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Author Topic: The Hoargaunt  (Read 2438 times)
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Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715

« on: March 05, 2010, 06:15:33 PM »

A little Friday night creature and story.  I was reading over some old notes and this came to mind.  At first I thought to put in the story section, but since I took the time to stat them out, I decided to put it here.  Enjoy.



   I had heard the tales in my youth, from old hunters who had tracked the herds as they moved north of the crumbling towers of the Fortress Wall. The hunters told of creatures, formerly men, who were cursed to follow the snows, seeking life and warmth but never finding it. They would steal your breath away and freeze your blood.  I’ve never been scared of anything I could kill with a good blade, but their stories haunted my sleep and I can still remember one of them as if I just heard it.

   “It was early spring and the herds of elk had started to move north.  At least a half a dozen hunting parties braved the wastes hoping to bring back enough meat to feed the clan until the early harvests. We were on the third day of the hunt when we came across the bodies of one of the other hunting parties. There were five hunters scattered around a fire that had long gone cold. The bodies were stark white and covered in frost, as if they had lain in the snows for weeks. They had died in terror, with weapons in their hands. Even though the skies had been clear since the hunt started, the entire camp was covered in frost. The fire was cold, though the wood looked like it had been barely touched by flame.”

The hunters knew that the Men of Ice, the Hoargaunts, were near. The hunt was abandoned and they fled south below the snow line. I know this isn’t just a story told by old men to frighten the children. I’ve heard from other clans that the Hoargaunts have moved south as the cold spreads from the wastes into our lands. There are some who believe that the Men of Ice have followed the orc tribes south and prey on them as much or more then they do the clans.

I can see that you don’t believe me. You think I’m a frightened old man, but take my words to heart. When you are north of the snow line, keep watch on both the weather and your fires. A sudden drop in temperature with no wind is the first sign. Next is your fire. The flames will shrink, the color will darken, and the heat will seem to leach away bare inches from the flame. If you haven’t already; run, because they are near. If your fire goes out, it’s too late, you’re dead.

Medium Aberration
Hit Dice: 4d8 + 8 (28 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 ft.
AC: 16 (+4 hide armor, +2 natural), touch 16, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple:: +5
Full Attack: Longspear +5 (1d8 +2 damage) or 2 claws +5 (1d4+2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Steal Warmth, Improved Grab
Special Qualities: Chill, Curse of the Winter King, Fire Bane, Darkvision 60 ft.
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +4
Abilities: Str 16, Dex 9, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Skills: Climb +8, Hide +10, Listen +8, Move Silently +10, Spot +8
Feats: Alertness, Stealthy, Track
Environment: The Wastes, Northern Erenland
Organization: Solitary, group (3-6), scourge (20-40)
Challenge Rating: 5
Alignment: NE
Advancement: -

   As the torchlight flickers and dies, a pale shape emerges from the darkness. Covered in frost, it may have once been a man, but now all that remains is a feral hunger with razor sharp, ice encrusted claws.

Hoargaunts are the cursed descendants of a long forgotten dorn clan, the Bartols. As the Shadow’s hordes were broken at the start of the Second Age, there was widespread suffering amongst the dorn clans.  The Bartols had been spared from the worst of the fighting and had hoarded food and fuel.  When refugees came seeking sanctuary and aid, they were driven away or killed outright. Outraged, the Winter King, drove the Bartol clan into the wastes and cursed them to never know warmth again.  No longer human, the Hoargaunts are forced to travel the lands of snow and ice. Over the Ages, they have sought redemption by preying on the orc tribes. Now that the tribes have begun to move south, the Hoargaunts have had to travel into dorn lands seeking prey.

Combat: The Hoargaunts normally attack at night, drawn to campfires and the heat that radiates from isolated homesteads or orc warrens. They’ll approach quietly, blending in with the snow and ice attempting to surround their target.  As they approach they’ll extinguish fires to make a defense more difficult. They’re intelligent and skilled hunters and will track their prey for days.  They will normally attack with claws but sometimes carry crude longspears made of bone.

Chill (Su): Hoargaunts steal what little warmth is the winter’s air.  As they travel, the temperature drops providing some warning of their approach.
Curse of the Winter King (Su): The Winter King has cursed the Hoargaunt to be forever cold, never to feel the warmth of a fire. Even though their bodies are covered in frost, they are susceptible to magical cold attacks. Each cold spell does one additional point of damage per die and slows the Hoargaunt for one round per die of damage.
Fire Bane (Su): The Hoargaunts forever seek the warmth provided by a fire, hoping for relief from the never ending cold. Hoargaunts can not be damaged by normal fires and any flaming weapon or torch will go out on contact.  Magical fires only do one point of damage per die. Hoargaunts can also extinguish normal fires at will.
Improved Grab (Ex): If the Hoargaunt hits with a claw attack, it can attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Steal Warmth (Su): The most feared of the Hoargaunts attacks is its deadly embrace that chills a body, draining away all heat and vitality. If a Hoargaunt can successfully grab/grapple or hits with both claw attacks in a single round, it steals the warmth from its target, doing 1-4 Con points of damage. For each point of Con damage, the Hoargaunt gains 4 hp. The Hoargaunt can exceed its starting hit points, but to no more then his hit dice maximum (4d8 +8 or 40 hp).

Doomed Hero
Avatar of the Witch Queen

Spell Energy / Taint +11/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,907

« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 12:02:55 AM »

That's really cool, Kane. Love the flavor. Has a very Celtic vibe.

In my head it makes more sense to make them Fey, rather than Aberrations, but that's just because I like Fey (in the old world sense, not the 'little people with wings' sense) and think they should be used more often. Between the "Winterking", the idea of them being struck with a curse to fit their crime, and the idea that they are once human that have been changed into other things but still retain enough of themselves to seek redemption, the Hoargaunt is way more of a Farie Tale Creature (fey) than an eldrich horror who's existence is unfathomable to the minds of mortals (Aberration).

Also, being once Dorns, I'd love to see them with some kind of "group bonus" like Dorns get.

Jack Chick, Abdul Alhazred, and Aleister Crowley walk into a bar...

Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715

« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 07:12:39 AM »

Doomed Hero,

I hadn't thought about the group bonus.  I may add that in.  I thought the punishment by always being cold was interesting as the Dorn are normally good in cold conditions.  Glad you liked it.

Avatar of the Witch Queen

Spell Energy / Taint +8/-4
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,600

« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 10:12:29 PM »

Another nice one, Kane. Love the story Smiley
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