Monday, May 24, 2010

Smells like the ocean turned bad

Here is one of those creatures that I think can suit a variety of settings. I can see it working quite well in fantasy, horror and sci-fi worlds alike. In my eyes it is quite disgusting, which means I like it..., and though it may not be one of those creatures oozing with mystery and fantasy, I think this is one of my personal favourites so far. What do you think?

It may be that when I categorise these creatures they end up in a group that they shouldn't be in from a strict and scientific point of view. Though, in a fictitious world these categories may differ and be wider than in our own. At least that is how I think of it. When I decide that this is a crustacean I do so because it reminds me of one. In any case, it is not a mammal. Though intelligent beyond any crayfish you have ever eaten, you should think of a monstrous alien crab when you imagine it in action.


CATEGORY: Crustacean
TERRAIN: Salt water coasts
FOOD: Carnivore
AGGRESSION: Normal to high
SIZE: 7 - 8 feet, (210-240 cm) tall

(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running x 1, Swimming x 1
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

BACK: 12
"TAIL": 11
(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The main body of the Calmorock is held together by a hard exoskeleton that makes it very hard to kill. The limbs are bony and very tough, but lack the outer protection of the torso and back. The weakest point is the head, which the creature holds high to keep it away from the danger.

2 CLAWS: 2-6
2 SUCTION CUP SLAPS: 2-4 (+ sucking damage)
1 BITE: 1-4 (Normally not used in fighting)
(If a Long Sword makes a damage of 1-8)

The Calmorock uses its front and hind legs to skillfully seek out food hidden in sand and crevices. In combat it may position itself on the hind legs and use the front ones for powerful slaps. When a suction cup hits unprotected skin it will inflict and extra 2-4 points of damage, while ripping the skin and flesh off the bone. The cups will attach to plate armour like ticks to hide, and drag opponents off their feet (dexterity/agility saving throw). Unless the creature willfully lets go there is no other way of seperating the cups from a smooth surface than cutting them off. When badly injured the Calmorock will seek the sanctuary of the ocean.

The Calmorock is a wandering creature. It has no lair or area of choice, but follows the coastline ever onward in search for food. It prefers the rich and easy spoils of the sea, like wounded seals or stranded whales, but will eat anything it can get hold of. All kinds of flesh, alive or dead, fresh or rotten, is consumed with great fervour.

Though not very quick or agile the Calmorock can move over basically any terrain. Its strong fingers and suction cupped front legs enables it to haul itself up most surfaces. With great patience it slowly empties all nooks and hollows from life, seemingly unmoved by changes in climate or weather. Houses situated near the sea is treated no differently than any coastline cave, and the life forms within will be caught and devoured if possible.

When in water the creature walks on the bottom, but can swim, if a bit awkwardly. They use the water mainly as a means of shelter and as a place for reproduction. If the short coastline of smaller islands turn out to hold little food the creature moves on by clever means to more promising shores. By attaching itself to larger beasts of the sea, or to the underside of great ships, it picks up a swift ride to new and richer "pastures".

While the Calmorock tend to move about in families of 3-10 creatures, they have no trouble surviving on their own. In frozen and lifeless regions they turn on each other to survive, and typically the young are killed first. The creatures are often detected from a distance by their smell, which can be recognised from miles away, and is reminiscent of fish and seaweed left to decompose in the sun, but with a sour strength that no Calmorock-free shore can offer. They live for about twenty years, have a dark and bluish blood, and those who know how to get rid of the smell, can use parts of their exoskeleton as rather light-weight and efficient armour.

© Copyright 2010 - Nicholas Cloister

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Intelligent slugs found in forest

Looks like I have some commissions coming up again... already. However, I made haste and managed to get some life into this creature before the new work descriptions lands in my inbox. I thought the last creature was pretty dark, so this week I'm countering with a kind creation. I'm not a big fan of the general centaur idea (upper body humanoid, the rest beast of some kind) but in some cases one has to make an exception, right? Feel free to state your own opinion in the comments, and if you actually make use of any of these creatures in a your campaigns I'd love to hear about it. Why not tell us some about the adventure? Write me an email, and I might publish the story in the blog here, with your permission, of course.

Also, a thanks to Gaming Brouhaha for recommending this blog! Now, it is time to meet the Nemunn.


