how to be erased

They will stand forever.

The villages of the dead are 4 in number, arranged thus:
First is Hemlock-All-around, where from every branch on every tree a goblin hangs, hollow-faced, eagle down sprinkling the earth from empty orifices.
Second is Maggots-Writhing-on-Bark, where ghosts linger staring blankly or falling to the floor, then to gibber and howl and writhe as if their bones were aflame.
Third is Devouring-Mouth-of-the-Earth, were ghosts cower in half-collapsed houses while hunched & massive shadows stalk the alleys seeking to devour them.
Fourth is Never-Return, and I have not seen it, nor have any that recovered to speak of it to the living.
- Akomish spirit-canoer's report
We do not really live in the world. We journey there, winding the wood or skimming the sea, even on occasion grasping toward the Moon. But Man is limited and liminal, dwelling in exceptions, on the borders of places, in prairies and on riverbanks, wedged between sea and forest and sky.
The real world, the true one that stretches on forever beyond the sight of Man, found somewhere out in the tall trees or rolling slowly over the deepwater, is the Kingdom of the Dead.

But a right-thinking Man of good breeding limits his exposure to such things. He knows the world and his place in it - mind filled with the name and quality of every cape, hollow, and crag. He couldn't possibly lose his way or become lost, shielded by certainty of his mastery.

And yet, he may be led astray. By birdsong or child's laugh or faint firelight, by promises of wealth or warmth, primal urges from beyond the ken of men may coax the otherwise sensible from their path, off into the wild.

And these creatures - ghosts and sprites and wilderlings all - they have a King. When the lost flitter about in fear and confusion and pain, only then to tire and cry out their despair, surrendering to sleep a final time, then He is there, at their side, sudden as flame.
The Road


Witness! We have Changed our bodies!
Becoming Lost 
The following may in certain regions of the Mythic Wilderness serve as substitution for the normal procedures that follow "Becoming Lost".
Determine whether the party becomes Lost as normal for terrain (noting carefully the impact of traveling known trails on this chance). Subsequently, instead of rolling for random movement direction, the party's location on the hexmap does not update while Lost. They are assumed not to have made meaningful progress toward their destination, instead beginning to move along a different axis entirely.
If while already Lost, the party is determined to be Lost again, they become Twice-lost. While in this state, there is a 2 in 6 chance that any discovery or encounter is replaced with an equivalent Lost Encounter (see below).
If the party becomes Thrice-lost, this chance increases to 4 in 6.
If the party is determined to be lost a fourth time, they are Truly Lost. The chance of a Lost encounter is now 6 in 6. At this point the party is no longer on the hexmap proper, having crossed fully into the deadlands: The trees twist in on themselves, directional markers are conflicted and meaningless, daylight dims and refuses to change, etc.

A party cannot become Lost a fifth time. If this is rolled, they instead reach an endpoint to their journey. There are a number of potential destinations for this, but some examples are:
  • The Hemlock Throne, seat of the nameless King.
  • A grave of the Wind that Bites from the Dark, strewn along the Road to the Moon.
  • The Slanted Lodge, where shadows dance.
  • The abode of a great spirit, such as a Wealth-bringer, Grizzly Mother, or Inland Whale.
Once such a location is discovered, it generally haunts the party until they return to civilization. While they remain Lost, they always steadily approach it. There was never any other option.

Lost Encounters
A d20 is thrown to determine the character of a Lost Encounter: 
  1. Spatial drift. When the party ceases to be Lost, update their location on the hexmap 1 space to the North. These changes are cumulative.
  2. Spatial drift. When the party ceases to be Lost, update their location on the hexmap 1 space to the Northeast. These changes are cumulative.
  3. Spatial drift. When the party ceases to be Lost, update their location on the hexmap 1 space to the Southeast. These changes are cumulative.
  4. Spatial drift. When the party ceases to be Lost, update their location on the hexmap 1 space to the South. These changes are cumulative.
  5. Spatial drift. When the party ceases to be Lost, update their location on the hexmap 1 space to the Southwest. These changes are cumulative.
  6. Spatial drift. When the party ceases to be Lost, update their location on the hexmap 1 space to the Northwest. These changes are cumulative.
We await your arrival.
  1. Lost encounter. As normally-rolled encounter, but indicated creatures are lost, distressed, paranoid. They feel they are being chased, harried by spirits or unseen monstrosities. -4 to Reaction. If the normal encounter is supernatural, it instead seeks something in a chase.
  2. Lost encounter. As normally-rolled encounter, but indicated creatures are lost and eerily not distressed. They are calm. They want you to stay here, to give up on worry, to find a sweetly rotting bed to lie upon. Staying with them invites attack from ghosts in the night. (These ignore the initially encountered creatures.)
  3. Lost encounter. As normally-rolled encounter, but what is evidenced from a distance is simply not found to be present at all. For example, copious tracks or distant shouting lead to a clearing with no signs of recent habitation.
  4. Lost encounter. As normally-rolled encounter, but instead of any creature, there is instead only copious evidence of presence. For example, an empty camp with food still cooking on the fire. (Resting at such a place causes a time distortion, see #19.)
  5. Lost encounter. As normally-rolled encounter, but indicated creatures are corpses, laying dead on the ground. 2 in 6 chance they rise as ghosts if disturbed.
  6. Lost encounter. As normally-rolled encounter, but when approached these are revealed to not really be creatures after all, but instead carved wooden figures erected in a posture that perhaps resembles some sort of encounter. They've been rotting for years.
Along avenues made open for you.
  1. Otters. An encounter with Otters, such as: The camp of a friendly family of d6 Land Otters, in human form. They offer you rest, and to guide you home in the morning. They want you to leave your dogs far outside their camp and will not say why. They offer you food. Accepting this aid increases the level of Lost, or causes lethargy and soul loss if already Truly Lost. (To a member of the Growling Cult: A crude collection of mud huts inhabited by foul-smelling beastmen.)
  2. Slim people. An encounter with Slim People, such as: A deer is staked out in the open, hung between trees, gutted. It is highly visible from a decent distance, obvious. The meat is still good. The trees near it are hung with figurines of bundled sticks. When approached, 2d6 Slim People, scattered across the forest floor nearby, rise to attack.
  3. Ghostly rot. Something falls, dies, or rots in the immediate vicinity, leading to an encounter with the Lost, such as: A tree crashes down from somewhere uphill. The party is targeted by a Tree Striker. Its effective range is equal to the average height of trees in this region. How fast can the party move?
  4. Ghostly music. Heard in the distance, leading to an encounter with the Lost, such as: A whistler's glade where a Lost Child cavorts, animating 2d6 carved wooden animals with his flute, attacking intruders unless they dance and dance and dance as partner to his idols. If his flute is stolen (it retains a portion of his magic), he turns to wood as well.
  5. Ghostly fire. Seen in the distance, leading to an encounter with the Lost, such as: A camp of 2d6 Ashen Ghosts crouched around a dim campfire. They appear as normal humans in the flickering light. They want you to help build up their fire. To teach them how to build fire. To make it hotter. To gather materials for the fire. To put your possessions in the fire. To put yourself in the fire.
  6. Ghostly weather. Odd or unseasonable weather phenomena is observed, leading to an encounter with the Lost, such as: The sun dawns, regardless of what time the party previously thought it was. The land remembers its beginnings. Morning fog surrounds, tinged slightly darker than it should be. It burns off in a few hours, but if traversed the party is harassed by a Dawn Shadow.
Patience is a virtue of the dead.
  1. Lost woods. After an entire turn of travel, you find yourself approaching exactly the same place as where you started out from. Once this is rolled, its effect also replaces all results 1-6. If this specific entry (#19) is rolled again, then the party also suffers a time distortion on ceasing to be Lost, an additional 2d6 hours having passed by without their notice, changing the time of day unexpectedly. For each additional result, the time distortion explodes upward (hour → day → lunar month → season → year → generation).
  2. Dead road. You have found your way behind the trees, where the dead roads wind. A dry creek, a corridor of fallen timber, a laid-down bed of shredded cedar, a continuous chain of moonlight, a set of tracks suspiciously similar to your own - appearances vary. One way leads into the daylight - following it for a turn removes all levels of Lost and deposits the party at a site (preferably undiscovered) within their updated hex location. The opposite direction leads into darkness, to be harassed by hungry ghosts, and eventually to Hemlock-All-around, first village of the dead.

