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Monday, 25 June 2018

Yuan-Ti Mageslayer

Yuan-ti hate hate hate hate hate anyone who isn't a yuan-ti. Especially any other creature who have the disgusting physical defect of not having scales. These Scaleless Ones are becoming increasingly troubling, what with their insistence on learning magic. This has forced that hands of yuan-ti lords, making them train elite groups of mages which expand on the race's natural spellcasting capabilities. Thus were created the mageslayers.

While the mageslayer has a couple of offensive spells (namely fireball, burning hands and acid splash), most of it's magic is geared towards espionage and quick, deadly takedowns. Yuan-ti favour sneak attacks over anything that calls attention to themselves. Take out the enemy slowly, one by one. If this is impossible, retreat. So the yuan-ti mageslayer will disguise itself, either as a disgusting Scaleless One, a pitiful but graceful small viper, or simply condescend to blend into their surroundings. Disenchant enemy weapons and block the abilities of any spellcasters. Lure them down wrong paths with invisible hands. And when the last intruder is left alive, grab him, and teleport away with your soon-to-be precious sacrifice.

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Monday, 18 June 2018


The pennaggolan is a type of almost exclusively female vampires. Like most vampires, they are nocturnal, but are immune to the dangers of sunlight. By day, the pennaggolan appears as a normal woman, but at night the head detaches itself from the body, dragging its entrails along with it and flies away. It often stalks lonely roads and houses, throttling travellers and feeding on their blood.

The best way to defeat a pennaggolan in to find its vacant body. The body can be destroyed, leaving the vampire permanently exposed in its gory from. Alternatively, the body (currently hollow) can be filled with thorns or broken glass, so that the pennaggolan's guts are lethally shredded when it tries to re-attach itself.

This creature come from Malaysian mythology. In the Malaysian tales, the pennaggolan (alternate names pennanggalan, hantu pennangal, balah-balah...) is usually a midwife. Some legends I've found say that the midwives make deals with spirits for supernatural powers, but fail to hold up their part of the bargain and get cursed to become these monsters. The pennagolan perches on the roof of a house containing children, pregnant women or women in labour, and feeds on their blood with an invisible tongue. Like in other vampire tales, the victim eventually contracts a wasting disease and dies.

When the pennaggolan returns home, she soaks her guts in vinegar to shrink them, so she can squeeze back into her body. Getting out is easy, but you try squeezing lungs and metres of intestines back in through a narrow neck-hole. Since the darkness can hide the face of a pennaggolan, sometimes the best way to tell if a woman is a monster or not is if she smells really strongly of vinegar.

There are a lot of variants of this monsters across East Asia. The Phillipines have the manananggal (detaches its upper body from its lower body), Bali has the leyak (way scarier face, also feeds on corpses), and Thailand has the krause (cursed with hunger; feeds on blood, flesh and poop).

I remember first reading about this monster when I was really young. I think it was maybe in some spooky Halloween edition of a kids magazine or something. I was quite struck by how weird it was. And also the whole protecting yourself by sticking a bunch of thorns and pointy leaves around you window. Them dangling guts don't wanna get tangled up in that mess.

Pretty reminiscent of the vargouille.

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Corruption Eater

The corruption eater is a type of aberration that feasts on the festering evil that wears down the soul. Encountering a corruption eater is both a good and bad thing. Good because it can cleanse you of the aforementioned festering evil; bad because getting cleansed still really really hurts and it can get mad when there's no more food left. The corruption eater uses it's stretchy tentacles to immobilize its target, then wraps the victim up in its hole-filled tongue to feed.

So you know how the other week I was talking about all the alternate magicky-magic things that D&D has? Well the Heroes of Horror book introduces the concept of taint: the corrupting influence of evil magic which wears you down both mentally and physically. As the taint increases, you weaken gaining a number of penalties that can result in death or complete madness (essentially death since the DM takes over your character).

However, certain feats, prestige classes or types of magic are only available to characters that are suffering from taint. This can result in a delicate balancing act of making sure that your taint stays above a certain level without actually being killing you.

Taint can be cured with certain spells, but a lot of them are quite high-level or expensive, so I like to think that maybe some smaller towns have a corruption eater locked away for medical purposes. Kinda like a leech. Or evil chemo. Just stick your hand in this hole. It'll hurt for a while, but we'll pull you back out once your eyes regrow and you stop craving human flesh.

Of course having a corruption eater holed up in your town would probably increase the ambient taint of the area, since you're harbouring an evil creature. Six and two threes.

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Monday, 4 June 2018

Totem Giant

Totem giants are a particular race who are especially good at manipulating incarnum, the magical force that powers everything. Avid worshippers (and hunters) of magical beasts, totem giants tattoo themselves with symbols of their favourites. These same tattoos are clues as to what kind of powers they are likely to manifest in combat. Totem giants can be found anywhere in the world, since they often use their incarnum powers to be able to survive in environments that would otherwise be deadly.

Okay, so D&D has soooo many different kinds of magic in it. Most people just stick to the ol' arcane-divine group because magic is already complicated enough and there's twelve bajillion spells without adding an oh but my magic works THIS way and bluhhhhhhh. I haven't that much into how incarnum works, but it honestly sounds kinda cool? The amount of spells you have to choose from (and are able to cast) is limited compared to the rest of the stuff, but it's kinda nice that way.

Basically you shape incarnum (this blue Force stuff) into this quasi-physical stuff called soulmelds. They're kinda like spells but also kinda like magic items you wear. But you can still use non-spell magic items you're wearing. Unless you super-bind them to you then you can't use magic items, but the incarnum spell is extra strong and give your a lot of cool stuff. And you can have a bunch of them active at the same time. It's complicated.

Okay. For example. The totem giant in the book has the Frost Helm spell. If they just manifest the Frost Helm normally, it basically allows them to live in super-cold environments and get resistance to cold. If you were wearing some magic item on your head (ex: circlet that grants you telepathy) you'd still be able to use the telepathy. But if you super-bind the Frost Helm spell you can get a buncha cool abilities (a cold breath weapon or a stunning sonic shriek), but the power of the spell overrides the power of whatever magic item you have at the time.

Like I said, it's complicated.

But I kinda wanna play this system and use this giant chick? I probably wouldn't be able to use her since she's a giant and that's not a playable race. I guess I could use a half-orc or a goliath but it's not the saaaaame. I wanna be huuuuuge.

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