TERRAIN: Forests and hollows
FOOD: Omnivore
SIZE: 6-7 feet (180-210 cm) tall

(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running (Crawling) x 0,5
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The slug-like part of a Nemunn's body is like thick rubber with fur on top, but the inner tissue of it is soft and sensitive. The upright portion of the creature can be compared to truly hard leather, and in places to tough, solid wood. All inner organs (except for the brain) are located in the slug-like part of the body, so the front portion is more or less like a living tree, with only a single central vessel of blood running through it. This part can be chopped and damaged, disabling the Nemunn, but apart from hits to the brain, and to the very core, injuries here do not cause loss of hit points or pain to the creature.

(If a Long Sword makes a damage of 1-8)

The Nemunn is a gentle creature, that rarely engages in any kind of fighting. The predators of the forests leave them alone due to the poisonous smell of their Mollusca flesh, and otherwise inedible body. When hostile forces move into their areas the Nemunn usually move away or makes use of skilfull camouflage.

REGENERATE AND EXTEND ARMS: In part the Nemunn is a plant, and the creature have inherited the plant's power to grow. When it wishes to it can extend the length of its arms up to 10 yards (3,6-9 meters) in a matter of minutes. This quick growth cannot be retracted or undone, so the creature will have to live with the extended limbs for the rest of its life. Therefore the Nemunn only makes use of this ability in truly important situations. Some of them wilfully have very long arms cut off, since new hands will grow back on the stumps. This however takes about a year, and is also preferably avoided. Growth can only be applied to the arms of the creature. Due to this power the length of the arms of Nemmuns might vary significantly.

CAMOUFLAGE: The Nemunn can shift the colours of its hair (which is actually moss) and snail-like body very swiftly, but the power is limited to the natural and common colours of the woods. The face and arms cannot be re-coloured, but the creature can remain absolutely still in most positions for up to a week, without flinching.

Tales say that the Nemunns are born from the trees. It may in fact look like it, but the egg of the creature (produced without mating) is placed within a hole of a tree. From there it goes into a larva state and eats away the interior of the tree host. Green hair-like moss then sprouts out of the larva to penetrate the shell of the tree. For some time then the larva is nourished directly by the leaves and the roots of its tree nanny. This dependence lasts for up to twenty years and during that time the cells of the Nemunn larva inherit tree-like qualities, before transforming the larva into a fully grown Nemunn. The mature creature then breaks out its tree shell and starts its life in the forest.

The Nemunns prefer to be outdoors, but take shelter and sleep in hollows and tunnels just beneath the root ceiling of the forest. There they usually have a collection of various herbs, plants, roots, and flowers, and a space of some kind where they grind, mix, and create wondrous ointments of healing and power. The creatures are master botanists and have deep and mysterious knowledge of all that grows. It uses its various mixtures for rituals of spiritual communion with the forest, but also for healing and helping creatures and other inhabitants of their leafy homelands. They may also know some wordless druidic spells.

The Nemunn doesn't speak but understand the languages it has overheard or encountered during its long life. It can also communicate with unconscious creatures and beings by sticking strands of its moss hair into the creatures flesh. This way it can get an understanding of what needs to be done to awake the unconscious one from slumber, but it cannot receive actual words or advanced messages.

Preferably on their own, or occasionally in pairs these genderless creatures live their lives peacefully and avoid the worries of the outer world. At times however their compassionate nature, and desire to help, may lure them away from their homes and security. Especially if trees, or creatures of the forest are in danger, the Nemunn may take action outside its zone of comfort.

The Nemunns make use of simple tools, but never blades or weapons. To gather the herbs and ingredients they desire from the woods, they use their flexible claws. These can be turned around 180 degrees and the Nemunn control them with great dexterity. Otherwise the creature is slow and though it can haul itself and crawl over challenging terrain, it prefers to remain where the ground is fairly flat and where the forest isn't too dense.

These creatures live to be about 300 years old. They feed on worms, frogs, insects and the eggs of birds. They also get some energy from the sun through the moss on their backs and heads. When no energy is available they can become absolutely still and survive for up ten months without eating or drinking.

© Copyright 2010 - Nicholas Cloister

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Successful head transplantation!

Finally I've been granted some time to create another creature. Sorry for saying I would update this blog weekly. I realise now, that I cannot make any updates unless I have something to say, and in the case of this blog, that means a new creature. In times when I'm busy working, the blog will therefore (sadly) stand still.

I realised there were few dungeon dwellers here so far, so this time I've dug down into the earth and rock to find this piece of muscle. I hope you enjoy it. In the meanwhile, I'm starting out on creature number 13... perhaps some all together unlucky form of life? We shall see...



