and you might hear her mournful cries on days celebrating the honored dead or when soldiers return home and march by the house.  But if that woman's son was tortured and murdered in front of her, the ghost she leaves behind will be a terrible ghost, haunting that house, slaying any who resemble the original killers. 

However, there is another factor that few know about.  Should a vicious Ghost slay enough people, it will grow in power and its energies will begin to permeate an area, allowing the Ghost to control the area to a greater extent.  These areas become loci of dark energies, places that subconsciously call to those with a fascination with the Grotesque, Inhuman and Unnatural.  This same attraction also applies to the souls of the dead, but much more intensely.  Should another creature perish in one of these locations, their soul might become trapped there, dragged down and imprisoned by the Ghost that rules over that place.  Such areas are generally known and avoided by sensible folk, at least at night.

This Mighty Ghost is...         

1d4

1- The Old Soldier.  An Orzanian warrior who is said to have slain 100 Dwarves in a single day as he fought to save his subordinates, before finally being overcome.  Fatally wounded, he declared that he would never rest until the Dwarves knelt  to his distant Emperor and then charged, trying to buy time for his allies to escape.  To this day he is said to prowl the battlefield where he fell, engaged in an endless guerilla war against an enemy that has long since retreated.
2- The Corpse Child.  A babe who died shortly after birth, his Sage father revived him with vile magicks as a way to console his grieving mother.  But when she saw what her child had been transformed into, she smothered the child and killed her husband, before taking her own life.  The Child still dwells in the Sage's original manor, seeking to be born.  Occasionally, someone foolish will come to the house to exorcise it or doubting the Child's power, claiming it to be an old wives' tale.  The Child is all to happy to claim their souls and make them its servants.
3- The Menagarie of Man.  When an greedy confidence man discovered an immensely deformed man, he decided to shelter the poor soul, in exchange for a small service.  He placed the deformed man on display and charged money for the public to come and see a soul so cursed by the Gods.  This proved lucrative, so the conman began collecting deformed, damaged and otherwise strange living oddities.  But eventually, when one of his freaks was suspected of a crime, the conman murdered the constable  sent to investigate and led his freaks in flight.  Unfortunately, he was caught and torn apart, while his freaks were put out of their misery.  Yet to this day, some claim you can still see the conman's menagarie.  They say he will appear in the gloom of the night, leading a train of wagons coated in long-peeling paint, the signs faint but just barely legible.  "Come inside," he'll say.  Do not take him up on his offer.
4- The Fevre Dream.  A beautiful ferry that is full of fine china, beautiful tapestries and soft rugs.  The staff is friendly and welcoming and the other passengers charming and beautiful.  Enjoy the delicious food and exotic music, but beware, once you board, you may never leave.  Should you attempt to do so, the other passengers will open their mouths to reveal their many needle teeth.  They will drag you down and rip you apart, then have you for supper, while the musicians plink away at their instruments and the Captain with the eyes full of black mirth guides the ship down to Hell.

Powers of Mighty Ghosts:
- Within the area they haunt, they can control non-magical objects as an extension of their bodies
- They can trap and consume the souls of those who have died within their domain, to heal themselves
- They can reanimate corpses within their domain as Undead Servants to aid them
- They can disturb the sleep of anyone who tries to rest here, preventing them from taking long, but not short rests
- They also possess whatever abilities they had in life, but they have likely been strengthened by the other souls trapped or absorbed by the ghost

                                                            by Javier Charro

Petty God.

Mortals will worship just about anything, but just because something is called a God, doesn't make it one.  Many Outsiders are revered as Gods and many Spirits are venerated similarly.  Some cultures even worship the ghosts of their dead ancestors, who are most assuredly not Gods.  The Gods themselves pay no notice of this, dwelling in Heaven, only occasionally appearing in their Temples on Earth to speak to their priesthood.  Mostly, the Gods are too busy to directly intervene in mortal affairs, delegating that to other servants, mortal or otherwise, speaking to them through dreams, omens and the movement of the heavens. 

That being said, there are some beings who have a better claim to divinity than most.  The Sons of God, whether biologically or otherwise, mortals elevated to pseudo-immortality, Outsiders or other Spirits given broad commissions, these beings are one step removed from divinity, but lack the power, the authority or the nature to move any further.  They are permanently trapped, unable to rise further but unwilling to sink lower.  Some of these beings rage against Heaven and plot revenge, while others are content to stay where they are, awaiting the end of the Age, when they shall finally be relieved of their duties and permitted to rest.

This Petty God is...

