Two Horrible, Imperial Beasts [+ news about Patreon & Demon City]

Imperial forces have used cruel and terrible magics, cultivating soul upon soul to subject them to the Anti-energies that pervade the dark, empty spaces of the universe. With this power, they've tamed horrible beasts and created wicked monsters in wickeder experiments, in a largely successful effort to preserve the dominance of their empire.

Here are two such beasts.

Glowbacks

The creatures wrap their large, reptilian bodies around palace spires, soaking sun through their soft, dewy backs. Their skin elsewhere is tough like ridged, boiled leather; their bodies are sturdily-built and powerful, with strong bones and thewy limbs. With one swing of its serrated claws, it could rip a man in half; with its jaws, it could swallow him whole. Their faces are disturbingly man-like in their features and proportions, at least until they open their mouths and reveal their many rows of teeth or a breath of wicked fire.

When the beasts absorb enough sun, their backs begin to glow bright white, and they descend from their high perches and recede into the ground. Back into darkness they go, bringing a little bit of the sun with them. And down in the sewers beneath the imperial cities they hunt, searching for escaped slaves, refugees from faraway lands, disorganized rebels, sometimes deserters. The soldiers get the criminals above-ground; the glowbacks get them below.

With the help of dark soul magics, the Empire has tamed these creatures for this purpose--to hunt with quickness, terror, and precision; to eat the small weeping children and the trembling mothers; and to burn dissenters to char and bone. Glowbacks themselves are mindless and stupid and amoral, but the Empire is not.

In the wild, glowbacks can be found in the cave systems of mountains. Untamed glowbacks are less dangerous in that they will kill only to eat and to survive; they lack the cruelty inherent in imperial command. However, a traveler is wise remain wary of venturing into these caves, lest they run into a hungry, glowing beast with a maw full of teeth and fire.

A tip for the adventurers and rebels who run into these beasts, whether it be in the wild or in the deep, dark imperial sewers: glowbacks are faster and stronger than most men, but the beast's greatest weapon is its fire breath, and it can only do this for so long. Once a glowback's reserves of sun have been expended, its back will stop glowing, and it will be safer to approach the beast head-on.

Hit Dice--6.
Hit Points--35.
Armor Class--16.
Speed--40’.
Morale--9 if tamed, 7 if wild.
Attacks & notes & such
- 2 claw attacks each for d8 damage
- 1 fire breath attack; save vs. breath weapon to those caught within its 30 foot cone; those who fail the save are damaged for d12 and are on fire [d4 damage each round until the fire is put out]
- a glowback can use its fire breath per hour spent basking in the sun, to a max of 6 uses; if you don't know how long a glowback has been absorbing sunlight, roll d6 to determine how many uses
- once a glowback has expended its fire breath, its back stops glowing and it loses 1 morale
- if a glowback is outmanuvered and its sensitive back is targeted, armor class is treated as 14; if successfully hit, the attacker gets advantage on their damage roll (or it's an automatic critical, w/e you want)

Many-Eyed Watchers

The prison watchers pace slowly up and down their patrol routes, ringing their handbells at a steady interval. The cramped stone walls carry each bell's vibration from watcher to watcher; if a bell stops ringing, or rings more than expected, they will all know trouble is afoot.

The watchers wear iridescent green robes and soft slippers. In their right hands, they carry engraved silver bells; their entire left arms, down to the tips of their fingers, are extensively tattooed with twisted lines, dark symbols, the names of old gods, and poisonous flowers. Their bodies are like women and men, but their heads are bouquets of thick eye stalks and long, thin tentacles. Their eyes watch every direction, left, right, up, down, forward, behind them; they listen with the tentacles, which move listlessly in the air like long strands of hair in water, to sense faint vibrations. They have no mouths and cannot speak or scream. But if an intruder or escaping prisoner is spotted, they ring their bells erratically, as if panicking, to let the others know.

