Saturday, 11 September 2021

encounters in the blue desert


1. ASH PANTHER

Footprints of glass. Glows from within. Luminous sunspots piercing dusty black hide. Smells like dried flowers. Speaks all languages. 

Won't kill anything before offering a fair fight. Wrestling match against the strongest of the party, footrace against the fastest, contest of riddles against the wisest, etc. Will leave the completely worthless alone.

Always looking for new challenges. Will get very excited if you tell it about the Hero of Heroes.

2. REVERSE MEDUSA

Sad bald woman. Dents in head where the snakes burrow into her skull. You can see them peering out her eyes and mouth.

Any graven image that sees her comes to life. Only extremely well made works of art are happy about this. Posse of misshapen modernist flesh creatures hunting her down to kill her so they can revert to stone. Classical Adonis with one arm shorn cleanly off, trying to protect her.

Seeking a culture where images are religiously prohibited to settle down and lead a happy life.

3. PARADISE GHUL

Eats the flesh of the virtuous dead after their spirits ascend to Jannah. Takes the form of its most recent meal. Slowly becomes pallid, stringy-haired and emaciated as it starves.

Covertly guides people into leading virtuous lives, waits for their souls to achieve maximum purity, then waits under the bed or ambushes them in dark alleys. Considers this a good deed, since they're guaranteed to go to heaven. Impersonates them and repeats the cycle.

If encountered starving in the desert, will only attack the best person in the party.

4. MERCHANT HAND

Puffy white caricature of a person wrapped in fine silks. Like a styrofoam snowman. Orbited by dozens of floating hands. You buy you buy you buy!

Put an object into one hand. It will vanish into the floating silks. Another hand will spin back around and provide you with a random object that's worth marginally less, plus or minus 1d6 copper pieces. If you don't like it, try again!

Slaps you silly if attacked. Explodes into huge pile of trinkets if somehow killed.

5. PURPLE OGRE

Tusked purple giant. Covered in black bristles. Loves ugliness and the scent of rotting flesh. Claps its hands over its ears and howls at the sound of poetry.

Keeps its soul in a bottle hanging from a leather thong around its neck. Can't be killed in combat unless the bottle is broken. Severed limbs move autonomously. Likes to pluck off its own still-living head and juggle it.

Can grant the ability to talk to animals, on condition that you die if any human hears you doing it. Will use this to bargain for its bottle back.

6. NEEDLE WITCH

Anything she pierces with her iron needles becomes her slave. Current slaves include a lion, a philosopher and several irrelevant peasants.

Vain. Wears eyeshadow and very tall hats. Loves gambling. Happy to wager the freedom of her slaves at dice. Definitely flirting with you. Friendly and useful to have around. Will try to stab you with a needle at the first opportunity.

You can free her slaves by simply pulling out the needles. They're under orders to not let you do that.

7. BIRDOUINS

Bedouins with vulture heads. Hooked beaks jut from the shadows of their hoods. Flanks of their camels scarred by talons.

Harsh nomads who survive by raiding caravans. Attack with blood-curdling screeches, armed with primitive rifles. Crack open travellers' bones and share out the marrow within. Keep themselves scrupulously clean.

Famously hospitable. Won't turn away anyone who comes to them asking for shelter.

8. HOLIDAY UNCLE

Jolly old man with long silvery beard. Purple felt hat. Pointy slippers. Accompanied by cavorting hunchbacks in red silk, their faces painted black with soot.

Hands out presents to each member of the party. "Because you're such good boys!" A few hours later, you will walk into an elaborate ambush laid by the hunchbacks, who want to kidnap you and put you into sacks. The presents turn out to be exactly what you need to fight them off.

Only allowed to see his wife once a year, but she stays up late and always falls asleep before he gets there.

9. MISINFERNO

Premature flame baby in floating glass womb. Scowling old man face. Paws at the glass with tiny burning hands, crying to be born.

Unwanted child of a djinn, destined to grow into a city-destroying inferno. Grants one minor wish to anyone who helps deliver it, then disappears. Next time the PCs visit their favourite town, they find it burned to the ground.

Pursued by elemental abortionist with hooks of ice.

10. THE HERO OF HEROES

Brave and noble prince. Looking for something that can finally kill him. Wants to know if you can be that thing.

Horse the colour of rose petals. Suit of white tiger skin that makes him invulnerable to fire, water and weapons. Sword named Thirty Swords that is the embodiment of all swords everywhere, so sharp its cuts inflict no pain.

Can only be killed by his own son. Does not know he has a son. One of the PCs is secretly his son.

10 comments:

  1. Thank you, this is very good.

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  2. I love your work, it's always so evocative.

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  3. wow! the reverse medusa in particular is a very spooky mix of tragedy and body horror.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I too love the reverse medusa. Fantastic work!

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