Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tentacles wherever you turn!

Some people love them, some don't. I guess it is pretty easy to throw in some tentacles, rather than properly designed arms and legs. It gives a creepy feel and it looks alien, sort of. I guess I can't do more tentacle creatures in a while, after this one, but as this witch took form, I couldn't help but finishing the idea. There is something with the look of her, and all those snaky shapes that I find attractive, in that dark strange fashion that only heavy metal fans and horror addicts understand... yes, and some RPG-players of course. ; )

I know some people though, who only like draconian reptiles, lion-like predators, and rhino-looking beasts of power. As soon as birds, fish, or amphibians sneak into the picture it turns too creepy or weird for them. For me, these stranger shapes, like the monsters of Hieronymus Bosch, hold an aesthetic mystery that I still find alluring.

Rather sparingly coloured, this image also reminds me of that iconic piece of troll-like enchantment, called 'Tuvstarr', by the Swedish artist John Bauer. LINK
I'm not sure the general crowd here is familiar with his work, but it may very well happen that I was unconsciously inspired by him, as I made this dark reflection of a far more putrid character.
- “Build a bridge out of her!”


CATEGORY: Dark Faerie
TERRAIN: Marshes and swamps
FOOD: Omnivore
SIZE: 6 feet tall (180 cm)

AGILITY: 12-14
CHARM: 2-8
(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running x 1, Swimming/Crawling x 3, Climbing x 3
(Multiple is times human speed)

MAGIC POWER: 15 - 35
(Ranges from 0-100)

HIT POINTS: 18 - 24
(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The Chaerim Witch is naked and not very well protected. She relies on her many tentacles and foul magic to keep her body free from harm. The Witch can lose all of her tentacles without damage to her vital organs, and can only be slain through attacks directed towards her main body.

10 - 20 TENTACLE LASHES: 2 – 8
(If a Long Sword makes a damage of 1-8)

The many tentacles of the Chaerim can also be used for grappling and squeezing. If caught (normal successful Chaerim attack roll) a victim will suffer 2-8 points of constriction damage every following round (unyielding armour like metal offer protection), which can break ribs and damage internal organs. The victim may free himself through a normal attack to the tentacle (unless weapon arms are trapped), or a saving throw based on strength. If several tentacles are holding the same victim the Witch may chose to tear her enemies apart, and produce 3-12 points of damage per round that way. If hit by 4 or more points of damage in a single round, a tentacle will let go. (If desired, they can be handled as separate entities, all with 6-8 hit points each.)

REPULSIVE STENCH: The Chaerim smell awfully, but they also have the power to wilfully strengthen this stench, and bring it into abominable levels. The perfume of all once crawling, now rotting forms of life, of the mires and bogs of the world, are summoned forth like a sickening musk, through the Witch's filthy glands. The stench spreads quickly and fills an area of 40 x 40 yards (36 x 36 m) within two rounds. This contamination last for twenty rounds and may be summoned once per day. All within the zone of repulsive stench must succeed with continuous saving throws (mental resilience) or instantly run away. If hindered from escaping into the salvation of fresh air the victim will faint. Three successful rolls in a row will make the victim immune, for a while. Holding one's breath will help.

FORCE LYCANTHROPE: The Chaerim Witch likes to keep lycanthropes as company. At the encounter of a lycanthrope, which the Witch recognizes by smell, she will try to force it into service. Through a number of spells and specially designed items of silver, she commonly manages to win them over. If not, she will try any devious means available to her. At any time the Chaerim can force a lycanthrope transformation. The 'were' state lasts until the following morning and can be induced by the Witch any number of days in a row, fully independent of the lunar cycle. The lycanthrope need not be aligned to the Witch for this to happen. Within sight of the Chaerim all lycanthropes transform, whenever she so desires. But they only serve her, if she has won them over.

In the deep and stale swamps, where no sun-loving creature would go freely, the Chaerim witches build their lairs. From rotten weed, murky branches, webs of great spiders, and mouldy moss, they fashion their dark abodes. In seclusion, they work on cryptic secrets, mixing brews of power, seeking new spells, and scheming new devilry. Only rarely, when they feel ready to fulfil some heinous desire, or try out some new mischief, do they come forth into the world to set their dark plans in motion.

Robed in massive tangles of tentacles, the witches themselves are barely visible. Long strong arms reach out to manoeuvre things in need of nimble fingers, but always, the long snake-like limbs move out before them. Powerful, sinister magic follow the Chaerim about, and they are masters with curses, elixirs and poisons. Toads and frogs live in their mouths and bellies, and they move unhindered through muddy waters, slithering with amphibian grace. Where giant mangrove trees grow, the witches climb effortlessly from root to high branch, with the aid of their many tentacles. Roaming the marshlands with decisive aim, they feed often on their way, swallowing with no great fuss, what most creatures would discard.

There are no male Chaerim. The witches mate with the great black eels of the marshes. Their young look a lot like brown octopus before arms and legs grow out properly. They reach maturity and full witch-hood in their early teens. The Chaerim can become truly old, and they gather new spells and new levels of witch-craft with age. Some are said to be over 500 years old. The witches can't stand each other, and no more than one ever lives in the same swamp. They fight until death to defend their territory.

The connection to lycanthropes is a mystery, but some say that the first witch was an elven maid, transformed and violated by a powerful eel. This dark fate is said to have changed her, and that during the darkest phase of the moon, she would go out naked into the night and perform pagan rituals of shape-shifting. The Chaerim send their lycanthrope servants out into the world to fetch them rare ingredients and to bring back information. Blood, and flesh of many different life forms are common in the unholy recipes of these dark Wiccans. All Chaerim are powerful magic-users, and specialize in spells connected with decay, pestilence, nightmares, and death.

© Copyright 2011 - Nicholas Cloister