So, where was I? Yes...the blood. Here is an ex-demon that could cause a few troublesome adventures I believe. Anatomically I noticed it has a lot in common with the Con'Laih, but apart from their mysterious backgrounds, and their ability to produce strange energies, and hopping, they have very little in common... wait a minute, that's quite a bit to share. Perhaps they actually are related? Whatever the case, they now share the same bestiary. Here is the Darratha for you! Sweet dreams are made of these...
CATEGORY: Reptile (demonic)
TERRAIN: Mountains and caves (Any)
SIZE: 3' 5" - 3' 7" (100-120 cm) tall
MENTAL RESILIENCE: 7-8
(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)
SPEED: Running (hopping) x 1, Swimming x 2
(Multiple is times human speed)
MAGIC POWER: 0
(Ranges from 0-100)
HIT POINTS: 14-17
(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)
BACK: 11 (0 without shell)
FRONT LEGS: 5
BACK LEGS: 3
(If Full Plate Armour is 10)
The overlapping leathery shells, strengthened by bony spikes, that cover the back of the Darratha, give a natural protection like few others in the animal world. Underneath the shields is a soft and feathery structure to protect the Darratha from its own razor sharp physique.
1 BITE: 2-5
2 FRONT CLAWS: 2-4
(If a Long Sword causes 1-8 points of damage)
The sharp teeth of the Darratha are short but with its bite comes an infection that few withstand (hard saving throw vs Endurance). The blood of the victim is injected by a demonic bacterium that reproduces and permeates the blood system in two day's time (see 'Powers'). The dagger-like claws of the front legs are used as pointy hooks towards soft throats, or cutting devices, ripping up into the guts from below.
CALLING THE BLOOD: The Darratha usually waits a while before attacking, to scan the state of creatures or beings. The blood of an infected one may be called from afar. The Darratha can produce a third magical eye hovering between the horns of its back. Within sixty yards (54m) this eye can pierce into the body of the infected and control the blood in the victim's vessels. To uphold this abysmal magic the Darratha must remain focused. Attacks causing more than 2 points of damage will thwart the call for the round to come, and keep the creature busy defending itself. When successful, the magic will generate a great increase in the blood temperature, and cause an instant fever in the infected targets, affecting all within range with a -4 penalty on all rolls. The Darratha may use a second undisturbed round to further this power, and cause arteries to blow from within (causing 2-8 points of damage). A third round will suffer the heart of all victims to explode and blood to burst out through all orifices. A successful roll vs Endurance may stall this graphical finale for another round and reduce the effect to another 3-9 points of internal damage. If the Darratha is disturbed the call fails and the blood is immediately returned to initial temperatures. It may also deliberately keep the effect low to force or control its targets. The Darratha can use this power at will, but unless the bacteria have had two days to reproduce the call will cause nothing but a warm and uneasy sensation. The infection only spreads further if the blood of a victim is intermingled with another's. An exchange of saliva, or other intimate ways of relation are not enough, as the bacteria never reaches these bodily fluids, as it does in the Darratha.
When the Darratha are young they are limbless. Born in the waters of cold subterranean lakes, they swim around like armoured ray-fish for some years before they crawl ashore. There they develop legs and haste through the tunnels and mountains like curious dogs, but hopping, in a more rabbit-like fashion. Restlessly they hunt and eat, killing indiscriminately, and eventually, leave to examine the greater world.
Ages ago some Darratha young are said to have entered into this world from the dark waters of the Abyss, finding a passageway of sorts, leading eternally upwards, until it connected with water-filled caves far beneath the weight of ancient mountains. Now, folklore proclaim, they are trapped like misfits in a landscape foreign to them – lost in regions too bright and lush for their nature.
With senses always alert to the smell of evil, seeking eagerly for a trace of their cradle, some Darratha mysteriously manage to find a master to guide them. Several adept mages of demonology and necromancy have found a Darratha waiting on their doorstep, anxious to be led, submitting to the role of familiar, for guidance, for company, or a hope perhaps of one day being channeled back into the depths where they once dwelt.
These creatures have been closely connected with death in several cultures, and the way they often stand still at a distance watching, with a blood red gaze piercing the darkness, has a fearful impact on most beings. They have served many dark powers through time, and have a deservedly bad reputation. Seeing a Darratha in the streets typically means trouble. Wicked men have used their saliva to contaminate drinks, and water-supplies, and one infamous cleric went as far as breeding a small army of them in great tubs of copper beneath his temple, in an attempt to control his unwilling disciples.
The layered shields of the Darratha are highly flexible and shift as soon as the creature moves its head or bends its double spine. The front legs grow a softer but similar structure as the creature matures, while the back legs remain comparatively bare. Along the back of the creature are flexible needle tubes full with the red venom that is also abundant in the saliva of the creature, when it attacks.
Darrathas hiss and produce unsettling rattling sounds with their back-shields, but have no advanced means of communication. They live for 30-40 years and return into the mountains to breed and lay 4-6 eggs in lakes hidden to most. No one has ever seen them asleep.
(Check out more creatures in the 'Creature Archive' menu to the left.)
© Copyright 2011 - Nicholas Cloister