Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 2d3
Alignment:  Lawful
Movement: 90’ (30’)
AC: 5
HD: 8
Attacks: 2 claws
Damage: 1d6+3 / 1d6+3
Save: L8
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: See description

These are strange creatures found only in woodlands. They appear to be slightly misshapen women, with long legs and arms, distorted facial features, long talons and a tail. The skin is typically a mottled grey color, which seems to blend in quite well in the forests, especially during the winter months. The average creature stands about four feet in height, and weighs about eighty pounds. They are wiry and have small breasts and are always very thin.

The creatures cannot speak, although they can hum and make strange bark-like noises, but they do not need a voice to communicate. They possess a form of neural telepathy which allows them to pass memories and thoughts through physical contact. This does not happen very much, as they are quite reclusive and tend to avoid contact with other intelligent beings.

They prefer to live together in small groups of up to six individuals, always as far from other creatures as the terrain will allow. They live in caves and deadfalls made from trees, which are always lined with leaves and other plant material to make the small hovels comfortable and warm.

The cold and heat does not bother these creatures, and they can be found naked all year round. In fact the few that have been observed seem to be comfortable in all climates, rain, sun, heat, cold, it does not matter.

When encountered, they are always female, although many would find them unappealing – the skin is mottled grey and the hair long, black and oily. The faces are elongated and look feral, which belies their true nature.

Although capable of inflicting great harm or even killing, they are deep down, gentle souls who prefer to live in harmony with nature. And to prove this, they are also capable of healing injuries or disease by a simple touch. No one can force them to use this ability, but if those in need do not act hostile or demand it, they often will remedy it without hesitation.

It is not fully understood how they procreate. There are several rumors going about that they are able to keep males asleep and will often mate with them during this time, sometimes over a period of several days until the seed takes and they become pregnant. If this is the case, many a male who is out in the woods will often awaken feeling refreshed and have the residual memories of carnal pleasure, but no traces will ever be found.

It is also speculated that instead of this, they will make it clear they want to mate after having healed someone who was wounded or suffering from a disease, as payment, but this has never been verified.

Finally there are those who believe that they simply ‘will’ themselves to become pregnant and it happens. No matter the method, they have the same gestation period as humans and the babies are always girls.

Sometimes they will leave a newborn baby girl where it can be found by others, especially those who may have been the father. No one knows why they do this, but the babies grow up to appear perfectly human, and usually possess an unearthly beauty. The only aspect that gives away their strange heritage is the long, cougar-like tail, and the fact they cannot speak. These ‘changelings’ do possess the same neural telepathy and ability to heal, however.

Children raised like this are always watched over by the mother, who is never more than a few miles from the child. As long as the child remains in or close to the woods. If anyone should attempt to harm the child, the mother and her sisters will come during the night and slaughter those who would do so. They are typically gentle and shy, but when the beast is unleashed, they are deadly foes.

Finally these creatures have no use for technology or treasure, and will leave it where they find it. Occasionally they might visit the father of one of their adopted children during the night, and will implant the memory and location of such goods, as long as it will help the child.

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapons), healing, neural telepathy (modified), tail, temperature adaptation

Source: Thale (2012)