Category Archives: Things

Fey Nightmares

I began prep for the Horn & Crown story arc fresh off of Mark Chadbourn’s third Swords of Albion novel, the Devil’s Looking Glass.  As four of the seven PCs in the witch hunter game are from England, I had always planned on having part of the campaign take place in the British Isles.  And to me, that meant involving the fey.  The question became how to approach faeries in the world of Witch Hunter.

I’ve loved the imagery and spectacle of Guillermo del Toro’s take on the fey in Hellboy 2 and Pan’s Labyrinth.  But most RPGs treat the fey as beautiful wish fulfillment.  So game-able details on spooky, creepy, otherworldly fey that adhere to folklore (and the Monster Manual 12) are hard to come by.

Recently, two OSR blogs have touched on the subject: Elfmaids and Octopi and They Might be Gazebos have posted articles on making elves alien again.  Of course, they are working at something of a disadvantage, from my perspective anyway. They are trying to maintain the feys’ playability as a race.  Therefore, most of the recommendations they put forward were cosmetic at best.  With Witch Hunter, I don’t have any such restrictions.  There are no elves or dwarves.  And the fey are free to be as alien and hostile to humanity as the GM pleases.

So herein are a collection of various articles to give the fey and those who serve the Summer and Winter courts a real shot in the arm.  Apply liberally.  Most Witch Hunter players are probably coming from other RPGs that present the fey in more favorable terms.  You’ll need to shock them out of that misconception quickly.  They fey of the Invisible World are not your friends.  They have an agenda, one most of us would probably find horrifying or just downright queer.  Even their best habits should be unsettling.

The Unseelie of Swords of Albion

Mark Chadbourn does a good job of injecting the fey of his novels with unsettling creepiness.  Granted, they are the villains, monsters in vaguely human guise.  Some of his stuff works, some of it doesn’t.  But it’s a great place to cull from for our purposes.  Granted, the Seelie should hedge towards more alien beauty, which when done right can be just as unsettling as the grotesqueness of the Unseelie fey.

The voice was like the wind across snow.  In the corner of the hall, a woman stood, motionless, shoulders slightly hunched like an animal on the brink of attacking.  Her hair hung lank around a bloodless face, her eyes red-rimmed, unblinking.  There was something of the grave about her.  With excruciating slowness, she stalked towards him.

— Mark Chadbourn, The Silver Skull

xxxx

“Do you hear music?” Mayhew cocked his head.  “Like pipes playing, caught on the breeze?”  As he breathed deeply of the night air, he realized the foul odour of the city had been replaced by sweet, seductive scents that took him back to his childhood.  A tear stung his eye.  “That aroma,” he noted, “like cornfields beneath the summer moon.”  He inhaled.  “Honey, from the hive my grandfather kept.”

— Mark Chadbourn, The Silver Skull

xxxx

In the sweet places inhabited by the Unseelie Court, there is always music in the air, and beauty, and joy, and the haunting fragrance of honeysuckle.

— Mark Chadbourn, The Scar-Crow Men

xxxx

Their clothes, while of the finest material, appeared to be on the brink of rot, stained here and there with silvery mildew, the style harking back to a distant age.  A scent of loam accompanied them.  Their cheekbones were high, their hair long, their eyes pale, but there was an odd quality to their features that meant they rarely registered on the mind; once they had passed from view it was almost impossible to recall the details of their appearance.

— Mark Chadbourn, The Silver Skull

xxxx

As the doors to the State Rooms swung open, the light from the candles grew dimmer, although the flames burned as strong.  Shadows fell at strange angles, and a suffocating atmosphere descended.  Here and there across the room, blood began to drip from noses.

— Mark Chadbourn, The Silver Skull

xxxx

Fey Interests

Polemic, 10′ did an interesting article on the topic of weird fey variants.  Rather than mess with keeping dozens of variants, it was easy enough to distill them down to their base interests.  When you want to flesh out a faerie (villain, lieutenant, or hero), simply choose one from the following list or roll a d10 and assign the result.