 The House


Behold! A King in his finery!
The Gravetender's Society
I bide among the twisted pines,
     and none recall my name.
I have no friend or relative
     for all near me must perish.
Into the wilds I depart
     on roads kept by the dead.
- Gravetender's lament
There is a King without name, propped limbless on a hemlock throne untouched by sunlight at the heart of the world. Fearsome and strange, many-masked, with heart of pitch and brine, He is King of Ghosts and Woodsmen, the Wilderer of Ways and Keeper of Drowned Souls. It is He who confounds the hunter and mazes the amnesiac, dooming all to wander in hunger and lack forever and ever.

His kingdom is one of confusion and loss, of calling forth by name, of slowly fading memory, and of strangers wandering alone. He appears as a rot-scarred cedar box carved with fishers afloat on the sea, an injured and algae-soaked fox digging at an unmarked grave, a faceless child playing a flute, or a disorganized pile of greening bones set on an overgrown hemlock stump. He is heralded by the sound of a bone flute whistling in the distance, and by uncanny fogbanks moving slowly and deliberately through trees or over water.
Gravetenders are known to appear suddenly and without warning, to converse with the dead, and to enforce the taboos against touching dead bodies or pronouncing dead names. In hidden sanctuaries near each village their corpse-groves stand, hung with bodies and piled with offerings, scented with incinerated foodstuffs brought forth to placate lost ancestors. Most villages are willing to provision these encampments, but otherwise studiously avoid acknowledging their existence.

My house has many rooms.

The Gravetender is ritually dead and nameless, and must remain so. They are unmarried and not a member of any family, clan, or moiety. They own no possessions, though few would attempt to take from them what they keep on their person. A Gravetender may not recruit mortal retainers. Their very name, along with all its deeds and properties, has been eaten by the dead.
A Gravetender that is called by their eaten name loses access to all society powers and has disadvantage to all rolls and checks. They must immediately make new reaction rolls for all ghosts in their presence (at disadvantage). All is restored when the Gravetender next becomes Lost. (Note they will also have disadvantage on the normal roll to avoid becoming Lost.)

But the name is not theirs, and its misuse calls out for recompense due its new owners. The one that uttered this eaten name is thereafter treated with hostility by all ghosts, which attack them on sight. They also have disadvantage on saving throws against hostile magics and rolls to avoid becoming lost, as the dead roads open to them. This lasts until the Gravetender's powers are restored, or until they die truly. If the offending individual is ever Lost to even a single level, all random encounter will contain packs of hostile ghosts intent on devouring them.

I have prepared a place for you.

Veteran (level 1) Gravetenders gain several advantages while Lost, a state they recognize instinctively: They do not age, do not require food or water, and have advantage on all saving throws. Encounter distance is always treated as the maximum roll.
Gravetenders may also command ghosts and otters, just as a skilled tamanous man might. Resolve this as a Turn Undead check. A commanded ghost or otter may always lead the Gravetender's party out of being Lost in a single turn.

Heroes (level 4) of the society can bind ghosts, and speak those bound into their presence.

On a result of "D" on the Turn Undead table, the spirit in question is eaten. The Gravetender takes their name, their shadow, and their memories. The spirit occupies a retainer slot. Note that eating the spirit of one of the honored dead makes one immediately hostile to all of their relatives, unless explicitly retrieving their ghost in order to return it to the family. Such ghosts are under no obligation of faith to the Gravetender. The dishonored dead may be enslaved without repercussion.
The Gravetender may be called by the name of an eaten ghost without mechanical consequence, though doing so is considered taboo by the society, resulting in a disadvantage to Reaction.

A bound ghost may be manifested in the shadows over living water or the smoke of a fire. Only other Gravetenders, blood relatives, and those with the ability to detect magic or the invisible will see them. (Skeleton Dancers will also, but they are reticent to admit this due to the general animosity between the two societies.)
At this level a Gravetender also may choose to gain advantage or disadvantage on any roll to become Lost.

Superheroes (level 8) of the society may speak bound ghosts into corpses (as Weeping Ghost) or specially carved wooden simulacra (as Rotting Ghost) and force them to do their bidding. The ghost is freed if reduced to 0 hit points, but may otherwise be consumed again by the Gravetender as normal.

As a Group Ritual a convocation of Gravetenders may bury a petitioner's name, giving it to the dead that it may no longer be used by the living. A buried name takes with it all its rights, privileges, and accomplishments, but also all of its debts and curses. This service requires gift of 1d6×250gp in foodstuffs and other offered gravegoods, as well as access to a corpse grove, burial islet, cavern of the dry ones, or similar collection of honored dead. These are feasted and danced in imitation of the naming ritual, during which the name is folded into their repast and burned. If this was the petitioner's final remaining name, they must immediately be initiated into the Gravetender's Society or become afflicted with a rapid and deadly wasting.

Though not widely known, the Gravetenders can also give the name of a place to the dead. This location can no longer be found by normal means, and instead becomes a Lost Encounter associated with the hex it was formerly found in. The requirements are similar, involving a corpse parade to the location in question and 1d6×2000gp in goods and ritual materials.

