'It was just after nightfall when it came; a horrible, rotten mass of bone and flesh, with a voice that was like a thousand screams braided together. I only survived because I ran - I ran and I've never stopped running, because I know it's after me. Me, and everyone else who was there when the city of Vesta was slaughtered.' -Hans, Former Captain turned nomad
A Grey Reaver is a particularly rare and terrible form of undead, born from the combined horror, fear, and suffering of an entire city or race being slaughtered. Only the most horrible atrocities, where the streets run red with blood and the air is filled with the screams of the dying, can birth one of these horrid abomiantions.
A Grey Reaver is a nightmare assemblage of rotten flesh and shattered bone, held into a roughly humanoid shape by the raw force of the energy that animates it. Despite the roughly human size of the thing, it contains fragments of every creature that died to give birth to it, giving it a density and longetivity far beyond that of more common undead.
The head is little more than a rough lump of grey, rotten flesh, with a gaping maw lined with splintered bones for teeth, and a pair of sickly green flames dancing in charred holes where eyes should be. It bears with it a charnel smell, powerful enough to spook animals from a good mile away, if upwind of them.
The most enduring memory of survivors, however, is the thing's voice; it can speak, even eloquently, depending on the spirits that animate it; the sound is a horrific mixture of their dying screams, modulated into words as it pronounces doom upon those it encounters.
A Grey Reaver exists for but one reason: to take vengeance for those spirits who comprise it, by hunting down and slaying those responsible for their deaths. This can extend far beyond those who slew them, and Grey Reavers have been known to hunt down politicians and merchants whose role would appear, at a glance, to be little more than incidental - although careful examination always finds some act or policy that the victim was behind that drove the slaughter to happen. Worse, if a victim escapes the Grey Reaver into death, it will turn to fixate on those of the dead person's lineage, hunting daughters and sons who are, most often, completely innocent.
A Grey Reaver appears to be little more than a killing machine, hunting down and butchering those responsible for it, often using hands tipped with jagged shards of bone to rend their chosen victims into bloody ribbons. Were this all, the abomination might be seen as justifiable; instead, each person slain has their own spirit consumed by the ragged maw of the creature, even as some of the original aniamting spirits slip away. In the end, when all that is left are the spirits of those slain by the creature, it settles into a heap of putrefying flesh, to hold those captive souls in torment forever, if it is not cleansed.
This final form is often the cause of areas considered blighted and unholy, as the anguish of those consumed stains the surrounding lands; long after the heap has decomposed, the spirits remain bound to the spot, wailing their eternal suffering to deaf gods.
All things Lovecraftian in flavor. Star-spawned beasts and ancient, perverse cults. And tentacles. Lot's of tentacles.
When Star-Spawned maladies invade your realities, you'll need nary a nudge to find yourself knee-deep in Shoggoth sludge.
Oh yes, what an unpleasant romp you'll have through the festering flesh-swamp of Rr'lavinav. And when you begin to see the fog thin, a monstrous worm of pus, topped with a fin, will rot you skull from deep within.
That is why we play these horrible games, not for honor or glory, but to see whose named can be attached to the death most gory.
Welcome to the Lovecraftian Unspeakable Horrors Quest. Unspeakable horrors, indescribable phenomena, unpronounceable names... Extra experience for each Quest submission with first and second getting 150xp and 100xp respectively.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn
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? Responses (18)
Blame Siren, he jabbed me to add to the Quest. u_u
Not bad, not bad at all. I think with the right descriptions, including many you used, the PCs should be terrified to fight such a monstrosity. Just for clarification, does the Grey Reaver have a multiple personality disorder due to the many spirits within? Or is it actually a different evil or avenging spirit that takes control and rides the souls of the massacred to seek the lives (or souls) of the guilty?
It's a synthesis - the various spirits within it have no individual volition of their own; instead, somewhat like a hive, the Grey Reaver is an emergent thing - a personality and mind that represents the most dominant personality traits of those trapped within it. This does mean that, as it pursues and kills, the personality it has changes as the original spirits become fewer and fewer. It's possible, although unlikely, that a Grey Reaver might eventually have only one 'original' soul left in it, which would give it the same personality and attitude, but still driven by the need for vengeance.
If these thing existed in rl, not so many Nazis would have escaped justice after WW2.
The massacres of the 'camps' would, indeed, likely have spawned at least one of these, if not multiple.
Ah, I see Kassil is back with his latest horror in tow. Nice one! Suitably revolting, tragic, and all those other words :) Love the creature's 'voice'.
The voice was the part that was the most important bit, in my opinion. I wanted something that would make it clear that this wasn't just some rotting golem, or a single nefarious 'thing' that happened to be assembled from detritus, but a walking nightmare comprised of the vengeance of many.
What can I add, except to say that this is by far the most fearsome type of undead that I've seen lurking within the Citadel? Awesome job.
Undead are something I seem to be specializing in, as far as creatures go... Personally, I'd rank this one below the Greendeath and the Parched in terms of fearsome potential, but it's pretty well up there.
Nice to be appreciated, though.
A solid undead creature indeed. Vengeance shall be his.
what happens when all of the people at the scene of the massacre died does it fall apart or does it continue killing
This is actually covered in the submission: until everyone who was part of the event, or their descendants, are killed by it, it keeps hunting them. When all their lineages are quashed, it collapses with the souls of those it has slain trapped within the rotting heap for all time.
An excellent idea, the only objection I have is its rather bland physical form. Though, it's understandable, given the fact that it was born of human souls and bodies.
Great creature! An example of something similar can be found in Fullmetal Alchemy. Won't say more since it would be a spoiler.