  1. Stealing children
    These fey use their powers of persuasion to part the starving poor, or otherwise misfortunate, with their offspring.  Perhaps they steal an infant from its crib, replacing it with a grotesque (a changeling).  Either way, the fey views this as a proper exchange.
  2. Magical trinkets and relics
    These fey might collect magical devices from throughout the Invisible World (including the mortal realm), stealing them when necessary or trading and bartering for them.  Or perhaps they make mischief by circulating powerful cursed items (a monkey’s paw) among mortals.
  3. Perform “miraculous” deeds for the dispossessed and easily duped
    These fey answer the desperate cries of those in need, but at a hefty the price, whether it be a soul or firstborn son (daughter, or child).  My like a daemon, the fey will arrive to collect its prize at the appointed time without fail.
  4. The unfinished task, cut short by the bent nail or the wrong screwdriver.
    These fey become invisible to make mischief by bedeviling craftsmen with broken tools, changing measurements, and all other manners of misdeeds.  Naturally, they always fix what they have broken after the craftsman has gone to sleep.  Those whom these fey take a liking too, they sometimes aid in their craft during these times.  These fey are particularly sensitive to offers of gifts!
  5. Following after the wayward with wolfish intent.
    This fey is driven to inflict pain and mischief upon foolish women, men, or children who wander alone after dark.  The hunt, the gnawing fear of its victim, is intoxicating for the fey.  Some have learned to brew this into a tonic that is in high demand throughout both faerie courts.
  6. Visit villages on cold moonless nights, tapping thin fingers on windows as they create intricate traceries in the frost.
    This fey is an artist and graces those who please it with wondrous images born of frost traced on a window.  Of course, the subtitles and nuances of this art is sometimes too great for human perception.  Sometimes this serves as a warning of bad things to come.
  7. Yearn merely to caress the placid faces of the wayward dead. Living beings are too coarse and earthly for them.
    This fey will lead the wayward, lost, or foolish to an early death for its own romantic (or carnal) pleasures.  While usually a trait of the Unseelie fey, there are those of the Summer Court who share this trait, though not in the same malicious sense.
  8. Shambling about in the twilight seeking the unwary with groping fingers and muttering dark lullabies.
    Locks of maiden’s hair; this is a desired commodity, even a currency, for whole communities of fey.  The more pure (or more tarnished) the maid, the more valuable the hair.  This could be the Focus of the fey (Focus Bound Price).
  9. Isolation
    These fey dwell apart from their brethren, whether out of fear, grief, or animosity. Their loneliness (their tendency to drink immoderately) makes them unpredictable.  They might invite a wayward soul in out of the rain, masquerading as a simple hermit, offer him food and drink (never take food or drink offered from a faerie – it gives them power over you) and then torture the guest for their amusement.
  10. Fingers tipped with gossamer strands float down, touching skin through fabric and causing tiny itches that are all too easily scratched. Wake too soon and you might feel it crouching on your chest, trailing its subtle threads across your face and ears and throat. Hide under the covers and it will crawl in with you.
    Dreams and nightmares; this fey will steal into the home of a sleeping victim, crouch upon his chest and lay its long, delicate fingers across his sleeping face.  The victim is visited by intense and realistic dreams or nightmares.  The fey might drink from the intoxicating emotions that these dreams cause, or perhaps it is simply curious and wishes to understand humanity better.  These fey are sometimes confused with the more horrid (though not necessarily more thoroughly evil) incubus.

Weaknesses and Wards

These are culled from folklore.  They are useful as superstitions surrounding the fey.  Consider changing them up in strange, unexpected ways for the fey of your game.  Also remember, each fey is unique so no two will be exactly the same.  Still, I would settle on a few constants (like vulnerability to Cold Iron), if only to make those variations more dramatic.
Iron:
  • On entering a Fairy dwelling, a piece of steel stuck in the door, takes from the Fairies the power of closing it till the intruder comes out again.
  • A knife stuck in a deer carried home at night keeps them from laying their weight on the animal.
  • A knife or nail in one’s pocket prevents his being `lifted’ at night. Nails in the front bench of the bed keep elves from women `in the straw’, and their babes. As additional safe-guards, the smoothing iron should be put below the bed, and the reaping-hook in the window.
  • A nail in the carcass of a bull that fell over a rock was believed to preserve its flesh from them.
Bells:
  • church bells
  • the bells worn by morris dancers
  • the bells round the necks of sheeps and oxen
Water:
  • one can leap to safety across running water, particularly a southward-flowing stream.
  • descending to the shoreline below the high-tide mark. The Fairies were unable to go below that tide mark.
Fire:
  • Fire thrown into water in which the feet have been washed takes away the power of the water to admit the Fairies into the house at night
  • burning peat put in sowens to hasten their fermenting (greasadh gortachadh) kept the substance in them till ready to boil.
  • fire was carried round lying-in women, and round about children before they were christened, to keep mother and infant from the power of evil spirits.
  • When the Fairies were seen coming in at the door burning embers thrown towards them drove them away.
Oatmeal:
  • When sprinkled on one’s clothes or carried in the pocket no Fairy will venture near (it was usual with people going on journeys after nightfall to adopt the precaution of taking some with them).
  • Oatmeal, taken out of the house after dark, was sprinkled with salt, and unless this was done, the Fairies might through its instrumentality take the substance out of the farmer’s whole grain.
  • Oakmen are created when a felled oak stump sends up shoots. One should never take food offered by them since it is poisonous.
Plants:
  • Four-leafed clover: brake fairy glamour, as well as the fairy ointment, which was indeed said by Hunt to be made of four-leafed clovers.
  • St John’s Wort, the herb of Midsummer: potent against spells and the power of fairies, evil spirits and the Devil.
    • Red verbena was almost equally potent, partly because of its pure and brilliant colour.
  • Daisies, particularly the little field daisies, were protective plants, and a child wearing daisy chains was supposed to be safe from fairy kidnapping.
  • Red-berried trees were also protective, above them all rowan.
    • A staff made of rowan wood, or a rowan cross or a bunch of ripe berries were all sure protections
      • it was customary in the Highlands to plant a rowan-tree outside every house.
    • Where rowans were scarce, ash- An ashen gad was supposed to be protective of cattle.

