24 December 2013

Earthdawn: Anatomy of a Horror 02 - The Krampus

This is the second Anatomy of a Horror in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.

The legend of the  Krampus used to be whispered among families as the air grew cold in Barsaive. This was the first herald that the Krampus would be coming. The Krampus is a Horror Named before the Scourge and the loss of numerous kaers are attributed to it, though perhaps erroneously. 

It was one of the first Horrors to return, possibly even the very first Named Horror. Before the kaers closed, many denizens of Barsaive would warn their children (its favorite prey) to avoid engaging in any behavior that could attract the attention of the Krampus. In the stories, it could sense those who held secrets and fear in their heart, who had the seeds of darkness growing within. The Krampus could use those to place its mark upon the poor Namegiver.

When the weather turned particularly harsh, preventing travel and keeping most inside their homes to stay warm, the Krampus would be drawn to its prey. It would arrive with its host of constructs and their various traps. Under the cover of a darkness that will not end, they work quickly to ensure no one escapes the Krampusnacht.

There is no opening that can hold the Krampus and its host. Many children that have been marked have been known to open the way for the Krampus, while in others it will slip easily through even the smallest opening, leaving no trace of its passing.

While it will prey on the fears of all when it arrives, not all meet a grisly end. The Krampus always leaves a few to continue its legend. It will even leave many of its fiendishly ingenious traps, typically disguised as toys for children they have replaced. Special gifts for generations to come. What it does not leave behind is children. None of the children are ever seen again after the Krampus comes to town.

The Krampus has not been seen in Barsaive since the end of the Scourge, leading to a number of competing theories. Most popular of them is that it was defeated at some point and banished to where ever in astral space Horrors come from. With it was taken the cold and season that announces its arrival. Consequently, the people of Barsaive have largely forgotten of the Krampus over the years and no longer recall the ways to help keep it at bay. But it waits and will one day return - when the winds grow chill and the skies darken early, a stray jingling of bells can be heard in the distance.

DEX: 8   STR: 16   TOU: 12   PER: 16   WIL: 18   CHA: 8

Initiative: 12
Actions:  5
Attack (4): 18
Damage: Brutality (8): 24

Physical Defense: 16
Spell Defense: 18
Social Defense: 12
Physical Armor: 15
Mystic Armor: 15

Death: 100
Wound Threshold: 15
Knockdown: 20
Movement: 10

Powers: 

Burning Coals: All damage dealt by Fire or Cold attacks has the damage reduced by 10. Additionally, the Krampus may add Step 4/D6 Fire damage to its attacks (this does not include Chains of Guilt below).

Litany of Misdeeds (St): The Krampus can make a Step 18 Test against the target's Spell Defense to learn their secrets and greatest fears. The target is Harried for one turn per Result Level as all of their past misdeeds resurface.

Chains of Guilt (St): If a character has had Litany of Misdeeds used successfully on them, Krampus may use one of the numerous chains that surround it to grapple the target, a Step 20 Attack Test. A success will grapple the target with the chain. Targets grappled may be damaged automatically for Strength Step (16) Physical damage on subsequent turns.

Chains may be attacked, they have a Physical Defense of 14 and Death Rating of 20. The Krampus has five (5) chains total during any given encounter, though they will replenish at the end of an encounter.

Knows Your Fears (St): Tthe Krampus may make a Step 18 Test against any character currently Harried by Litany of Misdeeds with a lower Initiative. If successful, one die per Result Level is reduced to a 1 on a subsequent Test made that turn.

Let Go of Your Guilt and Fears (St): If a character is grappled by Chains of Guilt, instead of automatic damage, the Krampus may quickly retract a chain, releasing them and rending their flesh as a result; this also heals any damage on the chain. The target takes Step 20 damage and at least one Wound (every multiple of the Wound Threshold will inflict an additional Wound).

Tight Fit (F): The Krampus can get into any structure by one measure or another. Intense preparation (without knowing its specific weaknesses) can only delay the inevitable.

Traps: Lots of traps of all kinds.

Loot: Whatever can be found in the Krampus' bag.

Legend Award: Tenth Circle (Group)