Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday Werk: Walmakash, Urglun

In this week's Wednesday Werk, we look at the Walmakash and the Urglun.

The Walmakash are a race of planar travelers with an innate affinity for magic.  While the Zaldrim might actually be composed of magical energies, the Walmakash understand magic in a way few others do.  The Walmakash aren't just the custodians of strange spells and artifacts — which they scour the planes to find — they comprehend these phenomena intrinsically.  The Walmakash are thought to search for these spells and objects at the behest of their enigmatic masters, cryptically called the Distant Masters.  There's always some rumor or other of some magic-user who met the Distant Masters, but if anyone actually did, the parties involved certainly aren't talking.

The Walmakash are small, flabby, pale things with similarities to humanoid toads or salamanders, and their appearance is incredibly nonthreatening (although the archives of the University for the Study of the Arcane Arts and Sciences in Duchy Jepson record one encounter between a chalk-white, human planeswalker and the Walmakash in which the planeswalker, upon sighting the creatures, attacked them in a frenzy, raving accusations suggesting the creatures were somehow responsible for the death of his daughter).  Those learned in the ways of the planes know that the nonthreatening appearance of the Walmakash is a total fallacy, as their facility with magic is hardly a trifling thing (the aforementioned planeswalker did not survive the experience).  The most notable ability of the Walmakash is their facility for learning arcane lore; the Walmakash collect scrolls and books as most magi do, but can access and memorize spells and rituals instantaneously.  Some have been known to utilize this ability in combat, surprising any would-be magus who thought his trick was unique.

The following Walmakash suggests a typical specimen in search of artifacts and arcane lore.  This one has the trappings of a magic-user, although his spells are unique, likely the result of research during planar jaunts.  His ability to charge his staff with blazing fire is probably his most notable trick, typically unexpected by anyone who would expect the Walmakash to have limited facility in melee combat.


Enterprising DMs may wish to add another ability to this Walmakash (and any Walmakash of their devising).  As the Walmakash can retrieve magical information within a ten-foot radius, assume that a Walmakash, as an at-will Standard action, may mimic any power with the arcane keyword as long as the source of that power is within two squares.  A power thusly mimicked may be used once before the end of the Walmakash's next turn.  Incidentally, this may be used as an excuse to allow the Walmakash to cast any ritual, even those unique to the player characters (such as the Rite of Arkentaash, which is unlikely to be known by anyone who has not held the Ashen Crown from Seekers of the Ashen Crown).

The Urglun are a breed of living construct, typically an accident of strange alchemies or unfortunate experiments.  Those who create them are typically poor alchemists only capable of creating these deranged shock troops.  These savage creatures bear intelligence only slightly above the level of animals, and they are extremely bloodthirsty.  Their extreme violence is compounded by their ability to heal themselves by consuming their fallen comrades; the creatures can replace their limbs with those of fallen Urglun, and they can heal their wounds by consuming the flesh of their dead.

The following Urglun is indicative of a small, mass-produced specimen that has been outfitted with handaxes (although these might just be improvised weapons cobbled together by the Urglun themselves) and a shield.  They attack in hordes of twenty or so, either under the marginal command of whatever half-assed alchemist created them, or on their own as a roving, pillaging horde.


In addition to the above specimen, Urglun have been noted in all shapes and sizes, providing the perfect outlet for DMs who like to create their own creatures or re-skin existing creatures.  All of them have been noted with an immunity to Charm effects (as they're just not sapient enough to be affected by them), and all of them bear some variation of the Eater of the Dead power, allowing them to regain hit points or gain temporary hit points for eating a fallen comrade; the Urglun Ravager variant just tears a handful of flesh from a comrade as it falls and proceeds to devour it in the middle of combat, but other types might actually stop to consume the corpse of a fallen Urglun (likely gaining more hit points for doing so).

Any creature crafted as an Urglun should bear the urglun keyword so as to facilitate Eater of the Dead.

2 comments:

  1. We like your suggestion for expanding upon the Walmakash' Magical Information Retrieval capability. It works, it makes sense, and it can lead to some interesting situations. We'll add this to the revised entry, once we start the wholesale revision process...

    you're right on the money in regards to the Urglun as well--these things are nasty, and usually deployed as disposable troops by spell-casters, and not just necromancers--these things are synthetic, not undead, at least usually not at first...there are undead varieties, but they are so-far rare. So far. Most places. But of course that'll probably change, as Player Characters get involved in things...

    Is there any point in our posting the old Design-an-Urglun Tables?

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    1. Well, I expanded the Magical Information Retrieval capability largely because 4e likes hard numbers, and because there's a precedent (the rare Gamma World mutation Power Mimic does this). It's pretty straightforward, I'd imagine.

      Design-an-Urglun tables would be absolutely awesome, if only because random tables for designing weird monsters are similarly awesome. As much as I enjoy (and am familiar with) targeted monster design, the random monster creation tables in Carcosa and The Random Esoteric Creature Generator are fun to use and even more entertaining to decipher ("How does this random beast make sense?").

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