Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On the Legendary Creatures of Africa

A few months back I discovered a list of mythic creatures on Wikipedia and decided to have a go at concocting game stats for most of them, one culture or geographic area at a time. While most of the creatures on the Wikipedia list can be represented by existing monsters, a few were unique enough that I thought they deserved a write-up. The following monsters come from Africa, a fascinating continent often ignored in fantasy role-playing games. I based a few regions of my campaign on Africa, so expect more content in that vein in the near future. The following content is declared open game content.

ADZE [West Africa]
In its natural form, the adze looks like a large firefly with a vaguely humanoid face. It has green eyes and a fanged mouth. Adzes feed on coconut water, palm oil and blood, especially the blood of children. They are capable of casting change shape (usually into that of an old woman) once per day and suggestion three times per day. In combat, an adze will attempt to bite its opponent. If successful, the opponent must succeed at a saving throw or the adze will latch onto the victim and begin draining it of blood, inflicting 1d4 points of damage each round until the hold is broken. Bite victims must also succeed at a saving throw or contract malaria.

Adze: HD 5; AC 4 [15]; Atk Bite (1d6); Move 9 (Fly 15); Save 12; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Disease, drain blood, spells.

ABATWA [South Africa]
Abatwa, or ant men, are humanoids that measure only 6 inches tall. Although not malicious, abatwa are very sensitive about their size and do not hesitate to attack those who reference it. All abatwa hunters are skilled at tracking and survival. Abatwa use giant ants as mounts and carry tiny, poison-tipped spears and short bows with poisoned arrows. The poison inflicts 1d6 points of damage, or half that with a successful saving throw.

Abatwa hunters travel in small groups. Abatwa tribes number from 20-200 warriors with noncombatants equal to 150% of the warriors. All tribes are commanded by a 3 hit dice chief. For every twenty tribesmen beyond the chief, there will be a sub-chief with 2 hit dice.

Abatwa: HD 1 hp; AC 3 [16]; Atk Weapon (1 + poison); Move 3; Save 18; CL/XP A/5; Special: Poison.

ASIMAN [West Africa]
The asiman is an incorporeal spirit that mostly preys on children. They feed by possessing the body of a humanoid or animal (per the magic jar spell). A creature possessed by an asiman has shifty eyes and is obsessed with food. Once inside a creature, the asiman feeds by draining the wisdom of any creature within 30 feet that meets its gaze. The potential victim of the gaze must succeed at a saving throw each round or lose 1d3 points of wisdom. Asiman can be detected by the light they emit from the armpits and anus of a possessed victim and by the fact that all vegetation within 30 feet of them will suffer from the reverse of a plant growth spell.

Asiman: HD 3; AC 9 [10]; Atk Special; Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Incorporeal, possession, psychic vampire, only harmed by magic weapons.

BENNU [Egypt]
Bennu is a large heron with gray, purple and blue feathers that sprang from the heart of Serapis, the god of fertility. Bennu is immortal. It dwells in a temple attended by priests who wear heron-masks, blue mummy dresses and long, transparent coats. The bennu-priests are known for their knowledge of time-keeping and their temple has many time-keeping devices. Bennu can see in darkness, including magical darkness, and can use the following spells: Control water, daylight, detect magic, dispel evil (1/day), heal (3/day), plant growth, resurrection (1/month), time stop (1/day).

Bennu: HD 12 (96 hp); AC 1 [18]; Atk Beak (3d6); Move 12 (Fly 24); Save 3; CL/XP 16/3200; Special: Immortal, immune to fire, spells, only harmed by +3 or greater weapons.

CHIPEKWE [Central Africa]
The chipekwe is a massive creature that dwells in the shallow water of swamps. It is a herbivore. A chipekwe is as large as a rhinoceros. It has four stout legs that end in massive claws and a single horn on its snout and short fur banded brown and black. Chipekwe are extremely territorial and aggressive.

Chipekwe: HD 8; AC 3 [16]; Atk Gore (2d6), 2 claws (1d6); Move 12 (Swim 12); Save 8; CL/XP 8/800; Special: None.