Encountering a threat, the many-eyed watcher reaches out a left arm and casts foul magics--most dangerously, it can paralyze the victim, and it can do so at-will. Once an intruder or prisoner has been paralyzed and captured, then and only then is the watcher is finally paid for its long and thankless service: It grabs the victim by the hair or the throat; tentacles pierce the dark of the eyes and enter the ear canals; and finally the tentacles intrude upon the brain, feasting upon knowledge, memories, and suffering till there is nothing left but desiccated gray matter.

The watcher does not hold the experiences and secrets of dead men forever. It digests them slowly over the course of weeks and meditates on the dead and their entire lives. A watcher in the middle of digestion weeps, especially when it begins to digest love and hatred and other such passionate things, but do not let its many tears from its many eyes fool you--it savors this experience. A watcher does not need food or sleep or real love or true meaning; it lives only for this cruel voyeurism.

Many-eyed watchers are found mostly in imperial prisons and fortress dungeons. On rare occasions, one may be kept in a palace, restricted to a dark room and brought out only to intimidate or execute captured rebels. They are also to be found in imperial ruins, including some of the most ancient. Watchers do not age, so those found in old places will keep wandering their old patrol routes, same as they always have.

Hit Dice--3.
Hit Points--15.
Armor Class--12.
Speed--30’.
Morale--10.
Attacks & notes & such
- Many-eyed watchers spells: Confusion (2 uses),  Dispel Magic (3 uses), Faerie Fire (4 uses), Hold Person (see below), Magic Missile (4 uses)
- can cast Hold Person at-will, but can only use this on one person at a time; holds them for 6 rounds, or until the watcher is dead
- if a person is effectively restrained & cannot resist, such as with Hold Person, the watcher can use its tentacles to pierce the victim's eyes and ears; this immediately does d10 damage and permanently blinds & deafens the victim; in 2 rounds it will kill the victim as the tentacles finally pierce the brain
- if it spots an intruder or prisoner, or any other kind of unwanted person, it will ring its bell wildly, and all other many-eyed watchers within the complex will go on high alert and actively search for intruders; those within 200 feet will converge upon the location of the watcher sending out the alarm (roll d8 if you don't know how many there are within the area)

News

First important thing: I have a Patreon now. I explain why a lot more on there, but basically I hate being broke and worried about surviving but I also want to keep posting up cool free shit online for people to use, like the monsters I shared in this post. So the compromise is, if you're able, you can give me money if you like my stuff, and depending on how much you're able to give me, you can get cool stuff like previews and playtest drafts of larger projects I'm working on. So please check it out!! Help me get hormones & therapy & a name change & stuff!

Second important thing: Demon City, the ultimate horror RPG, is now live on Kickstarter! I've been playing this game for the past few months with my home group, and it is awesome. Also, your girl wrote up monsters from Filipino folklore for it, and it's one of the stretch goals! By the time of posting this, Demon City seems to have hit its funding goal, but we need to keep it going and make sure we hit all those stretch goals, because there's a lot of great content there, and we need to make Zak draw tarot cards.


Also, a lot of the people who've been collaborating on the project are women, queers, and people of color, and, for a few of us, this is our very first shot. There's a lot of talk in the RPG community about giving support & resources to the marginalized, but words mean practically nothing; actual, material support is what's important. And the game rules and is gorgeous--and that's definitely the big reason as to why you should back it--but also, by backing Demon City on Kickstarter, you are actually materially supporting marginalized folks.

Think about this example: If our goals are hit, Zedeck Siew & I are gonna be able to bring really cool, creepy shit from our respective Asian cultures to Demon City. A white person who lacks that cultural perspective isn't gonna be writing about these things; we are, and we'll get paid for it. And to get to see the Filipino monsters I feared as a kid in a game I adore, and to get real money for it when I'm struggling to even make a living right now, would be fucking incredible.

If that's something you care about (and I hope it is), then let's make this happen--back Demon City now.

Comments

  1. Are you a Dark Souls or Bloodborne fan? These fit that aesthetic so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, a huge fan of that series :) The many-eyed watcher was inspired by the Demons' Souls take on mindflayers.

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