Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blue Frost (Red Bestiary)

And let me tell you this: our higher senses are blunted. We are so drenched with material sin, that we should probably fail to recognize real wickedness if we encountered it...
Arthur Machen

Blue Frost
[a.k.a. Lingering Ice, Winter-Fingers, Cold Patches, etc.]
No. Appearing: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 10' (Can only move in shadows, Must always be in contact with a surface)
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3 (Gains 1 hit point per every 12 points damage inflicted)
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d4+Frostbite
Save: F6
Morale: In dark: 11, in bright light: 3

In and of itself the Blue Frost is not particularly heinous nor terribly dangerous, not as such, not immediately. However, it is unwise to assume that it is in any way harmless.

A sluggish calamity that lingers in the low, dim places; many write it off as just one more such slow-moving hazard to be avoided within the noisome darkness of the Low Streets. Blue Frost is generally considered a minor nuisance, particularly along the nooks and crannies of the Low Streets and other places given to poor lighting conditions and rife with shadows where the ice and snow of winter take their time to melt. The Ice-Sellers and Cold Storage firms have experimented with trying to utilize this vile stuff in their respective businesses only to abandon it as sheerest folly, usually after multiple deaths and extensive property damage.

Blue Frost inflicts only modest damage, but the wounds it causes are supercooled as though exposed to a whiff of liquid nitrogen, making them brittle and prone to developing frostbite that quickly leads to gangrene. Spells, potions and unguents do nothing to heal the damage inflicted by Blue Frost. The only effective means of dealing with this wicked form of frostbite tends to be immediate amputation. Those who reject such extreme measures soon learn that the damage done is as much to their psyche and soul as to their flesh. Left untreated the frostbite will spread across the victim's body, causing a loss of 1d4 hit points per day as it slowly, agonizingly gnaws away at their flesh. The victim also must make a Save each day in order to stave off the loss of 1 point of Constitution. They remain in full possession of their faculties, but suffer excruciating pain and their movement rate is reduced to one-half normal, and they suffer a -1 on all physical actions including attack and defense. While under the influence of the frostbite the victim becomes completely amoral, emotionless and completely without conscience.

Those who succumb to the frostbite by reaching zero hit points while still retain at least one point of Constitution, collapse into a foul and blackened mess similar in many respects to a Loathsome Mass, and indeed, there is some speculation that these things can in fact take on a weird sort of ablife under certain circumstances. Demented alchemists, defrocked surgeons and various necromantic ne'erdowells have experimented with these vile piles of Grimflesh in order to cobble together a variety of peculiar golems, or mannequins, and this stuff has been used in the creation and construction of some very nasty dolls.

Grimflesh has no real value outside of the necromantic trades, as it lacks any nutritional value and is inedible. The Butchers won't even bother to try to sell it and the Butcher Boys are warned to never collect the stuff for any reason, as it is less than useless to their masters.

Grimflesh [AL N, MV 3', AC 6, HD 2+, #AT 1, DG 1d4+Grimrot, SV F4+, ML 10. Special: On each successful attack by a shapeless mass of Grimflesh, the victim must Save at +1 or contract Grimrot. A slowly progressing gray-green discoloration surrounds the wound preventing spells, potions and most other forms of healing to work for 1d6 hours after being infected. The Grimrot will cause 1 point of damage per hour, until it goes inert after 3d6 hours. The areas affected by this stuff remain discolored and distorted, causing most victims to seek cosmetic surgery, though there are those who wear these scars with a twisted sense of pride.]

Note: It is rumored that Grimflesh can be induced to recover some low order form of quasi-sentience, and that it has demonstrated a disturbing form of psychic plasticity, making it altogether far too pliable and responsive to the whims and wills of discarnate entities such as geists and worse. It is for this reason that it is deemed Extremely Hazardous and one is advised to avoid it all costs and to immediately notify the appropriate authorities. It is also whispered in the tap rooms and rathskellers of the Low Streets that even a small lump of this nasty stuff can be worth a good price if one knows how to make the right connections.

Frost Bitten (Munoz Syndrome)
Those who reach zero Constitution before losing their last hit point quickly blacken and shrivel into stiff, brittle abdead cadavers that retain full awareness and consciousness, but no longer feel any physical sensation, are devoid of all emotion, rendered completely amoral and unrestricted by any form of conscience whatsoever. Abdead narcissists driven mad by their painful ordeal, these Frost-Bitten things skulk about in cold, dark places terrorizing their former friends, family and associates while obsessing over increasingly obscure and complicated forms of vengeance against those whom they have convinced themselves allowed them to suffer so horribly.

Frost Bitten [AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 2+, #AT 1, DG 1d4, SV F4+, ML 10 (3 in bright light). Special: Movement is halved and AC suffers a -4 penalty, and they suffer 1 point of damage per Turn exposed to bright light. Charm, ESP, Sleep and similar spells do not work on these things as their minds are too deranged to succumb to the effects. They have a 50% resistance to all forms of Paralysis and are immune to normal poisons and incapable of ingesting potions or liquors, though some have taken to bathing in various fluids to mixed results. Those affected by Munoz Syndrome retain their faculties (including knowledge and spell-casting abilities) but are utterly amoral, emotionless and prone to obsessiveness.]

Research into an effective cure to the frostbite caused by Blue Frost continues to be a major concern of the Medical College in Wermspittle. There are nearly a dozen scholarships, fellowships and prestigious awards available for those who dedicate themselves to the study and eventual conquest of this particular affliction. Perhaps this has something to do with the twenty-seven surgeons and scholars who have themselves succumbed to Munoz Syndrome according to the official record...

Inspiration: Cool Air by H. P. Lovecraft, lingering Minnesota winters that never seem to end, defrosting the freezer in our kitchen, and having experienced frostbite first-hand while working underneath airplanes in the Minnesota...

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