Thursday, 1 February 2018

Some Monsters

Stuff I'm working on for Esoteric Enterprises, monsters you might encounter in the undercity's tunnels. Some of them are my modern-occult take on classics D&D monsters, some of it's just shit I made up.

Fairies, created by dreams of spite and resentment. Short, crooked limbed, hook-fingered, wide-eyed. Their voices harsh and garrulous. They delight in making beautiful things ugly, and in ruining the work of others. They make nothing of their own, but are keen, if reckless, saboteurs.
Goblins are some of the lower-order fey, the sort of squirming gibbering things to be found in the dark and hidden places of the world. They’re more a nuisance than a threat until they gather in large numbers (which they often do) or focus their spite against a particular victim.
Goblin: 4 flesh (1 dice), 0 grit (0 dice). AC 14 (leathers and high dexterity). Saves 16+. Stealth 3/6. Goblin blades (+0, d10 damage), can see in the dark perfectly. Immune to bleeding and disease, double damage from iron weapons. Dexterity 16.
Roll a d6 for what’s in the sack. 1: rusted garbage, 2: bits of various dead family pets, 3: dirt from the grave of an artist, 4: about two-thirds of a human corpse, 5: ‘shrooms, 6: 100 dollars (or local equivalent) in battered coins, mixed in with washers and bottle-caps.

Shadow Folk
Where many beings are composed of matter, these are made of shadow - patches of darkness that move and act without external influence. Whilst light is innately deleterious to them, they none the less jealously crave the warmth and mass and solidity that material life possesses. Their world is almost post-apocalyptic, with strange creatures bringing lethal amounts of light even down here, where it should be safe.  They attack by ripping away their victim’s shadows. It cannot be over-stated how much they resent you.
Shadow Folk: 8 flesh (2 dice), 0 grit (0 dice). AC 12 (weird anatomy). Saves 14+. 3-in-6 Stealth. Rip Shadow (+0, d12 to strength). Immune to Physical damage, cannot be physically touched, totally immaterial. Bright light does d4 damage per round of exposure. The shadows of those killed by the Shadow Folk  are torn free and become a new Shadow-Folk.

Child of the Abyss
Beneath the undercity, there are deeper caves. Beneath that, cracks and chasms leading to the very veins of the earth. And beneath that, the dark, yawning abyss of the deep mantle.
Creatures that find there way down here are altered by the experience. These blind, wriggling things grow huge and hungry, existing as the apex predator of the weird stygian ecosystem down there. Sometimes, they find their way back up to the undercity, where prey is plentiful.
They hunt by smell and tremor-sense and echolocation. Their arrival is heralded by the clicking, whistling noises they make to navigate, and the  rotten-mineral smell of the earth’s veins. They crawl, clamber, slink and squirm towards their prey.
This particular beast is, or once was, a huge crocodile-like creature, with rubbery transparent flesh, no eyes, and bioluminescent sacs down its belly.
Child of the Abyss 10 flesh (2 dice), 20 grit (4 dice). AC 12 (tough skin). Saves 13+. Athletics 3/6. Bite (+0, d10 damage) and 2 claws (+6, d4 damage). Strange senses let it ‘see’ perfectly well in pitch darkness. +6 to wrestling rolls, and does d6 damage on a successful grapple as it swallows its prey.

Banshee Oracle
This is a strange fairy, associated with dreams of resignation and grief. She takes the form of a gaunt, pallid woman in a blood-stained white gown. When she cries, the tears are fresh blood. She sees the worst of all possible futures, and shares her visions with those who seek her out. Despite her lack of ambition, she has attracted a small cult.
Banshee Oracle: 4 flesh (1 dice), 12 grit (3 dice). AC 10. Saves 11+. Scream (all who hear save vs magic or suffer d12 damage to their charisma. A 1 on the save indicates coincidental death 1 turn later, no save.). Can cast  Augury at will or divination (with no chance of death) once per day. Double damage from iron, does not bleed.

