Herthers appear vaguely like a mixture of a goat and a wasp. Their hairy bodies are more or less like that of goats with four twice-jointed limbs jutting out at odd angles. Their arms and legs, as they might be called, end in cloven hooves, covered in thorny protrusions. Their heads are shaped like that of a goat and are covered in short gray or black fur, but mounted above its fanged mouth are two red bug-like eyes.
Herthers are intelligent and can think and learn and reason, but they do not speak, though they can understand any language. Herthers run on four legs like hounds.
Herthers can be found on the mortal coil only when they are summoned here from the plane of nightmares, Gluush, usually by one of the cults of Igg'soteku, their master. When brought to this world, Herthers are not in any way under the control of the summoner, unless wood from the rowan tree is used in the summoning, as it is a potent protection from evil spirits and creatures. The rowan wood binds the Herthers to the summoner's will. When the rowan is remembered, Herthers are often sent on missions involving killing and/or spreading some sort of plague. When the mission is finished, the Herther is given its reward, usually a human life, but for a more difficult job the Herther may ask for something better (or worse, depending on your view) such as a specifically god person or a whole village. When the rowan is forgotten, however, things are more disastrous. The summoner is quickly eaten or Changed (see below), and then the Herther will wander around doing whatever causes the most damage until it is stopped, usually by a band of adventurers.
Sometimes, when they are feeling particularly despicable, Herthers will not just kill their victim outright, but instead will Change them. This process usually takes two Herthers, since the victim will need to be held down. The Herther begins by mutilating the victim, slicing off lips, cutting into the body, and crushing the hands and feet beneath its hooves.
When this is finished, the Herther opens one of its own veins and forces the victim to drink its pale blue blood. The other worldliness of the Herther's blood along with the trauma and pain of the maiming, drive the victim into a strange kind of insane frenzy and warp their bodies into foul things. The lip less mouths grow sharp fangs that drip venom. The cuts bleed yellow pus, and the mutilated limbs coagulate into meaty bludgeons.
Though most that know of it fear the Change, but some of the more perverse cults of Igg'soteku covet the status of a "Chosen of Igg'soteku" as they call it. They will often summon Herthers specifically to undergo this horrible change.
In addition, some enterprising cultists have hypothesized that it may be the blood of the Herthers itself that creates the Change, and it simply uses whatever pain the victim has suffered and use it to mutate them. These few have come into possession of a quantity of Herther blood (most likely by summoning and killing a few), and are performing experiments on abductees. So far, they have had very little success, but that will not necessarily last forever.
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? Responses (15)
I strongly suggest you return this to the drawing board - for if I were to rate it now...
Really, look at some of the 4- to 5-star subs, to see what kind of article, in detail, originality and flair, to make.
I concur with echoMirage; I think it has potential, but needs to be thought out more.
I don't know what I would tell the PCs, and if a GM sent a wasp goat at us to sow lies and fears and gave us no more than whats above he would be in for a ton of questions.
Updated: After I posted this the first time, I mentally kicked myself because of how much I had forgotten to put in. So here is the new and improved version.
Much more self-contained and complete now (I can now give a 3.5 at least) but I would also like to suggest that you might look into expanding the description of Igg'soteku and Gluush (or are they part of a specific world that everyone knows except me as a non-gamer?). So again withholding vote.
Much improved; more readable, and I see the seeds of some interesting ideas strewn about in there.
I am planning to, eventually, post Igg'soteku and Gluush as their own submissions soon-ish, and then link to them here. I figured that until that happened I could just give out what is necessary to use the Herthers as I see it.
Most will probably say this is more of a stub material but still I'm sticking to 3.5 based on the fact that it is at least self-contained.
Axelrowes vote of a 1 was harsh, even in its incomplete form it wasn't that bad. Keep working on this idea. Hopefully he will change his vote.
Actually, there was an original shorter version of this (basically the first 2 paragraphs only and I think the 2nd paragraph also has been expanded on b/w the 2 versions, not sure whether you saw that one or not) and that's the one Axle voted on.
Is very bizarre and very nasty. A vision of madness no doubt. The reference to the rowen tree is good.
It does however feel forced on both it appearance and its nastiness for nastiness sake, and feels as little more then a boogyman. Motivations would help, as would the fleshing out of the linked concepts.
I was asked to revisit my original post by Pieh and vote on the rewrite.
Do they have stingers?
The physical description of these things is much better, but many of the sentences are clumsy.
"Their heads are shaped like that of a goat and are covered in short gray or black fur, but mounted above its fanged mouth are two red bug-like eyes." is an example of such a sentence.
Also much of the discussion here is about this cult and their use for them. We have no idea how these thing originated, what particular agenda they may have or what an encounter with them would be like. I think describing an encounter with these would be the most useful way to expand upon them. It would allow the reader to get a 1st (or at least a more personal) look at the terror these things invoke, it would give the gamer a template for the use of these things in game play, and would give an overall picture of these things. Right now there is no overall picture, we just have a list of facts.
What is this post really about, the cult, the blood maddness or the goat-wasps?
They’re gruesome enough to use (and abuse PCs with), not sure I need much more info. Herther blood on its own, is a cool “item” too.
My only concern is that with the horrible and immediate consequences of forgetting the Rowan, it figures that nobody actually forgets the Rowan. :)