Power & Price Descriptions and Variants

With the above guidelines, here are some Power and Price variations you can apply to fey creatures in your game.

Debilitative Aura (Veneficum/Sorcerous): Describe the suffocating aura that accompanies the fey, as if a heavy weight pressed on your chest; the instinctive urge to avert one’s eyes from their presence; the heady scent of honeysuckle or the grave; the sensation of blood dripping from your nose.

Mortal Mask (Corpus/Body): The fey know their appearance is unsettling to mortals, and will quickly shift to a less alien appearance.  A brief glimpse of their true form might be allowed to cow or intimidate the mortal(s) in their presence.  This isn’t on the official list of powers, but is simple enough to add.

Allergen (Corpus/Body): includes church bells, iron, and salt.

Atmospheric Disturbance (Veneficum/Sorcerous): The appearance of any fey is preceded by the faint sound of pipes, and a sweet, seductive aura that is as peaceful as it is unsettling.

Avoidance (Malus/Offensive): Mystical plants (oak, holly, rowan, ash, thorne, sage, sweetgrass, four-leafed clover, St. John’s Wart, daisies), oatmeal

Damage (Corpus/Body): Cold Iron

Repulsion (Malus/Offensive): Church bells, Inverted clothing

Restriction (Cursus/Movement): Hanging an iron instrument (bell, cross, fence, horse shoe, scissors, etc) above a arch or doorway will bar the passage of a fey being.  Mystical plants (see Avoidance) and salt may be used as a substitute.

Weakness (Malus/Offensive): Cold Iron

 

The Devil of the Sea

Has it really been 3 weeks since I last posted here?  Sorry about that.  I blame potty training.  Let’s get back into it shall we?

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend everyone take a moment to check out The Demon Hunter’s Compendium.  It’s a very cool blog that does a great job compiling info on various monsters and legends from folklore.  It isn’t updated very often, but when it is, it’s usually a doozy.  If you are running a low-fantasy or horror game (any era), 2/3 of your monster research will be done for you by just this one blog.  This month the profiled a Scottish legend: the Nuckelavee.

According to Orcadian legend, the Nuckelavee (pronounced nuh-kel-ah-vee) is a horrible sea faery or a demon that comes out of the sea when darkness falls to bring sickness and death to humans, animals, and the very land itself. The beast then feeds upon the lifeforce of everything it has killed (Bane 220). The Nuckelavee is thought to be a member of the Unseelie Court, which is a court of evil faeries in Scottish folklore. These faeries are said to be the evil souls of the damned, and actively seek to do as much harm as they possibly can to humans, rather than just causing random mischief like other faeries (Franklin 260; “Nuckelavee”, Monstropedia). The beast is also thought to belong to the Fuath, a collective term for a wide variety of malevolent water faeries in Scottish and Irish folklore (Franklin 102). The name nuckelavee is thought to be derived from a corruption of the Orcadian word knoggelvi which, according to Orkney resident and folklorist Walter Traill Dennison, means “Devil of the Sea” (“Nuckelavee”, Wikipedia; “The Nightmarish Nuckelavee”, EsoterX). In Shetland, the same creature is known as a mukkelevi(“Nuckelavee”, Wikipedia). The word itself may very well be a variation of the Norse word nokk or the Icelandic word nykur (“The Nightmarish Nuckelavee”, EsoterX). But wherever the name comes from, they all more or less describe the same terrible creature.

