NaMoDesMo Misc: Evil Emmental

So, I am obviously behind in my monster designing. I intend to keep working on this until such a time as I have 30 monsters. I am not quite done with my list of creatures from the mythic era of Scandinavia, but I wanted to write this down while i was thinking of it:
Long ago in the early days of the world, the cheeses of the world were nebulous and indistinct. They had not yet gained Names, and the Rites, Rituals, and Processes by which they could be called forth were not yet known. All was chaos. But then it happened that local farmers began to share their Processes and they began to name their cheeses. As everyone knows, the power of a cheese is bound up in its name, which is why the cults of each cheese fight so hard to make sure that only cheeses crafted according to the most exacting specifications may bear the name of their Great Cheese. In the early days, as the Cheese Makers were finding the different methods of creating cheese, and the different Rites were being formulated, it became obvious that different cheeses had different personalities, but that they had many common interests, and many potential points of conflict. Thus was it that the Great Cheeses had their most trusted and loyal followers convene a synod every five years in order to best work toward the good of all cheeses. Now, it turns out that some cheeses were not willing to play nicely with the other cheeses, and instead of using the synod as a tool for peace, they used it to try to dominate the world of cheeses. The greatest of these was a regional semi hard with a solid, smooth interior white cheese from Switzerland called Emmental. It only took a few decades for Emmental to establish itself as one of the most important cheeses in the world. It was central in the decision cast the great working that protected the names of the Cheeses in order to avoid the dilution of their power. Emmental wanted to do this so that it could slowly swallow up the smaller unprotected cheeses, absorbing their followers and increasing its wn power. The working succeeded, and Emmental swiftly began absorbing other regional cheeses. It doubled its following in 10 years, and begain targeting larger cheeses. It choose the upstart “Cheddar” cheese and unlike the others, Cheddar fought back. It was smart and charismatic, and managed to enlist the aid of the other grand cheeses. Emmental was by far the most powerful of the Grand Cheeses by this point, and the collected might of the synod was barely enough to keep it in check. But eventually they did prevail, and in an emergency council, they decided to weaken Emmental by excluding it from the Synod’s name protection and thus diluting its power. It worked. Emmental has split into dozens of differently named cheeses, and there are many different forms that now are made under the name Emmental, some that would hardly be recognized by the original standards setters. Most of the enslaved cheeses have broken free of Emmental’s influence, and the hard core of the Emmental faith has been driven into hiding. This is where the temple of Evil Emmental comes in. Ever since the great Cheese War, the followers of Emmental have had to be circumspect in their worship. Far from any community, they built first an underground structure and eventually an above ground temple where they could plot and scheme to bring about Emmental’s Ascension. There are three major cults devoted to Emmental, the Cult of the Hard Ripened Cheese, the Cult of the Soft Ripened Cheese, and the Far Realm Cult of the Processed Cheese. The three cults spend as much time undermining each other as they do advancing the goals of Emmental, with the traditional rivalry between hard and soft only recently being split by the Aberrant newcomers from the Far Realm.

NaMoDesMo 13 Trolls

The trolls of scandinavia are large creatures, usually ugly and violent, though at loosely followers of the ways of hospitality. Many of them are harmed by sunlight, which can turn them to stone. As creatures of the old world, with a seed of evil in their hearts, concecrated ground pains them, and they can not abide the sound of Church Bells. Trolls have been known to relocate building materials for new churches over night to places far from their homes, and to hurl great stones at churches with new bells in the night. Some of the great rocks in the middle of empty fields inScandinavia are rocks that were hurled by anangry troll. Though not often brilliant, some trolls are wise in the ways of the old magic, and some are accomplished users of the old ways. The female trolls are known as trollkonor and are almost universally skilled in witchcraft. They are as large and as ugly as their male counterparts. Trolls in the more isolated parts of the land are darker and more dangerous than the trolls who live in places where humans tend to dwell. The closer to humanity a band of trolls dwells, the more “civilized” they will tend to be, though like all of the underjordiske, they are never safe or tame, and no matter where you are, it is possible to find a troll who will deal with them in a fair manner. The fact that a given troll seems reasonably civilized and urbane does not mean that in other circumstances, it would hesitate to have you as a midnight snack.