1d4

1- Heraraca.  A legendary hero who ascended to divinity after death.  He was cursed by the Gods for butchering his wife and children in a fit of rage, but managed to redeem himself through completing 12 impossible tasks and broke the curse.  When the Gods finally directly intervened in an attempt to kill them, he did not die, but instead their attack only stripped away his mortal side, leaving only the spark of divinity in his core.  This swelled and grew, until he became an immortal like them.  One day, he will finally finish healing and once restored to his full power, he will assault Heaven and overthrow the Gods, or so it is claimed.  Until then he wanders the Earth, gathering allies and aiding those who are oppressed by those of a higher nature than them.
2- Melizozo.  A Demon of unimaginable power, Melizozo was the most fearsome agent of the Dark Powers, seeking to blot out all reality.  But when he met an Angel of Love, she taught him the errors of his way.  Trusting in her, he was transformed into a champion of justice.  It was he who smashed the Dark Powers and scattered them into the fragments that they are today.  For his treachery, however, he too was shattered, bits of his soul scattered across creation.  It is said that the Angels are busy gathering up the pieces of his body to this day.  When they find them all, they will bring them back together and Melizozo will be resurrected, and that will be the symbol for the final battle of Good versus Evil to commence. 
3- Grazui, the Beautiful.  A sumptuous lord of luxury, he dwells in a hidden, hellish world, in a seemingly endless manor.  In his world of suffering, his garden of Earthly delights, all things are available for the proper price.  Wine, women, and darker pleasures still.  His realm can be reached through a secret ritual, but one can also be taken there, as his servants on this world sometimes open portals to travel to and from his world, whether to send him new sacrifices or play-things, or to pour out into our world to slaughter and plunder in his name.  As such, his realm is continually assaulted by the forces of Good, Evil, Law and Chaos, but all find themselves lost in the maze of cities and wilderness around his home.  One day, perhaps, a pure soul will pierce his defenses and make their way into his presence and rid the world of his corrupting influence.  Until that day though, he will continue to feed on our world, plucking the ripest fruits and most beautiful blossoms for himself, to sate his ravenous appetite.        
4- Elduai, Selenic Queen, Lady of Silver.  A goddess who was banished from Heaven after slighting the King of the Gods, she and her husband were stripped of their immortality and forced to live as mortals.  They spent their lives seeking for a way to reclaim their divinity, and eventually succeeded.  But after they found a method of becoming immortals, they found out it would only work for one of them.  So, rather than leave each other, they concealed the method and swore to think of a better solution.  But then, years later, when her husband's pupil betrayed them upon discovering they had the secret of immortality, Elduai used the method they discovered on herself, rather than let the betrayer live.  As a Goddess, she destroyed the traitor, but had to leave her husband, as she was now a God and could not live on the Earth.  She now resides on the Moon, but one night a year and on some cloudy nights, when the Gods cannot see her, she ventures from her manse to visit the grave of her husband and answer the prayers of those who struggle with love and treachery.           

Powers of the Petty Gods:
- Petty Gods have powerful and unique abilities depending on who they are and how they originally came to where they now stand
- The only power they share in common is a Specific Death Condition: Unless killed in a specific way, they will be restored to life.    

                                              by Mark Tedin

Elemental.

These are Spirits tasked to maintaining the natural cycles of non-living things.  Fire Elementals regulate combustion, heat exchange and collaborate with Earth Elementals on volcanic activity.  Earth Elementals control geologic and tectonic activity, help with gravity, erosion and the production of new rocks.  Water Elementals control the water cycle, evaporation, transpiration and fight with Air Elementals over the weather.  Air Elementals also influence the weather, as well as governing the winds, aiding in pollination and the spreading of seeds and regulating the climate. 

I won't be including any further tables for them, as I already wrote extensively on the subject.

                                              by SlaaneshG

Chaos Spirit.

Chaos Spirits are creatures of contradiction, color, madness, passion and creativity.  They are infinitely varied, vastly different in appearance, ideology and power.  They range from Princes to lowly paupers.  Either way, wherever they go, they do as they will and obey only the rules that they choose to, or are forced to, obey.  They are completely untrustworthy, but not necessarily malicious.  Chaos does often mean anarchy, mob violence, riots in the streets and secret cabals, but it can also be sorcery, art, rebellion against tyranny and freedom.

This Chaos Spirit has...

The Body of a...

1d6

1- Dog
2- Horse
3- Humanoid
4- In the shape of a cube
5- Bird
6- Grasshopper

With the head of a...

1d6

1- Octopus
2- Wolf
3- Dragon
4- Beetle
5- Household Tool (such as a fireplace poker, spatula, whisk)
6- Weapon (such as an Axe, Switchblade, Gun)

And it...

1d6

1- Glows in the dark
2- Is covered in delicate silia
3- Is partially gelatinous
4- Has pieces of metal or glass randomly mingled with flesh
5- Changes color randomly
6- Causes minor hallucinations when it is nearby.     

If these aren't strange enough for you, roll 1d4 times on your favorite mutation table and apply the results here.

Powers of a Chaos Spirit:

- Chaos spirits possess the ability to influence the winds of magic
- They can also influence the elements, striking with blasts of fire, bolts of lightning, deluges of acid and freezing gales
- They can induce mutation and madness
- More powerful Chaos Spirits can distort reality, forcing creatures to reroll attacks, checks or saves, reroll ability scores, change a creature's race or class or anything else that is deemed interesting

                                                     artist unknown

Law Spirit.

Law Spirits are creatures of order, stability and civilization.  They exist to preserve, maintain and strengthen.  They come to aid all those who battle against Chaos and social decay.  They are peerless, incorruptible champions of Order.  Dragonslayers, Witch-Finders and Paladins of indomitable virtu.  They are not always good, and they are definitely not always kind.  Law Spirits may come to aid the heroes who struggle against the Dragon who burns cities to the ground, but they also might help a Tyrant keep his throne.  They are amoral, seeking only that Chaos be fought, no matter the cost.  Additionally, unlike the Chaos Spirits, Law Spirits prefer to remain hands-off, aiding in subtle ways rather than take the field themselves.  When possible, they prefer to let mortals take the reins.  But when the Servants of Chaos come in force, the Agents of Law can expect back up from them.

This Lesser Law Spirit is a...

1d6

1- Monodrone.  An observer who can fly and possesses binocular and thermal vision, along with Sight Beyond Sight.  Not very smart, but fairly sneaky.  Acts as a scout and will generally show up to provide vital information to mortals. 
2- Duodrone.  A two-headed creature with one eye on each head.  Fights with a pair of hooked polearms that it uses in tandem, hooking enemies with one and stabbing with the other.  Can also project nets. 
3- Triodrone.  Healers who can levitate and have three legs, which they use to scuttle along.  Can stick to ceilings and walls as well.  Grab people with their three legs, and then carry them to safety.  Known for their skill at healing, repairing machinery and their horrible bedside manner.   
4- Quadrodrone.  Quadrupedal.  Acts as mounts or pack animals for other Law Spirits.  Very fast.  The least intelligent, only about as smart as dogs. 
5- Pentadrone.  Quadrupedal, but with long stingers.  They have different venom capsules that they load depending on the circumstances and current orders.  The shock troops and heavy infantry. 
6- Hexadrone.  The leadership caste of the Modrons.  Can levitate, create six-sided shields of energy and use telekinesis.  Usually surrounded by six floating metal spheres, which they use to protect themselves and throw at people.  Rarely seen by mortals, unless things have gotten quite bad.

