Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The Hundred-Handed Ones are titanic even to the Titans (whom in Greek myths they helped overthrow).  As far as I know their first appearance in the world’s oldest role-playing game was (appropriately enough) in the 3.0 Epic Level Handbook.  Pathfinder’s Bestiary 3 has a detailed origin for the hekatonkheires in Golarion’s multiverse, as well as adding their plane shifting/smashing abilities. 

Whether you use that origin or one of your own, certain themes tend to emerge: These creatures are old—beginning-of-time, mythic-old.  They have been prisoners, exiles, or otherwise wronged.  They hate and they have the power to act on it, able to menace even the gods’ mightiest servants…and perhaps the gods themselves.  And facing a hekatonkheires is likely the penultimate conflict in a high-level Pathfinder campaign.  I say penultimate because if the hundred-handed ones are prisoners, someone had to let them out…

The god of war has been slain by his servants, twin hekatonkheires, using a now-shattered artifact.  Now they seek to assume his mantle before the crime is revealed. 

A balor lord is dead—eviscerated in his lair.  Mother Treant has been hewn down to a stump.  An axiomite city has vanished from terraces of Order and manifested in a formerly empty plain on the mortal world, following emergency protocols scribed deep in the city’s founding constitution.  The cause of the upheaval: a raging hekatonkheires cutting a swath of destruction through the planes.  He glimpsed a rune giant conjuror spy on him in his umbral prison, and now seeks to carve out the offender’s eyes, carving through planar layer after planar layer to get there.

Sojourners on walkabout in the Dreamlands tell tales of unearthly windmills whose spiraling arms gleam through the morning haze.  These are hekatonkheires going through their morning exercises before shuddering back into silent, stony stillness. 

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 268–269

Even if you think hekatonkheires are too outlandish for your campaign world proper, they work perfectly deep in the multiverse, in alternate realities (remember The Maxx’s Outback?) and as divine servants/guards/heralds/tools of vengeance…albeit likely rebellious ones.

I got my first book on Greek mythology in fourth grade (and as far as I can tell that’s what started the ball rolling on this whole fantasy thing for me—with Norse mythology, Narnia, Middle-Earth, Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon and the red Metzger Basic Set following soon after).  And aside from some sketches in the background of one picture, it didn’t even try to illustrate the Hundred-Handed Ones.

Speaking of illustrations, are you seriously not following justjingles yet?  Because…damn.  Get clicking.

Hey, I forgot to pimp my show yesterday!  This week The New Indie Canon was the epitome of college radio (by which I mean: tardy, scattered, and plagued by technical difficulties).  But I played new Matt & Kim, Icona Pop, a Fleetwood Mac tribute from the New Pornographers, an homage to video game music, and gave love to the Singles soundtrack’s 20th anniversary.  Download it.

(Music starts five and a half minutes into the file.  If the feed skips, load in Firefox or Chrome, Save As an mp3, and enjoy in iTunes.  Link good until Friday, 7/6, at midnight.)

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