Author Topic: Monstrous Roleplaying Resources and Lore  (Read 5282 times)

MAB77

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Monstrous Roleplaying Resources and Lore
« on: August 02, 2022, 08:53:07 PM »
Welcome to our Monstrous Roleplaying Resources and Lore section.
You'll find here an exhaustive list of available options and roleplay resources to play monstrous characters.
We wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the hard-working members of this community that made these resources possible.

Mandatory readings
Please read the following before considering playing a Monstrous PC on this server.

Monstrous PC options
This is the selection of monstrous races that can be applied for on our server.

The Undead   The Lycanthropes   Other Monsters
Ancient Dead   Wereape   Dread Flesh Golem
Death Knight   Werebear   Red Widow
Dread Revenant   Wereboar   
Ghoul   Werecrocodile   
Vampire   Werehyena   
Vassalich   Werejackal   
Wight   Wereleopard   
   Wererat   
   Wereraven   
   Werewolf   
« Last Edit: January 30, 2023, 07:47:24 AM by MAB77 »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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Undead
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2023, 02:34:17 PM »
Undead

Undead are creatures trapped in a twisted mockery of life. Forces that tap into the corrupting power of the Negative Energy Plane are potent and perilous in Ravenloft. As a result, the vile undead become more powerful and are often shielded from magic that would reveal their true nature. Found in abundant numbers, they are created through a wide array of different circumstances including, but not limited to: necromantic magic, dreadful curses, sinister pacts gone wrong, disastrous encounters with life-draining creatures, or even sheer force of will.

They are divided into categories, such as the ancient dead (mummies), vampires, death knights, and the walking dead, a large family of undead which encompasses different types of undead.


The following are excerpts from Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead, which covers this category of undead.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead - skeletons, zombies, ghouls, wights, dread revenants, and similar undead animated by negative energy - are both the most common form of undead and the least appreciated for the menace they present to the living.

They are similar in many ways both to ghosts and the ancient dead, the latter more popularly known as mummies. As with ancients, all Walking Dead are entirely corporeal, their spirits trapped in the bodies they inhabited during life. Because their physical shell is already dead they are immune to any attack that depends on living processes: toxins, sleep, paralysis, and disease to name but a few. They do not feel pain – at least, not as the living do - and cannot be struck unconscious. They are also very difficult to detect in the dark; without the tell-tale sounds of breathing and the ceaseless small movements that all living creatures make even when still, noticing the Walking Dead when they wish to hide can prove almost impossible.

Like ghosts, much of the Walking Dead's power arises from their force of personality. This fact may not seem immediately obvious, but it is true. All Walking Dead, regardless of their origins or powers, are motivated by need. The word "need" is used here after much consideration. "Desire," even in its strongest forms, does not adequately convey enough of a sense of compulsion to represent the psychological motivation of the Walking Dead. The Walking Dead are compelled to fulfil this need beyond any rational or practical limitations. They pursue this directive to the extent where it drowns out any other consideration, until, in a living being, it would be considered an obsession - an overriding madness. We have dubbed this need the Craving.

The Craving and the Types of Wandering Dead

When the Craving is alien to the creature's native desires, the walking dead is crippled by the constant psychological turmoil between its own personality and the overpowering need that causes it to rise from its grave. Such a creature becomes a weak form of undead with few salient abilities. If the Craving is in tune with or springs from the creature's will, it becomes far more powerful.

The least powerful undead - the skeleton and zombie minions of powerful necromancers - are imbued with the Craving to serve their master. For obvious reasons, we call these weak creatures the Obedient Dead. As no creature wishes to be subjugated entirely by another creature, the processes that raise them from the grave and bind them to their masters must necessarily break their wills and destroy their personalities before they will accept such total domination. The Obedient Dead are not always mindless automatons, but typically, something precious is lost between life and undeath. The process of forcing one of the Walking Dead into subservience causes immense damage to the victim's psyche.

Not all of the Walking Dead are motivated by something so alien to their natures. One intriguing class of undead is the Hungry Dead, creatures forced to consume constantly. Although the food does have its benefits for the undead, this is not why they feed. No matter how much they consume, these creatures can never be satiated. Ghouls, ghasts, and their ilk are cursed with the unrelenting need to eat. In most cases, the object of their appetite is flesh or some other intimate part of the body such as the brain or bone marrow. Revolting as this quality is, it is really a blessing in disguise; few sentient creatures naturally eat these products, so again, the Hungry Dead are not as powerful as they might be due to the contest between their natural desires and the tainted needs of walking death. Only in rare cases, when the still-living creature wilfully indulges in cannibalism or similar vices, will one become a powerful member of the Hungry Dead.

The third classification is the Restless Dead. Although all creatures eat, the Hungry Dead are limited by their emotional turmoil over constantly needing food alien to their normal diet. The Restless Dead, as with powerful members of the Hungry Dead, suffer no such limitation; they spend eternity doing exactly what comes naturally to them. Their living will and their undead Craving are in perfect accord, their personalities largely unchanged from life. Considering the type of person who would have an obsession strong enough to allow them to cheat death, however, this situation is hardly reassuring. Be that the case, the Restless Dead are so powerful that at first glance revenants and wights seem almost an entirely different class of undead to skeletons and zombies.

Of course, the same Craving does not motivate every Restless Dead. Some may be motivated by the overwhelming desire to avenge their own murder. Others rise to protect their belongings from theft or destruction, still others to complete some task that eluded them during life. Perhaps most terrifying are those Restless Dead who rise from their graves due to an envious and all-consuming rage at dying while others yet survive. They exist only to equalize this supposed wrong by killing everything - whether animals, plants, or people - around their lairs.

Even those Restless Dead who are motivated by less diabolical needs, however, are terrifying in the extreme. It is hard to fanthom how the victim of a dread revenant's revenge will feel when the revenant finally tracks him or her down: that villain is the object of the undead's entire being; he quite literally exists only to avenge himself.

Another category of Walking Dead, the Wandering Dead are presented as a subcategory of the Obedient Dead. However these undead are not obedient at all. These are in fact zombies or skeletons that rise of their own accord, not because of the machinations of a spellcaster. When burying someone in Ravenloft, there is a chance that an evil spirit will inhabit the body and cause it to walk again. These zombies or skeletons, then, are not the animate servants of a necromancer, but rather roaming undead who seek destruction. Being animated by a spirit, they possess varying degrees of intelligence and are not beholden to any spellcaster. They do not follow the commands of anyone, unless influenced through magic, such as an evil cleric's command undead ability.

The Craving is the single distinguishing feature that separates the Walking Dead from other types of undead. The drives that motivate even the most obsessive lich or mummy are nothing compared to those of the Walking Dead, which will do anything to pursue their goal, no matter how selfdestructive or corrupt their actions may be.

There are other signs that distinguish the Walking Dead from other undead type. While vampires, for instance, typically appear relatively lifelike, the Walking Dead always seem decayed to some extent. The Walking Dead inhabit their own corpses; ghosts, even those that are corporeal, do not. Liches are invariably powerful spellcasters; the Walking Dead rarely cast spells and even more rarely manage to achieve more than a moderate level of ability. The ancient dead are animated by positive energy, the Walking Dead negative energy. Psychology, however, is by far the surest tool to identify the walking dead and among the easiest to use.


The following are excerpts from Undead, a d20 supplement. It further explores reasons and motivations to become an undead, and of the impacts on one souls.

The Seekers

How difficult is it to seek the undead state and what kind of people wish to do so? The stereotype of an undead is that of a powerful, innately evil creature whose only goal is to gain enough power to plunge the world into darkness. An interesting impression, but only occasionally accurate. It is certainly not a complete representation of the mortal that once existed before making the choice to become undead.

The fear of death is a natural human response. We are frightened of things we cannot understand and throughout our existence as humans, the secrets of death always elude us. When we die, are all the things we have fought for in this life rendered to dust? Are our struggles of any value beyond our immediate existence? These questions have plagued mortal intellect from the day we first gained awareness. The passage into undeath is a means to answer to those questions.

The first type of individual seeking undeath wishes to know and conquer death itself. They are looking for a means to extend their life, to face death and prevail. In many ways, they wish to cheat the cycle and step outside of the realm of nature. By doing so, they manage to escape the end of their lives. For some, this is enough. There are many individuals who live their lives in pain, afraid of death, concerned that when their life ends, so too will all of their works. These people look to undeath as a way to master the world around them. They use it as a means to prevent the end of their legacy. The magical power or prowess is not of concern to them beyond being a means to remain alive.

Another sort of individual who seeks to become undead are the guardians and protectors. In life, they are dedicated and loyal, believing in their mission or their leader above all other things. This leader may be an icon of faith, or a symbol of great power, but to the individual, it is something whose worth is beyond mortal death. When mortal life leaves the body (as direct result of such a ritual), the individual rises again as an undead guardian. In the case of mummies, the individual actually pledges their soul to the defense and protection of this item, icon or place, and by doing so, binds themselves to that goal. A person who pledges his eternal existence to the defense of the Princess' Tomb may become a walking undead guardian of that tomb, fighting against anyone who would dare disturb the sleep of his dead charge. A spectre that has been bound to an artifact remains, in spirit, close to that item. If it is disturbed or used wrongly, the spectre arises to defend its charge.

Some can achieve this undead guardian effect without the courtesy of a magical ritual. When destiny goes awry and someone's fate is stolen from them, their soul may reach beyond mortal limits and refuse to let go of its emotional need. Whether this driving goal is vengeance, duty, love or honor, it is enough to allow the body to rise beyond death and continue to exist in a surreal state of undeath. Unlike mummies and other ritual guardians, however, this form of undead ceases to exist once their purpose is negated or fulfilled. Death knights, dread revenants and wraiths fall into this category of undead. Their need to become undead was created at the moment of their death. They became undead following a tragic incident that their soul could not ignore. During life, they did not necessarily seek undeath - they may have shunned it or not known about its existence, but at their dying moment, their soul found reason to cling to this world despite the loss of their life.

Undead that can create others of their own type are also sought out by those who wish to cheat death, to negotiate for the gift that these undead offer through their dark infection. Vampires, in particular, are sought out with such requests. Some of these undead amass a great deal of money and power by choosing the successor of their blood-curse.

Others swear to raise the petitioner into undeath, but then cheat and allow the individual to die while the vampire takes the payment without offering the reward.


The Lost

Other individuals do not choose to remain beyond death. Corpses that rise do not always become undead of their own bidding. Occasionally events occur that scar the very fabric of reality, leaving behind a legacy of remorse and despair. Great battles often leave behind warriors, soldiers that do not accept death and continue to march across barren and desolate fields. Even smaller tragedies spawn ghosts and allips (commonly known as Madness-wraiths) that continue to repeat the actions which led to their own death. Night after night, such undead return to the site of their greatest remorse. There they mechanically go through the motions of their last moments, reliving the moment of their demise time and time again. Such undead are not necessarily evil. Indeed, they may not realize that they are dead at all, so long as their eternal loop is not interrupted. If they are constrained from performing their necessary actions, they go mad and lash out violently until the provocation is gone, at which point, they return to their cycle, as if undisturbed.

Magic that goes horribly awry can create such restless spirits. Trapped by some flux of the ethereal, the spirit of the newly dead may find itself lost between realms, damned to an eternity as a ghost or spectre. Curses, cast by powerful mages or unleashed through thoughtless action, can also condemn the innocent into an eternal unlife. Many powerful artifacts and relics are capable of tearing the soul from the body and destroying the flesh. Some such items can enslave the souls it steals into a legion of undead protectors. Others leave the lost soul on its own, forever cut off from its life but also forbidden the peace of true death.

In some cases, a member of the undead chose them as a legacy. Many of the undead have their own means of procreation through the passing of a taint of their existence. Those undead seek someone to share their immortality. These creatures spend their unlives creating more remnants of their twisted races and war upon each other through those who are an extension of their curse. Wights, ghouls and vampires are the most common of these self-replicating undead. Their choice for servant to pass on their legacy may be made completely without the individual's knowledge. The creature stalks and chooses its prey as a predator might do. Once captured, the target is forced to undergo a ritual and become undead (for vampires, this involves the ingestion of blood; for wights, the ritual communion of flesh). Immediately thereafter, the creator undead then kills the target's mortal flesh in order to force their return to an unholy life.

For such restless spirits, damnation may not be an eternal punishment. Those who do not stain their soul by willingly accepting the curse of the undead can still seek atonement. For some, this atonement must come through spiritual prowess and the absolution of faith. For others, their goal must be achieved in order to allow such a spirit to give this world release. Undead that remain in this world because they are trapped within a cycle, or because they have lost their place in fate, can be restored if their quest is accomplished. Unlike those undead that willingly walk into the jaws of eternal damnation, they exist in a form of purgatory where their soul is removed from death, but not necessarily removed permanently from the cycle.


The Soul

When an undead is created, the person's body and their mind undergo certain physical transformations, but how do we quantify the changes within the soul? Most religions consider undead to be a blasphemy against life and a dark transition of the soul. Undead are twisted beings, their souls condemned by powerful magics and removed from the course of natural life and death.

The philosophy of undeath is simple, but the understanding of the metaphysics is far more complex. When an individual exchanges their life for undeath, the spark of energy that fuels their existence is stamped out and replaced by a darker force, a negative energy that feeds on life and pain. This energy (some term it the negative soul) replicates the original soul of the individual and establishes a continuance of life. Some faiths believe that this soul is not the original soul, but a negative duplicate, while others believe that it is the original soul of the creature now tainted and twisted by the energy of the negative plane. Based on these beliefs, some people that hunt the undead justify their actions as a cleansing of the flesh that has been taken over by an evil spirit or as a cleaning the spirit that is tormented by this evil energy.

If we continue with the ideal that the soul of the individual is destroyed and replaced with a negative replica of that individual's essence then we must also believe that this negative reflection can exist for all of us. Is it the source of Evil? Does it have any connection with the normal every day person? There are those psychopaths that believe a darker force drives their actions, perhaps this negative energy has its own goals and desires. When it comes right down to it, this belief allows us to think that. These horrible creatures are not truly human.

Source: 3rd Edition Ravenloft Campaign Setting, Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead, Undead (d20 supplement)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2023, 08:32:35 PM by EO »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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The Ancient Dead (Mummy)
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2023, 09:32:47 PM »
The Ancient Dead (Mummy)
Quote


The form was lifeless and inert, but it seemed to Smith as he gazed that there still lingered a lurid spark of vitality, some faint sign of consciousness in the little eyes which lurked in depths of the hollow sockets.

"Lot No. 249"
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The undead monsters van Richten dubbed the ancient dead are more widely recognized as mummies, but a shambling, bandaged monstrosity is only one of the appearances these fearsome creatures might take. Any culture that preserves the bodies and venerates the memories of the deceased might unknowingly harbor the ancient dead in its burial grounds, and these creatures do not kindly suffer the intrusions of the living. They are among the most single-mindedly possessive and obsessive creatures that exist. Their passion for the things that gave them joy in life exceeds even that of the legendary dragons. Tampering with the goods kept in a mummy’s guard or its objectives is almost certain to bring about a curse or some other deadly assault.

Appearance
When people think of the ancient dead, they usually conjure the traditional vision of a withered and desiccated corpse, with features hidden beneath centuries-old funereal wrappings. While that may be true in the case of beings mummified long ago to protect the tombs of their lords, the fact is that it can vary greatly from an ancient dead to another. They actually are withered and desiccated corpses for the most part, but some are better preserved than others and might even pass for entirely alive.

