Swollen Shadow (see seperate entry)
Haints (see seperate entry)
Nupires Do vampires possess shadows? Everyone knows they dont have reflections…but shadows? Many sages say they do, but that vampire shadows are creatures in and of themselves, and will “escape” their masters sooner rather than later to find others of their own degenerate kind. When moonlight reflects against the body of a newly created vampire for the first time, a Nupire is born. The weird creature trails its master at first like a true dutiful shadow, in fact being indistuingishable from a regular shadow. But soon, the mercurial Nupire will suffer from ennui and simply depart, with neither it nor the vampire caring as to the other’s fate.
Once free of their “servitude” as the Nupires themselves sarcastically call it, the creatures begin to take on vaguely similar appearences to their originators, tending to slightly resemble their alter egos. They also develop some density, becoming more like shadowmen, than shadows. Wispy, semi-corporeal milk-faced, effeminate creatures clad in drab, blackened rags and hooded cloaks, Nupires are the pathetic symbiotes of their better-known bloodsucking kin. The truth behind their nature is unknown. What is known, is that the Nupires and Vampires have a bizarre relationship. Vampires ignore Nupires completely, neither caring about “losing” their own shadows, nor even recognizing their existence. For their part, Nupires split from the vampire and also feel no bond or kinship, going their own way, and finding other Nupires to congregate with, usually in gloom-filled environments. Nupires do however “sense” when their respective vampire feed. When this happens, Nupires (even worlds away!) will immediately enter a somewhat difficult to describe dementia, a violent euphoria. During these times, the normally cowardly and paranoid Nupires will band together in swarms of dozens, and seek any lifeform to erradicate out of sheer malice. The Nupires “attack” by changing the emotions of their victims when they draw near, always in packs. Imagine fear, happiness, anger, and great melonchaly, bombarding you perpetuallly in successive waves. That is what happens to those that find themselves too close to an enraged Nupire. As this happens the insipid creatures will draw close to their victims and sink their fangs into flesh. The bite(s) of a Nupire is relatively harmless, but not painfree. They do however acquire a vampire’s celerity when “raging” and therefore as a pack, are quite capable of “biting” victims to death quite rapidly. When not raging, Nupires are pitifully fearful and spend their time whispering to each other in the shadow-filled crevices and nooks of cities, wilderness ruins, and other such locales.
Silhouettes The inhabitants of Chiaroscuro, or the City of Shadows as they call it now, and forever, are called the Sihls. This is a mutation of silhouette, or the form that most of the people consider themselves. Surrounded by the stone splendor of Chiaroscuro, now fallen into darkness and despair, they feel themselves to be a mockery of who they once were, a shadow or their former stature. With the presence of the cthonian Swollen Shadow, they fear to even use the term, referring to themselves as the Sihl.
The average Sihl is short and thin, bordering on gaunt. They eyes often seem large and almost protuberant, giving many the appearance of being surprised constantly. This combined with their sometimes manic alertness gives them an equally comic and pitiable appearance. Eyes are often greens or grey, but in the red light of the jewel, the most constant light source, they all seem to have brownish red eyes and dull brown hair. Those with rare blonde hair often seem to be blazingly red-headed and deemed unlucky. These uncommon individuals are often the most common prey of the Haints who seem to prize them for their unique hair color.
The basic diet consists of an thick bread that is made from a fungus based flour, allowed to rise overnight before being cooked in a peat fired ovens. Protein is provided by the fauna of the Umbral fens, frogs lizards, insects and other water dwellers are common prey of the Sihls. Beef, and pork are forgotten here, with only scrawny poultry finding its way into the cook pot. The desperate brew a potent rot-gut from swamp berries and wild grain, producing a harsh and sickly sweet liquor guaranteed to loosen the bowels, burn the gums, and leave the drinker in a half-blind stupor.
The Sihl psyche has been oppressed for a long time by the Shadow, and as such they are a dour and unhappy people. They survive by day to day pragmatics and a stoic nature that would make a mule seem wishy-washy. On the down side, this means that they are unwilling to change things, even if it could mean bettering their lives. This has lead Vars to almost pull out his beard trying to organize and lead his resistance group.
