One Doesn’t Say Its Name

Mythology: West African (from Akan Folklore)

As Europeans infringed upon native peoples and their lands in Africa, eldritch beings and pacts came to light and began to evolve with the times. Once such creature is the Asanbosam. Now thought of as a cross between an ogre and an iron-fanged, living vampire, their origin is much more horrifying. As humans violated the unspoken pact between the Akan peoples and their deities, a convocation of witches summoned the ancient Sasabonsam, who protected Asaseyaa’s forests on Thursdays (her day of rest). Europeans from the recently captured Fort tantamkweri were brought as sacrifices, and rather than drinking all of their blood, Sasabonsam mated with many.

They were returned as part of the negotiations between the Ashanti Empire and the British, and nine months later, they all gave birth to healthy, pink, red-haired, Caucasian babies. Well, some were healthier than others. These newborns would all grow into adulthood and, in their late twenties or early thirties, felt drawn to the forests around them. Those that could, seek out the jungles of Africa and rejoin their Asanbosam kin while they undergo their transformation into Asanbosams, changing into what is needed to protect the sacred lands of the indigenous peoples.  

Asanbosam

While there is only one Sasabonsam at a time, the same it not true for its hybrid offspring, the Asanbosam. Born of the union from either Sasabonsam or an Asanbosam and a human, they begin life as a human babe (even if born to one of the Asanbosam). Even at an early age, one might be said to have the “Loropéni look.”

The Loropéni Look

  • A pink tinge to their skin, as if they just finished physically exerting themselves.
  • Brown, Orange, or red hair.
  • Large, well-defined canines and a powerful jaw.
  • Arachnodactyly on the hands.
  • < 10% are born with phocomelia of the lower legs.

Infants born with phocomelia are revered by the Asanbosam, and they will oftentimes kidnap such-hybrids when born to human parents (if they don’t believe they’ve being taken care of well) and raise them as their own. They change into Asanbosam earlier in life, often in their teenage years. Many who undergo the change early develop a long tail that is actually a living python, needing to feed and able to communicate via pheromones with the Asanbosam on which it sprung from (both have vomeronasal organs). This serpent often works with the hunting Asanbosam, as food for one is food for both, but some have been known to disagree with one another.

When the time for a change draws near for a hybrid Asanbosam, they feel inexplicably drawn to the woods. Many, if they weren’t already loners, begin to withdraw, preferring the solitude of nature. They grow terse with other humans, often gaining a reputation of being a misanthrope. The physical changes often cause psychological issues for human-raised hybrids. Many, once they’ve gone to live in the forest for good, stop taking care of themselves, resulting in long-red, matted hair. They also find it safer to live in the trees as much as possible.

As for the physical changes…their faces take on a ruddy hue, with rust-colored freckles around their cheeks and jaws as their already prominent canine teeth now bulge out from their mouths and turn to iron. Their iron teeth will grow for the rest of their lives, causing them to jut out of their mouths. The constant exposure to the humid air of the African tropics results on them rusting over time.

Another, and more painful change, is that, from the knee down, their legs become mottled with rust-colored spots, and, if after 1901, may be mis-diagnosed as Schamberg’s disease. Unlike Schamberg’s disease, it’s far more painful, as the bone undergoes a nuclear transformation worthy of magical alchemy, changing from bone to iron. The bones first calcify, their feet pulling back/up and their ankles locking, in a painful, hooked position. As the bone changes into iron, the skin on their lower legs becomes necrotic, blackening and bloodlessly peeling away from the iron hook that now comprises the lower half of their legs. As all this takes a year or so to change, they become adept at moving around using only their hands and arms. Using the iron hooks that their legs now terminate in to move around and swing through the jungle canopy with comes quite naturally to them. They will use these same hooks to hang upside down from trees when attacking, preferring to grab and pull victims up into the canopy to deal with them rather than on the ground.

Oftentimes, other Asanbosam come and find them, bringing them into a small troop for a short while, caring for them and sharing their knowledge of Sasabonsam and the witches’ purpose for them. And once the change is complete, they often strike out on their own, often-times going back to the forest around where they grew up, to protect the lands from their former kind.

Bad Luck: Even saying the name Asanbosam is thought to be bad luck, and so they’re not often talked about. Anyone who says their name (their pre-transformation name or “Asanbosam” must succeed in a Hard POW roll. On a failure, they suffer a Penalty die to all Luck rolls for the next month.

Asanbosam, the Ogre-Vampire of West Africa

char.
STR
CON
SIZ
DEX
INT
POW

roll
(6D6+3) × 5
6D6 × 5
(4D6+2) × 5
(4D6+4) × 5
(2D6+1) × 5
3D6 × 5

average
120
105
80
90
40
50–55

Average Hit Points: 18
Average Damage Bonus: +1D6
Average Build: 2
Average Magic Points: 10–11
Move: 5 / 12 climbing

Combat
Attacks per round:
2 (claw, bite, or iron hooks); 10% off Asanbosam have a Python for a tail that can also attack.
Asanbosam can attack with its iron hooks a claw or bite attack.
Drain Blood: On a successful attack with one of its natural iron “implements,”, an Asanbosam drains its target of blood (STR) equal to half the damage in hitpoints it inflicts with the blow. These STR points are added as hitpoints to the Asanbosam for 24 hours.
Python:
10% of Asanbosam develop a living snake when they undergo the transformation early in life (see below). They often use the 20’ long snake to distract targets immediately before attack them from above, but the snake is also capable of joining the fray.

Fighting 60% (25/10), damage 1D4+1 (bite) or 1D4 + damage bonus
Iron Hooks 50% (25/10), damage 1D6 + damage bonus
Dodge 60% (20/8)

Skills: Climb 85%, Sense Humans 50%, Stealth 65%.

Armor: 2-point thick skin.
Spells: None; particularly ancient Asanbosam may know 1D4 spells, typically related to nature and protection.
Sanity Loss: 1/1D6 Sanity points to encounter an Asanbosam.

Tail-Python

While they can bite, most rely on crushing their prey (should they engage in combat).
Constrict (mvnr): On a successful Constrict attack, the victim has been wrapped up by the Asanbosam’s living tail. Damage is applied automatically each round unless the python is dislodged by an opposed STR roll versus its STR of 110. In addition, anyone being crushed by the python is at a disadvantage to all rolls, resulting in one penalty die.

Fighting 40% (20/8), damage 1D3 or Constrict, damage 1D6 + 1D6 (damage bonus).
Dodge 25% (12/5)

Skills: Distract Asanbosam’s Target 75%, Stealth 90%.

Armor: 2-point glistening skin.
Spells: None.
Sanity Loss: 0/1 additional Sanity points when encountering an Asanbosam with a 20-foot-long living python for a tail.

(For the full write-up on Pythons, please see page 339 of the Call of Cthulhu Keeper Rulebook.)


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