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Beasts of Lejend Book creature Addition, the Soucouyant

SPECIAL DRAGONSFOOT PREVIEW

By Gary Gygax

© 2001 Trigee enterprises Company.  All rights reserved.

In case you aren’t familiar with the Living Dead creatures found in the LA RPG, beware! In average, these monsters are more dangerous and able than those found in most other fantasy game systems.  That said, what follows should come as no great surprise…

Some months back we were discussing the creatures of interesting and useful sort to add to the existing LEJENDARY ADVENTURETM RPG Beasts of Lejend core rules book.  Many new entries were generated by Lejend Masters and players, and these will be appearing regularly in Lejends Magazine.  Of all done, and this includes a number of my own creation, there is no doubt that the monstrous creature sent in from Trinidad by Angel Stewart was the hands-down best of show!  So here, Gentle Reader, is that singular monster for your shuddersome enjoyment:

The Soucouyant

Soucouyant in General: The soucouyants are super-demonical monsters, were created by demonic rituals during the Age of Adepts.  In its former life a soucouyant was usually a person whose deeds were wicked in the extreme, usually involved many heinous crime.  Such actions brought the individual to the attention of one or another of the great netherbeing lords.  At that point, the demon, devil, etc. would convey to one or another evil Adept that a new “recruit” was ready.  The Adept, or a servant, possibly a soucouyant, then approached the chosen individual, and introduced that one to  the pain, and pleasure, of becoming a truly demonical monster, a soucouyant!  The initial portion of the vile ritual left the candidate in a state near death. At that point, the choice was put to them: Become a servant of the nether realms…or die.

Only a very few of the candidates refused to submit, so in time a large number of these terrible creatures were in the service of the many malign Adepts.  Being as wicked and intelligent as they are, however, not many of the soucouyants remained “loyal”, one after another these most malign things slipped away from their masters, departed with burning rage at their condition, and even more evil in their heart.

In all, the soucouyant seems to be a creature without motivation—other than doing evil, inflicting pain and death upon all life so as to assuage its own self-loathing and dark despair.  Note that this hopelessness is based on the monster’s rage at not being human, unable to do its wickedness in that state, and has nothing to do with any regret for being completely evil.

Recalling its previous life as faint echoes and generally drifting through the world, continuing the same acts they inflicted on populations in their twisted lives, the soucouyants spread over the whole of the world.  Blood became what most seek, enjoying the taste of it beyond measure.  While wearing their human skins, they can pretend to lead normal human lives, usually that of some scholar or wealthy aristocrat.  Thus some may go unnoticed by average humans.

To those attuned to the Extraordinary, with ability to detect the malign, however, any soucouyant emits a strange aura.  Once having seen this dark emanation, the individual will forever recognize this dreadful aura, associate it with these creatures.

The soucouyant is not bound to the skin it wore in mortal life.  In fact, it must shed it with the coming of night.  Not only that, but the vile thing can very well kill and strip the skin of another mortal, and thus it takes on that new identity, the appearance being the same in all respects as to that of its murdered victim.  However, the successful assumption of the personality of the victim requires the use of the soucouyant’s Pretence Ability and mimicry Knack. 

All of them, however, must answer the call of the nether lord that originally singled each out for transformation to their soucouyant state.  When commanded, the soucouyant must obey the bidding of this hellish master or mistress.  This usually pertains to some machination in regards the never-ending power struggle of the nether realms or the battle between “Good and  Evil”.

Soucouyants are creatures of the mundane dimensional matrices, but they must do the work of their master; so when called, one will perforce move into the aetherial, pay homage and obey.  It is up to the LM to determine the motivation of the soucouyant encountered in a scenario. Very polarized Avatars, either very good or very evil, will attract the attention of one nether lord or another, and thus it might be that such malign netherbeing will send a servant to deal with such persons, kindly killing them, cruelly making them into soucouyants.  Good Avatars will be tempted to become corrupt and evil.  For the reasons previously stated, the wicked will be converted and used…

The height and weight of one of these horrible creatures varies through the human spectrum, that is from about five feet to as tall as seven feet, weight likewise spanning the range of human norm.  When a soucouyant ages, it will leave its old skin, slay and flay a victim, thus assuming that one’s bodily form whilst retaining its own mind and capacities.

