Sunday, May 19, 2024

OSR: Sirenhead

All art on this post is from the Trevor Henderson wiki, found here.

"She was on vacation with her husband and they were scoping out graveyards on the way, as you do, when she saw it. Rising out of the old cemetery, big as an old (macabre) telephone pole. Was this some kind of bizarre art piece the authorities hadn't gotten wise to yet? Even as she stepped out of the car, the megaphones on it's "head" screeched to life. "NINE. EIGHTEEN. ONE. CHILD. SEVENTEEN. REMOVE. VILE.". A buzzing, doubled voice screamed random words at her. At this point, it jerked into motion, striding down the hill towards her."
- Trevor Henderson

Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Languages: The lingua franca plus 1d6 local languages, though it does not speak, but can understand these tongues
Treasure: Destroyed technology, the abandoned possessions of it's victims, human bones

Terrifying and sinister predators, these awful creatures prey upon the race of man, cruel cats toying with skittering mice.  They are tall and gaunt, their bodies brown or grey, perfectly suited to camflague in an urban environment.  They resemble telephone or utility poles, often, but not always, topped with a pair of realistic seeming siren horns.  Though obvious under close examination, in the dark or low visibility conditions, you won't see them coming until far too late.  

Despite the gaunt, wiry structure of their bodies, they are fast enough to effortlessly catch a human in flight, while being strong enough to rip apart a car or house to get at the delicious man-flesh inside.  They have even been seen keeping up with speeding cars for short distances.

Ferociously intelligent predators, Sirenheads pursue prey over days or weeks, stalking a particular human, learning their habits, routines, schedules.  When they leave for work, what their favorite TV show is, if they get up in the middle of the night to pee, all of these facts will be analyzed and used to form a hunting strategy. 
A Sirenhead might grab you when you stumble out of your apartment in the wee hours of the morning on your way to work, or it might snatch you in the dead of night, having stealthily broken your bathroom window while you were at work.  When you get up to use the toilet, a hand large enough to engulf your torso reaches through the window and drags you to your death.  Or it might drop a tree on you while you sleep and pulp you into red and pink jelly.  They are as devious as they are vicious.

Besides their ability to lurk and hide, their other best tool for hunting is their uncanny ability to mimic any sound they have heard.  Their siren-horn like appendages can then replicate these sounds at varying volumes, from deafening to speaking volume.  The Sirenhead will use whatever sounds it believes will be sufficient to attract, disarm or trick it's prey.  For example, it might use the laughter of children to prey on a lonely child or a woman's drunken song to draw out a would-be human predator.

This has led to much speculation on the intelligence of the Sirenhead.  They are clearly smart enough to create plots, manipulate humans and take actions that clearly require premeditation and planning.  They even seem to grasp the concept of language and spoken communication, yet there has never been a case of a Sirenhead attempting to speak to or responding to the speech of a human.
There are many theories on this fact; perhaps they simply cannot, and their grasp of our language is more of a "Chinese Room" situation.  Or perhaps they do not think of us as truly intelligent, just advanced animals, just as humans destroy ant-hills without considering the effect on the ants.  Or,most chilling of all, perhaps they do know we are intelligent and they simply don't care.  Despite it's popularity, this theory is rarely discussed,  for obvious reasons.  When it is, it is always in bright light, far away from any utility poles.

HD 8  AR 3  Atk (+4) Fist 1d8+4
Mor 15  Saves 13 or less

False Appearance: A Sirenhead can resemble any form of utility pole.  Standing still, it is hard to distinguish one from the genuine article until the Sirenhead moves or a close inspection is done.

Mimicry: A Sirenhead can mimic any soundcit has heard.  A listener can only tell these sounds do not come from the normal source by succeeding on a COG save or a DC 13 COG check.

Deafening Roar: A Sirenhead can release a deafening shout that causes all creatures within 50' to save or be deafened.  Creatures within 30' also take 2d6 thunder damage, save for half.  Any creature affected by this roar must automatically save or be frightened of the Sirenhead.

Great Strength: A Sirenhead is strong enough to tear apart a car with it's bare hands and rip through any material softer than concrete.  It can also hurl heavy objects, such as small trees, cars or refridgerators with relative ease.  

- Stalk a vulnerable target
- Lure them out to an isolated location and kill them
- If targeted, respond with overwhelming violence

Songs of the Sirenhead:

Each Sirenhead has a 3-in-6 chance of knowing one of the following songs.  They can use one of these as an action.  The song will continue to play as long as the Sirenhead uses it's action to continue singing.

