Thursday, April 29, 2021

OSR: Nothic

 

by Matthew Kim
Nothics are hunters of secrets and the manipulators of those who conceal.

No one really knows anything about Nothics, for to be preyed upon by one is shameful, as well as a sign that you are concealing something.  As such, the only people who know about Nothics are Adventurers, who no one believes, and those who make their own business to keep and learn secrets, who know when to keep their mouths shut.

Nothics can sense lies, conspiracy, or deception from leagues away.  They are drawn to it instinctively, but they are discerning eaters, with little patience for white lies and petty secrets.  The farmer's adultery with the milkmaid or the true identity of the local half-breed's father is likely to be rejected by a Nothic. 

Instead, Nothics seek out great souls who harbor terrible truths or spin grand webs of deceit.  They stalk these men and spy on them, seeking information on them.  Once they have uncovered the secret, the Nothic approaches the man and begins its manipulation.

How exactly a Nothic does it varies.  Sometimes they attempt black-mail or brute extortion, threatening to reveal the secrets of their target unless he does as the Nothic asks.  Or perhaps they worm their way into his good graces, playing on the target's emotional weaknesses and using them to play the target like a fiddle. 

Regardless of how it is done, the Nothic always has the goal of controlling the target into doing what it wants.  And what Nothics want is always the same.  They want knowledge, information.  This is the only thing that matters to a Nothic.  Money, power, pleasure: all these things are irrelevant to the Nothic except as a means to acquire more knowledge.  Sometimes Nothics can seem to be working towards some grander scheme or attempting to achieve some other objective, but these are lies told by the Nothic or projections from the mortal observer.  Nothics do not gather information and learn about things for any purpose other than the pleasure of knowing.  While they may derive pleasure from successfully carrying out an operation or having other creatures in their power, these are secondary to the central goal of knowing as much as possible.

Nothic
HD 1d4+2
AR 2 [Natural Armor]
Atk Razor Claws or Weapon (1d10)
Mor 12
Saves (HD+7) or less

All Seeing Eye: Nothics can see invisible creatures and through illusions.  They can see the true forms of shapeshifters and the presence of magic.  They can also see in low-light and total darkness as if it was bright light or low light respectively.  Their vision is telescopic as well, allowing them to see as well as a hawk.  They can spot a field mouse skittering among the long grass from a tree across the street.  Additionally, when it comes to searching or finding things that could be detected by looking with your eyes, the Nothic receives a +6 to any roll made to such effect.

Quick Learner: Nothics can learn a creature's movement patterns and fighting styles by watching them.  Each round you are in combat with the Nothic, you get -1 to attack with that kind of weapon.  For example, if you attack with a sword, you get -1 to all attacks with swords against the Nothic.  This bonus increases by 1 per round for all combatants, unless the Nothic somehow cannot observe you.  Nothics can also gain this bonus by watching you fight someone else.      

Large Eye: Nothics have disadvantage on all saves made to resist being blinded.  Additionally, if they are in low-light or total darkness and are exposed to a bright light source, they are automatically blinded.

Agile Climber: Nothics are excellent climbers and escape artists.  They get +4 to any roll made to climb and +2 to any roll made to escape from restraints or shackles.  They are also strong enough to break low quality iron, such if a Nothic is lucky, it might just be able to rip its chains out of the wall and flee. 

Sense Lies: Nothics can sense deceit.  If someone lies in their presence, they can immediately tell that the statement is false.  Additionally, should a creature be keeping a secret of any kind, the Nothic can sense it, though the Nothic cannot tell what the secret is.

Tactics:
- Let your allies fight, observe the strongest warrior
- Take him out
- Observe second strongest fighter, repeat steps 1-3 as needed
- Retreat if tactically appropriate

artist unknown

To customize a Nothic, roll on the tables below:

How good of a manipulator is this Nothic?

1d4

1- Terrible.  The Nothic is too insane or too ignorant of human behavior to properly understand how humanoids think and feel.  It resorts to brute force and strong-arm tactics for that reason.
2- Okay.  The Nothic understands humanoids enough to use their weaknesses against them, but it is still unsubtle and obvious in its manipulation.
3- Good.  The Nothic is a smooth operator, able to easily trick the slow-witted or corrupt by manipulating their passions.
4- Consummate.  The Nothic is an expert on how humanoids think and act in particular circumstances, and is thus able to masterfully pull their strings without them even realizing what is going on.

How does the Nothic deal with normal humanoids (when it doesn't wish to reveal itself)?

1d6

1- The Nothic wears thick robes, gloves and a mask.  It claims to be horribly deformed or to have a disease (like a leper), thus giving people an excuse to avoid it.
2- The Nothic has a humanoid accomplice or servant who acts as the face, while the Nothic works behind the scenes.  Most people would assume the Nothic and the accomplice are the same person, but are sorely mistaken.
3- The Nothic breaks into people's homes and whispers to them from the darkness, where they cannot see it, or from some other location such as under their bed, in the closet, etc.  If this person has any children, they likely believe that a monster lives in the wine cellar.  The person might also believe the Nothic is some kind of evil spirit.
4- The Nothic communicates only through delivered letters, notes and other written communication.
5- The Nothic possesses a magical item that allows it to disguise itself.
6- The Nothic possesses a magical item that allows it to send messages to whoever it wishes, provided it meets some kind of condition.  For example, if the Nothic knows that person's true name or has something to link itself to that person.

What is the Nothic currently interested in?

1d6

1- Biology.  The Nothic is interested in obtaining fresh corpses for dissection or live subjects for experimentation.  It will pay.
2- Rare artifacts.  The Nothic is going to go explore some dangerous ruin to acquire something it thinks is hidden there, or perhaps you will do it, for a fee?
3- Old Books.  The Nothic is interested in a couple of rare books.  The only problem is that there are only a few copies, and all of them are hidden in the private collections of very powerful people or monsters.
4- A specific magical beast or type of beast.  The Nothic would like to study a 1dX [1= Chimera; 2= Dragon; 3= Giant; 4= Troll; 5= Orc; 6= Medictor.]  Alive would be ideal, but dead would also be acceptable.
5- Archeology.  The Nothic wants to go digging around in the dirt.  Unfortunately, the area the Nothic wants to dig in is 1dX [1= On the property of someone who is powerful and won't take kindly to intruders; 2= In the territory of a dangerous monster or tribe of savage humanoids; 3= In an area that is hazardous for some other reason- high in the mountains, in a desert; 4= Cursed or polluted by uncontrolled magic.]  But the Nothic is willing to pay handsomely if you will help it get there and help it find what it is looking for.
6- History and Geneology.  The Nothic is currently trying to trace a forgotten (or hidden?) bloodline, trying to locate some or all of the surviving heirs.

What will the Nothic offer you to spare it's life?

1d6

1- An iron bottle with a jeweled stopper.  If uncorked, the bottle releases a the creature contained within, causing it to appear in a plume of smoke.  The creature must obey the holder of the bottle, unless the bottle's holder willingly releases the creature, after which it is free.  The bottle will then be empty and can then be used to capture a new creature.  The bottle will also become empty if you kill the creature.  The way a creature enters the bottle is if it agrees to do so while near the open and empty bottle, or it fails 3 COG saves within 1 minute (can be forced to make 1 save per round as an action- 10 rounds equal 1 minute).  The bottle currently contains a bitter and very horny Succubus.
2- A pipe.  Allows you to, as an action, create items smaller than a horse out of smoke.  These items function as if they were solid, but disperse after 1 minute, or 1 round if it is windy.  All items created this way still look like they were made of pipe smoke.
3- 1d4+1 Zombie Arrows.  If anyone is killed by one of these arrows, they become an Undead with HD equal to what they had while alive.  If stabbed into a corpse, it raises the corpse as a 1 HD Undead.  Undead created by these arrows serve you for 1d6 days, then are unbound and free to do as they wish.
4- A stone statue of a Lion.  The statue is about the size of a dog and quite heavy.  By speaking the command word, the statue will animate and obey any orders the owner gives it for 1 hour. The statue when animated has the same stats as a war dog, but can only be hurt by things that could harm a statue.  After an hour has passed or it is ordered to de-animate, it cannot be used until the next dawn.
5- The Potter's Ring.  Whoever wears this ring can mold and manipulate stone with their hands as if was wet clay, as long as they spend at least 1 minute probing, prodding and touching the stone.  Once the ring's wearer stops touching the stone, it regains the consistency and hardness of stone.
6- Zahara.  A famous magic sword, a Scimitar made of bronze that cuts the air and brings the wind.  The sword does 1d6+Atk magical sharp damage on a hit.  Whenever this sword is placed into a liquid, as an action, it can purify the liquid, transforming it into clean water and absorbing all other substances.  These harmful substances can be expelled as a free action, or if you injure a creature with the sword, you can inject that substance into the creature's body.  Depending on the substance, this could merely be annoying, harmful or deadly.  For example, if you stuck the sword in a jar of wine, it would absorb all the alcohol.  Any creature injected with the alcohol would be massively drunk and depending on size and strength, might pass out and could even potentially die of alcohol poisoning, depending on their constitution and the size of the jar.

Nothics do not always resort to black-mail, as it is not always necessary.  Sometimes they find that partnering with mortals or other beings is an equally effective solution.  Some Nothics attach themselves to organizations useful to them and lend their services to them, in exchange for information.  Other Nothics will choose to act as free-agents, lending their services to anyone who can pay.  They then use the coin they receive to acquire more information.  However, because of the nature of the Nothic as an abberation, usually the only organizations that will seek it's aid are underworld organizations, secret ones or those with ties to forbidden creeds, religions or movements- such as any of the countless Chaos Cults, the Red Brotherhood or the Minions of the Dark Powers.

Nothics are also known to collect magic items, treasure and art.  They do not actually value these, but instead use them to barter for information or to pay others to assist it in the Nothic's schemes.  If threatened with death, a Nothic will plead for its life and promise you riches in exchange for sparing it. 

Nothic Plot Hooks:

1d12

1- An official has been trying to have his agents infiltrate a criminal organization for some time, but all of his attempts have failed.  Finally, he hires you to find out how they keep finding his spies.  Secretly, the gang has employed a Nothic, who interviews all new recruits and asks them if they're actually spies.
2- Two rival families that have spent years tearing apart a tranquil city with their violence have suddenly and inexplicably stopped fighting.  The city's officials want to know why.  Investigate and be discreet.  Secretly, a Nothic has taken control of both family heads through the use of some very juicy information- that the son and heir of one family has deflowered the other's daughter.  For the former to avoid war and the latter shame, a peace had to be negotiated.  The Nothic has done this not out of goodwill, but because it needs something and the violence was interfering.  However, the center cannot hold and soon, inevitably, the violence will start again.  Besides all that, there is also the young couple, who are very oblivious to the greater implications of their fling.  The only thing they know is that they are desperately in love.
3- A beloved Sage has been performing dramatic and dangerous experiments, which have greatly angered the local populace.  They demand he be made to answer for the trouble he's caused.  The Sage has caused the trouble, but he is being held captive by a Nothic, who is demanding he perform these experiments.  The Sage is just making them flashier than necessary, in the hopes someone comes and rescues him.
4- A Nothic is performing an experiment but it needs a specific type of test subject from a specific group of people- perhaps those of a specific race, or age, or socio-economic status, or class or anything else the Nothic feels is important.  It will pay top dollar for test subjects.
5- As above, except someone is kidnapping people of a very similar type, such as female Lizarians between the ages of 14 and 19.  Find out who is doing this and why. 
6- The party need a very specific piece of information, but no one knows about it.  Then they hear about a mysterious dealer who trades in exotic curios and rare secrets.  This dealer is a Nothic, but to earn it's help, the party will have to do something dangerous, unpleasant or unsavory.
7- A Nothic has discovered one of the party's dirty secrets and black-mails them.  In exchange for the incriminating evidence, the Nothic wants them to retrieve a magic item from the horribly dangerous location where it was lost many years ago. 
8- The local oracle is angry that someone is cutting into his profits- someone else is giving advice and it is far cheaper than his.  Find out who this other person is and get rid of them, he doesn't care how.  Secretly, the oracle's competition is a Nothic, who is giving advice in exchange for juicy gossip and state secrets.  Unfortunately, the Nothic is being protected by some very powerful people, who have come to rely on its penetrating insight.
9- A very powerful man is being black-mailed by a Nothic.  He wants you to get rid of the Nothic, but because of shenanigans, he swore an oath not to harm the Nothic.  So he has to arrange a set of circumstances where you will come to the conclusion to kill the Nothic or recover the incriminating evidence by yourself.
10- As above, except the powerful man is a villain.  As long as the Nothic lives, he is restrained from acting.  So he wants to get rid of the Nothic and has hired assassins to kill it.  Keep the Nothic safe, at least long enough for someone to come up with a plan to stop him.  Or you could just try and kill him yourself.  Whatever you prefer.
11- The usually inept King has a new advisor who wears dark robes, hides his face and only visits him at night.  When this started happening, the King suddenly gained a lot of wisdom and now is able to effortlessly detect the machinations of his courtiers.  One of those courtiers hires you and orders you to get rid of the advisor, all for the good of the King, of course.
12- There are rumors going around of "The Listener" a pseudo-benevolent spirit who will tell you a secret, in exchange for similar information.  This "spirit" has become a folk legend, and has exposed many of the dirty and/or embarrassing secrets of the aristocracy.  The commoners love it, but the aristocrats are much less enthusiastic.  One of those aristocrats hires you to exorcise the Spirit and drive it out of town.  This is a mission made more difficult by the fact that the commoners will hinder your mission as much as they can, as they love the Listener.

by NobleCrumpet

Monday, April 26, 2021

OSR: Quaggoths

 

from D&D 4E
Quaggoth
HD 1
AR 1 [Natural Armor]
Atk Fist or Melee Weapon (1d6+2) or Thrown Weapon (1d4+1)
Mor 14
Saves 7 or less

Sneaky: Quaggoths get +2 to all stealth checks, unless they are somehow impaired from moving with their usual agility or something else is preventing them from hiding as well as they normally do.

Strongarm: Quaggoths have a STR of 16(+2).  They add this bonus to all checks made to climb, grapple or do anything relating to strength.  If a Quaggoth grapples a creature and succeeds on a STR contest against that creature, the Quaggoth can smash the creature into a tree, wall or the ground, automatically doing 1d6 damage to that creature.  Alternatively, a Quaggoth can dislocate a creature's limb after succeeding on a STR contest.  This limb is rendered useless until someone succeeds on a COG check to put the limb back in its normal place. 

Horrible Howl: Quaggoths can pound their chests and unleash loud cries which echo for miles.  If a Quaggoth is in danger or needs reinforcements, it will unleash one of these cries, which will signal to other nearby Quaggoths that someone needs help.

Tactics:
- Sneak up on a target if possible
- Attack in a rush of fists
- Use 'Strongarm' against well armored enemies
- Have courage and never surrender

Of all the Savage Races, the Quaggoths might be the ones that have fallen the lowest.  They are a race of borderline feral, degenerated predators who live primarily in deep jungles and underground caves.  Though largely forgotten by history, they live on in dark tales by travelers and merchants alike, who tell of the remains they leave behind and the gruesome tokens they build to mark their territory.