NaMoDesMo 12 Fanden the Fiend

A tall lanky man in top hat and tails, Fanden wanders Scandinavia sporadically. Usually he is found teaching at the academy at Wittenburg where he instructed students in the use of the Black Book. He is one of the aspects of the Devil and can be recognized by his cloven foot and the tiny horns on his head. It is said that someone unskilled in the use of the Black Book can accidentially summon him, that he can be called by those who wish to make a contract with him, and that anyone might meet him on the road or at their door. When angered he is a dangerous enemy, and all the rest of the time he is just dangerous. Though he is amicable and cheerful, one should never forget that he is the prince of lies and the lord of darkness. If you get between him and his goals, he is likely to leave you shattered, your life in ruins. He is not often a raving sociopathic monster, he is an urbane sociopathic monster. He can be outsmarted, tricked into doing things he ought not out of pride.He is also eternal, though his body in this world can be killed, it will just reform in a location of his choice by midnight. If they face him on his home turf, he is likely to call up an army of demons to protect him, and if that fails, the forces of heaven itself would amass in his defense. They are not yet ready for the last trump, and a band of mortals slaying the real prince of darkness in his lair would surely begin Ragnorok.
As it goes, he bides his time, walks the world, and enjoys himself amongst the splendid folly of the mortals.

NaMoDesMo 11 Lindwurm

Lindwurms are the dragons of mythic Scandinavia. They are, much like the Jothem, a lesser reflection of their ancestors from the Heroic era, but still great and terrible beasts. They generally have long serpentine forms with a large pair of forelimbs, though legless and quadrupedal form are known, and some few possess wings. They are often venomous though few have a breath weapon. Their great forms are capable of surprising leaps, though they can mis their distance when excited by the presence of prey (anything small enough to fit down their gullet.) Though hard to kill, they are susceptible to the calling songs of the Finns. Lindwurms are in general much less clever than the true dragons, though some do learn to talk as do men. It is recorded that they may be captured as young and raised by a caring individual, though in the absence of their master, they rapidly revert to their feral natures. Added to their truly prodigious growth rates, a domestic Lindwurm is a menace to all of those around it. A lindwurm relies on its huge size, venom, and mobility to overwhelm its opponents, so standard lindwurm hunting strategies include binding it in place with a hook and a heavy iron chain, often baited with an ox or similar morsel. Of course, if the hook or chain is not strong enough, all that gives you is a hurt and angry Lindwurm.

NaMoDesMo 10 Stromkarl

The Stromkarl is a male water spirit who prefers to inhabit waterfalls, but can be found in the lowland brooks as well. They are spirits of knowledge and of music, and will, if approached with proper respect and a fine gift, teach those with some skill one of the eleven dance tunes that are the secret of his kind. Each tune woks in a primal magic and can only be taught by the Stromkarlen. The Stromkarlen either wear rich finery that maintains its crispness and beauty even when dripping wet or they go naked depending on the nature of the landsaround them. A Stromkarl’s fiddle is completely impervious to the damp and the wet and creates a rich, vibrant sound. If a potential student comes with inadequate gifts, the Stromkarl is likely to teach him how to tune the fiddle instead of how to play it.
Though they prefer to avoid conflict, the Stromkarlen are after all underjordiske, and are capable of responding to offense with extreme unpleasantness, even violence. It is said that the Stromkarlen can take the form of a water horse if they need to flee a persistant foe, or they feel the need to chastise a particularly rude visitor. The old stories tell of Stromkarlen falling in love with beautiful human girls, even marrying them, but it always ends poorly, since a stromkarl separated fro his waterway eventually grows depressed and despondent, and eventually leaves his land bound family in order to return to the home he was born to.

NaMoDesMo 9 Huldrefolk: Huldra

When most people speak of the Huldrefolk, they are lumping together at least a dozen different groups who see themselves as separate peoples. They are one of the Underjordiske, the hidden peoples, and they share many traits with other members of that family. The Trolls, the Alfs, the Elletfolket, the Svartalfar, the Vittra, and the Tomte are all frequently referreed to as Huldrefolk by those who don’t know the difference. The assorted Underjordiske are generally resigned to the lack of knowledge and thus respect that most of the men of scandinavia show for their peoples, though they can get a bit tetchy from time to time. Thus, it is safest to refer to the Underjordiske by a generic name or even “them” if you don’t know exactly what sort they are. No matter which of the underjordiske you are dealing with, it is always good to be polite to them. Rudeness is likely to turn their questionable sense of humor dark and occasionally violent. It is also vitally important to remember that no matter how friendly they are, they are not human, and they do not have human motivations. The first of the Huldrefolk we will look at is the classic Huldra.

