Monster Lore Accumulated

Creature Resistances and Immunities

Many creatures are either resistant or immune to damage from certain sources.  Storytellers are encouraged to be intentional in their choices, with this general frame of mind: we as a group want most people to have viable combat actions in the majority of combats.  We also want to reward players and characters in preparation.  With that in mind, the ratio of creatures that require certain substances to wound, or are resistant to certain substances, should change across a campaign which might last two years.  For instance, storytellers are encouraged to generally provide opportunities for characters up to Seasoned levels to encounter non-immune, somewhat resistant creatures or creatures susceptible to all types of damage.  As characters progress to Veteran and Heroic they should naturally encounter more diverse and strange or rare creatures more often, and so they will regularly encounter creatures which may be resistant to damage.  At these character levels, a resistance actually matters.  At Heroic and especially Legendary levels, storytellers should keep in mind that in the current rules, player groups will be regularly dealing 20-40 points of damage one or even several times in a round.  At these levels, if storytellers aim to creature a challenge with a particular encounter (and especially to keep with the Ravenloft aesthetic) they will occasionally allow players to encounter creatures entirely immune to a substance or set of substances.  This requires the players to think carefully about the creatures they encounter, and the approach they take.  The inconvenience of having to use expendable ointments, or a less effective weapon, or think especially creatively in combat to stall or distract the enemy, is a part of the Legendary character’s life.  And players should also remember that these challenges balance out edges that otherwise never see their advantages balanced out, such as Hand of Doom.

Tier 1: creature is completely susceptible to all substances

Tier 2: creature is resistant to specific forms of attack, which means the creature takes reduced damage or even half damage from a form of attack(s).  Examples include: skeleton resistance to piercing weapons to take half damage, lesser vampire resistance to everything but magic or fire, lesser werewolf resistance to everything but magic or silver, ghostly resistance to everything but magic. 

A Note About Magic:

When a creature description in the Savage Worlds books describes resistance to everything but magical attacks, magic weapons do count as magical attacks.  When a creature description in the Savage Worlds books describes resistance to everything but magical powers (quite rare), magic items do not count as magical powers unless they can literally allow a power’s casting.  For example, a Flametouch sword does not count as a magical power.  A ring of fireballs counts as a magical power.  The distinction here is in the word “power,” as in, using one of the powers listed in the Savage Worlds books for use with one of the arcane backgrounds.

Tier 3: the creature is immune to specific forms of attacks, which means the creature does not receive damage from a form of attack(s).  Examples include: certain types of vampires that do not take damage and can only be shaken by all attacks except magic attacks (including magic weapons), certain types of ghosts that do not take any damage from attacks which are not ghost touched or from magical powers (which does not include magic weapons). 

Tier 3 creatures are frequently wild cards, but not always.  Storytellers are also strongly encouraged to remember there are weapon blanches, potions of Smite, wands, and other means by which characters can prepare for such challenges.  Storytellers should frequently embed opportunities to encounter such finds, even during stories in which it is not necessary, to reflect the actual setting – which the characters would be immersed in, and to make the addition of these challenges not feel like the stereotypical “get the one item to kill the villain” from bad movies.

Creatures Encountered:

Animator – An alien creature that resides in another dimension and is only rarely encountered in the material realm.  They are sometimes tethered to objects, much like ghosts, and can animate these objects or others nearby – such as weapons or large boulders.  When inside these objects they can not be killed or banished except by magic, though they can be temporarily disoriented with powerful blows.  Halda and Vali confirmed this in their encounter at the Gernikov Estate.  Sometimes, the tethering object that hosts the animator can be mistaken for a cursed object, as it can allow the animator to possess someone who manipulates the object.

Black Milk Mother – pregnant ogre-kin that birth corrupt hyenas and hit with the force of a giant kin.  Thankfully, mundane weapons harm the creature, but the group discovered it is incredibly resilient, shrugging off critical wounds and even maiming shots at the vitals such as the eye.