So yeah, this has Witch Hunter monster written all over it.  So, without further adieu…

Nuckelavee (Beast)

Villain
Huge Creature

The Nuckelavee (pronounced nuh-kel-ah-vee) is a terrible abomination that comes out of the sea when darkness falls to bring sickness and death to humans, animals, and the very land itself.  They is most common to the southern coast of Scotland, though encounters have been recorded throughout the British Isles.  These creatures are associated with the Unseelie Court of the Fey, though they are not faerie spirits themselves.

Fear Rating: 4
Hell’s Favor: 3
Pace: 6

Initiative: Reflexes 6d
Melee: Claws 8d (+6 damage), Bite 6d (+8 damage), Trample 6d (+8 damage)
Ranged: None
Defenses: Avoidance 2, Discipline 2, Fortitude 5
Armor: 1
Health Track: 9/9/9/9

Talents: Grand Fury, Reel-In Attack, Slam (Sweep)

Skills:

  • 10d: Endurance, Athletics
  • 6d: Command (Intimidation), Notice,Reflexes, Resolve, Stealth

Powers/Prices:

  • Debilitative Aura (Breath) / Blocked from the World (Active at night only)
  • Durability / Vulnerability (Iron)
  • Carnivate / Obvious Appearance
  • Regeneration / Allergen (Fresh Water)
  • Shape Mask / Reveal Nature (Always casts a shadow of its true form)
  • Apparition / Restriction (Running Water)
  • Swath of Destruction (Breath) / Weakness (Burning Seaweed)

Story Ability: Nightmares / Restriction (Iron)

DESCRIPTION

The nuckelavee’s body is essentially that of a horse. Along its flanks flap vestigial fins.  Growing out from where the horse’s head should be are the head, torso and arms of a man.  The head is overly large, with a shark-like mouth filled with sharp, jagged teeth, and a single bloodshot eye that glows red in the presence of light (like a cat’s).  It’s man-like arms are long and gangly, with bony knuckles that drag the ground, and tipped in sharp, rending claws.  The beast is has no skin, and muscle, sinew and bone are all exposed.  Standing out amid these are sickly yellow veins and arteries, pumping with black blood.  The putrid stench of sulfur and decomposing fish surrounds the creature, as does the foul, black miasma steadily belching from its gaping mouth.  The dreadful smell is known to drive entire herds of animals off of cliffs to their deaths.  As the creature runs, its massive head, lolls about on its neck as though the muscles are too weak to support its weight.

DRAMATICS

While a formidable monstrosity in its own right, it is the nuckelavee’s foul breath that is the source of much of its woe.  Described by witnesses as a “foul, black reek,” it causes plants and crops to wither, animals to sicken and die on the spot (Swath of Destruction).  It infects humans with a deadly wasting disease, known as Mortasheen (Debilitative Aura).  In the most powerful specimens, this power is powerful enough to create lasting periods of drought, leading to famine.

Like most of the creatures associated with the fey, it is vulnerable to iron, steel, and Cold Iron in particular.  It has some shapeshifting capabilities, but always casts its true shadow.  Fresh water is an anathema to it.  Likewise, the stench of burning seaweed can drive it back into the sea.  Many towns and villages along the southern Scottish coast perform “kelp-burnings” on nights with new moons to dissuade predations by these creatures.

Those who survive a brush with these creatures will be visited by vivid and persistant nightmares of the encounter.  An iron cross or scissors fastened above the bed will prevent these.

 

 

 

 

Scarecrow

Over on For Honor…and Intrigue blog, Gaston’s Hat has been teasing for some time about his creepy animated scarecrows.  And while I understand the cloak of secrecy, I was very eager to see what they were…made of, so to speak.  Well, the veil has been lifted.

And so, with Mr. Hat’s blessings, I present to you these creepy bags of nasty in full Witch Hunter glory.

But first, some mood music.

Devilish Scarecrows

scarecrowsglowingeyes

There are several ways to include scary, animated scarecrows in your Witch Hunter game. Let’s start with a simple band of minions, perfect for Villains with an unusual Dark Flock ability, or for weird one-off encounters.