The creature has good senses, with all except sight being equivalent to what by human standards are excellent. Vision in lightless conditions is like that of a grotto wylf; however during the day the soucouyant sees with normal human vision, and suffers no penalties.

When skinless at night a soucouyant appears as a version of its daytime self, but a grizzly one indeed, with skin peeled away, revealing muscle, veins, and flesh beneath.  The eyes are like black pools with an eerie glint that shies dimly in the darkness. 

At dark, after the twilight has faded, dusk gives way to night, the soucouyant is able to cast an illusion about itself in one ABC of time, this causing it to seem to be the form of another human, Alfar, or veshoge race at the creature wills.  Mannerisms and voice will depend on the skill of the soucouyant in regards to its mimicry Knack and use of Pretense Ability.

Soucouyant: CF:1: A rare and highly intelligent Demonical creature.

H  62-120  P  56-65  S  17-20  AEPs (4 x Speed)

Abilities (base number shown –5 + d6 x 5 for score where variable is indicated): Arcana 50-75, Hunt 40-65, Minstrelsy 55-80, Pretense 55-80, Savagery 50, Scrutiny 40-65, Stealth 65-90, Tricks 60, Unarmed Combat 65.

Also, about one in six of these creatures possess an Extraordinary Ability a variable one determined by LM’s choice or randomly (d3) Enchantment at 50 to 75 in increments of 5 (45 + d6 x 5), Necrourgy at 50 to 75 (ditto), or Psychogenic at 50 to 75 (ditto)—any Extraordinary Ability use not above Good/preternatural Grade.

Note: All Abilities possessed are usable by the soucouyant only when the creature is in its skin, and during the day.  No soucouyant possesses Weapons Ability!

Knack: All of these creatures have the ability to mimic a human-humanoid male, female, or child’s voice at from 65-90 score.

Attacks:  There are many forms of attack available to the soucouyant, each detailed below:

Normal Unarmed Combat: 2 (clawed) foot attacks for 2-12 +24 Harm each, or 3 (clawed) hand attacks for 2-8 +24 Harm—Savagery and Tricks Abilities adding 11 to the bonus Harm.

Demonical Bite: 1 mouth-bite for 1-8 plus 3-5 preternatural Harm; additionally, in its raw (out-of skin) state, the slimy layer covering the surface of its skinless body inflicts 2-5 acid Harm each ABC of such contact with a victim’s exposed skin.  (The acid is not strong enough to affect armor, but if it gets on normal clothing it will be quite uncomfortable to the skin below.)  The slime coating that conveys the acid is almost adhesive, so it must be washed off or wiped away, or it will stay and fester.

Special Kiss-Bite: Harm as above (1-8 plus 3-5 preternatural), and the kiss and bite of this creature produces a very euphoric effect on the victim, rendering that individual in a state of decidedly sensual pleasure during which he or she is effectively paralyzed and incapable of all but the most feeble protestations for one AB of time following this attack.  In the case of a successful kiss-bite attack, the soucouyant adds to its own Health total one-half of the of the Harm it inflicts, and any Health achieved thus that exceeds the creature’s normal BR total is a false total that is lost first from any Harm it suffers.

During the day, when it wears its skin, the creature's kiss-bite attack is reduced in effectiveness to 50% of night attack of this sort, resulting Harm of only 1-4 plus 1-2 preternatural, and the chance of euphoric paralysis from this attack is not automatic, the victim having a 50% chance for avoiding it, the paralyzing effect lasting only 2 ABCs if it occurs.  Regardless of whether the victim becomes incapable of moving, there will be a preternaturally pleasant sensation accompanying the attack.

Flaming Form: Fiery contact (five-foot diameter of effect) for 9-12 fire/heat Harm, with possible incidental combustion of inflammable clothing and/or surroundings for at least an added 1-2 Harm where applicable. When in out-of-skin state (at night) this demonical creature can turn itself into a ball of fire.  Transformation requires one ABC of time, and the spherical form engendered is three feet in diameter.  It can transform into a fireball while wearing its skin, but this destroys the soucouyant’s skin.  In such state the creature must quickly get another skin (see below), or face the disabilities described for sunlight and existence in the daytime.  When in this fireball form during the day it does not suffer Harm thus (see below), however it is extremely conspicuous, and must be in constant motion, essentially becoming rolling ball of fire.