The Huldra are a female branch of the Huldrefolk, generally beautiful or at least capable of taking on a glamour of beauty when they wish. They look like young maids, often in the traditional dress of a milk maid or other idyllic laborer, with the exception of their tails, which they generally try to hide. The Huldra are generally skilled in a few magics though which powers a given one possesses varies wildly. They are one of the most frequent of the Underjordiske to interact positively with humans and many of them have fallen in love with woodsmen and farmers through out the years. They have a reasonably positive relationship with the artifacts of the New God, and are not harmed or made uncomfortable by things such as church bells and crosses. On the other hand, they do appreciate it when a human goes out of their way to avoid discomforting them. They often wish to live as humans and find it unbearably rude when someone directly points out their failure to adequately disguise themselves. On the other hand, if you are friendly and discrete about the notice, a young huldra may grant you a boon of some sort. If a huldra’s tail has snuck out of her dress, directly telling her that this is so will do nothing but embarrass and anger her. One might, instead, tell her that her petticoat has become disarrayed, which will allow her to save face while readjusting her disguise. As in the case of most of the Underjordiske, a Huldra is slow to forget kindnesses done or insults given, though their approach to revenge and reward is often somewhat roundabout. A huldra who is treated well by a human who knows what she is is often especially appriciative and so long as she is not ill used, she will often devote a great deal of energy to the wellbeing of such people. They do not have a high oppinion of the awareness and sensibility of male humans, given how many of them have borne a human several children before he ever noticed that they were not human. If a huldra is married in a church of the New God, she will lose her tail and become mostly human, though she maintains her strength and knowledge of magic and lore. After exchanging vows and losing a tail, a Huldra will often become incredibly ugly for a time, as a result of the transformation to humanity. A man who rejects his new bride because of this will often come to regret his hasty actions. The fury of a scorned huldra is slow burbning and strange. On the other hand, if he stays with her, eventually the transformation completes and the ex-huldra regains or surpasses her original beauty. A man who passes this final test is said to live a happy and nearly trouble free life, though it would do even one such as that not to overly irritate a wife who can straighten a horse shoe with her hands and who knows the old blessings and curses.

NaMoDesMo8 Heartless Jotunn

In the dawn days, the Jotunn wandered the middle lands, making great sport and generally disrupting the lives of the Men of those days. In the dawn days, the gods wandered the middle lands, making great sport and generally disrupting the lives of the Men of those days. The difference was that the Jotunn were more likely to eat your daughter while the Gods were more likely to give you a grandson. Of course, neither of these roles were set in stone, and the Aesir and Vanir were not always comfortable guests. Though all have left the middle lands for now, their descendents still walk the world. Though their ancestors were larger and much more skilled in crafts and magics, the modern Jotunn are still clever and fearsome. In the dawn days, the Jotunn could wear the mountains around their shoulders as armor against the hammer of their foes, such later children of the Giants as still inhabit the land have lost that crafting. But still, they yet have some skill. One crafting that is very popular amongst the degenerate Jotunn is the removal of their hearts. The origin of the magics that allow the removal of a Jotunn’s heart are clouded in history, but their effect is clear. A Jotunn who masters this crafting is able to remove his heart and store it in a secure distant location. His life dwells within that heart, and though he grows distant from the joys of living, so long as his heart remains safe. he can not be slain.

NaMoDesMo 7 Black Dogs

The Black Dogs are enigmatic figures, roughly canine in form, jet black wolf hounds the size of a small mule. Their eyes glow red and in the dark their fur crackles with blue sparks. They are seen most often at execution sites and memorials to the dead, and are said to be harbingers of death. Never is more than one Black Dog seen at a time, and most of the tales are warnings of their menace and malice. Every so often a woman will be guided home in the dark hours by a black dog, and often the corpses of bandits will soon be found near her path. And there have been hundreds of witnesses to the black dogs riping apart hordes of the undead, hunting those creatures that Na Essad occasionally spawns with no apparent cause. But most tales are darker, of a man seeing a Black Dog, and the next morning he will be missing, his house the site of a struggle, the claws and massive tooth marks of a gigantic beast all that hints of where he went. Oddly, halfling tales of the Black Dogs are always of a dangerous but friendly guardian, a beast that sees to the safety of orphan children until the community can find them, a giant, gentle with its charges fierce with any who would harm them. Halfling children are taught to watch for the black dogs, only instead of a scary story, they know that the hounds presage safety.

NaMoDesMo 6 Cinder Sprite Swarm

Cinder Sprites are voracious playful fey that flit over the Stone Sea and along its shores. They will chase anything that moves and eat anything that doesn’t. Of course, sometime when they catch something that moves, it becomes something that doesn’t. A Cinder Sprite that is chasing something burns hotter and hotter until suddenly their fires burn out and they fall, inert. When this happens over the Stone Sea, their fires are refreshed by the molten stone, but a Cinder Sprite that burns out on the shores of the sea takes on the form of an inert bit of char. They can be revitalized again as well by throwing them in the magma or placing them in a bonfire. Many of the magma dwelling predators of the Stone Sea eat Cinder Sprites like fish eat mayflies. Though barely sentient, a Cinder Sprite may remember a person who returns it to the fire and, within their limited abilities, try to repay the boon.

NaMoDesMo 5 Lord Malix One Eyed.