Other Lesser Law Spirits include the Bureaucrats of Heaven, which in my world are Spirits, not humans. 

This Greater Law Spirit is a(n)...

1d3

1- An Inevitable.  An Outsider constructed like a Construct.  Sent out for one specific objective.  After it is complete, it will return to the Forge to be repurposed or recycled.  They don't have any particular feelings about this, to them it is no different than a mortal dying at the end of their life.  The ones that grow particularly attached to their sense of self or current incarnation tend to fall to Chaos.
2- A Septadrone.  The mightiest of the Modrons, a living war-machine that can fire rockets, hails of darts, project force shields and scale walls like a spider.
3- A Marut.  Inscrutable judges, meditators and arbitrators.  Their purpose is to find things that are out of place and put them back, through whatever means necessary.  They avoid violence unless necessary and never kill, unless required to.  When required to, they slaughter without mercy.  They care for nothing except that the Law is carried out to the letter. 

                                                          by CarolineLaplante

Evil Spirit.

Evil Spirits are demons, but usually are too weak to be labeled as such.  These are the vicious pranksters, cruel plotters and spiteful gossips of the Spirit World.  They aren't strong enough to do a great deal of damage, but they are still black-hearted things that revel in cruelty.   

1d4
1- Kindergnaw*.  A small creature with the mouth of a crocodile, a feathery mane and a small, scaly body.  It is about the size of Corgi.  The Kindergnaw cannot be harmed by any weapon forged by mortal hands nor any spell that directly targets it.  In exchange for this, however, it is compelled to only devour those who others request it eats.  If asked politely, the Kindergnaw will find and devour that person.  But it cannot eat any others.  So the Kindergnaw stalks and watches, and when it finds an abused child, a mistreated woman, a downtrodden man, it comes to that person and asks, "Just say the word, and I will grant you the revenge you seek."  Then once that person has been devoured, it seeks out the relatives of the person it devoured and says to them, "[X] asked me to devour your (father/husband/friend).  Just say the word, and I will return the favor."  The Kindergnaw's only real goal is to devour as many people as it can, because people are delicious and it is a glutton.
2- Crushed Racoon.  A creature with the head of a racoon, smashed flat, but somehow it still lives.  The body below the neck is pale, skinless and only has forelimbs.  The rest of the body is a long tail that it drags along the ground, leaving a smear of blood behind it.  The Crushed Racoon loves to ruin important things and solemn moments.  It will sneak into kitchens to destroy wedding cakes, throw itself onto the Bishop's hat during a coronation, and jump into a child's bath to scare it.  It derives sick amusement from these acts.  The Crushed Racoon cannot be crushed and has a bite that will infect you with a disease.  The blood it leaves behind also contaminates things. 
3- Lady Static.  A beautiful, pale woman whose face you can never remember.  Whenever you look at it, a cloud of static is all you remember.  She invites you to sleep with you, but its rarely pleasurable and you always immediately regret it.  By doing so, your hands are marked with blood, and you leave stains on whatever you touch.  Alternatively, this blood may be spiritual, so it can only be sensed as spiritual corruption.  Static wants to corrupt you and make you her slave.  Despite it not being pleasurable, sex with her is addictive.  Besides her corrupting powers, she also has the ability to send people dreams.  She never fights her own battles and flees from danger.  Her goal, besides corrupting the innocent and righteous, is to gain power and build herself a harem of handsome slaves.
4- White Hood.  A man in stainless robes with his hood up to conceal his face.  He pretends to be an Angel to lead pilgrims and good people off the path and into traps and other dangerous situations.  His true form is that of a mangy, blood-smeared predator with yellow teeth and breath that reeks of carrion.  Certain cannibal tribes and savage clans that barely manage to be sentient placate him with sacrifices of blood and fresh meat.  In exchange, he helps them hide from those too strong to face and brings them fresh meat.  His goal is that he wishes to be revered, and he doesn't care if people have to get hurt.

You can find more lesser Evil Spirits here.

Greater Evil Spirits are called Demons and I've already written plenty about them. 

Powers of Evil Spirits:
- Curses
- Abilities that drain power or life
- Abilities that influence or control the mind
- Abilities relating to poison, disease and corruption
- Abilities relating to summoning and controlling the Undead                   

                                                   by Guillaume Seignac

Beneficient Spirit.

Beneficient Spirits are spirits that are righteous, or at least, good of heart.  They pursue good objectives with good intentions.  They aren't always nice or even helpful, but they have nothing but good intentions.  Still, despite this fact, they can be nuisances at times. 