 The Lost


Ghosts of the Straits
the Lost 
Do not weep for the dead. Give them nothing but what is offered on the pyre, for they will take everything from you. Your voice, your shadow, your power, the warmth of your skin, even your life - every living thing about you. For if you are dead, then you will join them in the deadlands, and all your ghostly relations will rejoice.
The dead are lonely; they miss their relatives. Spirits tend to linger awhile on the mortal plane before departing to the afterlife. It is during this time that they are most dangerous.
It is said that when you say a ghost's name, they immediately know your location. If you cry for them, their way to the deadlands is marshy and slow, increasing the likelihood they will turn back to haunt the living.
Note: Ghosts refuse to speak the trade jargon. It demeans them. To dialogue with ghosts, one must know their native tongue or converse in a manner entirely spiritual.
  • Stutter-Ghost [skayuɁ] (HD 1, AC 15, MV 18). A skeleton, floating just off the ground. Walks (does not run) at high speed with queer, shimmering motion. Jaw clatters out rapid falsetto “ku'kuku ku'kuku” repetition. Steals hair, save vs. confusion. When broken, bones vibrate around and eventually reform, sticking like magnets. Slain by magic. Some shoot nettle-arrows, which steal victim's breath.
  • Weeping Ghost [dᶻaqayuɁ] (HD 2, AC 12, MV 12). Crying corpse with ragged clothing, hair torn out in clumps clutched in clawed hands. Originally mortals who gave tears to the dead. Grapples into embrace, then drips tears on target's flesh, save vs. uncontrollable weeping. If afflicted falls asleep in this condition, save or become undead.
  • Rotting Ghost [p'q'acayuɁ] (HD 1, AC 14, MV 9). Pathetic corpses who carve sub-par wooden replacement parts to hide their rotting flesh as bits of them drop away. Grasp steals warmth. Those without hands to grasp instead club with over-sized, inarticulate wooden hands.
  • Hungry Ghost [scəwəɫ] (HD 2, AC 13, MV 9). Leftover hunger of the dead wearing a withered black corpse. Eats anything recognizably food. Relishes flesh of men and dogs. Tracks both easily. Speaks only to deceive & lure into traps and artifices. Otherwise silent except when leaping to attack, when throat emits a low groaning. Dogs detect them easily, but check morale on sight.
  • Ashen Ghost [Ɂukʷ'as] (HD 2, AC 12, MV 12). Pale, sickly, smeared with ash. Stomach a patch of glowing embers, concealed with tattered hides. Soul is a smoking flame in their belly. Drawn to fires, perching nearby to suck up smoke and swallow coals. Violently expel intruders that threaten flame. In combat skin blisters and sizzles, vomit hot coals into hands to hurl at enemies.
  • Headless Ghost [sx̌ʷəyalq] (HD 3-6, AC 13, MV 9). Headless bodies of men, bears, or ducks. Shine like they're vibrating. Attempt to eat but cannot, smashing food into absent face, and grow angry. Pause and rear as if to issue a great bellow, soundless, but all present struck save vs. fear. This lingers, provoking new save at the start of each combat for 24hr.

  • Red-eyed Shadow [c'alminəlus] (HD 3, AC 12, MV 9/12f). Shades who hide from death behind the souls of trees. Only perceived as diminishment of visual acuity. Attempting direct attack causes migraines and visual anomalies of undulating color that blur and stretch. Must be attacked peripherally, but if possible they dance into direct view. Bones are hidden up in a tree somewhere nearby – shade reforms if not destroyed.
  • Dawn Shadow [xʷiyəlan] (HD 6-9, AC 12, MV 6f). Memories of life before light touched the world, shapes from ancient epochs half-remembered in acrid black smoke, eyes shining. Immune to mundane weapons but dispersed by wind. Presence chokes the air; each round in melee save vs. coughing. Appear in mornings, before the sun hits direct, at the beginnings of things.



Forest Dwarfs

the Old People, Spirits of Pebble and Twig
The Old People still exist in the world, though most remain hidden. In the deepest stretches of the elder wood, in overgrown marshes, gullies, and creeks. They clamber amongst the underbrush, or drop from above.

Most fear them, regardless of whether they have done aught to provoke their ire, and few are those brave or mad enough to approach them as they gather to dance in their hidden groves.

Dwarfs are highly sought by sorcerers as familiar spirits. The dwarfs of yore made mighty spells, it is claimed. Some say they danced the first forests into being, that they know the songs that made the trees grow tall.
But the true value of dwarfish familiars is their connection to the lost and the dead. They know the dead roads and can lead mortals to the deadlands. Though ghosts have similar ability, and in fact are easier to placate, they are also given to madness, leaving dwarfs the most reliable source for this essential power.
  • Little Forest [swəw'tixʷtən] (HD 2, AC 4, MV 9/12f). 2' dwarf made of forest debris. Walks on treetops, leaping branch to branch. Speaks in a watery gurgle, save vs. confusion. Can dance your soul out of your body. Each is bound to an idol depicting a stylized man of their size, usually hidden in some dark and secret grove. May range from idol, but usually do not wander far, as possession of it grants power over them.
  • Tree Striker [šəčəčičələɁ] (HD 4, AC 15, MV 9/12f). Horribly misshapen, 2' dwarf made of forest debris. Walks on treetops, leaping branch to branch. Idol long-shattered, what remains is a cane that fells fully grown trees with strike, ranged 2d6 in a line. Cane may be used by men, but in mortal hands explodes violently on an attack roll of 1. Strike easily opens doors and chests.
  • Lost Child [makʷamš] (HD 1, AC 13, MV 15). Corpse-thin, gangle children, dressed all in leaves with fancifully carved masks. Skinny limbs flutter in frantic caper, leaping and cackling. Leaps away when missed, usually high into trees. Play woodwinds. Knows a song to remove all sense of direction, making Lost. Knows a song to calm the dead.

  • Lost Ancient [Ɂiɫluƛ] (HD 3, AC 13, MV 15). Older than human: pale green and goblinish, hook-nosed, wolf-eared, round inhuman eyes glowing red in deep sockets. Teleports away when missed. Does not play flute; just speaks that way. Presence saps warmth from things, invoking supernatural cold. Knows a magic sound to make trees explode in frost, 2d6 damage in an area.
  • Earthquake Dwarf [gʷingʷinaɁmi] (HD 1, AC 17, MV 6). Entice people beneath mountains to dance with "earthquake feet". Flesh hard as stone, attacks with crushing strikes. Jealous of all soft things owned by men. Knows a drumbeat that compels men to dance. Knows a dance to cause an avalanche. Explodes in a shower of stone when slain, d6 in 30'. Rumors tell of "obsidian dwarfs" that deal slashing, explode more violently.
  • Aurora Dwarf [qʷiqʷəstay'mixʷ] (HD 1, AC 12, MV 9/9s). Super-strong, 3½' dwarfs living on iceflows. Dive in freezing water to catch whales and seals by hand and scoop dentalia from sea floor. Their blubber-fires built on ice create the aurora, which they dance into enemies' eyes to confuse and mislead (as color spray). Immune to knives and arrows, but damaged by prick from feathers of waterfowl. 

The Real Otters
Enhydra lutris, Lontra canadensis
Never trust an otter.
This is important. Stay focused. Try to hold it in your mind. Even at point of death, when freezing or drowning alone, keep your guard. When they arrive in their boats with hairy arms outstretched, torsos and heads bobbing disproportionate long, do not accept their assistance. They do not want you to find your way home. They do not want you to survive this encounter. They are abductors. They want you to freeze and starve and become like them.
If you forget or lose faith, they will take you to the land of the otters. And then there is nothing left for you but a life of beastly stalking. You will spend the rest of your days eating fish raw and luring men to their doom.

