Friday, December 20, 2013

Saiitii Manifestations in Wermspittle (Red Bestiary)

The development must have been going forward through centuries, to have produced such a monstrosity. It was a true instance of Saiitii manifestation, which I can best explain by likening it to a living spiritual fungus, which involves the very structure of the aether-fibre itself, and, of course, in so doing, acquires an essential control over the 'material substance' involved in it. It is impossible to make it plainer in a few words...
The Whistling Room, by William Hope Hodgson


These things are an invasive species of insidious spiritual fungi that infest abandoned properties, empty rooms and forgotten places. Saiitii Manifestations tend to be slow-developing threats that build-up over time. They are also quite intelligent, but along lines very differently ordered than rational human beings. They will often attempt to mislead investigators into believing that they are confronting a poltergeist or something similar, all the while feeding upon their growing confusion, fear and despair. The Saiitii grow fat and powerful on the suffering and turmoil of incarnate beings.

According to the available literature and incomplete records of various intrepid survivors of encounters with these dreadful Manifestations, the Saiitii spirit-fungus may be susceptible to Holy Word (they must Save or be driven into the Near Aethyr, if successful on their Save they suffer 1d6 damage per Level of Cleric. They gain a +1 bonus on such Saves per HD/Level, so this is most effective when applied early on in the infestation process.)

So far there has been no substantiation of the claim that wounds incurred within the area of effect of a Saiitii Manifestation have an abnormal chance of becoming infected or diseased. Needless to say, any proof in this regard would be of great interest to Unnatural Philosophers and other such scholars who have an interest in these sorts of things.


Saiitii Manifestations
No. Enc.: 1 (Special)
Alignment: Chaotic (Outer Zones/Evil)
Movement: n/a on physical plane, extend across Lower Astral and Aethyrial regions.
Armor Class: Improves by 1 per Level from a base of 9. See Immunities below.
Hit Dice: Gains 1d8 per Level
Attacks: 1 (Pseudopod, Spell or Persistent Phenomena)
Damage: 1d6 per Level, by Spell, or Pervasive Fear Effect (using a modified version of the Cleric Turning Table), or Persistent Phenomena (see below).
Save: As Cleric of Level equal to HD.
Morale: 11

Special: Saiitii Manifestations grow increasingly impervious to most physical attacks, gaining a +1 to their Save against physical attacks (Failure means half damage, Success means no damage). They perceive events around them through a combined form of Clairvoyance and ESP that operates continually in a ten foot radius that expands an additional ten feet per HD/Level. Saiitii Manifestations cast spells as a Cleric at a Level equal to their HD. They also have a number of Persistent Phenomena that they employ both as a form of defense and as a way to cultivate and create negative emotions upon which to feed.

Their Pervasive Fear Effect is based off of the Cleric Turning Undead Table (see Labyrinth Lord, P. 9). [Results of "-" means those within the thing's area of effect are aware of the all-pervasive atmosphere of psychic oppression but otherwise unaffected. A Result of "T" means that the person affected must make a Save or succumb to the effects of a Cause Fear spell; those who successfully Save suffer a draining of 1d8 hit points per Level of the Manifestation. Results of "D" mean that the victim suffers 1d8 damage per Level of the Manifestation as well as being affected by the Fear effect with no Save. Where a number is indicated, the Manifestation must roll 2d6, as a Cleric would, and roll higher than the number listed to affect the victim. Those so affected are allowed to attempt to Save, otherwise they suffer the effects of a Cause Fear spell.