Bloody Bones – These skeletons are much like normal skeletons, and can form from the corpses of any creature.  The group encountered orc skeletons in the Tomb of Three Sorrows.  The significant difference in the Bloody Bones is that they perpetually weep a poisonous blood from the marrow.  When hit by any weapon or when the Bloody Bone connects in any way (such as when it lashes out at its victims) it sprays it venomous blood onto assailants.  The acidic nature of the blood dissolves the first layers of skin allowing the blood to mingle with the victim, weakening the person with every hit, and likely adding to the bloody bones' collective.  The party encountered an amphibious form of Bloody Bones that lurked in a watery pit filled with spikes.  These bloody bones swam by means of bloody tentacles.  It is believed that the designers of the Tomb of Three Sorrows encountered undead orcs while constructing the tomb and put the undead to creative use using very unorthordox means – as a trap for future looters.

Bone Fiend – These creatures were encountered in the Tomb of Three Sorrows, and are sometimes known as marrow fiends.  They continually ooze viscous, yellowed marrow with hints of veiny splotches, and use this substance to attach themselves to walls or ceilings where they await their prey.  Their bodies are completely malleable, able to squeeze through small crawlspaces and sometimes even cracks.  This ability likely allowed the bone fiends of the Tomb of Three Sorrows to find their way into the tomb in order to feed off the marrow of the dead.  When available, bone fiends will happily feed off the marrow of the living as well.

Ettercap – Large, bipedal creatures with sharp claws on their fingers and spider mandibles protruding from their mouths.  Their eyes are generally the glassy, numerous eyes of spiders.  They set crafty traps such as covered pit traps, and coordinate their attacks with spiders in ambushes.  Their poison sacs contain the same paralytic poison that their spiderkin use.

Ghoul - The creatures rose in frightening numbers across the wilds of Caliphas, and converged on Luca's Rest.  They attack with ferocity, but their real danger is the paralytic poison they carry in their saliva.  When not consuming raw flesh or actively pursuing it, the  lumber about in search of fresh meat and lick their claws with their disturbingly long tongues.  When the same saliva comes in contact with blood victims encounter the more insidious aspect of ghouls: ghoul fever.  Many victims who are wounded simply shrug off the wound and leave none the wiser for it.  But many more begin to succumb to a wasting disease that eventually turns feverish and kills them.  Afterwards, the victims rises as a new ghoul.  This process takes anywhere from two to four days on average, with some only lasting a day and some rare cases lasting as much as a week.  Luckily, ghouls may be killed by any means.

Ghoul, elder – the group encountered this servant of dead wielding a masterwork scythe which seemed to imply that it had some sentient qualities, though skeletons do occasionally use weapons, this being appeared to be laying in wait for the party.  It was deadly quiet, lacking the usual moans of the recently dead, such as zombies, though it's over-sized weapon gave it away.  It used rudimentary tactics, but was given little chance to demonstrate its features since Vargan crushed its skull, then its spine, then its rib cage. This undead can be killed by any normal means given enough damage to the corpus.

Ghoul Lord – The group has only encountered one such creature: Alain Fenglove.  These greater undead retain their intelligence and often acquire a power over lesser ghouls, zombies, and sometimes skeletons.  In other respects, they retain the abilities of ghouls and greater ghouls, although they are almost always more skilled and dangerous, and may even use weapons, like elder ghouls.  Mercifully, they also retain the same weaknesses …generally.

Artwork by Chenthooran

Giant Spider - venomous (quick-acting, paralytic) and strong enough to pull a woman off the ground.   They can be especially deadly when organized into ambush parties by ettercaps, spinning sticky webs to entrap the unwary and spitting webs to immobilize their prey.

Goblyns – fought in Vauntil during the festival of the Last Breath. Their clear sight at night and small size makes them difficult to land a hit on. Their bite is absolutely horrifying, and they're prone to wild attacks (from high places at danger to themselves, using fire, apprehending large animals like horses, and throwing bee hives bombs).

Goblin Dogs - fought while pursuing Goblyns.  Their mange is a contagious rash. They have a human-like or rat-like face on a dog's body.