Quaggoths are enormous, simian creatures, resembling the great apes in terms of stature.  They walk on their knuckles, loping along at all fours.  They can stand up on two legs, but only do so for short periods of time or when required.  They have three-fingered hands with opposable thumbs and covered in thick fur.  Forest Quaggoths tend to have fur of a light, tawny brown, sometimes speckled with dark spots.  Cave Quaggoths tend to have light-colored or white fur.  Their foreheads are sloping and they have pronounced lips and extended muzzles.  When angered, you will hear them beat their chests or pound their tools on the ground and see their enormous fangs flash. 

In terms of strength and agility, Quaggoths are powerful creatures.  On all fours, they can move quite quickly and in short bursts, can catch prey much faster than themselves- though they cannot maintain such speeds for long.  Should a deer or elk escape from their initial charge, the Quaggoths likely won't be able to catch it.  Their strength is also nothing to sneeze at- Quaggoths possess powerful grips and sufficient muscular strength that they can easily break bones and dislocated limbs.  The primary way they fight is grabbing a creature and slamming it into something hard, such as the ground, before pouncing on it and smashing it with both fists until it can't move.

Quaggoths do not usually use weapons- they often do not have need for them.  But when they do, these weapons are excessively primitive, usually bones sharpened into points, stone handaxes or simple stone hammers held in the hand.  Quaggoth's primary ranged weapons are these stones, or rabbit sticks which they use to primarily catch small game they cannot chase down.  

Quaggoths are also known to throw their own feces at creatures, which they use to drive away creatures they don't feel like they can fight, usually a superior predator such as Wyvern, Manticore or Dragon.  A lone Quaggoth might also do this to mark something as prey, by leaving a scent that can be easily tracked by other Quaggoths.

Quaggoths can be very sneaky, they approach their prey by stealth, creeping along and surrounding their prey, before launching a sudden and violent assault.  However, stealth is not their only option.  If they cannot sneak up on an opponent or are seen, they scream and charge en-masse, a thundering wave of muscule and fur that drags down any foe and rips them to shreds.  

from D&D 2E

Quaggoth "Society":

Quaggoths normally live in tribes of 50 to 200 hundred individuals.  These tribes are excessively primitive, practicing no agriculture, using only the simplest of stone tools and building no shelters for themselves, with the exception of simple wooden lean-tos in the forest.  Most Quaggoths prefer to live in caves.  Some tribes use fire, but some have forgotten how to do even this.  Even if they do have fire, however, they tend to sleep together in big piles, with smaller members cuddling with larger ones. 

Quaggoth tribes are generally lead by the Alpha, who is the strongest and largest male.  The Alpha rules through fear, and not just the fear he incites in his rivals, but also through fear of the outside world.  A successful Alpha will continually remind his tribe of the dangers of the outside world, and how he protects them.  These Alphas work closely with the Thonot, a Quaggoth word that means "Wise".

Quaggoth Alpha:

As Quaggoth, but +2 HD and +1 AR.
His attacks do 1d8+2 damage.
He also gains the following ability:

Thundering Bellow: When a Quaggoth Alpha roars in the presence of non-Quaggoths, or Quaggoths not of his tribe, those creatures must save.  Creatures who have been badly injured, taken a Horrible Wound or watched a companion take the same make their save with disadvantage.  On a failed save, those creatures become frightened and take 1d6 COG damage a round they are still in combat with the Quaggoth Alpha.  If this COG damage reduces a creature to 0 COG, that creature flees in terror and gains the Conviction, "I am terrified of the Quaggoths and will not return to their territory unless I absolutely have to."  Once a creature has been sufficiently separated from the Quaggoth Alpha, COG damage repairs itself at a rate of 1 point per day.

Tactics:
- Make a sneak attack
- Use 'Thundering Bellow'
- Attack those who refuse to flee or look vulnerable
- Fight to drive the enemy off, not necessarily to kill

To customize a Quaggoth Alpha, roll on the table below:

What makes this Alpha special?

1d6

1- Throwing ability.  This Alpha has a talent for throwing things.  When he throws a throwable weapon, such as a rock, it does 1d6+1 damage.
2- Abnormal Strength.  This Alpha is powerfully built and towers over his brethren.  He automatically grapples on a hit, and has a STR of 18(+3).
3- Scarred Hide.  This Alpha is marked by scars from many victories.  He has AR 3.
4- Predator's Cunning.  The Alpha can identify a creature's strength (HD, AR, attack bonus) with one look.  This Alpha prefers to lure weaker creatures into traps and then pounce.
5- Blood-Thirst.  The Alpha has a taste for battle.  As an action, the Alpha can fly into a rage.  While raging, the Alpha takes half damage from non-magical weapons.  The Alpha must attack each round, if he doesn't, he stops raging.  He can also end the rage by himself as a free action.  When the Alpha stops raging, he gets -4 to attacks until he can rest for at least 10 minutes.
6- Huntsman.  The Alpha is extremely good at tracking prey and has a +4 to any roll made to find traces of creatures, such as footprints, spilled blood, residual scents, etc.  This Alpha prefers to track his prey over long distances, attacking them several times to deny them rest and weaken them before going in for the kill.

from D&D 1E

The Thonot is the medicine man, the shaman, and often, the keeper of the Tribe's history.  Since Quaggoths have no writing, their histories only extend to the grandparents of the living generation.  Anything before that is lost to the abyss of time.  They largely believe the world is new, only a couple of generations older than they are.  The idea of hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of years is utterly inconceivable to them.

Quaggoths also believe the world is a terrifying, dangerous place.  There are only three types of creatures in the Quaggoth's world.  There are animals, which are food.  This includes fish, birds, deer, and anything else the Quaggoths can catch and eat.  Some animals are too powerful to easily eat, but they are still clearly animals.  A bear is still an animal, even if it can kill a Quaggoth with relative ease.  Then there are the Quaggoths themselves- they call themselves "Dohua", which means people.  They consider themselves the only race, the only sentient creatures in the world. 

The only other type of creature in the Quaggoth world are the Spirits.  Spirits take many forms to them, from immaterial and ethereal to much more solid.  Most of the time the Spirits lurk unseen, deciding everything.  Quaggoths live in fear of the vengeance of the Spirits, and sing hymns and make sacrifices to them to appease them.  To them, Spirits are not good or evil, but mercurial and unpredictable- sometimes they help, and sometimes they harm.  A Thonot's duty is to interpret the will of the Spirits and advise the Alpha on what is to be done to appease them.

Sometimes, however, the Spirits take other forms.  They clothe themselves in flesh and walk through the Quaggoth's territory, carrying glittering tools and clothing themselves in strange, soft materials that do not seem to come from any plant the Quaggoths can recognize.  Some of these Spirits are large and powerful, more like great animals, while others are smaller than even the Quaggoths.  

But many of these spirits, despite their unassuming size, wield terrible power.  As such, when Spirits of this kind are discovered, the Quaggoths immediately report it to the Thonot.  The Thonot will then withdraw and consult with the Spirits, to find out what is to be done about these strangers.

What Spirit watches over this Tribe?  And what do they advise?

1d6

1- A Nature Spirit.  Wild and savage creatures who despise civilization.  They order the Quaggoths to destroy the intruders, as they are bad spirits who will bring corruption and death upon the Quaggoths.
2- Ancestral Ghosts.  The ancient dead, they order the Quaggoths to keep an eye on these strangers, but not to risk the safety of the tribe and fight only if necessary.  These ancestors know the true danger that such flesh-clad spirits can pose.
3- A Benevolent Spirit.  This Spirit cares for the Quaggoths and will warn them to stay away from these strangers, who are a definite danger to them. 
4- A Chaos Spirit.  This Spirit may only care about itself, or it may admire the Quaggoths for the freedom they have that more civilized folk lack.  As such, it tells them to 1dX [1= Kill the intruders and sacrifice them; 2= If the intruders threaten their territory or steal their game, attack and eat them; 3= To avoid the intruders; 4= To steal the intruder's tools and destroy them, as they are an insult to the Spirit.]
5- A Law Spirit.  This Spirit admires the Quaggoth's primitive, orderly society, free of restrictions and united through purpose.  This Spirit seeks to maintain the Quaggoth society in a form of stasis, and will do whatever it can to prevent change from occurring to the tribe.  It will protect and coddle the tribe to keep them from developing.
6- An Evil Spirit.  This Spirit found the Quaggoths and intends to use them for its own purposes.  It will probably pretend to be benevolent, but views the Quaggoths only as tools. 

Quaggoth Thonot:


As Quaggoth, but +1 HD.
He also gains the following ability:

Spirit Pact: The Thonot has made a pact with a Spirit, exchanging service for power.  Depending on what Spirits watch over a Tribe, the Quaggoth Thonot might have a number of possible magical abilities.  To see what ability the Thonot might have gained, roll on the table below.

Tactics:
- As normal Quaggoth, but varies depending on the Spirit Pact the Thonot made

To customize a Quaggoth Thonot, roll on the table below:

What pact did the Thonot make?

1d8

1- In exchange for being able to transform one hand into a giant crab claw that can snip off fingers and cut through spear shafts with ease (1d8 sharp), the Thonot murdered and cannibalized a dear friend.
2- In exchange for being able to, 1/Day, erect walls of earth 10' tall and up to 20' long, the Thonot sneaks into a town once a year to steal a brick or stone used to build a house.
3- In exchange for being able to create balls of fire that do 1d6 damage, the Thonot horribly scarred himself with fire.
4- In exchange for being able to create clouds of near-impenetrable darkness (30' long by up to 30' wide by 10' high) 1/Day, the Thonot sacrifices a small animal every full moon.
5- In exchange for being able to turn invisible, the Thonot told the Spirit his secret name (thus giving it power over him).
6- In exchange for being able to speak the languages of the birds of the air, beasts of the field and the crawling things, the Thonot gave up his ability to call loud enough to be heard by his brethren.  If he is ever alone, he will not be able to call for help.
7- In exchange for being able to control wild plants, the Thonot regularly hunts down and kills lawful creatures, offering them as human sacrifices.
8- In exchange for being able to call down a Spirit to come to the aid of the tribe, the Thonot pledged half his life each time he calls the Spirit.

Thonots are also known to receive prophetic dreams full of omens.  These dreams reveal information about the past, present and future.  Sometimes they are full of dire warnings, such as of the invasion of a rival tribe of primitives, of the arrival of strange spirits from beyond the edge of the world, of the coming shortage of prey- but sometimes they also reveal events from the past, such as how the previous Thonot died or how to protect against something the current Tribesmen have forgotten.  

But sometimes, the Thonot is plagued by bizarre nightmares where he sees Quaggoths like himself walking about, their fur elegant and groomed, covered in wrappings made of colorful leaves from some enormous plant.  These Quaggoths speak a tongue he does not know and command powers he cannot imagine.  They live in great stone houses or caves full of glittering crystals, with soft floors made of fur and hot like the insides of some terrible beast.  These dreams confuse him and the Thonot always wakes in a fright, unable to comprehend what he has seen.

artist unknown
Quaggoth Plot Hooks:

1d6

1- A group of miners recently discovered a cave network while looking for new veins to mine.  In this cave they discovered large amounts of silver and jewels.  But shortly thereafter, the next crew of miners that went to explore the caves and scout for minerals failed to return.  The search party that was sent after them only found a pool of fresh blood outside the entrance to the caves, before they lost their nerve to go on.  Go and rescue the miners, please, before the Quaggoths eat them.
2- The party is seeking the entrance to a tomb, said to be filled with the riches of a long-vanished kingdom.  But while traveling through the wilderness when a Spirit appears before them and tells them to take an alternate route, as the valley they are heading through is inhabited by dangerous creatures who will harm them.  The Spirit tells them there is another entrance nearby, but it is in the territory of a powerful monster, such as a Chimera or a Cyclops.  If the players ignore the warnings of the Spirit, they risk running into the tribe of Quaggoths which calls the valley home. 
3- The circus is in town, and it has a new creature for the freakshow, an Ape-man!  This creature resembles an Ape, but is strange in appearance.  Come see it for only 2 imperial coppers!  However, unbeknowest to the owner of the circus, the Ape-man he has captured is a Quaggoth, and a group of warriors from that tribe are stealthily pursuing the circus, waiting for the right chance to free their kinsmen and wreak bloody revenge upon the kidnapper.
4- An evil spirit in disguise appears to an important man in town and tells him that it needs him to do something such as reclaim a lost ruin for civilization.  However, this is actually a trap, as that ruin is within Quaggoth territory.  The Spirit will warn the Quaggoths of what is coming, and they will be waiting for any expedition that comes.
5- As above, but the Spirit is only trying to incite conflict and doesn't care if the Quaggoth wins.  Alternatively, the Spirit may want something from either the Quaggoths or the civilized folk, and the conflict it is inciting is just a ruse to cover up the Spirit's true agenda.
6- An important person was supposed to arrive by ship, but then a storm came through and the ship never arrived.  You are hired to go out to sea and see if the person is alive, and if not, to return with proof they died.  Your patron hired a captain and chartered a ship, and the captain thinks the best place to look is near a small island chain that is often used as a way-point by sailors.  Most of the islands are largely uninhabited, except for the tribe of Quaggoths who live in the hills.  Whenever castaways come to this island, the Quaggoths descend from the hills to abduct them, before offering them as sacrifices to their bloody Gods and then eating them.  The person you are looking for may be running loose on the island, but will soon be captured and if not rescued, sacrificed and eaten.    

Saturday, April 24, 2021

OSR: The Potential Side Effects of Resurrection

 

by nico_venter
Ideas borrowed from here.

Coming back to life in my games is actually pretty simple, as long as you have the knowledge and basic materials.  I wrote more about it here.  But for those of you who don't have the time for that, here's the abridged version. 

How to get away with Dying (and coming back):


First, you need to die. 

Secondly, while a free-floating spirit, escape from the Psychopomps sent to collect your soul and bring you to the afterlife, along with any other spiritual nasties you managed to offend while alive.

Thirdly, have someone back in the land of the living create you a new body to inhabit.  There are spells and rituals to do this.  And make sure they know to protect that body, because any spirit who happens to be nearby will possess any available empty vessel and at best, will take it for a joy-ride.  At worst, they'll run off with it and you'll never see it again.

Fourthly, find that body and slip inside.  And Boom! you're alive again.  Just be aware that what you've just done is against the Law, and there will likely be consequences in this, as well as the next world.  Also, next time you die, they're likely to send a tougher Psychopomp(s) to come collect you. 

Fifthly, once you come back to life, make a Charisma save.  On a failed save, roll on the table below. 

