Deacons of the Horseman of Famine, meladaemons are the jackal-headed daemons of starvation and thirst. This may make them among the most horrible creatures in existence, even compared to other daemonic deacons. War can inspire acts of valor and is sometimes necessary to fight evil; combating Pestilence inspires acts of charity and spurs scientific advancement; and even Death by old age is a natural part of life. But Famine is just suffering compounded by waste and deprivation, and it diminishes all it touches. Even meladaemons’ special abilities and spell-like abilities enervate and drag out suffering, just for getting near the creatures!
Meladaemon-focused adventures are fun because (similar to leukodaemons), they offer lots of opportunities for detective work and escalating linked encounters: A starving village leads to spoiled feed leads to a mercenary saboteur leads to a dark priesthood leads to a daemon-summoning ceremony leads to a soul feast leads to…you get the idea. The good news for PCs: meladaemons work alone if possible, or only with other meladaemons. And since they kill their victims slowly, PCs have a better than average chance of saving the innocent before it’s too late…
Determined to avoid a foretold plague, a pharaoh orders stockpiles of preserved food and grains for seven years. Over time, though, what were reasonable set-asides become onerous levies. A meladaemon has infiltrated the priesthood responsible for maintaining the granaries, and is rotting the stores even as it starves the populace.
Dark cultists answering to a cabal of meladaemons have blighted fields, diverted rivers, and slaughtered livestock throughout the nation. The country’s benign servitors are overwhelmed (or were murdered by the cultists), meaning that adventurers looking to alleviate the suffering must join with the devil-worshipping Cerberian Legion, whose strength, wealth, and skill at logistics come at the cost of freedom and mercy. Meanwhile, starvation has also caused a dormant magical curse to activate, and many of the nation’s nobles have turned into wereboars barely able to control their hunger or bloodlust.
Meladaemons rarely work with other creatures. But Curvus the Bone-Gnawer has fallen into an unholy infatuation with a wendigo known as Windcurse. The meladaemon brings hunger and disease to the longhouses of the snowy North, leaving the inhabitants weak, desperate, and vulnerable to the call of his wendigo lover. When the pair has devoured or transformed the souls of the entire village, they move on to the next one, leaving only empty settlements, haunts, and new ghouls and wendigos behind.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 2 69
Oh hey! Let’s talk about my weekend.
1) I did not see The Hobbit. Still haven’t. Because Friday my friends Eric and Josh decided to go to a matinee. Which is understandable—Eric was in town from Georgia and only had so much time, and I was at work—but man, how badly did I want to go to a movie about bearded warriors with this guy…
2) Radio show. Yeah, I posted pretty late yesterday, but whatever, go listen. It was good, I promise.
3) Went to the Christmas Revels in D.C. This is a musical celebration of the solstice in general and Christmas in particular that happens every year, and each year gets its own culture and time period theme (American Appalachia, Renaissance Italy, Victorian England, Middle East in the Middle Ages, etc.). It’s fantastic—not just because of the show itself, but because of each year’s ridiculously well researched program. There’s always some nugget in there that I can take to the game, even if it’s just a cool vocab word. This year’s was “waits.”
Of course, the downside to #2 and #3 meant that I was missing…
4) The first-ever Mythmoot, a Tolkien conference in my own backyard! Which meant that I missed yet another (private!) screening of The Hobbit (in 3D!) and talks by Tolkien fans and luminaries, including Corey Olsen, “The Tolkien Professor” himself.
But! I had an in: Because Prof. Olsen went to my college only a few years ahead of me, our mutual friend (and successful Middle-earth cookbook Kickstarter) Heath got us together for drinks at around midnight. So even though I missed the con, I still got to have an excellent time with an excellent scholar.
Final note: In order to make it to the above rendezvous, I had to escape a party in Arlington, VA. (I told you it was a busy weekend.) And that meant uttering the single dorkiest sentence spoken on Earth ever. Worse yet, it was uttered to a room full of attractive single female EPA employees who were trying to get my to eat their homemade desserts. Dear readers, I hope you all will learn from my mistake, and never find yourself saying to a similar audience the following:
“I’m sorry, I can’t eat any more of your delicious pie; I have to go to a Tolkien conference after-party.”
*facepalm* Yes, that really came out of my mouth. Sigh…