1d4

1- Puttos.  Strange, baby-like Spirits who help people fall in love.  Some work with Law to ensure the birth of certain prophetic figures, while others merely facilitate love and romance between different people.  Some believe in the concept of soul-mates, while others acknowledge the fact that love can bloom almost anywhere.  These two factions of Puttos disagree bitterly.  Puttos carry arrows that can deaden someone's heart or make them fall in love.  They want people to fall in love, for their ships to become "canon" and baby things (such as being cuddled, rocked, drinking breast milk, naps, etc).
2- Lares.  Also called Tiny Gods, Lares are spirits that mark and maintain boundaries, borders and other restrictions.  Resembling tiny warriors armed with needle swords, acorn helms and capes made of spider-webs or a single leaf, they monitor the walls, doors and windows of buildings.  They are strong enough to drive away small spirits, as well as rats and other pests.  No house that pleases the Lares will suffer from termites or from an infestation of bugs.  The Lares will hunt and destroy them.  Lares have the ability to speak the language of any creature that enters their domain and the ability to commune with domesticated animals, who aid them.  Their bravest warriors ride cats, which in their culture is comparable to riding a lion or a dragon.  Lares want respect, cups of warm water (to bathe in), tiny weapons and armor and alcohol.
3- Domovoi.  A spirit that protects a family from danger that one day might grow into an Ancestor Spirit, should those who venerate and sacrifice to it grow large enough.  Domovoi have feet of warped wood and bald heads covered in shingles.  Their broad coats resemble rough logs and their staves are carved like the pillars that hold up a house.  Their pipes constantly spew smoke and flame like chimmneys and they always stink of wood, meat and home.  They are here to protect you, and no matter how far you go, you're never far from home with one watching out for you.  Domovoi want hot tea and for you to visit them and spend time with them.  They get lonely when you don't come back to say hi. 
4- Messenger Toads.  Small Toadmen, no bigger than a child, in shiny red coats and matching hats with shiny black brims.  Their shoulders are adorned with gold braid and the insignia of Heaven.  The Messenger Toads are an elite group, entrusted to carry messages by the Gods.  They never lie, never cheat and never fail to get through.  When forced to fight, they use shining rapiers that penetrate all armor, but prefer just to avoid danger.  They want to deliver their messages or packages and get back to work.     

Powers of Beneficient Spirits:
- The ability to bless, fortify or invigorate
- The ability to Banish offending creatures
- The ability to restorate creatures to previous states
- The ability to heal

                                             from here

Eikones.

Eikones are the living personifications of a specific concept or thing.  Essentially, they are living Platonic forms.  If you meet the Eikone for Wolf, it is The Wolf, the one that all other wolves are inferior reflections of.  They are hyper-real, like iron balls dropped into soup.  By looking at them, you can feel the sensation of their fur.  By hearing them, images of what they look like invade your mind.  By touching them, you know what they taste like.  Many of the Eikones are animals, but some are concepts.  For example, you could meet the Eikone of Bureaucracy, or that of Horses.   

Powers of the Eikone:

- Eikones have power relating to their specific nature and the associations they bring with them.
- For example, Wolf can duplicate himself to create a pack of clones who work together and can howl loud enough to burst people's eardrums, break glass and cause internal damage.
- For another example, the Eikone of Power can order people to obey him.  Those who refuse his commands suffer violence, as Power is tied inextricably to violence.  

                                             by RenePolumorfous

*Stolen from Fire on the Velvet Horizon

Thursday, February 11, 2021

OSR: Yugoloths: Vernal Company

Find basic information on the Yugoloths here.
Shiver Squad: Shock Troops.
Gelid Squad: Seductresses, spies specializing in silk-work, espionage and assassination.
Bluster Platoon: Magically gifted negotiators, who use their magic to contain, control and aid their allies.

                                                  found here, artist unknown

Vernal Company:

Vernal Company is a group of Yugoloths formally classified by the Sewing Circle as the Aqualoths.  They possess the ability to breathe underwater and are as comfortable there as on land. 

Appearance wise, Aqualoths are humanoids covered in scales and barnacle-like growths of bone that potrude from their bodies.  They have webbed fingers and bald heads, with crest-like fins atop the crowns of their heads.  Their eyes are huge and black, and they have gills on their abdomens.

Aqualoths have clawed feet that seem ill-suited to swimming, but when they need to, they can transform their lower bodies into the tails of fish, making them resemble monstrous Mermaids.  For the majority of them, this is the limit of their magics.

Vernal Company is composed of 134 Aqualoths.  It is divided into 10 squads of 10 each, each one headed by a Dectat.  The Each of these Dectats report to the Captain, who commands the whole company.  The other 34 Aqualoths are a mix of physicians, magicians, priests and other personnel that support the rank and file soldiers. 

The Company's members are all descended from five Aqualoths, who were the original children of a Green Hag named Sarah Seafoam.  The rest of the Aqualoths came about the normal way, from the wives, concubines and paramours of those original five. 

Seafoam is still alive, though her current activities and whereabouts are unknown.

The location of Vernal Company's book is unknown, but many believe it fell into the sea near the Cape of Tears.  If the book is still around, it is likely buried in the mud there or in the lair of a sea creature who isn't smart enough to use it.

Base Aqualoth Abilities:


Amphibious: Aqualoths can breathe water as well as air. 

Limited Shapeshifting: Aqualoths can change their bodies using magic to a limited degree.  They can turn their legs to fish tails, transform hands and arms into fins, and make other small changes.  They cannot totally change to look like someone different, however. 

Reinforcements: All Yugoloths know at least one of the True Names of their kinsmen, usually a member of the same squad.  However, because they will not compel their kinsmen to respond, and because most Yugoloths are selfish by nature, their kinsmen will not always respond.  As an action, the Yugoloth can attempt summon that other Yugoloth to aid them in whatever the first Yugoloth was doing. 

                                                      by Stephanieboehm

Aqualoth Soldier
HD 2
AR Fish-Scale Shirt, Greaves, Helm and Shield [14 Armor]
Atk Spear (1d8) or Dagger (1d6)
Mor 12
Saves 9 or less
Immune to Poison and Poison Damage
Resistant to Cold and Cold Damage

Amphibious: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Limited Shapeshifting: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Reinforcements: Aqualoth Soldiers have a 50% of being able to summon another member of their 10-man squad or a 25% chance of summoning an Aqualoth from another squad. 

Tactics:
- Form a wedge and cut enemy formations in two
- Gang up on weaker targets
- Retreat from unwinnable fights

This is the Statblock for individual soldiers.  If more than twenty of them gather in one place, use the following Statblock:

Aqualoth Army

HP 100
Damage Threshold 4
Atk Spear (1d8/1d8/1d8 + see below)
Mor 15
Saves 9 or less

Army: The Aqualoth Army is a group of 20 or more Aqualoths working and fighting together as a unit.  Armies move in groups- 3 can walk abreast in a 10' wide hallway.  Three soldiers in the Army are able to surround one enemy and more will be needed should there be more enemies, or should they be standing shoulder-to-shoulder or back-to-back.  Armies make all saves against area-of-effect spells with disadvantage and should a spell or ability of that kind do damage, they take full damage if evading it is based on DEX or agility.     

