Wednesday, August 22, 2012

HMS Apollyon - The Darkness and its Lurkers

Rumors abound in the Scavanger's and Wreckers bars behind the Rust gates about what has been seen, battled and fled from within the hull -  Stories about what one's father or great uncle encountered twenty years ago have almost equal popularity and perhaps an equal chance at veracity, as the drunk and traumatized rarely tell the complete truth.
The work of a talented Deviant Art Monster Artist
Rumored Beasts:

1. War Haints - Ecotoplasmic semi spectral echos of the desperate struggle and retreat from amidships, Haints aren't allied with the Dead, but they are dangerous.  The generally go about whatever activity was most important to them when they died, usually fleeing down long deserted corridors.  Most resemble Stewards or Sterntowners from two generations ago.  From the distance Haints are easy to mistake for other scavengers, but disturbing them almost always shakes them from their strange revery and causes them to attack violently.  Even when Haints aren't aggressive some claim their touch causes the lungs to fill with curdled salt ooze and rust.

A favorite story of Haint encounters is of the explorer who spots a long lost family member down a companionway and rushes after them.  Later the explorers companions find him dead, seemingly drowned and frozen, but with arms outstretched as if receiving a hug.

2. Merrow Men - Merrow Men are a rarer species of intelligent tribal humanoids that scratch out a precarious existence at the edge of the domains of more dangerous creatures.  Merrow Men are supposedly the offspring of Humans and Merrows (monstrous scaly mermaid type creatures) who have bred true.  They appear as short (4' Tall on Average) smooth skinned eel headed grey humanoids, though much variation exists among the breed.

Their bands usually number twenty to a hundred of individuals and they fight each other as readily as they fight anyone else.  Primarily scavengers, Merrowmen have mastered a couple of technologies that allow them to compete with more powerful groups.  First they are excellent at concealment and trap making and know to hide from their enemies when possible.  Secondly they are masters of a bizarre for of life magic that includes the creation of artifacts such as armor and weapons from living tissue.  Merrowman flesh sculpting uses alchemical and magical oils and unguents to transform living meat into static forms that meet many of the humanoids' needs.

3. Scintillating Crabs - Not truely crustaceans this variety of outsider fauna has made the HMS Apollyon home.  It is unclear if the physical or psychic habitat is what draws them, but Scintillating Crabs have become relatively common in the wetter areas of the hull and do well there. 

The Crabs are large, up to 300lbs and 4' tall, moving on several legs and attacking with pincers like a normal giant crab.  However, they have the strange quality of not being fully of this world, making them stutter in and out of phase, much like a skilled Augur.  This, combined with Scintillating Crabs thick brightly patterned chitin makes them hardy opponents and more dangerous than their natural weapons alone would indicate

4. Rust Ooze - A form of giant crawling amoeba that is reddish in color and persists on a diet of ferrous metals.  It is attracted to heat and high quality steel and will drop or surge from the floor to envelope the unwary, dissolving armor, weapons and flesh. It's unclear how to best battle these creatures, though some suggest oil will dissolve them and others claim a solution of vinegar and silver filings makes them burn. All agree the best solution is to wear sturdy bronze or hide armor and avoid steel weapons.

5. Archer Polyps - An Oyster like fungal form that chokes halls and rooms.  The fungus aggressively gathers nutrients for itself by firing hardened discs into any creature that comes near.  One annoying feature of the polyps is their near immunity to fire.

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