Crimson Horror

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
AC: 4
HD: 7
Attacks: 1 bash
Damage: 1d6 + special (see below)
Save: L7
Morale: N/A
Hoard Class: N/A

These hideous creatures are only found in the ruins of ancient cities or large installations that were hit badly during the final wars. They are the victims of massive doses of radiation, which instead of killing them or turning them into the creatures known as the Undying, created a new and twisted monster to haunt the ruins.

They appear as thin, blood-red humans that have been twisted by unseen forces. The flesh looks as if it has been peeled away to reveal the muscle beneath in spots, especially around the head and face.

Strangely enough, the creatures are insubstantial, only becoming corporeal when they are about to attack. They can move through any barrier except for energy, and typically those in the know will be able to detect their presence by the sudden spike in temperature, which will allow them the change to escape or find suitable cover.

The creatures no longer retain any form of intellect, and are instead driven by pain, and the only way they can rid themselves of this pain is to pass it on to others. Being heavily radiated, they are always generating massive amounts of thermal energy. This heat radiates out up to 20 feet and inflicts 2d6 points of thermal damage per round, even if they are incorporeal.

Every time they encounter normal people – well any living creature, they will seek to touch the person and spread the radiation. This requires a melee attack, and the target takes both the physical attack and must make a saving throw versus radiation at a -4. If the saving throw fails, the victim suffers an additional +2 points of damage per dice, and will become mutated. The odds of the mutation being a drawback are 75%.

This seems to calm the creature, and after it has successfully hit one target, it will become insubstantial and will wander away. It will stay calm for 4d6 hours, at which time the pain it feels from the radiation will reassert itself and the creature will be driven to inflict harm on others.

These beings are very hard to harm, as first they are immune to radiation, and are in fact healed by it – despite the pain it inflicts. They are not healed by the radiation field they emit, only if they move into a contaminated location, or are hit by a radioactive weapon. They are also immune to any sort of physical attack or thermal-based weapon and are only harmed by energy weapons. Cold-based weapons or attacks always inflict double damage to these creatures.

Many consider these creatures to be undead, and no one seems to know how or even if they can reproduce. The one topic everyone can agree upon is that it seems that the numbers are always constant, even when one or more of these creatures is destroyed or somehow vanquished. Also they are not limited to one location – as long as there is radiation for them to bathe in, they will be attracted to it and they will stay nearby. This baffles wasteland scholars as they know that the creatures are in pain when exposed to radiation, and it eases when they inflict it upon other life and yet they still seek out sources of radiation contamination. They do wander and can be found traveling in the ruins or even across the land in search of a stronger source of radiation.

They also appear to be territorial, as when they find a suitably powerful source of radiation, no more than one will be found within a thousand square feet. Large ruins can have literally dozens or more of the creatures, but they always stay away from one another, seemingly knowing where another one of their kind is located and never entering its territory.

Mutations: Bizarre appearance, energy ray (modified), incorporeal, radiation projection

Source: Crimson Peaks (2014)