Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Original creature concepts

One of the real challenges with inventing a new creature is the desire to do something different. The more different you make it the less creature-like and believable it turns. There is a balance of sorts between 'original' and 'working'. Also, in an rpg context, the design must serve some kind of use or interest to the plot, and preferably deliver 'that' special mood.

While I find some really weird creatures absolutely amazing (like the many strange life-forms you find in a coral reef), there are only a few of those that would serve to make a story more interesting, and even fewer that can pose as some kind of action, or suspense element in a fantasy adventure. It seems I always end up drawing creatures that I enjoy, and if they are all that different or all that special, obviously doesn't hold that much priority to me. Perhaps it should? This next creature is something that reminds me of a great number of traditional fantasy beasts and beings, but for some reason, it wanted to see the light of day anyway.

Here is something I put together on YouTube, that you might want to look at, in 1080p: LINK

Finally, many thanks to all those who mentioned this blog in emails, twitts, facebook updates, forums etc. Keep it up, and I'll keep the creatures coming.

Now let us welcome, without prejudice, directly from the dark depths; The Holath-Uhr!
..and perhaps I'll manage to strike a more original chord in the future.


CATEGORY: Demon (Orc)
TERRAIN: The Abyss
FOOD: Carnivore
SIZE: 6-7 feet tall (180-210 cm) when completely upright
NUMBERS: 1 to hundreds

CHARM: 1-5
(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running x 1, Flying (eagle 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 Holath-Uhr is partly scaled and horned. The rest is covered in a sinewy and tough skin. These creatures' reaction to pain and injury is not one of screaming. They seem to accept it as an inevitable part of their every day reality – a minor nuisance, and a slight distraction at most.

1 BITE: 1-4
2 KICKS: 2-6
(If a Long Sword makes a damage of 1-8)

The Holaths primarily make use of sharp and heinous blades forged in the chasms and pits they inhabit, but shy no means of killing.

UNHOLY WORDS: In combat the Holaths utter unholy phrases and ancient words of power to dismantle the morale of the enemy. These words seem to flow out naturally from their throats in warfare and give power and strength to their attacks. All within the range of hearing suffers a -2 penalty to all rolls unless a mental resilience test is passed. This effect lasts for the remainder of the encounter. The Holaths, and all evil forces aligned to them, gain a +2 benefit on all attacks. Clerics may neutralize these dark chantings with loud prayer and blessings.

ANCIENT LUSTRE: Something in the dark second birth of the Holaths (see description) brought about a mysterious glow and a mesmerizing lustre to their presence. The evil and violent nature of these creatures is uncompromising and direct. Together these attributes convey an otherworldly presence. Like fallen angels, still empowered by the charisma of Heaven, the Holath-Uhr are formidable to all but the strongest of wills. Standing in their way is a testimony to the character and morale of any man or woman.
In the presence of Holaths all beings must make a test of their morale or mental resilience to stay opposed to them. A failure may result in passivity or conflict of mind, while a disastrous roll will make the witness draw back in submission, or even fall face down in worship.

In very old orc records one can find entries about the Holath. They are described in a double-edged manner, portrayed mainly as strong, heroic and idealized as chief among all orcs. On the other hand they are “those without being”, “the passionless ones”, and “the pathless spears”. In one chronicle the following passage takes us to the point: “The Holath had no sense of fear, law, or limit. In winter they pierced far and deep into the realms beneath the mountains. There they blended with the reptiles of myth and joined with them in unlawful and boundless manners. As they returned and faced again the starlit lands, they were strangers to the orcs that beheld them. Winged and furious they would hear no command and hold to no oath. They had become the Uhr, and the orcs abandoned them. We faced their hatred. We conquered them. We cursed them, and bound them to the space-less depths of their unwholesome rebirth.”

Scholars now categorize the Holaths as Demons, and place them with other unearthly life-forms of the Underworld. Their minds have gone beyond logic and they act with the pure malevolence and senseless hunger of the Abyss.

At times desperate orc clans summon them to their service, but the power of the Holath-Uhr is almost impossible to control. A break-through into the material plane of existence, is bound to result in chaos unleashed, and the mountains teeming with the unfettered powers of the deep.

Winged, the Holath can fly, but in a crude and clumsy manner. They cannot stay aloft for more than a minute or two, but long enough to crash down upon their enemies from above. They make no use of clothes, armour or decoration, but may carry items of power in the form of bracelets, girdles, rings etc. They normally wield dark weapons but lacking arms will not stop them from attacking.

In all, they are set on killing, eating, and to further their power, and will use whatever means they can to achieve it. Patience, and negotiations are not included. In the world of the Holath-Uhr, there is no such thing as the long way around. They serve no one, unless physically restrained and forced about. There is no fear, and nothing beneath the moon is holy or forbidden.

The Holath naturally team up and wreak havoc in joined forces. No leader seems to be needed, but a shared interest in destruction, and the dominion of their demonic species, takes them ever onward. Outside of the Abyss, they can live for 100 years.

© Copyright 2010 - Nicholas Cloister