Envoy of the Lithic Courts
This is a being of the Lithic Courts deep in the earth, an elemental creature made of fine-veined crysteline conglomerates, lit from within by substratal fire. Appears like a mass of dull gems fused together in a shape like an elegant, upright-walking squid, the facets of crystal grinding over one another as it moves. Its voice is the shriek and shudder of stone moving tectonically against stone. It speaks slowly, deliberately and precisely. Its manners and movements are courtly and refined. It is a diplomat on important business, and has little time for creatures made of meat.
Lithic Envoy: 16 flesh (4 dice), 12 grit (2 dice). AC 16 (made of stone). Saves 9+.  2 slams (+3, d12 damage). Immune to cold, sickness, fire, poison, drowning and so on. Moves slowly. Double damage and auto-failed saves vs electricity.  Can ‘see’ perfectly by tremmorsense.
Roll a d6 for the Envoy’s business. 1; declaration of war, 2; peace treaty, 3; ransom note, 4; offer of marriage, 5; invitation to court, 6; news of a great substratal disaster.

Flint Songbirds
Little conglomerations of flint shards, all delicate angles and barbs. The Lithic Envoy carries them in gilded cages, and in the event of a fight will release them to fight for him.  Their voices are like glitchy, metallic recordings of extinct songbirds, their behaviour like angry little lapdogs.
Fling Songbirds: 6 flesh (2 dice), 0 grit (0 dice). AC 16 (made of stone). Saves 14+.  Each round, d4+1 flint shards (+2, d4 damage). Immune to cold, sickness, fire, poison, drowning and so on. Double damage and auto-failed saves vs electricity.  Can ‘see’ perfectly by tremmorsense.

These little fey spring from dreams of industry. Pitch-black glossy skin, like polished jet, and glittering white eyes set in deeply furrowed faces. Dressed in drab greys, oily and grimy. Obsessed with the acquisition of mineral wealth, endless toil. They eat gold and other precious metals like we eat food. They sing as they work, their voices oddly echoey.
Svartalfr: 5 flesh (1 dice), 5 grit (1 dice). AC 14 (chain armour). Saves 14+. Mining Tools (+2, d12 damage). Does not bleed. Double damage from iron weapons. +4 saves vs poison, sickness, pain. See perfectly in the dark.
These were once humans, but have been infected with lycanthropy by the bite of another were-rat. The curse first affects the mind of the were-rat, causing them to become craven, spiteful and skittish. As the individual degenerates, they suffer minor physical alterations that make them more and more rat-like; extended incisors, patchy fur across their body and glittering eyes. Eventually, they succumb to the infection and their body begins physically transforming, allowing them to shift between human, rat and hybrid forms.
Were-rats are not innately evil, but they are no longer really human and their animalistic instincts make them dangerous. By human standards, they seem utterly mad, although they retain human levels of intelligence and the ability to speak.
Were-Rat: 4 flesh (1 dice), 8 grit (2 dice). AC 12 (pretty nimble). Stealth and Athletics 3-in-6. Saves 16+. Attacks depend on their form. Double damage from Silver weapons.  Strength and Dexterity 16.
Can shift between human, rat and hybrid forms, taking a round to do so.
In human form, have hands and can talk. Attack with crude blades or pistols (+2, d8). In hybrid  form, attack with two claws and a bite (each +2, d6). In rat form, AC is 16, attack with a bite (+0, 1 damage).
Anybody taking damage from a bite risks contracting rat-strain lycanthropy (Save vs Poison to resist). This is a disease with saves every day, dealing d10 damage to Charisma for each failed save. If the victim dies from lycanthropy, instead the Charisma damage goes away, and they are transformed into a Were-rat themselves; a first level Spook with the Human origin and Animal Form power.

Redcaps are fairies created by dreams of violence and cannibalism. They’re short, gangly creatures, with ugly faces and misshapen limps. Each wears a jaunty cloth cap, dyed red with the blood of their victims.
Redcaps are among the middle-ranking fairies. Firmly members of the unseelie courts, they delight in directing lesser fairies to traumatize mortals, creating  ever more of the nightmares that spawn them.
Redcap: 5 flesh (1 dice), 0 grit (3 dice). AC 14 (leathers and high dexterity). Saves 11+. Stealth 4/6. Goblin blades (+0, d10 damage). Can see in the dark perfectly.  Allies get +1 to Stealth. When attacks ignore grit, +3 damage and the victim starts bleeding out. Immune to bleeding and disease, double damage from iron weapons. Dexterity 16.

