Friday, December 27, 2013

Umbral Shepherd

James Sutter brings us the umbral shepherd in the pages of the Inner Sea Bestiary.  These nasty parasitic outsiders like to possess host beings; they also have a nasty tentacle attack that dissolves flesh into shadow.  In the ISB they are heavily identified with Zon-Kuthon and the dark places that drove him mad.  Where they come from in your campaign is up to you—likely the deeper reaches of the Plane of Shadow, the dark places between the planes, or in other places reality breaks down.

The Company of the Blazing Banner are renowned adventurers (by now landed and titled) who recently destroyed an infestation of tenebrous worms in their hometown of Yomark.  But other shadow creatures escaped their attention.  Now their chief henchman, their treasurer, and several members of their staff are possessed by umbral shepherds.  The outsiders seem to be directing them to look for something in the Company’s vaults.  The search is taking time, though, the shepherds are eager to be done before the Company returns to Yomark.

The umbral shepherds known in Caern come from a place that is not a place—another dimension entirely that mathematicians understand better than clerics or wizards.  Hounds of Tindalos are terrified of the creatures, though, so striking a bargain with an umbral shepherd may be a way to throw these otherworldly hunters of the scent.

Teleportation magic is almost unknown on Stross.  Though the process is supposedly instantaneous, it feels like a frigid journey.  And all too often, porters come back changed somehow, and many soon sicken and die.  Scholars know this is the influence of the bleak riders, who hitch a lift within the bodies of teleporting mages to spread their evil into Stross.

Inner Sea Bestiary 53

SPLINTERWAIFS!  Alert reader demiurge1138 comes through with the save after my twigjack meltdown.  (The splinterwaif was created by James Jacobs and appeared in Dragon #307—the Westeros issue, for you George R. R. Martin fans—and the Monster Manual III). 

Also, dr-archeville dug deep into the udaeus—check out his excavation/explication here.

I’m going to be traveling through New Year’s, so The Daily Bestiary is likely going to be on vacation next week.  Not 100% sure, though, so keep checking here and we’ll see what happens.

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