Variable Attacks: An Army can make a variable amount of attacks, especially if it is able to surround an enemy.  At base, Armies can make three attacks, but depending on positioning, may be able to make more.  If the Referee rules it, an Army may make a number of additional attacks up to 10 potential attacks, but this is only in a situation where a group of enemies has been completely surrounded.   

Damage Threshold: Attacks against the Army automatically hit, instead have the attacker just roll damage and compare it to the Damage Threshold.  Any attack that equals or exceeds the threshold does normal damge to the Army's HP, but any attack that fails to reach or exceed the Damage Threshold is ignored, as if it did no damage.  

Amphibious: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Limited Shapeshifting: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Rain of Spears: Instead of making three or more attacks, the Aqualoth Army can choose to instead throw their spears in a mass volley.  This does 3d8 damage, save for half.  If you have a shield, a successful save instead means you take no damage and a failed one means half damage.  After using this ability, the Army's damage is reduced to 1d6 until they can retrieve their spears. 

Tactics:
- Divide the enemy
- Avoid fair fights
- Only use 'Rain of Spears' on enemies entrenched or tightly massed    

The rank and file of Vernal company is made up of hardy warriors and plucky survivors.  In many ways, they are no different than any otehr group of soldiers.  Some are motivated by a sense of patriotism or fidelity to friends and kin.  Some are just in it for the money or because they see no better option.  Most of these are only common fighters, no more skilled or motivated than any others.  A rare few will be true warriors, noble of heart and dedicated wholly to their duty, even onto death. 

But in other ways, the soldiers of Vernal Company are vastly different.  Unlike other soldiers, they have no homeland to fight for or return to.  They are eternal outsiders, always set apart from those they fight for.  But unlike others of their kind, whose unit is small enough to resemble a family, the Company is large enough that it almost resembles a society, yet it falls short in some ways.  This tension in their souls causes them pain, the feeling of never being accepted anywhere, but having no place of solace to return to.  This is an asset in some way, because it prevents them from showing sympathy to their victims.

This makes them an asset for their employers.  With no loyalty to any other group but themselves, the troops of Vernal Company do not hesitate to crush revolts, slay freedom-fighters and aid tyrants in pushing their enemies down into the muck. However, this same callousness can be a problem.  The soldiers of Vernal Company are mercenaries, but they are much more loyal to each other than to their purses.  When push comes to shove, they value money over your life and their comrades over money.  This fact has often become painfully obvious to those who employ Vernal Company, as they are known to change their allegiances in a day, betraying former allies or abandoning clients to certain doom.   

To combat this feeling, the soldiers of Vernal Company adopt the usual Yugoloth perspective, that is, they regard the creatures of this world as lesser.  The Yugoloths stand above them by virtue of their status as Yugoloths.  As such, whatever a Yugoloth wants to do to an outsider is fine.  To take from an outsider is no crime, nor is it to manipulate or otherwise abuse them.  However, if doing such a thing would bring shame or harm to another Yugoloth, then it should be avoided.  And unlike some other Yugoloths, who have almost no care for their fellows, the soldiers of Vernal Company have some fidelity to their kinsmen, especially to fellow members of their Company and squad. 

The soldiers of Vernal Company can show great valor, but they are mercenaries, so they are more interested in profit and survival than whatever cause they are currently fighting for.      

                                              by Suzanne-Helmigh

Vernal Dectat
HD 4
AR Bone Armor and Helm [15 Armor]
Atk Barbed Spears (1d6/1d6/1d6) or Sharktooth Hook (1d8 + Grapple)
Mor 13
Saves 11 or less

Amphibious: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Limited Shapeshifting: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Reinforcements: Vernal Dectats have a 60% of being able to summon another member of their 10-man squad or a 30% chance of summoning an Aqualoth from another squad. 

Tactics:
- Grapple someone with the Sharktooth Hook
- Drag them away from the group
- Have your subordinates attack the helpless one OR Keep the others away while you take a hostages.

Vernal Company has 100 soldiers, each divided into 10 ten man squads.  The Dectats are those appointed to lead each squad and guide them to victory.  Dectats are usually  selected from those Aqualoths powerful enough to rise above their fellows in terms of valor, power or skill.  This is largely the only similarity between them.  The Dectats are all very different in terms of their relationships with their subordinates and superiors. 

How do this Dectat's subordinates feel about him?

1d4

1- Their subordinates despise them and view them as unworthy of command.  The soldiers under this Dectat are "this" close to murdering their commander and claiming it was an accident.  They would also leave him for dead, should he lead them into a dangerous situation.
2- Their subordinates don't like their Dectat because they feel he is 1dX [1= A screw-up; 2= Being groomed for Officer status and is only using them as a stepping stone; 3= A tyrant who micro-manages them; 4= An unpleasant person to be around; 5= Unworthy of command because of some failing or flaw; 6= A failure who was assigned to them to keep him busy, so he wouldn't bother the other officers.]
3- Their subordinates admire him, viewing him as someone worthy of respect.
4- Their subordinates adore him and are fanatically loyal to him. 

How do his superiors feel about him?

1d4

1- The Officers regard him as a joke.  He is a failure and an embarassment.  He'll soon be dead, but even should he survive, he's impotent.  No threat to anyone.
2- The Officers regard him as a useful tool.  If you need a fortress stormed or an enemy assassinated, he's the man for the job.  At most other things, he is middling to less than useful.
3- The Officers value his input and intelligence.  A good soldier- a man I trust to have my back.  And one I know is not smart or ambitious enough to plant a dagger there.
4- The Officers fear and potentially loathe him, as he is likely to be the one that replaces them.