The Pyros Haddim, the Fire Titans of Na Essad have several monsterous aspects in their culture. One of those is the destruction of any infant Pyros Haddim that shows any physical perfection. Their gene pool is very limited and their purpose is of uttermost importance, so they dare not allow any members of their race that might be susceptible to the corruption of the power at the heart of the world live. Through out their lives they go through continuous testing to ascertain their continued purity of mind and purpose.
When Malix One Eyed was born, there was no question. He was set out on a stone raft as a new born infant and left to drift off to his doom. He was shrunken and twisted, his head deformed, holding but a single eye, and his flesh did not radiate the natural heat of the Pyros Haddim. The giants sent him on his way and went on with their lives, hardly remembering the even a year later.
Malix, who was at the time unnamed, did not suffer the fate of so many malformed Haddim infants. The dark power of the world did indeed call out to him, and it guided his raft to the Brass Tower. There the Efreets who found him raised the infant giant as a buffoon and slave, a curiosity to lighten dull hours. They named him “Tiny” but usually called him only “slave.” The long centuries of giantish childhood passed and Malix grew to his stunted height. He was never as strong or as graceful as his more robust relatives, but his whole life was spent with the a voice from the darkness whispering in his ear, giving him secrets of power with which to reshape the world to his whim. This early contact with darkness and his natal mutations made him a natural sorcerer.
He clowned, and he studied his captors, and he listened to the dark whispers in his mind, and he grew in power. He was still in service when Vostin built his machine to crack the world, and by the time the Fang had formed, he was ready. Armed with the powers of entropy and fire, Malix assaulted the entire Efreet court during a banquet. A dozen of the great lords fell before his enslaught, though the combined power of the Efreets was still far greater than his own. They scorched and scoured his flesh in a pyroclastic battle that rocked the enchanted tower itself. As his flesh burnt away, his true plan came to fruition. His physical body was destroyed but his spirit was bound to the dark power, and there it fled. He spend a century as a disembodied servant of the darkness, acting as its agent as it studied the workings of the newcomer Vostin to see if he could be used to further weaken the bonds that kept Na Essad whole. He did this, and was well rewarded, becoming the greatest and most powerful servant of the heart of the world, but he kept a secret even from it. There had been two voices whispering in his mind his whole life. The first was that of the Darkness. The second was a voice of Duty and Justice, the voice of one of the nameless gods who had sacrificed themselves to form the great Stone Trap. It was one of the hidden spirits that remained there to guard the eternal prison. It comforted the young giant and showed it the truth of the words and the world. It was unable to make of him a shining champion, but it did instill a deep but hidden hatred of the dark power. Thus, when the time was right, he broke free of his supposed thralldom. As a disembodied spirit, one of his tasks in service of the Heart of the World was to examine the binding runes that the Pyros Haddim protected and maintained. The greatest of them lies in the Nameless City, and it was there that he brought his hidden plan to fruition. It was there that he chose to regain a body, where he became a lich. The ritual he used bound his soul to the Rune Stone at the cost of scores of Pyros Haddim lives, something he felt to be a significant bonus. When his body coalesced from the dust of the dead giants, he stood there and waited for the Haddim to come, and come they did. They came in force and attacked him, utterly obliterating the intruder in their midst. But the next day, he reformed his body. He slew a single guard and waited. When their forces arrived he did nothing to defend himself as they attacked once again. For thirty days he continued this, and thirty giants fell to his hand. Then, on the thirty first day, as he arose once again from his philactery and awaited the coming of the guards. This time, he stood there and none of their attacks were able to reach him. He waited for the Giants to wear themselves out, and then strode forward. He dictated terms to them, they would stay and guard his philactery, while he would go out into the world and do as he wished, or he would destroy the entire race and then go out and do as he wished anyway. He had demonstrated his ability to face their current power unscathed and his ability to offhandedly slay a giant, so they agreed to his terms. The Pyros Haddim have spent the last thousand years trying to find a way to remove his soul from the Rune of Binding, and they have developed counters for all of the powers he has demonstrated. They have twice ambushed him out in the world, and twice he reformed in the heart of their greatest city, slain 30 giants, and then walked out of their caverns.
Though evil and powerful, Malik One Eyed holds the same task sacred as the Pyros Haddim, he just doesn’t particularly care if the Haddim are the ones who undertake it. Thus he spends his time testing creatures and communities in Na Essad, looking for someone who could replace his hated kindred. He occasionally assaults the Tower of Brass for the sheer joy of killing Efreets, though the master of the tower is his match, at least on his home ground.
Malik has access to any ritual or special effect that he deems useful or necessary at a given time, and while he occasionally enjoys direct conflict, he usually prefers to manipulate his foes into doing what he wants done anyway.
His current residence is on the face of the great glacier, a palace of unnatural ice that does not move with the rest of the massive glacier. Adventurers who seek him out never know if they will find a temporary ally or nearly certain death.