Hay-Men (Minion)

Threat Rating: 2 or 3
Hell’s Favor: 1
Pace: 3
Special Attack: Fists +2/+2
Talents: Night Vision, Fearless
Powers/Prices:

  • Immunity (Bullets and Piercing Weapons)/Damage (Fire)

 

Then we move up the chain a bit.  The truly frightening scarecrows are simulacrums created by a diabolist or witch.

 

Create Grave Scarecrow (Villianous Rite)

Traditions: Diabolism, Witchcraft
Mastery: 4
Time: 30 minutes/2 rounds
Duration: 1 week
Strain: 2
Damnation:2/6
Description: With this profane rite, the sorcerer binds the tortured spirit of a murdered sacrifice to a horrid, straw-stuffed simulacrum (other vessels, such as puppets or dolls, though uncommon, are not unheard of).  The scarecrow must be specially prepared with gylphs and sigils to make it a proper vessel.  The heart of the victim, sacrificed by the sorcerer’s own hand, is placed within the chest cavity of the vessel.  The simulacrum is then placed within a Summoning Circle for the rite to be performed.  Successfully completed, the spirit of the sacrificed victim is bound to the heart within the scarecrow, animating it and under the complete control of the sorcerer.

A sorcerer may command a number of these simulacrums equal to his or her sorcerous tradition skill rank.

  • Boost: Increase the Mastery of the Rite by 1 to extend the duration to 1 month.

Grave Scarecrow (Lieutenant)

Fear Rating: 2
Hell’s Favor: 2
Pace: 2

Initiative: 6d Reflexes

Melee: Fists 6d (+4 damage)
Ranged: None
Defenses: Avoidance 3, Discipline 3, Fortitude 4
Armor: 0
Health Track: 5/5/5/5

Talents: Fearless, Fury, Night Vision, Shattering Attack

Powers/Prices:
  • Immunity (Bullets and Piercing Weapons)/Damage (Fire)
  • Gestalt Body/Weak Spot (“Heart”)
  • Durability/Reveal Nature (Glowing Eyes)
  • Ultimate Master

Skills:

  • 10d: Endurance
  • 6d: Reflexes, Notice, Unarmed
  • 5d: Stealth
  • 4d: Command (Intimidate), Resolve

Dramatics: Grave Scarecrows are a construct of diabolism or witchcraft. They are very strong, able to break down doors and shatter furniture, fixtures, even weapons! They move with a lurching, shambling gait and their motion sounds like boughs creaking and sighing in the breeze. They obey the will of their creator and can be summoned to their creator from a distance.

 

The Scar-Crow Men

8391189The insidious doppelgangers of Mark Chadborne’s The Scar-Crow Men are created through ancient fey glamours, unknown to men and highly guarded by the fey (both Summer and Winter Courts).  They are created to serve as spies and saboteurs among the mortal realm.

Scar-Crow Man (Lieutenant)

Fear Rating: 1
Hell’s Favor: 2
Pace: 3

Initiative: 6d Reflexes

Melee: Rapier 6d (+4 damage)
Ranged: Pistol 6d (+4 damage)
Defenses: Avoidance 3, Discipline 3, Fortitude 3
Armor: 0
Health Track: 6/6/6

Talents: Appealing, Cheat, Slam, Unreadable

Powers/Prices:
  • Mimicry Mask*/Reveal Nature (Do not bleed)

Skills**:

  • 8d: Charm (Gossip, Persuade), Notice, Stealth
  • 6d: Empathy, Reflexes, Melee, Notice, Ranged, Resolve
  • 4d: Endurance

* This power is part of the glamour that disguises the true form of this creature.  Unlike the normal version of this power, the scare-crow man may not change its appearance once it has duplicated a target subject.

** Scare-crow men are generally crafted by fey sorcerers to closely match the skills of the target they are meant to imitate.  The skills listed here are merely examples.  

Dramatics: Scar-crow men are nearly indistinguishable from the subject they mimic.  In reality, they are little more than well crafted bags of straw cloaked in a veil of glamour.  When wounded, they do not bleed, but leak tuffs of straw and stuffing.  Only in “death” is the veil lifted and the true form of the scare-crow man revealed.

 

More for Minions

Minion Talents

In addition to the minion talents from the core book and the Grand Tome of Adversaries, these are some homebrewed minion talents I’ve been using in my game to give minions a bit more bite.  They are designed with the idea that no minion will possess more than one such Talent, so use a light hand with them.