1d30

1- You lose a memory.  You have forgotten something important, but you can't quite remember what it is.  One random memory slot of your is emptied.  Alternatively, you may forget something else from your past (Referee's Discretion).
2- You lose 1d4 levels.  Your power when alive was largely dependent on the synchronicity between mind and body.  You have lost that in your rebirth.  As such, you lose 1d4 levels.  However, as you get used to your body, you can recover faster, gaining double XP until you make it back to your previous level.     
3- You lose your original sense of who I was.  The self is fragile, and yours was lost on the journey here.  Whatever you are told by the people you trust, that is what you will become through the gaining of a new Conviction.  For example, if you are told that you were a hero, you might gain the Conviction, "I will always try to act in a heroic manner." 
4- You lose your name.  You have lost your name.  Until someone gives you a name or you choose one for yourself, you cannot gain XP or level up.  However, as long as you remain nameless, no one will be able to find you through divination magic, nor control your actions using any form of magic or ability (the exception is Charm and Fear effects).
5- You lose your moral compass.  You have gained a new sense of morality, or your sense of morality is now altered.  You gain a Conviction that shifts your moral behavior towards 1d6 [1= Lawful Good; 2= Lawful Evil; 3= Lawful; 4= Chaotic; 5= Lawful Evil; 6= Chaotic Evil.]
6- You lose your love for something.  You lose your positive sentiment towards a person, place, group, object or concept (money, patriotism, romance).  You may dislike the object in question, or you may just not care (50% if the Referee cannot decide).  This will likely be based on something you regret.  For example, if you feel you were too greedy in your last life, you will lose your attraction to money.
7- You lose your hatred for something.  As above, but in reverse.  If you feel you hated something and it brought you nothing, then you are able to let go of those negative sentiments.
8- You lose your sense of clarity.  Your mind is jumbled and confused- full of memories that you're not quite sure are yours, or how they align with each other.  For the next 1d6+1 days, you see the world through new eyes.
9- You lose your fear of death.  You no longer fear death.  You automatically pass all saves based on this central fear.  For example, you will not fear great heights or dragons, as both of those are fears based on death.  You might fear bankruptcy, that your friends are plotting behind your back or that your lover is unfaithful, but nothing relating to or stemming from death.
10- You lose your knowledge of what happened immediately preceding your death.  You have no idea of how you died, or what happened in the minutes, hours, days or weeks before that.
11- You gain new wisdom.  Time moves differently in the Underworld.  While your companions worked to bring you back, you spent an age wandering the plains of Sheol.  You gain +1d4 COG but lose -1d3 CHA, as your strange perspective is alienating to some.
12- You know know the consequences of life.  You saw how some lived in bliss in the underworld, while others suffered terribly.  You gain the Conviction, "I must always do what is right, no matter the cost."
13- You know the unfairness of life and death.  All mortals suffer here and in the world beyond, you declare.  As such, you gain 1 of the following Convictions: "The Gods are cruel tyrants; I refuse to help them and would hurt them, if I could," OR "I will do whatever it takes to live forever."
14- You gain a phobia (Conviction) of whatever killed you.  Ex: "I fear [X] and will not go near it, unless I have no other choice."  Example phobias include fear of snakes, water, fire, Dragons, Cultists, great heights, etc.
15- A stowaway hitched a ride with you back to the land of the living.  This is a 1d4 [1= Ghost; 2= Spirit of the Land; 3= An Outsider; 4= Ego Sprite.]  Determine the creature's alignment with this table.
16- Subtle strangeness.  Something about you isn't quite right.  You 1d4 [1= Don't cast a reflection; 2= Have cold, dead eyes that unnerve people; 3= Seem malnourished and sickly no matter how much you eat; 4= You smell of grave dust, soft earth and decay, no matter how much you bathe.]
17- The smell of death.  Animals are scared of you unless exposed to it at a very young age, you make people uneasy.  Undead won't attack you unless you attack them first.  You may also be able to speak with dead as if you shared a language.
18- A drive to do better.  You met some of your ancestors and found out they were disappointed in you- you are now extremely motivated to do better, gaining a Conviction to do so.
19- Power.  You stole a fragment of someone else's soul and inadvertently brought it back with you.  You gain a new ability- but the one you took it from probably wants their power back.  This new ability is 1d4 [1= 1/Day you can breathe a 3d6 blast of white fire in a 15' cone; 2= You can, as an action, turn yourself intangible but this only affects your body, not your equipment; 3= You aren't affected by gravity unless you want to; 4= You can speak with 1d4 (1= Birds; 2= Beasts of the Field; 3= Crawling Things- insects, snakes, worms, leeches, etc; 4= Sea Creatures) as if you shared a language.]
20- Horrible nightmares.  Something horrible happened down there.  Every time you go to sleep, you have a 1-in-10 chance of suffering a nightmare that prevents you from gaining any benefit from the rest.  This chance increases by 1 per week, until you are guaranteed to have the nightmares.  Unless you deal with the nightmares, you will go insane and die all over again.
21- A new optimism or idealism.  You were in paradise when you were over there, and now you seek to better the world so it can resemble that perfect place.  You gain the Conviction, "My goal is to make a better world."
22- You lost your ability to lie.  You gain the ability "Truth-Teller".
23- You feel phantom pain in the area where the fatal blow landed.  Ex: Your neck itches and you occasionally feel twinges of pain there if you were decapitated.
24- Your new body is undeveloped and frail.  You lose 1d3 points to all your stats.
25- Your body and soul cannot synchronize correctly.  You get a -1d4 penalty to attacks and precise movements and become clumsy.  Each week that passes, make a COG save.  On a successful save, decrease the penalty by 1.
26- Your body is too weak to contain your spirit.  Your body starts dying, as its spiritual circuits are not sufficiently powerful or developed to channel this much spiritual energy.  You're basically doing radiant damage to your own body.  Unless your body is strengthened, you will die (again) in 1d3 [1= 1d6+4 days; 2= 1d3 weeks; 3= 1 month.]
27- Your new body is improperly constructed.  1d6 [1= One of your limb doesn't normally work, 1d4 DEX; 2= Your sexual organs don't work, -1d3 CHA, -1 CON, you are infertile and asexual; 3= 1d3 of your senses doesn't work or only works at a reduced capacity (50%); 4= Your body is sickly and prone to illness, -3 CON; 5= Your body is not conditioned for hard activity, if you engage in intense activity for more than 5 minutes (or 5 combat rounds) you get -2 to all rolls until you get a chance to rest for at least 5 minutes; 6= Your body has cancer.  You have 1d3+1 years to live, after which you will die.]  All of these problems are fixable, but not easily.
28- You have been marked for death.  Somewhere in the world, an Agent of Law has been informed of your resurrection and will begin seeking you out to return you to your proper state- ie dead.
29- You learned that the death you died was actually a mistake- you were supposed to die by 1d6 [1= Drowning; 2= Beheading; 3= Being burned to death; 4= Being crushed; 5= Torn apart by wild beasts; 6= In glorious combat.]  The next time you are faced with such a circumstances, you die, as per a Curse.  The only way to prevent this fate is to make a bargain with Death or one of the Underworld's Archons. 
30- While it may seem like you were resurrected through the actions of independent agents, this is actually the will of unseen forces, e.g. You're on a mission from God.  You gain a new Epic Quest and a Conviction to carry it out.  

from here, author unknown

Monday, April 19, 2021

OSR: Yugoloths: Floral Squad

from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes

Find basic information on the Yugoloths here.
Shiver Squad: Shock Troops.
Gelid Squad: Silk-workers, seductresses, spies and assassins.
Bluster Platoon: Negotiators, bureaucrats and magical power-houses.

Floral Squad:  

There used to 15 of them, but hubris is a hell of a drug, with side effects just as bad. 

Floral Squad was originally conceived of by the Sewing Circle as the leaders of the Yugoloths, with each member being beautiful, dangerous and highly intelligent.  To ensure this, as their mother was but a humble Sea Hag, the Sewing Circle pooled their power and knowledge and worked to imbue the developing members of Floral Squad with great strength, intellect and other useful attributes.  And to some extent, the experiment was a success.  The Yagnaloths that were born were much stronger than other Yugoloths, each one blessed with innate abilities that easily rivaled that of their siblings. 

However, there was a problem, one the Hags had not forseen.  While the Yagnaloths were powerful, they were also twisted.  The experiments had twisted them from birth, meaning that the majority of the creatures that spilled from their mother's womb were hideous, malformed creatures, pathetic as they were powerful.  Some died shortly after their birth, while others required constant attention during those early days, weeks, months and years, lest they die suddenly do to their errant bodies. 

Still, despite these hiccups, the Sewing Circle were confident the Yagnaloths would be good leaders, and worked to nuture the survivors into formidable warriors, commanders and leaders.  They taught the Yagnaloths every lesson the Hags had mined from their long lives of deceit, skull-duggery and treachery.  They taught them how to manipulate, how to lie and how to use violence.  They taught them how to lead people astray and make them believe they owed you something.  Every method of obtaining and maintaining power was inculcated into the Yagnaloths, who drank down the bitter brew with great zeal.  Then, the time finally came to introduce the Yagnaloths to the rest of their brethren.  But when they were sent out to organize the other Yugoloths, they were almost universally rejected. 
 
The other Yugoloths did agree that cooperating with each other was definitely a good idea, but they did not wish to be ruled by anyone.  They preferred to appoint their own rulers from within their own ranks- the idea of the Sewing Circle appointing masters for them was all but intolerable.  The Sewing Circle were befuddled at this turn of events and when they tried to discuss it amongst themselves, there were severe disagreements among them.  Some argued that they must force the Yugoloths to accept the Yagnaloths as their masters, as the refusal was a challenge to the Circle's authority.  Others pointed out that it didn't matter who the seargents and captains were, as long as the Sewing Circle held ultimate authority.  This could have been resolved peacefully, but Hags are not known for their conscientiousness, and the discussion turned into a massive argument, which swiftly devolved into a screaming match. 

Some say this was the opportunity the General had been waiting for.  While the Circle was arguing, he pushed them towards violence and when the fighting started, he snatched up the Yugoloth Books and absconded with them.  And with the Books gone, the Circle could no longer control the Yugoloths, who saw their chance and took it, vanishing into the dark places of this world.

Yet despite their rejection, the Yagnaloths were not dissuaded.  They vowed that they would be acknowledged by the other Yugoloths, and their rightful place in the universe, on top of a throne, would be a reality.  And that's where the story starts to get messy.         

Floral Squad has 7 Members.

There Mother was a Sea Hag named Rosemary Quinn.  She is still alive- her children where where she is, they just don't care.  Or perhaps they do care, and want to achieve success before they show up to her house, so they can show her how successful they have become.  That's probably not true- but if it was, the Yagnaloths would never admit it. 

The Book containing the names of the Yagnaloths is concealed in the Stygian Library.  The Yagnaloths aren't particularly interested in finding it, only protecting it.  As such, most of them know where the book is hidden.  This is because Yagnaloths view themselves as superior beings who deserve to rule over other, lesser beings.  Other Yagnaloths thus represent an invalidation of their authority and a constant potential threat to the Yagnaloth's power.  As such, none of the Yagnaloths want to be around each other and would not want to be master over each other, as that would be comparable to sleeping next to a Corpse Viper.         

from D&D 4th edition

Base Yagnaloth Statblock:
HD 6
AR 2 [Natural Armor]
Atk Varies, see below
Mor 13
Saves 13 or less
Immune to Lightning and Acid damage

Oppressive Charisma: Yagnaloths project an aura of charm magic around them that is extremely powerful.  Creatures who are within 30' can feel the magic pricking at their minds and though they will be aware that it is sorcery that is influencing them, it will still have influence.  Creatures within range must make a COG save.  On a failed save, those creatures take 1d6 COG damage a round.  If this COG damage reduces a creature's COG to 0, that creature is charmed and will gain the Conviction, "I trust [Yagnaloth's name] and believe they know what is best for me."  Creatures reduced to this state will maintain their affection for the Yagnaloth even when separated from him.  They have to be taken far from the Yagnaloth and spend at least a week away from him before the charm effect wears off.  Additionally, they will have disadvantage against all future saves against the Yagnaloth's charisma and on a single failed save, will fall back into serving him, unless he did something to harm them.  Creatures who still have COG points left, after ten or more minutes apart from the Yagnaloth, will realize they were charmed and the effect will wear off.  At this point, COG points return at a rate of 1 point per 10 minutes.

Tactics:
- Varies, depending on the Yagnaloth's abilities

To Customize a Yagnaloth, roll on the tables below:

All Yagnaloths have innate powers over/relating to lightning.  This Yagnaloth...

1d6

1- Can sense electricity, so any creature with neurons or nerves cannot sneak up on him.
2- Can, as an action, magnetize a metal object.  All other metal objects within 30' will be drawn to it, with the pull growing stronger the closer the metal object is to the magnetized object. 
3- Can, as an action, create a ball of lightning that follows him around for up to 10 minutes.  This ball of lightning can strike any creature within 50' of the Yagnaloth as a free action, or can be ordered to do something else simple, such as "Strike the first person who attacks me".  The ball of lightning does 2d6 damage, save for half.
4- Has a natural electric charge constantly running through his body.  If he touches a creature, he can inflict 1d6 lightning damage.  He also does +1d6 lightning damage when he hits a creature with a metal weapon.
5- Can (1d4) times per day, call down bolts of lightning from the sky.  These bolts of lightning do 3d6 damage, save for half.  The Yagnaloth can only do this if he is under an open sky.
6- Can, as an action, fire 2 blasts of electricity from his hands that do 1d6+X lightning damage, where X is the number of metal items a creature is wearing or carrying.

All Yagnaloths have innate powers over/relating to acid.  This Yagnaloth...

1d6

1- Can secrete acid from his wrists, letting him do 1d6 acid damage on a touch.  This acid clings and does an additional 1d6 damage a round until the creature takes an action to wash it off. Also carries acid flasks to throw.
2- Can, 1/Day, cover himself in a layer of acid, giving him a +2 bonus to initiative, checks and saves based on speed (as he can slide along on the acid) and any creature he touches or touches him takes 1d6 acid damage.  The layer of acid lasts for 1d4+1 rounds or until it is washed off the Yagnaloth, or the Yagnaloth takes ice damage.
3- Can, 1/Day, conjure a cloud of acidic fog that covers 30' cubed.  This Fog does 3d6 damage to a creature who first enters the fog and 1d6 damage for each additional round they spend inside it.  The fog disperses after 1d10+1 rounds indoors and 1d3+1 rounds outdoors.  Strong winds can disperse the fog and neutralize the acid.
4- Can spit a 15' cone of acid that does 2d6 acid damage, plus 1d6 damage a round until a creature takes an action to dilute or remove the acid.  The Yagnaloth can do this every 1d4 rounds.
5- Can, 1/Day, create a 4 HD Ooze that obeys his commands and is sustained by his mana.  This Ooze functions as a normal Ooze but cannot move more than 30' from the Yagnaloth.
6- Can, as an action, transform any amount of liquid smaller or equal to enough to fill a bathtub into acid and freely control that acid, as if the Yagnaloth had telekinesis, but could only affect acid.  The Yagnaloth can also control acids he did not create in the same way.

All Yagnaloths have the ability to steal from others.  This Yagnaloth...

1d4

1- Can, as an action, steal the vitality from a freshly slain corpse.  As long as the corpse is still warm- the Yagnaloth recovers X HD, where X is the number of HD the creature had while alive.
2- Can, as an action, do 1d6 necrotic damage on a touch.  This heals the Yagnaloth for an equivalent amount of damage.
3- Has an aura that drains 1 HP from every creature within 30'.  The Yagnaloth gains this HP for itself.  The Yagnaloth can turn this aura on or off at will.
4- Has an aura that drains 6 HP from all the creatures within 30'.  The Yagnaloth gains 6 HP per round, provided there were creatures within its aura.  The amount of HP drained is divided among the number of creatures, so the more, the less strain on them all.  If there are more than six creatures, determine targets randomly.  The Yagnaloth can turn this aura on or off at will.

How does this Yagnaloth fight?