See numerous information on the Silhouettes sprinkled throughout the Codex, including their lamnetable rebellion, led by Vars Bandyleg of Nayer’s Slayers fame.
Murkers These are similar to the Silhouettes but much more malignant lifeforms. The Murkers are the myriad minions of the Swollen Shadow. Teh Murkers are not necessarily human. A murker could be any creature that at some point was Tainted by the Swollen Shadow. Unlike the Silhs, the Murkers have been imbued with shadow-essence for countless years, and are unable to revert to their original forms. Whereas the Silhs can be saved by the Swollen Shadow’s destruction, and the release of the Shadow City from its vile umbral grip, the Murkers cannot. They are true creatures of evil, following the Swollen Shadow unerringly and doing its bidding.
Shadow-Lepers The origins of the Shadow-Lepers is unkown. Some say, they were a colony of human lepers, who were inadverdantly engulfed, tainted, and spat back out by the Swollen Shadow. Others claim they are simply misnamed ancient abominations of legend. Whatever the case, a swarm of these spiteful creatures is truly dangerous. An individual Shadow-Leper appears as a mismatched collection of shadow-essence body parts and umbral flesh bits, flying through the air. Hands, feet, eyes, noses, and ears, held apart, yet together by some insidious magic, looking like a swarm of bizarre black shadow-flies from afar. The Shadow-Lepes are always found in swarms, and never individually. The touch of a shadow-leper on naked flesh infects that body part touched, with a most disheartening calamity. Slowly over several days, that body part first rots, then darkens, and finally turns to shadow-stuff and detaches from the victim’s body. A successful priestly healing spell will stop this shadow leprosy, but each individual body part affected must be healed seperately and in addition to all other ones infected. Rubbing pure Chamugra Oil on the area, will also instantaneously put the disease into remission. Shadow-Lepers can be found in great numbers in the Umbral Fens & the Road to Chiaroscuro. The Shadow-Lepers magical disease has no effect on creatures native to Shadow.
White-Ones These are huge, misshappen, milky, and vaguely humnaoid fungi, which thrive in gloom-filled fens and moors. Intelligent but incredibly slow-moving, the White-Ones are vertical towers of pulpy, grayish-white mushroom matter, averaging four to five feet in height. A colony of White-Ones appears as a stunted forest of stubby white birches from a distance. These are a peaceful folk, whose only goals in life are reproduction and merriment. Their ideas of merriment are unknown however, as these bizarre mushroon men rarely move more than an inch an hour, and have no obvious means of communication among themselves. The secret of the White-Ones is that they are a critically endangered species. Hunted down and butchered by beings of whichever world the White-Ones first hailed from, they are now small isolated colonies of “plane- walkeing” nomads, often “hiding” in abodes just like the pocket-plane of Shadow. The reason for their demise as a race, is largely due to the taste of their flesh, which unbeknownst to many, mirrors that of the plumpest, juciest lobster. A true delicacy, in maddeningly huge amounts, as each White-One has more than twenty pounds of “meat.” Will the PCs find out the White-Ones are delicious? And what will they do with such information? Are they capable of selling huge amounts of White-One flesh, in their own world, as lobster meat? The taste of lobster and White-One flesh is identical, but remember, they are intelligent and have feelings, though what these feelings may be cannot be easily determined or discerned. The White Ones do not communicate with any creature not of its own race.
Lurkers The local name for a large predatory reptile that can be found in the Fens. Each of these gray skinned gharials can reach as much as 15 feet in length and will gladly prey upon any PC or Sihl who ventures too far into the fens. Servants of the Shadow are left alone by the lurkers. These gharials have been bombarded by shadow-essence and are significantly more dangerous than the gharials of the Lake.
Swarmers Also known as darkwings, this is a swarm of insects, though flies and moths make up the largest part of their numbers. Largely harmless, the swarms are often heralds of the Shadow’s minions, drifting ahead of them as scouts. They are limited in effectiveness since swatting, stomping, or fire is effective for eliminating their numbers. They are drawn to the iron cressests, where they are killed by touching the red glass. Coming within sight of the Queen’s Jewel is sufficient to destroy a swarm. The Swollen Shadow can see what the swarm sees, though it is difficult, even for the SS.