Can gods die?
“This might seem to be a silly question since in records of the Nightmare war indicate that not only can gods die, but that many did indeed perish in that conflageration. The core of the question is misleading, as most necromancers and practitioners of the soul arts will confess, death is not an end, but a transition. It would follow that if humans perish and leave behind ghosts sad or malevolent, would not the same apply to the aspects of the divine?
This is a manifold answer that creates many unhappy possibilities. It could be extrapolated that demons and other fell shades are nothing more than the remnants of slain or deceased gods. but it also might be that those slight things encountered that have little substance but great emotional mass might be the whisps of a god’s sorrow or lingering joy.”
The Sage Nightshade
Something of a folk legend in the hill country of the Royaum region, the Headless Entity is also known as the Hunter’s Ghost, the Black Stag, the Black Shadow. Most any tavern or inn can provide a storyteller or two, most of whom know the story quite well, of course it didn’t happen to them, but to a friend of a cousin or some other third hand party. The tales vary a bit, being stalked by the entity until the offending party left it’s woods, or seeing the thing come stomping out of the trees to howl and shriek. Most of the time the story is about the same, it ends in a good fright for all. A few have embellished the tale, giving the entity claws and a taste for flesh, but these stories end up being bear attacks that have been retold to make them more interesting to a half drunk and gullible crowd.
The Headless One roams through the forests and hinterlands of the Royaum, even striding through the mountains to the east. It is always elusive and those who go searching for it rarely encounter it, and those who would hide from it, knowing what draws it, are those it generally finds in quick order. The most common victims of it’s visits are generally mages of some sort, especially mages who rely heavily on magics, or use magics out of proportion for the needs. (It was just a band of kobolds, did you really have to use your Meteor spell?)
The Headless one is rarely seen, but there have been enough confirmed sightings that match to get a good idea of what the entity looks like. It is larger than a human, it’s form reaching an apparent height of eight to nine feet. The entity moves on all four limbs, but maintains an upright posture as the front limbs are almost comically long. It also has a short tail that almost reaches the ground. The viscera of the entity is a plastic shadowy material that has a matte finish and an almost light absorbing quality.
Much like the Nantorix of distant fable, the simian body of the Headless one is etched with glowing blue runes. Unlike the Nantorix, these runes do not move or change in luminosity. The primary runes are found in a chopped and almost brutal line running along the arms and across the shoulders of the entity. Lesser lines of glowing script trail down it’s legs and across its back. Most striking perhaps is the inverted heart symbol on it’s chest, again encircled by the grim runes.
The entity is guessed to be some sort of undead as the form has visible death marks, the most obvious being the fact that the neck ends in a mutilated and chopped stump. to hide this mark, and the lack of a head, the entity has a large animal skull, most commonly a bear skull, lashed to it’s stump. some who have encountered the shade mention that the jaw is able to move, and that the entity has a very soft and raspy voice, though they cannot recall what it said to them, or why.
A peculiar and striking aspect of the entity is that it has adorned its corporeal form with antlers that have been discarded by forest animals. The largest and most impressive rack is worn just behind the skull, though attached to the neck and not the skull itself. Smaller antlers and broken pieces have been implanted into the seemingly soft and pliable material of the entity’s back creating rows of dorsal spikes, stubs, and other antler pieces.
On a historical note, the Headless One is indeed the remnant of a formerly mighty god. Formerly the mountain god Alexskandr, lord and husband of Ixia, the Silver Forge, this god was slain in the Nightmare War while in brutal close combat with avatars of chaos and monstrosities from beyond the pale of reality. The killing blow was landed as a decapitating strike and it was only be great effort on the part of the other gods that his divine body was not utterly consumed by the gross and alien beings that boiled from the rifts around the once glorious capital.
Scholars and historians have not yet made the connection that the Headless entity is only seem roaming the forests and plains in the region that was previously claimed by siad god. this region is now largely empty of human life, and even the temple of his wife, Ixia, has been removed stone by stone and rebuilt in Dreifach.
The Headless Entity is a ghost that happens to have a physical form. It’s memories are all but gone, it’s once densely populated domain is a nearly abandoned wasteland, and all it has left are fragments of memories that belong to a great and noble warrior god. It’s motivation is simple, it is simply looking, for what, it doesn’t know, but it is looking. Perhaps it could be found crooning over a splintered pillar that was once part of one it’s divine temples. Ixia, the former god’s consort and wife is aware that the entity is present, but cannot bear to be close to it since 1,000 years is scarcely enough time to compensate for the loss of her spouse and the ruin of the splendor of the Old World.
The Mothman - much like the creature of urban legend, the Headless One is drawn to unnatural things and goings on in its claimed domain. It will get the attention of locals or travelers passing through *cough* *PCs* *cough* and lead them to the site of the disturbance. If direct means of ‘follow me’ do not work, then the Headless One can and will resort to implanting suggestions in the heads of those it talks to, in this case PN henchmen and other NPCs with the group. The entity will persist until the PCs leave its range, or they respond and eliminate the threat.
Scooby Doo - In cartoon fashion, the Entity has suddenly made an appearance, causing a ruckus, letting livestock loose, breaking windows and settings fires, generally making a menace of itself and terrorizing the locals. The PCs are appealled to for help with the formerly benigh entity run amok. In truth, an unscrupulous local has made a costume, or is using disguising magics, stilts, and animal bones to appear like the entity. Why? provide a rumored buried treasure, lost vault of wealth, or some other commodity that is highly desired and slightly flavored with mystery.