The berbalang is yet another one of those genius undead from Southeast Asia that slots effortlessly into a European-inspired FRPG while still maintaining the unique flavor of the original folklore. Resembling a ghoul with gargoyle wings, the berbalang has the unique ability to leave its body behind and project its spirit to attack its prey (via an incorporeal touch attack for a nasty 1d4 Con damage). Since legends indicate berbalangs are corpse eaters, we can assume they kill in this manner in order to have a fresh body to dine on within a few days.
Speaking of legends, tales also indicate various methods to stave off a berbalang’s attack, including a mythical “coconut pearl” and applications of lime juice (especially along the wavy blade of a kris). At stands to reason that if berbalangs are endemic to an area, there might be certain folk remedies that protect the locals but not PCs (until they’ve earned the community’s trust). Coconut pearls might be real, the limes might be a magical variety imbued with a crude ghost touch effect, or the local hedge mages may have developed a version of protection from evil that targets projected spirits rather than summoned creatures…
A pack of berbalangs is jealous of a powerful ghul’s dominance over the local necropolis and its ghouls. Cowards at heart, the berbalangs begin spirit-haunting an adventuring party’s allies and loved ones. They hope to coerce the adventurers into destroying the ghul in order to preserve the lives of their friends.
Coral Harbor admits to no witches or sorcerers, but everyone knows Old Madge is the one to see when you need someone charmed or cursed near to death, especially when it’s a rude sailor or a trader no one will miss. Strangely, no one can agree exactly where she lives or what she looks like. Old Madge is actually a berbalang who uses alter self to hide her appearance. She lives on a boat so her body is protected when she projects, and she sails into town by moonlight to look for spiteful clients whenever the hunger strikes her.
An intelligent ghost touch dagger snared a bit of a berbalang’s soul when it struck the undead’s spirit form. The missing bit of soul pains the undead, and she seeks the knife’s destruction…even as the knife seeks to swap owners as often as possible. Now the berbalang has found the dagger in the hands of some adventurers, and she seeks to rally the local gargoyles against them.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 40
Me linking to this was probably inevitable.
Luthorne took my Baykok post and ran with it, serving up two epic comments that range from the properties of infinite bone arrows to a baykok/pale stranger shooting contest. Read the whole thing here. Meanwhile, Wes Schneider proves that power corrupts and medusa power corrupts Castlevanialy.
If you’re a fan of dead-tree media, my name ended up (in bold, no less) in the Baltimore City Paper this week. But how weird is it to read an article about a bunch of my “more nerdy and less athletically inclined” friends going to a strip club…while I, of all people, somehow spent the entire weekend in the outfield with the jocks?
I DID WARM-UP DRILLS, FOR GOD’S SAKE! WHAT HAVE I BECOME?!?
Finally, speaking of Baltimore, holler if you’re going to Otakon this weekend! Maybe I’ll see you there…