Friday, March 2, 2012

Slasher (Wermspittle)

Slasher
No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 2
Damage: 2d8
Save: F8
Morale: 11

Strange, dully metallic pseudo-insects equipped with six blade-like slashing legs and a pair of tiny, spindly arms that end in weak pincers, Slashers skitter and scamper about in dimly lit areas, dismal alleys, and deplorable tunnels. They dislike bright light and will seek to escape from even the weakest Light spell.

The primary sensorium of a Slasher consists of a slightly luminous orb of silvery material filled with myriads of nerve bundles floating in a fluid that some say makes excellent cold-light lamps when it's mixed with the right amount of alcohol or ammonia. The entire chitinous exoskeleton of a Slasher is super-saturated with the a colloidal silver compound, making the dull, waxy material take on a peculiar gray sheen that is not quite reflective, and giving these creatures an almost mechanical appearance, leading some so-called authorities (mostly those lacking credible field experience) to consider them to be automatons or constructs. This is hotly contested and challenged by a number of alley-hunters and vermin-wranglers, but the matter has never been completely settled, mostly due to the tendency of any captured or killed Slashers being parted-out before anyone can really get a good look at them.

The leg-blades of a typical Slasher (some grow to as big as 12 HD), if removed while the creature is still alive and suitably treated in a special alchemical bath, can be converted into incredibly sharp and durable slashing-weapons that are nearly as tough and flexible as high-grade steel, yet incredibly light. Alchemically and sorcerously they resemble both organic matter and silver simultaneously, which is very useful to those who labor under certain restrictions regarding the use of cold iron, steel, or non-organic materials. Slasher Blades are exceptionally responsive to efforts to imprint them with transplanar energies or to enchant them. Some craftsfolk are well-known for their artistry in talismanic skrimshaw and runic engravings that are specifically devoted to working with this unique material.

The formula for the various proprietary alchemical baths used to produce these slashing weapons vary from area to area and person to person. No one ever shares their formula and there are hundreds of variations and permutations available, some more effective or reliable than others. It's almost as complicated and sophisticated as distilling, brewing or salve compounding, and three times as competitive and dangerous for those who get caught trying to pry into someone's secret methods or mixtures.

It used to be possible to preserve the brain-stem of a Slasher and use it within various forms of puppets or marionettes, but this is a highly specialized skill and only three or four craftsmen remain who still practice this mostly defunct art.

Attempts to make armor from Slasher chitin rarely succeeds. The material of a Slasher's six legs holds a keen edge and makes a fine cutting weapon, but the rest of the body is pretty much worthless, at least until someone figures out a way to make it respond to some alternative alchemical process...


3 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I like the "naturalism" of the beastie. All the details really integrate it into the setting.

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  2. It gets even more interesting when you start hearing about the way that some stable-owners are breeding/modding-out Slashers for use in the underground gladiatorial arenas...

    And of course there are special uses for the blades derived from these creatures in certain rites or spells that cross over transplanar thresholds...

    Of course we haven't really dealt with lycanthropy in Wermspittle yet...

    So these critters really are fairly integral to the setting. Plus they're handy for making marionettes, one of the all-time creepiest monsters ever.

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  3. I think Kleist would approve of the use of Slasher ganglia for advanced marionettes.

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