Most of the ancient dead have humanoid form. These creatures were once living, breathing people, and they retain a recognizably humanoid shape. Without careful study, there is no easy way to tell what a humanoid mummy's origins are. Details of dress and ornament, hair style and even facial features may provide clues to the culture or era from which an ancient dead first issued.

These horrid creatures are often marked with symbols of the dire gods they serve. While other undead often stink of carrion, the herbs and powders used to create a mummy give off a sharp, pungent odor like that of a spice cabinet.

Other forms of ancient dead include those created by the reanimation of animals and monsters, or may even be a composite creature, not unlike a flesh or bone golem, bounded with a humanoid spirit. Note that player characters are limited to the humanoid form.

How to become an ancient dead?
There are several ways an ancient dead can be created, these are divided in three broad categories: accidental, created & invoked. In each cases, the mortal shell must first be preserved, then the spirit itself must be compelled or induced to return to its body.
  • Accidental ancient dead are formed when a corpse is naturally preserved. The majority of these mummies were suddenly overcome by death. Usually their deaths also included great pain or emotion. Any environmental condition that prevents a body from decaying can create a natural mummy. The most common conditions include burial in dry sand, freezing, and immersion in swamps or bogs. There also might be other conditions that can naturally embalm a corpse.
     
  • Created ancient dead are the most numerous. They rise when a preserved corpse is deliberately turned into an undead creature. The typical ancient dead found in many lands is created from the corpse of a priest, carefully embalmed and wrapped for the ritual that will bind its spirit with its body once again. There are two types of created ancient dead: subservient and usurped. When the entity that creates a mummy had control over the creature's mortal form, the resulting monster becomes its creator's servant. When the entity that creates a mummy did not hold sway over the creature's mortal form, the result is a usurped mummy. Usurped ancient dead become the mindless tools of their undead masters.

    Note that even the most reverent and well-intentioned funeral rites can lead to undeath for the deceased if an enemy can subvert those rites and lay a curse on the corpse. Beings who have been thus victimized often lie helpless for centuries, trapped in a state between life and death, denied the afterlife that funeral rites were meant to assure. Ancient dead creatures of this kind are driven by an inhuman rage born of endless disappointment and despair. Even if the victim was good and virtuous in life, its involuntary undead state transforms it into a corrupted monster.
     
  • Invoked ancient dead are the most terrible and powerful of all. Invoked mummies embraced undeath willingly, laying plans for a corrupted form of immortality while still alive. Such creatures often lie undisturbed in their tombs for decades-even centuries before stirring and walking the land.
Once the physical body is transformed into a vessel capable of holding the creature's spirit, some other factor must secure the spirit within that body. Remains that have been merely animated, and thus lack an intrinsic sense of self, become mindless automatons such as skeletons and zombies. The ancient dead, by contrast, possess at least a modicum of intelligence, and often they are empowered with formidable intellects. Even first-rank servitor mummies follow orders with a sense of purpose and the ability to adjust their tactics. When a hapless party has misidentified such foes as common zombies or skeletons, even the weakest mummy can be deadly.

The means by which a living being is transformed into an ancient dead creature is often the pivotal factor in determining the creature's appearance, powers, and actions. When dealing with very powerful mummies, learning the creature's history is a vital task because that past often holds the only key to laying the mummy to rest.

Ranks and Salient Powers
Like ghosts, the ancient dead are separated into ranks. The higher a mummy's rank, the more powerful it is. A mummy's rank is roughly determined by how powerful the mummy was in life, how venerated it was in life and after death, and how much care and expense went into its preservation and burial. Rank one mummies were usually servants mummified with their master, while rank five mummies were usually rulers of entire nations. The ancient dead frequently have salient powers of their own, unusual abilities they gain as they grow in ranks.

Ancient dead MPCs start at rank 1 and do not have any salient power.

Combat
Even if they had no other abilities, their great strength and grim determination alone would make the ancient dead relentless foes and formidable combatants. Unfortunately for the living, they also exult an aura of fear, are bolstered by the resilience of undeath, and their touch carries a terrible disease. They are usually insightful and possessed of strong personalities, but their obsessive nature often distracts them and they don't have the intellect to serve effectively as leaders.

Ancient dead attack intruders without pause or mercy. They can speak the languages they knew in life, but seldom bother to do so. They never attempt to communicate with their enemies and rarely retreat. Most encounters with a mummy end with the destruction of one combatant or the other (unless the mummy's foe elects to retreat).

Clerics and voodans becoming ancient dead see their clerical domains systematically changed to the Death and/or Protection domains.

Habitat/Society
The ancient dead are not quite part of society, but their function might be intimately tied to it. The lesser ancient dead of Har'Akir for instance serve as protectors of their ancient tombs and temples, maintaining a timeless vigil and destroying would-be grave robbers. The goals of ancient dead vary greatly from one another, but a common specificity is that they only rise under specific circumstances. These factors often leave their mark on the resulting creature.
  • Servitude. This creature lies under another's control. The extent of this control ranges from independent service to complete mental domination, in which the servant must act against its own self-interest without resistance if so ordered. Servitor mummies are most often created by other mummies or by a mummy cult. Such servants are never the old ancient dead associated with the cult. They usually serve as guards and soldiers, front-line troops which delay and wear down an enemy until the main strength arrives.

    Not every ancient dead guardian is a servitor. Many restless and invoked mummies stalk the mortal world, seeking of their own volition to protect something. Servitor mummies also may have access to vast resources or be backed up by a horde of other creatures. Fortunate hunters can discover the link between servant and master and sever it. Even if one cannot break the link, one might discover that the terms of a mummy's service restrict its actions in some manner. Servitor mummies are almost always deliberately created, usually by the creature that controls them. It is important to note that if a mummy is not created specifically to serve, then its servitude is a condition of its existence, rather than a part of its origin. If the control over such a mummy is broken, the creature will immediately begin acting in a manner consistent with its own motivations.
     
  • Restlessness. There are emotional forces which bind the dead to the mortal world. Some ancient dead creatures arise from the same kinds of circumstances that create ghosts. This is particularly true of accidental and invoked mummies: something in the creature's psyche maintains a link between spirit and body that outlasts even death. This link can arise without a conscious desire on the dying person's part. Sometimes it merely provides a path through which an outside agent can create a mummy. Restless ancient dead often remain quiet unless their tombs are disturbed or allowed to decay, or until some task they could not complete in life suddenly becomes possible. A mummy with an unfinished task might rise periodically to set about trying to achieve it.
     
  • Recalled. Sometimes the ancient dead can rise in response to events that occur long after their deaths. A being can pass fully from the mortal world, only to be drawn back when certain conditions prevail. Some force or summons compels the spirit to re-enter its mortal body. Ancient dead of this type are usually invoked, but not always. That could happen in the case of a creature returned in response to an ancient curse it had successfully avoided throughout its life. In one such instance, an ancient dead awoke when her descendants triggered the curse. The curse was worded in such a way that the victim's repose in death was interrupted so that she could waken and feel the curse's effects.
     
  • Dark Pacts. Some individuals may also enter into dark pacts with fell entities as an attempt to reach physical immortality. Often, this is so that they may continue to enjoy the pleasures of life and maintain ownership of material things. The victim always ends up being tricked, superficially gaining what is desired, but never quite as they expected or intended. Clinging to their desires though, possessions soon become obsessions. The object of that obsession often becomes the key to the ancient dead's destruction.
Ancient dead usually interact poorly with most other undead. They find flesh-eating or blood-drinking undead creatures such as ghouls and vampires distasteful, and have little patience for the chaotic nature of most undead, particularly the hateful mohrgs. Wights at least share some of the mummies disciplined nature, and mummies can find common cause with them against a shared enemy.

Ecology
The ancient dead have no meaningful place in the environment. They patiently await in their respective lairs until the conditions for their rising are met.

Ancient Dead Properties
Spoiler: show

Racial type: Undead
Hit Dice: d12 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +8
Ability Modifiers: Str +8, Dex -2, Int -2, Wis +4, Cha +4
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Darkvision, Toughness, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Skill Bonuses: Hide +8, Listen +8, Move Silently +8, Spot +8
Turn Resistance +2
Immunities: Disease, critical Hits, sneak attack, mind spells, poison, level & ability drain, death magic, paralysis, negative energy, cold damage.
Damage reduction +1/5-.
50% Damage immunity vs bludgeoning, piercing and slashing attacks.
100% Vulnerability to fire.
Fear Aura
Mummy Slam (1d6 bludgeoning damage, On Hit: Mummy Rot)
Ability to control any non-intelligent undead.


Sources: Ravenloft Campaign Setting, D&D 3.5 Monster Manual, Libris Mortis, Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2023, 04:04:11 PM by EO »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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The Death Knight
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2023, 09:33:43 PM »
The Death Knight
Quote


"From the dark into the light,
From the small unto the great,
From the valleys dark I ride
O’er the hills to conquer fate!"

"Horseman Springing"
by Lilla Cabot Perry

None can win the war with death, but losing the war does not mean the combatants have seen their last battle. Warriors who wish to fight beyond the limitations of flesh and blood can seek a forbidden way to steal their souls from fate. The cost of this immortality is death, but the fearless few who pay this price become death’s allies. Indeed, death bestows power upon them. Their fleshless bones clad in skins of armor, their brittle fingers clasping weapons with a grip of iron, these knights of death take command of their souls and their destinies. When they charge from the shadowy afterlife into the lands of the living, death knights ride to wage war upon life itself.

Death knights speak the languages they knew in life.

Appearance
A death knight's physical form is that of its decayed body. The face is a blackened skull covered with patches of rotting flesh, with two pinpoints of orange light in the eye sockets. The voice of a death knight is chilling, seeming to echo from deep within. Death knights were powerful people in life, and so they often wear expensive or magic clothing and armor. They are quite fond of wearing flowing capes to mark them as figures of importance.

History
The origin of the death knight lies in a period so ancient that only legends can speak of it with authority. Each race has its own version of the story.

For elves, the first death knight was a tragic figure who was tricked into becoming a death knight in order to win his love from the clutches of a rapacious rival. In this version, lies lead the story’s hero to death. His rival is not a villain. His lady doesn’t truly love him. The wicked fey creature who offers the hero a path to power leads him instead to damnation. After killing his apparent foe and learning the truth of his supposed love, the death knight embraces the flame of darkness in his heart by slaying the lady and turning his grief and rage upon the rest of the world.

To dwarves, the first death knight was a greedy king who could not release his grip on the throne. The king sullied his clan, his kingdom, and the many honored dead who passed on before him by seeking unnatural means of extending his life. Seeing foes and rivals everywhere, he arranged for his children, his relatives, and those who refused his commands to die in battle or exile. With no heirs and no kin, he claimed his throne for eternity by becoming a death knight and transforming his loyal retainers into undead servitors. Dwarven legend says the death knight still sits on his throne and rules over a kingdom of undead, entombed behind miles of rock by those few dwarves who escaped his reign alive.

Humans relate several competing legends of the first death knight, but all bear a common theme: A man or woman wanted power and received it, and with that dark power, the newly made death knight accomplished its goals. The death knight might have been tricked or cursed, but in these tales the means are unimportant when compared to the ends. Sometimes tragic, sometimes triumphant, these stories teach that great power allows the wielder to achieve great things, even if the price is cursed immortality.

Halfling legend tells what might be the oldest story of the first death knight, and the story is so simple it might be closest to the truth. They say the first death knight arose in service to Orcus, Demon Prince of Undead. The tale’s protagonist, a human warrior of considerable skill and renown, was plagued with an unquenchable thirst for vengeance. When denied a position of power he felt was his right, he sought revenge but was denied satisfaction. Bloodied and disgraced, he fled to fell lands inhabited by demons. There he proved his worth to Orcus first by defeating the Demon Prince’s minions and then by killing Orcus’s enemies. When cultists of Orcus offered the man the power to avenge the slights against him, he readily accepted and became the first death knight.

Becoming a Death Knight
Gods of death create death knights. They are martial champions of evil. These horrible undead are most commonly raised from the ranks of blackguards, fighters, rangers, and barbarians; but a paladin who falls from grace near the moment of death may also become a death knight. Paladins who become death knights are subject to the same modifications as are presented for the blackguard.

There are also those who seek the dark powers of a death knight in death on their own. To do so they must first perform the proper ritual. Discovering the right ritual to become a death knight can be extraordinarily hazardous. Good-intentioned individuals often destroy copies when they find them, and the most fanatical will kill those who seek its secrets rather than allow knowledge of the ritual to spread. False rituals abound—traps laid for the unwise and unwary by those who seek souls for other dark purposes.

Despite this, working versions of the ritual exist, each with its own peculiar requirements. One ritual might simply demand that the performer sacrifice a loved one, while another might stipulate that the caster must die in battle at the hands of a foe while in a graveyard or tomb. Frequently, the supplicant must have spilled the blood of innocents with the weapon that will become the soul weapon.

The rarity of the true ritual drives many to seek it from a surer source, such as the cultists of Orcus. These vile madmen despise the gods and bow only to Orcus, who they believe will one day make eternal undead of them all. As worshipers of destruction, demons, and undeath, cultists of Orcus can never be trusted... but they enjoy seeing destructive undead unleashed upon the world, and few undead can be as dangerous as a death knight. The demands made of supplicants are a mystery, but the rites are terrible enough that even most Orcus cultists avoid this particular fate. Perhaps they do not feel worthy, or maybe, like many, they simply fear death.

Fear of death is a luxury those seeking undead knighthood cannot afford. Instead, they must seek death out. They must hunger for it. They must embrace death to gain its power. Through death, they become death.

Soul Weapons
The ritual to become a death knight tears the ritual caster’s soul from his body and binds it to the weapon used in the ritual. The ritual caster dies as the living parts of the body are consumed in unholy green fire. From that conflagration rise the soulless bones of the living person, guided by an evil intelligence that no longer needs a brain for its vile thoughts and an endless hatred that no longer requires a heart to drive its dark passion.

A soul weapon is similar to a lich’s phylactery in that the death knight’s soul resides there instead of in its body. But in most other ways, the soul weapon is the opposite of a phylactery. For a lich its phylactery is a weakness that allows its permanent destruction, but the soul weapon is the death knight’s greatest strength. A death knight literally wields its soul as a weapon. The soul weapon’s strikes burn with death, and at the death knight’s command it can become immaterial, passing through armor and shields to strike at its foes’ unprotected flesh.

A death knight need never fear its soul weapon’s destruction, for with a thought the knight can restore the weapon to wholeness and unwholesome power. If the weapon is taken, a death knight becomes weakened and distracted, distraught by the loss of its soul and consumed by the need to recover it. However, no other creature can wield a death knight’s soul weapon without feeling despair, so few can withhold a soul weapon from a death knight indefinitely.

Physiology
Death knights have no flesh and blood and thus lack the needs of a living body. They are tireless warriors who only desire vengeance, conquest, and other bloody evils. Despite lacking muscle and heart, death knights maintain the strength and vigor they had in life.