But despite all their differences, their is one other similarity between the Dectats.  They all aspire to command, to higher things.  But it is a small world they live in- to them, leaving the Company is all but unthinkable.  A Yugoloth who does so would be apart from his people and in their view, utterly alone in a land of stranger.  As such, death would be immensely preferrable to exile.  And in the small world they live in, small actions can cause great ripples.  They are balanced on the knife's edge, knowing that one misstep could be fatal, or worse.  So they all quietly plot and scheme against each other, sharpening their knives even as they stand shoulder to shoulder against a world they cannot, nay, will not understand.    

                                                         by ladyowl

Vernal Sage
HD 3
AR Varies, see below
Atk Varies, see below
Mor 10
Saves 10 or less

Amphibious: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Limited Shapeshifting: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Reinforcements: Vernal Sages have a 70% of being able to summon an Aqualoth Soldier, 30% of summoning a Dectat or 10% of summoning another Vernal Sage.

Innate Spellcasting: Vernal Sages have a number of Mana Dice equal to their HD.  They can cast the following spells as an action: Alter Self, Dazzling Display, Ink Screen. 

Tactics:
- If sufficient defended, fight alongside their brethren
- If not, avoid contact at all cost

All Vernal Sages are different.  To see how this one is, roll on the tables below:

This Vernal Sage is protected by...

1d4

1- Nothing.  This Sage is an Apprentice and has been ordered to avoid combat as much as possible.
2- Light Armor.  This Sage wears furrowed scale armor, granting it 8 Armor. 
3- A magical enchantment.  This Sage has ensorcelled themselves to 1d3 [1= Make themselves unable to be harmed by any manmade tool or weapon; 2= Given themselves the ability to regenerate in water (as a Water Elemental); 3= Teleport 30' in the opposite direction if a source would damage them.]
4- A magic item.  The Sage has 1d3 [1= Robes that can harden to make themselves tougher than steel [20 Armor].  The robes also regenerate 1d4 points of Armor each round they aren't hardened; 2= A Ring that directs a water current to try and sweep away the first person to make a melee attack against the Sage; 3= An Ioun Stone that creates a force shield around the user, deflecting all of one type of damage- ex: Sharp, Bludgeoning, cold, but lets others through.  Each round, the Sage can choose the damage type deflected.  

This Vernal Sage fights with...

1d6

1- A dancing spear.  The spear moves of its own power and makes two attacks doing 1d6 damage.
2- Sorcerous Power.  The Sage has unlocked the greater secrets of sorcery and has +1d4 MD, and knows 1d4+2 spells.
3- Telepathic Hypnotism.  The Sage can force creatures to save.  On a failed save, those creatures fall into a trance and think their allies are enemies and vice versa.  The Sage can also project blasts of psychic energy that do 2d6 damage, save for half.
4- Shapeshifting.  The Sage possesses the ability to shapeshift far beyond that of most Aqualoths, allowing it to transform into beasts far larger and more dangerous than an Aqualoth.
5- An ordinary weapon and their horrible animal companion.  The Sage carries a spear and is accompanied by a 5 HD beast that obeys them, such as a War-Dolphin, a Giant Shark or a Great Squid. 
6- Water Weapons.  The Sage can infuse the water near them with mana, allowing it to be sculpted into semi-solid objects.  The Sage transforms these into weapons, which it uses to fight.  These weapons do 1d6 magical sharp or bludgeoning damage, ignore the usual restrictions for weapons underwater and grant a +4 attack bonus underwater.  

Vernal Sages are the few among the Aqualoths who possess more than a scrap of magical talent.  They are taken from the masses of the common infantry and trained to harness the power of Sorcery.  Few ever become truly powerful, most coasting on the magical inheritance they received from their Mother.  This lack of truly talented Sorcerers among their ranks has fueled fears among some Aqualoths that their interbreeding with the intelligent races of the Undersea has been a mistake and is only diluting their bloodline.  Some of these types paint the grim picture of the Aqualoths disappearing entirely from the world, dissolving and melding so much with the other races that they are swallowed up and extinguished.  And while the Officers officially insist that such a thing isn't a problem, there are concerns that it might be possible, or at least that some parts of Vernal Company are starting to go native.  Instead of only being loyal to their brethren and Yugoloths in general, they are coming to sympathize with the concerns and cultures of their concubines, wives and servants.

What is to be done about this problem remains an important question, though to some it is not a question at all, merely being a paranoid delusion or a deliberate strategy to undermine the Captain and take his position.          

                                                             artist unknown

Vernal Officer
HD 5
AR 16 [Fine Scalemail]
Atk Trident (1d10/1d10)
Mor 12
Saves 12 or less

Amphibious: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Limited Shapeshifting: See 'Base Aqualoth Abilities'.

Reinforcements: Vernal Officers have a 90% of being able to summon an Aqualoth Soldier, 50% of summoning a Dectat, 30% of summoning a Vernal Sage.  Additionally, when a Vernal Officer successfully rolls to summon a Vernal Soldier, he instead rolls 1d10 and summons that many.   

Tactics:
- Let others do the fighting
- Avoid conflict as much as possible, unless you're being paid otherwise
- Take no unnecessary risks

Since most of the Officers will be included in the section below, consult there for their individual abilities and quirks.

                                                           by JasonTN

Notable Individual Members:

Company Commander Captain Uyil [U-yi], Son of Sarah

True Name: Divid

Captain Uyil is an ancient Aqualoth, said to be of the original crop that was descended directly from their Hag Mother.  As such, he is revered by his men, who regard him as nothing short of a living legend.  He accepts their praise with humility, never boasting about his own accomplishments.  He prefers to let his actions speak, instead of his words. 

