Runequest Thursday #47 - Creature file - Servitor of the Crimson Bat!

Clint Staples

For today's Runequest Thursday, I wanted to do another creature, one that is likely to appear in the region of Brightwater sometime in the future. Looking for Inspiration, I remembered my earlier resolution to mine fellow d-Infinity contributor Chris Van Deelen's treasure trove of mutated monstrosities for Mutant Mondays. In so doing, I came across This little number - the Man-Bat . It did not take long to come up with a way to re-purpose this to Glorantha and Brightwater.

See, there is a major demonic monstrosity/ terror weapon in the Lunar arsenal, in the way of the personal bound demon of the Red Goddess - namely, the Crimson Bat. The Crimson Bat is a horrific chaotic entity the size of a battlefield, that must be fed dozens, even hundreds of men and souls each week. Since the Lunars are civilized, they try to avoid having the Bat chow down on their own people, and so they prefer to keep it occupied in the conquest and pacification of the frontier - where it can sate its enormous appetite on those who have not yet been convinced of the Empire's manifest destiny to rule, and civilize, the world.

But, according to some sources, about a dozen years ago, the Crimson Bat was slain - some say, by a dragon at or near the sack of Boldhome, capital of Sartar. Whether the Red Goddess has the power to resurrect her creature is still an open question more than a decade after the event. Certainly, the Red Emperor would see it deployed to subdue still rebellious Sartar; not to mention the many priest of the Crimson Bat, who are potentially without purpose.

Now enterprising power-hungry manaics like those of the cult of the Crimson Bat could just sit around, or try to bring back their fallen master. But some might also hope to emulate it, perhaps in hopes of strengthening the resolve of their fellows, perhaps simply to sow chaos and slaughter in their master's name. These servitors of the Crimson Bat have undergone a ritual of rebirth of their own, granting them horrific forms that ape the terrible majesty of the Crimson Bat itself.

Currently, these Servitors of the Crimson Bat have become an strange sort of elite slave-soldier within the struggling cult. Sent to carry our missions of terror and intimidation in the cult's name, they are themselves refused any really authority within the cult. The senior members of the cult rarely offer themselves as servitors, perhaps unwilling to be demeaned by their fellows. Initiates of the cult are, thus far, the only ones who have been reborn as Servitors. A powerful rune-level of the cult, transformed into a Servitor, would be considerably more terrible as an opponent, might retain more of its previous memories and magic, certainly many of its skills would be higher.

Currently, these Servitors of the Crimson Bat have become a strange sort of elite slave-soldier within the struggling cult. Sent to carry our missions of terror and intimidation in the cult's name, they are themselves refused any really authority within the cult. The senior members of the cult rarely offer themselves as servitors, perhaps unwilling to be demeaned by their fellows. Initiates of the cult are, thus far, the only ones who have been reborn as Servitors. A powerful rune-level of the cult, transformed into a Servitor, would be considerably more terrible as an opponent, might retain more of its previous memories and magic, certainly many of its skills would be higher.

One benefit of the Servitors is that they have attracted new recruits to the cult of the Crimson Bat, generally in the form of homicidal, sociopathic maniacs who see transformation into this horrific form as desirable. Of late, speculation of an additional benefit has arisen – there are those who say that the Servitors are somehow gathering mystical power to effect the re-embodiment of the Crimson Bat itself.

 

BTW, Happy Birthday to Chris Van Deelen!