Like many of the living dead, death knights can be destroyed by damaging their bodies. Although they feel little pain, enough punishment can break their bones. Unlike a lich, a death knight cannot take refuge in a phylactery, and it does not reform from its soul weapon. When its earthly body is destroyed, a death knight’s soul leaves its weapon and travels to whatever dire fate awaits it in the afterlife. None can say with assurance what happens to the souls of death knights. Some death knights might believe they know the fate of their souls, and that knowledge spurs them to maintain their undead existence by any means. For the rest, the afterlife is an intangible and terrifying unknown. If no devil or vile deity seizes a death knight’s soul, the knight can expect no quarter when its soul is weighed by the gods.

Psychology and Society
Those who seek knighthood in death tend to be courageous and ambitious individuals. Either loners or leaders in life, in death they become both, leading lesser undead but isolated from mortal society. A group of death knights might form a cadre of dark riders, but even among such a collusion of evil, one death knight typically assumes leadership over the rest. The most ancient among them might even have been the one to corrupt the rest, creating a society of undeath.

Although on rare occasions a person has been transformed into a death knight through accident, deception, or outside force, most death knights hunted for their undead fate. They might have been motivated by fear of the afterlife, but those who seek to deny gods or devils their souls cannot be considered cowards. Rather, the desire for knighthood in death stems largely from a desire for power. Those who become death knights are often already powerful warriors, so the temptation of undeath must offer them something mortality cannot: power unmitigated by age.

Most who turn to death as a means of power are frustrated in life, thwarted in their efforts to achieve their ambitions. Defeat is less tolerable than death, and they are willing to trade flesh and life for the power to avenge themselves or to accomplish a goal. Upon achieving unholy knighthood, such individuals relentlessly pursue the cause of their rage. Continued failure results in greater frustration and anger and drives the death knight to marshal superior forces. Since time has little meaning to a death knight, it might return for revenge generations after those who wronged it are buried and gone. Success provides a death knight only fleeting happiness, for after achieving its goal, a death knight can only look forward to a cold eternity of endless struggle.

Whatever their personalities in life, death knights become brooding and wrathful in death. They carry their souls in their bony hands, a constant reminder of a bargain that cannot be undone. For power to accomplish a single goal, death knights forego all other joys. That choice weighs upon its every immortal moment.

Newly made death knights and those who regret their decision usually act alone, but with time most death knights accept their status among the undead and use it as a tool for power. Death knights can command lesser undead, and though they will work with dim-witted creatures such as zombies, most prefer minions that can accept and act upon complex commands. In particular, death knights prefer the services of undead that behave like warriors. Humanoid skeletons, battle wights, and sword wraiths serve them well as foot soldiers, captains, and bodyguards.

Of course, death knights are rarely welcome among the living, and as they gather forces about themselves, they must stay on the move or find refuge lest an army be brought to bear upon them before they are ready for battle. A death knight might take command of a ruined castle, or it might raid and claim a fortress from its inhabitants. If the death knight thirsts for conquest, such conquered territory might become the heart of a dark empire. If the death knight is still marshalling forces or nursing anger about a past defeat, the fortress might remain a haunted ruin, a source of dark rumors and whispered tales.

Although the majority of death knights work alone or as leaders, some become followers to greater forces. Death knights who became undead unwillingly or at the behest of others attach themselves to a superior who shows great purpose and initiative. Sometimes this is another death knight, but it might be a powerful undead such as a lich or vampire, or even a mortal who holds influence over the undead. Death knights might serve another for years or even centuries, but most eventually turn against their erstwhile masters, waiting until they are weak due to some loss. A death knight’s loyalty and sense of honor can last far longer than any living person’s, but with its soul in hand as eternity stretches out before it, a death knight finds few promises worth keeping and morality a farce.

If a death knight makes any long-term connection with a creature, it is most likely to be with a favored mount. Few horses can stand to carry such a horror, but evil beasts such as nightmares and undead mounts willingly carry a death knight into battle. The teamwork necessary for rider and mount to act as one is often a death knight’s only source of lasting pleasure.

Famous Death Knights
The first named death knight was Saint Kargoth, introduced in a 1983 Dragon article, but the most famous by far is Lord Soth of the Dragonlance campaign setting. Here’s a primer on some of the death knights D&D has named over the years.

Saint Kargoth: First introduced in Dragon and then adopted by the Greyhawk campaign setting, Saint Kargoth was a noble human knight who, along with thirteen fellow knights, became a death knight after being corrupted by Demogorgon. Kargoth was jealous that another knight was chosen to lead the Great Kingdom’s knight protectors, and his fury and envy lead him to seek the power of undeath to pursue his revenge. He became a hero to the worshipers of Hextor, hence his appellation as a saint.

Lord Soth: Like Kargoth, Lord Soth was also a great knight, but Soth’s transformation into a death knight is a far more twisted tale. Soth’s wife gave birth to a monster that was a representation of Lord Soth’s soul. Thinking his wife had been unfaithful, Lord Soth murdered her and his child, even though Lord Soth was himself unfaithful to his wife. When his crime was discovered, Lord Soth was spirited away from his execution by knights loyal to him. While besieged with his knights, Lord Soth was informed that he could save the world from a great cataclysm. He left to pursue the quest that would save the world, but he turned back when told lies about his new wife’s fidelity. Soth confronted his new wife and their child while the cataclysm occurred, refusing to save them from a fiery death. The fire that killed them engulfed the whole keep, killing Lord Soth and his allies, but the cursed Lord Soth arose as a death knight and his followers joined him in undeath.

Miltiades: Although not specifically referred to as a death knight, a skeletal undead paladin named Miltiades appears in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Cursed by Tyr, god of justice, after dishonorably slaying a foe, Miltiades sought to do good even after death. Tyr restored Miltiades to life after suitable heroics.

Vanthus Vanderboren: Vanthus featured as a villain in Dungeon magazine’s “Savage Tide” adventure path. Appearing as a human foe throughout the first two adventures, he returns as a half-fiend after visiting the Abyss and being transformed by the Flesh Forge. Following his death at the hands of the PCs, Demogorgon turns him into a death knight, and he bedevils the PCs again only to meet a second death. Upon this second failure, he is transformed into a larva, and the PCs meet him in this lowly form during the last adventure.

Death Knight Properties
Spoiler: show
Racial type: Undead
Hit Dice: d12 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +5
Ability Modifiers: Str +4, Wis +2, Cha +2
Bonus Feats: Darkvision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Immunities: Disease, critical hits, sneak attack, mind-affecting spells and abilities, poison, level & ability drain, death magic, paralysis, negative energy, turn undead, cold and electrical damage.
Damage Reduction: +1/5-
Spell Resistance: 20 + 1 per level past level 10 (max 30 at level 20)
Fear Aura
Energy Drain
Abyssal Blast
Soul-bound weapon
Ability to control undead NPCs.


Sources: Dragon Magazine #290, 291 and 360, Living Greyhawk Journal 6 and Living Greyhawk Journal 7, Dragonlance Campaign Setting, Monster Manual II.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2023, 04:03:54 PM by EO »
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MAB

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1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

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The Dread Revenant
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2023, 09:34:18 PM »
The Dread Revenant
Quote

"Lord knows I should be pushing daisies;
I was six feet down, but something raised me up--
Sent back for to lift my curse;
I’m gonna get me a taste of some chaos first.

Untied, gonna get little wild,
Go screaming through the dark like a demon child.
Close your eyes now, the light is fading,
And the noise in the night is gonna get a little louder, baby..."

"The World Ender"
by Lord Huron

A Dread Revenant is an undead creature governed by a single and overriding instinct: to right a wrong done to them (or against them) in life by bringing the perpetrators to account for what they have done.

Appearance
Dread Revenants usually appear as dried, desiccated corpses, with bright, alert, and angry eyes. While its skin is leathery, its body is taut and powerful, betraying its unnatural strength.

How does someone become a dread revenant?
In the Demiplane of Dread, many crimes go unpunished. So prevalent are the evils that dominate the land, so merciless are the rulers of every domain, so uncaring is the world in the face of human desperation and denigration, that the hope of justice for the misdeeds of others is a quaint fantasy better suited to dreams. Yet there are times when a soul is unwilling to accept the injustices perpetrated against them in life, times when anger and rage at justice denied reaches beyond even the thin veil between life and death, and calls a body back to service even though its heart has stopped beating and its blood has long since cooled. It is thus that a Dread Revenant comes into being.

As many acts of pettiness and cruelty are commonplace in the Demiplane of Dread, it takes an act of betrayal or assassination of truly dramatic scale to create a Dread Revenant. It does, however, not matter if the act was genuinely cruel; it only matters that the spirit perceives it to be, and is gripped or obsessed with this belief at the moment of its death, and that this unholy desire for vengeance animates its corpse after the end of its natural life. The Mists have somehow granted the Revenant its dark wish and set it on a path to seek the justice it believes it was denied.

Combat
Dread revenants employ the combat skills they knew during their lifetime with the increased resilience and strength that undeath conferred them. They also possess a fear aura and the ability to paralyze with their unflinching gaze. They can be destroyed as can other undead creatures, but so powerful is the spirit that lurks within it that it reforms the next night, ready to continue on its violent course. Only a dread revenant's victim may destroy it, as the force of that final injustice forces even a defiant spirit to succumb. The dread revenant also ceases to be if it is successful on its quest for vengeance.

Habitat/Society
The dread revenant does not function as part of a society. Although it retains the sentience and abilities it possessed in life, plus the resilience of a creature that no longer fears injury or death, it is single-mindedly focused on this one goal to the exclusion of all else. A Dread Revenant can employ others as agents; it can use manipulation, stealth, and other more careful tactics, but it cannot delay too long in hunting its quarry before it is compelled to proceed.

Craving
A dread revenant's craving is an intense and burning desire for vengeance against its quarry. This intense craving sustains the dread revenant, which can only be killed by its quarry. A dread revenant that has completed its mission of revenge crumbles on the spot, and its spirit moves on to its next destination.

Ecology
As with all undead, a dread revenant has no meaningful place in the environment.

Dread Revenant Properties
Spoiler: show
Racial type: Undead
Hit Dice: d12 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +4
Ability Modifiers: Str +6, Dex -2, Int -2, Cha +2
Bonus Feats: Darkvision, Iron Will, Toughness, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Skill Bonuses: Search +6, Spot +6
Regeneration +5
Damage Resistance: Acid, Cold, Electricity 20/-
Immunities: Disease, critical hits, backstabs, mind spells, poison, level & ability drains, death magic, paralysis, negative energy, turn undead.
Fear Aura
Paralyzing Gaze
Relentless: Can respawn indefinitely unless killed by its own quarry. Upon their quarry's death, they crumble on the spot.


Sources: Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2023, 08:58:15 PM by EO »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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The Ghoul
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2023, 09:35:10 PM »
The Ghoul
Quote

"I had been hungry all the years;
My noon had come, to dine;
I trembling, drew the table near,
And touched the curious wine."

"I had Been Hungry"
by Emily Dickinson

Ghouls are undead creatures, once human, who now feed on the flesh of corpses. Although the change from human to ghoul has deranged and destroyed their minds, ghouls have a terrible cunning which enables them to hunt their prey most effectively. 

Appearance
Ghouls are vaguely recognizable as once having been human, but have become horribly disfigured by their change to ghouls. The tongue becomes long and tough for licking marrow from cracked bones, the teeth become sharp and elongated, and the nails grow strong and sharp like claws. This foul creature appears more or less humanoid, but has mottled decaying flesh drawn tight across clearly visible bones. It is mostly hairless and has a carnivore's sharp teeth. Its eyes burn like hot coals in their sunken sockets.

How does someone become a ghoul?
Ghouls are said to be created upon the death of a living man or woman who savoured the taste of the flesh of people. This assertion may or may not be true, but it does explain the disgusting behaviour of these anthropophagus undead. Some believe that anyone of exceptional debauchery and wickedness runs the risks of becoming a ghoul. A proven method is also to be bitten by a ghoul or a ghast. In any cases, the transformation from living beings into fell things of the night has warped their minds, making them cunning and feral.

Combat
Ghouls try to attack with surprise whenever possible. They strike from behind tombstones and burst from shallow graves.

Habitat/Society
Although usually portrayed as bloodthirsty killers content to dine on carrion, ghouls (And their tougher cousins, the ghasts) were once living humanoids with true emotions. Sometimes memories of that previous life comes back to haunt a ghoul, and such qualities make for an excellent tragic character. Ghouls haunt graveyards, battlefields and other places rich with the carrion they hunger for. These terrible creatures lurk wherever the stench of death hangs heavy, ready to devour the unwary. They speak the languages they spoke in life.

Craving
Ghouls are part of the hungry dead category. They are defined by their relentless appetite. Their favored diet is that of carrion from decaying corpses, but the flesh of the recently dead is the next best thing. Ghouls must consume flesh from the dead every day or fall into starvation and possibly wither away the longer they go without eating. The more it goes without eating, the more consuming the thought of eating is, to the point of disregarding its own safety. When a starved ghoul is confronted with a potential victim, it immediately throws itself at it, attacking furiously until it has eaten all that it can. Ghouls that find themselves unable to feed for a significant period of time, such as when they are sealed away in tombs, may enter into hibernation. While slumbering they are not subject to their hunger, but they will awaken as hungry as ever the moment a potential meal is in the vicinity.

Salient Abilities
Ghouls may gain salient powers in the course of their existence. It is typically tied to undead's hit dice. Stronger undead gain more salient abilities, with one additional salient ability for each century of existence. Typical salient abilities may include the ability to control its appearance; gaining bonuses for entering into a berserk state; the ability to burrow underground without betraying any sign of its presence on the surface; impart their unnatural hunger to the living; grant them a keener sense of smell; or terrible touch attacks that may rend and flay the skin, drain strength, steal memories, paralyze or induce disease, etc.

Ghoul MPCs do not start with any salient powers.

Roleplay Tips
Mercenary, out for himself. Those words best describe the free ghoul, a style commonly made up of independent undead such as ghouls and ghasts. These creatures reproduce through a bite or through simple means and need no higher source to provide the curse of their immortality. As such, they've commonly found that they are responsible for themselves, and only through their cunning and daring can they survive in both mortal and undead societies. Ghouls are traditionally chaotic evil. Exceptions are possible, but most ghouls will still tend toward chaos or evil.

Ghouls and ghasts have a distinct advantage over zombies and skeletons; with some work, they can integrate into human society for short periods of time. Although they smell like the grave and their outward appearance is gaunt and deathly, they aren't obviously non-human. It is likely that a PC of this sort could spend considerable time in a city, so long as she took the proper precautions.

Ghouls get along reasonably well with wights, though they sometimes look down on the wights' lack of subtlety. They respect the power and "vision" of the mass-murdering morghs, but vampires are much too haughty for a ghoul's liking and mummies are generally too lawful.

Ecology
Ghouls have no meaningful place in the environment.

Ghoul Properties
Spoiler: show
Racial type: Undead
Hit Dice: d12 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifiers: Str +2, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +4, Cha +2
Bonus Feats: Darkvision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Turn Resistance: +3
Immunities: Disease, critical hits, sneak attack, mind-affecting spells and abilities, poison, level & ability drain, death magic, paralysis, negative energy.
Corpse Devouring
Ability to control ghoul and ghast NPCs


Sources: D&D 3.5 Monster Manual, Libris Mortis, Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead
« Last Edit: February 01, 2023, 08:40:41 PM by EO »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

MAB77

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The Vampire
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2023, 09:36:04 PM »
The Vampire
Quote


I was all but assassinated in my bed, wounded here," she touched her breast,"
"and never was the same since."
"Were you near dying?"
"Yes, very — a cruel love — strange love, that would have taken my life. Love will have its sacrifices. No sacrifice without blood."

"Carmilla"
by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

This article aims to condense the considerable source material on vampires into the key points and in particular, on the how vampires interact with the Prisoners of the Mist server. It does not, and cannot attempt to be all inclusive on every aspect of vampire lore or weakness. Should you have further questions, we encourage you to contact the PotM DM Team for further insight and guidance. Additionally, should you successfully apply to play one of these otherworldly horrors, you will find further information available within our Monstrous Player Character subset of the forums.

Hunger
If there were a single word with which to describe the vampire, that would be it. Undead creatures risen anew from dead mortals, vampires are perhaps the most well known type of undead short of the ever present zombie. Ageless, and possessed of supernatural power they are one of the most deadly adversaries that can be found within the Demiplane of Ravenloft.

What is a vampire?
A pallid once mortal creature cursed with vampirism, possessed of twin fangs, captivating eyes, super human abilities, an intimate knowledge of man and an endless craving for their consumption. A creature that can appear as anything from one of us, to a savage mindless animal, a creature who views us all as nothing but their next meal.

Commonly former humans, vampires could come from any playable race, but the transformation is always fatal. Once reborn as undead, a vampire is essentially an echo of the individual they once were. Possessing the same body and the same memories they often pursue a twisted variant of their former selves' goals. Vampires, however, are no longer the individuals they once were. They no longer need to eat or drink normal food, do not require air to breathe, possess supernatural endurance, stamina and reflexes and can often polymorph into animalistic versions of themselves (typically Bats or Wolves). They can no longer be slain by ordinary means, turning into a cloud of supernatural mist once sustaining sufficient damage as well as possessing a degree of authority over other undead, including lesser versions of their own kin. Additionally vampires also possess a dominating gaze, easily enough to compel the minds of mortals, much like the Dominate Person spell.

But above all this is the ever present hunger. A vampire craves more than any other thing the blood of the still living. A recently feasted vampire may feel euphoric, all powerful and magnanimous in victory. A vampire some time from feasting might be distracted and irritable. Deprive the vampire from food even longer and they may start to appear wild and mad, whatever vestiges of humanity they once pretended to adopt becoming lost in an all consuming need to feed. Such a vampire may easily turn on their friends and allies and take exceptional risks to fulfill their agonizing, all consuming craving for blood.

This craving can not be filled by feasting on the dead, a vampire hungers for the still warm flesh from the living and can only take the briefest of satisfaction from a still warm corpse. Equally the blood of non-sentient animals is akin to a human surviving on dirty water, a foul taste prone to sickness and not sufficient for true life.

Newly raised vampires, known as fledglings, are the most reminiscent of their former selves. They may cling to their memories of what they used to be, show hesitation and revulsion and struggle with their first kill. But the longer such a creature exists, the more familiar it becomes with the thrill of the meal, the more distant the memories of its former life and the more familiar with its powers. Aged vampires regard mortals as little more than entertainment and livestock and care little for anything save their own security and their next meal.

How does someone become a vampire?
There are three ways in which a character in Ravenloft can become a vampire. Please note that in all cases this will require a successful MPC or AMPC application, there is no "guaranteed" method, and no one path is more or less vampiric than the others, although the path of the victim is the most common.

The first path, generally known as that of deadly desire, is perhaps the most awful. In this case, the individual who is destined to become a vampire actually wishes to cross over and become undead. While it has been said that they must sacrifice their lives to attain this goal, a greater cost is often paid. Those who desire to live eternally and feed on the life essences of their fellow men must give up a portion of their spirit to the dark powers themselves. In this way, they are granted the powers of the undead, but also stripped of the last vestiges of their humanity. In the centuries to come, many find this loss too great to bear and seek out their own destruction.

The second path, that of the curse, is often the most insidious of the three. In this case, the individual is often unaware that he or she is destined to become a thing of the night. The transformation into "unlife" might occur because of a potent curse laid down by someone who has been wronged by the victim. Occasionally, an individual might find that he or she has inherited (or found) a beautiful and alluring magical ring - only to find that it cannot be removed and that they are slowly changing. There are those who accept this curse and embrace their new existence as a vampire, while others despise the thing they have become. In nearly every case, these are the most passionate and "alive" examples of this evil race.

The final, and surely most tragic, path to vampirism is that of the victim. This is the route most commonly taken to vampirism, for it is the way in which those slain by a vampire become vampires themselves. Vampires created in this way almost always detest themselves and the creature that made them what they are. All in all, the victims of other vampires are unhappy in their new lives, for few ever accept their fate happily-and many do not have the strength of character to seek an end to their wretched "unlife", although this initial reluctance is likely to fade the longer the creature exists.

The act of feeding
There is no consistent way to approach the act of feeding. A vampire will prefer to feed upon a helpless or willing victim, having one's dinner fight back is tiresome. Compliance might be extracted through threats, by use of the vampire's dominating gaze, or perhaps because the victim is just very foolish or afraid. The vampire will bite the victim's neck, aiming for the blood that pumps to the brain.

For one complete "feed", enough to satisfy the vampire for an entire day and night cycle, the amount of blood required is slightly less than would take to kill an individual. For this reason some vampires choose to leave their "meals" alive, so they might return and consume them another day. Other callous vampires will simply consume every last drop and leave the victim a white bloodless corpse. A vampire could choose to feed only a little on several individuals to satisfy their craving, and this might be the path chosen by a creature still struggling with the kill.

The act of feeding itself is ecstasy to the vampire in question, a drug and a thrill not easily given up and so even an initially reluctant vampire might get "carried away" during the act, perhaps not even realizing what they had done until the victim lies dead at their feet.

There is no limit to the number of victims a vampire might consume in a day. Just because a vampire has had their fill does not mean they will not choose to consume others, though they will feel no compulsion to do so.

Victims themselves tell mixed stories of what it is like to be fed upon. Some describe it as an almost erotic high, while others narrate agonizing dread. In all cases, the victim will be left with small twin scars on their neck, which can be subsequently removed by healing magic.

Aging
Vampires grow more powerful with age. This is not biological aging, of course. A vampire appears to be the same age it was at the moment of death. The longer a vampire persists in a state of undeath, however, the stronger its connection with the Negative Energy Plane grows and the more powerful it becomes. This phenomenon poses a great problem to vampire hunters, for there may be nothing about a vampire's appearance to suggest how old, and therefore how powerful, it really is. Vampires are divided into six age categories: Fledgling, Mature, Old, Ancient, Eminent, and Patriarch. Each category has a title, though these titles are more for the convenience of sages than for practicality. Vampires themselves do not recognize age-based titles. In fact, the more clever vampires are careful to conceal their age from others.

Player vampires on Prisoners of the Mist are all fledglings.

Salient Powers
Vampires are distinctive in the great variety of abilities they exhibit. Although all vampires have certain characteristics in common, there can be considerable difference in the powers and weaknesses exhibited from individual to individual. Vampires gain salient powers as they age. The powers gained vary from vampire to vampire, though vampires of the same bloodline tend to have similar powers. A vampire's salient powers usually reflect its personality; a harsh, controlling vampire might gain the ability to command undead, while a skulking, treacherous vampire might be able to turn invisible.

As fledgling vampires, player vampires do not have salient powers.

What weaknesses does a vampire possess?
There is in truth no set number or type of weaknesses a vampire can possess. Each vampiric strain, be that a specific bloodline or curse, will be possessed of its own potentially unique strengths and weaknesses. Within Ravenloft, however, vampires will typically suffer the below selection of weaknesses, with occasional minor variations. If you would like to adopt more, or fewer weaknesses, please document these and the reasoning within your application.

Day/Night Cycles - Vampires are nocturnal creatures. During the night they will be awake alert and at full capacity but during the day they will be lethargic, slow, and irritable, and this, regardless of whether they can see or sense the sunlight; the time of day is enough to affect them. During the day vampires will typically retreat to their coffin, adopting a corpselike "sleep" until roused by night once more. A vampire who declines this "sleep", will begin to suffer in much the same way as a mortal would if they too opted not to sleep, and as such it is a rare sight to catch a vampire outside of their coffin during the day.

Sunlight - Vampires rapidly combust in sunlight leading to death shortly after. This might begin by a faint smoldering of their clothes and skin in mild sunlight, to spontaneous combustion if caught in high sun. In either case, the vampire is literally burning and feels exactly the same as if a mortal was undergoing the same fate. This intense pain means vampires are not just averse to the sunlight, but terrified of it. A vampire would no sooner risk venturing into the midday sun than you or I would willingly leap into a bonfire. Furthermore, should a vampire be caught in the sunlight long enough for their physical form to collapse rather than returning to a mist form, the vampire will instead be forever destroyed.

Mirrors - Vampires traditionally have no reflection. A passing glance in a mirror at a vampire would simply be as though the vampire was not there at all. Should the vampire themselves look in the mirror however, they are confronted with their true nature. This will cause different reactions depending on the vampire, but the most common is horror, revulsion and rage. This will often cause temporary incapacitation, or the vampire to flee, though it is likely to earn the mirror wielder their ire as well.

Stake through the Heart - A classic and well known weakness is the stake. Any piece of sharp and pointed wood will do, though the hard part is impaling the vampire directly in the chest so that the wooden tip of the stake pierces the vampire's heart. A successful strike will freeze the vampire in place, leaving them utterly helpless. The stake must pierce the heart, or it will have no effect, and the wielder must also somehow bypass any armour the creature might be wearing at the time. If successfully "staked" and subsequently decapitated, the vampire will be utterly destroyed.

Holy Symbols - Vampires are normally averse and repulsed by all holy symbols - specifically holy symbols held and presented by those with faith and conviction. It is impossible to accidentally repel a vampire with a holy symbol, a faithless man clutching a symbol of Ezra for example would have no effect. If properly presented, the effect is much like that of an exceptionally bright light on a mortal. The vampire might seek to block their gaze, stagger backwards, look away, or otherwise shield themselves from the sight of the object.

Garlic - Traditionally, vampires are allergic to garlic. This takes the form of exceptional nausea, rather than causing injury or pain. The garlic itself should be relatively fresh. If eaten, the smell of garlic on someone's breath might also cause a vampire to recoil or hesitate. Some vampires may instead be allergic to other substances in place of, or in addition to garlic, though this is by far the most common.

Vulnerability to healing magic - Vampires are unable to heal through the traditional holy means and blessings. Indeed, healing magic will damage a vampire as much as any undead.

Inability to step into sanctified ground - Vampires are unable to enter blessed locations. Examples of these might include the Morninglord temple in the outskirts of Vallaki, the Refuge of the Fifth Light, or the Ste-Mère-des-Larmes in Port-à-Lucine. They will simply be stopped at the entrance, door or window, as if it were a solid wall. This also applies to homes to which the vampire has not been invited in. To qualify, the home must be owned by its current resident and not rented, leased or borrowed. This barrier also extends to their familiar, if any.

Running Water - Vampires are unable to cross bodies of specifically running water. Stagnant pools, puddles and other bodies of non-moving water are no impediment, and remember vampires do not need to breathe, but specifically running water is impassable. Should a vampire be submerged in running water for an extended period, they will be dispersed to mist and forced to flee.

Remember, this is not a comprehensive list of weaknesses, but those most common to vampires found within the Demiplane of Dread. Also, not all vampires will share these weaknesses. Each vampire in Ravenloft is a unique creature.

A Vampire's Tomb.
A vampire, in a parody of the living, returns for a deathlike sleep during the day, much as a man might at night. But just as the vampire sleeps during the day as an inverse of the living, rather than bed, the vampire sleeps within a coffin. This can be anything from a few cheap pieces of wood purchased at the local cemetery with an ill fitting lid, or an ornate stone tomb deep within a mausoleum. The type and contents, if any, of the grave will depend upon the individual vampire at hand, but will often include whatever objects they hold precious to them, perhaps a relic from their former life or an object of power.

These coffins will often be defended, either by being hidden in secrecy, surrounded by elaborate traps, or perhaps an army of lesser servants, for while they are one of the vampire's greatest strengths, they are also their greatest weakness.

Once defeated by ordinary means, a vampire will revert to a supernatural mist-like state. Should this mist succeed in reaching its tomb the vampire will be able to reform into its physical form, whole and without injury. However, should its tomb be destroyed before the vampire is able to return the creature will be destroyed forever.

Equally, while the vampire is asleep within the coffin, prone and stiff, they are prone to being staked and then subsequently destroyed. This means the vampire will jealously guard the secrets of their coffin's location and is likely to move it as soon as they become aware someone knows of it. Destruction of this tomb, alongside direct sunlight are the two things that all vampires fear.

Vampire Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Undead
Hit Dice: d12 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +6
Ability Modifiers: Str +6, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Darkvision, Dodge, Lightning Reflexes, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Turn Resistance: +5
Immunities: Disease, critical hits, sneak attack, mind-affecting spells and abilities, poison, level & ability drain, death magic, paralysis, negative energy
Damage Reduction: +1/10-
Damage Resistance: Cold and electricity 10/-
Regeneration: +5
Vampiric bite attack
Domination Gaze
Shapeshifting: Wolf, Bat & Mist
Ability to control lesser vampires, wolves, and bats.

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Hide +8, Influence +8, Listen +8, Move Silently +8, Search +8, Spot +8

Bat Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +12, Search +4, Spot +20
Damage Vulnerability: Fire 25%
Haste

Gaseous Form
Bonus Feat: Hide in Plain Sight
Skill Bonuses: Hide +50, Move Silently +50
Haste
Immunity: Knockdown

Wolf Form
Skill Bonuses: Hide +2, Listen +3, Move Silently +3, Spot +3

Sources: D20 Ravenloft Campaign Setting, Van Richten's guide to Vampires, AD&D 2nd ed. Ravenloft Monstrous Compendiums 1& 2, D&D 3.5 Monster Manual.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2023, 08:41:05 PM by EO »
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The Vassalich
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2023, 09:36:47 PM »
The Vassalich
Quote


"It was the most terrible thing I have ever seen, Dolf! No! Not the most terrible - the dreams it put into my head when I could no longer stay awake. . . . when I put my wife's hand into a - No! I didn't do that! I didn't do that! Don't look at me!"

"It was the lich that put those thoughts in your head, Harmon. Let them go, they are not yours!" I cajoled him, realizing that his reason would not remain much longer.
"Tell me about the minions. You were talking about the lich's minions, remember?"

"Yes, yes! It was horrid, horrid! Not just dead things - living things too. Men! A man became a lich before my eyes! He swallowed a stone - a diamond or something, I don't know. Then the lich slit its rotted wrist open with its own fingernail and blood - no, not blood ooze, gray ooze ran from the black hole! And the man drank it! He drank the lich's blood! He drank it, Dolf! And he fell down and screamed. And he changed. He shriveled. He died! He lay there, dead, and -"

"And what, Harmon?"

"He got up and spit the stone into the lich's hand. Then he was a lich, too."

- From the private journal of Dr. Van Richten

"Van Richten's Guide to the Liches"
by Erik Haddock

Vassaliches are the horrid servants of true liches, the masters of undeath. Many a mortal spellcaster has sought immortality or fostered a morbid fascination with death, but thankfully most of these villains lack the time, patience or talent to follow the path to true lichdom. These lesser aspirants may enter into an unholy pact with a lich, gaining eternal life for the price of eternal servitude.

By their very nature, vassaliches are scheming, power-hungry creatures, willing to make any sacrifice to advance themselves. Vassaliches obey their masters perfectly at first, but obedience often chafes under the weight of time, and many vassaliches eventually come to plot against their masters - if their masters allow them to survive that long, of course.

Appearance
Vassaliches are physically indistinguishable from true liches. Their flesh withers from their bones, and their empty eye sockets glow with pinpoints of hellish light. Many an adventurer has mistaken a vassalich for its more powerful master. Vassaliches speak whatever languages they knew in life.

How to become a vassalich?
A would-be vassalich undergoes the ritual of creation under the auspices of its patron lich. The process is an irredeemably evil act and can be undertaken only by the characters' free will. They are drawn exclusively from the ranks of clerics, favored souls, sorcerers, voodans, or wizards with a vested interest in the necromantic arts. The ritual is purportedly conducted during a full moon and involves the casting of sinister spells from both the patron lich and its underling. Like its lich master, a vassalich stores its life force within a magic phylactery, but in this case it is created by the patron lich.

To create a vassalich, the lich must soak the phylactery in a lethal concoction similar to the brews many liches use to ritually end their mortal lives. The character then swallows the brew and the gem. Then, in its final moments of life, the character must consume some portion of the lich - perhaps a dribbling of ichor or a scrap of withered flesh. When the process is successful, she dies and rises again moments later as a vassalich, forever bound to her master. If the candidate doesn't survive the shock, she is dead forever, with no hope of any sort of resurrection. Not even a wish will undo the lethal potion. The new vassalich spits up the gem into its master's waiting hand as one if its first acts of undeath. A lich typically conceals its minion's phylactery in a secure place, ensuring the creature's enslavement.

Vassalich MPCs have their soul gem in their possession; this can be explained in many different ways in the application.

Combat
Vassaliches are spellcasters of varying degrees of power. Upon their transformation they gain the usual resistances of undead beings in addition of an increased ability to control other undead and an aura that makes them fearsome in battle. A vassalich's existence is tied to its phylactery. Unless the phylactery is destroyed, the vassalich reappears within 2 to 20 days after is apparent death. Should it be destroyed however, the vassalich will crumble into dust and forever be lost.

Psychology
A vassalich is a free-willed individual who is yet a slave. It retains its memories and force of personality after its transformation. It continues to harbor the same intense ambition that drove it to pursue vassalichdom in the first place. It is capable of independent thought, abstract strategy, self-conducted research, and intellectual processes available to a living human, but it has committed itself to eternal bondage to a master who inevitably will use it as nothing more than another means to its own ends. As long as the lich has its very life essence in its keeping, a vassalich's existence hangs upon the whim of this evil persona. Though the vassalich is keenly aware of that fact, the bound of servitude invariably comes to grate to such being after a time. From that point on, it is sure to start plotting against the one who holds its phylactery. Because it knows its master will crush its phylactery at the first hint of rebellion, a vassalich will stop at nothing to keep its plans a secret from all and present an obedient front. This makes vassaliches especially treacherous beings.

Ecology
A vassalich has no meaningful place in the environment.

Vassalich Properties
Spoiler: show
Racial type: Undead
Hit Dice: d12 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +3
Bonus Feats: Darkvision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Skill Bonuses: Hide +8, Listen +8, Move Silently +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Turn Resistance: +4
Immunities: Disease, critical hits, sneak attack, mind-affecting spells and abilities, poison, level & ability drain, death magic, paralysis, negative energy, cold and electrical damage
Damage Reduction: +2/5-
Fear Aura
Ability to control undead NPCs


Sources: Ravenloft Gazetteer II, Requiem - The Grim Harvest, Van Richten's Guide to Liches.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2023, 02:22:33 PM by MAB77 »
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Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
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The Wight
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2023, 09:37:15 PM »
The Wight
Quote


Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never more to wake on stony bed,
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
and still on gold here let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts up his hand
over dead sea and withered land.

"The Song of the Barrow-Wight"
The Fellowship of the Ring
by J.R.R. Tolkien

The wight is an undead creature given a semblance of life through sheer violence and hatred. It is spiteful and cruel, seeking only to destroy all living creatures. Even those rare few that overcome their pure hatred of all living things remain jealous of such creatures.

Appearance
A wight’s appearance is a weird and twisted reflection of the form it had in life. A wight is about the height and weight of a human. This creature resembles a human corpse. Its wild, frantic eyes burn with malevolence. The leathery desiccated flesh is down tight across its bones and the teeth have grown into sharp, jagged needles. From a distance, wights can easily be mistaken for any number of humanoid races. Upon closer examination, however, their true nature becomes apparent. As undead creatures, wights are distant reflections of their former selves, with cruel, burning eyes set in mummified flesh over a twisted skeleton with hands that end in sharp claws.

How to become a wight?
Some wights are cursed to walk the earth because of their violent and horrid lives, but a good many are merely the victims of other wights, themselves spawned from violence. Wights spawned by other wights are more likely to have alignments differing from the traditional lawful evil.

Combat
Wights have a powerful link with the Negative Energy Plane that gives them their fearsome draining ability. Furthermore, it is this draining which provides them with sustenance. It can make a competent combatant, though its strength lies in stealth and patience. A wight can make an excellent group leader, assuming others in the group can put up with its cold, festering hatred. Although wights are often found in small groups, they are actually solitary creatures. Without exception, encounters with multiple wights will be a single leader and a number of lesser creatures which it has created to serve it. In these cases, the leader of the group will be more than willing to sacrifice some or all of its minions to assure its own survival or victory. Wights cannot tolerate bright light; although it causes them no physical harm, they will attempt to avoid it at all cost.

Habitat/Society
Like the other undead that infest the world, wights live in barrow mounds, catacombs, and other sepulchral places. They despise light and places which are vibrant with living things. As a rule, the wight is hateful and evil, seeking to satisfy its hatred of life by killing all those it encounters. Wights prefer lurking in places that reek with death, though some leave such lairs to seek out additional victims. Those that are less murderous might seek adventure as a way of righting the scales for the evil they have done in the past, or as a vengeance against those that put them in this form.

Wights get along well with mummies, since these sorts of undead share a level of discipline. They respect the cunning of ghouls and the mohrgs' all-consuming hatred of living things, but in general find both of those creatures too savage. They see vampires as embarrassing poseurs trying far too hard to pass themselves off as living beings.

Craving
Wights are part of the restless dead category. The most common craving for wights is hatred and destruction. Flooded with jealousy for the living, they will do anything to destroy life around them. They seek out life in all its forms and attempt to snuff it out. The more ancient this kind of restless dead is, the more dangerous it will be. Early in their unlife, these sorts of creatures are wild and reckless; later in their existence, they learn to plan, to scheme, to reap the maximum amount of mayhem, all because they are jealous of the living. Other wights may rise from the grave because of greed, an inability to let go of what they owned, over which they will obsess.

Salient Abilities
A wight may gain salient powers in the course of its existence. It is typically tied to undead's hit dice. Stronger undead gain more salient abilities, with one additional salient ability for each century of existence. Typical salient abilities may include the ability to control its appearance; gaining bonuses for entering into a berserk state; imparting their unnatural hunger to the living; having a keener sense of smell; or terrible touch attacks that may rend and flay the skin, drain strength, steal memories, paralyze or induce disease, etc.

Wight MPCs do not start with any salient powers.

Ecology
As they are not living creatures and have no rightful place in our world, many animals can sense a wight's presence. Dogs will growl or howl with alarm, horses will refuse to enter an area which wights inhabit, and birds and insects will grow silent when the creature passes near them. In addition, their presence will gradually cause the plant life around their lairs to wither and die, marking the region as unclean.

Wight Properties
Spoiler: show
Racial type: Undead
Hit Dice: d12 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +4
Ability Modifiers: Str +2, Dex +2, Wis +2, Cha +4
Bonus Feats: Darkvision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Skill Bonus: Move Silently +8
Turn Resistance: +1
Immunity to disease, critical hits, backstabs, mind spells, poison, level & ability drains, death magic, paralysis, negative energy
Energy Drain
Ability to control wight NPCs


Sources: D&D 3.5 Monster Manual, Libris Mortis, Requiem - The Grim Harvest, Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead
« Last Edit: February 01, 2023, 08:47:30 PM by EO »
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1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.

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Lycanthropes
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2023, 09:38:42 PM »
Lycanthropes

The dread disease lycanthropy may be the most feared malady in the Land of Mists. It unleashes those parts of us that we strive so persistently to suppress: the dark, the primitive, the feral, the enraged. Worst of all, its presence lies submerged, hidden so that no one might suspect the ferocity of the animal within. Even the lycanthrope himself might be ignorant of the beast he becomes when the moon is full.

Natural Lycanthropes
Natural lycanthropes, also known as true lycanthropes, are born with the innate ability to assume the form of an animal and a hybrid beast. The nature of this power is a mystery, but it appears to be an inherited condition. One is either born a natural lycanthrope, or one is not; a natural lycanthrope cannot be "cured" of the condition, nor can one "contract" natural lycanthropy. Natural lycanthropes can inflict lycanthropy on others, but this is always the afflicted variety of lycanthropy, not true lycanthropy.

As lycanthropy is an inherent facet of their existence, natural lycanthropes are able to completely control their transformations. They may transform whenever they wish, and only unusual circumstances can force them to change if they do not want to.

Most natural lycanthropes are able to assume two forms in addition to their natural human form. The first of these forms is that of an animal. The lycanthrope always has the same appearance in its animal form. The animal form is usually larger than the average member of its species, but not abnormally so. Some lycanthropes, however, have dire animals as their animal form. The natural lycanthrope in animal form is in complete control of its faculties and can understand human speech, though it cannot speak itself.

Natural lycanthropes are also able to assume a hybrid form, a hideous cross between their human and animal forms. The hybrid form is bipedal and humanoid in shape. It retains the ability to hold and manipulate objects and can speak. Its head closely resembles the animal form, and the body is usually covered with fur (or scales or feathers, as appropriate). The hybrid form is almost always powerfully built and usually possesses sharp claws that can inflict serious wounds. As with the animal form, the natural lycanthrope retains full control of its actions in hybrid form.

For example, a victim infected by a hybrid afflicted werewolf will likely assume a hybrid form itself when it changes. The alternate form is determined at the moment of infection and never changes. Afflicted lycanthropes become animalistic and prone to rage in their alternate form. They attack innocents without remorse, often targeting loved ones. The afflicted lycanthrope usually has no memory of actions taken while changed.

Afflicted Lycanthropes
Afflicted lycanthropes are those who have had the lycanthropic condition thrust upon them. Those who are injured by a lycanthrope but survive may contract lycanthropy, or one might be cursed to become a lycanthrope. Afflicted lycanthropy is like a disease that can be passed on to others or, with difficulty, cured. It is not a "common" disease, however, and a paladin's disease immunity confers him no guaranteed resistance against afflicted lycanthropy. Likewise, attempts to use the Heal skill on afflicted lycanthropy symptoms almost always fail; while it might be in the healer's power to ease the pain a lycanthrope feels, she won't be abating the lycanthrope's shape changing.

Unlike natural lycanthropes, afflicted lycanthropes have no control over their changes. They cannot initiate a change of their own will. Instead, their change is triggered by an event outside their control. The most common of which is the full moon, but other possible triggers exist. Afflicted lycanthropes usually can only assume a single alternate form. That form may be either the animal form or the hybrid form. Afflicted lycanthropes of the same bloodline tend to have the same alternate form. For example, a victim infected by a hybrid afflicted werewolf will likely assume a hybrid form itself when it changes. The alternate form is determined at the moment of infection and never changes.

Afflicted lycanthropes become animalistic and prone to rage in their alternate form. They attack innocents without remorse, often targeting loved ones. The afflicted lycanthrope usually has no memory of actions taken while changed.

The Languages of Lycanthropes
True lycanthropes have their own language to communicate among themselves. This language is never taught to anyone else. In man-beast aspect, they retain the ability to use language. Their voices are usually harsh and growling, however. In animal form, they understand, but cannot speak, the languages of mankind. The anatomy and physiology of animals precludes this.

Afflicted lycanthropes in either hybrid or animal form are little more than wild beasts themselves. They cannot learn the languages of true lycanthropes, but they will instinctively understand and compulsively obey the commands of the true lycanthropes they are beholden to.

Lycanthropes in Ravenloft
Lycanthropy is a more virulent infection in Ravenloft than in most other settings. It changes a few things about lycanthropes in general. Notably in regards to alignments, the difficulty to cure lycanthropy, and lycanthrope diets.

The savage nature of the beast within always quickly takes over a lycanthrope, especially once they start killing sentient beings for survival. For practical purpose all lycanthrope MPCs, with the exception of wereravens, should be of evil alignment.

A character afflicted with lycanthropy cannot shake off the curse by eating belladonna. The process to cure lycanthropy on Ravenloft is more difficult, though the full process is to be discovered in-game.

Hunger lies at the core of each lycanthrope on Ravenloft. Regardless of its favored diet, a lycanthrope must eat a certain amount of raw meat each day, depending on the size category of the lycanthrope's animal form. If the lycanthrope does not consume this amount, it begins starving in three days. This isn't mechanically enforced on our server, but should still serve as a guiding principle in roleplaying a lycanthrope. It needs to feed, it wants to feed. Roleplay-wise, starving should lead a MPC lycanthrope to take more drastic measures to ensure it feeds sufficiently. That being said, this at the player's discretion and should not come at the detriment of telling a good story. The following table serves as a guideline about the required daily amount of raw flesh. Cooked meat eaten is worth only half as much toward the daily requirement.

RAW MEAT DAILY REQUIREMENT
SizeRaw meat requirement
Tiny1 lb.
Small5 lb.
Medium25 lb.
Large50 lb.
Huge75 lb.

Allergens & Chemical Banes
All lycanthropes are vulnerable to a given allergen and a chemical bane. These components may be used to harm them and may be potentially lethal. Werewolves, for instance, are well known for their vulnerability to silver and wolfsbane. Although it should not be assumed that all werewolves will share the same weaknesses. In some cases, the lycanthrope will react to completely different components. The usual allergens for each lycanthrope types are listed in their respective entries. Note that game engine limitations prevent us from implementing other allergens and chemical banes as per the source material. All lycanthropes are therefore only vulnerable to silver on our server. At their discretion, MPCs can still select a different allergen or chemical bane for roleplay purposes.

Triggers
Not all afflicted lycanthropes involuntarily change shape upon the rise of the full moon, but it does remain the most common trigger. Variant trigger events can include other celestial or atmospheric occurrences, such as sunsets, comets or storms; experiencing a particular emotion, such as rage or passion or exposure to a certain place, object or sensation, such as being in a forest, hearing music or seeing blood. The exact trigger event varies with the individual lycanthrope, but lycanthropes of the same bloodline tend to have identical triggers.

Server Particularities
Monstrous Player Characters (MPCs) are allowed to play both true and afflicted lycanthropes on this server. Mechanically there is no distinction between the two. For the sake of a smoother gameplay and to grant MPCs a greater control over their story narrative, the shapeshifting trigger for afflicted lycanthropes is left at the player's discretion and they are allowed to assume either hybrid or animal form whenever they shift. Afflicted lycanthropes MPCs are invited to remain consistent about their trigger.

