Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Soulbound Mannequin

Note: Before we get started, the "Pard" entry is now up.  Check it out here.

As if soulbound dolls weren’t creepy enough!  Soulbound mannequins are an improvement on the original—or an “improvement,” depending on your stomach for carving off larger and larger filets of soul.  The resulting construct has at least some of the donor’s personality, albeit with a flattened affect/aspect (hence the mandatory neutral alignment component). They are also armed with a number of utilitarian spell-like abilities that make them useful servants, guardians, and spies.  But their ability to convey emotion, traditionally displayed through a series of masks, makes them at best stilted actors on the stage of a much more lively world…and at worst, uncanny and disturbing monsters.

The mysterious Castle Marionette is so named because of the mannequins that hang on strings like abandoned dolls from its ramparts.  Hard-bitten adventurers might scoff at such whimsical decorations, given that most rulers achieve the same effect hanging caged criminals and political prisoners from gibbets.  But locals whisper of the real horror of Castle Marionette: The dolls are soulbound mannequins created from the souls of scores of kidnapped, purchased, and otherwise disappeared young women.  The (literally) ice-hearted mistress of the castle hangs the playthings that disappoint her outside to be worn away by the elements until she had forgiven them.

Adventurers destroy a soulbound mannequin, and as a bonus get to claim the construct’s cloak of resistance with a unique comedy mask-styled clasp.  The clasp is actually the mannequin’s soul focus—and the soul in question belonged to the creator’s husband.  When she discovers the adventurers have absconded with her only means for recreating her late spouse’s mannequin, she hunts them doggedly until the clasp is hers again, sending disguised soulbound mannequins to ambush, enervate, and otherwise torment them.

A director proudly shows off his newest actor: a soulbound mannequin whose expressions are painted on a series of masks. By the end of the performance, the director is dead.  Was it the crime lord to whom he was deep in the red?  The wayang shadow puppeteer who blames him for the wholesale theft of her repertoire?  Or the soulbound mannequin itself, who (when not employing disguise self) has refused to wear any mask but one with a hand-drawn smile since the night of the murder?

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 248

Emily!  That pun was a bit fishy.

I also wanted a masked shae to serve the crime lord in that third adventure seed, but it seemed like one too many shadow creatures.  You might disagree though!

So an anonymous reader wrote:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but you do have a few holes to fill in after you wrap up Bestiary 4. I actually happened upon your blog while searching for ideas about astral leviathans. That being said, no matter what you decide to do in the future, thank you for all you've already done.

Someone anonymous is getting a li’l sassy up in my feed!  (Though I do appreciate the thanks!)  By my count, I’m only short 22 monsters out of 1022 (which makes the math easy, at least).  Let’s just say that, with a 2% truancy rate, I will stake my record against any other weekdaily monster blog out there.  And it ain’t September yet…

Speaking of which, the “Pard” entry went up this afternoon.  So 21 monsters.  ;-)

And anomalitstic said:

This blog is part of what keeps me going through the week and gives me motivation for another day (of awesome adventure seeds I might add). If you want to keep the blog going it would be great, but if doing another project is what you want, I'm sure there'll be support for it from all the fans like me.

Dawww, thanks anomalitstic.

1 comment:

  1. I want to chime in (a trifle belatedly), and say that this is quite possibly the best gaming resource I have *ever* seen on the net. Hell, it's better than many a supplement I've spent money on.

    I'm running a Planescape campaign right now, and the PCs are most of the way through an adventure inspired by one of your Morrigna Psychopomp plot hooks -- and a future adventure is going to spin off a Shaggy Demodand plot hook.

    Amazing stuff!