Trust dogs. The bark of a dog can dispel an otter's false voice. The bones of a dog, sharpened to knife-edge, can cut away an otter's false skin. The dog is man's oldest ally in the wild.

Remember: do not trust otters. Don't forget. Stay focused. Remember.
  • Sea Otter [sq'aƛ'] (HD 1 - 6, AC 13, MV 12/18s). The sea pulls at the skins of otters, which they can use to command waves with a gesture. If a canoe contains otterskin or a man wears it, they may be grappled by waves. Otters of sufficient size use these powers to capsize canoes and drown their occupants. Those with HD greater than 1 are rare, but sightings exist. Each HD accompanies a commensurate increase in size, and disproportionate lengthening of the neck.
  • Rain God [qəlmax̌aɁ] (HD 8, AC 15, MV 9/24s). An otter deity, huge and long-necked. Controls rain and raises water levels. Renders gunpowder wet and unusable. In human form, a giant, nude but for copious copper jewelry.

  • Land Otter [kuštakaɁ] (HD 5, AC 13, MV 9/15s). Skinchangers that shift from otter to man. Always appears a friend or relative. Eyes black and teeth sharp and otterish. Dog bark reveals true form. Tongues command canoes to capsize, land to slide from position, and men to fall drowsy and numb. Offer food and aid to the lost and the drowning; accepting any provokes soul loss. On death, become a new kuštakaɁ. Flesh twists away from normal weapons, but dog bones cut them. Value crab shells as money, used to construct drums and rattles.
  • Half-Otter [qaqix̌in] (HD 3, AC 13, MV 9/9s). The half-drowned, starved and thin with oversized head and belly, long torso, greening skin, watery blue eyes. Overlarge lips pierced by urchin quills caked with dried blood, teeth chipped and missing from crunching inedible seaside life. Shadow causes save vs. confusion. They want to be led home, but always describe a place beyond the sea. The uncooperative are raked by pale claws. Too determined to be fully slain by violence, they must be reminded they are dead, with mirrors, with human food, or with the usage of their name by relatives. In daylight, they disrobe and burrow in sand.


The Slim People

Owl-men, Wood Ghosts, Elfs

Heed not the whistling in the wood. Never traverse the mountain passes alone. Be wary of owls, who act as their eyes and tongues.
Hunters of men, inimical to civilization, the Slim People lurk in deepest forest and highest mountain vale, in the furthest reaches upriver. What relation they have to the inland pit-dwellers we cannot say, for the pit-people disavow any knowledge of them despite haunting the very same reaches.

None have reported seeing Slim People in the daylight; perhaps they only exist at night.

A captured adult is sure to be devoured, but children, if they do not resist overmuch, may survive by becoming Slim themselves. Occasionally little bundles of twigs in vaguely manlike shapes are found where the Slim People have been. It is believed that this is all lost children can do to communicate to their relatives that they are still living.

  • Stick Man [stitaɫ] (HD 3, AC 14, MV 15). Impossibly tall and thin naked humanoids with knobbly brown skin and hollow eyes. Lie motionless on piles of fallen timber, nigh-invisible. Mouths emit only birdsong or child's laughter, which compels listener to wander into the woods. Otherwise completely silent.
  • Spear Spirit [tayutan] (HD 6, AC 14, MV 18/12c). Stick Man war spirit. Longer of limb, not bulkier. All its extremities are cruel spikes & splinters. Drops on foes from above to attack. Climbs rapidly, out of sight. Near-invisible when motionless in the branches.
  • Spotted Owl [skʷəqʷumš] (HD ½, AC 14, MV 24f). Those slain by fright, screaming too loud for too long (or more commonly, infants smothered in their cribs), lose their living voice and return as owls. May speak to the dead, call to the dying across great distance, and foretell the future. Steal the breath of those who speak living language in their presence (save vs. shortness of breath), used to advantage by Stick Men.
  • Horned Owl [təkʷəkʷəlus] (HD ½, AC 14, MV 24f). Horned owls collect teeth and bones. They seem to trade trinkets for these, but prefer to steal them. An owl who collects the teeth or fingerbones of a dead shaman and holds them in the mouth gains all the knowledge and power they possessed. These serve as great sorcerers among the Stick Men. They are the only among their entourage known to speak.


We are eaten forever

A cannibal spirit approaches.

A stranger came to visit our ancestors then, to a house of four brothers. They didn't know who he was. He wasn't related to anybody! When he came inside, the eldest's baby began to cry, and none knew how to calm her.
The stranger offered help, but as he bent to the child's ear, he sucked out her brain! He tossed her back limp! "She has stopped crying now." The brothers got weapons, but that stranger had dangerous power. Only the youngest escaped.
This brother was smart; he fled to the lake. He ran to set a trap! He knew demons can't tell reality from reflection. As the stranger leapt at his shadow, the brother sang his power: He called to North Wind. The stranger was frozen in the lake!
The brother started right away; he built a fire over the stranger's head. "I will not die. I will eat you forever." That stranger got burned up, but he didn't die. His ashes turned to mosquitoes; that's how they got started. The mosquitoes want to become a man again, but usually they can't.
- X̌uluš etiology

Devouring spirits harass the villages of the Straits with worrying frequency, winging down on strange winds to warp the lusts of men and indulge in vile feastings. Untamed anthropophagous urges creep in from all directions, lurking in deepest ocean, darkest forest, and furthest sky. Many of these retain ancestral forms, all flexing talon and aching obsidian jaw, though others wear the skins of men by nature or by theft. All are ravenous.

It is dangerous to be eaten, for spirits can consume more than flesh. Your culture, your language, your songs - all may be devoured. There is so much to eat that whatever is leftover might not be you; often the flesh remains where the spirit does not. It is as if man-eaters aimed to consume not merely the bodies of men but the very idea of men and the possibility of their civilization.

The spiritual ills engendered by these attacks are termed "soul loss". Sorcerers, herb-doctors, and tamanous men can cure this malady by retrieving pieces of the devoured with familiars or in ghost canoes, but payment is expensive, and a debt owed to a doctor is itself a dangerous thing. Local values suggest a more pragmatic alternative: One accepts the presence of hazardous spirits and, when possible, bargains with them for power.

Hidden in familiar skins. Source.

Rules Substitutions
Soul Loss: Similar to the "life energy drain" of other milieus, soul loss represents significant spiritual damage inflicted by enemies wherein the soul or a part thereof is stolen or driven away by hostile spirits. This has a variety of possible effects, none of which are immediately fatal, though the condition has deep associations with suicide among the Straitsmen.