Uyil has led Vernal Company for centuries, so much so that many Aqualoths cannot imagine anyone else taking his place.  As such, every ten years when Officers and the Captain is elected, he has won handily.  Uyil maintains his comfortable position thanks to his care of his soldiers, winning them rich prizes in the forms of slaves, war booty and coin.  He similarly maintains control over the Officers through his erratic behavior and the fact that he never, ever reveals his true feelings or intentions until it is necessary.  When told of some event that displeases him, he simply says, "I see," and then goes silent.  The other Officers walk on eggshells around him, knowing that should they arouse his ire, he will destroy their careers, either in the next election or earlier, usually by reassigning them to some meaningless post. 

Weakness: Uyil's weakness is his wife, Yola Esqualo, a Merfolk noble-woman.  She has disproportionate influence over him and helps him run the "civil" affairs of the Company.  He has great difficulty saying no to her.  Her influence is a source of grief for the other Officers, one Uyil's enemies have been working to exploit.     

Statblock Changes:    
  

+2 HD

AR 22 [Masterwork Medium Armor]

Secret Techniques: Uyil is an Expert in Farmer's Friend
- He can parry 1 attack around, reducing damage taken by 1d10.  He can parry anything you could stop with a staff, including arrows or throwing knives.
- He can attack two opponents, as long as they are adjacent.

Magic Weapon: Uyil's Trident is magic.  It is called Thundering Seas and has two abilities.
Firstly, Uyil can have his trident have an electrical current flow through it, causing it to do +1d6 lightning damage on a hit. This extra damage is only added after the hit is confirmed and is not included in the attack roll.  Additionally, creatures wearing metal armor take +1d8 damage, while creatures wearing normal clothing or armor made of insulating substances take +1d4 lightning damage.
Secondly, Thundering Seas can 1/Day unleash a shockwave of Thunder that ripples out from the user, extending any distance the user wants it to, up to 50'.  Any creatures within this field take 4d6 thunder damage, save for half.  Creatures that fail their saves are also knocked prone.  While underwater, the shockwave can travel twice as far and does +1d6 damage.     

                                                 source unknown

Vice-Commander First Lieutenant Archok, Son of Persio

True Name:
Evi

Archok is a cold-blooded, incredibly ruthless and sublimely violent Yugoloth.  He also possesses a trait almost unknown among their species- he is loyal.  Archok, unlike many of his brethren, has no real interest in climbing the ladder of command nor fame.  He is a realist and a cynic, utterly unswayed by sentiment.  As far as he is concerned, someone who climbs to the top of a Yugoloth unit is only the strongest crab in the bucket, it's pointless, as they are still trapped.  The only benefit the leader possesses is being the one most able to see, but never reach freedom.  As such, he never put himself forward for promotion and when his fellows voted for him anyway, he had to pressured to actually accept the positions offered to him. 

And so he climbed from common soldier to adjutant to Dectat and so on, all the way up to become First Lieutenant, the Vice Commander of the entire Company.  He is as mystified as most of the other officers are about this fact. 

Still, he tries to make the best of it.  He serves diligently and accurately reports the business of the other officers to Uyil, never visibly showing discontent and inwardly never even considering going against his boss.  As he could tell you himself, "Power is a scum-sucking whore."

When he is not performing his duties as Vice Commander, Archok is practicing martial arts, composing poetry and engaging in amateur philosophers.  Most of the Company just humors him, but he has a small following of Aqualoths who worship the ground he walks on and emulate him in everything.

Weakness: Archok is not as clever as he looks.  He is actually somwhat bad at judging a situation and dealing with most creatures in any situation that doesn't call for extreme violence.  If you put him a situation that requires a more sophisticated response than "Hit it until it dies", he will be very slow and methodical, and likely fetch others to help him make the decision.

Statblock Changes:

+1 HD

Atk Trident (1d10/1d10) or Unarmed Strike (1d8/1d8/1d8)

Secret Techniques:  
- If he sacrifices one of his attacks, he gets a +2 bonus to his next defense roll            

                                                          source unknown

Houndmaster Second Lieutenant Trici, Son of Yaro

True Name:
Trax

Trici is a scum-sucking, power-hungry, conniving snake of a Yugoloth.  He is the Yugoloth that gives all the others of his kind their reputation as selfish, back-stabbing pricks only interested in looking out for themselves.  Trici is a vain-glorious fool who aspires to glory and the Captainship of the Company.  To achieve these goals, he will do anything.  He has no shame or real sense of self-respect.  If threatened with death, he will do anything to stay alive.

Weakness:
Trici is blinded by his desire for power and his sense of self-importance.  He thinks he is much smarter and more competent than he actually is.  As such, he is easy to trick or manipulate if you invoke one or both of these factors.  He is weak to flattery. 

Note that Trici's role as Hound-Master means that not only is he third in command, but he is also in charge of the War-Dolphins, trained hunters that the Aqualoths occasionally use in combat. 

Statblock Changes:

Magic Ring: Trici has a magic ring called The Ring of Shifting.  The ring allows the user to change the color and texture of their skin as an action, giving them a +4 bonus to any stealth check if they used it to camoflague themselves against the background or terrain.   

                                                         by Maciej Kuciara

Chief Scholar, Dectat-Sage Yifiga, Son of Fargex

True Name:
Antoro

Yifiga is the most powerful Magi the Aqualoths have seen in generations.  Yet he did not begin that way.  An untalented soldier who had no real skill with the spear or the dart, he was selected by the previous Chief Scholar because he showed talent, having more shapeshifting ability that others.  But despite this fact, he possessed almost no talent and utterly failed to learn sorcery or any advanced Arts.  As such, after one particularly draining session, he fell into a coma.  The Chief Scholar declared him a failure and when Yifiga recovered several days later, the Chief Scholar dismissed him. 

Desperate to avoid being sent to the front lines, where he feared he would surely die, Yifiga deserted.  There was a token effort to reclaim him, but since he wasn't very useful, no one tried that hard.  And that is where the story ordinarily would have ended. 