While in this form it can travel at about 40 mph—177 feet in one ABC of time, or 59 feet per second!  It cannot move slower than 10 mph—44.25 feet in one ABC of time, or 14.75 feet per second—while in the form of a Fireball.  The creature can turn at a 90-degree angle in one second’s movement time regardless of its rolling speed, so to reverse it’s course it must travel at least two seconds, the path of movement tracing a curve, and to return to its original path another second of movement is needed to complete a “loop”.  This movement path, if immediately commenced, enables the soucouyant to return to an original position at the end of one ABC, pass through it in the first second of the following ABC.  The soucouyant can maintain this form for up to two hours, no longer.  At the expiration of that time, it automatically resumes its humanoid form.

A soucouyant is completely immune to fire/heat-based attacks in this state, whether they are natural, preternatural or supernatural in nature.

Defense: 6 for a constant negative energy of preternatural sort, plus 6 for Unarmed Combat Ability when so able, so thus 12, and is Minstrelsy Ability is employed to reduce Harm by 5 to 8 more (10% of minstrelsy score), thus 17 to 20 armor/protection.  Note in the case of Minstrelsy Ability use in this regard, the creature’s attack chance suffers a penalty of twice the protection benefit, -10 to –16 from that chance.

Anti-Powers/Checks: At night the soucouyant must shed its human skin, and this requires one AB of time to do.  At dawn it must resume its skin, again the process requiring one AB of time.  The creature is thus forced to have a hideaway in which to leave and reclaim its human skin.  If this skin is found by a foe, and salt is smeared upon it, the soucouyant will upon donning the skin suffer 2d8  Harm each ABC until it is dead (-1 or less Health).  During this period, it has a chance equal to its Speed Base Rating of removing the skin once more, if it concentrates upon this each ABC.  A success, however, means that three additional ABC’s time must be spent completing the process.  It is in great pain when wearing a salted skin, and reacts with a 15 penalty addition to all Ability and combat success d% rolls while so affected.  Note: A returning soucouyant can detect salt on its skin, and if it is a cautious one, has reason to suspect it is being hunted, it will use its Scrutiny Ability with a 10 to 30 bonus to the chance for spotting the salt.  Before wearing the salted skin again, the creature must wash it thoroughly in fresh water for at least one minute of time to remove the salt.

Salt also does Harm to this creature when it is in its raw (skinless) state at night.  A handful of salt thrown so as to hit a soucouyant will cause the creature great pain, resulting in a +10 penalty to all Ability and attack d% rolls for the following 2 ABCs, and delivering 2-5 Harm to the soucouyant.  Being hit with one pound of salt inflicts 8-20 (4d4 +4) Harm on the creature and produces a penalty of +20 to all Ability and attack d% rolls for the next 4 ABCs’ time.  Immersing a soucouyant in the seawater will inflict 4-10 (2d4 +2) Harm each ABC of immersion.  In such conditions, the soucouyant is unable to do anything other than struggle to get out of the saline water, suffers a +10 to all Ability and attack d% rolls for as many ABCs of time it was immersed in the salty water.

A soucouyant in flaming form is susceptible to cold attacks.  Such attacks deduct 20 from the attacker’s dice check for successful activation or Weapon use, and any Extraordinary Harm striking it directly inflict twice the usual Harm for such cold-based attack.

The soucouyant in skinless, raw state cannot stand direct sunlight, and one will suffer severe sunburn for 1d8 Harm each ABC it is so exposed.  The Harm is not inflicted by the brightness of the light but rather from the ultra-violet rays of the sun’s radiance.

Wealth found in the habitation of a soucouyant is a mass of randomly hoarded things including arms, armor, items of equipment, loose coins, crystals, gems, jewelry, etc, of $50,000 to $500,000 or more value (d10 x 50,000, a result of 10 indicating a re-roll, and if a 9 results, add d4 x $50,000 to the pervious total, a second 10 adding d10 x $50,000 to the total.  There is a 60% chance for d4 very minimal and/or d3 minimal Extraordinary item, a 50% chance for d2 low moderate item(s), a 40% chance for one moderate item, a 35% chance for one good item, a 30% chance for one very good Extraordinary Item, a 20% chance for one strong Extraordinary item, and a 10% chance for one Very strong object in a typical soucouyant hoard.

(Angel Stewart with Gary Gygax)

 

 

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