Thursday, September 8, 2011

Almas (Type I) [Labyrinth Lord]

Almas (Type I: Fringe-Dwellers)
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90'(60')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: 1 (30% chance of melee weapon/70% ranged weapon or mutation/spell)
Damage: 1d6 or by weapon/mutation/spell
Save: F1
Morale: 6

Almas are the Mongolian version of the Yeti or Sasquatch, or similar such cryptid-hominids like Big Foot. They are mostly seen around the Altai Mountains in Southern Mongolia, the Pamir and Caucasus Mountains of central Asia. There are accounts of the Almas in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Russia, and Mongolia. They seem to resemble wild people more than apes, and some cryptozoologists have advanced the theory that the Almas might resemble some sort of survival or descendant of the Neanderthals. They've shown up in folklore and other records for hundreds of years, now they're showing up in our settings and rpg campaigns...

Almas are bipedal humanoids ranging between just under four to just over six and a half feet tall, though they are usually much more likely to be on the shorter end of that scale. They are covered with a coarse reddish-brown hair that they collect from themselves in order to create a sort of felt that they use in making whatever clothes or armor they might sometimes wear, usually in mimicry of other humanoids that they have observed. Shy and reclusive, the Almas prefer to lair within mountainous regions and are very well adapted to enduring the cold. Almas are known to wield weapons that they find or recover from the dead bodies of unlucky explorers. They also have been known to set-up dead-falls, rigged avalanches and to dig pit traps around their favored hunting areas. Most of their few artifacts and tools tend to be bone, flaked stone and crudely chewed/pounded copper. Their armor is reminiscent of heavy carpet and is equivalent to +1 leather armor on those rare occasions where an armored Almas is encountered. This armor does not interfere with the casting of spells, so there is a bit of interest in recovering or acquiring such armor on behalf of various sorcerers and other spell-casters.

Almas are rumored to possess a number of peculiar organs and glands* that are of special interest to magic-users who can use these things in crafting various potions, unguents, balms and salves. Some humanoids such as hobgoblins or orcs have been known to hunt almas in order to harvest their glands and organs to sell to unscrupulous or at least undiscerning sorcerers and contra-gourmands. Folklore spread by these same hunters attests to the longevity, celerity and virility that one can gain from ingesting portions of these things, though the hunters themselves rarely ever avail themselves of these magico-nutritive wonders.

Young almas who are captured early in life can be trained as household servants and there have been several sorcerers who took on an almas as a familiar, though this rarely ends well for either the sorcerer or the almas.

Almas are known to inter-breed with many, many different beings from many different species, producing a wide range of possible mutations and secondary traits amongst any given encampment or traveling band.

(*See the Peculiar Organs & Glands Table, or use the mutation tables from MutantFutureEncounterCritical or something similar.)

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