1d4

1- Martial Arts (1d10/1d10/1d10).
2- A large spear or polearm (1d12+2/1d12+2).
3- A greatsword and a dagger (1d12+2) + (1d6+2).
4- A half-dozen large harpoon-like javelins (Thrown: 1d8/1d8) or (Melee: 1d10+2/1d10+2).

All Yagnaloths are malformed and twisted.  This Yagnaloth...

1d20

1- Has skin that is scabarous and peeling.  The Yagnaloth spends a lot of time smearing itself with strongly scented creams and bathing in water mixed with perfumed oils to cover up the smell and soothe the irritation.  It reeks of flowers and the faint, cloying smell of sickness.
2- Has a second face on its 1d4 [1= The back of his head; 2= His chest; 3= His neck; 4= His back]  This face has eyes, a mouth and a small, squashed nose.  It occasionally breathes and bites things near it, but cannot do anything else.  It cannot speak, but it can make sounds.
3- Has 1d3 vestigal arms that it probably keeps wrapped tightly to its body or conceals beneath clothing.
4- One of it's eyes is white and blind.
5- It's body is riddled with tumors, unsightly bulges beneath the skin.
6- It has a mouth bursting with razor sharp fangs.  It speaks with a lisp or is similarly hard to understand.
7- It is tusks that spill from its mouth.
8- It's body is covered in patches of scales, which regularly fall off and grow back.
9- It has a muzzle similar to that of a crocodile, but still has a vaguely human/simian face, grotesque stretched to an unnatural length.
10- It constantly drips mucus and slime.
11- It is eyeless and blind.  It actually negotiates the world through 1d4 [1= The help of others; 2= It can sense the electrical impulses of other creatures; 3= It can use echolocation; 4= It's hearing and other senses are so powerful that it can essentially "see", at least in a vague sense.]
12- It is covered in spiny quills, which are sprinkled all across its 1d6 [1-2= Back; 3= The tops of its arms; 4= All over its legs; 5= From the back of its head; 6= Scattered randomly across the outside of its body.]
13- It has a tail.  The tail has a 50% chance of being prehensile, otherwise it simply twitches like a dog's tail, betraying the Yagnaloth's mood. 
14- It's face resembles a skull- it is ghoulish and terrifying.
15- It's skin is stretched so tightly over it's body you can see the twitching of muscle fibers and count the Yagnaloth's bones.
16- It has horns.
17- It has a flexible fringe running down from the top of its head to its' tailbone.
18- It is covered in fur.  This fur is 1d6 [1= Yellow with black spots; 2= White with black tiger stripes; 3= Dark purple; 4= Crimson; 5= Soft, powder blue; 6= Grasshopper green.]  
19- It has a sunken chest and frail looking frame.  It gets winded after more than 1d10+2 minutes of heavy physical exertion or 1d6+2 combat rounds.
20- It has a pair of wings growing from it's back.  The wings have a 20% of working, otherwise they are useless and vestigal.   

from the 2nd edition monster manual
Notable Members:

Arcai the Entangler

True Name:
Harzan

Sulu, Son of Iskandar is allegedly a human warrior of Noble birth of the city of Kar-beth, a remote outpost of civilization in the Northeast, sitting at the junction of uncharted wilderness, the Orzanian Empire and the Lands of the Handsome Men.  His family is high class but declining in importance, a once prominent house that hasn't produced a notable specimen in generation, a clan with dwindling credibility as members of the exalted classes, not to mention emptying coffers.  At the rate things were going, they would have gradually slipped from their status in Court and either merge with another family or be utterly destroyed. 

Then along came Sulu.  He's different than all those who came before him, prodigiously polite, extremely charming and highly competent with both the pen and the sword.  Still, no one expects much of him.  As such, the King assigned him with the "important" task of guarding the Western border, a long frontier populated by scattered farming villages and nomadic herdsmen.  The only real danger is occasionally skirmishing forces from their rival cities trying to sneak around the Northern forts and savages coming out of the wilderness to steal cattle and occasionally, subjects.  A respectable position, if not one that promises the possibility of advancement.  As such, most people have largely forgotten about him.  And that's just the way Sulu wants it.

The Yagnaloth named Arcai came to Sulu's aging father years ago and told him that he could guarantee the family great success, wealth and power.  They would be restored to their former grandeur, if they only did what the Yagnaloth commanded of them.  The head agreed and soon after, Sulu was born.  When he reached the proper age, Harzan began tutoring the boy in the noble arts of diplomacy, statesmanship and swordplay.  He taught the boy how to kill, how to lie and how to conceal one's true intentions behind a veil of charm. 

Arcai then sent Sulu out into the world with the intention of securing a small command for him.  Meanwhile, Arcai went to work.  He sent out Agents to infiltrate the various tribes of monsters and savages beyond the city's territory and is currently working on assimilating them into a confederation.  When his horde is assembled, he will lead them into the civilized lands around Kar-beth and raise hell.  The city will be pushed to the brink, but then, just when all hope is lost, Sulu will slay the Chieftain holding the confederation together and the monster tribes will splinter apart.  They can then be hunted down or driven out by the resurgent forces of Law.

Alternatively, should the forces of Law lose, Arcai can have Sulu betray the city into his hands and reap a harvest of blood and booty for his monstrous "allies".

To accomplish this, Arcai has Sulu, who is his prize piece, and his various other children who look much less human than Sulu.  These are his agents in the other monster tribes.  He himself has gone to the most powerful faction, a Druid Circle and is working on convincing the Archdruid to join the other monsters in a confederation.

Weakness: Arcai's plans are complicated and he is a perfectionist.  He seeks to make sure things are "just" right before he begins.  As such, he can be forced to delay by altering otherwise minor factors, and once his plans are begun, they are easily blunted, as their complex nature means there are plenty of weak points to exploit.  Harzan can improvise and work around these, but he's not nearly as good at that, plus that takes time.

Statblock Changes:

Grotesque Appearance: Arcai's face resembles a human face stretched out over a crocodile's skull.  If any creature sees his face, they must save or be frightened.  Frightened creatures take 1d6 COG damage a round they can still see his face.  Creatures who are dropped to 0 COG by this damage will immediately flee from Arcai, and gain the Conviction, "I am terrified of the Entangler."

Lightning Stingers: Can, as an action, fire 2 blasts of electricity from his hands that do 1d6+X lightning damage, where X is the number of metal items a creature is wearing or carrying.

Acid Armor: Can, 1/Day, cover himself in a layer of acid, giving him a +2 bonus to initiative, checks and saves based on speed (as he can slide along on the acid) and any creature he touches or touches him takes 1d6 acid damage.  The layer of acid lasts for 1d4+1 rounds or until it is washed off the Yagnaloth, or the Yagnaloth takes ice damage.

Bloody Feast: Can, as an action, steal the vitality from a freshly slain corpse.  As long as the corpse is still warm- the Yagnaloth recovers X HD, where X is the number of HD the creature had while alive.

Atk: Trident (1d12) + Javelin (1d6+2/1d6+2) or Wire Net (1d6 + grapple and restrain)

Plot Hooks:

1d4

1- Arcai has been trying to convince the Archdruid to join his cause, but the Archdruid is hesitant to move so boldly against Kar-beth.  Harzan will thus use a proxy of his to hire a party of adventurers to kill the Archdruid.  He will then move in and save the Archdruid, thus proving that the city is already acting against the Circle, and that he needs to act.
2- Sulu is married, but his wife is worried that he is having an affair.  She wants you to follow him and find out why he's skulking around.  In truth, it's because Sulu is meeting up with his monstrous mentor and needs to do so in secret.
3- Sulu's wife receives a visit from an Oracle who tells her that she is going to bear a son, who is going to drown the world in blood and bring about an era of suffering.  The Oracle then fled, before the lady could ask what the Oracle meant.  Find the Oracle and extract the truth from him/her.
4- There has been relatively little monster activity along the Northern Marches recently.  The King's advisors are troubled, fearing this is a lull before a large attack.  Go and investigate why the usual petty raids and minor skirmishes aren't occuring as they normally are.  But as you travel to the outskirts of the civilized area, you find the locals from everywhere are reporting that they haven't seen nearly as much monster activity as per usual.  Something is definitely going on, but what?  Find out. 

Alunex the Eternal

True Name:
Golo

Alunex considers himself the first and greatest of the Yagnaloths in terms of raw fighting ability.  While his own magical gifts were not as impressive as some of his brothers, almost none of them posed any threat to him in their training room.  Alunex was a terrible and cruel fighter, capable of seeing an opponent's weakness and ruthlessly exploiting it.  Beyond ruthless, he was obsessed with victory, to the point where he would do almost anything to achieve it. 

But there was one Alunex could never match: Sulvani, the peerless master of the sword.  Unlike Alunex, Sulvani was a gentle soul who had to be ordered out onto the mats.  But when he made it out there, he proved himself to be one of the greatest individual fighters that the Sewing Circle had ever seen.  He was so perceptive he could "See" the twitch of each muscle fiber and was thus, able to perfectly counter most attacks.

And no matter how hard he trained, Alunex never beat Sulvani.  Not with the hand, or the sword, or the staff.  Sulvani defeated him every single time.  And it's not that there was a vast gulf of talent between them.  Alunex is good, excessively so.  He was so close to defeating Sulvani, more times than he could count, he broke through that impregnable defense, evaded the counter-punch and nearly succeeded in defeating his brother- and then reality came crashing back down.  Sulvani would somehow dodge or produce another counter which defeated the attack, or it would simply turn out to be a trap, which Sulvani then closed around his brother, usually defeating him there and then.  And this constant failure, it bred resentment. 

Alunex gradually became obsessed with defeating Sulvani.  He trained until his bones cracked, until he was falling asleep on his feet, until even his pitiless Mothers felt the need to intervene.  But it was never enough.  He simply could not reach the same glorious heights as his brother. 

The resentment that was initially planted in Alunex gradually morphed into a hatred, an all-consuming desire to destroy his brother. 

Since the day that the Yagnaloths separated, Alunex has been plotting.  He will overthrow his brother, and then the others, they will finally acknowledge him as the rightful superior, the strongest and greatest of their kind.  But first, he needs power.  And not just the kind of power that can be obtained from training or dealing with treacherous Demons.  He wants the kind of power that will enable him not only to defeat his rival, but all potential rivals, and to reign over them for all time.  Then it hit him: Immortality.  If he becomes immortal, Alunex figures, he will be able to fight unrestrained from fear of death.  With that, even the invincible Sulvani will not be able to defeat him.     

Alunex has several plans to obtain immortality, but the simplest one, and the most plausible (at least according to him) is eating one of the Peaches.  The Peaches of Eternity are said to make anyone who eats one immortal.  And obtaining one is simplicity itself.  Just break into Heaven and find the Grove of Life.  There, according to all the legends he has discovered and researched, grow the Peaches of Eternity.  If he eats one, he will have achieved his goal.  However, as one might imagine, his plan is the very definition of easier said than done (especially since Heaven floats in the sky somewhere just shy of low earth orbit).  As such, he is currently traveling the world with a group of dedicated and loyal fanatics devoted to helping him achieve his goals.  This group includes scholars, adventurers and madmen- and those three groups are not mutually exclusive.  

Weakness: Alunex is covered in unsightly bulges, indications of cancerous growths- the result of a previous failed attempt at immortality through the use of potions.  Apparently, the recipe he found for the Elixir of Youth was incomplete, and while it made some of his cells immortal, those cells are currently killing him.  His advisors tell him he has not long to live, years at best, months at worst.  As such, he has grown desperate, abandoning his former caution.  He will now push forward and take risks he never would before, because he feels his end drawing closer. 

Statblock Changes:

Earthly Attraction: Can, as an action, magnetize a metal object.  All other metal objects within 30' will be drawn to it, with the pull growing stronger the closer the metal object is to the magnetized object.

Accursed Breath: Can spit a 15' cone of acid that does 2d6 acid damage, plus 1d6 damage a round until a creature takes an action to dilute or remove the acid.  The Yagnaloth can do this every 1d4 rounds.

Bloody Feast: Can, as an action, steal the vitality from a freshly slain corpse.  As long as the corpse is still warm- the Yagnaloth recovers X HD, where X is the number of HD the creature had while alive.

Parry: Alunex can parry 1 attack per round, reducing the damage taken by 1d12.  He can also parry ranged attacks.  

Atk: Glaive (1d12+2/1d12+2)

Plot Hooks:

1d4

1- A wealthy man is offering a large reward for those who can bring him some feathers from the Simurgh, benevolent and wise Queen of Birds.  The man is either insane, arrogant, malicious or potentially all three.  But he is offering a King's ransom to anyone who can bring him such a feather.
2- The Cyclozar, a terrifying madman who can control the weather and rides around in a storm-palace, is currently flying around, stealing things that interest him and generally causing trouble.  There are those who want to stop him, but an eccentric noble wants to make an alliance with him.  Somehow get the attention of the Cyclozar and convince him to help.  The noble is secretly working with Alunex, who has promised him rich rewards if he can secure the Cyclozar's aid.  Alunex may be lying about the rewards and the noble may be more or less ready for a betrayal, but the noble does not know what Alunex's true goal is.
3- The great Prophet Pious Todo was a Loxodon who spent his life living in the wilderness, seeking enlightenment through enduring suffering and detaching himself from worldly concerns.  From this, he gained great insight into the nature of Law and Reality.  When he died, his journals became the source of inspiration for a religious community, who lived in the caves near a city and survived by farming the mountain slopes and raising goats.  However, that city was destroyed by war and the community is thought to have perished with it.  However, recently an adherent of the community, found starving, bewildered and speaking a garbled dialect stumbled out of the ruins of the city and was apprehended by the authorities.  A wealthy patron (secretly an ally of Alunex) wants you to find out if that community still exists, and if you can, recover a copy of Pious Todo's journals.  Because in the Prophet's life, one of the great miracles he performed was making a journey to Heaven and returning to Earth, landing hundreds of miles away.  It is that secret that the patron wants.
4- An Inevitable, a mighty spirit of Law, has fallen to Chaos.  He has been seen helping a Chaos Cult.  As an Inevitable, he would know the way back to the Forge of Heaven.  Someone hires you to find the Inevitable and bring it to him.  But be warned, not only will the Chaos Cult likely be reluctant to hand over their powerful ally, but the Agents of Law are also pursuing the Inevitable, planning to put an end to the traitor. 

Shihan the Royal

True Name: Turo

Sometimes called "King Shihan" ironically, Shihan is a spoiled brat, possessing incredible innate powers and a great talent for leadership.  Smarter, stronger and more clever than his brothers, the Sewing Circle had great hopes for him.  He was expected to rise above his brothers and become their commander, perhaps even the supreme commander of all Yugoloths.  However, Shihan let this early potential he showed go to his head.  Instead of striving hard, he stagnated and rested on his laurels.  As such, many of his brothers actually became stronger than him, working to improve themselves through training and practice.

Shihan, for his part, pretends like this isn't the case.  As far as he is concerned, his brothers are still weaker than him, and they only avoid him because he makes them feel worse about their own accomplishments.  This isn't true, of course, but Shihan pretends like it is.  Anyone who contradicts his delusion suffers mightily for such an offense. 

