Mythology: West African (from Akan Folklore)
Thursdays are Asasseyaa’s sacred days, and as the earth mother, all must take a break from tilling the land and hunting. To this end, the iron-toothed Sasabonsam came into being, guarding the forests on Thursdays.
For as long as the earth and fertility goddess Asasseyaa has existed, so too has the guardian of the jungle, Sasabonsam. The creature appears to be immortal and is considered an asuman, or a lesser deity that interacts directly with people. The guardian of the forests gave its word that it would always keep mankind out of the goddess’s forests on Thursdays, and so it will until the end of days.
The Sasabonsam is considered unique among asumans, as most are considered “plural,” while there is thought to be only one Sasabonsam.
Times have changed, however. Before the 19th century, tradition served it well and the tribe native to the area stayed away. Those who broke tradition were sometimes led astray in the woods and managed to find their way out, days later, and considered lucky to be alive. But Europeans didn’t heed the lore of those who had lived on the land for millennia before their arrival. They were arrogant…cocky. And their actions have had grave consequences. Gone are the days when Sasabonsam would lead the occasional hunter astray, for these newcomers had no respect for the peoples, cultures, or lands of the Akan people of West Africa.
The Forest Monster
With the influx of humans willing to violate the unspoken pact between the Akan peoples and their deities, village priests beseeched him for help. Sasabonsam did his best, but there were too many of them. Witches and shamans called out for help next and summoned Sasabonsam to a convocation, whereby they struck their own pact with the guardian of the forests. They brought offerings in the form of Europeans captured at Fort Tantamkweri, in the ongoing Ga-Fante war. The men were sacrificed, while the few women in the fort were chosen to help in Sasabonsam’s task.
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, red-haired, Caucasian babies. (This is why the British never again negotiated so long as Europeans were held captive.) These newborns would all grow into adulthood and, in their late twenties or early thirties, began to feel drawn to the forests around them. Those that could, would seek out the jungles of Africa, specifically, as they began to undergo their transformation into Asanbosams. Those who had no way to make it to their father, Sasabonsam, and West Africa, often became the basis of other tales of cryptids in their own lands.
But Asanbosams are for another day…you came here today to hear of Sasabonsam.
It is said that Sasabonsam lives in the tallest of trees, dangling its long legs down amidst the branches, almost to the jungle floor. From its aerie, it watches over the lands of west Africa, searching for interlopers every Thursday. With its mighty wings, it quickly flies to wherever men may intrude on the jungle on Asasseyaa’s sacred day.
Nowadays, Sasabonsam has no time for niceties. It either attacks to kill, draining the victims of their blood with its iron teeth and leaving the flesh to be eating by its many children or, if the victim is of European descent, it may snatch them up with its long ropey legs and take them as a mate for either itself or one of its favored Asanbosams, in which case they’ll be found days later, wandering on the edge of the jungle, with no memory of the last few days. Once fully transformed, all of Sasabonsam’s hybrid offspring are dichogamic simultaneous hermaphrodites, so it matters not if the intruder caught it male or female.
Sasabonsam stands perhaps 6’ tall, with a 20’ wingspan and many long, ropey, vine-line legs that extend 20–30’ that each end in feet facing both backward and forward. Its nails and teeth are made of iron (now rusted due to old age), and it has prominent canine teeth. Sasabonsam (and all of its offspring) are hematophagous, and its iron nails and teeth can all the blood of those it attacks. Sasabonsam communicates via whistles and shrieks. When it comes to pacts, Sasabonsam always keeps its word, so it only hunts on Thursdays and, per its covenant with the witches, only uses Europeans to create Asanbosams to help guard Asasseyaa’s realm.
Sasabonsam, The Forest Monster
6 ground / 15 climbing / 20 flying
Attacks per round: 3 (2 tentacles and claw or bite)
Sasabonsam can attack and grapple others with its long tentacle-like legs, or with a claw or bite attack.
Drain Blood: On a successful claw or bite attack, Sasabonsam 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 Sasabosam for 72 hours.
Hook & Toss: One of the favored tactics of Sasabonsam, especially if there are multiple targets, is to grab and fling opponents up into the canopy. Opponents may make an opposed STR check to try to hang on once they’re grappled, rather than being tossed. Those who fail take an additional 1D6 (Hard DEX roll to only take 1 damage), and find themselves flung up into the forest’s canopy. Those failing a STR roll don’t manage to hang onto the branches they suddenly find themselves thrown into, and may take fall damage as they plummet from the canopy.
Fighting 60% (30/12), damage 1D4+1 (bite) or 1D4 + damage bonus (claw)
Hook & Toss 50% (25/10), damage 1D4 + special (see above)
Dodge: 40% (20/8)
Skills: Climb 95%, Sense Humans 75%, Stealth 65%.
Armor: 4-point thick leathery hide. See below, should Sasanbosam die.
Sanity Loss: 1/1D10 Sanity points to encounter Sasabonsam. Those hybrids that transform later in life into an Asanbosam lose all their sanity over a period of a year or so, while they change (possibly faster, if they are aware of what they’re changing into.)
If Sasanbosam dies, Asasseyaa claims its killer as her new defender, and they become Sasanbosam one year later (albeit with much shorter legs and less rusted nails and teeth). The new Forest Monster is bound by all existing pacts.