Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Skyggen


"Poor shadow!" said the princess; "it is very unfortunate for him; it would really be a good deed to free him from his frail existence; and, indeed, when I think how often people take the part of the lower class against the higher, in these days, it would be policy to put him out of the way quietly."
The Shadow
Hans Christian Andersen


Skyggen
No. Enc.: 1 (1d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20') [Cannot enter brightly lit areas]
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: 2d4, Special
Save: F2
Morale: 6

Frail, fragile things of amorphous, ambiguous dimness, lacking all hope and despondent over their lackluster fate, the Skyggen are tricksome, troublesome beings who cause much mischief through their crafty lies and playing off of the misplaced sympathy of the vulnerable and gullible. They use a form of ESP similar to what a Doppleganger uses in its unholy substitutions to eavesdrop upon passersby in order to hunt out a likely seeming candidate for their next swindle.

Skyggen constantly and involuntarily mimic and mock the physical forms and outlines of any and all conscious beings who pass within 10'--they cannot help it. If they make a special effort, they can hold a single shape or outline for as long as they maintain their concentration. The more closely they match a particular being, the more effectively they can communicate with that person. The Skyggen gains a +1 bonus to their Reaction Rolls for every 4 Turns they can hold this form and engage their potential victim in discourse. What they talk about is unimportant. What matters is that they keep their victim talking. If the Skyggen can convince the victim to come close enough, the two can converse freely without anyone else overhearing them, using a limited variant of a Silence 5' Radius spell.

Skyggen seek to lull their victims into a false sense of security. Once they have gained their victim's trust, they will attempt to convince them to allow the Skyggen to temporarily "Swap places" with them. If the Skyggen can achieve this end completely by guile and persuasion, then it transfers its consciousness into the body of the victim while trapping their mind within the Skyggen's shadowy form. This exchange lasts for a period of 1d6 hours, after which time the displaced minds revert back to their original bodies. The Skyggen will then seek to convince the victim to return again another time to repeat the transfer. Each time it will attempt to reward the willing body-swapper in some minor fashion. Each time the transfer is made, the Skyggen temporarily gains 1d4 hit points that will last fort he next 3 days. If the Skyggen manages to gain in excess of 12 hit points through repeat transfers, it permanently gains 1 hit point. Every 6 permanent hit points gained in this manner gives the Skyggen an additional HD. There is also a cumulative 10% chance that the Skyggen will attempt to betray their victim by arranging to kill their own body (containing the mind of the person willingly swapping with them), leaving them in full possession of their victim's body. The Skyggen will seek to arrange for some sort of 'accident' to befall their former body, or if the opportunity presents itself, they will attempt to convince some well-meaning dupe to destroy their old form 'before it can swap itself for some unsuspecting victim...'



Irradiant   |    Irrlicht    |    Killgleam    |  Direshades    |  Achromiac | Todtlicht   |   Gloomshadow
Silouhette   |   Shimmerdeath

Red Bestiary Index

InspirationThe Shadow by Hans Christian Andersen, which is available at Online LiteratureWikisource, and elsewhere online, with a darker-tinged and malevolent sort of Walk-In, not at all like what Ruth Montgomery wrote about...

2 comments:

  1. I am reminded of the slithering tracker, which is basically a gygaxian cruelty against parties who leave henxhman on guard. This guy isn't nearly that trixy, and has much better flavor - still a hard mechanic to run directly against the party.

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    1. Hadn't made that particular connection. I never ran one of those as a punishment critter, though I have heard horror stories of games where they were used that way. Slithering Trackers are pretty useful as a lingering source of potential menace that never quite gets left behind, until someone takes it upon themselves to find out what is back there and deal with it once and for all. In the meantime, it might well be opportunisitc, picked off stragglers or those left behind, much as a doppleganger, gelatinous cube, etc. might do...leading to some concern/confusion as to what might be really back there. There are really basic, low-level spells for warding off such things...if the character(s) elect to learn them over something a bit more flashy and noisy.

      Skyggens are tricksy things, but more in terms of their dealings with individuals. They aren't going to run right out and confront an entire party. They're much more likely to approach a lonely sentinel on guard duty and strike up a conversation, try to earn their trust, do them a small favor or two, and then make their move. In that respect they are more like a doppleganger, but they are not likely to resort to force, outside of defending themselves if they cannot flee instead. These things are cowardly, conniving, cunning--they look for opportunities. When they cannot find a likely looking dupe, they move along. Some encounters are like that--the thing declines to engage for whatever reason, unless some character somehow interrupts their passage.

      Any party that takes time out to sleep, whether in a city, at an inn, or down in a hole in the dirt, could find themselves being scrutinized by a Skyggen. Any member of a party that is wounded, suffering from lingering spell-effects, injured, or so on, would make a good candidate to pay attention to by a Skyggen as the shady little thing might be able to tempt them with lies about miraculous healing properties it does not have. Those sorts of characters tend to get left behind, stuck watching over caches, or guarding prisoners, so they make ideal potential victims of the Skyggen who often begin by entertaining and amusing these folks with little jokes and stories. They are quite willing to play the fool, if it will allay their victim's fears and get them to let down their defenses.

      Another option is when a party splits up. One of them meets up with a Skyggen away from the rest of the group and the thing strikes up a conversation, possibly offering information about what lies ahead, possible encounters, locations of loot, whatever. Appealing to greed and supplying the character with sound information like that could lead to some sort of arrangement or deal being negotiated--the Skyggen doesn't care if the exchange is with the person they are cultivating, or someone being 'provided' by them. That gets you betrayal and possibly a bit of revenge. And it all starts with a simple conversation...

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