Similarly, Shihan's plans tend toward bluntless and simplicity.  Shihan has infiltrated a Sorority of Amazons by claiming to be a female Demon and then quickly set about dominating the leadership.  He was easily able to convince the Matriarch of the Sorority that his presence would help her control the Maid's Council, so she agreed to work with him.  However, this choice quickly back-fired as Shihan proved to be as greedy and impulsive as he is slothful.  The Matriarch now realizes that the Maid's Council obeys Shihan, with most of them having fallen hard for the Yagnaloth.  And since Shihan has almost no self-discipline, he took several of them to be his concubines and quite a few of those he took are now pregnant.  So far, these Amazons have managed to conceal this fact, but soon it will become obvious.  And once it does, the best case scenario is the Sorority being torn apart and scattering to the winds, and at worse could lead to a trial for the pregnant Amazons, for refusing to disclose the fact of their pregnancy and standing down, and Shihan, for lying about everything.

Additionally, the Matriarch has also fallen in love with Shihan and while she disapproves of what he is doing, she also doesn't want him to be hurt.  Additionally, she also doesn't really want to share him with the other Amazons he has taken as his concubines.  She won't do anything about this latter fact, but if they were to "disappear", she wouldn't lose sleep over it, and might even reward the person behind it.  

Weakness:
Shihan's ego is massive but easily wounded.  If you insist he isn't as great as he seems to think he is, he will fly into a rage and become much less rational. 

Statblock Changes:

Shocking Touch: Has a natural electric charge constantly running through his body.  If he touches a creature, he can inflict 1d6 lightning damage.  He also does +1d6 lightning damage when he hits a creature with a metal weapon.

Accursed Breath: Can spit a 15' cone of acid that does 2d6 acid damage, plus 1d6 damage a round until a creature takes an action to dilute or remove the acid.  The Yagnaloth can do this every 1d4 rounds.

Aura of Death: Has an aura that drains 6 HP from all the creatures within 30'.  The Yagnaloth gains 6 HP per round, provided there were creatures within his aura.  The amount of HP drained is divided among the number of creatures, so the more, the less strain on them all.  If there are more than six creatures, determine targets randomly.  The Yagnaloth can turn this aura on or off at will.

Atk: Harpoons (Thrown: 1d8/1d8) or (Melee: 1d10+2/1d10+2)

Plot Hooks:

1d4

1- You encounter a group of Amazons who are in the company of an obviously male creature (the Yagnaloth).  The leadership insists he is a female and nothing weird is going on, but the Mothers and Eunuchs, as well as the less political Maidens, are gossiping that something is rotten.
2- A young man hires you to rescue his sister, who ran off to join the Amazons and hasn't been seen since.  When you finally manage to track her down, you will find her hanging off the arm of Yagnaloth and subtly pregnant.  She will not leave her new husband, and if forced to, will try at every opportunity to flee and return to him. 
3- An Amazonian Witch-Crone hires you to get rid of the Yagnaloth currently oppressing her sisters.  You will have to infiltrate the Sorority to do so, either as slaves or in disguise.  Once you do that, you will have to find the Yagnaloth and kill or remove him.  But be careful, once you attack, you will have a large minority of the Sorority gunning for you- so don't miss.
4- An Amazon Maiden, who really doesn't know what is going on but has a sneaking suspicion something is desperately wrong, shows up in town asking questions about contraceptive herbs, which obviously Amazons have no need for.  She doesn't actually know what the herbs are for, but anyone who knows anything about herbs will be able to figure out what the herbs she is looking for are used.  She needs help finding them, and if she doesn't receive it from you, she's likely to be led astray by shady characters keen to manipulate and abuse her, or arrested and tried by the authorities.  Which is a shame, because she seems like a really nice kid. 
From 1st Edition Fiend Folio

Monday, April 5, 2021

OSR: Cat and the Monsters they Become

Ideas borrowed from here and here

The Cat King is one of the oldest and more powerful spirits, commonly known by almost all people.  Unlike many others of his kind, he has guarded his crown and successfully maintained his position from the Beginning.  He has done this largely by dividing and giving away the majority of his power to his children and delegating his responsibilities to them, encouraging them to compete against each other rather then try to overthrow him.  

artist unknown
Common Cats:

It is common knowledge that as Cats in Nukaria grow, they grow new tails.  Cats grow one tail when they are born, two when they are seven years old and three when they are 14 years old.  Depending on the region, it is thought that Cats should be killed or released when they grow additional tails, though if this should be done at 2 or 3 tails varies from place to place.

These tails aren't just for show, either.  Cats grow in power and intelligence as they age, just as Foxes supposedly did.  When a Cat grows a second tail, it gains the ability to learn languages and understand them, though it cannot speak.  When a Cat grows a third tail, it gains the ability to shapeshift into a humanoid.  However, no matter what form a Cat takes, it always keeps its tails.  From this point as Cats accumulate more Tails, they grow in magical power, gaining the ability to cast spells, curse people, alter fortune and other more wondrous things.

Cats that grow two or three tails often leave their owners, depending on the region, to wander the world as free Cats.  Once they do this, they are called Bakenekos, though usually only by their own kind. 

Sometimes, a Bakeneko will mate with a human and have a child with him or her.  These children resemble humans, except they have cat ears, a tail and occasionally other feline traits.  These children are called Nekomimi, and while they do possess some of the strength of their Bakeneko parent, they are usually not that different from humans.  Their children have even fewer feline traits, and within a generation or two are indistinguishable from normal humans, barring inbreeding or fresh infusions of Bakeneko blood.

Statblock:

Bakeneko
HD X (see below)
AR none or 2 [Natural Light Armor]
Atk Weapon (1d6) + Claws (1d4) or Spell [Humanoid Form]
Claws (1d6) + Bite (1d6) [Big Cat Form]
Mor 12
Saves (7+HD) or less

Shapeshifter: As an action, a Bakeneko can shapeshift either into the form of a humanoid it has seen or can imagine, a humanoid cat form, an ordinary house cat or one of the Big Cats.  Regardless of what form it takes, it still possesses all of its furry tails.  

Pounce: By sacrificing one of its' attacks, a Bakeneko can pounce on a creature, leaping through the air and crashing into it.  Creatures, instead of making an opposing defense roll can make a DEX save to avoid this attack.  On a successful save, the creature takes no damage.  But on a failed save or an unsuccessful defense roll, the creature takes an additional +1d6 damage and is knocked prone, with the Bakeneko on top of it.  Such a creature counts as grappled, and must succeed a STR check to throw the Bakeneko off. 

Tactics:
- Avoid conflict whenever possible
- Make an attack from surprise, then run and hide
- Use magic to avoid danger

To customize a Bakeneko, roll on the tables below:

How strong is this Bakeneko?

1d4

1- 3 HD.  This Bakeneko has just grown it's third tail.
2- 1d4+1 HD.  This Bakeneko has as many tails and is somewhat seasoned.
3- 1d4+2 HD.  This Bakeneko is likely older, and has much in the way of knowledge and experience.
4- 1d6+2 HD.  This Bakeneko is old and likely very powerful, as well as being highly intelligent.  

What Powers does it possess?


3 HD- Shapeshifting.  See above.
4 HD- Invisibility.  The Bakeneko can turn invisible as an action.  If it takes an action to do something strenous or makes an attack, it turns visible again.    
5 HD- Charming Touch.  Should a Bakeneko touch a creature, that creature must save or be charmed by the Bakeneko.  This charm lasts for 1 hour or until the Bakeneko causes the charmed creature any serious form of pain or discomfort (using violence against them, slapping them, insulting them, etc).
6 HD- Teleportation.  The Bakeneko can teleport 30' as an action.  Once it has done this, it must wait 1d4 turns to use this ability again.
7 HD- Fortune Manipulation.  The Bakeneko learns the spell 'Baleful Moon'.  It also gains MD equal to its HD.  Rolling doubles or triples do not cause Chaos or Corruption for it, but its MD do burn out on a roll of 5 or 6.     
8+ HD- For each HD beyond 7, the Bakeneko learns a new spell and gains 1 MD.   

by Horimono XXII

Nekomata:

Also known as Copy-Cats, Nekomata are Cat-like Demons who prowl about the world, inflicting misfortune and suffering on mortals and other creatures for their own sick amusement.  They tend towards sadism, loving to torment the weak and helpless. 

Unlike Bakeneko, they do not have Humanoid forms of their own, with their only shapes being their true demonic forms and that of mortals they have stolen.  A Nekomata can transform into a perfect replica of someone by killing them and eating their heart.  This is usually how they begin their rampages- they pick off someone on the edge of town or alone on a country road and attack him.  After consuming his heart, they gain his form.  Then they eat his brain and gain his memories.

Once that has been done, the Nekomata returns to town in their new guise and begins inflicting cruelties both petty and serious on the townspeople.  Sometimes this is done in service of a larger goal, but just as often, it is done for no reason at all.  Most of them derive pleasure from it, while some merely like the taste of mortals, especially wealthy women who have lived idle lives, thus leaving their flesh nice and tender.

But while Nekomata are sly, they are not as hard to detect as one might think.  In moon or candle-light, their shadows represent their true form, a monstrous cat with a single tail that splits at the end, like a Devil's bident.  Additionally, in a mirror, they have slit pupil eyes and long fangs.  Additionally, most types of dogs can detect a Nekomata.  So if the princess starts acting strangely and her favorite hunting hound suddenly turns up dead after acting erratically, it might be time to investigate her. 

Most people do not know about Bakenekos, often mistaking them for Nekomata.  This has lead to many innocent creatures dying, either because a Bakeneko was hunted down or killed, or it slew mortals who formed a lynch mob to come after it, mistakenly blaming it for their problems. 

Statblock:

Nekomata
HD X (see below)
AR 3 [Natural Armor]
Atk Claws (1d6) + Bite (1d6) [Cat Form]
Weapon (1d8) [Humanoid Form]
Mor 15
Saves (7+HD) or less

Native of the Shallows: Nekomata are Spirits of the Land.  As an action, they 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.   

Consumption Absorber: If a Nekomata eats a creature's heart, it gains the ability to perfect mimic that creature's voice, appearance and smell.  If it eats that creature's brain, it gains all that creature's memories, though it will start to forget after 1d20+HD days, unless it writes down those memories or uses some other technique to remember them.

Shapeshifter: Nekomata can shapeshift as an action, taking on the form of a humanoid whose heart they have eaten, or back to their normal form, an enormous cat monster.  Their stats remain the same no matter what form they are in, but their attacks differ (see above). 

Terrifying Yowl: When in Cat Form, a Nekomata can unleash a horrific yowl that does 1d6 thunder damage to any creature within 50'.  Additionally, any creature who hears this yowl must save. On a failed save, that creature becomes frightened.  Frightened creatures will not move closer to the source of their fear and take 1d6 COG damage a round they are in combat with it.  Should a creature's COG be reduced to 0 by this damage, the creature immediately flees from the Nekomata. 

Tactics:
- Pretend to be a helpless creature
- Attack from stealth
- Be overconfident, flee if presented with real danger

To customize a Nekomata, roll on the tables below:

How strong is this Nekomata?

1d4

1- 3 HD.  This Nekomata is fairly weak.  It has 1 special power and when making pacts, it can only offer boons 1-4.
2- 1d4+1 HD.  This Nekomata is a bit stronger than a newborn of it's kind.  It has 2 special powers and when making pacts can only offer boons 1-6.
3- 1d6 HD.  This Nekomata has feasted on the blood and flesh of many powerful creatures, marking it as powerful and strong.  This Nekomata has 1d4 special powers and when making pacts can offer boons 1-8.
4- 1d6+2 HD.  This Nekomata is a King, possessing dread power and glory.  It has 1d6 special powers and when making pacts can offer any boon it wishes. 

What special powers does it possess?          

1d10

1- This Nekomata can curse people.  These people must be able to hear it and understand what it is saying.  It's favorite things to curse people with are 1dX [1= Cannibalism (either being devoured or devouring others); 2= Hemophobia (fear of blood); 3= Paranoia; 4= Madness.]
2- This Nekomata can grow up to 1d3 size categories (tiny->medium->large->huge->colossal->gargantuan) as an action.  While in this form, small creatures do less damage to it and it receives a bonus to attack and damage rolls.  However, it is also less agile in this form and easier to hit.
3- This Nekomata can conjure bolts and spheres of lightning.  It can fire two bolts that do 2d6 damage, save for half.  The bolts also do +1 damage per metal item a creature is wearing.  Creatures carrying no metal automatically pass their saves.
4- This Nekomata can turn invisible as an action.  If it attacks or does something strenous, it turns visible once more.
5- This Nekomata carries a magical disease of Vampirism in its saliva.  If you are injured by its teeth or claws, save or contract the disease. 
6- This Nekomata can transform into a two-dimensional shadow and travel along the wall, floor or ground.  While in this form it cannot be harmed except by things that could hurt a shadow, but can be forced away by bright light.  The Nekomata can transform back as a free action.  Once it does, however, it must wait 1d4 turns before it transforms back.
7- This Nekomata can selectively harden parts of its fur, allowing it to parry damage as it had a shield, reducing damage for 1 attack per round by 1d12.
8- This Nekomata can shoot its claws like thrown needles, doing 3d4 damage, save for half.  Creatures with a shield can instead save to take no damage.  These claws do regenerate, but it takes time, so the Nekomata must wait 1d4 rounds to use this ability again.
9- This Nekomata can create monsters out of shadows.  These shadow monsters have 1 HD, no armor, and do 1d6 damage on a hit.  The Nekomata can make 1d6 of these 1/Day. 
10- This Nekomata carries a magical sickle called The Sickle of Cancer or The Red Claw.  Any creature injured by this (d6) weapon must save or have his body become riddled with fast growing tumors.  Each unsuccessful save causes one of these tumors to form, doing 1d6 STR damage and imposing a -1 penalty on attacks and rolls that require physically exerting one's self.  If the Nekomata is slain, this weapon disappears.  The only cure for these cancers is dangerous surgery or to plead your case to one of the Royals of the Animal Kingdom- The Crab, Octopus and Whale Kings could all be helpful in removing these cancers, but Crab is truculent, Octopus is sly and manipulative and Whale is cruel and villainous.  

What boons could it offer you, if you wish to make a pact with it?

1d12

1- The Nekomata can give you retractible claws (d6), in exchange for you killing a dog.
2- The Nekomata can give you the ability to climb as well as a housecat, in exchange for committing a crime at least once a month.
3- The Nekomata can give you the ability to move silently, in exchange for killing a person the Nekomata wants dead and bring his or her heart back.
4- The Nekomata can give you night vision equivalent to a cat's, in exchange for a precious memory.
5- The Nekomata can give you the ability to talk to and charm Cats and Catlike creatures (1/Day), in exchange for a weekly sacrifice of jewels.
6- Theh Nekomata can give you the ability to transform into a housecat as an action, in exchange for once a month, you hunt down and kill a Rodent Prince.
7- The Nekomata can give you the ability to unleash a shrieking yowl that does 1d6 thunder damage to anyone who is within 50' and isn't covering their ears and immediately provokes a save vs fear, in exchange for being able to eat one of your eyes.
8- The Nekomata can give you the ability to always land on your feet and take no fall damage, in exchange for kidnapping a princess and delivering her to the Nekomata.
9- The Nekomata can give you the ability to grow thick fur all over your body, giving you resistance to cold damage and the ability to survive without protective gear in cold weather, in exchange for the heart of a Rhemorhaz. 
10- The Nekomata can give you the ability to switch the direction of gravity for yourself, allowing you to walk on ceilings or walls as if they were the ground for you, in exchange for assassinating a high ranking Earth Elemental.
11- The Nekomata can give you the ability to 1/Day unlock any non-magical lock, in exchange for breaking one of the Nekomata's allies out of a prison in the Spirit World.
12- The Nekomata can give you the ability to gain the ability to shapeshift into any humanoid, if you kill that humanoid and eat it's heart.  In exchange, the Nekomata wants 7 years of service from you.  Alternatively, it wants your soul.  

from Getty Images

Tigers:

Tiger was once the strongest and most powerful of all the Cat King's children.  He was as sneaky as Leopard but as dangerous as Lion, with the cunning of even clever Lynx.  Yet this power of his led him to become arrogant and cruel, and that was brought him down.  For as the Cat King prepared to divide up his treasure, he quietly informed Tiger that should he perish, Tiger was to be his heir and would wear the crown after him.  Tiger was ecstatic over this, but promised to keep it to himself.