TERRAIN: Dungeons and caves
FOOD: Carnivore
AGGRESSION: Controlled (short-tempered)
SIZE: 9 feet (270 cm) long

AGILITY: 14-18
(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running x 4 Swimming x 1,5
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The Gohrgin has a very thick and hardy hide, that is enforced in places by bony plates and ridges. The top of its head is especially hard, and the creature has been seen ramming victims, and pinning them to the walls before biting or shredding them to pieces.

2 BITE: 2-6
1 TAIL: 2-8
1 SKULL RAM: 1-6 (+ optional speed damage)
(4-8 TENTACLES: 1-4) see 'Powers'
(If a Long Sword makes a damage of 1-8)

The Gohrgin is a very fast creature, and makes use of its great speed to attack prey. It normally overcomes victims from behind and tears them down much like a great lion would. When facing unusual foes the Gohrgin may approach more carefully at first, and try to observe enemy behaviour. Attacks coming at it from behind are met by its great club of a tail. Though not long enough to reach in front of it, the Gohrgin often displays and raises its powerful tail in a threatening manner.

SEVER OWN HEAD: The hard shell-like shape on top of the Gohrgin's head is tough for a reason. Inside this armour is not only the creature's brain, but also its heart. This strange location has its explanation in the creature's ability to loosen its own head from the body. When the main body is severly wounded, and loss of blood threatens to kill the creature, the Gohrgin can wilfully detach its head from the body. The hard, and normally limp tentacles hanging from the sides of the head is then brought to animation, and functions as legs for the now much smaller life form. The vessels of blood in the neck is automatically sealed tight and the remaining blood begins to support the brain and other head functions. The creature then normally steals off and tries to make its way into smaller tunnels, where enemies cannot follow. There it continues to exist, and more tentacles eventually grow out of the skull to make for a new and spidery revelation. Rarely however, the Gohrgin may continue attacking in this new form with bites and sharp tentacles. In any way it continues the remainder of its days as something of a large insect, rather than the powerful predator it once was.

SHRIEK OF THE UNDEAD: The Gohrgin has an eerie connection to the undead and to ghosts especially. When threatened it may invoke a shrill call to summon nearby spirits and undead to its aid. It cannot raise or wake the dead, but only command those that happen to be within 1 mile (1,6 kilometres) of it. Any undead hearing the shriek of a Gohrgin must answer. Any loyalty or binding to other powers are immediatly abandoned, and undead so summoned will do their utmost to defend the calling Gohrgin for as long as the threat remains. Vampires and other powerful undead are also subject to the shriek, but usually slay the Gohrgin once the effect is over, so as to avoid future disturbances. The origins of this power are not clear, but could possibly be explained by the rumoured background of the creature (See 'Description').

In the tunnels of the earth live the Gohrgins. There they hunt and feed upon all living things, brave or ignorant enough to enter their labyrinthine world. They speed through the subterranean pathways in search for food, and few things escape their hunger. Often in small packs, but also on their own, the Gohrgin rarely stops hunting. Their appearance and cruel strength is the stuff of goblin nightmares. With perfect night vision and relentless perseverance they are a terror of the underworld.

The dark stare and strange powers of these beasts have given rise to numerous stories, but one of the most vivid speaks of an orc warlock creating these creatures. The warlock is told to have been a two-headed freak, with horrible and morbid powers. Through hideous rituals he is said to have successfully mixed his blood with a great reptile that lived in the mountains - rituals that included the surgical removal of one of his own heads, to be magically attached to the body of the reptile. The warlock's arcane knowledge of necromancy is by this story the cause of of the Gohrgin's unearthly shriek (see 'Powers')

Those fortunate enough to have survived an encounter with the Gohrgin, says the stare of the monster never leaves them. Though beastial in all behaviour, the creature radiates an aura of dark intelligence, and the eyes have a magnetic power that some find hard to tear themselves from (optional saving throw).

The Gohrgin live all of its life under ground. It draws away from daylight, if exposed to it, and its otherwise perfect vision is temporarily disabled. However, creatures in need of new hunting grounds move over land at night, and searches about for fresh dungeons in which to settle. The female - a creature twice the size of the more abundant males, never leaves a "conquered" cavern. She will remain and multiply until there is no traces of food left, and then die in her lair. Young Gohrgins grow up rapidly, but only one out of twenty is a female.

This creature is rarely found near human settlements, but are drawn at times to catacombs and other subterranean burial grounds. It seems to have an attraction to the dead and the spirit world. Though the Gohrgin normally consumes all of its prey, it tends to leave corpses found untouched, even when plenty of flesh remain upon them.

The Gohrgin live to be about 50 years old, and except for the mysterious link with the undead it has no other interest than food and reproduction.

© Copyright 2010 - Nicholas Cloister