Friday, July 15, 2011

Attic Whisperer

Not every adventure has to be grand in scope.  Some mysteries might only concern a single house and the secrets of children. 

Jezephael Morne has been a fixture at the Inn of the Stag for years.  But since a new owner took over, her bardic performances have faltered. Now she is afraid to take the stage, afraid for her livelihood, and afraid the new owners have brought a curse with them.  Actually, what they have brought is their young daughter, who has roused the Inn’s dormant attic whisperer.

The children on Cock’s Comb Avenue have begun disappearing one by one, never to be seen again.  The pets have been disappearing, too, but these have been found—and found badly burned.  There are two culprits acting in concert: an attic whisperer who puts its playmates to sleep untl they starve, and a young boy, actually an ifrit, whose otherworldly nature has helped it resist the attic whisperer’s lures but who has begun setting fires to banish the air of oppression he feels all around.

People can be as lonely, mad, and evil as any undead.  The widow Maude and an attic whisperer go from town to town, living in a gruesome parody of a parent-child relationship—the attic whisperer lures children to her rented house, and she bakes them into pies, after which the undead creature goes out hunting for new playmates again.

Pathfinder Adventure Path 1 XX & Pathfinder Bestiary 2 34

I don’t know how well attic whisperers play from the GM’s perspective.  But conceptually, I love them.  To my mind, the best undead have an existence supported by some motive—a history, a wrong, a loss—and qualities and vulnerabilities that hint at the folk tales and remedies of old.   The inn wight from the Scarred Lands’ Creature Catalog was a perfect example of this, right down to being thwarted by a circle of salt around a bed; the attic whisperer is another.

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