That is, until an argument with Lion exploded into a fight, as was not uncommon.  As they fought, Tiger told Lion that Father had chosen him as the successor, meaning that one day Lion would lick his brother's paws.  Lion was furious with this and went to their Father immediately, demanding to know why.  When the Cat King heard this from Lion, he vowed that Tiger would never succeed him. 

As such, when the time came, Lion was made the successor instead of Tiger, who was scorned, only receiving a parcel of the fortune he had been promised.  Tiger cursed his brothers and left then, vowing that he would never forgive any of them, and that he and Lion would be enemies forever. 

Statblock:

Tiger
HD 4
AR none
Atk Claws (1d6/1d6) or Bite (1d8)
Mor 11
Saves 11 or less

Stealthy: Tigers get a +4 bonus to stealth if they are in an area that is partially shady or has long shadows, such as beneath a forest's canopy, early morning and evening.  They can also receive this bonus if there is sufficient cover.

Ambusher: Should a Tiger attack a creature from stealth, the Tiger does +2d6 damage on a hit.  Only add this damage if the Tiger hits, do not include it in the initial attack roll.

Curse of the Tiger: Should a creature kill a Tiger, that Tiger's Shadow will detach and stalk that creature.  At a moment of weakness, the Shadow will strike and slay the creature, thus avenging the Tiger's death.  This is common knowledge among Adventurers and Hunters.  The only known way to break the curse is to track down the Tiger's kin and offer them a gift.  Should the Tiger's kin accept the gift, the Tiger's Shadow will not longer pursue you.

Tactics:
- Creep up on your enemies
- Pounce on the one in the rear
- Drag away the corpse, if dead
- If alive, retreat, hide and start the process over

Tiger's Shadow:

As a Tiger, but with the following Traits:


- Cannot be harmed by non-magical weapons, Necrotic, Cold or Poison damage
- Is Ethereal- cannot be touched by items with non-spiritual natures and can pass through such items as if they weren't there
- Is repelled by bright light, cannot approach if someone is standing next to a strong light source
- And cannot appear in direct sunlight

The Curse of the Tiger is one of the most commonly known stories about it, though most of the stories are wildly exaggerated, as Sages and Adventurers can tell you.  Still, the Curse is real.  Those who have killed a Tiger have often reported feeling something watching them or seen the shadow of the Tiger on the walls, following them at a distance.  A Tiger's Shadow is a similar foe to a Tiger, except it cannot be killed with spear or arrow, and the only weapons that truly can defeat it are fire or sorcery.

As such, the best way to defeat a Tiger's Shadow is to appease the Tiger's ghost by presenting his kin with a suitable gift.  For particularly cruel Tigers, this can mean human sacrifice, but just as often it can be gifts of livestock or solemn oaths not to kill anymore Tigers.  According to Ancient legend, one of the Deerling Queens, Yinu Xoczia of Willowheart managed to appease a Tiger's Shadow by rescuing the Tiger's cubs and giving them to their Father, after her bodyguards slew the mother when they encountered each other accidentally on a hunt. 

Of course, such appeasement is easier said than done.  Tigers dwell in deep forests and frozen tundras, far from civilization.  Finding a Tiger is difficult amongst the best of circumstances, especially with a time limit.  Some Tiger's kin might not even want to be found- if the ghost of their slain relative comes to them and tells them to hide, they may, to allow their kinsmen's shadow to take revenge on those who slew it.  Hopefully, that is not the case for you.

by  Scott Murphy

Manticore:

All the Tigers today are descendants of the original of their race, the firstborn of the Cat King.  But almost all of them hold his grudge against Lion and their Grandfather, zealously guarding their territory and driving away all non-Tiger felines.  But some of them take this vendetta much further than others.  These Tigers work to obtain more power- and the easiest way to obtain additional power is to devour mortals. 

As creatures with powerful souls, but generally weak bodies, mortals can provide Tigers with a great meal, even despite their small size.  And the more the Tiger eats, the stronger he becomes.  Eventually, having eaten 1000 mortals, a Tiger undergoes a dread metamorphosis.  It becomes the beast known as a Manticore.

Statblock:

Manticore
HD 6
AR 2 [Natural Armor]
Atk Claws and Teeth (1d8/1d8) or Quills (1d6/1d6/1d6 + venom)
Mor 14
Saves 13 or less

Stealthy: Manticores get a +4 bonus to stealth if they are in an area that is partially shady or has long shadows, such as beneath a forest's canopy, early morning and evening.  They can also receive this bonus if there is sufficient cover.

Ambusher: Should a Manticore attack a creature from stealth, the Manticore does +2d6 damage on a hit.  Only add this damage if the Manticore hits, do not include it in the initial attack roll.

Quills: Manticores can fire quills from their tails like thrown daggers, or they can smack a creature with their tails, doing the equivalent damage to three quill attacks.  If the Quills are fired and do damage to a creature, that creature is also exposed to a Manticore's venom.  See below for what that venom does.  A creature with a shield can, instead of making a defense roll against a Manticore's Quill attacks, make a STR save.  On a success, he takes no damage.  On a failure, he is hit as normal.   

Tactics:
- Attack from stealth, ambush the weakest opponent
- Hurl a volley of quills
- Assess, if most creatures are still standing or largely unhurt, retreat
- If pursued, bait your pursuers into splitting up or maintaining the chase over long periods of time

To customize a Manticore, roll on the tables below:

What makes this Manticore different?

1d4

1- It can imitate voices.  The Manticore can imitate the sounds of other animals or the voices of humanoids whose voices it has heard before. 
2- It knows how to make convincing fake tracks.  The Manticore can make fake tracks that are convincing enough to fool the casual observer, but if someone is more knowledgeable or simply more perceptive, they'll realize something is off about these tracks. 
3- It is served by a cult of 1d4 [1= Druids; 2= Cannibals; 3= Misguided Demon-Worshipers- they believe the Manticore is an animal possessed by a Demon, the Manticore isn't saying otherwise; 4= Ethnic Enemies- the Manticore has been preying on one local population or group and the enemies of that group have decided to aid it by bringing it prey and helping it hide.]
4- It is favored by a Spirit of the Land who grants it the magical power to 1d4 [1= Fly; 2= Turn Invisible; 3= Absorb 1d6 spells/sources of elemental energy per day, healing it for X HD, where X is the MD used to cast the spell; 4= Animate its shadow (as a Tiger's Shadow) to fight alongside it.]

What does it's venom do?

1d4

1- Paralysis.  Any creature injured by this Manticore's quills takes 1d6 DEX damage as it's venom causes his muscles to stiffen and lock up.  Should a creature be dropped to 0 DEX, that creature is paralyzed for 1d4 hours.  After the duration, the creature regains DEX at a point of 1 point per round.
2- Agony.  Any creature injured by this Manticore's quills takes a -1d4 penalty to any complex or precise action, including attack and defense rolls, as his body is wracked with horrible pain.  This pain lasts for 10 minutes per quill hit, and for each hit, the creature must make a COG save.  On a failed save, the creature gains the Conviction, "I give up easily," and declares that they will not be participating further in the Manticore hunt, and immediately tries to either return to safety or to leave the Manticore's territory.
3- Hallucinations.  Any creature injured by this Manticore's quills begins hallucinating, seeing 1d4 illusory Manticores.  Each time the creature makes an attack or casts a spell, the creature has an X-in-6 chance of targeting an illusory Manticore, and thus wasting his action.  The venom also causes other hallucinations as well, and lasts for 1d3 hours per quill.
4- Death.  Any creature injured by this Manticore's quills takes 1d6 CON damage as his body begins to shut down.  Should this damage reduce a creature's CON to 0, that creature falls unconscious and begins dying as its lungs and heart stop working.  Unless the venom is removed from the body within 1 minute, the creature dies. 

What does it want?

1d4

1- Nothing.  The Manticore wants to eat you.  It may make some demand, but this is mere pretext.  The Manticore will wait until you are vulnerable, then attack.
2- For you to turn on each other.  The Manticore will declare that it only wants to eat one of you, and that you should pick who is eaten.  The Manticore promises it will let all the rest go.
3- For you to do something despicable.  The Manticore asks you to do something vile, such as kidnapping an infant and bringing it the Manticore.  It wants to see if you will do it.  Regardless of what you do, it may still choose to eat you. 
4- To be bribed.  The Manticore has no interest in difficult prey like you.  If you give it 1d6 [1= Alcohol; 2= Honey; 3= Giant Wasp Larvae; 4= A horse or pack animal with a broken leg; 5= A young man or woman, pretty to look at an unblemished; 6= A baked good such as a cake or large pastry] it will let you go.

Manticores are monsters that resemble Tigers, but with the faces of men, three rows of teeth and long, venomous quills potruding from their tails.  They can speak and do so in soft, cruel voices, like a steel blade wrapped in soft reeds.  They are universally cruel and despicable, loving to lord their superiority over other creatures.  Their weaknesses are the fact that they are not much stronger than Tigers in some ways, as well as their gluttony.  Few Manticores can turn down a chance at a meal, even though they are excellent hunters and rarely go hungry.  But after consuming so many men, they have developed a taste for it and now can't get enough. 

Here's another thing to note about Manticores; The souls of all they devour are trapped in pearls that form on the inside of a Manticore's body.  Smashing these pearls frees these souls, but the pearls can also function as potent reagents for certain forbidden alchemical recipes or aid in the manufacture of certain vile substance.  As such, Manticores when discovered are often hunted by the righteous and the wicked alike, giving them plenty of practice at hiding and fighting intelligent opponents.  

photographer unknown

Lions:

While not as strong as Tiger, Lion was still a promising child.  His boldness and his low cunning proved more than enough to overcome his brother's overwhelming power.  Additionally, Lion had another advantage.  Unlike Tiger, who was proud, Lion recognized his own limitations.  When Tiger and him had their initial confrontation, he had lost, and only avoided death because of the intervention of his siblings.  As such, when Tiger made an attempt to take the crown by force, Lion was there to stop him, but he didn't come alone.  He brought his sisters- and with their aid, he was able to defeat Tiger and secure his throne.

For their service, Lion rewarded his sisters, making them his fangs.  And to this day, the Lionness remains the humble and faithful servant of Lion.  However, should he prove corrupt, incompetent or otherwise unsuitable, the Lionness retain the right to depose him and drive him from his throne.

Lionness
HD 3
AR 1
Atk Claw (1d6) + Bite (1d4)
Mor 11
Saves 10 or less

Stealthy: If approaching in long grass, at night, or in some other condition that could help the Lionness hide, she gets +2 to any rolls based on stealth.

Pack Tactics: If two or more Lionnesses attack a target at the same time, instead of making two attacks, only roll 1d20 and add the damage of both attacks.  For example, if two wish to make a claw attack against the same target, roll 1d20 and add +2d6 to the attack roll.  For any additional Lionnesses beyond 2, add +1 to the attack roll per Lionness.

Tactics:
- Sneak up on a target if possible
- Separate the weak from the strong
- Gang up on the weakest enemy

Lionnesses handle the majority of the hunting, as well as a large share of the administrative tasks that are necessary to maintain the Pride and the Kingdom.  They are generally very loyal, only abandoning their Lion unless he proves wicked, cruel or incompetent.  They will also leave him if another Lion overthrows him and takes over the Kingdom.  They are also known to despise Tigers and Manticores, should one be detected by them, they will abandon all other duties to hunt down the intruder and slay him.

This a fact that can be exploited, as was done by the clever Lakazu Magister, Syill the Hazi.  When his people were being oppressed by the foreign conqueror Agris, King of Tarhoon, he heard that the King was planning to kill him.  So he prayed and was informed to gather some Tiger hair and claws, which he did.  He then brewed this into a potion that made whoever drank it smell like a Tiger.  Then he invited the King to come with him on a hunting expedition.  Seeing an opportunity to get rid of him, the King accepted and let Syill lead him out into the wilderness. While they were out there, Syill secretly dosed the King with the potion.  Thus, when the assassins came for Syill, they were distracted by the fact that the camp was overrun by Lions!  The Lionnesses raised hell, before finally being driven away, but not before they had torn the King to shreds.  Thus was the prophecy fulfilled that King Agris would be "Consumed by creatures with appetites greater than your own," just as the Prophet had foretold. 

Lion
HD 4
AR 2
Atk Claw (1d6) + Bite (1d6)
Mor 13
Saves 11 or less  

Stealthy: If approaching in long grass, at night, or in some other condition that could help the Lion hide, he gets +2 to any rolls based on stealth.

Roar: A Lion's roar is a deafening blast of sound that flattens all who hear it.  When a Lion roars, all within 30' of him take 2d6 thunder damage, save for half.  Those who fail their save must also save or be deafened.  Deafened creatures have disadvantage on any save or check made to detect a creature (such as a Lion or Lionness) sneaking up on them.  The Lion may only roar every 1d4 turns.       

Tactics:
- Be loud and showy
- Draw the attention of the enemy
- Roar, then signal the Lionnesses or your other allies to attack

Lions, unlike the Lionnesses, do not primarily concern themselves with hunting, rearing young or administration.  Instead, Lions focus on controlling and maintaining territory, ruling over large swathes of territories.  These territories function as Kingdoms, which lesser animals are free to enter or leave at will, with the acknowledgement that the Lion owns all the creatures within his territory, and that he may eat any of them he sees fit. 

These territories are often rich with good things to eat, and are much safer than some territories.  Unlike some other creatures, Lions can be generous and merciful when they need to be.  Compared to the cruelty of a Manticore or the rapacious appetite of a Dragon, the Lion's yoke is light and his use of the whip is prudent.     

To customize a Lion, roll on the table below:

What kind of King is this Lion?

1d6

1- Bumbling.  The Lion is an incompetent ruler, possessing neither the strength nor the will to rule.  Should he not be overthrown, which is very likely, his Lionnesses will expel him themselves. 
2- Slothful.  The Lion is strong enough, but afflicted by sloth.  He rarely patrols his territory and is slow to fend off threats.  The Lionnesses are getting sick of him, but not enough to try and replace him.  They are hoping another Lion comes along to overthrow him.
3- Tyrannical.  This Lion is terribly strong and prone to violent rages.  He terrifies his subjects into fearing him.  Should he be weakened, he would likely be overthrown.  At the moment, however, he is too strong.
4- Hard.  The Lion is strong, bringing peace to his territory.  He is not kind or especially virtuous, but he gives the people peace.
5- Hard but fair.  The Lion is lacking in compassion, but this is his only vice.  His justice is iron, but always impartial.
6- Good.  The Lion is an excellent and fair ruler.  He administers justice and treats the lowly honeybee with the same respect as the blessed Elephant.