Disciplined: In the company of a skilled Lieutenant or Villain, these minions receive +1d to all dice pools.  If the leader is slain, this bonus is lost.

Formidable: Formidable minions get +1d to all attack rolls.

Merciless: Merciless minions double all damage dealt.

Opportunistic: Whenever an opponent attacks and misses, or fails to kill at least one minion in this band, these minions may make an immediate counter-attack at –1d as a Trivial Attack Action.

Overbearing: This band of minions specialize in overwhelming their foe with numbers and wrestling them to the ground.  When attempting to bring down a lone target, these minions roll an opposed Attack roll with a +2d bonus. If successful, the target is considered grappled and pinned.  This tactic is opposed normally, but may not be reversed. Minion bands may not be overborne, though a single minion can.

Resilient: Resilient minions are treated as one threat rating higher (max 4) against attack rolls directed against them.

Swordsmen: These highly trained minions are skilled in at least one Fighting Tradition. An opponent who is not trained in a Fighting Tradition (ie. lacks the Basic Talent) suffers –1d to all attack and damage rolls against this band.

Treacherous: Treacherous minions always roll at least 4 dice, regardless of how few are banded together.

Unruly: This band of minions add +2d to all attack and damage rolls, but immediately flee after the first casualty suffered.

 

Wild Talents

Wild Talents are meant for animal minions (or lieutenants).

Poison: This creature is venomous. The potency of the venom depends on the creature. Usually, the target must suffer damage from the animal’s primary attack to be poisoned (a snake’s bite, a scorpion’s sting). When exposed to a poison, you roll Endurance against the poison’s potency. If you fail the Endurance roll, the GM adds the difference between your roll and the poison’s potency to its DM, and then rolls damage as usual.

Poison Potency DM
Scorpion 2 +3
Rattlesnake 3 +4
Cobra 4 +6

 

Morale for Minions

Sometimes the GM knows when a group of minions will break and run.  Sometimes it’s more fun to let the dice decide.

After the first casualty suffered, the band must make a D1 Morale roll. Roll dice equal to the bands Threat Rating x the number of remaining minions.  If they succeed, they stay in the fight.  Otherwise they flee.  The GM can raise the difficulty of the roll as he or she sees fit, though keeping it at D1 will reduce the amount of time spent counting successes and thus keep the combat flowing quickly (these are minions, after all).

When reduced to 2 or 1 members, mortal minions will automatically break and flee.

Bands with a Threat Rating of 2 or greater, or who possess the Disciplined Talent (above) will  defensibly disengage and withdraw in the most tactically sound manner.  Others will simply break and run.

All Hallow’s Eve Fest Wrap Up

Woo!  That was a fun ride.  It’s tougher than it seems to kick our four blog posts out in one week.  I hope my kids forgive me one day.

I was hoping there would be a bit more buy in on the concept from different fronts.  MONSTROUS kudos to the esteemed Gaston’s Hat of the For Honor…and Intrigue Blog for stepping up with a quartet (beat me by one!) of werewolf themed articles for the For Honor and Intrigue RPG.  I love a good werewolf yarn, and he’s posted some great fuel for anyone looking to include these beasts in their game.  Great stuff.  Please check them out.

Next year, time and circumstances willing, we are going to do this again.  So if you enjoyed these posts of Gaston’s or mine, please consider jumping into the mix. Until then, you can expect the usual around here, though it’ll probably get a bit quiet for the holidays.

All Hallow’s Eve Fest III: The Mummy

THE MUMMY

From the journals of the Grey Pilgrim:

The burial arts of the ancient Egyptians prepared the dead for an eternal afterlife. A mummy often appears as a desiccated corpse wrapped in soiled linen bandages.  The preservation process leaves the flesh dried out and iron hard. 

Mummies are a strain of Revenant, similar to a wight. A Mummy might lie at rest within its tomb for centuries until disturbed, either by tomb robbers or curious explorers.  Awakened from its rest, the mummy spares no effort to seek out and destroy those who have intruded upon it.

I have encountered two types of mummies in my travels across the deserts of Egypt.  There are no doubt more throughout the East and perhaps even in the New World.

  • Servitor Mummies: These creatures were lowly servants or protectors entombed with the noble to safeguard him or her during the afterlife.  When the burial site is intruded upon, the ancient magics that protect it from desecration often animate these defenders.  They are fierce, but nearly as mindless as a ghul.
  • Noble Mummies: These mummies are by far the most powerful that I have encounter.  Worse, they possess a keen intellect and a terrible cunning, making them as dangerous as any wight, perhaps more.  A noble mummy has the ability to issue terrible curses upon its foes that follow them to the end of days.

