Roleplayer
Roleplayer #24, June 1991

Creatures of Fear

Monsters from Medieval Legend

by Andrea Sfiligoi

Abasy

ST:8-12Move/Dodge:7/7Size:2
DX:10-13PD/DR:0/25Weight:150-230 lbs.
IQ:10-13Damage:*Origin:ML (USSR)
HT:10-15Reach:CHabitat:Sub

The Abasy (plural: Abasylar) is a demonic creature, a long-dead person who dwells in subterranean caves and is utterly evil. Abasylar can move through virgin rock or earth in insubstantial form (at their normal Move), but otherwise they are substantial in all respects.

They hate and envy all living people, especially those who are healthy and merry. They are grim figures who despise sunlight; it does not harm them, but is horribly painful to their eyes, and they will always flee the sun immediately.

Abasylar feed by casting the Pestilence spell (see p. M65) at skill 14. If the target resists, the Abasy cannot cast it again on that person for a full day. Otherwise, a successful casting lets the demon possesses the victim, feeding on his life force until the Abasy is exorcised or the victim dies. The possessed person is not completely controlled, but the spirit of the Abasy will cause the subject's body to resist any attempt to cure the disease or banish the demon.

Abasylar also know the Sleep spell at level 13-16, but they can cast it only on members of the opposite sex. The spell requires no concentration and costs no fatigue. Once asleep, the victim is forced to have sexual contact with the Abasy and must roll vs. basic HT. If the roll fails, the victim is cursed, and he or she will not be able to have intimate contact with anyone unless the curse is lifted. Looking for a way to lift this curse, for a PC or NPC, can start an adventure.

Some Abasylar suffer from a severe fear of sharp objects (Aichmophobia) and so must make a Will roll in the presence of swords, knives, etc.

Adze

ST:0Move/Dodge:3/8Size:<1
DX:15-16PD/DR:0/0Weight:none
IQ:11+Damage:*Origin:ML (Africa)
HT:10/1Reach:CHabitats:J, F

The Adze is the vampiric spirit of a tribal warlock, able to leave the body while asleep or in a trance. From a distance, an Adze looks like a common firefly, but an Occultism roll at -4 will identify it.

The Adze feeds on blood, like a vampire, except it does not need to physically touch its victim. For every three seconds that the Adze flies in the same hex as its victim, the target is drained of 1 HT point of blood. The Adze can be tricked into drinking coconut juice or something similar with a successful Fast-Talk roll (the person must know the mage's language).

Adze can be attacked with enchanted weapons (at -11 to hit due to its small size) or caught with the hands (DX-5 roll). If captured, the Adze will revert to human form, with full HT but stunned for 3 seconds. In human form, it can be attacked and slain by normal means. If killed, it vanishes forever.

There are magical spells and rituals for dealing with an Adze, but they're not common knowledge.

Asp, Red

ST:2Move/Dodge:4/6Size:<1
DX:13PD/DR:0/0Weight:2 lbs.
IQ:3Damage:*Origin:ML (Italy)
HT:15/4Reach:CHabitat:M

During very hot summers, an unlucky traveler might find this deadly creature sunning itself on mountain tracks. It is a red, two-foot long snake with a glittering red gemstone set in its forehead.

Anyone who sees the snake will automatically look at the gem in its forehead, unless they know about this creature. If the GM says "You see a large red snake," and a player says "I'm looking away!," give them an IQ roll at -3 to avoid looking at the Red Asp's gem. Any character with Naturalist skill should get a Naturalist-1 roll to realize the danger of the Red Asp; if they realize the danger, they get the same IQ-3 roll to avoid looking. A failed roll means the PC is subject to the Charm spell (see p. M59). A success means they look away, and can flee or attack – see below.

The asp's Charm spell requires no casting time or fatigue cost. Entranced victims fall to the ground, paralyzed, and the snake bites them, injecting a type A, 1d-1 damage venom. At that point, make a reaction roll – at -2 if the victim has a Red Asp gem in their possession, and -6 if they possess a dead asp. On a Neutral or better reaction, the asp will let its victim go. Otherwise the asp continues biting, once every 3 seconds, until the victim is dead.

The red asp will show itself and deliberately paralyze a foe only if disturbed or taken by surprise, and will never pursue a fleeing victim. Likewise, if its Charm fails, the asp will flee – usually into a hole in the rocks. They are timid creatures and avoid encounters with men if at all possible.

Anyone who avoids the asp's initial Charm can try to attack the snake. Each attack requires another IQ-3 roll before the attack itself is rolled. The total penalty to bit the asp, counting both size and the difficulty of striking without looking at the head, is -6. If someone finds a clever way to deal with the asp without looking at it, so be it!

The red gem on the asp's forehead is a 10-carat ruby, which also acts as a Powerstone (10 points). The Powerstone has the quirk that it can only be used to power spells resisted by IQ; there will always be one other quirk, often having to do with reptiles in some way. Removing the stone from a dead Red Asp requires a Jeweler skill or DX-4 roll. If the roll fails, the gem is ruined as a Powerstone, but is still worth $200 as a jewel. On a critical failure it will shatter into worthless shards.

Some mages use Red Asps as guardians, allowing the snakes to roam freely within the gardens or forests around their strongholds. This suggests that there is an amulet or spell which reliably protects against the Asp's charm.

Alber

ST:7-8Move/Dodge:40/7Size:3
DX:13PD/DR:2/0Weight:50-75 lbs.
IQ:4Damage:1d-3 impOrigin:ML (Italy)
HT:13/20Reach:CHabitat:M

This huge, flame-sheathed bird of prey is nocturnal and rarely encountered. Those who see the Alber's flame swooping in the distance must make a HT roll or stand frozen in place, paralyzed until they hear the tolling of church bells (occurring at daybreak in most populated areas). Otherwise the paralysis can be cured with a Remove Curse or similar treatment. Once a successful HT roll is made, the PC is immune to the bird's effects until the next midnight – unless he chooses to enter combat with the creature, in which case a HT roll is required every second.

Anyone unfortunate enough to see the Alber up close (within 10 yards) immediately gets the Unluckiness disadvantage. The Unluckiness can be removed with a successful Will roll and 1-6 days of prayer and fasting (assuming the PC is pious, and realizes that the Alber is the source of the curse). Alternately, the GM may allow more exotic methods of dispelling the enchantment, or require a quest for unusual materials or more information.

If attacked, the Alber defends itself by pecking with its sharp beak, doing 1d-3 impaling damage. Anyone adjacent to the bird for any reason must also roll against DX every second to avoid taking 1d-2 damage from the flames. It is otherwise a timid creature and never purposely attacks people. Given its magical powers, it is not surprising that no Alber has ever been captured or studied, and a live specimen would be highly prized by wizards and alchemists.

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