The Red Nun of St Frideswide’s Priory

Skoll is the name of the wolf
Who follows the shining priest
Into the desolate forest,
And the other is Hati,
Hróðvitnir’s son,
Who chases the bright bride of the sky.

—Viking mythological poem, Grímnismál, 1270s CE

Alternate names: St. Brice’s Day Ghost, Viking spirit-queen, Red Riding Hood

According to legend, every November 13, a ghost walks the halls of Christ Church Cathedral, in Oxford, UK. Few have seen it, but those that have say it’s a nun with a blood-red scapular, a white tunic, and two veils, one red like her scapular and the other white. Initial reports of it’s appears led many ghost hunters to believe it was a sister of the Passion or Most Precious Blood, and most research into this paranormal apparition only look back as far as the early 1800s, but the truth of the matter, and the specter itself, is much darker….

In 1002, Æthelred the Unready, hearing of a plot to kidnap him and his advisors and bring them into parts of the country once ruled by the Danelaw, sent a stalwart band of investigators to look into these rumors, and stop those responsible. There investigation lead them to the former border town of Oxford, St. Frideswide’s Priory, indescribable horrors, and a plot not only to assassinate the king, but to bring about Ragnarok.

A doomsday cult of Iko Turso (think Finnish Cthulhu!) fled the Åland Islands a century before, settled in the Danelaw, near the upper reaches of the Thames. After a “period of adjustment,” they began raiding other settlements for an annual sacrifice, sometimes ranging far afield to not draw suspicion on their small village.

It was at Oxford, that the abbess of St. Frideswide, confronted them. Thinking she could convert them, she and her most trusted nuns went with them, back to their village. It was there, in their oddly angular longhouse, with its disjointed supports jutting out and forming sharp angles throughout its length and along its ceiling, that the abbess came face-to-face with Hati, the Hound of Tindalos that the cult had trapped into our time.

Returning the next day to to prior, minus a nun and with their scapulars stained red with her blood, the abbess and her inner circle set about putting an end to the raids. From that day forth, a nun would be chosen to travel over the river and through the woods. The chosen one would don a red scapular and veil, and would be fêted for a week, as to be chosen was a high honor. So they were told. And on appointed day, cloaked in what looked to be a red riding hood, they would travel alone, to visit the wolf and stave off the end of the world.

You see, Hati, that mythical spawn of Fenrir, would never be able to catch the sun and stop time on the meager diet of a nun a year. And somehow, in the ensuing insanity that she suffered from encountering the monstrous beast of a thousand angles, the abbess knew this in an instant. And so she volunteered the lives of her charges and fellow nuns in order to prevent Ragnarök.

In 1002, the sacrificial nun balked at entering the longhouse, and broke down, explaining the abbess’ plan to the cultists in exchange for her own life. They didn’t spare her, nor did they intend to spare anyone at the priory.

On November 12, the cultists siezed the abbey. As a warning to the rest of the nuns, the abbess a blood eagle. The cult was preaching about the need for the sacrifices to continue, with the abbess laying prostrate across the alter, her ribs almost surgically cut away from her spine, her lungs lain on her back as if in mockery of Cthulhu’s vestigial wings, struggling to fill with breath, when the abbess saw Æthelred’s men wander in. They were only looking to stop a run-of-the-mill kidnap/murder plot against their king…not…whatever this was.

In the ensuing melee, the cultists were killed, followed by the nuns, whom the investigators assumed were in on whatever sordid activities were going on in the area. And as she lay dying, witnessing the deaths of her nuns, that she’d worked so hard to keep safe and keep the world safe too, that the nun swore an oath to Hati, whom she’d not seen in over 20 years.

Ever since, on the anniversary of her order’s destruction at the joint hands of the cult and the King of England, the abbess wanders the halls of the new church buildings, looking for her way back to our time, permanently. And it’s only a matter of time, if she hasn’t already, begun to think of sacrificing those she runs across as an option.

Tindalosian Powers: The Red Abbess has all of the Tindalosian Powers, as described on page 138 of Chaosium’s Malleus Monstrorum, vol. 1.

The Red Abbess, bloody nun-out-of-time


Hit Points:
Damage Bonus:
Magic Points:



Attacks per round: 1 (claw, tongue)
The abbess, whose name was lost to history long ago as part of the destruction of her priory and legacy, usually ignores anyone she encounters at a distance, vanishing when out of sight of them. If confronted, she prefers to use her magical abilities, first, to end things quickly. Afterwards, she carves into their corpse from the back, feasting on their lungs and other organs first, before both her and the body phase out of time.
Tongue: with a successful tongue attack, a deep penetrating
(though bloodless and painless) hole-shaped wound is
formed. The victim takes no physical damage, despite the
peculiar wound, but loses 3D6 points of POW permanently.

Fighting 70% (35/14), damage 1D4+1D4
Tongue 90% (45/18), damage 3D6 POW drained (see above)
Dodge 40% (20/8)


Armor: None; regenerates 3 hit points per round (dematerializes at zero hit points until the next anniversary of her sisters’ death).
Spells: Whatever the Keeper desires.
Sanity Loss: 1D3/1D8 Sanity points to encounter the not-so-incoporeal “ghost” of the abbess.

Posted in Creatures and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post. Leave a trackback.

Leave a Reply

Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark.