Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Creature Feature: Brine Ghouls

Jacobi quickened his pace as the old coast road entered the salt marsh.  Daylight was fading fast, and folks had been disappearing from this stretch of road of late.  He stopped short and held his breath when he heard a splash off to his left.  He counted several long seconds before exhaling in relief.

"Probably just a frog," he told himself, chuckling, "no need to jump at every croak and cricket chirp 'twixt here and home."

Just then a horror from Jacobi's worst nightmares erupted from the water, its long grasping fingers reaching for his throat.  The foetid creature smelled like rotting fish, and slimy seaweeds hung like hair from its bald scalp as it bore him backwards into the water.  Jacobi struggled in vain against the thing's preternaturally wiry strength and, slowly, his head was forced underwater as his struggles began to weaken.  Looking up through the water, the last thing Jacobi saw before the darkness took him was the thing's baleful yellow eyes and the leering maw full of sharp, pointed teeth looming in front of his face.

Ghoul, Brine
Armour Class: 6                              Special: Camouflage
Hit Dice: 2                                         Move: 9" (6" swim)
Attacks: Claws, or Strangle        HDE/XP: 3/60 xp

A Brine Ghoul may attack with both claws, making a single attack with a +1 bonus to hit, or may attempt to strangle its victim.  If it hits with its strangle attack it wraps its hands around the victim's throat dealing 1d6 damage; it then throttles its victim, automatically dealing 1d6 damage each round unless its opponent can break free by making a strength check.

Camouflage: Brine Ghouls are very hard to see when they are submerged and may ambush prey, automatically gaining surprise in the first round of combat.

Brine Ghouls are found in coastal regions, salt marshes, and estuaries.  They are created when someone is murdered by drowning under a new moon.  The murder victim later rises as a Brine Ghoul, full of spite and hatred for the living.  They attempt to drag any living humanoid they find down to the depths to share its fate.  Anyone drowned by a Brine Ghoul will rise as one the very next night; thus, large packs of them can form very quickly.

The concept of the Brine Ghouls arose while I was trying to figure out a colour scheme for a box of Warhammer Crypt Ghouls that had been donated to the game by one of my players.  I'd painted up four or five with different and, for the most part, fairly traditional ghoul colours, except for one that had a bluish, blood-drained look about it.  I asked my wife which one she like best, and much to my surprise she actually gave me some positive feedback.  Now, usually, whenever I try to solicit my wife's opinion about my painting she always says "it's very nice dear," in the same tone I sometimes use with my four year old daughter when she's doing something silly.  This time, though, she pointed to the bluish ghoul and said it looked like it was climbing out of the water or something.

Bing!  A light bulb went on and gave me the idea for a type of aquatic ghoul with a blue-green paint scheme.  I also told my wife that I would expect similar constructive comments in the future rather than the usual condescending pat on the head.  We'll see.

1 comment:

nykster said...

I'm very much looking forward to facing these awsome looking minis