Lions battle each over for territory.  Prides can sometimes compete over entire regions, but most of the time, this occurs when a landless Lion challenges another to a duel for his throne.  The two battle, and the loser is expelled while the winner inherits the throne and the kingdom. 

For those who pass through a Lion's territory, there are only X options.  Firstly, if you are too strong, the Lion is likely not to bother you.  But considering the foes that a Lion can bring down, you have to be mighty indeed to dissuade him from attacking you.

Secondly, you could be fast.  If you pass through a Lion's territory at a quick enough pace, then he will not be able to find you.  When doing this, the most important thing to do is not hunt and not start any fires- if you slay a subject of the Lion, he will hear about it and his Lionnesses will spot a fire from a long way off.  Should he find intruders this way, he will take revenge, either by trying to devour them or by driving them toward another fearsome animal.

The third way is to approach the Lion's throne and present him with a gift.  Should the Lion be pleased with your gift, he will allow you to pass through his territory safely. 

What gifts does this Lion prefer?

1d4

1- Meat, obviously.  He prefers 1d8 [1= Goat; 2= Sheep; 3= Beef; 4= Venison; 5= Chicken; 6= Crocodile; 7= Pork; 8= Snake.]
2- Information on other Lions and Cats.  Only Druids, Spirits of the Land and those who can talk to animals generally possess information that would interest a Lion.  However, information that a large number of dangerous enemies, hunters or a group of rival Lions are entering his territory would be of interest to almost any Lion.
3- Art.  The Lion likes works of art that glorify him, his Pride or other things he admires.  Any art that shows Lions in a positive light would probably be sufficient.
4- Rare foods.  This Lion has a weakness for 1d4 [1= Alcohol; 2= Honey; 3= Fish; 4= Baked Goods- pastries, tarts, bread, etc.]

But of course, to see the Lion, you'll likely have to wait in line.

Who else is here today?

1d6

1- A group of Baboons.  They are here to complain.  There is a 40% chance their complaint is legitimate, otherwise it's just an attempt to get the Lion to eat someone who doesn't deserve it.
2- An Antelope.  She is here to plead for the life of her ailing Father, who is now too sick to escape the Lionnesses, should they target her herd.
3- A Warthog and a Wildbeest.  These two have been feuding over space at the watering hole and both want the Lion to tell the other to get lost.  
4- A Crocodile.  The Crocodile claims that the Hippos have prevented her from digging a burrow, they claim that they own all of the bank that is underwater and refuse to let her near it.
5- A Hyena.  The Hyena is here to grovel and ask for sanctuary.  He offended the alpha of his pack, and wishes for the Lion to protect him while she calms down, as he fears for his life.
6- A group of Buzzards.  They are here to ask the Lion to please leave more scraps behind when he hunts.  They plead poverty, despite being seemingly well fed.

by BiagioDAlessandro

Chimera:

What the Servants of Chaos have always been unwilling to accept is the fact that the universe functions according to certain universal, immutable laws.  These laws do not just concern how the universe functions, but how it ought to work.  All creatures have a specific nature, an intended purpose.  Those who live in accordance with these laws, with their own nature and with Reality, prosper.  Those who fail to adhere to them, living in opposition to these laws or to own nature, suffer.

And one of these laws is the great law of predation.  It is no sin for the Wolf to devour the Rabbit- for the Wolf is higher than the Rabbit, and thus has the right to devour the former.  This cruel state is also one of the reasons why mortals are elevated over the beasts, for while they possess the same rights, they possess mortal sense.  As such, a mortal can choose not to devour the weaker one, out of concern for the former.  But the Wolf has no consideration for the Rabbit, nor should it be expected to.

This same law also binds the Lion.  Lions are permitted to eat certain animals, but not others.  And one of the creatures Lions are forbidden to eat are mortals.  Unless a mortal has killed game without the Lion's permission, attacked it or otherwise violated the Lion's rights as King, the mortal is off-limits for hunting.  Should a Lion kill a mortal, especially in one of those circumstances, it is totally permissible.  But if the Lion eats the mortal, that is where corruption enters. 

And just as a Tiger that devours mortals transforms into a Manticore, the Lion that feasts on them becomes a Chimera.

Chimera
HD 1d6+2
AR 2
Atk Claw (1d6) + Bite (1d6)
Mor 14
Saves (7+HD) or less

Tactics:
- Varies, depending on the changes to the Chimera

To customize a Chimera, roll on the tables below:

This Chimera has a(n)...

1d3

1- Extra Head.  Roll on the Head table to see what kind of Head it is.
2- Modified Body.  Roll on the Body table to see what changes occured to the Chimera's body.
3- Modified Tail.  Roll on the Tail table to see what changes occurred to the Chimera's tail.

Roll 1d3 times on the above table, rerolling all duplicates:

Head Table:

The head is a...

1d8

1- Goat.  The Chimera gains an additional bite attack that does 1d4 damage.  This attack, instead of doing damage, can also reduce a creature's AR by 1d3 by ripping a chunk of armor away and eating it. 
2- Zebra.  The Chimera gains the ability to try and frighten horses as an action.  By sacrificing an attack, it can bray, forcing all nearby horses to save.  Those horses that fail their saves must immediately flee.
3- Wildbeest.  The Chimera gains a charge attack.  If it charges a creature and hits, that creature takes 2d6 damage and must save or be knocked prone.  Creatures being charged can make a DEX save to avoid all damage instead of making a defense roll.   
4- Crocodile.  The Chimera gains a bite attack that does 1d6 damage.  Creatures bitten by this head are automatically grappled and take 1d6 damage a round they are grappled. 
5- Buzzard.  The Chimera gains an Evil Eye.  By sacrificing one attack, the Chimera can force a creature at less than full HP to save.  A creature who fails his save takes 1d6 necrotic damage and must save vs infection or catch a disease.  Creatures at half HP or less make this save with disadvantage. 
6- Warthog.  The Chimera gains a charge attack.  If it charges a creature and hits, that creature takes 1d6 damage and has a persistent wound open on his body.  That creature takes 1d6 damage a round until it takes an action to staunch the bleeding or is touched by healing magic.
7- Mortal.  The Chimera gains the ability to mimic voices.  Additionally, if it screams, all mortals must save or be frightened.  Frightened creatures cannot move closer to the Chimera and take 1d6 COG damage a round they are in combat with it.  Should this COG damage reduce a creature's COG to 0, that creature immediately loses his nerve and flees.
8- Dragon.  The Chimera gains the ability to breathe fire.  By sacrificing an attack, the Chimera can breathe fire in a 30' cone, doing 3d6 fire damage, save for half.  If you have a shield, save to take no damage.  The Chimera can only breathe fire every 1d4 turns. 

Body Table:

The Chimera's body has changed so that it now...

1d6

1- Has scales.  The Chimera gets a +2 bonus to AR.
2- Has stripes.  The Chimera gets a +2 bonus to all stealth rolls. 
3- Has bulging, skinless legs.  The Chimera can leap 50' as an action, before or after attacking.
4- Has spines.  If you damage the Chimera in melee combat with a non-reach weapon (spear, polearm, lance) save or take 1d6 damage.  Creatures with shields make this save with advantage.
5- Has wings.  The Chimera can fly.  While in the air it gains a +4 bonus to initiative and a +2 bonus to AR. 
6- Has the ability to molt its skin.  The Chimera can, 1/Day, molt its skin.  This restores all HP but reduces its maximum HD by 1.  It also removes all negative status effects except being poisoned (ex: blinded, deafened, petrified, etc).  Once a Chimera has molted, it cannot do so for 1 month.  After 1 month, it regains that ability, and its lost HD.

Tail Table:

The Chimera's tail has changed so that it now...

1d6

1- Is a snake.  The Chimera gains a bite attack.  The snake tail can make a bite attack that does 1d4 damage plus 3d6 poison damage.  Creatures take 1d6 damage and must save each round.  On a successful save, they take no more damage.  But if all saves are failed, the poison damage stops once a creature has taken 3d6 damage.  There is a 2-in-6 chance the snake tail can also spit venom, which does 1d6 damage and forces a save vs blindness. 
2- Is a ball of bone and iron.  The Chimera can replace one of its attacks with a tail attack.  This does 1d6 damage and reduces any non-magical armor hit by it by 1d4 AR.  It shatters shields on impact. 
3- Is tipped in a strange, stinger-like organ.  The Chimera can, as an action, spray acid from this stinger.  The acid does 2d6 damage, plus 1d6 damage a round until a creature takes an action to wipe it off or dilutes it with another liquid.  Each round a creature takes acid damage, non-magical armor loses 1 point of AR. 
4- Is tipped in plumage that reeks of pheremones.  The Chimera can, as an action, summon a swarm of 1d4 [1= Ants; 2= Bees; 3= Wasps; 4= Spiders] to aid it in combat.
5- Is long, thin, and very fast, whipping back and forth like a viper.  The Chimera can grab people or items with its tail.  Creatures grabbed by it are grappled.  Alternatively, it can replace a normal attack with a tail one (1d6 + grapple).
6- Is tipped in a cone of long bones wrapped in skin that unfolds into a fan.  The Chimera can create powerful air blasts, forcing creatures to save or be knocked prone.  This takes the place of one attack.
 
Chimera usually arise naturally, when Lions become maneaters.  But Chimera are also sometimes created by Chaos cults, who capture Lions and feed them sacrifices.  Other Lions instinctively loathe Chimera and will not associate with them, unless forced to.  Chimera created this way are no smarter or less savage that ordinary Chimeras, and behave exactly like the wild beasts that they are.      

photographer unknown

Jaguars:

Jaguar was always the black sheep of his family.  Unlike his cute sisters or valiant brothers, Jaguar did not like to fight fair.  Honor, to him, was simply a pretext used by the strong and was discarded the second it got in the way.  So unlike his brothers, who fought for the crown, he rejected that struggle and left the family to live in seclusion.  He declared that unlike those hypocrites, he would live honestly, as what he was.  There would be no vain-glorious talk of crowns or rights from him.  He would simply be a hunter.  He would take whatever he wanted, because he was strong.  And this example is the one that his children, the Jaguars and Panthers, follow to this day.

For this reason, Jaguars are among the most feared of the Cats, for they strike without warning.  If attacked by a Jaguar, you cannot attempt to flatter the Cat or appeal to its honor, only fight.  There is no other option besides laying down and dying. 

Jaguar
HD 3
AR none
Atk Claw (1d6/1d4) or Bite (1d8)
Mor 12
Saves 10 or less

Stealthy: Stealthy: Jaguars get a +4 bonus to stealth if they are in an area that is partially shady or has long shadows, such as beneath a forest's canopy, or in the early morning and evening.  They can also receive this bonus if there is sufficient cover.

Spotted Terror: As an action, a Jaguar can reflect the imprints of its coat in a creature's eyes.  This peels off one of the Jaguar's spots, planting it in a creature's eye.  This causes a creature to take 1d6 COG damage and make all checks or saves based on perception with disadvantage.  The Jaguar can do this multiple times to one creature.  Should this damage reduce a creature's COG to 0, that creature is blinded. 

Ambusher: Should a Jaguar attack a creature that cannot adequately defend itself from an attack, such as when it is ambushed by stealth, blind, sickened, crippled or otherwise weakened, the Jaguar does +2d6 damage on a hit.  Only add this damage if the Jaguar hits, do not include it in the initial attack roll.   

Tactics:
- Blind the strongest opponent
- Ambush someone weaker, pick off the isolated one
- Drag them away

Unlike his peers, who usually only eat mortals because of need or to fulfill some other desire, Jaguars prey on mortals much more often.  As such, many Jaguars are more powerful, and often, more intelligent than the average Cat, able to speak. 

Any random Jaguar has a 4-in-6 chance of being able to understand speech and a 3-in-6 chance of being able to speak themselves. 

Most Jaguars are surprisingly urbane, possessing a dry wit that partially masks a predator's soul.  Jaguars do not pretend to be anything but what they are, so even when they speak to you cordially, they will make sly comments about how you might taste.  They never use speech to deceive or trick, as Manticores might, but instead only use it to converse with prey or each other.

Jaguars are also known to be honorable, a fact they take pride in.  Unlike gluttonous Tiger or despotic Lion, the Jaguar says, I am forthright with my opinions and intentions.  As such, if you can extract a promise from a Jaguar, it will almost always be honored.  However, Jaguars are not known to make oaths lightly, and rarely choose to do so, unless the other option is even worse.

However, despite the power that feeding on mortals, most Jaguars do little more than dabble.  To feed on mortals too regularly is dangerous, and not just because it attracts hunters and mobs armed with nets and spears.  That kind of power is addicting, defiling.  Those Jaguars who cannot control themselves will soon find themselves indulging more and more, gobbling down whole families after robbing them of their vision.  Most of these Jaguars go mad and eventually slip up, meeting their end riddled with arrows or trapped in a burning building.  But those who do not die, they evolve, becoming something stronger, darker.

by John Tedrick

Displacer Beast:

A Displacer Beast is a Jaguar who has eaten enough lawful creatures (usually mortals) that it has attracted the attention of the Folk.  The nobles of the Forest bestow great blessings on the Jaguar, transforming it into a creature made exclusively to hunt mortals: the Displacer Beast.  They are cruel creatures who prey exclusively on mortals, luring them out of their homes with clever deceptions and illusions, before pouncing to gobble them up.  Unlike their cousins, the Jaguar, Displacer Beasts have no honor and no sense of shame.  They will do and say anything to survive and continue feeding their rapacious appetites.

Displacer Beast
HD 1d3+3
AR none
Atk Claws and Teeth (1d6) + Tentacles (1d4/1d4)
Mor 13
Saves (7+HD) or less

Stealthy: Stealthy: Displacer Beasts get a +4 bonus to stealth if they are in an area that is partially shady or has long shadows, such as beneath a forest's canopy, or in the early morning and evening.  They can also receive this bonus if there is sufficient cover.
     
Speech: Displacer Beasts can speak as well as any mortal.  They usually know the local language, but more intelligent or experienced ones may know other languages as well.

Illusion Magicks: Displacer Beasts can create illusions, whether auditory, visual or containing both types of stimuli as an action.  This illusion can be anything the Displacer Beast wishes, as long as it takes up less than 30' square.  These illusions cannot create smells and do not stand up to physical scrutiny.  Additionally, a Displacer Beast cannot create an illusion and use its "Illusory Doppelganger" ability at the same time.   

Illusory Doppelganger: Displacer Beasts have the ability to generate an illusory copy of themselves.  These copies can be controlled as a free action to either mimic the Displacer Beast or move independently, as long as they are within 50' of the Displacer Beast.  These copies are identical to the Displacer Beast in every way.  As such, if a Displacer Beast is standing next to its illusory copy and you don't know which one is real, you have a 50% chance of attacking the illusory copy.   

Ambusher: Should a Displacer Beast attack a creature that cannot adequately defend itself from an attack, such as when it is ambushed by stealth, blind, sickened, crippled or otherwise weakened, the Displacer Beast does +2d6 damage on a hit.  Only add this damage if the Displacer Beast hits, do not include it in the initial attack roll.   