Sources: Ravenloft 3e Campaign Setting, Denizens of Dread, Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 08:45:11 PM by EO »
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The Wereape
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2023, 09:40:00 PM »
The Wereape
Quote


But man, proud man, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep.


"Measure by Measure"
by William Shakespeare

Wereapes are humans afflicted with a form of lycanthropy which gives them the ability to transform into the shape of a monstrous ape.

Appearance
Ordinary apes are powerful omnivores that resemble gorillas in appearance, but are far more aggressive; they kill and eat anything they can catch. The wereape is twice as aggressive, feeding on nothing other than flesh when they are unleashed. It appears like a great ape, but larger and stronger. Its arms are as thick as tree trunks and its hands are strong enough to crush stones in its palms. Short, rough fur covers its body in dark gray colors, and its skin where visible, such as its hands and feet, is generally black in color. The wereape stands taller than a human on its hind legs, but often leans forward to walk and run on its knuckles. Its short neck and wide shoulders give it a squared look when approached from the front. Its tusks are enlarged compared to a normal gorilla, protruding out of its mouth even when closed, and are sharp enough to tear through a man’s arms with ease. Its beady eyes are dark, almost red in color when seen in its bloodlust, which is often the only time anyone witnesses it.

How does someone become a wereape?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy apply to wereapes. Anyone who is injured by the wereape’s bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents.

Combat
Like its primate relatives, the wereape will often precede an attack with a display of aggression to intimidate its potential foes. It has a loud and menacing roar, and it will casually destroy objects in its environment to display its strength when threatened. With its remarkable strength it can quickly climb walls and trees, which it will often do with a victim in hand or to retreat from battle. Its grip is harder and more crushing than an iron shackle, and few could hope to survive being grappled by the creature. The wereape also uses its arms to throw its opponents around and break them with savage blows. If the creature gets close enough it will sink its tusks and claws into its victims in a bite strong enough to break bones.

As all other kinds of lycanthropes, the wereape is in either of its forms immune to damage from nonmagical and nonsilver weapons. Such wounds are little more than scratches that quickly heal.

Habitat/Society
Natural wereapes prefer to live in warm forests with tall trees, crude cliffs and open caves. They often live among a clan of normal apes, all of which fall under the wereape in their primal hierarchy. Even the strongest apes are submissive to the wereape, even in its human form. The creature is extremely aggressive, potentially including towards other apes. When the wereape throws itself into combat its roars echo for miles around. Very few people earn the friendship of a wereape, which at best results in the creature leaving them to seek solitude instead of mauling them like anything else in its path.

The wereape sustains itself on flesh, but can eat roots, berries, insects, and fruit like normal gorillas if in an unusually temperate mood. Regardless what they eat, they leave a messy scene wherever they have fed, their victims often torn limb from limb and rendered by their sharp tusks.

There is little difference between male and female wereapes in their social hierarchy. When they choose to reproduce, the female has a gestation period of eight to nine months and will then protect its child for years. They only have one child every five to six years, after which the whole clan of apes becomes immediately familiar with the new wereape. Already stronger than the silverbacks of the family, the young wereape often wanders out alone to find or found a clan of its own or risk competing for supremacy with its parent.

Ecology
Wereapes do not stand out as more or less productive in their human form. Their angry temperament can sometime show, especially if provoked, and they defend themselves and their families fiercely. Among their primal kin they may be more acceptant of humans if the apes themselves are, which often requires the humans to behave calmly, harmlessly, and unassertively.

Allergens
Most - but not all- wereapes are vulnerable to wooden weapons. If they have a chemical bane, it hasn't been discovered.

Wereape Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifier: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Toughness, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Ape & Hybrid forms
Ability to control apes.

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen + 4, Search + 4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +5
Ability Bonuses: Str +10, Dex +4, Con +4
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: AD&D Ravenloft - Children Of The Night: Werebeasts p. 62-66, D&D 3.5 Monster Manual I p. 268
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 08:48:07 PM by EO »
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The Werebear
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2023, 09:40:48 PM »
The Werebear
Quote


The hulking humanoid is covered in shaggy brown fur and has long claws and a bearlike face. It carries a greataxe in one paw.

"D&D 3.5 Monster Manual"
by Wizards of the Coast


Werebears are humans who can transform themselves into large bears. In worlds beyond the Mists, werebears tend to be good aligned and to seek out evil creatures to slay. On Ravenloft, their bestial nature gradually takes over, eventually turning them into dangerous and evil creatures.

Appearance
In humanoid form they tend to be stout, well-muscled, and hairy. Their brown hair is thick, and males usually wear beards. They may have reddish, blond, ivory, or black hair, matching the color of the ursine form. They dress in simple cloth and leather garments that are easy to remove, repair, or replace. The ursine form most often resembles a brown bear. In their animal form, werebears are moody and grumpy. They desire only their own company.

How to become a werebear?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy apply to werebears. Anyone who is injured by the werebear's bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents.

Combat
Werebears fight just as bears do in animal form, clawing and biting brutally. In humanoid or hybrid form, they favor large, heavy weapons such as greataxes or greatswords, but will make use of any available weapons. They prefer axes and knives, since these have practical applications suitable for woodland life.

Habitat/Society
Werebears are normally solitary creatures. As humans, they build cabins far from settled areas, preferably in a deep forest near well-stocked waters. Werebears do not marry although they may have preferred mates they meet on a very irregular basis. Females bear 1-2 children in human form. Such children are very stout and grow quickly. Within eight years they gain adolescence and the ability to change into werebears. Shortly after, the mother drives the children out and seeks a mate to start the cycle anew. The newly independent young are discreetly guided and assisted by older werebears. Despite their apparent isolationism and rugged individualism, werebears have a sense of community. They never attack each other and aid any werebear threatened by another lycanthrope species.

Werebears are closest to forest-dwelling classes like rangers, druids, and wildlife-oriented priests. They rarely enter villages and never enter cities except in dire emergencies. Werebears hate wererats and werewolves. The average werebear claims a territory 1 to 4 square miles in size. Fishing areas are open to all werebears. A werebear feels a close bond to its home region, acting as a game warden to protect its territory and the animals therein from the ravages of intruders.

Werebears do not travel a great deal. Werebears destroy any magical items that specifically affect lycanthropes or bears, since such items might be used against themselves.

Ecology
Werebears are generally omnivorous, preferring fish, small mammals, and a honey-rich mead. This mead is extremely intoxicating to normal humans. In Ravenloft, werebears are required to eat a large amount of raw meat each day or risk succumbing to hunger and starvation. Werebears have few natural enemies. Their closest enemies are the werewolves who share their preferred wilderness regions.

Allergens
Most werebears are vulnerable to cold-forged weapons, provided the weapon is made of the purest iron. The symbolic rationale for this vulnerability seems to be that coldforging iron requires great physical force, a characteristic that also applies to werebears. In addition, many werebears are susceptible to belladonna, or "deadly nightshade."

Werebear Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Bonus: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Endurance, Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature).
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Bear & Hybrid forms
Ability to control bears

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +7
Ability Bonuses: Str +12, Dex +4, Con +10
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight, Improved Knockdown
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: D&D 3.5 Monster Manual, Ravenloft 3e Campaign Setting, Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 08:53:16 PM by EO »
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The Wereboar
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2023, 09:42:19 PM »
The Wereboar
Quote


All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.

"Wartime Letters"
by Rainer Maria Rilke


Wereboars are humans who are able to transform themselves into a form combining human and boar features. Their tempers are as ugly as their features.

Appearance
In human form wereboars tend to be stocky, muscular people of average height. Their hair is short and stiff. They dress in simple garments that are easy to remove, repair, or replace.

The boar form stands slightly taller than the human form, but the hunchbacked posture thrusts the head forward. The head is identical to a boar's head, complete with short tusks. The torso's diameter is doubled, the neck shortened, and the feet become hoof-like. Stiff, black hair like wire bristles covers the skin.

How to become a wereboar?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy apply to wereboars. Anyone who is injured by the wereboar's bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents.

Combat
The wereboar combines his hands and tusks for deadly effect. The wereboar seizes a target and pulls it toward his head. He stabs his tusks into the victim, then pulls his victim to one side while swinging his head in the other direction, which tears the wound further. He then tosses the victim aside and attacks someone else. A wereboar will gladly wade into the center of a group of opponents and then fight his way out.

In human form the wereboar attacks with whatever weapon he has. Wereboars prefer bludgeoning or chopping weapons, such as axes and maces, rather than stabbing or missile weapons such as swords, spears, or bows.

Habitat/Society
Wereboars are ill-tempered, easily angered, and almost as prone to attack their few friends as they are to attack an enemy. As humans they are rude, crude, and vulgar. However, they are invaluable allies in a fight. A wereboar does not give his friendship easily, but when he does it is a special bond he will not break. The problem is, due to the wereboar's peculiar personality, it is difficult to tell whether he is being friendly or hostile. Wereboars prefer dense woodlands, ideally far from towns and cities. Like werebears, they live in caves or build cabins for their homes. Their homes tend to be ill-kept and slovenly. Wereboars don't repair things, they replace them. Despite their personalities, wereboars have close-knit families. Females give birth to litters of 3 to 6 offspring. Newborns are very small by human standards but are strong and able to crawl hours after birth. The offspring mature quickly. When they reach adolescence at eight years, they gain the ability to become wereboars themselves. A wereboar father appears to be distant and aloof, but a staunch protector who will attack any foe who threatens his family, no matter how uneven the odds. Females are aggressive when defending their young. Wereboars avoid normal hogs and boars. They are suspicious of strangers. Wereboars assume everyone is hostile. In human form they may wait for the first attack, but when in boar form they usually chase the intruders away and attack any who defend themselves.

Ecology
Wereboars produce little of value, whether trade goods or services. Their main desire is simply to stay away from everyone else. In the wild, they defend their territories against any intruders. Wereboars fit into orcish society as well as they do into human society, and might sometimes assist or ally themselves with orcish forces. Their diet is a mixture of small game, vegetables, and fungi. Their favorite food is the subterranean fungus called truffles; even in human form they can detect the truffles growing several feet underground. As other lycanthropes in Ravenloft, they are still required to consume large amounts of raw meat daily or risk succumbing to hunger and starvation. Wereboars aren't very good gardeners. A typical garden is a cleared field strewn with a variety of seeds and bulbs in the hope that something edible will grow. Wereboar cuisine is equally haphazard; it can be summed up as burned meat and stews.

Allergens
In general, wereboars are vulnerable to spears made of sharpened oak. The entire spear must be free of any metal or stone reinforcement-a metal spear point renders the weapon ineffective. Natural boars are sylvan creatures, and they are most frequently hunted with spears (thus the expression, "bleeding like a stuck pig"). This seems to be the symbolism for this vulnerability. As for an herbal bane, many wereboars are susceptible to camphor.

Wereboar Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial Type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifier: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Toughness, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Boar & Hybrid forms
Ability to control boars

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +8
Ability Bonuses: Str +4, Con +6
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: D&D 3.5 Monster Manual, Ravenloft 3e Campaign Setting, Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 08:56:07 PM by EO »
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The Werecrocodile
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2023, 09:43:08 PM »
The Werecrocodile
Quote


God sends meat and the Devil sends cooks.
~ English Proverb

Werecrocodiles, also known as Sebek-spawn, are lycanthropes whose animal form is that of a massive crocodile. They are powerful hunters and are feared throughout many lands.

Appearance
In its hybrid form, this powerful, scaly reptile stands upright like a human, but that’s where the resemblance ends. Its flesh is that of a vicious crocodile, complete with a flattened body and tail, short legs, and powerful, toothy jaws. It stands over 7 feet tall.

In their human form, werecrocodiles are tall, thin creatures with sharp features, a long nose and chin, and a thin face with a noticeable overbite. In their crocodile form, they are very long, big, and powerful monsters. Werecrocodiles often work somewhere close to water, and they have unnerving, steady stares. Werecrocodiles are found only in deep waste environments that are pierced by life-giving rivers.

How does someone become a werecrocodile?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy apply to werecrocodiles. Anyone who is injured by the werecrocodile’s bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents.

Combat
Werecrocodiles can assume hybrid forms as well as animal forms. In combat, werecrocodiles prefer their human form. They try to trick their prey into assuming they are harmless. Werecrocodiles are infamous for playing on people’s sympathy by pretending to be grieving. Once the prey is in close range, they change to crocodile form and attack.

In crocodile form, they rely on stealth to approach potential victims, then lunge forward with a bite attack. They use their tail slaps only when facing multiple opponents. In hybrid form, though, werecrocodiles generally lead with their tails, using their bites only when they wish to grapple.

Habitat/Society
Natural werecrocodiles live in small family groups. The mother is usually the leader of the family pack. Mating occurs with their own kind, and werecrocodiles are born live from the mother’s womb. The young attain the ability to transform at the onset of puberty.

Werecrocodiles usually live in mud shacks by the edge of rivers or in swamps. They stay away from populated human settlements and do not collect treasure or possessions. They usually assume crocodile form to find prey, then assume human form at night to sleep. They are very territorial and attack any human, demihuman, or humanoid who enters their territory, though they will try to be as subtle as possible before springing their trap.

Werecrocodiles of Toril worship the god Sebek, who created them, and can become clerics or specialty priests of Sebek.

Ecology
Werecrocodiles are biologically identical to humans, except for their lycanthropy. They prey on both warm-blooded creatures and fish native to the swamps. They eat any wererats native to the swamps. They do not particularly enjoy killing humans, but humans are too tasty to resist. No one preys on werecrocodiles except humans, so werecrocodiles try to have as little conflict with large bands of humans as possible.

Werecrocodiles are the creation of Sebek, a crocodile-headed minor deity in the Mulhorandi pantheon. Very few Sebek-spawn remain in Mulhorand, having been driven off by the servants of the god-kings five centuries ago, but werecrocodiles thrive in Chessenta’s Adderswamp.

In Ravenloft, werecrocodiles are primarily found in the swamps of Souragne, the waters of Saragoss, or the Amber Wastes where they worship the Akiri god Sobek.

Allergens
Perhaps because they are relatively primitive creatures, werecrocodiles are vulnerable to primitive weapons. The majority can be struck normally by cutting, piercing, or bludgeoning weapons made of flint. Flint weapons may have wooden or other handles, so long as the actual cutting edge, piercing point, or place of impact is unreinforced flint. Mandrake appears to be the herbal nemesis of most werecrocodiles, though it is uncertain whether any singular part of the plant is responsible.

Werecrocodile Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Bonus: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Skill Focus (Hide), Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature).
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Crocodile & Hybrid forms
Ability to control crocodiles

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +6
Ability Bonuses: Str +8, Dex +2, Con +6
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight, Improved Knockdown
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: Monsters of Faerun, Sandstorm, Monstrous Manual (AD&D), Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts and Children of the Night: Werebeasts (Sandovor).
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 09:00:16 PM by EO »
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The Werehyena
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2023, 09:44:19 PM »
The Werehyena
Quote


Integrity's a neutral value. Hyenas have integrity, too. They're pure hyena.

"Freedom"
by Jonathan Franzen


Werehyenas are humans, usually male, who can transform themselves into hyenalike forms. Their packs roam the plains and deserts looking for prey.