ELOKO [Central Africa]
Eloko are hideous dwarves that dwell in the deepest forests. They are vicious in the extreme and eat only human beings. Eloko live in hollow trees and dress in leaves. They are small, with grass growing on their bodies in place of hair. They have piercing eyes, large snouts, mouths that can open impossibly wide, long claws and gentle, child-like voices. The sight of an eloko causes fear (as the spell). The sound of their magic bell acts as a suggestion spell so powerful that the victim can even be driven to harm themselves. If an eloko hits a victim with both claw attacks in the same round, the victim must succeed at a saving throw or be swallowed whole. A swallowed victim will find themselves in a fetal position and completely incapable of moving. They suffer 1d4 points of damage each round until freed. An eloko that has swallowed a humanoid has its movement reduced to 3 and its armor class reduced to 7 [12].

Eloko: HD 3; AC 4 [15]; Atk 2 claws (1d6); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Cause fear, magic bell, swallow whole.

IMPUNDULU [South Africa]
The impundulu, or lightning bird, is a black and white bird as large as a human. Electricity courses across its feathers, delivering a shock for 1d6 points of damage to any creature it touches. Impundulus can discharge this electricity as a 4 dice lightning bolt, but lose their shocking touch for 3 rounds thereafter. Impundulus are capable of changing their shapes to that of beautiful young men, and often use this form to seduce maidens. Impundulu feed on blood, using their long beaks to pierce the skin.

Impundulu: HD 2; AC 6 [13]; Atk Beak (1d6); Move 9 (Fly 18); Save 16; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Change shape, shocking grasp, immune to lightning.

KISHI [Central Africa]
A kishi resembles an attractive man or woman with long, flowing hair. On the back of their heads, hidden by their hair, is a bestial face like that of a hyena. Kishi are hill dwellers who favor the flesh of humans and elfs. Kishi are eloquent and seductive, tricking their prey into accompanying them to their lairs. Once home, the kishi turns its head completely around and devours its hapless victim with its bestial face. Victims of a kishi’s bite must succeed at a saving throw to pry them off; those who fail suffer automatic bite damage each round until the kishi id dead. Kishi speak the language of humans and elfs.

Kishi: HD 2+2; AC 5 [14]; Atk Bite (2d6); Move 15; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Grapple, two-faced.

The serpoleopard is a creature with the body of a leopard, a 4-foot long serpentine neck and the head of a lioness. Serpoleopards attack by leaping out at a victim and delivering two claw attacks and a bite. If both claw attacks hit, the serpoleopard can make two additional claw attacks with a +2 bonus to hit. The victim of such an attack must also succeed at a saving throw or be constricted by the serpoleopard’s neck. Constriction inflicts 1d4 points of damage per round. A constricting serpoleopard cannot make bite attacks.

Serpoleopard: HD 4; AC 6 [13]; Atk Bite (1d6), 2 claws (1d6); Move 15; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Constrict, rake with claws.

The swallower is not the most popular girl at her high school, but rather a beast with the torso and forelegs of a leopard, the hindquarters of a hippopotamus and the head of a crocodile. Swallowers prey on chaotic and evil creatures. Their bite inflicts 1-8 points of damage and drains one hit dice if the victim fails a charisma saving throw. The swallowers are ruled by Ammut the Devourer, a swallower with 15 hit dice and 120 hit points.

Swallower: HD 8; AC 3 [16]; Atk Bite (1d8), 2 claws (1d6); Move 12; Save 8; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Immune to fire, life drain, only harmed by magic weapons.

Ammut the Devourer: HD 15 (120 hp); AC 0 [19]; Atk Bite (1d8), 2 claws (1d6); Move 12; Save 3; CL/XP 19/4100; Special: Immune to fire, life drain, only harmed by +2 or better weapons.

TIKOLOSHE [South Africa]
The tikoloshe is a bizarre creature that resembles a small, hairy humanoid with a bear-like head (pierced by a single hole), gouged out eyes and a bony head-ridge. Tikoloshes can become invisible by swallowing pebbles. Those foolish enough to fight a tikoloshe age 1d6 years during each round of combat. The tikoloshe is a nocturnal predator who likes to sneak into homes and assault people while they sleep.

Tikloshe: HD 5; AC 3 [16]; Atk Head butt (2d6); Move 9; Save 12; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Invisibility, rapid aging, only harmed by magic weapons.

1 comment:

  1. in the bible they refer to cain being banished to the land of nod. Is there an actual nod in africa?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...