Servitor Mummy (Minion)
Threat Rating: 3
Hell’s Favor: 1
Pace: 3
Sp. Attack: Claws (+2/+5)
Talents: Iron Fisted, Swarm
Fundamental Power/Price: Wall Crawling/Impaired Travel (May not leave the confines of the tomb)
Skills: Notice 4d, Resolve 6d

Noble Mummy (Villain)
Fear Rating: 4
Hell’s Favor: 4
Pace: 3

Initiative: Reflexes 6d
Melee: Claws 8d (+4 damage); ankh (club) 6d (+6 damage)
Ranged: None
Defenses: Avoidance 3; Discipline 4; Fortitude 4
Armor: 1 (Hardened flesh)
Health Track: 7/7/7/7

Talents: Brutal Charge, Iron Fisted, Slam
Skills:

  • 10d: Endurance
  • 8d: Command (Intimidate), Resolve
  • 6d: Mysticisim, Notice, Reflexes, Stealth

Fundamental Power/Price: Debilitative Poison (Curse)/Offensive Limitation (the mummy may only curse a target that has invaded its tomb)

Additional Powers/Prices:

  • Soulcraft/Focus Bound (Punish those who invade and/or rob its tomb)
  • Durability/Allergen (Salt)
  • Withering Touch/Fragmented Soul
  • Regeneration/Vulnerability (Fire)

Story Ability/Price: Dramatic Appearance/May only appear before someone who has invaded its tomb.

Dramatics: The noble mummy’s Debilitative Poison power takes the form of vile curses that can be hurled at those who have intruded upon the creature’s rest.  The target need not (and probably will not) understand the language the curse is spoken in.  Those who fall to the curse become mad and homicidal before finally succumbing to death.

No Savage Worlds stats for this one, guys n gals.  I don’t think its possible to find a Savage Setting with a horror component and NOT find some variation of mummy already.


Other All Hallow’s Eve Fest (2015) Articles:

All Hallow’s Eve Fest II: The Ghoul

GHOUL

From the Journals of the Grey Pilgrim:

Many hardened Witch Hunters of the old world associate ghouls with the living dead.  The Stalkers of the Unseen Hunt, who among the Orders of Solomon range farthest across the world, know better.  While it is a name that has become associated with the ravenous walking dead, the word “ghoul” has ancient origins in the Holy Lands and the deserts of Arabia. 

Ghouls are lesser spirits, related to the fey and the djinn that cross over from the Invisible World to prey and feed on humanity.  They are nocturnal shapeshifters who feed upon the corpses of the dead, but prefer fresh, living meat.  They strong and cunning foes, they are ambush hunters and avoid large bands of men, preferring to stalk isolated targets.  Some are known to assume alluring forms to draw travelers off caravans where they can be devoured unseen.  Others steal into the homes of sleeping victims.

There are many strains of ghouls throughout the East.  All share a common weakness: sunlight.  They cannot abide the pure light of the sun.  Dawn forces some ghouls into their subterranean lairs, or banishes others off into the Invisible World.  Daylight renders a ghoul helpless and causes it great pain and torment.

STRAINS

Alakai: This strain of ghoul haunts the battlefields of Hindoostan.  They appear nearly human, with coarse, shaggy hair.  Unlike other ghouls, they prefer blood over flesh and are commonly mistaken for vampires.  They are believed to be the spawn of a powerful Hindu entity called Yama.  Females are alternatively called picacu while males are called pey.

Gallu: One of the bolder stains of ghouls, some believe gallu to be a sort of daemon.  They share many of the characteristics of ghouls, however.  Unlike other ghouls, they are solitary hunters.  They might be encountered in wild, forlorn places, or in the dark twisting shadows of a city by night.  Dawn banishes them back to the Invisible World where they remain until night falls again. Its regeneration capabilities make a gallu a particularly dangerous foe.

Ghol: These evil spirits of Arabia haunt the silk road, battlefields, and gravesites.  They assume the form of alluring women to draw guards away from camp where they are set upon by the ravenous pack.  A pack of ghols in many ways operates like a pride of lions.  The pack is led by a single male, the qutrub, who protects the pack.  The female spirits do the hunting.