In each instance where a character would normally lose a level due to "energy drain", the referee may instead roll a d6 on the table below to determine what was stolen:
  1. Language. Character can no longer speak language, nor can they read or write. They may still moan & holler unintelligibly if desired.
  2. Civilization. Character can no longer use tools or weapons and must perform all actions directly, with the body.
  3. Skill. Character's effective level is reduced to 1 for the purposes of calculating the potency of all abilities, and they lose access to any bonuses derived from background or assumed proficiency.
  4. Passion. Character becomes depressed and lethargic, unable to perform any significant actions in campaign downtime between sessions. During sessions, any action that takes a turn (10 minutes) or longer of continuous concentration to perform requires a Wisdom check to complete.
  5. Humanity. Character becomes perceptibly but indescribably inhuman, reducing their effective Charisma score to 3. Animals growl or otherwise act hostile in their presence, and hirelings will not follow them. Even old friends must save or make new reaction rolls with the altered modifier.
  6. Spirit Ally. An attendant spirit was stolen from the character. Sorcerous familiars, intelligences residing in weapons or other items, guardian spirits, and relationships or connections with divine or mystical patrons are all at risk.
Any result for which there is nothing left to steal must be rerolled. When there are no eligible results of types 1-5 remaining, the character is no more. Though the body may live, there is no spirit left to salvage, and death will surely follow shortly thereafter. That is, unless another will moves in to take the soul's place...

Acting out familiar urges.

Possession & Ego: Similar to rules concerning the Intelligence & Egoism of magical swords in other milieus, possession occurs when a spirit engages in a direct conflict of wills with a character in order to influence their actions. To resolve this the character in question may roll 2d6, applying the following modifiers:
• All characters apply their Wisdom modifier (±1) if any.
• Heroes gain a +2 bonus vs. intelligent weapons; Superheroes gain +4.
• Magic-Users gain similar bonuses vs. familiar spirits.
• All characters suffering from Soul Loss of types 1-5 take a -2 penalty for each.
The result is compared against the spirit's Ego score (rated 2-12) to determine whose will prevails, as follows:
Roll > Ego: Character is dominant.
Roll = Ego: Struggle and inaction as neither party dominates.
Roll < Ego: Possessor is dominant.
Uncontested control may be maintained for a number of turns equal to the degree of success or failure. Each spirit will have its own guidelines for the conditions under which these conflicts arise and what Ego score should be checked against, but broadly speaking:
Intelligent weapons have an Ego score of 6 plus any "to hit" bonus (0-3) they provide plus the number of Extraordinary Abilities they possess (0-3). They seek to slay certain enemies or perform certain deeds and fight wielders who ignore opportunities to fulfill these goals.
• Familiar spirits have an Ego score of 6 plus their spell level equivalent (0-6). Some have desires they seek to fulfill; more have taboos they resist violating. In either case, once bound they only assert themselves when called upon.
Possessing ghosts have wildly variable Ego scores based upon their degree of power and coercion. They have clear actions they seek to perform and attempt to force victims towards these should they resist.

Warrior Societies

She squalls unseen.
The Dance of the Cannibal Wind
Down from the dark fly hungry ghosts
We always eat our fill
The wind cries out at our approach
There is no time to flee
With corpse-dust choking every throat
We vomit all but flesh
- Song of the Cannibal Wind

Though long ago slain, the cannibal giantess Cišxʷəbətl persists in haunting the Straits into the present day, blowing the memory of her hunger down men's throats until each is reduced to little more than another of her ravening mouths. Her ghost, fully named The Wind that Bites from the Dark at the Source of the World (often shortened to The Wind that Bites from the Dark or simply the Cannibal Wind*), can never be truly sated; those haunted by it are cursed to feel pangs of ghoulish hunger long into their afterlives.

All those possessed by unwholesome desires or inexorable spirits are forced into the dance's ranks; few aspire to the burden. There the Cannibal Wind is blown through them, taming the wild forces with strange winds and consuming all else with her hunger. To each she whispers, "There is neither obligation nor sin in this world. Kill your relatives and eat of their flesh. Become free." The real trial then begins: Initiates either learn to control this brutal impulse, in the process gaining both respect and fear, or they are devoured by their fellows.

The Wind that Bites from the Dark and the dance that binds her (long inseparable) govern the North wind, carrion birds, social repression, and humanity's struggle against barbarism. Though her presence is normally felt invisibly, when manifest the Cannibal Wind may appear as a shadowed giantess whose body is covered in gnashing mouths, a lurching long-legged bear scarred by flame, or a cloud of black smoke hovering over a dim, dying fire. Her approach is preceded by a great whistling howl that warps the flesh of birds and drives them to violence, and the trees bend down at her passing.

Members of the dance are known for a severe and forbidding composure that is occasionally shattered by frantic, frightening displays in which they civilize the mad, summon freezing winds, or devour corpses in revolting spectacles. They are not trifled with, for it is said they can gnaw at your soul until you are dead or so chewed up that you must become one of them.

Masked cannibals await their feasting.

Cannibal dancers have no requirements for the use or maintenance of their powers. Their curse is permanent; the spirit it brings is with them at all times.

Certain actions require that the dancer make an Ego check in order to act freely without the imposition of the Cannibal Wind, which always seeks a return to purest savagery. The Cannibal Wind possesses with an Ego score of 10.

Cannibal spirits are distressed by fire. When attempting to use any of their abilities while within view of a flame larger than a small cookfire, dancers must make an Ego check or be overcome by the need to either flee or extinguish it with their power (whether beating it out barehanded in a cannibal frenzy or summoning a freezing wind to blow it out).

If a cannibal dancer goes longer than 1 week without consuming human flesh, the Cannibal Wind will overtake their body and force them to foul murder. In this state they must make an Ego check whenever given sufficient opportunity to kill and eat a human. In some villages (2 in 6, modified by Charisma), regular displays of cannibal ferocity in which small bites are taken from audience members may be staged to forestall this, though 1d6×10gp in goods gifted to the families of victims is expected if the dancer is to remain in the community's good graces.

 In her wake all ways warp crooked.

Veterans (level 1) of the dance may imitate any voice known (5 in 6 chance) so long as the listener has not determined the speaker's identity or seen their face. This is a magical effect; ineligible targets hear the words in the dancer's normal voice.

Dancers may also call on the Cannibal Wind to incite them to cannibal frenzy. In the first round of frenzy the dancer will rip off all encumbering armor and discard all weapons. Each round beyond that they may choose only to pursue melee combat or devour a corpse. Attempting otherwise in either case requires an Ego check.

In this state the dancer's form distorts fearsome and terrible. Eyes bulge empty and senseless. Muscles pull and tense to such extremes that limbs distort into crooked shapes. Hands twist and crumple like perverse claws. Lips peel back to reveal jaws poking prognathic while an obscene lolling tongue drips foam between clacking teeth. The dancer laughs hideously, cackling and snuffling as they scamper about with sudden, stuttered motions. All conscious thought is crowded out by the roar of ancient winds and a persistent hummingbird buzz.