Appearance
The human form tends to be tall and sinewy, with long, shaggy hair usually tied back over their neck. The long hair conceals a second mouth at the base of the head, which mimics the lip movements of the primary mouth but makes no sound. They take great pains to keep this second mouth hidden. In their human forms, werehyenas tend to be gregarious and charismatic, many possessing a loud, resounding laugh.

The canine form appears to be a large hyena, over 6' long from snout to tail, with golden fur on its back and black fur on its belly and feet. While in this form, they are known to be effective stalkers leaving few traces of their passages.

How to become a werehyena?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy apply to werehyenas. Anyone who is injured by the werehyena's bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents.

Combat
In its human form, a werehyena will attack with a weapon appropriate for its assumed identity. In its hyena form, a werehyena attacks with its vicious bite, and seeks to lock its powerful jaws on a victim.

Habitat/Society
Werehyenas travel in close-knit packs of up to a dozen creatures, most of whom are males. The pack is run by a dominant male, who makes all important decisions, reinforcing them with an occasional, savage bite. Newly infected lycanthropes are welcomed into a pack only if the newcomer agrees to accept the pack leader's orders to the death. If not, a fight for dominance usually ensues, with the victor becoming the new pack leader.

Among themselves, they can be playful and capable of lasting intimacy. They mate for life, but only with other members of the pack. From one to four cubs are born with each litter; 75% of them are male.

Werehyena packs scour the desert and plains in human form, seeking human settlements to infiltrate. A favorite ploy is for a single lycanthrope to enter a town or village and use its friends ability to win its way into the hearts of the people. Some are even known to shower gifts on "a long-forgotten sister" or relative. The gifts are typically small gems which it gathers for this purpose. The lycanthrope then lures the victim out of town to a trap, where the rest of the pack lies in wait.

It is not uncommon for a pack of these creatures to be followed by normal hyenas. The normal hyenas are attracted to the lycanthropes, although not under their direct control.

Ecology
Werehyenas are covert hunters, preying on gullible humans whenever possible. However, like their normal cousins, they are excellent scavengers, capable of eating just about anything in order to survive. On Toril, their numbers are great in the deserts of Zhakara, but they are too widely scattered to have any profound effect upon the ecology. In Ravenloft, roaming packs of werehyenas can be encountered in the Wildlands and desertic lands such as G'Henna and the Amber Wastes.

Allergens
Most werehyenas are vulnerable to weapons made of iron. In addition, all werehyenas have a primal fear of fire, preferring to make appearances and attacks during the day. A flaming torch is enough to keep one at bay. If cornered by fire, however, they will fight to defend themselves. If they have a chemical bane, it hasn't been discovered.

Werehyena Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifier: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Hyena & Hybrid forms
Ability to control hyena's.

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +4
Ability Modifiers: Str +4, Dex +4, Con +4
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight, Improved Knockdown, Trackless Step
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: AD&D 2nd Edition Al-Qadim Monstrous Compendium Appendix, Denizens of Dread (lycanthrope template)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 09:02:39 PM by EO »
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The Werejackal
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2023, 09:45:53 PM »
The Werejackal
Quote


It is a matter of regret that many low, mean suspicions turn out to be well founded.

"Ventures in Common Sense"
by Edgar Watson Howe

Werejackals originated in the ancient land that gave birth to the domain of Har’Akir. The curse was originally granted to the priesthood of a little-known and depraved cult of Anubis as a sign of the deity's blessing. It has since spread throughout the desert regions of the Dread Realms. The largest concentration of werejackals in Ravenloft is found in the Amber Wastes.

Appearance
A true werejackal can assume a bipedal hybrid form or the form of a jackal. The bipedal form stands about 6' tall, with a short tail, canine legs and a narrow, dog-like head. Its hands and feet stretch into clutching paws with long, curving talons. In animal form, the creature resembles an adult jackal with no trace of humanity. Werejackals in humanoid form tend to have long, dark nails. They are often surly and quick to offer insults.

How does someone become a werejackal?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy apply to werejackals. Anyone who is injured by the werejackals’s bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents. Also, when a debased cleric, of at least 6th level, of the Anubis cult devotes herself completely to her deity unfailingly, the deity will often grant her the "blessing" of lycanthropy.

Combat
Werejackals are natural cowards and flee if confronted with an obviously superior foe. As long as they have the upper hand, however, they attempt to control all around them through fear and terror. While in humanoid form, they will use the attacks and tactics favored by those of their class and culture, though they are often prone to anger. Werejackals in animal or hybrid form fight like their namesake animal, but often betray signs of an unusual cunning. Werejackal priests can rebuke or control undead, but they don't like taking advantage of this power. They prefer to let their armies of lesser werejackals and followers prove their devotion instead. Only in the direst circumstances or when undead are used against them will werejackal priests attempt to exercise this ability.

Habitat/Society
A true werejackal tries to transform a small population of beings into cursed versions of itself and attempts to enslave them to his will. This link is not telepathic, so the priest will have to verbally command his lesser minions. Those that remain free-willed are still under the werejackal's control whenever they assume their humanoid form. Troublesome resisters are usually slain after a single incident raises the priest's ire. One of the first tasks the werejackal demands of his pack is the creation of a temple dedicated to Anubis, the god he serves. The minions practice the priest’s religion routinely, gradually becoming enthralled by the werejackal’s tales of the mysterious god’s deeds and goals.

Ecology
Werejackals are cunning and cold. They seek to dominate all those around them by creating a state of fear and helplessness. Then the true savagery of the lycanthrope emerges as they cruelly taunt their foes through a long and agonizing death.

Allergens
Weapons made of beaten copper are effective against most werejackals. This soft metal is rarely used for normal blades, so copper weapons must be custom-made. The reasoning for this vulnerability is hard to discern. As for other banes, some werejackals seem extremely vulnerable to fennel.

Werejackal Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifier: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature).
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Jackal & Hybrid forms
Ability to control jackals.

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +3
Ability Modifiers: Str +2, Dex +6, Con +4
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight, Weapon Finesse
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: Werejackal entries, Denizens of Dread, pp. 141, AD&D 2e. Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium III pp. 80
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 09:05:50 PM by EO »
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The Wereleopard
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2023, 09:46:47 PM »
The Wereleopard
Quote


As the cat lapses into savagery by night,
and barbarously explores the dark,
so primal and titanic is a woman with the love-madness.

"The Romance of Commonplace"
by Gelett Burgess

Wereleopards are a race of ferocious hunters roaming the savanna areas of the Wildlands.

Appearance
They are usually encountered in bipedal hybrid form, an almost a direct cross between a feline and a human. This hybrid form is more animal than man and is equally comfortable on two legs as four. Either way, its terrible claws can rake foes while its powerful jaws lock in on the prey's throat. They dislike clothing, but have thick spotted coat that protects them from the elements. Female leopards are almost exclusively black with slightly lighter spots throughout. Males have orange or yellowish fur with black spots.

How does someone become a wereleopard?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy applies to wereleopards. Anyone who is injured by the wereleopard's bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents.

A peculiar curse
This lycanthropic strain behaves differently than any other. True wereleopards from Ravenloft are shapeshifters cursed with the inability to shapeshift; they are stuck in their hybrid form all the time. Afflicted wereleopards are stuck in wereleopard hybrid form most of the time, except during the nights of the full moon when they revert to human form. They also fully remember their time passed in hybrid form.

Additionally, only true wereleopards can pass on the dread disease to their victims.

Combat
Wereleopards are malevolent creatures that take the term "cat cruelty" to new heights. They love to play with their prey and often raid villages in search of victims to terrorize. Their hunting technique reflects this desire to instill fear and cause as much pain as possible to their prey.

Habitat/Society
The pride is ruled by the true lycanthropes. Afflicted wereleopards are kept around only as troops to strengthen the pride. These poor souls revert to their humanoid form only during nights of the full moon and are normally hunted by the rest of the pride during that time, ensuring that only the strongest of them survive to join the pride again when they revert to their were form. Although wereleopards usually keep to themselves, they will serve any paka who beckons them.

Wereleopards speak their own language, a growling tongue almost impossible for men to learn, as well as that of the paka. True lycanthropes disdain the languages of men and almost never learn to speak them.

Ecology
Wereleopards eat strictly meat, preferably freshly killed. Their catlike origins show in every aspect of their life. They lounge in the limbs of tall trees, lick their fur clean and even roll in the grass with the innocence of kittens. When it is time to hunt, however, few can mistake their true nature.

Allergens
Most - but not all- wereleopards are vulnerable to weapons made of silver. Solid silver is not required; even a weapon coated with a thin layer of this metal will usually suffice. In addition, their only other real weakness is their fear of lightning. When confronted with natural or magical lightning, they must fight the urge to flee. Loud noises that resemble thunderclaps also frighten them.

Wereleopard Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Bonus: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature).
Skill Bonuses: Hide +4, Move Silently +4
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid (Afflicted only) & Hybrid forms
Ability to control leopards

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid Form
AC Bonus: +3
Ability Bonuses: Str +6, Dex +8, Con +4
Bonus Feats: Blind-Fight, Dodge, Improved Knockdown, Weapon Finesse
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: Denizens of Dread, Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III, Carnival (The Hideous Man-Beast).
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 09:13:58 PM by EO »
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The Wererat
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2023, 09:47:22 PM »
The Wererat
Quote


Ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves.

"The Merchant of Venice"
by William Shakespeare


Wererats, also called ratmen, are humans who can transform themselves into human-sized ratmen, and giant rats. They are sly and evil, and usually inhabit tunnel complexes beneath cities.

Appearance
A wererat in humanoid form tends to be a thin wiry individual of shorter than average height. The eyes constantly dart around, and the nose and mouth may twitch if he or she is excited. Males often have thing, ragged mustaches. The ratman form is somewhat shorter than the human form. The head, torso, and tail are identical to those of a rat, but the limbs remain human. The third form is that of a giant rat 2 feet from nose to rump. This is the preferred form for travel and spying on potential victims.

How to become a wererat?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy apply to wererats. Anyone who is injured by the wererat's bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents.

Combat
In animal form, wererats avoid combat, preferring to use their dire rat shape for skulking and spying. In hybrid form, a wererat fights with a rapier and light crossbow. Wererats prefer to attack from ambush. A favorite tactic is to assume human shape and lure unsuspecting victims into a trap. This is the only time wererats are voluntarily alone. Victims are then robbed, held for ransom, or eaten.

Note that due to game engine limitations lycanthropes cannot hold weapons in hybrid shape.

Habitat/Society
Wererats live in packs, regardless of form, never being alone if they can help it. Solitary wererats are either sole survivors or engaged in mischief. They do not form interpersonal bonds like love or marriage. In fact, wererats rarely mate with their own kind. Offspring of wererats and human women are human, although they are small, like their fathers. Offspring of female wererats resemble giant rats with human-like paws. These ratlings grow to maturity in two years and gain the ability to transform themselves into human children with an apparent age about three times that of the ratling’s actual age.

Wererats prefer subterranean lairs hidden among the sewers and catacombs beneath cities. Nothing can pass through the sewers and escape their attention. Unfortunately for the wererat, the sewer’s stains and smells do not vanish when it assumes human form. This effectively limits wererats to the less savory sections of town as well as reducing the number of humans who might unknowingly mate with a wererat.

Wererats see cities as their hunting grounds. They delight in matching their superior intellects and meager physical skills against the more powerful and numerous humans. But they are no fools; they will not attack unless they are sure they can win. If a battle is going against them, wererats will scatter, transform to rat form, and head for the sanctuary of the sewers. They won’t even defend their own lairs. Their attitude is that since they had stolen most of their belongings in the first place, they can always replace them.

Wererats are greedy and collect anything they think might have worth. The resulting trove usually has more junk than treasure, but a thorough search may reveal a wide variety of valuables. Wererats frequent sleazy taverns, both for the cheap alcohol and to follow drunks into the streets to drag them away for the next day’s meal.

Wererats warrens can be found in most major cities of Ravenloft, but are especially abundant within the domain of Richemulot. There, the wererats form a complex society of competing warrens violently vying for supremacy over territories. The Richemuloise wererat society is divided into castes: Tunnel stalkers, wererat scouts; Daggernails, sadistic soldiers; Filth breeders, deranged holy men obsessed with disease and rot; Skin Twisters, the nobles of wererat society and infiltrators in human society; Plague Kings and Queens, the masters of warrens.

Filth Breeders are usually cleric/wizards. Their domains are Animal, Destruction, Earth, Evil, and Water.

Ecology
Wererats are parasites. They recognize that they are physically weaker than most species that dominate the surface. They have found and exploited the one niche where they have a chance to dominate, the world beneath the cities. They feed on humans and steal their riches. Humans unknowingly protect the wererats from both surface dwelling creatures and those who might burrow up from far below. Besides, the humans pay for the upkeep of the wererat’s sewer realm. Psychologically, wererats remind humans that no matter how strongly defended they think they are, monsters can still get in. Mothers describe wererats as bogeymen to scare unruly children.

Allergens
These fell creatures show the greatest variation in their vulnerability. Some are susceptible to silver weapons, others to weapons of cold iron, still others to implements of wood or stone. This variability makes these, perhaps the least powerful of werebeasts, quite difficult to destroy. They show similar variability with regard to chemical susceptibilities. There is no single chemical which can be depended upon to harm any significant proportion of wererats.

Wererat Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifier: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Dire Rat & Hybrid forms
Ability to control rats

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Hide +4, Listen +4, Move Silently +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +3
Ability Modifiers: Dex +6, Con +2
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight, Weapon Finesse
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Hide +8, Listen +8, Move Silently +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: D&D 3.5 Monster Manual, Ravenloft 3e Campaign Setting, Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 09:18:10 PM by EO »
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Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
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The Wereraven
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2023, 09:48:10 PM »
The Wereraven
Quote


Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"The Raven"
by Edgar Allan Poe

Wereravens are a race of wise and good-aligned shapechangers who seem to have migrated to Ravenloft from another realm centuries ago. While they are no longer found on their plane of origin, they have managed to survive in Ravenloft.

Appearance
Wereravens have three forms, that of a normal human, that of a dire raven, and a hybrid of the two. The hybrid form of these creatures looks much like that of a werebat. The arms grow long and thin, sprouting feathers and transforming into wings. The mouth hardens and projects into a straight, pecking beak, and the eyes turn jet black. A coat of feathers replaces the normal body hair of the human form. In humanoid form wereravens often dress in gypsy-like garbs. They always develop sleek black hair. Wereravens can still speak in dire raven form, albeit in a harsh croaking fashion.

How does someone become a wereraven?
Afflicting someone with wereraven lycanthropy is generally a deliberate act, given to a willing humanoid as a gift. The story-driven nature of this template as a good-aligned monster presents different challenges from the common monstrous character.

This template will only be granted for plot purposes and must have the support of a DM prior to applying. Because the longevity of this template will be tied to an active storyline it may not receive the full term of play and closure should be anticipated at the conclusion of the event series.

Combat
Wereravens are reluctant warriors, but fierce in combat. Strong fliers, in dire raven or hybrid form they will peck and claw at the eyes of their enemies and attempt to blind them. Changing to humanoid form, they then use whatever weapon they trained to use to kill their blinded enemies quickly or, if possible, send them away.

