In the stealth of night, movement stirred at the back gates of the walled town of Derri’que. A lone figure snuck along, darting from shadow to shadow in an effort not to be seen. Chale was a middle-aged farmer of Derri’que, and knew little of politics and wargames, but two months after the unexpected seige occured, he realised that he had to get aid or all the people of the town - children included - were going to die.
There were reasons behind the seige on Derri’que, of course. Unbral - the neighboring and hostile town - had exhausted their own lands due to inefficient farming, and this raid was as much a matter of survival on their part as it was a desire to grow. So as such, a last desperate gamble was made to attack Derri’que for their farms and farmlands. The seige worked better than expected: The unsuspecting inhabitants of the Derri’que shire fell back to the attack with ease. Eventually, all those who werent slaughtered by the attackers were in the walls of the town, and the Unbral were free to live off the growing crops which surrounded the inner-town while their enemies wore down their supplies.
In the dead of night, Chale silently cursed the Unbral for the suffering they had caused. But Chale had a final plan. Realising his entire life, family and loved ones would be destroyed anyway, the farmer had decided to enter the taboo cave north of Derri’que. It was rumoured that creatures of fearsome occult power dwelled deep within those caverns.
Amazingly, the farmer who has had no experience in any kind of devious tactics, managed to sneak by the encampments of the Unbral unnoticed. A long trek followed as he entered the eerily silent cave, traversing its long, winding passageways. Finally, something different happened within those caves. Inklings of whispers teased the edge of Chales mind. Possible stirrings in the shadows occured just outside the radius of the farmers weak torches light. With a suddenness which shocked Chale to the core of his bieng, his torch-fire snuffed out and a clawed hand ripped about his throat, forcing him painfully back against the cave wall. Chale though he felt a crunching within his chest, but fear and urgency caused him to speak before further action occured. “Wait! You must help me!” The clenching hand paused for several drawn out seconds, before an echoed whisper sounded. A string of words with no discernable source - “Chale… Speak.”
In a stammering voice, Chale recounted the plight of his town, and the requirement of aid. There were no more words imparted by whatever creature it was which had grasped him, but there was a sudden feel of coldness and weight in his hand, followed by a gut-wrenching sensation of bieng moved extremely quickly. As Chale was propelled along the cave floor he lost all sensation of direction but, upon unsteadily rising, found himself just inside the entrance to the very cave he had traversed for hours. In the faint glint of the moon, a small coin gleamed in Chales hand. On one side was an image of spiked shackles, while on the other was the same shackles, but with the chain broken in the middle. After several minutes studying this coin, a knowledge of its use flooded into him. The next day, in front of the enemies encampment, Chale flipped the coin.
Which way the coin fell is irrelevent, and not a part of this story. Both the town of Derri’que and knowledge of the coin has but disappeared in history.
- The coin given to Chale was crafted by a creature of the occult, and as such, its metallic properties defy logic. It cannot be melted, bent or chipped.
- There is an inverse relationship between the devoutness of a person, and the chance that the person will land on the unbroken shackles.
Someone inclined to evil will have up to a 90% chance that the coin will land on Shackles.
Someone neutrally inclined will have a 40-60% chance that the coin will land on Shackles.
Someone Inclined to good or righteousness will have as low as a 10% chance that the coin will land on shackles.
- The most evil of people still have a chance to land on unshackled, just as the most just of people still have a chance to land on shackles.
- Once the coin is tossed and landed, the metallic nature of the coin will alter, and the coin will grow in size and change form. In the space of twenty seconds, it will have completely morphed.
The creature it morphed into is akin in many aspects to a wolf - although furless, scaled, horned and the size of a horse. This creatures scales will deflect all but the sharpest of blades and heaviest of maces. It is extremely quick and hardy, has an insatiable hunger for the souls of humans and though cannot speak, is as intelligent as a scholar.
- Should the coin land on shackles, the creature will remain morphed from the coin for a duration of twenty minutes, wherein it is bound to the will of he who threw the coin - doing the tossers every bidding. Once twenty minutes is exceeded, or the creature is killed somehow, the scaled hide of the creature returns to the undestroyable metal and the creature morphs once again into the coin.
If the creature is returned to the coin after having thrown shackles, the coin cannot morph again until the light of moon touches it for more than one hour.
- Should the coin land on the broken shackles, the creature will emerge from the coin with no limit of time to send it back. It is unbound to anyone, and will do its own bidding - whether that be destroying all in its sight - including the coin thrower - or otherwise. If this is the case, the creatures life span is indefinite. It can only be returned to the coin by ending the creatures life. In this instance, the coin can be tossed again within twenty minutes of it returning.
- Though it is possible for the coin to land on its edge, this is a quirk of fate and has never been done to date. (It is left to the GM to decide what will happen, should you wish this to be a possibility.)
This coin can be used in several ways. A creature has been spotted living in the ruins of an unnamed town, and somebody has hired the players to exterminate it/investigate it.
Alternatively, the Hound of the Occult could be little more than an encounter within a larger plotline. If a player grabs the coin which is dropped after they kill the hound, it could come into play later on (whether to the benefit or detriment of the players is up to the GM. Shackles or unshackled is always ultimately up to you.)
As a different play, it could be used as a plot/encounter-starter, in that the GMs are having a nice game of coin-toss, and someone happens to unwittingly join in with that coin.
This coin was made with my Terenis setting in mind, but can be easily adapted into most fantasy worlds.