Friday, April 17, 2015

Fiend Folio, pages 8-9




Here's something I'll never finish. All the Fiend Folio monsters, amended, revised and corrected, as necessary. Print each and slip in at the appropriate page. All the art is from the Folio. The best way to tell me one of these sucks is to go make your own. Like, existential thing: I kind of hope someone takes over the next two pages and someone else the next two until the whole thing is done.



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Aarakocra live in mountains far from human civilization. They build towers out old trees, abandoned or stolen caravans, houses, huts, cabins, etc. Their towers are ludicrous, large, spindly, ad hoc, like a rump of crazy jumbled scaffolding with a spike  or series of spikes growing from it. Mud, packed or dribbled into place and then sung into a stiff mortar.

The mortar is studded with gold, weapons, bones, all the things they take but do not value. They value: a soft belly and innards, giant insects, certain gemstones, silk in bright colors, puzzles. Puzzles may be puzzle box or riddle. They like puzzles that work like Jenga or Pick-Up-Sticks or Jacks. They especially like puzzles that involve flying around, seeing things from far, far away, and figuring out which is a tied up thing to eat and which is a rotten old corpse. They undoubtedly have puzzle boxes that are ancient spell books or portals to old treasure troves of demiliches. 

Aarakocra enjoy practical jokes but their practical jokes usually involve someone falling to or being pecked to death.

The colors they like are turquoise, red, yellow and black and anything this color is always better.

They keep basilisks as pets and the lizards bask at the base of their towers. At the top of the towers are the best nests, where the warrior-priests live. Below them, increasingly at risk of an ambitious basilisk, the lower castes nest. Not that castes are that big a deal. If someone comes home and they find their mate dead and their nest taken... that's how it goes.



The jewels and coins fall out of the tower mortar and the basilisks are like a glittering menageries, decked in valuables.


They worship the Sun, the great sky spirit that warms the feather, the empty gold egg. They eat only what they need and arrange the corpses on the ground or in trees as offerings to the Sunfather. The lace silk into their pinions and they wear translucent gems, as icons of the Sunfather.

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Achaierai probably showed up first to bother St. Anthony and Bosch or Bruegel were on hand or made use of certain artist's lenses to peer into the past to watch the scene. 

The only thing not properly described in the Folio already is that when the release a dark cloud, it's because they're farting, because that's what Bruegel demons do when you cut off three of their legs (or, as the case may be, do a lot of damage to them or land a critical strike), they fart black clouds of enfeeblement. They also probably wear bronze kettles or cracked teacups as helmets and carrying an enormous sheaf of grain under a wing, which they eat or use like a huge quarterstaff.

They know the names of all the demons but you need someone that speaks beaked languages to interpret. Their feathers can, if touched to wood, start a fire, but are rendered inert by holy water, prayer or water elemental spit.

Their helmet turns spells and can be beaten into a shield but melts if touched by holy water, prayed over or caressed by a water elemental. Also, any shield (or helmet) made from such a material probably whispers horrible shit to you, causing a critical failure on a roll at random.

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Adherers look like mummies that have just climbed out of a swamp. Like, mummified, but not looking so great, too wet, oozing, a cloying stinking gas hanging about you. 

There are things that look like spiders but pre-date spiders, pre-date creation. Let's say they're called "Lolths." They crouch in places in the material plane where the geometry is bad, where there has been too much magic or prayer or the presence of the void beyond. They crouch and they put their hard, scrabbling mouths to cracks in the material plane and suck out astral essence like it's cotton candy.

If resurrection and that sort of magic is verboten, they know it. They know the spells and all the words that make planets and light and extinguish stars, but they don't use them. Maybe they're too hungry, maybe a little insane, maybe they're not any smarter than a spider.

Deities are terrified of them like you're terrified of spiders. Occasionally a god sees the little black legs peeking into some forgotten place in the astral, the hungry, reeling mandibles, freaks out and has angels carpet bomb the material plane.

They lay their eggs in the living, anything humanoid, because that's what they've always done, that's what they were adapted to do. Whatever it is they used to lay their eggs in, probably the Creators, have long since quit the scene or been hunted to death.

In any case, each living person gets only a couple of eggs and neither egg nor host survive the process. Even elves die too soon. The body is too weak, lives too short.

But incubation slowly sucks you dry, makes you exude a sort of tarry, yellow mist to which everything sticks. Your clothes shred and cling to you. The larva replaces lizard brain with spider brain and you hide in tunnels and little holes or behind doors or on ceilings and you wait for someone you can snatch, and on which you can feed. You grab your prey and from your mouth come the tiny, writhing mandibles of your child and she and you feed together. You move like a spider, all splayed arms and legs. You are always hungry and all you think about is food, waiting for food, your little child and your mother.

You adore your new mother. You strokes her many legs, you clean her, protect her, would be by her always if you could find food there, but you can't (she takes it all, not that you begrudge her... more babies, which, though not your own are equally precious).

Most adherers form concentric rings around the spiderthing. They number in the thousands and live for whatever their natural lifetime multiplied by 1,000. Spiderthings, for their part, don't seem terribly concerned when an Adherer dies.
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