When fog rolls across the Gray Downs during the dead of night, the hounds of ill omen emerge from the mists, ghostly apparitions howling their song of doom.
In today’s excerpt from Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale, we look at creatures that originally appeared in the 1st Edition Fiend Folio. These days, the hounds—whose appearance traditionally portends death – haunt the barrows of the Gray Downs.
Hound of Ill Omen
Once the loyal companions of the hill clans, who now rest beneath the barrows of the Gray Downs, the hounds of ill omen howl to awaken and avenge their long-dead masters.
As legend would have it, on nights when the skull-white moon hangs low and the downs are silent as a corpse’s dream, the ghost hounds come forth to hunt mortals. Who sends the hounds and for what purpose, none can tell; when a hound tracks its quarry down, it emits a baleful cry before vanishing into the fog. For the one the hound calls, its hours are numbered.
Those the hound has called observe nothing unusual at first. But soon enough, ill luck nips close at the afflicted one’s heels, and as calamity follows calamity, it soon becomes apparent that a curse is at work. Dangerous accidents and near fatal encounters plague the hound’s quarry until the panicking mortal flees, rabbitlike, to any haven that might stave off its impending demise. It is said those who seek solace by petitioning the mercy of the gods, or of the great she-hound Bregga, have sometimes survived a hound’s dire calling. For most, however, death comes inevitably. And then, the hound’s ghostly jaws drag the mortal’s spirit to the charnel halls beneath the cold earth of the barrow, where the dead remnants of the hill clans feast upon the bright essence of its life.