Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Currents

Finally another creature! For those of you who keep track of RPG-creatures on facebook, or through DeviantArt this illustration isn't new, but the description is. Thanks for the suggested descriptions, people!

So what's happening? Sadly I have to report that the quality of the printed Bestiary I from LULU suddenly dropped remarkably, and I felt that I could no longer rely on their service. Bestiary I is therefore unavailable in print, until further notice.

2012 is currently very open for me. I might be freelancing. I might be teaching. I might be doing anything, but whatever comes along I also hope to make some updates to the bestiary. Those who live will see... Happy New Year btw.

Normally I don't approve of aliens in fantasy setting. They seem superflous and misplaced somehow. This creature however may actually be from another planet. Just look at it.


TERRAIN: Deep seas and ice sheets
FOOD: Carnivore
SIZE: 25 feet (7,5 m) tall

AGILITY: 4-6 (11-16 in water)
CHARM: 2-3
(If stats of humans range from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Run x 0,8, Swim x 10
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)


The natural shell-like armor of the Hieronaut doesn't cover its underside, which is rather soft, sensitive, and vulnerable (protection:1).

2 FLIPPERS: 3-12
TAIL TENTACLE TOUCH: 1 (see 'Powers')
In water:
1 BITE: 1-8
1 TAIL BASH: 4-16
(If a Long Sword causes 1-8 points of damage)

The Hieronaut is not a very agile creature on land, and risks falling over unless both arms and the tail are placed firmly on the ice. It can balance for a short moment on two of these, to shovel away (strike at) unwanted company, with one of its strange flippers. In the water it is a far more lethal creature, and may twist and turn at surprising speed. The tails and arms are not then supports for its weight but potential bone-breakers.

PRODUCE UNDEAD: The Hieronaut has the power to wield unearthly energies, and through them call souls and spirits back to the place where they died. Awakened by the call of the Hieronaut, the dead attract new bodies, made from the elements at hand. Bound to service they follow the will of the great creature, as long as their new bodies endure. Upon the ice, where the Hieronaut is normally encountered, the souls of the dead draw to themselves layers of snow and ice. Like living statues, they once more walk the earth, in a frosty resemblance of their former bodies. Lacking the will and autonomy of true life, they ceaselessly follow the command of the Hieronaut. In this form, they have no need to feed, and no desire to eat.

The short white tentacles at the end of the Hieronaut's tails are used to control the strange energies involved in commanding the souls of the dead. If these tentacles come in contact with living beings there is a chance (saving throw vs Mental Resilience) that the souls of those beings fall under the command of the Hieronaut. This slavery lasts until a successful saving throw is completed. A new roll may be performed every 10 minutes, (or every 10 rounds in combat situations). Since the creature stays upright with the help of its split tail, tentacle attacks can only be aimed at targets within their natural range.

Far beneath the wild waves, in the hidden depths of the sea, live the Hieronaut. Covered in fluorescent bulbs, they light up spaces never touched by sunlight with arrays of pulsing light. Here they dwell their entire lives, and surface only for a single purpose – to encapsulate their eggs in vessels of ice. The creatures produce upon the oceanic ice sheet a mound of translucent eggs. These look a lot like giant frog eggs but with a scarlet fetus in the center. They treat this mound with great care, and by adding water and snow they make sure that every egg is surrounded by a thick and opaque layer of ice. When the work is over the Hieronaut stays with its spawn and protects them until the ice melts. To make sure the mound is unharmed it applies its special power and calls a number of sentinels to its aid.

The Hieronaut typically picks a location where many beings have perished. This may be above the wreck of a great ship, or even the place where once armadas clashed in naval battle. They do so to make sure that many will hear its command, and return to the location of their demise. A strategic Hieronaut can summon a small army of snowmen or ice soldiers to protect its eggs upon the ice. If there is debris, gravel, or other materials near by, the awakened souls will make use of these as well as frozen water to regenerate physical bodies. Risen in this way, the undead gathering emit a white eerie light which surrounds them wherever they walk. Normally, this guard will stay very close to the mound, but if the Hieronaut sees other needs, to ensure the safety of its offspring, it may send them off on various missions.

As spring comes and the ice melts, the creature keeps its eggs covered until the sheet breaks open. Then it releases them and lets the waves carry them away. The eggs travel until their capsules melt, and at that point the larva break free and descend into the depths of the ocean. Spread out, and hopefully a long distance from their parents, the newborn Hieronauts start their lives in fresh hunting grounds, and thus have a better chance to continue the enigma of their ancestors.

No details are known about the deep sea life of the Hieronauts, but their mysterious power, might, and odd appearance have given rise to a number of tales. One of the most common claims the Hieronauts have come from beyond the stars, to scan the bottoms for the items of power of a lost civilization, and that they will stay and multiply until these are found. They live for centuries in the depths, and surface only every 40-50 years, to protect their eggs from the predators of the sea, and to make sure their random dispersion by the currents and winds of the sea.

(Check out more creatures in the 'Creature Archive' menu to the left.)

© Copyright 2011 - Nicholas Cloister