Thursday, 27 December 2012


"Pigeons From Hell" By R. E. Howard
Frequency: very rare
No. Appearing: 1
AC: By Armour Type (Base 10)
Move: By Armour type (Base 6")
Hit Dice: By form (Base 1d6)
% in lair: 100%
Treasure Type: E (but see below)
# Attacks: 1
Damage/attack: By weapon
Special Attacks: Charm, Possession (1/day), Animate Dead
Special Defenses: Darkness 5' radius, Fear, Std undead immunities
Magic resistance: standard
Intelligence: low
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Size: M/By form
Psionic Ability: none
Level/xp value: II/40+1/hp but very variable; 5 special abilities and one exceptional ability.

The zuvembie is a type of undead created by an evil potion (see below). The thing so created is incapable of surviving sunlight and will therefore always be found haunting some place where it can retreat into darkness. Although it is capable of creating darkness in a 5' radius around itself (as often as it desires) this darkness will not protect it from direct sunlight.

The form of the zuvembie can be any humanoid, human, or demi-human and other than a ghastly palor and emaciation this form will be unchanged and substantial so that the monster can only walk, run, climb etc. as it did in life and is unable to pass through walls or suchlike. Similarly, it can physically attack as it did in life, using weapons or perhaps unarmed combat, but it gains no special physical attacks from its new form but it may retain some from its original body.

If the zuvembie had class levels or hit dice beyond 1d6 in life then it will have half of those levels or hit dice in unlife (round levels or hit dice down and 1d6 remains the minimum) class abilities will be retained only if the thing's new intelligence and wisdom scores allow. Similarly, armour may be retained although over the course if its long existence this may rot or rust away as the monster has no interest or ability to maintain such things.

The zuvembie's initial "attack" will normally be in the form of its eerie whistling. Any intelligent being (human or otherwise, evil or not) hearing this must save versus spells. Those who make their save will be unaffected. Of those who make their save, all but one (lowest wisdom; dice for ties) will be paralysed with fear. The remaining victim will be charmed and compelled to walk to the source of the song.

The charmed creature will be killed by the zuvembie in some secluded spot, usually using some normal weapon such as a dagger or hand axe. Since the victim is helpless, this requires only a roll on the assassination table and if that fails double normal damage will be done in any event. This attack will not break the charm, although it may buy some time for a rescue attempt as the monster can not attack and whistle at the same time, which releases any others from their paralysis.

However, those others who previously failed their saving throw must now make a second save (at +4) against fear or flee immediately and not return for 1d6 turns.

Once the victim is dead, the zuvembie is able to command it while the body is still warm (assume one turn for small, two for man-sized, or three turns for large creatures) and will (mentally) direct it to slay its companions. Anyone killed by such a corpse will not be animated in turn, although the zuvembie may itself kill and animate others in the meantime. Animated corpses should be treated as zombies or monster zombies as appropriate (ie, no class abilities, but they will use weapons - either their own or ones given by the zuvembie).

Although slow on its feet, the zuvembie can project or control non-intelligent normal creatures so that it can pursue or spy on a party in the form of a wolf, cat, or  pigeon etc. The creature to be possessed must be within 3" of the zuvembie initially and the control extends no more than half a mile from the undead's location. Possession ends immediately should the host leave this range, be killed, or enter daylight.

Appearance: When newly created, the zuvembie will not be obviously changed in appearance, although of course its behaviour may be radically different. Only over time does the body become more and more like that of a (normal) mummy - gaunt and blackened with age and unwashed dirt and filth.

Notes: The zuvembie can not generate fear other than as a by-product of its whistling song and is turned or controlled as if it were a shadow. However, due to the nature of the creature's body and origin, it is unaffected by holy water.

Treasure will be incidental based on past victims or possibly the zuvembie's past life. If in doubt, use E as a default.

The zuvembie is a weak monster when pitted against a party, where there is a good chance that someone will make their save and it will strive to split the party so that it can attack only one or two at a time. Similarly, elves with their 90% resistance to charms will be avoided if the zuvembie is able to recognise a character as one and they will be singled out for attack by any re-animated corpses.

Against one or two characters, the zuvembie is a very dangerous monster because of the strength of its charm, which is powerful enough to force the victim into obviously lethal situations such as putting a noose around their own necks and stepping off a chair etc.

Killing the zuvembie instantly releases any charmed characters and returns animate dead to their proper state.

Potion of Zuvembie Making
This potion will turn one being (human, humanoid/giant class, or demi-human) into a zuvembie. If the drinker is unwilling then they receive a saving throw when the liquid first touches their lips to realise the inherent evil of the potion.

However, the potion can be administered over the period of a month in doses small enough to be hidden in food. If this is done then the whole process should be treated as an assassination attempt using the appropriate table.

If the attempt fails, roll a second time on the table to see if the attempt went undetected; if so then the failure was one of dosage or delivery.

If the attempt was detected, randomly determine when in the process the error was made (d30 is useful for this) and what action the victim may take.

This potion has no effect on the undead.

value: 4000gp (Consider the alignment of potential buyers!)
xp: 400

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