Grandfather of the River

Recently, Spes Magna offered up multiple versions of the Vodyanoy and the Rusalki for Barbarians of Lemuria, Swords and Wizardry and Dungeon World.  Now you all know I love a good monster, and I have a soft spot for Russian/Slavic folklore.  So it seemed only natural to follow Spes’ example and adapt the creatures to Witch Hunter.  I stopped short on the Rusalki, not because the game doesn’t need more creepy drowned dead girls, but because prior to the 19th Century, they were portrayed not much different than mermaids and greek water nymphs: meddlesome and prankish, but not the vile undead thing they’ve since become.  So I’m sending that one back to the drawing board.  In the meanwhile, I leave you with the Grandfather of the River.

Vodyanoy (Villain)

Rawhead Strain (Beast)

Also known as a Vodník (Czech), Wassermann, Nix (German).  Fearful locals often refer to these beastial creatures ashe is often dubbed “grandfather” or “forefather” of the river.  There is some contention among scholars whether vodyanoy are actually a strain of snyad, as they share certain characteristics with these elemental spirits.

Fear Rating 3
Hell’s Favor 2
Pace 2 (Swimming 4)

Initiative Reflexes 6d
Melee Claws 11d (+7 damage/+4 against man-made structures) (Attack Focus)
Ranged Thrown Object 6d (+4 damage/+4 against man-made structures)
Defenses Avoidance: 3, Discipline: 3, Fortitude: 4
Armor 1
Health Track 8/8/8

Talents: Attack Focus (Claws), Ambush Attack, Brutal Charge, Fury, Incredible Strength, Shattering Attack

10d: Endurance
9d: Survival
7d: Command (Intimidate), Stealth
6d: Notice, Charm (Deceive), Reflexes


  • Siren Call/Mystical Limitation (the vodyanoy may only employ its Siren Call while in the water)
  • Maiming Strike/Repulsion (Sunlight)
  • Elusive/Lair (usually a muddy hole or sunken log at the bottom of the river)

Story Abilities: 

  • Demesne
  • Oubliette

Description: From the waist up, a vodyanoy appears as a naked old man, but its frog-like face, tangled greenish hair, and covering of algae and muck over fish scales surely prevents anyone from mistaking this creature for human. What’s more, it has not hands but instead webbed paws, and in place of its legs extends a powerful fish’s tail. A vodyanoy’s eyes burn like red-hot coals.

Dramatics: Vodyanoy can breathe water as well as air, though are more comfortable in the water where their buoyancy displaces their girth.  When not swimming, it usually rides along its river on a half-sunken log, making loud splashes. When angered, a vodyanoy breaks dams, destroys water mills, and drowns both people and animals alike. Consequently, those who live along the banks of a vodyanoy’s river make sacrifices to appease the monster.  Vodyanoi drag people down to their underwater dwellings where they are forced to serve as slaves.


One thought on “Grandfather of the River

  1. Pingback: 2015: A Retrospective | …and a Brace of Pistols

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