Friday, May 30, 2014

Shockheads (Red Bestiary)

Just look at him! There he stands,
With his nasty hair and nasty hands.
See! His nails are never cut;
They are grimed as black as soot...


Shockheads
(A.K.A. Struwelpeters, Slovenly Ones)
No. Enc.: 2d4
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 2+2
Attacks: 2 (Filthy Nails) or 1 (Bite)
Damage: 1d6/1d6+Plague or 2d4+Plague
Save: F4
Morale: 8

Filthy little degenerates. They reek of grease, rubbish and ordure. Despicable things. They torment small animals and spread pestilence and plague in their wake. Thoroughly dehumanized and fearfully weaponized, these diminutive beings have been sent back home to spread confusion, terror and disease among those they barely remember.

Any time someone is bitten or scratched by a Shockhead, there is a base 10% chance that the victim contracts a cruel wasting disease. Those failing a Save versus poison incur the loss of 2d6 hit points and suffer a terrible fever that leaves them delirious and unable to recover lost hit points for the duration of the disease. Those who succeed on the Save take half damage and are only intermittently delirious and recover 1 hit point per day maximum, until the disease runs its course or they receive a Cure Disease spell or a similarly effective cure.

Those who succumb to the plague spread by Shockheads do not die, but rather transform into Shockheads on the very brink of death. Once transformed, there is no known way to recover the victim.


The Franzikaner newspapers claim that the first Shockheads were children captured by the Pruztians. The Pruztian press insist that the Shockheads were the result of botched military experiments by the Franzikaners. At this time there is not enough evidence to support, nor to dismiss either claim...

Source of Inspiration: Struwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann, was originally written as a book intended to provide moral instruction to small children, revealing the drastically exaggerated consequences of misbehavior such as bad manners or poor hygiene in an over-the-top way. There are decent English translations of this book available at Archive.org, and at Project Gutenberg.

4 comments:

  1. Great images and a really neat description (including the conflicting state narratives about their origins). On the smaller "golden" image on the lower right side of the post: is that an Eraserhead-style 'fro?

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    1. Nasty little things...glad you like them as monsters. There tends to be a lot of finger-pointing back and forth among the Great Powers. Somethings never change...

      The 'fro was pretty-much part and parcel of the original Struwelpeter, so one might be tempted to make a case for Eraserhead taking some inspiration from German folklore...it does remind me a little bit of Leo Sayer though...

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    2. Almost forgot; these creatures have a bit of a connection to a certain white-haired adventuress you might have read about at the blog...

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    3. Ohhhhh, that makes a lot of sense...

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