"...Shocking and uncouth black things with smooth, oily, whale-like surfaces, unpleasant horns that curved inward toward each other, bat wings whose beating made no sound, ugly prehensile paws, and barbed tails that lashed needlessly and disquietingly. And worst of all, they never spoke or laughed, and never smiled because they had no faces at all to smile with, but only a suggestive blankness where a face ought to be. All they ever did was clutch and fly and tickle; that was the way of the nightgaunts."
- H.P. Lovecraft - The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
Here's the latest miniature in my quest to finally paint my boxed set of Call of Cthulhu mythos creatures. The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath was the very first Lovecraft story I ever read, and so nightgaunts (and ghouls) were the first mythos creatures I was ever introduced to, and for that reason they occupy a special place in my heart. There is something chilling about a silent bat-winged and faceless creature that carries its victims off to untold terrors even if their signature 'tickle-attack' struck me as little silly back when I was young.
The nightgaunt was a tough one to paint; at least difficult to paint well while remaining true to Lovecraft's description. Once upon a time I might have simply painted the whole thing black and called it done, but this does a grave disservice to such a nicely-sculpted miniature and would obscure much of the detail. While I've stuck with black as the dominant colour, I also highlighted the body with dark grey to make the details stand out as well as suggesting light reflecting off the smooth, oily skin. The deep red on the inside of the wings does not strictly accord with the description, but it provides a spot of much needed colour to punch up the model and emphasize the detail. The wings were painted with Reaper Deep Red, then dry-brushed with Reaper Blood Red, then lightly dry-brushed with Reaper Entrail Pink.
Armour Class: 6 Special: N/A
Hit Dice: 3 Move: 12/18 (when flying)
Attacks: Grapple or tickle HDE/XP: 4/120
Grapple: if a nightgaunt makes a successful melee attack against AC 9, it has successfully immobilized its victim. The victim may attempt to break free by making a successful strength check minus the HD of the nightgaunt.
Tickle: a victim previously immobilized by grappling can be tickled, which will paralyze him for 1d6 rounds unless the victim makes a successful saving throw. No type of clothing or armour will protect the victim from this attack.
Nightgaunts may be summoned by sorcerers who serve the Lord of the Great Abyss, and they are often employed to retrieve objects or kidnap subjects for the sorcerer. They also sometimes dispose of the sorcerer's enemies by dropping them from great heights or stranding them in some forlorn and dismal locale.
Spell level: M5
Range: Near caster
Duration: 1 turn per level of the caster
This spell may normally only be learned by priests and cultists of the Lord of the Great Abyss. It must be cast at night when moon is below the horizon, upon a flat stone surface inscribed with an Elder Sign.
Welcome Back to the Labyrinth
"We have been away far too long, my friends," Ashoka declared, his face lit by the eldritch green glow of his staff. "But we have finally returned to the labyrinth whence our adventures first began."
"Just imagine the treasures that lie within," said Yun Tai, flexing his mighty muscles. "Wealth enough to live in luxury the rest of our days."
"And arcane artifacts of great power," added Ashoka his words dripping with avarice. "All ours for the taking!"
"Umm...guys?" Nysa interrupted. "Do you hear something dripping?"