Rake: A more recent intriguing strain of ghoul has been reported from the French Louisiana territory of the new world.  Details of these ghouls are sketchy, but they appear to be solitary hunters.  They haunt the swamps and marshlands, preying on trappers and hunters who are unfortunate enough to wander into their territory.

ORGANIZATIONS

There are no known organizations of ghouls, though some packs of ghol are rumored to be quite large.

POSSIBLE POWERS & PRICES

Corpus (Body) Powers Corpus (Body) Prices
Carnivate Allergen (sunlight)
Mimicry Mask Obvious Appearance
Mortal Mask Obvious to the Touch
Mutability Reveal Nature
Regeneration Weak Spot (head)
Malus (Offensive) Powers Malus (Offensive) Prices
Create Spawn Avoidance
Sap Ability Nature’s Hate
Vicious Attack
Cursus (Movement) Powers Cursus (Movement) Prices
Burrow Impaired Travel (daytime)
Jumping Lair
Wall Crawling
Veneficum (Sorcerous) Powers Veneficum (Sorcerous) Prices
Debilitative Aura Blocked from the World (daytime)
Hexcraft Feeder
Impose Emption Fragile
Unobtrusive

Ghol (Lieutenant)

Fear Rating: 2
Hell’s Favor: 2
Pace: 3

Initiative: Reflexes 6d
Melee: Claws 8d (+6 damage), Bite 8d (+8 damage)
Ranged: None
Defenses: Avoidance 3; Discipline 2; Fortitude 2
Armor: None
Health Track: 5/5/5

Talents: Burst of Speed, Disorienting Attack, Fury
Skills:

  • 10d: Stealth
  • 8d: Charm (Deceive), Empathy, Notice, Survival (Track)
  • 6d: Acrobatics, Endurance, Reflexes, Resolve

Fundamental Power/Price: Mutability/Allergen (sunlight)
Additional Powers/Prices:

  • Mimicry Mask (assume the form of anyone eaten in the past week)/Reveal Nature (daylight)
  • Impose Emotion/Feeder (human flesh and blood)
  • Hexcraft/Fragile
  • Vicious Attack/Nature’s Hate

Description: Ghols are most often encountered in the form of beautiful women who entice men from the safety of the camp into the wilds of the desert where the pack sets upon him like wild dogs.  They will also assume the form of a hyena, a hound, or an ostrich.
Dramatics: Ghol packs usually rely on one of their number to draw prey into the open where they can attack it as a group.  While Ghol hunting packs might number upwards of a dozen, the tribe itself might contain upwards of 100 members.  Fallen prey will be partially devoured on the spot and the remains taken back to the den for the qutrub to distribute amongst his favorites.

Ghol (Savage Worlds Version)

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d8, Persuasion d8, Notice d8, Stealth d10, Tracking d12
Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6
Edges: Attractive (Female form), Combat Reflexes, Dirty Fighter
SPECIAL ABILITIES

  • Bite: Str+d6
  • Claws: Str+d4; targets wounded must make a Vigor roll or suffer a level of fatigue as well.
  • Confusion: Anyone who speaks with a ghol must make a Spirit roll.  If the roll fails, the target becomes mildly confused and more susceptible to suggestion.  The ghol gains a +2 bonus to Persuasion rolls against the target thereafter.
  • Pounce: A ghol can leap once per round for 1d6”, vertical or horizontal, and often pounce on their prey to best bring their mass and claws to bear. If it leaps onto prey, it receives a +4 to its attack and damage. Its Parry is reduced by –2 until its next action when performing the maneuver.
  • Shapechange: A Ghol may shapechange into the form of a beautiful woman, a hyena, a hound, or an ostrich.  They may assume the exact form of any target eaten within the last 48 hours.  In animal form, they receive the Pace score of that creature.
  • Spirit: A ghol is not a true living creature.  Even if slain, it will return to life the following sundown, restored to full strength.  The only way to prevent this is by decapitating the creature and burning the remains.
  • Vulnerability (Sunlight): Ghols are powerless when exposed to full daylight.  They suffer 2d6 damage each round so exposed.
  • Weakness (Feeding): A ghol must feed upon flesh, living or dead, to survive.  If forced to go more than a day without eating, it must make a successful Vigor roll or have its Vigor score lowered by one die type.  If the creature’s vigor is reduced to 0, it goes into a state of torpor and will not move or respond until it has been fed.  This weakness does not kill the ghol, simply incapacitates it.

Other All Hallow’s Eve Fest (2015) Articles: