No. Enc.: 1
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3
Damage: 1d6 or by weapon
Save: MU 6
Tall, gaunt inhuman savants, the Dust Collectors lurk in the shadows surrounding the Dry Rot in Wermspittle, the Mallannax Appendix in Jumio, or the Tower of Xallameo within the Red Wastes, and similar such places and spaces to be found beyond the Kalaramar Drifts. They travel far and wide, always seeking after specimens dust and gathering trace amounts of cast-off matter or skin-cells that they absorb directly into their tissues, encysting this stuff into tiny internalized nodules that they somehow use to store, sort, analyze, and manipulate it, even use it in their sorcery or art. Dust Collectors extract information from even the tiniest speck of otherwise unnoticeable, inconsequential matter. The littlest fragments often reveal the most incredible secrets.
Their flesh is filled with a lambent, sickly pulsing light that seems to be seeping out from their diseased brains, which are lodged deep in their torsos and wrapped within a cage of cartilage. Lacking any sort of a real, proper head, they completely eschew sight and rely upon a range of other senses that allow them to discern trace amounts of rare elements, detect the chemical composition of anything and everything within 120 feet (or more if they exert themselves), and to observe the esoteric functions of matter deep down on the smallest scales. The member that juts forth from between their shoulders resembles a bloated and dead, vestigial organ used more to frighten the superstitious and the gullible than anything else, though it may in fact be some sort of sensory appendage. Dust Collectors are also gifted with a form of ESP that further enhances their ability to perceive extraordinarily minute things.
Not From Around Here
The Quadratic Codex ascribes the third planar layer of Baltong as the point of origin of these strange visitants. That may well be true. Certainly there is something of a bond between these cadaverous-looking beings and that dessicated wasteland beyond the Notorious Blue Box. But they are as likely to be denizens of some devastated world behind broken skies--if the account set down by Sarmandrio of Kalrion has any basis in truth. A debatable thing.
There are those who think that these beings are transplanar undertakers, after a fashion, but there are no conformed accounts of their ever having disturbed a crypt, sepulchre or tomb. Indeed, these creatures seem to be a bit too fastidious to ever delve into such hallowed precincts. Instead they prefer to collect samples of dust from libraries, studios, and lecture halls. They will go to great lengths to gather-up samples of dust that they feel is most potent or that has the most potential. They scrape these samples into small piles, expectorate a horrid mucous-like substance upon it and then absorb it through the mouth-like sucker-rings on their hands in order to carry it all away with them to their shabby lairs, often a dismal attic garret or some cramped cubicle walled-off within the dank cellar of some tavern or other place where the proprietor is unlikely to ask too many questions or to get too nosy.
What Are They Really Doing?
What are they looking for in the dust that they gather? The Dust Collectors are rumored to be skilled in the reformulation of what once were living things from the essential fragments left behind in cast off cells and flakes of skin--the primary component of dust. They seek nothing less than to dredge life back up from the dust itself, to revive things that have passed away from the world and to restore those beings, creatures or persons whom they choose from the cold shores of oblivion. Dust Collectors may be responsible for the resurgence and return of otherwise extinct species. They may also have played a role in the revivification of various notorious individuals who were reliably reported as being dead or destroyed. It is only a rumor, but many believe that the Dust Collectors can be bribed to restore the dead from only a few grains of dust, but no one is sure exactly how that works, or if those so returned are in fact really the people originally bargained for...
Nature may abhor a vacuum, but these strange beings abhor entropy and seek to subvert it by their little efforts, one small step at a time. They are nothing if not patient, methodical, persistent. Some say that they themselves are immortal. Perhaps they are. Maybe they make a practice of revivifying one another on a regular basis, possibly on some pre-arranged schedule. There are rumors that there may only really be one of these beings, that all the others are actually replicas, simulacra, copies of the one, actual connoisseur.
It might be possible to negotiate terms with a Dust Collector for the revivification of some friend, relative or other being or creature, so long as you can meet their steep price and have a suitable sample of their dust to provide to them for the process. It is also said that it is possible to purchase specimens of extinct species from the Dust Collectors, but only a few demented curators or eccentric sorcerers have ever pursued such an arrangement, mostly due to the exorbitant expense. Long ago, it is told in certain quarters, the Queen of ancient Xylaam is said to have struck a bargain with a cabal of Dust Collectors in order to resurrect a peculiar bird called the Dodo. Flocks of the ungainly, ugly birds now roost in the ruins of her once proud estates. To this day there are reports of the supposedly long dead Queen being sighted in yet another far away land, as young and beautiful as ever, but lost and wandering as though she no longer knew quite whom she really was or might have been. Everywhere she goes, Dodoes are soon to be found making clumsy, smelly nests.