Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Giant Despair + Horror Isolation Mechanics

Art by Guant-Yang

Author's Note:  I was suggested to make a post about giants, specifically: Stuff you can steal from them, reasons they piss everyone off, what they farm and  why (-10 points if it's mammoths) [I didn't do this], -50 points if they're the remnants of some much more enlightened civilization that slowly degenerated, +100 points if you  make me frightened of them in a visceral way. [These are the goals of this post, let me know if any of them have been satisfied]

Stolen from the Etan Dreaming Castle

Few who wander through the meandering Witchways of the Iron Labyrinth speak of a vast construct stabbing at the sky. The Dreaming Castle of the Etan the Tree of Iron and Stone. That derelict grasp of those who dared to merge stone with the sky, from which the golden bell hangs. Two frail corpses, each a mile long, hang within the golden bell, a princess ravaged and her prince. Between them a century's worth of virgin's blood that's passed through those longing veins speaking of prophecy etched into the bark of the Tree of Iron and Stone by a crowquil in some ancient time. A murmur from the ruins below the tree echos softly and the roots undo again. A long knife that bleeds the sky empty as it shambles upon it's many cilli. The branches becomes a gilded vessel filled by soft spoils of the wounded firmament the eigengrau. That rancorous royalty shall then wade into the vessel and fill their lungs by the flood and reap the promised end to this path. The flood swell, so thank the princess for her tears. A drop of blood to let them in, a drop of blood to welcome them. Let the starving ghosts then feast, from this flesh, from these bones, let them all feast as they did when they were awake.

A few of their trophies stolen from that place are listed below.

Memory of Balor's Horrid Eye - A semi-tangible orb bound in 8 seals and chains. It throbs intermittently, releasing gasps of heat. In order to break a seal a character must roll under their Strength score. Each time the seal is broken the Orb deals fire 1d6 in a 10 foot radius. The range and damage dealt is multiplied by the number of seals broken i.e. the 4th seal broken deals 4d6 damage in a 40 foot radius.

Sylph Trapped in Amber - A maiden the size of your finger clad in filigree and two wings upon her ankles is trapped in amber here. She struggles and often cries. If you can somehow break open the amber she will serve you for one hundred years. Her name is Hringi.

Depatterened Grace - Wrapped in black leather lies a invisible blade. It deals damage as a dagger but is otherwise completely invisible. If you drop it, it would take you 1 turn to find it again.

Sliver of the Panopticon - A series of metal wires wrapped around the sigil of an eye. If you replace one of your eyes with this, you can deal yourself 1 point of damage in order to see through solid objects for 1 minute.

Ordered Stardust - A bottle of three motes of light. Anyone who spends a turn gazing at them may ask one of their ancestors a question. For each turn you stare at the motes you may ask a question a generation back to a limit to 10 generations. After asking the question you take 1d4 points of trauma.

Caged Indecision - A cage containing within a geometric shape which appears the same from any angle viewed. If one is able to sketch the geometric shape caged within it acts as a symbol of sloth. Anyone looking at the shape must save or be paralyzed for 1 minute.

Hermetic Melody -  A sheet of bark covered with etchings which could be mistaken both for musical notes and diagrams of light. A character may take a week studying the bark if able to roll under a third of their intelligence score is able to figure out how to play a woodwind to create an orb of light illuminating 3 feet.

Totem of the Crowquil - A series of crows conjoined together in a linear pattern, inanimate save for their traveling eyes, each unblinking. A character may take a week studying the totem if able to roll under half of their Wisdom score is able to figure out how to unscrew the crows. The three crows are subservient to whomever disentangled them. These crows can each speak 3d6 words each.

Immeasurable Horrors

The shadows cast by the Etans are a mile high. They are where darkness is, their essence the same shade as eigengrau. Their limbs stretch as far down as it takes to steal a man into their mouths. If darkness covers an object they can wish to be there.


Those dark shapes obscured from sight which steal away whole villages into their gullet spill forth from the nightmares of man. They are but hollows cast from the true cruelties of the Etans. Mere shadows of those who ripped each diaphanous golden wing of Those expelled from the Brightness. Mere shadows of those who put the bit the heads of the child-princes of the Fair-Folk. Mere shadows of those who sought turn the world to ash in spite. Most Etans have faded away, yet their legacy hangs like the ax to fall. Etched in the marrow of each moral being whose ancestors they tore asunder with their noble fangs.

Against The Giant Despair

Lost to the Darkness:

Author's Note: This could easily be adapted to any stalking predator

If a character lacks a light source and leaves the sight of those with light sources they are grabbed away into the darkness by the shadow of a Etan. When this happens, give a folded over note to the player. The top of the note reads: "Save, if successful then return the note to me otherwise open the note". The inside of the note reads, "Your character has been momentarily lost to the darkness, continue playing as you would otherwise until another character turns to speak to you or asks for your assistance." Every character grabbed into the darkness this way gains 1d20 points of trauma and loses every level and is later found grey skinned, shivering, eyes wide, in the fetal position.

Only after the characters decide to regroup into the safety of light or only one with a torch remains does the shadow of an Etan reveal itself.


Name: The Giant Despair

An awful visage emerges from the darkness, cast in shadows two luminiferous eyes stare pale at you. There are no tones or shades on the flesh, only a stark contrast to all the darkness.

HD: 12
Def: 4
Dam: 1d12
Move: 15
Save: 17
Morale: 12

Terrible: When The Giant Despair reveals itself all those who see it must save versus terror. Those that fail take 1d6 non-lethal damage when they approach or attack The Giant Despair. If this damage would reduce them to 0 HP they instead flee and hide. They are found as if they had been lost to the darkness. If you are safe (not threatened, out of sight) you gain another save versus terror. Anyone who deals damage to The Giant Despair automatically dispels this effect.

Horrible: Only a magical weapon may deal damage to The Giant Despair. No other source may deal damage to them.

Author's Note: I would love to see someone use these as Grues using Skerpel's Pomerium Rules, only 8x scaling needed. 

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