Golem, Stone – The constructs are resistant to blade attacks and magic attacks. The group encountered several of these guardians in the Tomb of Three Sorrows and discovered they also hit with bone-breaking strength.  Luckily the golems are only somewhat skilled in martial work, and fight with little finesse, providing tactical warriors with plenty of opportunity to block hits, parry until openings are formed, and avoid being gang-up on by several golems.

Harpies - fought outside the orc caves north of Vauntil, on the southern foothills of the Hungry Mountains.  Their song has terrifying power over listeners and can entrance whole groups at a time.

Macroscian – These undead are closer to golems in nature.  They do not feed off the living as most undead, and do not hunger for any sustenance.  Arcane scholars learned the secrets of undead guardians from Osirians long ago and discovered ways of using the essence of particularly loyal and strong-willed heroes to guard important relics or tombs.  These golems, or undead guardians, are constructed from the skeletal remains of fallen heroes, and often wear suitable armor, making them formidable knights.  They are highly resistant to magic spells and have the ability to cast spells such as Deflection (a great shadow that loomed over them and obscures them), Fear (a great shadow that lunges for the victim), Armor (a shadow that absorbs hits), and other powers that make them even more dangerous to engage in combat. 

Ogres - Ogres stand nine feet tall, and tower over humans in hulking forms.  They frequently lack a certain degree of intelligence, but they are organized enough to frequently exert some measure of control over lesser bestial tribes that live on the outskirts of civilization such as goblyns, orcs, or even savage humanoids.  They can wield magic and weapons just as other humanoids, and often coerce their lessers to cook for them, sing, serve, pleasure, or guard.  They consider themselves kings and queens in a world where might makes right.

Oni – The term "oni" is a general term for demon that comes from the distant continent of Tian Xia.  In lore, oni are more prevalent there, just as vampires and werewolves appear to be more prevalent in Ustalav and western Immoren, but from time to time oni do appear in Western Immoren.  Because of the infrequency with which they appear, not much is known to the group about oni, but they can apparently be wounded and killed by normal means.  There is some doubt as to whether they can heal such wounds quickly, but given that doubt, Vali did successfully behead and then burn the oni known as "The Smiley Man."  Many oni wield magic, and it is not uncommon for oni to be able to turn invisible.  The presence of an oni can sometimes be detected by the persistent nightmares in sensitive people or their victims.  They may visit their victims to feed off that fear before kidnapping the victim to have one final feast on that fear.  According to folklore, oni sustain themselves on that fear just as vampires sustain themselves on blood and humans sustain themselves on food.

Psychopomp, nosoiPsychopomps are Pharasma's servants and denizens of the Boneyard, and as such outsider creatures to the world of Golarion.  This strange songbird stares with a glint of intellect in its empty eyes. A stylish plaster mask conceals its face, while two pairs of wings ruffle over its body’s somber shades. Messengers for Pharasma, these agile but fairly harmless psychopomps carry word of death and fate to other psychopomps, and between the Boneyard and Golarion.

Psychopomp, olethros – Psychopomps are Pharasma's servants and denizens of the Boneyard, and as such outsider creatures to the world of Golarion.  Olethros are rarely seen, for they preside over fateful people and events.  They witness the death of people who might turn the fate of many, and they guard against the disruption of fate.  For these creatures, as all psychopomps, there are no heroes or villains, but unlike almost all of their kind, olethros provide unique attention to their charges – whether it be a massacre, a life-saving procedure for a legendary king, or another moment that changes the great web of fate so that many threads are cut.  The party encountered a psychopomp known only as the Dance Macabre.  The Dance Macabre actually identifies the act that surrounds this strange olethros, and not the creature itself, but the two have become synonymous.  This olethros only is found where undead servants have been left to guard a tomb for a time in a sort of bargain with Pharasma, and only where that guard serves a greatest purpose for the integrity of death and fate.  These servants, generally skeletal figures, have been given a sort of half-life, to remain dancing toward death, caught between life and death, until their service is complete.  The olethros plays its music eternally moving the spirits in the dance.  When the music stops, the servants end their service and may pass on.  The group discovered that anyone caught in the dance may find themselves wasting away at alarming rates.  Every hour of dance flesh rots further, but luckily the pain of the dance sometimes brings the caught subjects out of the trance.  The olethros itself does not have particularly strong resiliences, though its many limbs and its shadow body make it somewhat difficult to hit.  Its strongest defense is the ability to teleport through the shadow world by means of any shadows.  Its other powers are unknown, as the olethros escaped the group in the Tomb of Three Sorrows, and appeared to return only to witness them open one of the seals to the Whispering Tyrant's tomb containing the Black Blade of Redcliff.