These are children, that commit murders. Utterly feral, lacking morals. They kill because its fun, laughing and chattering as they do it. They don’t understand why what they do is wrong. They aren’t stupid, though; you can reason with them, so long as your reasoning doesn’t rely on appeals to their conscience.
Redcap: 1 flesh (1 dice), 4 grit (2 dice). AC 13 (small and nimble). Saves 16+. Stealth 4/6. Stolen knives (+3, d6 damage). When attacks ignore grit, +3 damage and the victim starts bleeding out. Dexterity 16.
Concrete Nymphs
Like nereids haunting beautiful pools or dryads inhabiting trees, these creatures embody and protect the concrete, brickwork and cement of underground construction. They appear like statues of beautiful women that have been exposed to acid rain, eroded down to a rough, skeletal form. They move jerkily, like stop motion, but their voices have the richness of a full orchestra. They find beauty in the stark, brutalist harshness of functional architecture, and seek to protect their world of steel girders and concrete slabs from damage.
Concrete Nymphs: 3 flesh (1 dice), 6 grit (2 dice). AC 16 (made of concrete). Charm 5-in-6. Saves 17+. Stone fists (+0, d6). Charisma 18. When singing, has a 2-in-6 chance to cast a 'suggestion’ spell related to the topic of their song. Can shriek, causing panes of glass and plastic to shatter; anybody wearing goggles, glasses, masks and so on must Save vs Hazards or be blinded as the shards shred their eyes. 

Lurking Lamp
A strange creature of the underground, perhaps fey or perhaps once-human. A skinny, glossy black body, thin and long like stretched-out liquorice. A head that’s broad and flat, with a single circular eye the size of a dinner plate in the centre of the face. The eye shines like a spotlight, casting beams of chiaroscuro illumination where the lamp gazes. The light is dazzlingly bright, enough that it hurts to look at. The lamp observes things, finding fascination in things sane humans consider tedious or meaningless.
Lurking Lamp: 6 flesh (2 dice), 9 grit (2 dice). AC 12 (nimble). Saves 15+. Fists (+0, d4) Other lights blink out in the lamp’s presence (they blink back on again once it’s gone). Looking in the direction of the light requires a Save vs Stunning; on a failure, the observer is blinded for a turn, on a success only for a round. The lamp can turn its gaze on a particular victim, forcing them to save.
The lurking lamp has a collection of trash and salvage that it squats over. As well as bottle-caps, old crisp packets and stolen train tickets, there’s lost jewellery in there worth 100 dollars.

A subterranean race. Insane humans from the surface world, interbreeding with the australopithecine morlock-folk of the deep earth. Pale, blue-tinted skin. Wild white hair. Short, wiry frames with long fingers. Utterly mad, all of them. Minds clouded with grandiose paranoid delusions. Obsessed with conspiricies and mind control.
The Dero, as a sub-species, seem unconsciously to work together. A sort of subconscious conspiracy-hive-mind guides them. They act with a single purpose, driven by urges they don’t fully understand. What the Dero’s gestalt-mind is working towards is hard to say, but it almost certainly bodes ill for the sanity of surface-dwellers. The Dero all deny this, and claim you are trying to brainwash them with your paranoid fantasies.
Dero: 5 flesh (1 dice), 10 grit (2 dice). AC 14 (armoured vest). Saves 16+. Knife(+3, d6). See in the dark perfectly. 2-in-6 chance to cast Suggestion. 3-in-6 chance to completely ignore mind-affecting magic, but must make a Morale check if it does.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of cool ideas here, but the Concrete Nymphs are the ones that really captivate me. I love the idea of constructed materials and places acquiring spirits like natural locations and objects do.