by Alexander Shearer
ST: 12 (20)
Art by andi jones
HT: 14 (15/30)
PD/DR: 0/0 (0/3)
Damage: As a human (2d-1 thrust; 3d swing; acid)
Reach: C, 1 (C, 1, 2)
Size: 1 (4)
Weight: 150 lbs (350 lbs)
Habitat: Anywhere it is sent.
The values in parenthesis are for the Dayuvach in its monstrous form. The others are either for the human form or shared between the forms.
Most mortals respond pretty well to visions, prophetic dreams and other cautionary signs of the gods. For those that don't, there are other solutions. One of these is the Dayuvach, mouthpiece of the gods. As a sort of combination diplomat and heavy, the Dayuvach plays message boy for the gods, taking the form of man, woman and tentacled beast to do so.
On a Mission from God(s)The Dayuvach follows its own arcane rules -- and the gods that use it must follow them as well. No mortal is likely to find out what a god does, if anything, to call this messenger, but its corporeal procedure always begins the same way. The Dayuvach first appears as a normal man or woman, at noon, a mere 1,001 paces from the intended recipient of its message. Once there, the creature starts walking to its goal (in more advanced areas, it can acquire and use a vehicle if its target happens to be on the freeway at noon that day). It will not stop until it reaches its goal or is destroyed trying. It is not, however, stupid. Other people are never intentionally antagonized; they are usually simply ignored.
There are a few tricks the Dayuvach can employ on its way to the recipient, even though it can't talk unless a god talks through it. If attempts to brush past recalcitrant mortals fail, the messenger can briefly "flash" an image of its other form (see below). This is usually good for a Fright Check at -2 for the average person who doesn't see a monster every day. If its current user feels like it, a few words may be spoken through the Dayuvach, usually something along the lines of "The Great Nu commands you to step aside!" How effective this is depends upon whether anyone knows who the speaking god is and then believes that it actually is that god speaking. Usually, people don't buy it. Only when all efforts to duck, dodge, brush aside, scare or command people out of its way fail will the Dayuvach change to its other form.
The Other FaceWhile the Dayuvach may appear as any kind of man or woman, it only turns into one kind of tentacled, burning, slime-dripping monster. This alternate form of the Dayuvach, debatably its "true" form, is used to make sure the message gets there in time and to ensure that the recipient listens very carefully when it does. The change is swift and hard to pin down -- usually, everyone watching blinks at about the same time and finds themselves facing a huge, swarming mass. The monstrous Dayuvach has shiny, wet skin reminiscent in feel and appearance of an oil slick. It is a mass of muscular tentacles with a quartet of membranous wings which tend to spread and beat menacingly but serve no real purpose. There are no obvious eyes or other sensory organs, nor is there a mouth. Anyone coherent enough (another Fright Check might be in order) and with a clear view will see that the Dayuvach hovers a good foot or so above the ground, dribbling caustic slime into a growing puddle or trail below it.
When its in this beastly form, the Dayuvach usually means to injure someone (not always -- see below for details). It is a simple fighter, preferring to loom menacingly and smack people with tentacles until they get out of its way. Treat the Dayuvach as a normal combatant for purposes of choosing attack actions; it usually chooses a Step and Attack or All Out Attack. Anyone unfortunate enough to grapple it faces off against a +6 bonus for the Dayuvach, which represents its full mass of tentacles being brought to bear. Split the bonus between opponents if they gang up, and reduce it at GM's discretion if tentacles are crippled or hacked off.
Anyone touching or struck by the creature also has to deal with its caustic slime. The stuff is chiefly an irritant, though it will do 1d-5 every turn it remains on exposed skin. Assume anyone contacting the slime with an exposed area (e.g. someone grabbing a tentacle) receives a coating of slime. Whether it does damage or not, a sliming is worth a -3 to all skill rolls until it is removed. This can be done with anything that can wash or scrape, including water, cloth, sand and even careful use of a knife. A typical exposure from one touch takes a single turn to remove; extensive coating may take much longer.
Mouthpiece of the GodsOnce it reaches the intended recipient, the actual message delivery is largely up to the god behind the Dayuvach. The messenger has no voice of its own; it speaks the literal words of the deity, sounding as said deity wishes to sound. Though it usually delivers messages in human form, some users prefer the intimidation factor of speaking through a giant, tentacled mass. The Dayuvach hangs around until the message is finished, including discussion between god and recipient if needed, then simply vanishes. Note that if the Dayuvach is "killed" before reaching its goal, it will disappear in an impressive display of sizzling slime. It's up to the original backer to call it out for a second try.
Alternate DayuvachThe Dayuvach can also be slipped into other settings besides fantasy. Its a natural for horror campaigns, especially those with Things Man Was Not Meant to Know that happen to like sending messengers to hapless mortals. In other contemporary or science fiction games, it converts easily to a rare alien species or biological construct. For these settings, the Dayuvach may be a sort of psychic nexus, transmitting a telepathic message from a distant sender. A slightly more prosaic approach with a shape-changing, tentacled creature carrying an audio playback unit is still pretty intimidating. Humorous campaigns wouldn't do poorly with the Dayuvach as an interstellar mob heavy, club bouncer or street thug.
Article publication date: October 1, 1999
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