But then, ten days later, Yifiga returned and begged the Chief Scholar to take him back.  The Chief begrudgingly allowed him back, on the basis Yifiga could pass a simple test.  As it was a test Yifiga had previously failed, the Chief was certain he would soon be rid of his worst student.  But to his surprise, Yifiga crushed the test, revealing a massive pool of untapped potential.  Soon he was excelling in his studies and before anyone knew it, he was the Chief's adjutant.  When the Chief Scholar was assassinated during a siege, Yifiga was the natural pick to replace the former Chief.

However, Yifiga has a big secret.  As the former Chief suspected, he did not suddenly awaken to his latent magical abilities alone.  He had help.  Specifically, he struck a pact.  In exchange for awakening his latent powers and super-charging them, he swore himself to a powerful creature and promised it something.  What that something is, no one knows.  But considering the power Yifiga gained, it must be a considerable prize to have been worth waiting all this time. 

Weakness:
Yifiga, despite his outward confidence, is actually still a cowardly creature.  He can pretend to be brave, but he refuses to take risks and only does so when absolutely necessary.  Additionally, he also has obligations to his patron.  Should he ever fail to meet them, his magical abilities would vanish and he would be exposed as a fraud.  This is his greatest fear, perhaps even more than death. 

Statblock Changes:         

Spellcasting: Yifiga has 8 Mana Dice.  His MD burn out on a roll of 5 or 6 and if he rolls doubles or triples, he triggers a roll on his Chaos Table.  He has the spells Evard's Black Tentacles, Guardian Angel, Inkspray, Ink Screen, Otiluke's Freezing Sphere, Ray of Sickness, Rogue Wave and Tentacle Swarm prepared.

Chaos of the Deep Mage:
1d6

1- Your MD only return on a 1-2 for 24 hours.
2- Take 1d6 damage as you cough up ink.
3- Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then Save. Permanent if you fail. Squid-related mutations are preferable.
4- You constantly sweat ink, staining everything you touch and leaving a trail. Lasts 1d6 hours.
5- You are blinded for 1d6 rounds, weeping ink.
6- Speak only squiddish for 1d6 hours. Squids, octopi and mind flayers understand you, but no one else.

Table is from here.

                                                              from here, artist unknown

Quartermistress Yola Esqalo, Wife of Uyil

Yola is the third daughter of a Merfolk Noble, a high-rankier courtier to the coastal kingdom of Abaya.  After the Vernal Company helped Abaya crush its enemies on land and sea, there was great competition among the Nobles to see who could win the loyalty of these powerful mercenaries.  In the end, Majari Esqualo's offer of one of his daughters to the Captain, along with a vast number of slave women and several chests of valuables won out. 

Yola was initially not happy with this prospect, but over time she grew to love her foreign mercenary husband very much.  Not only is he charming, funny and a capable provider, but he also has enabled her to greatly increase in status, making her one of the most important women in the Kingdom.  She is also fully aware of the political potential of her position.  She hasn't actually made much use of her influence yet, but has encouraged her husband to entrench himself further into the Merfolk Kingdom.  She hopes that given enough time, the Company will settle down and merge with the Kingdom of Abaya, and she will no longer have to accompany her husband on long trips far from home.

Yola currently works as the Quartermaster, helping to manage supply lines and ensure everything is running smoothly.  She's very good at her job and has the blessing of Captain Uyil, which is the only reason why she hasn't been replaced yet.  There are many Yugoloths who resent her for taking a position that should belong to one of them.  However, this is not universal and some Yugoloths regard her as a maternal figure of sorts. 

Weakness: Yola and Uyil have no children at the moment, which is a source of tension between them.  Uyil has told her that there must be something wrong with him, as he has always been unable to sire children.  In truth, Uyil has been using his shapeshifting to prevent himself from conceiving a child with her.  He fears a child would weaken him and provide another weakness his enemies could exploit.  He is right on this matter.  However, that doesn't change the fact that if Yola knew the truth, she wouldn't be furious with him. 

Statblock:

Yola is a 1 HD Merfolk Commoner.

Magic Ring: Yola wears a magic ring named The Ring of Bait, allowing her 1/Day to transform into a vast swarm of bait fish.  She can control each of these fish individually and as long as at least 1 lives, she can transform back at whatever HP she had before she used the ring.  This transformation lasts for up to ten minutes and can be ended whenever the wearer chooses to.      

Plot Hooks:
1d4

1- A woman contacts the party, claiming to be an impoverished noble.  Her ancestor was a Magi, who had a book of magic spells that her family used to rise to prominence, gaining riches and power.  But the book was stolen and hurled into the sea.  Please recover it for her and she will pay them a fortune in gold.  Secretly, there is no noble or gold.  The noble woman is Sarah Seafoam in disguise. 
2- The party hears about a rebellion in a coastal Kingdom.  The rebellion is being led by a charismatic young warrior who is raising the peasants against the corrupt, dynastic King.  There have also been raids along the coast by Seafolk, and the King is using these as a pretext to ask the rebel leader for a ceasefire.  Yet despite the King's words, the Seafolk only seem to attack rebel-controlled areas.  Secretly, the King has hired Vernal Company to carry out these raids and plans to use them to crush the rebels, as his army is degraded and soft from many decades of peace.
3- Rumors of a war between Seafolk kingdoms provide an opportunity for the local land-dwellers to take back some prime coastline and some islands that has been in the hands of amphibious folk for too long.  The war is on and there is plenty of work for adventurers.  But when Vernal Company gets involved on behalf of the Seafolk, a short conflict turns into a grinding guerilla war.  Can the party convince the magical mercenaries to switch sides and bring a quick end to the war?
4- A Kua Toa-backed cult has rebelled and taken over a city.  The city is currently being besieged, but word is that they have sent a messenger to hire an army of monsters to break the siege.  Can you intercept the messenger before they arrive?  And if the messenger beats you there, can you beat them back?          

                                                       by Liiga Klavina