Habitat/Society
Avoiding large settlements, they survive by keeping their good deeds clandestine and passing warnings to others they trust when necessary. Wereraven families live in the densest forest possible, building nests in the hollow trunk of a large tree.

Wereravens recognize that they are bastions of good in a land dominated by evil. They have managed to survive by avoiding large populations or overt acts of good that would draw the attention of the reigning lords to them. Thus, a wereraven flock will generally be small in size. Children are seldom encountered for they remain in a true raven state until they are old enough to fend for themselves. A typical wereraven lair draws the attention of common ravens that will nest in the trees about it. These wise birds will serve the wereravens, doing their bidding and striving to protect them from harm.

Wereravens are not opposed to helping out the cause of good in Ravenloft, but they do so reluctantly as to not draw too much attention. It is said that the wereravens have come to the aid of endangered Vistani clans on several occasions and that close ties exist between these two races, but neither will admit this openly.

Wereravens have a weakness for shiny objects and will only take treasure, whether valuable or not, if it sparkles and shine.

Ecology
Wereravens are omnivores who prefer to maintain a vegetarian diet. They enjoy berries and nuts, but will eat carrion or kill for fresh meat from time to time in order to maintain good health.

Allergens
Most wereravens are vulnerable to weapons made of silver, possibly because the color and nature of silver represents the full moon, which is a frequent trigger for lycanthropes, although this theory is disputed. If they have an herbal bane, it has not been discovered yet; they do not appear susceptible to any chemical poison.

Wereraven Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifier: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature).
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Dire Raven & Hybrid forms
Ability to control ravens

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +3
Ability Modifiers: Dex +10, Str -2, Con +4, Wis +4
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight, Dodge, Weapon Finesse
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: Denizens of Dread, Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium I & II, Ravenloft 3e Campaign Setting, Ravenloft Gazetteer Vol. 1, Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 09:22:25 PM by EO »
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MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
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The Werewolf
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2023, 09:49:17 PM »
The Werewolf
Quote


And before the final blank overtook his dying eyes, he saw that She gave place to It; he saw more, that Life gave place to Death — causelessly, incomprehensibly.

"The Were-Wolf"
by Clemence Housman


Werewolves are the most feared of the lycanthropes, men who can transform into wolflike beasts.

Appearance
The human forms of werewolves have no distinguishing traits. The werewolf form is equally varied. Many have a bipedal form that is a hybrid of human and lupine features. These creatures are about 1-foot taller and stronger than their human forms. The bodies are fur-covered and have short tails, wolflike legs, and heads that are combinations in varying degrees of human and lupine features. A second form of hybrid is more wolflike, and may be mistaken for a large wolf when it runs on all four legs. This hybrid can also walk erect and has humanlike hands. Another and rarer type of werewolf looks exactly like a large wolf about the size of a bear. This creature has no human features, although the eyes may glow red in the dark.

How to become a werewolf?
The usual methods of contracting lycanthropy apply to werewolves. Anyone who is injured by the werewolf's bite risks contracting its form of lycanthropy, it could be the result of a curse, or one might be born from lycanthropic parents.

Combat
In their human form, werewolves attack with a variety of weapons, generally those common to their human identity and class. In the werewolf or wolflike forms, the creature attacks with its fearsome teeth. If the form has hands, the werewolf may grab its prey for a better bite. They are commonly known to be harmed only by silver or magical weapons. Wounds from other weapons heal too quickly to actually injure the werewolf. Werewolves attack in packs; packs including females and young drive the adults to hit harder.

Habitat/Society
Werewolf packs roam the wilderness in search of human or other prey. True werewolves tend to be nomadic, although infected werewolves often continue to live the life to which they were accustomed. Werewolves retreat to their dens during the winter months or the years when the females are raising the helpless cubs. As humans, werewolves do not build homes, although they may take over existing dwellings, sometimes the home of past victims. Caves and burrows are the dens most commonly used in the wild. These sparsely furnished retreats are used mostly as a sleeping area and a place to store their human possessions.

Werewolves live in packs, generally related by bloodlines. Werewolf packs of five to eight individuals are single family groups consisting of a male, female, and three to six cubs, six to nine years old. Cubs under six years old are kept in secluded dens and never encountered by hostile humans.

When pregnant, the female retreats with her mate and an older female who will act as midwife. In a very secluded area they prepare a special den that will be home for the mother and her cubs for the next six years. The female gives birth to a litter of 5-10 cubs. The cubs are born in the hybrid form; they resemble fuzzy human babies with wolflike faces. Infant mortality is high; 2-4 cubs of each litter never pass infancy. Cubs grow at the same rate as humans for their first five years. By the sixth year they attain 60% of their full growth. At this point they develop the ability to transform into their other forms. Each following year brings an increase of their growth. Werewolves are considered mature at age 10.

If a werewolf mates with a woman human, the offspring is completely human. The temperament reflects the father; such children are violent, combative, and prone to mental illness. There is still a chance each year from the onset of adolescence that such a child will spontaneously transform into a true werewolf.

Werewolves should not be confused with wolfweres — wolves who turn into men. Great enmity exists between werewolves and wolfweres.

In Ravenloft, the domain of Verbrek is known to be teeming with werewolves. The clans there are constantly vying for power. The status of the clan determines the hunting rights of affiliated packs. They fiercely defend the honor and territory of their clans, and any meeting between rival clans is likely to result in a bloody challenge between alphas. Clans follow one of three paths in their endless struggle for power: Sheepskinners clans live close to humanity, reasoning that shapeshifting is a blessing from their ravenous god, allowing them to hunt and observe humans with ease. Stonebreaker clans believe they must forge their own society, free from the corrupting weakness of humanity. Ghosthowler clans spend most of their lives in wolf form, believing that the other clans have forgotten their roots.

Werewolf communities within Verbrek are especially molded by the worship of the Wolf God. This savage deity is almost exclusively worshipped by werewolves, and the few non-werewolves who worship it are clearly insane. The Wolf God represents everything the humans of Verbrek fear in nature and attempting to placate it is futile. Its werewolf followers believe that wolves are divine creatures and that all other predatory animals—especially humans—are abominations that must be destroyed.

Ecology
Werewolves are a peculiar hybrid of human and lupine personalities. They are savage killers, yet they are devoted to their close-knit families. Werewolves are hostile toward lycanthropes who oppose them, especially werebears.

Allergens
Most - but not all- werewolves are vulnerable to weapons made of silver. Solid silver is not required; even a weapon coated with a thin layer of this metal will usually suffice. In addition, some werewolves are highly susceptible to wolfsbane, also known as aconite, a highly toxic relative of horseradish.

Werewolf Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifier: Wis +2
Bonus Feats: Iron Will, Low Light Vision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature).
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +2, Will +2
Shapeshifting: Humanoid, Wolf & Hybrid forms
Ability to control wolves

Humanoid Form
Skill Bonuses: Listen +4, Search +4, Spot +4

Hybrid/Animal Form
AC Bonus: +4
Ability Modifiers: Str +2, Dex +4, Con +4
Bonus Feat: Blind-Fight, Improved Knockdown
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Damage Resistance: Cold resist 5/-
Skill Bonuses: Listen +8, Search +8, Spot +8
Haste (Hybrid only)
Regeneration +5 (Hybrid only)


Sources: AD&D Monstrous Manual, D&D 3.5 Monster Manual, Ravenloft 3e Campaign Setting, Van Richten's Guide to Werebeasts
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 09:27:18 PM by EO »
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The Dread Flesh Golem
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2023, 07:45:18 AM »
The Dread Flesh Golem
Quote


I beheld the wretch — the miserable monster whom I had created. He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me. His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs. I took refuge in the courtyard belonging to the house which I inhabited, where I remained during the rest of the night, walking up and down in the greatest agitation, listening attentively, catching and fearing each sound as if it were to announce the approach of the demoniacal corpse to which I had so miserably given life.

"Frankenstein"
by Mary Shelley

Stitched together from the collected body parts of various corpses, dread flesh golems are incredibly strong creatures that have a horrific appearance. Tragedy follows in their wake.

Dark desire, on almost any other plane a gateway only to madness and frustrated ambition, is given very real potency on the Demiplane of Dread by the ever-watching Dark Powers. You can will something into being — provided, of course, you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices along the way. The motivations change — hubris, guilt, love, a futile hope for redemption — but they all lead to a deep, dark, and overpowering obsession. The things such lost souls shape in the darkness — wretched patchwork things — reflect the torn, twisted reality of their creators' minds. Imbued with all of its creator's intelligence but forever outcast from his society and his race, the dread flesh golem lives out its existence in the shadows, forever bound heart and soul to its creator but driven always to seek its independence, to strive against the bounds which constrain it — an ineluctable paradox which almost always culminates in the destruction of one or the other.

Appearance
Dread flesh golems can be shaped in any number of physical ways — composed of parts long dead and those freshly removed from their original owner, those that are human in origin or even, in some cases, those that are not. Thusly, their appearance is wildly variable and largely dictated by the available materials and the preferences of the madman who pieced it together out of the shreds and dregs of former life.

How does someone become a dread flesh golem?
Dread flesh golems are created monsters. The act of creating one requires great resources and great effort. The essence of the creature itself comes from another — be it by the attraction and capture of a spirit or the wholesale transfer of a brain — and therefore essence — from another. It begins its existences very much like a child, albeit one with preternatural intelligence and strength. It may be ordered about for a time by its maker. But it soon becomes rebellious and in the end is its own master.

Combat
Dread flesh golems are freakishly strong and highly resistant against most type of damages. They use these advantages to pursue their foes relentlessly in battle.

Zeitgebers
Almost all dread golems suffer from one or more zeitgebers, which are involuntary responses triggered by certain sights, sounds, or experiences. Like the golem's salient powers, the zeitgebers often mock the creator's goals by rendering the golem unable to act as desired in given situations. The potential triggers and effects of zeitgebers are limitless. The sight of fire might cause a particular golem to cower in fear or stare transfixed at the flames. A song or style of music might cause another golem to dance clumsily or sing hoarsely. Another golem might start howling uncontrollably when the full moon rises.

Habitat/Society
The life of a dread flesh golem is defined by the tension between it and society: it must live a solitary existence, or be feared and hated, but it is an intelligent being and can feel loneliness as keenly as any other. Lamordia, as a domain obsessed with the scientific, is the origin point for most of the setting's dread flesh golems, but they can, in theory, be produced anywhere in the Core. When new, they experience the world as a child would, with all of the intelligence of a sentient being but none of the experiences, the memories, the habits that form an adult personality. As they grow and develop over time they are thus shaped by their environment, be it to antagonistic or heroic purposes, but invariably to tragic ends.

Ecology
Flesh golems have no meaningful place in the environment.

Dread Flesh Golem Properties
Spoiler: show
Racial Type: Construct
Large Size
Hit Dice: d10 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +14
Ability Modifiers: Str +10, Dex +2, Int -2, Cha +4
Saving Throw Bonuses: Fortitude +3, Reflex +3, Will +3
Bonus Feats: Darkvision, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Iron Will, Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Immunities: all spells, death effects, disease, critical hits, mind-affecting effects, sneak attack, poison, level & ability drain, paralysis.
Damage Reduction: +1/15-
Attacks: Gains two slam attacks (2d8 bludgeoning damage).

Sources: Ravenloft Campaign Setting, Chilling Tales (The Surgeon's Blade), Van Richten's Guide to the Created, Adam's Wrath.
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MAB

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The Red Widow
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2023, 07:45:48 AM »
The Red Widow
Quote


The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple–there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!”

"The Spider and the Fly"
By Mary Howitt

The red widow, or spider queen, is an evil and deadly shapechanger. Spinning a web of evil to all the lands about its lair, this foul creature derives a vile pleasure in the murder of those lured to it by its many charms and promises of delight. It generally preys upon unsuspecting males, using its seductive humanoid form to lure prey into its clutches.

Appearance
The red widow has two physical forms. The first, and that in which it is most commonly encountered, is a human one. In humanoid form, a red widow appears as a female humanoid (usually human). Regardless of her apparent race, a red widow is always fair to look upon and has bright red hair. A red widow's lifespan barely stretches across three decades, but its humanoid form always appears to be at the prime of life. In its true form, which it will adopt only when it is about to make a kill, a red widow resembles a massive black widow spider with reversed colors. Its bulbous body is a bright, shiny red, bearing a black hourglass upon its back.

Red widows speak the domain languages of their homeland.

How does someone become a red widow?
Red widows are born monsters.

Combat
Although they are dangerous opponents, red widows prefer to avoid combat. They use their beauty and whatever seductive methods seem appropriate to draw their prey into a place of their choosing, often a web-choked urban lair. A red widow is a cautious being, and will patiently conceal its true nature until the last possible moment. A widow's goal is to lure its prey into a lover's embrace. Then, while he is most vulnerable, it reverts to its natural form and strikes. Those who witness this change (usually only the doomed victim) must make an immediate horror check.

The red widow is capable of releasing a jet of webbing when in its spider form. This is handled just as if the creature were casting a web spell.

Habitat/Society
The red widow is usually solitary but occasionally will work in pairs. It often makes its home in the cities and towns of men. Here, it moves about in its human guise and seduces its victims under cover of darkness. It is not uncommon for a red widow to love and then destroy a new victim every week.

Ecology
Red widows live by draining the blood and other bodily fluids from those they kill. A slain lover is hidden away somewhere in the creature’s lair and can supply the widow with nourishment for up to a week. When the monster finishes with a corpse, it discards the partially decomposed and dehydrated body far from its lair. In this way, it hopes that its home will escape detection.

Red widows are instinctively compelled to breed about once a year. After seeking out a charismatic male, it paralyzes its mate with its venom, but does not drain his blood. Instead, it implants 2d4 eggs in his abdomen and cocoons him in a web in its lair. Unless removed, the eggs hatch in 1d6 days. The newborn red widows feed on their father, with each spider inflicting 1 point of damage each day. Red widows reach maturity (and gain the ability to assume humanoid form) after one year; treat immature red widows as monstrous spiders. Red widow young are always red widows, but their apparent race in humanoid form is inherited from their father.

Their lives are usually consumed by their biological drive to feed and breed, but on rare occasion, red widows have been known to rise above their instincts, becoming truly ambitious predators who sought to better their social standing or extend their lifespan. These rare "ambitious" red widows can gain class levels, with rogue as their favored class.

Assuming they do not die through violence or accident, the average red widow lives to be 20 to 30 years old.

Red Widow Properties
Spoiler: show

All Forms
Racial type: Shapechanger
Hit Dice: d8 (if lower)
AC Bonus: +2
Ability Modifiers: Str +4, Dex +4, Con +4, Int +4, Wis +2, Cha +6
Bonus Feats: Darkvision, Improved Initiative, Improved Critical (Unarmed Strike), Weapon Focus (Creature), Weapon Proficiency (Creature), Weapon Specialization (Creature)
Shapeshifting: Spider Form
Ability to control spiders

Human Form
Skill Bonus: Influence +4

Spider Form
Skill Bonuses: Hide +8, Move Silently +8, Spot +8
Immunity: Web
On Hit: Fluid Drain
Web (spell-like ability)


Sources: Denizens of Darkness (statistics), Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium I & II, Tales of Ravenloft (The Vanished Ones), Heroes of Light.
Best Regards!
MAB

Dev. Relationist for the Dark Powers.
1 Castle Road, Castle Ravenloft, Village of Barovia.