"Island Jim" Snaw'nwalh - FM 8, Law, cannibal dancer.
Chews spruce resin like a craving addict.
Claims to have once "eaten the sun". Would eat you.
For the duration the dancer gains the following benefits:
  • +2 to attacks & similar bonus to feats of raw athleticism (Str, Con, & Dex checks);
  • unarmed attacks deal standard damage (1d6) in rips, tears, and bites at flesh;
  • +3 bonus to speed crawling on all fours;
  • half damage from flame & cold;
  • immunity to fear, charms, & compulsions;
  • +4 to saving throws vs. soul loss, against which a failed save merely ends the frenzy.
Ending the frenzy requires an Ego check, any degree of failure indicating the number of turns that the frenzy continues, though tricking the dancer into drinking seawater will also end it. Afterward, the dancer immediately begins vomiting uncontrollably, violently ejecting blood, bones, hair, and bits of torn clothing - but never flesh. This lasts for a turn.

Heroes (level 4) of the dance bite deeper than flesh, ripping directly at an opponent's soul to tear out voice and devour mind. While within the throes of a cannibal frenzy, the dancer's unarmed attacks strike as magical weapons. Additionally, unarmed damage rolls of 6 rend the target's spirit, affecting humans and creatures of similar ability as by Soul Loss. Inhuman beasts instead have their HD reduced by 1 for the purposes of calculating all abilities (including "to hit" rolls and saving throws).

Also at this level, dancers gain a +2 bonus to Ego checks against the Cannibal Wind.

Superheroes (level 8) of the dance may call forth powerful, freezing winds to devour their enemies. This deals 2d6 magical cold damage in a 40ft gust emanating from the dancer. If either damage die shows 6, all targets are affected by spiritual rending as above.

On a damage roll of 2, the winds storm violently out of control in all directions and targets must make an immediate saving throw or be overtaken with temporary madness forcing them to consume their fellows for d6 turns.

On a 12, the wind summoned has sentience, manifesting as a wild cannibal spirit. These are not friendly to the dancer. A d20 may be used to determine what sort of being arrives:
1-3. Łətiʔən (Poison Hummingbird) appears.
4-6. Kəykəẃəqəs (Corpses Crow) appears.
7-9. Huqʷhuqʷ (Crane Cackle) appears.
10-12. Qəčanuł (Crooked Beak) appears.
13-15. A Khusaxha forms spontaneously from clouds of mosquitoes.
16-20. All targets must save or be possessed by Untamed Winds.
Also at this level, the dancer's bonus to Ego checks against the Cannibal Wind increases to +4.


As a Group Ritual the dance may civilize the mad, removing any possession or long term insanity and returning them to society. This is accomplished in a day-long ritual in which the target is driven through the forest, chased by cannibal dancers in fearsome avian masks. At the end of the ritual, the target must make an immediate saving throw, failure indicating that they've been infected by the Cannibal Wind. Those so cursed must immediately be initiated into the dance (losing any other spirit allies) or thereafter wander governed by Untamed Winds (see below). Hiring the dance for this service requires 1d6×100gp in gifts to the performers and a fresh human corpse.

Observant onlookers may notice (1 in 6 chance, modified by Wisdom) one performer sneaking off with a writhing black presence sealed in a glass jar. This points out a secret version of the ritual for which the dance requires 1d6×500gp in gifts and the life of a slave. For this additional consideration the dancers will at the end of the ritual weave the extracted spirit into an arrow or club. The affected weapon will strike at +3 "to hit" & damage for one successful attack, which will have the additional effect of transferring the extracted spirit or madness to the victim.

Some Eaters of Men

Cannibal Bird
Number Appearing: 1
Armor Class: Variable
Hit Dice: Variable
Attack: Variable
Special: Variable
Move: 6, 36 fly
Morale: 9
Intelligence: Superhuman
Alignment: Chaos
Size: Variable

Four of these imperious beings, the most coherent pieces of the Cannibal Wind to coalesce from her corpse after its dispersal, are known. Each with obvious vanity claims to be a singular and unique entity, though there are reports of the same bird appearing in multiple places at once or successively at great distance.

All Cannibal Birds inflict Soul Loss on a damage roll of 6 and may summon freezing winds as a Superhero of the Dance of the Cannibal Wind. Each may also vary its size, often appearing quite small, or take on human form. Occasionally they appear in disturbing intermediate states, as if they cannot quite recall what separates man from bird. Human forms always receive the bonuses of cannibal frenzy without any associated restriction on behavior or appearance. Each cannibal bird has been slain several times, though they always reappear. Nothing known can slay them permanently.

Their names and shapes are:

Łətiʔən (Poison Hummingbird) the Skin-Stripper, who appears as:
• a thick-beaked hummingbird the size of a large dog, its face smeared with gore, or
• a small child crying and covered with what appears to be blood but is in fact a corrosive resin.
[HD 6, AC 4(15), Bite d6 plus save or d6 poison, 1-3 acid damage on touch.]

Kəykəẃəqəs (Corpses Crow) the Eye-Plucker, who appears as:
• two wicked-looking crows nearly man-sized moving in oddly mirrored motions, or
• a pair of twin youths, one boy and one girl, who finish each other's sentences and are both compulsive liars.
[HD 8, AC 5(14), Bite d6, two bodies acting independently with a single Hit Point pool.]

Huqʷhuqʷ (Crane Cackle) the Skull-Cracker, who appears as:
• a monstrous crane, fully 12ft tall on its stilt legs, that thrusts its beak at foes from above seeking to split open skulls, or
• an uncannily tall, long-fingered man of meticulous aspect & grim humor who may be plied with brains, which he finds delectable.
[HD 8, AC 5(14), Bite d6+4 reach 10ft.]

Qəčanuł (Crooked Beak) the Flesh-Tearer, who appears as:
• an ogre-sized bird of glittering iridescence with fancifully twisted beak, rigid forms writhing under its flesh as if it had all the wrong bones & each jockeying for a position of prominence, its uncanny bite twisting and snapping in all directions at once, or
• a hunchbacked crone with snaggletoothed smile, feigning weakness despite terrible strength.
[HD 10, AC 3(16), Bite d6+2, attacks all targets in range each turn.]


Cannibal Birds are most commonly seen at sites of great carnage feasting on corpses, though they may also appear anywhere in the deep wilds pursuing enigmatic ends. Though not always hostile, they are extremely capricious, and unless other interests prevail reactions should be checked anew each turn of interaction. Encounters almost inevitably end with their hunger awakened, but clever mortals occasionally escape unharmed if they figure out what game the bird is at fast enough to play along.