Persistent Phenomena
Saiitii Manifestations can maintain one of these area effect Persistent Phenomena for 1 hour per HD/Level. They must cease the Phenomena in order to cast spells or use another form of attack.
  1. Sporadic Mad Piping: Inflicts a -1 penalty to Saves against madness and insanity every hour exposed. 
  2. Contemptuous Hooning Mockeries: Disrupts concentration, makes it impossible to regain spells while in effect. Clerics exposed to this effect must make a Save every hour they are exposed or suffer a complete loss of all spells for one hour. Clerics cannot recover their spells while this Phenomena is in effect, and they must leave the area of effect for 1d4 hours and it is strongly recommended that they make use an Atonement or Bless to facilitate the complete recovery of their spells, preferably from another Cleric.
  3. Seemingly Incessant Whistling: Causes a cumulative -1 penalty to all Saves versus Fear Effects. Also deranges victim's sense of the passage of time, causing those affected to feel as though minutes were hours or vice versa. This time distortion effect randomizes the ongoing healing process of those affected, as well as spell recovery rate, and rest. Fighters and other action-oriented characters must make a Save each hour or become restless and agitated, with a cumulative 20% chance to go berserk.
  4. Pernicious Whispering Echoes: Disturbing voices at the very threshold of awareness make sleep impossible, cause a -1 penalty to Morale every hour exposed, and reduce any CHAR Bonus a character might have by -1 each hour as well. Spell-casters (other than Clerics) must Save or suffer a form of paranoia coupled with intense dread; they must make a Save to cast any spells while they remain in the area of effect of the Manifestation. This effect will pass within 1d4 hours of no longer being in the area of effect. Optional: missing the Save could result in a spell casting mishap...



Eight Spells Attributed to Saiitii Manifestations
Brutally Malignant Note
Level: 3
Duration: instantaneous
Range: 10' per HD/Level of caster.
Causes all exposed to suffer a -3 penalty to Initiative, -2 penalty to all Saves, and a -1 penalty to Hit/damage rolls for one hour. The Manifestation can repeat this effect once per day per HD/Level.

Create Malignancy
Level: 4
Duration: Permanent
Range: 10' per HD/Level of caster.
This spell spreads the Saiitii fungal infestation by one cubic foot for every 20 hit points the caster has drained from victims. Once cast, the Saiitii entity has a 30% chance to gain one HD or Level. The cost in terms of hit points drained increases by a cumulative 20 per casting, even if the spell fails to give the creature an increase in HD/Level. Saiitii Manifestations can only cast this spell once per month.

In some cases, it is suspected that certain instances of Saiitii Manifestations have been able to improve their intrinsic HD without going up in Level, but this deviation from observed practice has yet to be acceptably verified.

Fist of Shadows
Level: 2
Duration: instantaneous.
Range: 10' per HD/Level of Caster.
Caster forms a massive, shadowy fist to strike out at victims. The fist is equal to a +1 weapon for purposes of determining a successful hit. It inflicts 1d4 damage per HD/Level of the caster, however the victim gets a Save, success indicating only half damage is taken.

Fungal Growth
Level: 2
Duration: 6 Turns
Range: 10' per HD/Level of Caster.
All non-magical fungi within area of effect expand and grow rapidly, producing a host of troubling shapes, disturbing stains and a foul-smelling region surrounding the caster that lingers until purged by fire, acid or spells.

One Mad Yell
Level: 3
Duration: 6 Turns per HD/Level of Caster.
Range: 10' radius.
Victims must Save at -2 or suffer the effects of both Cause Fear and Confusion spells for the duration of the spell.

Residual Depletion
Level: 2
Duration: 1 day per HD/Level of Caster.
Range: 10' per HD/Level of Caster.
Those exposed to this effect lose all bonuses from exceptional attributes, including their Prime Attribute for 1 day, per HD/Level of the caster. This draining effect can be immediately remedied by resorting to a Bless spell.

Shadow Surge
Level: 2
Duration: instantaneous.
Range: 10' per HD/Level of Caster.
Causes all shadows in area of effect to coalesce and flow rapidly towards target. Those struck by the condensed shadow-stuff must make a Save or suffer effects of Cause Fear spell. Successful Save means that the victim gains a +1 bonus to subsequent Saves. Failure causes a lingering -1 penalty to such Saves that persists for 1 day per HD/Level of caster.

Spore Barrier
Level: 2
Duration: 2 rounds per HD/Level of Caster.
Range: 10' per HD/Level of Caster.
Forms a fetid, shimmering haze of spores that gum-up lanterns, surround torches and open flames with smoky, choking clouds that reduce visibility and movement by 50%.