Purple Fungus - These carnivorous plants generally grow in subterranean environments, surrounded by the bones of their previous victims.  The fungus stretches out lavender or deep violet tentacles between rocky areas or beneath mossy patches which slither from dozens of fissures in its pointed domed cap.  The tentacles grab victims and bring them to the pointed cap which opens into an obscene, toothy mouth with strong digestive fluids. The fungus has one more insidious attack: a lavender perfume which magically lures creatures toward its waiting tentacles.

Skeleton warriors – focused and unyielding. Capable of using basic tactics. The necromantic force animating them allows them to shake off wounds easily. Aetherton theorized they may be less suseptible to piercing damage but it unclear if this is true.

Vampires, fledgling – newly created vampires who have not had the chance to develop the usual immunities or control over their supernatural condition.  Depending on the variety of the vampire that sired them, they exhibit different abilities.  The group discovered half a dozen fledgling vampires that were still acclimating to their levitation abilities, but were susceptible to mundane means of killing.  To be sure the creatures died the group burned them, a precaution that is always wise since it's often unclear exactly how progressed the fledgling vampire is, and one does not want the vampire to rise again on another night and seek revenge in a stronger state.  Even in this weakened state the vampires attacked ferociously, twice for every one attack a sober man can give.  Their claws were like a hand of steel daggers.

Vampire, noblesse – These fully matured vampires attack with blinding speed and react just as quickly.  They can easily in all but pitch darkness and shrug off targeted hits to their vitals, having long ago ceased their reliance on such bodily functions.  They can still eat, though they find it uninspiring and the waste removal process is even more distasteful to these refined creatures.  The undead gift has heightened their senses, and makes these creatures instinctively more appealing to mortals who encounter them – drawn by their predatory sexuality, or their graceful movements, or their heightened awareness of the sensual.  Noblesse vampires may generally be wounded by any substances, but they rapidly heal unless burned, exposed to sunlight, or suffer wounds from cold iron.  Noblesse vampires die if staked by wood or cold iron through the heart, though the attacker must make sure the attack is not only accurate but also ruptures the heart aggressively.  Some vampires have been known to shrug off the stake or push it through the other side, or even shift their heart away from a grazing hit.

- Artwork by Whitecorner

Varghulf - There have rarely been confirmed sightings of the varghulf beyond Virlych or deep in the Hungry Mountains.  Some scholars or historical expert monster hunters know that the arch lich Tar-Baphon had a number of varghulf in reserve within his army, only taking them out for special occasions.  Varghulf are bestial, enormous vampires, twisted by centuries of bloodlust.  The more common varghoul are smaller versions, and the vargheist are more self-controlled.  Varghulfs are rapacious hunters, diving onto their prey and sending every other living thing near into panic with their otherworldly cry that sounds like a cross between a wyvern and a bat. Anyone caught in the dive that survives in rent in a vicious tearing attack.  When wounded, something only legends tell of, they fly into a wild frenzy.  According to Persephone, they have the same weaknesses of the noblesse vampire.  These most deadly of creatures know little else but the hunt, but they do still retain some of their former mind – enough to engage in guttural speech and set deadly ambushes.

Zombies (fresh) – fought in the rat catcher's, Ioseff Korinsky's, hovel, after he released them from their "Quiet Rooms" below his home.  Halda discovered that hits to the head damage some crucial piece of their residual minds.



Monster Lore Accumulated

Children of the Night signcontrast