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ID: 1189


June 11, 2007, 11:08 pm

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Aoktholian Swarm


An Aoktholian Swarm is a huge swarm of screeching, red and black feathered crows. The Aoktholian does normally not exist, but when there is a drought, these desperate crows change.

Category: Swarm of ravenous crows
Danger rating: Life Threatening
Activity Period: Drought
Restrictions: Cannot fly in heavy winds, exists only within the Empire, close to the Obaayn Desert.
Description: An Aoktholian Swarm is a huge swarm of screeching, red and black feathered crows. The Aoktholian does normally not exist, but when there is a drought, these desperate crows change. Their wing feathers turn red and they begin to amass in ever larger swarms. In the beginning these swarms will be attacking defenceless victims, such as small children, dogs and cats, and they will completely cover these victims, peck them to death and greedily devour them, leaving only the blood spattered skeleton behind. Then, as the swarms grow bigger, they will begin attacking full grown humans, cattle and larger beasts, until one day the swarm is so big that it devours all it encounters; herds of cattle, families, villages and even small towns. At this point the swarm will be so vast that it will cover the horizon as it approaches, a trait that has given them the alternate name "Dark Swarm" in some locations. When the drought is finally over, these crows turn black once again and then disperse, finally able to survive on their own.

The Desert Nomads believe the Aoktholian are the messengers of the Gods and hold them sacred. These nomads have learnt several techniques to stay alive where all else are eaten and indeed entire tribes follow the Aoktholian to pillage the areas these birds have ravaged. Within the temples of the desert tribes, ancient frescoes of the Aoktholian as they assault entire cities can be found, as well as mysterious wall paintings of Aoktholian-human werebeings. The Aoktholian’s droppings are coloured red, due to the excessive amount of blood and red meat these creatures eat. This gave birth to the now widespread rumour, which has reached even the north, that when the Aoktholian pass, it rains blood.

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Comments ( 12 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted MoonHunter
November 7, 2005, 1:01
I like the imagery attached to this post. It is evocative.
Voted Roack
November 9, 2005, 17:50
Maybe just have a soft spot for Coldforged, but...
Ancient Gamer
December 12, 2005, 20:10
Soft spots for Coldforged are good ;)
Voted Zylithan
November 15, 2005, 20:29
Ditto to Moonhunter.
Voted manfred
November 16, 2005, 7:31
(Because you can never be sure, when you will accidentaly travel into another dimension...)

How to protect oneself from the Swarm? Color? Scent? Sound? Magic? Crow feathers? Parts of a natural enemy of crows, something they fear? Or is it a combination of various factors (as an easy solution would likely be copied by the other nations/tribes).

It is certain that most cities will have beside normal buildings also massive stone buildings, or whatever place they can use and fortify (caves, ...) as swarm shelters. Woe to those that don't make it in time when the alarm is rung...
Ancient Gamer
December 12, 2005, 20:13
My ideas for the desert tribes was that they buried themselves in sand, using straws to breathe through. I like your ideas too however and certainly some tribes will smear themselves with bird droppings or some such in order to pass unnoticed, or undesired, by the Aoktholian.

I am afraid I did not comprehend the meaning of your first sentence, the one in paranthesis.
December 13, 2005, 6:33
That was how I started pondering - a cool monster, but if I would accidentaly get into another dimension and really meet it, how could I survive? And how do those people of the desert survive?

Hmmm... buried in sand with straws to breath with... now why didn't I think of that. :)
Voted Iain
November 16, 2005, 11:16
Only voted
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
January 9, 2006, 9:30
I agree with Moon, the imagery in this one is awe inspiring. I certainly enjoyed the blood rain part. Yuck.
Voted Murometz
March 14, 2006, 11:33
Only voted
May 6, 2008, 20:04
I've voted, but never commented. This is quite evocative, as others have said. A great visual, spooky, and hence, emminently useful to me.

Another great short and sweet one!
Voted valadaar
May 17, 2013, 21:52
Muro's comment captures this perfectly for me. See Bioshock infinite for other psychotic crows...



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Which way is he going?

       By: Murometz

Molk Peruda is encountered by the PCs on the second day of their journey west from the salt-choked port of Quyn, as they prepare to explore the jungle.

He appears a gaunt, wolfish man, with matted, dark hair that sprouts from his head in dreadlocks, contrasting with his well-oiled, blue-black, conical beard. His eyes are hidden ebon shards beneath thick arching brows, his nose, crooked, long, and reminiscent of a snout. His mouth is a thin, dark line, his teeth unseen even when he parts his lips to speak.

His skin is the color of tallow, surprising perhaps for a renowned jungle guide, yet his natural helm of dreads and the jungle's canopy keeps the sun from bronzing his originally pale flesh. On his back are tattooed three women from the waist up, side-by-side, each resembling the other but of different ages. This is a tattoo of Molk's mother, sister, and daughter. His wife (don't bring her up to him!) was killed by marauding Qullan years ago, and appears as her own tattoo on his broad but sunken chest.

His feet shockingly are turned around 180 degrees at the ankle, facing towards his back! A curse from a pernicious shaman. Molk walks feet backwards (he's used to it) and walks backwards, forwards. This can be very disconcerting and outright creepy to the PCs as he guides them through the rainforest.

Slung from his back is an archer's quarrel of treated wood carved to resemble a stalking leopard, in his hand a re-curved composite bow of horn and sinew, with a pair of vivid, red eyes, each one painted on the opposite side of the hand-grip. In a leather sheath at his belt, hangs a falchion, its pommel adorned with a curved bird's head and beak.

Encounter  ( Forest/ Jungle ) | January 15, 2014 | View | UpVote 8xp

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