Sunday, November 2, 2014

Monstrous Humanoids of Vadhyislavia

NOTE: I don't have a copy of the 5E Monster Manual yet.  It's in the mail, should be here tomorrow.  In the meantime, here's some things I thought up for flavoring various standard-issue monstrous humanoids to suit the dark fairy tale vibe of Vadhyislavia.

Goblins are variably-sized (from just over 2' to just under 4' in height) creatures with bandy, bowed legs, saucer-like eyes, and flattened, pug-like noses.  They do not reproduce naturally; they are created by witches to use as servants.  Most disturbingly, they are created from kidnapped children; these children, taken from their beds or lured into the woods, are exposed to strange alchemical reagents or unholy rituals, turning them into the simpering creatures known as goblins.  They are left with no memory of their lives before the change and no method of reversing the transformation is currently known.

Hobgoblins are goblins that have acquired (begged, borrowed or stolen) a pair of iron-shod boots; after wearing these boots for a few hours, the goblin stands up straighter, it grows muscular, and it becomes crueler and more cunning.  It is not unusual for a witch to keep a pair of iron-shod boots hanging from the rafters of her house or otherwise presenting a challenge to her goblin servants; the goblin with the initiative and inventiveness to claim the boots has earned the right to wear them and command the inferior goblins.  A hobgoblin deprived of his boots shrinks down into a regular goblin after a few hours.

Ogres are large, brutal humanoids with no sense of subtlety or finesse; it is said that if a witch obtains a lock of an ogre's hair, she can compel not just that ogre, but seven generations of its descendants, to servitude.  Whether or not this is true, the ogres certainly believe it; wild ogres shave their heads regularly, burning the hair in great pyres to ensure their continued freedom.  Servile ogres are often forced to have their hair braided and decorated with colored ribbons as a mocking sign of their servitude.

Trolls, while ugly and extremely difficult to kill, are also extremely stupid; what's more, they're unaware of their stupidity and are in fact convinced that they are incredibly cunning, clever creatures.  As such, trolls love to haggle and bargain, convinced they'll, for example, persuade a farmer to deliver his daughters to the troll to save himself, thus ensuring the troll two meals instead of one.  It's not uncommon to find a witch or wizard with an indentured troll servant, having tricked the brute into accepting a term of servitude.

Hill Giants are a somewhat enigmatic race; largely resembling oversized ogres, their stooped posture, long arms, and short, bowed legs cause some scholars to speculate that Hill Giants are the hybrid offspring of ogres and the Gray Apes of the southern hills.  Others claim that ogres are the "more civilized, refined" descendants of the savage Hill Giants.  Regardless of their origin, it is well known that Hill Giants have an insatiable thirst for alcohol, and will quickly guzzle themselves into a stupor if liquor is presented to them.  This weakness is the surest way to deal with a marauding Hill Giant; leave out a few casks of mead where it will find them, and when it's unconscious slit the brute's throat.

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