If a Cannibal Bird is fated to appear and quick motivation is needed, a d20 may be thrown to determine what exactly the creature thinks it's up to:
  1. Hunting humans to eat. It will likely attack.
  2. Feasting on corpses. If the party was looking for someone, here they are.
  3. Harassing a cannibal. The bird is tormenting a Cannibal Dancer or Untamed Wind for its own amusement.
  4. Reminiscing. "I remember you, or perhaps an ancestor, hm... Tell me the story of when I last met you, man-thing."
  5. Bored. Simply bored, the creature will banter until it gets hungry.
  6. Acting out an ancient drama. The Wind that Bites from the Dark once instrumented a great calamity here, or slew a great hero. The bird wishes to reenact this, and you arrived just in time to facilitate. Roll reaction to determine how dangerous a role it has in mind.
  7. Making war. There are two cannibal birds here either fighting each other or engaging in a contest (roll again to determine its character).
  8. Witnessing savagery. The bird has heard of a great cruelty or tragedy, natural or man-made, occurring or about to occur, which it wishes to observe. If none manifests it will create one, figuring that it itself must be the cause, though it did not know this beforehand.
  9. Destroying man-made objects. The bird is tearing down buildings, defacing sculptures, altering trail signs, or otherwise warping humanity's mark on the environment.
  10. Dressing itself in grave goods. The beast is pulling clothing from a corpse or pile of refuse, which it will proceed to wear incorrectly. It solicits opinions on its aspect from any onlookers. Anything other than excessive flattery angers it.
  11. Hiding and observing. You are being watched really obviously, but without interference. It is far too big to hide behind that bush, or far too humanoid to perch on that branch. It leaves after a few turns, but only if unacknowledged.
  12. Pretending to be a human. The bird wants to play at being a headman; you will be the slaves. It wants you to construct a makeshift village out of found materials (or occupy an abandoned one) and go through the drudgery of daily life. In a day or two it will get bored and just wander off.
  13. Telling a lie. There is a very specific thing it needs to tell to you and only you. This thing is absolutely untrue; assuming otherwise leads to catastrophe.
  14. Building something. The bird is constructing a sculpture or effigy (d6: 1. giant spiky nest, 2. wicker man, 3. intricate maze, 4. wooden cages dangling from branches, 5. mosaic of many colors, 6. elaborate gauntlet of traps and snares) from detritus & human remains. It may ask a critique, or force intruders to assist in finding the perfect finishing piece.
  15. Doesn't remember. "I have forgotten my purpose here. You tell me." It attacks if the answer is completely against its nature but otherwise follows the instruction exactly.
  16. Asking questions. The bird has questions about the nature of humanity. It has no context whatsoever with which to understand the answer and will become frustrated and angry when it doesn't.
  17. Learning to be a human. "Teach me to be like you." It copies the player's actions exactly, becoming angry if the player performs an action it cannot.
  18. Collecting shinies. "You have many shiny objects. Give me all of them." All of these are immediately put to use as self-adornment, or littered on the ground (equal chance).
  19. Starting fires. The bird starts a fire, fans it with its wings, watches it burn for a moment or a day, and then puts it out again, over and over and over. It only acknowledges intruders if interrupted.
  20. Singing to the sky. Carrion birds circle overhead as the bird caws a semi-intelligible tune at the sky. Any human copying the song finds that it incites birds to attack them suddenly, which causes the Cannibal Bird to laugh. It attacks if any of these birds are injured, but does not otherwise do harm. The song continues to work long after the meeting but cannot be taught to others.
Treasure: Those that play along and do not irritate the Cannibal Bird receive a gift when it departs. Roll d6:
1-3. Twigs, leaves, and assorted detritus. Seemingly useless. A thorough search may reveal 4d6gp in coins and salvageable goods hidden in the trash. Or not.
4-5. Pile of suspicious meats. Strangely delectable and sweet-smelling. Equivalent to 2d6 days rations. Infects any human eating it with an Untamed Wind, other creatures are sickened (-2 to all actions). Remains perfectly preserved for a month, then rots away in moments.
6. A random magic item. Appears old and ill-used, but functional. If a magic weapon is rolled, it is automatically intelligent and possessed of a murderous avian spirit, which seeks to desecrate flesh and tear down civilization.

Number Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 5+2
Attack: Rend d6
Special: Horror, proboscis
Move: 15
Morale: 10
Intelligence: Human-like
Alignment: Chaos
Size: Medium (5'-6' tall)

The khusaxha (in the trade jargon simply "skookum" - a dangerous thing) are frightening spirits that seem to occur spontaneously, clouds of mosquitoes accreting into manlike shapes driven by some stray urge of the Cannibal Wind unclaimed by Dancers and Cannibal Birds.

A khusaxha first appears as an unremarkable stranger - pleasant, nonthreatening, and excessively human. Only the inevitable attack reveals its nature. Those who witness a khusaxha's violence see them undergo a frightful transfiguration into a cackling ghoul of gangling limb and mad rictus grin. This sight provokes a saving throw, failure indicating that the victim freezes in horror for a turn. Those yet to observe the khusaxha's brutality directly continue to perceive it as a normal human.

To feed on men a khusaxha will vomit from its mouth a horrible proboscis like a beak of glass erupting from inverted throat. This attacks at -2 "to hit" but when thrust into a victim's body may suck out internal organs whole or in part. Targets struck immediately suffer d6 damage, and they will take 2d6 damage automatically each round thereafter until the proboscis is ripped from their body (2 in 6 chance, modified by Strength). If a victim is reduced to 0 hit points in this way, an internal organ is visibly sucked from their body through the proboscis, and the khusaxha immediately heals 2d6 HP.

For ease of description, the following d20 table may be consulted in lieu of standard Death & Dismemberment:
1-3. Brain. Instant death.
4-6. Heart. Instant death.
7-8. Lung. Instant death.
9-10. Intestine. Requires immediate magical healing.
11-12. Liver. Requires immediate magical healing.
13. Stomach. Requires immediate magical healing.
14. Bladder. Requires immediate magical healing.
15. Pancreas. Requires immediate magical healing.
16-17. Kidney. Bleeding out.
18. Spleen. Bleeding out.
19. Appendix. Bleeding out.
20. Gallbladder. Bleeding out.
Those who do not immediately perish from such a loss later find that they are possessed by the odd but irresistible urge to catch and eat mosquitoes, surreptitiously shoving them into their mouth when they think no one is watching. Though not significant enough to model with Ego conflict, this counts as possession by cannibal spirits for ritual purposes. After several weeks (1d6+3) of this behavior the mosquitoes will devour the victim's insides and their skin will walk as a new khusaxha.

When reduced to 0 hit points, a khusaxha's innards dissipate into a cloud of mosquitoes. Their skin drops to the ground, empty except for a pile of stolen organs. The spirit animating it is not actually dead, but it will take several months accumulating mosquitoes and for it to return, and even then it will not retain its memory.

Treasure: A pile of bloodstained rags, skin, and human organs.

Untamed Wind
Number Appearing: 1-3
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 3
Attack: By weapon or Unarmed d6
Special: Frenzy, mimicry
Move: 15
Morale: 9
Intelligence: Human-like
Alignment: Chaos
Size: Variable

Not all those possessed by the Cannibal Wind join the Dance. Untamed Winds lurk in hidden places giving themselves over to cannibal lust without objection, heedless of the horrors their condition drives them to. Without the dance, these individuals are haunted by horrific visions of giant, monstrous women stalking the world and eating men whole, pushing them to ever greater sins. Few survive long, but many innocents are consumed in their wake.

Untamed winds enter cannibal frenzy as a Cannibal Dancer does, though the manifestation is more extreme, limbs bending backward at impossible angles and teeth snapping beyond the reach of their jaws. They frenzy in all combats, gaining all the same bonuses, up to and including the ability to swallow souls on a damage roll of 6. They may mimic voices as a Cannibal Dancer does and are similarly distressed by large fires, suffering -2 to Morale in their presence.