1- Hypnotic Song: Any intelligent creatures who hear this song must save or fall into a hypnotic trance.  As long as a creature keeps hearing this song, they must make a save each round.  Deafening oneself is the only way to stop making these saves.  Those affected will obey simple instructions from anyone who speaks to them, though they will generally be unable to do anything sophisticated or requiring precision and skill.  
2- Anti-Memetic Song: Any intelligent creature who hears this song will not notice the Sirenhead or pay attention to it unless it is taking actions that directly affect it.  The Sirenhead could be sitting right next to it and the creature would not notice.  
3- Terrifying Song: Any intelligent creature who hears this must save or be frightened.  As long as a creature keeps hearing this song, they must make a save each round.  Deafening oneself is the only way to stop making these saves.  Creatures who become frightened take 1d6 COG damage each round they can see or are within reach of the Sirenhead.  If reduced to 0 COG, they will flee and try to get as far away from the Sirenhead as possible.  If flight is impossible, they will hide.  If that is impossible, only then will they fight.
4- Raging Song: Any intelligent creature that hears this song must save or fly into a blind rage.  As long as a creature keeps hearing this song, they must make a save each round.  Deafening oneself is the only way to stop making these saves.  Creatures who succeed on their save but can still hear take 1d6 COG damage a round.  If they are reduced to 0 COG they fly into a rage and must attack a creature each round on their turn, unless there are no available targets, in which case the affected creatures will either destroy property or seek out new targets.   
5- Charm Song: Any intelligent creatures who hear this song must save or be Charmed by the Sirenhead.  As long as a creature keeps hearing this song, they must make a save each round.  Deafening oneself is the only way to stop making these saves.  Creatures who become charmd take 1d6 COG damage each round they can see or hear the song of the Sirenhead.  Those charmed or reduced to 0 COG will move toward the Sirenhead, praise it, sing songs in it's honor and try to give it gifts.  This Charm effect lasts for 1 hour or until the Sirenhead does something terrible to a charmed creature, which will grant the creature another save.
6- Industrial Song: All pieces of technology within 100' of the Sirenhead have a Xd10% chance of suddenly malfunctioning, breaking or needing to be repaired.  This chance can be determined by the complexity of the machine.  A sword or a simple melee weapon has a complexity of 1, while a gun has a complexity of 5.  A steam engine has a complexity of 3, while a computer has a complexity of 8.  Each minute the Sirenhead sings, machines must roll again.  After three failures, the device is totally useless and must be totally dismantled and put back together within new repairs to fix it.    

Variations of the Sirenhead:


This variation of Sirenhead instead has a head that resembles the top of a radio tower.  This variation can listen to and transmit radio signals.  It can mimic human voices through the radio.  It also has the ability to prevent communication in a circular area in a 1 mile radius around itself.  


This variation of Sirenhead can listen to and transmit television signals.  It can modify television broadcasts, distorting the images and making different things.  If you're watching the evening news and the anchors start very seriously telling you about how the FBI is going to come to your house and kill you, then you might be a target for one of these.  Teleheads seem to truly enjoy chipping away at the sanity of their prey, driving them to madness and isolating them before devouring them.  


This variation of Sirenhead can access the internet.  If other variations of Sirenhead must stalk their victims to obtain information, this variation can remain exactly where it is and learn everything about you.  From your sexual fetishes to bank statements to your social security number, it knows everything about you.  It will use this incredible level of information it has to effortless manipulate it's prey using a variety of schemes.  Perhaps a long-lost lover suddenly reaches out and wants to try and rebuild your relationship, or a colleague from work is in a real tough spot and needs you to meet him, or your mom really needs money to pay her bills or the bank will take all her money.  


This variation of Sirenhead has the ability to control electricity.  Besides being immune to lightning strikes and electrical damage, this variation can fire bolts of lightning as an attack, trigger electrical overloads that destroy electronics and trigger localized blackouts.  The least subtle and most brutal of this terrible race.  

"I don't know why, but I had the sense that it was gloating as it ate Charlie.  As it bit him in half and gore rained down on it, this awfully staticky sound was pouring out of it.  I couldn't help but think of it as ghoulish laughter.  Maybe I'm just overreacting, but I know it's smart.  I just didn't think it was smarter than us."
- Author Unknown

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