Excerpts Archive | 11/25/2011
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New Monsters
Book of Vile Darkness Excerpts
Bart Carroll

"The most fearsome monster I ever saw had two arms, two legs, and one head, and on its head was a face with two eyes, two ears, one nose, and one mouth, and above this face grew a mop of hair. Everywhere else, the creature's flesh was mostly pink and bare. Mostly. Makes my slime crawl thinking about it."
—Juiblex

A s the Abyss spawns fiends aplenty to bring strife to creatures near and far, agents of the dark plot and connive to advance their masters' aims. The following monsters have spawned from evil's embrace to wrap existence in a tapestry of pain, humiliation, death, and torment.

Dragonspawn, Nhagruul

Nhagruul, the deformed wizard who sought to use the Book of Vile Darkness to conquer and enslave the world, left behind many dark legacies. The Nhagruul dragonspawn are among the most fearsome remnants of his schemes. The psychotic mage grew the dragonspawn in his laboratory from evil dragon eggs his apprentices stole. The wizard used his own demonic essence to corrupt the embryos. When the eggs hatched, twisted, dragon-like monstrosities magically connected to Nhagruul greeted their maker, and they instinctively bent their necks to the greater wicked power.

At the height of Nhagruul's influence, the dragonspawn were formidable and cunning beasts that could magically outmaneuver even the most accomplished magi. When the Book of Vile Darkness consumed Nhagruul, the dragonspawn weakened and grew desperate. Eventually, the monsters turned on one another as they vied for territory and treasure. It's unknown how many of the creatures survived the rivalry. In the years since, the survivors have withdrawn to their secluded lairs, and their memories of Nhagruul and the glory days have faded away with their magic.


Lore

Arcana or History DC 29: Dragonspawn are the foul progeny of the demon-wizard Nhagruul, who incubated their eggs in festering pools of demonic slime. Dozens of these wyrmlings were born linked to the mage's evil essence, but Nhagruul destroyed the most heinously deformed ones.

Few Nhagruul dragonspawn have survived since the dark wizard's destruction (or disappearance, as some attest). Although it's hard to mistake them for true dragons, Nhagruul dragonspawn possess certain characteristics in common with their draconic ancestors, including leathery wings and breath weapons.

No two Nhagruul dragonspawn look exactly alike. Their draconic features blend hideously with the more monstrous traits of the vile wizard who spawned them. For this reason, they are often referred to in historical accounts as "vile dragons," though this name hardly captures the terror their appearances instill in would-be prey.

Encounters

The hardiest of the Nhagruul dragonspawn live on civilization's fringes, making their lairs in deep caves, forests, and old ruins.

A Nhagruul dragonspawn attacks any dragon it encounters. After laying claim to a dragon's lair, a dragonspawn devours all but one of its victim's eggs. The dragonspawn corrupts the remaining egg with its saliva, bathing the shell in sputum several times a day until it hatches into a new Nhagruul dragonspawn.


Nhagruul Dragonspawn in Combat

A hungry Nhagruul dragonspawn is not above gobbling up a cow or horse, but its hunt is unsatisfying if it doesn't elicit the screams of humanoid victims. A Nhagruul dragonspawn circles over a town, raining fire on buildings and people so it can luxuriate in the smell of fear and death. When its prey starts running, preferably while on fire, the monster swoops down to rip the creature apart with its poisonous teeth.

A Nhagruul dragonspawn isn't particularly smart, but it is cunning. When confronted in its lair, the beast stalks intruders in a manner similar to a great cat, creeping through the shadows and springing when interlopers are least prepared. When cornered, a dragonspawn lashes out to rake its opponent with its clawed wings.