Tentacle: A Displacer Beast can grapple creatures with its tentacles, holding up to two at a time.  Creatures caught like this are also restrained and cannot move or attack.  They are helpless and unless they succeed on a STR contest to break free, they are stuck.  A Displacer Beast can also freely damage a creature that is has grappled as an action, and the creature is permitted no save or defense roll to counter-act this.  A Displacer Beast's tentacles can be cut off (1 HD, AR 0, Atk 1d4) but will regrow after 1d4 weeks.     

Tactics:
- Use illusions to tire out enemies
- Lure them into a trap
- Grapple an enemy and gag them, then remove them for safe keeping

Displacer Beasts are intelligent enough to work with others, and can be recruited by those willing to help them feed their addictions.  They are even strong enough to pose a threat to most normal creatures, especially mortals, and intelligent enough to circumvent normal defenses.  They make excellent terror weapons and crude, if fairly effective assassins, especially when they have mortal accomplices.  

That being said, you should never trust a Displacer Beast.  If you have recruited one and it believes you to be weak or seem like you're going to lose, it might just turn those deadly jaws on you.

photographer unknown
Cheetah:

Cheetah is a popular character in stories told to children, at least in regions where Cheetah live.  These stories, depending on the teller and intended message, usually take two forms.  Firstly, Cheetah is weaker and smaller than his brothers, lacking their natural strength.  But when he mourns his own inadequacy, the Simurgh, Mother of Birds hears his cries and comes to him, granting Cheetah the ability to run faster than any other creature.  However, the Simurgh warns Cheetah that if he does not practice his running every day, he will get slower and slower, until eventually he becomes slower than even his lumbering brothers.  So Cheetah trains diligently, and finds that he gets faster and faster.  Then one day, a flying Demon or monster attacks the family house and steals the Cat King's crown.  The Demon then flies away, taking the crown with him.  No one can catch him, but Cheetah, having trained so hard, sprints after the Demon, chasing him down.  With a mighty leap, Cheetah takes to the air, grabs the Demon and yanks the crown from his hands.  When Cheetah lands, the Demon pursues, but this gives his brothers times to catch up and rip the Demon apart.  Thus, Cheetah is honored and the lesson is that hard work will always be rewarded or that even if you are weak, if you work very hard, you can still be great. 

The other stories of Cheetah depict him as the fastest creature in all the world, so fast that he challenges the South Wind to a race.  At first, the South Wind accepts, thinking this will be an easy victory.  But when Cheetah starts catching up to him, he panics and begins cheating.  Despite all this, Cheetah wins and demands an exorbitant reward from the South Wind, who promised to give Cheetah anything he wanted, in the unlikely event that he won.  The South Wind begrudgingly honors his promise, but then tells Vulture and Hyena of the enormous prize he offered Cheetah.  So, when Cheetah is savoring his prize, he is attacked by Vulture and Hyena, who beat him up and steal the prize for themselves.  The moral of this story is garbled or either not present in any explicit sense, leaving the hearer to draw his own conclusion. 

Regardless of Cheetah's mythological role, the cats that bear his name are still very elegant beasts, capable of running at fantastic speeds, so much so that stealth is of much less importance to them than other cats.  Cheetahs don't need to sneak up on their enemies, only to be faster than them.  And while legends are prone to exaggeration, the Cheetah is one animal that actually seems capable of catching the wind.

Cheetah
HD 3
AR none
Atk Bite (1d6)
Mor 10
Saves 10 or less

Blitz: Cheetah are very fast.  If a Cheetah chooses to run as an action, it gets +2 to pursuit rolls, and makes all DEX saves and checks with advantage.  Additionally, for each round the Cheetah runs, it gets +1 to attack and damage.  This bonus increases first to +2, then +1d6, then 1d6+1, then 1d6+2, before maxing out at +2d6.

Overheat: Every time Cheetahs are forced to slow down or purposely choose to stop running, they must save.  On a failed save, the Cheetah must spend at least 1 round doing nothing but panting and catching its breath, and for the next 1d4 turns makes all DEX check, saves and attack/defense rolls with disadvantage. 

Tactics:
- Don't engage unless victory is possible, avoid hard fights or fights where you are seriously outnumbered
- Run around, in circles around the enemy if necessary, to build up speed
- Slam into the strongest creature and rip its throat out
- Hope that was enough to finish them off and they'll flee

Cheetahs often travel in groups for protection, but even other Cheetahs is sometimes not enough to prevent Lions, Hyenas, Jaguars or even Vultures from stealing their kills.  Cheetahs especially have trouble dealing with large, organized groups, even if the members of the group are individually weak. 

by Apofiss
Raiju:

Cheetahs that grow resentful of their status as lowly and weak sometimes give in to despair and give up.  Instead of hunting, they perch themselves atop high rocks and cry, singing mournful songs.  Most eventually exhaust themselves and return to their normal lives, but there are verifiable stories of Cheetahs starving themselves like this, or dying of exhaustion because they went so long without water or shade they passed out and never woke up. 

But in other cases, the Cheetah's cries do not go unheard.  The Cheetah's lament is heard by the Spirits, usually the Spirits of the Endless Sky and the Raging Storm.  They come to the Cheetah and grant him power, transforming him into a Raiju.

Raiju
HD 5
AR none
Atk Claws and Teeth (1d6 + 1d4 lightning/1d6 + 1d4 lightning) or Lightning Rush
Mor 15
Saves 12 or less
Immune to Cold, Thunder, Lightning and Fall Damage
Resistant to Fire, Acid, Sharp and Bludgeoning from non-magical weapons

Light as a Feather: Raiju weigh almost nothing.  They take no fall damage, can leap over huge gaps and can run incredibly fast (+4 to all pursuit rolls).

Lightning Rush: A Raiju can, as an action, charge a creature.  That creature takes 1d6 sharp damage and 2d6 lightning damage, save for half.  The creature gets a -1 penalty to his save for each piece of metal he is carrying.  Tell the players this.  Once the Raiju uses this ability, it must wait 1d4 turns to use it again.  This ability also moves the Raiju a minimum of 50' past the creature it targeted in a straight line.  The Raiju can also choose to move up to 300', if it wishes. 

Partially Solid: Raiju are partially composed of clouds.  This makes them very hard to hurt, but they can be buffeted back or repelled by strong winds.  A wind blowing away from you will keep a Raiju from being able to strike you, and give you advantage on your save against its'Lightning Rush. 

Tactics:
- Gauge the strength of your opponents
- Use Lightning Rush on the one with the most metal
- Retreat and estimate chance of victory

Raiju are mythical predators, rarely seen but terribly feared.  They are wispy creatures, part stormcloud, part cat, with glowing eyes and crackling claws.  They are known to be able to leap over fences and the walls of forts with equal ease, as well as being faster than all normal horses.  They strike like the lightning, then vanish just as quickly.  But most feared about the Raiju is its magical ability to launch itself forward in a sizzling, screaming rush that rips apart the air in a deafening roar and fries the strongest warriors, cooking them from the inside out, inside their armor. 

The worst place to fight a Raiju is in an open field with no cover.  When one of these creatures are spotted, the usual strategy is to release some livestock and have everyone huddle inside the walls, while setting the grass and foliage around the walls on fire, in the hopes that if the Raiju refuses the offer of the livestock, the fire should dissuade it from trying to enter the city.  This sometimes works, but in some stories, the Raiju rides the updraft created by the fire into the city, where it then slaughters the inhabitants of the city one by one as they impotently try to fight it, for that is their only option, having trapped themselves inside.  The only choice then is to either face the Raiju's claws, or the blazing embrace of the inferno.

by Mike Flodin

Lynxes:

Lynx was always the smartest of the Cat King's children.  Unlike her brothers, who were devoted to struggling against each other, and her older sisters, who were picking out their husbands and fighting over the same, Lynx spent her time listening.  She studied the conversations of all those around her, and soon found she could speak not only to other Cats, but also to the insects, the beasts of the field and the birds of the air.  Lynx used her new found skills to become a proficient hunter and collector of knowledge, so that when her Father divided up his kingdom, she did not need to rely on the meagre share she was offered, nor the generosity of one of her brothers.

Lynx
HD 2
AR none
Atk Bite (1d8)
Mor 10
Saves 9 or less       

Penetrating Eyes: Lynxes can see through darkness, fog and even solid objects.  They see the inside of creatures as plainly as their outsides.  They cannot be fooled by illusions nor by fake doppelgangers (such as a dummy made of wood and straw).  They can also tell the difference between a normal creature and a shapeshifter.

Guile Fighter: Lynxes' attacks count as ignoring armor, as a Lynx will never attack an unarmored spot.  The only way to defeat this ability is to wear Armor over your entire body or carry a shield and try to actively defend against the Lynx. 

Tactics:
- Avoid combat with stronger foes
- Go after those who are alone
- Flee if in danger

Lynxes know a great deal of things.  If you present a Lynx with a gift, it can lead you to the location of a hidden thing, as long as that thing is within the Lynx's territory.  The Lynx can also point you towards edible game, useful herbs, or show you how to avoid dangerous predators that threaten even well armed mortals, never mind a Lynx.  But should you threaten a Lynx and try to force it to reveal its knowledge, the Lynx is just as likely to lie to you and direct you toward a hazard or a dangerous beast. 

by sinju23

Kasha:

Knowledge is power, and just like any form of power, it can corrupt.  And just like any form of power, once you get a taste, you will want more.  But some things are better left unknown.  For those who choose to look anyway, this is the price of gazing upon that which was hidden from you, not out of malice, but out of compassion for you.  Lynxes that seek forbidden knowledge, either through making bargains with Spirits better left ignored, or by killing mortals to feed on their brains, the price of this knowledge is steep.  The Lynx that seeks shall find, but once they know, they won't be able to unknow it.  Once they do, they become a Kasha.

Kasha
HD 4
AR 2
Atk Martial Arts (1d6 + grapple) or Weapon
Mor 14
Saves 11 or less

Future Sight: As an action, a Kasha can see 1d4+1 rounds into the future.  The Kasha should roll an equal number of d20s.  For the same number of rounds, whenever the Kasha doesn't like the result someone rolled on a d20, it can replace that roll with one of the results it rolled.  The Kasha can do this as many times as it wants, until it runs out of results rolled or X rounds pass, where X is the result of the initial 1d4+1 roll.

Humanoid Disguise: Kashas can walk upright, speak and have five-fingered hands with thumbs on their forelimbs.  While they seem slightly hunched, wrapped in a robe, in the dark or from a distance, they could easily pass for an old woman with a back bent by age or a lame man leaning heavily on a walking stick. 

Curse: A Kasha can, 1/Day, curse a creature.  That creature must be able to hear the Kasha's voice and be able to understand what it is saying.  To see what the Kasha can curse someone with, roll on the table below.

Tactics:      
- Peer into the future
- Attack from range, preferrably by ambushing creatures
- Curse someone if you're in danger of dying, or use it as a threat to escape

To customize a Kasha, roll on the table below:

What is this Kasha armed with?

1d4

1- A dagger, dripping with poison.  The dagger does 1d6 damage, but the first unlucky creature stabbed with it 1d4 [1= Takes 1d6 damage a round until he takes 3d6 poison damage or he succeeds a CON save; 2= Takes 1d6 DEX damage and an equivalent penalty to Attack and Defense rolls for 1d3 days; 3= Must save or be paralyzed; 4= Must save or die.  On a failed save, if another creature tries to revive you, you may attempt a second save.  But no more; fail this one, you die.]
2- A cat o' nine tails.  Does 1d6 sharp damage and 1d6 STR damage.  Creatures reduced to 0 STR by this weapon collapse, unable to move, their bodies savaged.  STR damage done this way comes back at a rate of 1 point per day.  Additionally, if the creature does not receive medical attention or has healing magic cast on it, save vs infection.
3- A staff.  The Kasha can use this staff to parry 1 attack per round, reducing it by 1d6 damage.
4- A bow and arrow.  The arrows do 1d6 damage.  Also, the arrows are 1d6 [1= Normal, but the Kasha can make two bow attacks a round; 2= Smeared in filth, if hit, save vs infection; 3= dipped in pitch, the Kasha will set them on fire before firing.  If they hit, they do an additional +1d6 fire damage; 4= poisoned (see 'Dagger' above); 5= Broadhead, on a hit they open a persistent wound which bleeds, doing 1d6 damage a round until someone takes an action to staunch the bleeding; 6= Magic.  The Kasha only has 1d6 of these and mostly carries regular arrows.  So it will only use the magic ones if it hates you or is desperate.  Consult here for magical arrow ideas.]

What does this Kasha curse people with?

1d4

1- Bad Luck.  The Cursed, whenever they roll a "20" on a 1d20 receives no special bonuses and on a roll of "1" suffers a horrifying accident or misstep.  This curse can be broken by playing a game against a Demon and winning.
2- Cat Hatred.  The Cursed is hated by Cats.  All Cats and catlike creatures get -2 to their reaction rolls against the Cursed and will find they come to hate the Cursed if they have any prolonged contact with him.  Cats that hate the Cursed will go out of their way to make his life miserable, but won't necessarily attack him, unless they are already monstrous, violent and/or powerful.  Avoid places known to be frequented by lions and tigers.  This curse can be broken by striking a bargain with a Royal Cat (either a Lion, a Rakshasha or the Cat King himself).
3- Insomnia.  The Cursed cannot sleep.  The effects of sleep deprivation soon start to kick in, followed by permanent madness.  This curse can be broken by making a pilgrimage to see the River of Dreams and drinking some of its water.     
4- Confidence.  The Cursed becomes totally convinced of their own superiority.  He passes all fear save automatically and it becomes very difficult for him to take criticism or do anything that requires caution.  This curse can be broken by being soundly defeated by an inferior opponent in a game.   

Kashas are the horrible parody of a Lynx, cursed with dark knowledge.  They are twisted creatures, able to walk on two legs and speak through overly large lips and long, sharp fangs.  Their paws twist into cruel hands which can strangle and stab with the long claws at the end, but are also capable of more subtle manipulation.  Kasha are highly intelligent creatures, skilled in manipulation, torture and cruelty.  They can see the secret hearts of men, and delight in torturing the hypocritical and the self-loathing.  They generally avoid righteous individuals, for they know harming them invites retribution.  But the wicked, the scorned, the unloved, those are their preferred targets.

Kashas are known to steal bodies and kidnap the living, especially those who have or are living lives full of vice.  They come wrapped in robes of dull brown or dirty black homespun, slouching along at the edge of town.  They take jobs that no one else would want, especially ones that would let them avoid people, usually sending an accomplice to apply for the job, or approaching the person who has the job and asking to do it, usually for free.  They sometimes simply arrive, muttering some pretext that will get people to go away.  Maybe they pretend to be diseased, or cursed in some way.  Of the creatures they acquire, by guile or by force, they take these creatures to distant caves or hidden strongholds, where they torture them to extract their knowledge.  Some stories say they take them directly to Hell, and there is definitely some truth to that. 

Kasha also have the ability to see into the future.  For this reason, they are sometimes consulted by the desperate or the deceitful, offering gifts of blood and pain in exchange for prophecy.  Some Kashas even have cults form around them, with the leaders of the cult using the Kasha's dark wisdom and foreknowledge to benefit themselves and the cult, while providing a steady supply of tribute and sacrifices to sate the Kasha's dark appetites.      

by LynxSphinx