"Once, about midnight, I did break the seal on the door, and have a quick look in; but, I tell you, the whole Room gave one mad yell, and seemed to come toward me in a great belly of shadows, as if the walls had bellied in toward me.Of course, that must have been fancy. Anyway, the yell was sufficient, and I slammed the door, and locked it, feeling a bit weak down my spine. You know the feeling."

The Whistling Room


The Saiitii Manifestations originally appeared in William Hope Hodgson's excellent Carnacki the Ghost Finder series as the source of a peculiar form of haunting as detailed in the case of The Whistling Room. Hodgson has had a tremendous influence upon our work on Wermspittle, Zalchis and other projects. His novels The Nightland (at ProjectG) and The House on the Borderlands (at ProjectG) are incredible, we love them both dearly, but they are only two of the amazing stories Hodgson produced before an untimely death. Besides Project Gutenberg, you can find a lot of his work on Wikisource. His Carnacki stories are some of the best in the Psychic Detective genre and we highly recommend them to anyone interested in things pertaining to investigative horror, ghost-hunting, etc., whether at the table in a game or fiction. Carnacki is very much like a Sherlock Holmes of the supernatural. You can find most of the Carnacki tales online at Project Gutenberg, or you can click over to Mr. Rowland's wonderful forgotten Futures site and take a look at what he has done with the Carnacki tales for his Forgotten Futures game. It's really quite good and we're hoping to get the opportunity to play in a FF game one of these days. You might also enjoy clicking over to the Nightlands website and the William Hope Hodgson blog, both are quite excellent resources for all things Hodgsonian. And yes, we are still at work on a series of digital paintings inspired by Hodgson's Nightland, so that one work-in-progress that we posted last December won't be so lonely for much longer.

We cannot over-state Hodgson's overall impact and influence on Wermspittle and his works are some of the first entries we've added to the Vermiform Appendix; our list of influences and references for Wermspittle that somewhat parallels the Appendix N of classic D&D. You'll be seeing more Hodgsonian inspired monstrosities and fungus-things in the weeks ahead as we finally get a lot of the accumulated back-log of old drafts posted once and for all...

7 comments:

  1. Great stuff, and I love the structure of the post; it's like a article out of a gaming magazine.

    I wonder how Hodgson means us to pronouce Saiitii? sah-eeee-teeee (with every long "ee's") or a more Latinate sai-ee-tee-ee? Or something else?

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    1. Thanks Trey; a blog is a lot like a 'zine, only done with some simple html. We want our blog to be as readable and navigable as possible. That's why I'm building the Episode Guides for Bujilli and a few more indexes, like for Wermspittle. We're also working on a small 'zine-thingy, like everyone else from the sounds of things. But that'll be after the first of the New Year. After some other stuff gets out the door.

      Hodgson never came clean on how to say some of those words that he invented, at least not that I ever found out. There are scholarly-types more-or-less devoted to Hodgson now, so maybe one of those folks will find out and reveal the soul-searing truth. In the meantime, I rather like having it up in the air--let the player decide, then roll some dice...let's see how accurate you got...

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  2. This series really is an education. Have you ever thought about writing something more in the form of an encyclopaedia, a reference work for people interested in the same material?

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    1. Thanks. Not sure if anyone would really want such a thing, but it might be worth considering next year. I kind of like this idea. Thanks for the suggestion!

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    2. I think the trick would be jotting down the entries as they come, over the weeks and months, as a few distilled lines each time, and then going back and building on the bigger ones when the time comes to pull the thing together.

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    3. Sounds like an excellent plan. I could do with getting more organized...

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  3. And yes, we are still at work on a series of digital paintings inspired by Hodgson's Nightland, so that one work-in-progress that we posted last December won't be so lonely for much longer. - See more at: http://hereticwerks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/saiitii-manifestations-in-wermspittle.html#sthash.J0w3CfkC.dpuf


    Oooh goody goody ::-)

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