Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Hagli'mesh

Climate/Terrain: Cold boreal forest and taiga south of the mountains and dwarven kingdom, never found in remnants of old empire and kingdoms of south
Frequency: Very Rare
Organization: Solitary
Intelligence:non- to exceptional
Treasure: NA - See below
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 2
Movement: 9
Hit Dice: 6
THAC0: 15
No. Attacks: 1 (smash) or 1 (throttle)
Damage Attacks: 1d6+6 (smash) or 1d4+6+Level Drain (throttle)
Special Attacks: Level Drain, Move Silently/Hide Shadows
Special Defenses: Standard per undead, Immune to Ice/Cold attacks
Magic Resistance: Nill
Size: Small
Morale: 20 Fearless

Hagli'Mesh appear as small elf children, twisted and deformed and pierced by long ceremonial flint blades. They walk with a twisted and stumbling gait, but are suprisingly graceful when required.

Combat: Hagli'Mesh are capable of moving silently through the forests and hiding in shadows as a thief level 6. They will often use this to approach a party undetected and ambush them for maximum effect due to their slow movement rate. Due to their twisted forms, they are unable to charge or increase their spead above Movement 9.

Hagli'Mesh attack by slamming their fists into foes and scrabbling at the throats of their victims. Due to their great strength, they are capable of inflicting significant damage. If an attack succeeds by more than 5 on a d20, the creature has managed to get a grip on his victim's throat and will begin strangling the poor creature the next round, causing 1d4+6 damage per round and draining 1 life energy level per round until the creature is slain or its grip is broken via a successful bend bars roll.

They are immune to mind affecting spells as are all undead and are further completely immune to ice or cold attacks.

Tactics depend largely upon the intelligence of the individual Hagli'Mesh. Those that have completely lost their minds during their transformation will attack with mindless brute force until either they or their opponents are dead. Those with greater intelligence will fight as appropriate, using ambush tactics, hit and run attacks, and others, but will never relent in its quest to see its victims dead short of its own destruction.

Habitat/Ecology: The semi-nomadic elf tribes wandering the taiga and boreal forests south of the mountains leave in their wake small shrines to the Hagli'mesh, an elf word with no literal translation into common or, seemingly, any other language. The word refers both to a physical structure and, only in whispers, a being. Constructed of a mastodon or mammoth hide stretched over the ribs or tusks of the animal, or in rare cases a thin lattice work of saplings, individual Hagli'mesh shrines can easily be mistaken for the dwelling of local forest sprites or supply cache, but woe betide those who invade the sanctity of such structures.

Within such a structure, there is a small humanoid corpse pierced by a long flint or obsidian blade and propped up in a pose resembling what humans call a "scare crow." Closer examination by a knowledgable individual will reveal that the figure is, in fact, a slain elf child (no more than 25-30 years old, equivalent to a 12 year old human child)with various grave goods strung about his neck in the form of a necklace of berries, fruits, dried meats, cakes, and other food stuffs. Only very rarely is anyting of monetary value discovered by the unscrupulous.

Throughout the region, elf tribes typically remain in one area, living in semi-permanent buildings constructed of hide and mastodon bone, for anywhere between 50 and 100 years. After such time, they pack everything onto their sledges and pack animals and migrate in cyclic patterns throughout the forests and taiga. Before leaving, however, the child of the most materially prosperous family is sacrificed by driving a ritual flint blad through the boy and covering him in a fresh Hagli'mesh structure. Left unattended and unmolested, such a structure and its sacrificial offering are torn down by local wolves or other wild animals within only a few days.

Such sacrifices are offerings by the elves to return some of the prosperity that the land has given them, and no elf would dream of refusing to offer their own child willingly in such a ritual, though they are not beyond acts of great "generosity" at times, giving away large amounts of their material wealth at strategic moments to ensure the survival of their own children. Most times, nothing goes wrong, but occasionally, some individuality is left to the sacrificed child, enough for it to grow angry over its condition and to rise again and wander the wood at night, enacting its hatred and loathing of life on any creature within its grasp . . .

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