Beast of Averoigne, Lesser Independent Race
“Then, with terrible ineffable, Gerome beheld the thing to which light clung like a hellish nimbus, moving as it moved, and revealing dimly the black abomination of head and limbs that were not those of any creature wrought by God. The horror stood erect, rising to more than the height of a tall man; and it swayed like a great serpent, and its members undulated, bending like heated wax. The flat black head was thrust forward on a snakish neck. The eyes, small and lidless, glowing like the coals of a wizard’s brazier, were set low and near together in noseless face above the serrate gleaming of such teeth as might belong to a giant bat…This much, and no more, Gerome saw, ere the thing went past him with its nimbus flaring from venomous green to wrathful red. Of it’s actually shape, and number of limbs, he could form no just notion…” – Clark Ashton Smith, the Beast of Averoigne
The Beast, in one instance, is alternatively described as being ape-like in its movements. It may be the Beast is protean, its appearance changing based on the observer.
Though called a demon and devil by witnesses in the sole recorded encounter, the Beast actually belongs to a species of alien predators. Though each can fly through the black, they can neither do it at great speed or distance. Instead, they rely on comets as their primary transportation. There is no evidence a Beast can steer the course of a comet, rather they are slaves to the cosmic winds. They descend upon any suitable planet they come across by chance. Though there has only been one recorded encounter, this being in 1396, it is not a stretch to theorize the Beasts as the reason comets are held as a bad omen in so many human cultures.
Settling on a world, the Beast will possess a native. The purpose is twofold. First, as a nocturnal hunter, it allows the alien a sanctuary during the day. Secondly, the Beasts have no solid form as we would understand; only through possession is it able to gain form enough to hunt. In the 1369 encounter, the Beast chose a French abbot. The possessed in wholly ignorant of their condition, and during the day are in complete control of their facilities. At night, however, the victim transforms, becoming something of a hybrid between man and the Beasts true form.
Hunting, the Beasts prefer the marrow of warm-blooded creatures. The dead may be exhumed from graves, but this is generally unpleasing to the Beasts’ tastes. While no other portion of the victims is taken, the Beasts’ prey are ripped apart and spilled in the most grotesque of manners. At least some unexplained cattle and animal mutilations in the modern age as due to the predations of these aliens.
Comprised of non-terrestrial materials, the Beasts are immune to nearly all forms man’s weapons. They may only be vulnerable to the most powerful of magics; in the 1369 encounter, the Beast was only defeated by the release of a powerful demon once trapped by the wizard Eibon. Even then the ensuing battle results in the destruction of both creatures. Unfortunately, destroying the monster forfeits the life of the possessed. It is unknown if the departure of a Beast from a world ends the hosts life as well.
The Beast of Averoigne, Stellar Devils
Char. Roll. Avg
STR 6d6+20 41
CON 4d6+20 34
SIZ 4d6 21
INT 5d6 17-18
POW 10d6 33
DEX 4d6 14
Move 6/20 flying HP 22-23
Damage Bonus: +3d6
Weapons: Rend 90%, 1d6+db
Armor: None, but immune to all man-made weapons, and all but the most powerful of magics and non-terrestrial entities.
Spells: None recorded, but not outside the realm of possibility a Beast knows spells as the Keeper finds appropriate.
Sanity Loss: 1d3/1d10 to see a Beast.