Saturday, 26 December 2020

The Once Hunted: Three Dangerous Spirits by Pat Eyler

Foot of the Mountain Adventures has made maps for many Best Left Buried adventures. He has a cool Patreon page upon which he shares spells, monsters and play reports mostly connected to his 1st Edition campaign. Recently he walked me through his spell research mini-game which successfully turns the 1e research rules into something more fun and engaging for both player and GM. 

It was, therefore, very exciting to hear that Pat had made a few monsters which he thought would slot nicely into PARIAH .


Dave Kendall's illustration for Laird Barron's story Blackwood's Baby

These creatures are the Once Hunted (Stag of Death), The Greater Wasted Kill; and the Retinue of Wasted Dead

(Pat: I omitted the German names for setting reasons: when you stat them for 1e, I shall link back here and in a new post!).

The original encounters are written up here:

Original text by Pat Eyler; original text amended and augmented with permission.
The Once Hunted 
(The Stag of Death) 
(Unique Monster)
HD:                   6d12
Attack:              antler/hoof/hoof + SPECIAL
Attack value:    16 (1d6/1d12/1d12)
Defence:           14*
Speed:               40’ (120’)
No. app             Unique
Morale:             12
Size:                  Huge
Mind:                13

* Can only be hit by enchanted weapons, other spirits or magical invocations.

A massive stag - the spirit of all those animals that were wastefully killed. 
Gaping, mortal wounds adorn its body, one antler is broken, arrows protrude from if haunches and head.

The Once Hunted regards all humans not native to its range as wasteful and disrespectful hunters. Reaction rolls are at -4 and not modified by the pariahs' charisma in any way. However, neutral reactions or better may lead to the establishment of covenant or at least accord enabling the pariahs to pass through its territory.

Most encounters, sadly, are likely to lead to violence:

Special Attack: Ghostly Bugling

Twice per day, The Once Hunted is able to bugle during combat, which has two effects.
  1. It will call the Retinue of the Wasted Dead or a Greater Wasted Kill (d6 1-4 the retinue, 5-6 a greater dead) which will arrive in 1d3+2 combat rounds.
  2. Opponents within 200’ will take 2d4 damage and be struck with Fear (see below).
Typically it attacks with its antlers (1d6) and front hooves (1d12 each): if both hooves hit the same opponent in one round, that opponent is trampled. They will be pinned beneath the spirit-stag's clopping hooves, unable to commit any act except attempting to escape. Until they escape, they will receive 1d12 damage automatically at the start of each subsequent round.


In addition to normal damage, the ghostly bugle-call of the ancient creature causes all afflicted to make a save vs spells (target: 13) or suffer fear. On a failed save, a player must decide if their pariah..
  • Runs away until they are at a 200' distance before hiding. Once hidden, they may make a further save to see if they are willing to return (see below).
  • Freezes to the spot as though paralysed. They may do nothing until the subsequent round when they may make a save the following round to shake free.
  • Fights the fear, taking 1d6 CHA damage to "tough it out". They may make a save on the following round to see if they have overcome their fear.
Pariahs must make this same choice each round until they overcome their fear through a successful save.

Retinue of the Wasted 
HD:                   4d4
Attack:              area effect or special
Attack value:    1d4
Defence:           11*
Speed:               30’ (90’)
No. app             1d2 per encounter
Morale:             12
Size:                  Large (many tiny animals)
Mind:                2

* Can only be harmed by fire; metal or enchanted weapons; other spirits or magical invocations.

A swarm of small, undead animals who died in trap lines or similar but were never harvested and didn’t receive the thanks due to an animal killed for food or fur.

They are missing limbs (chewed off) or drag crude cord snare traps behind them. Their eyes are glassy and bulging, their tongues loll from their mouths.

The creatures occupy a crude 10' x 10' square: any unfriendly creature in that area automatically receives 1d4 damage. On the first round they are so attacked, they make a save vs. surprise to avoid that damage, though they receive no such save on subsequent rounds. Spending the round defending oneself (and taking no further action) limits the damage received to 1 HP/round as the swarm of undead mammals, birds and lizards scratches and bites and creeps and crawls all over them.

At a range of 100’ from a sleeping foe, they can attack through dreams causing the dreamer to have nightmares of being caught in a trap and cutting off a limb to get free.  The target saves vs spells (12) each round or incurs 1d3 WIS damage to themselves trying to tear free from the dream trap — each point of damage gives them a +1 on subsequent saves.

Greater Wasted Kill
Essentially a powerful animal spirit animated by its lust for vengeance.
Use the animal templates for Great Cats, Bears, Wolves, and Great Boars (pick an animal appropriate for the current habitat...) but add the following amendments:

  • Spirit protection: can only be harmed by metal or enchanted weapons; other spirits or magical invocations. It cannot be charmed or controlled by means of mortal enchantments. Its body cannot be occupied by a spirit-touched.
  • Cold bite of death: Any successful piercing/slashing attack (such as a bit, claw or gore) does [damage die] on first round, then automatically inflicts [smaller die] on subsequent rounds until the die depletes.
  • Morale: Is 12. It will follow whatever instructions it is given by The Once Hunted, regardless of its own safety.
  • Mind: human level intelligence.

Greater Wasted Wolf
HD                           3d10+1
Attack:                     1 cold bite of death
Attack value:           14 (damage 1d10*)
Defence:                  12**
Speed:                      50’ (150’)
No. app                    1d2
Morale:                    12
Size:                         Large
Mind:                       8

* A successful bite attack does 1d10 damage. Lingering pain and cold means it does 1d8 damage on the next round, 1d6 2 rounds later, 1d4 damage 3 rounds later and then, one round after that, 1d2 damage. These wounds stack.

** can only be harmed by metal or enchanted weapons; other spirits or magical invocations. It cannot be charmed or controlled by means of mortal enchantments. Its body cannot be occupied by a spirit-touched.

* * *

The whole ensemble is meant to be a nightmare for pariahs of all ages: this is not an encounter that they'll likely overcome by attacking head on. Even if slain the spirit will flee to the Realm of the Dead for 8d8 days before returning to its original range.

The best possible outcome would be to enter into a covenant whereby the spirit will not attack members of the pariah band who fully honour its presence as they pass through its territory (GENIUS LOCI POST IN THE WORKS), perhaps also insisting that no hunting of game is performed by loyal bands in its territory, or at the very least, any game taken is afforded elaborate funerary rites to compensate for the wanton acts of previous hunters.

Even if this does not occur, clever pariahs escaping with their lives might be able to use this creature as a future trap for their enemies, perhaps by leading them on a hunting expedition into its territory (and filling their ears with beeswax before that ghostly bugle call resounds).

Thanks Pat, these were great. please let me know when you deliver the full 1e write-ups for these magnificent beasts! In the meantime, please check out his stuff at:

Order a nice print edition of PARIAH here from SOUL MUPPET:

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