Lost Pages of the Octobernomicon 5/7: Jersey Devil

Jersey Devil, Unique Entity

“It was about three feet and a half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse’s hooves. It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them. It didn’t use the front legs at all while we were watching. My wife and I were scared, I tell you…” — Witness in the 1909 encounter

Since the 18th century, the entity known as the Jersey, or Leeds, Devil has terrorized the New Jersey Pine Barrens and surrounding areas. The origins of the monster are unclear and varied. The most common has Mrs. Leeds birthing a monster, either after a cursed was placed on the child in her womb, or after she cursed it herself. The monster was born full-grown, ripping itself from its mother’s womb, devouring the other family members, and escaping the home through the chimney. Another legend says Mrs. Leeds gave birth to a deformed and retarded, but otherwise normal, child. Already burdened caring her for her other children, and disgusted by the hideous newborn, she drowned the baby in a river; in death the child became something altogether more terrible. One source claims the Jersey Devil is the result of centuries of inbreeding among the so-called “Pineys”. The supernatural qualities of the monster seem to discount this notion. There is some evidence indigenous tribes may have encounter the monster before the coming of Europeans; if this is true, most folklore speculation about the Devil’s origins are moot.

Regardless, the Jersey Devil has certainly made its presence known in the past two centuries. It has become a portent of doom, appearing before disasters or wars. It has killed livestock, injured pets, and threatened humans. Whether it attacks out of hunger or pleasure is unknown. The folklore of its terrible origins would suggest the latter.

Occurrences of strange cloven-hoofed tracks in the now, and horrendous human-like screams emanating from the Pine Barrens have been attributed to the Devil. Sightings have caused widespread panic and hysteria. While the Devil is still seen in the modern day, sightings are not nearly as frequent or dramatic as in the early 20th century.

While descriptions of the creature vary, most, if not all, share much in common: cloven-hooves, horse-like head atop a long neck, rat or cat-like tail, and large wings reminiscent of a bat. It is also said to have fiery red-eyes and emit a strange bark with threatened.

While there have been attempts to harm the creature, no one has been able to do more than drive it off. One witness claims to have injured the creature after shooting it. This report is dubious at best.

Squeeze: The Jersey Devil is able to squeeze though what would seem to be impossibly narrow spaces. While this was never witnessed first-hand, those hunting the monster observed its tracks seemed to squeeze though an area of no more than eight inches. For game purposes, the Keeper should consider the Devil capable of moving through spaces as narrow as SIZ 1.

Scream: Those hearing the Devil’s scream must make an immediate Sanity check. Those failing will either flee in terror, or become frozen in place (chosen by the Keeper), for 1d4 rounds.

Attacks: The Devil typically attacks by swooping down and racking with its front paws, or snatching a victim up (the Devil can carry anything size 11 or under). If the victim fights back, the Jersey Devil is most likely to flee than continue to attack. While there are no recorded attacks on humans, slaughtered livestock is sufficient evidence the Jersey Devil could easily rend a person apart if particularly enraged. One cannot help but to wonder if missing campers and hikers in the Pine Barrens, or missing children in nearby areas may be the work of the Devil.

The Jersey Devil, Mrs. Leeds’ Monstrous Progeny

STR 18 CON 15 SIZ 8 INT 10 POW 12 DEX 14

Mov 6/12 flying HP: 12

DB: none

Weapons: Swoop 60%, damage 2d6+4
Rake 45%, damage 2d6
Snatch 45%, damage grapple
Bite 35%, damage 1d6

Spells: None
Armor: None, but mundane weapons only do one point of damage. On a successful impale roll, a weapon may do minimum damage.
Sanity Loss: 1/1d10

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