Treasure: Untamed winds are wild barbarians, and keep the possessions of uncivil men.

When possessing Player Characters (Ego 10): The untamed wind desires to consume human flesh, and will resist eating any food which does not contain it as a major component. If the host becomes at all hungry, it will seek to kill and eat any human available, driving the character to cannibal frenzy. As violence and barbarism personified, it will also force its host to frenzy if they behave in a manner that could be construed as at all civilized, such as required by a ritual greeting or community meal. The host gains all abilities described above, but the untamed wind will resist using them for purposes other than slaying humans to eat.

Number Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 3+ (2 higher than base creature)
Attack: By weapon
Special: Variable
Move: 12
Morale: 8
Intelligence: Human-like
Alignment: None
Size: Medium (5'-6' tall)

There is another idea of creation, one rejected by Changers in the furthest recesses of mythic time. In it everything is backwards, and animals hunt men for food instead of the other way around. This was set largely aright at the advent of the current world, but the border between possibilities is thin, and some spirits become confused about which reality they belong in. It is even said that certain upriver peoples, far removed from Straits civility, seek out such abomination deliberately.

Those possessed by these spirits (corrupted by hostile sorcerers or taboo violation or otherwise) are wechuge. Intelligent hunters, they view men as their game and will use all available skill and artifice to aid in the chase, each spirit bringing different methods and capabilities to assist them.

A wechuge spirit is not always active, and its host will appear and act as a normal human until exposed to certain triggers. These initiate the hunt and warp the host with what mutations the spirit brings. The additional Hit Dice (+2) and capabilities of the wechuge are only counted during this period and fade afterward, though not until the spirit has had time to both feed and calm. Slaying the body in either state destroys both host and spirit.

There are as many expressions of wechuge as there are animals in the world (some would say many more), and they have an equally wide variety of abilities, but if a random wechuge spirit is needed at short notice, the referee may roll d6 on the following chart:
  1. Stilt-Legs is a great moose who strides above treetops. Those possessed by him have bizarre elongated limbs, standing 10ft tall on all fours, on which they scamper about with great facility. He attacks with a mighty leap, stomping foes to death, and travels overland in impossible strides. Stilt-Legs is triggered by the removal of the skins of animals, and by nakedness. [Move 24, Stomp 2d6 but -2 "to hit".]
  2. Greed-Mask, whose sacred eyes devour, is a god of raccoons. The eyes of those he possesses swell huge and black, consuming the face in bruised flesh shoved aside by their bulging. His gaze alone consumes souls, though he will also partake of man's substance if given opportunity. He is triggered by aggressively long eye contact, and by the wearing of masks. [Bite d3, gaze causes save or Soul Loss.]
  3. Grandmother Spider is the first trapmaker. Her hosts grow impossibly thin and bandy-legged with twisted knobbly fingers that can grip anything. She is compelled to make large numbers of traps and snares, all of which she can feel even from great distance, and often builds a lair full of such. She is triggered by the sound or sight of a plucked string, or the tying of complex knots. [Can sense state of traps, 5 in 6 climb.]
  4. Eyes-like-Lightning dwells above the clouds with the ancestors of eagles. The possessed appear normal except in rain or darkness, where their eyes flash dramatically. He attempts to hunt in lightning storms, and when exposed to bright flashing of any kind. [Darkvision, surprises 4 in 6 in rain or darkness, if gains surprise all opponents must save or blinded for d6 turns.]
  5. The Moon Frog is a star-born spirit that eats men as flies. Her great lashing tongue dangles from the mouths of those she possesses, slurping thoughts from her prey's minds as she hops about. She is triggered by eating meat old enough to contain fly's eggs, and by the full moon. [Bite d3, tongue attack inflicts Soul Loss and target must save or forget themself for a turn.]
  6. Old Iron-Teeth is grandfather to wolves. The possessed shove bits of iron or other metals into their mouth and under their fingernails where they root in place as grotesque armament. Any metal that strikes him may similarly be absorbed into his flesh. He is triggered by the taste of undercooked meat, and by the sight of his own blood. [Rend d6+2, negates damage from metal weapons 4 in 6.]
Treasure: The host of a wechuge is still human and retains the possessions of such.

When possessing Player Characters (Ego 8): Any character possessed by a wechuge spirit is subject to the same triggers as listed above, and undergoes the same transformations. When exposed the spirit becomes activated and will make an Ego check to control the character's body. It compels them to hunt men and will not relenting until it tastes human flesh or the character wrestles back control.

Number Appearing: 1
Armor Class: Variable
Hit Dice: 1-10
Attack: Variable
Special: Bullet & cold immune, & see below
Move: Variable
Morale: 10
Intelligence: Human-like
Alignment: Chaos
Size: Variable (5'-16' tall)

Though the spawn of foreign skies, the windigo is known to the Straits. Canadien voyageurs carried them clothed in flesh down the overland routes over long years. Any survival cannibalism practiced along those frozen tracks may seed the spirit in one's heart.

Those possessed are cursed to hunger after human flesh eternally, their body forever expanding beyond possible satisfaction. A windigo begins with 1 HD, even if its host is of greater potency, but uses the higher of the two scores for hit points, attacks, saving throws, etc. If the creature eats a number of humans equal to its HD in a single week, its HD increases by 1.

Windigo are immune to bullets, which tear flesh but do little actual harm, and to all damage from cold or frost. Only one method is known to permanently slay them: They must be hacked apart with axes, their remains burned & buried, and trees felled over their grave. Forgoing this process leaves a 1 in 6 chance each month that the windigo will return to haunt its slayers.

Several other physical and behavioral changes are observed as the windigo increases in Hit Dice:

At 1-3 Hit Dice windigo are not what they seem. They avoid normal food without knowing why and complain of cold as their insides begin to freeze. Despite this they recoil from flame, though this may be overcome with exertion of will. They act unsocial, and without concentration their face relaxes to an impassive owlish stare. The hunger feels strange and foreign when it strikes, but they cannot resist it.

This early they may still be cured. Tricking or forcing them to drink scalding bear grease deals d6 damage to spirit and host both (separately rolled). Should windigo disperse and host live, the latter will vomit a slurry of melting ice and flesh and recover in a matter of days. The risk of course is death from internal burns. This cure may be applied multiple times if at first unsuccessful.

[AC by armor, Bite 1-3 or Weapon, Move 12]

At 4-7 Hit Dice the heart of the possessed freezes to ice, and their body dies. The spirit grows so hungry that it chews away the body's lips, exposing cruel bloodied teeth. Windigo at this stage attack with snapping jaws, lurking on civilization's edge to ambush and devour. Stalking silent and corpse-pale, it is nearly impossible to detect them at any distance in snowy conditions. The only warning is the glint of wide-staring eyes leering through the storm.

The windigo will flee fire with a horrific screeching. Treat attempts to menace them with flame as a Turn Undead check, using as Cleric level the intensity of flame in "torches" wielded to harass them. Once an attempt has failed, it may be tried again only if the amount of fire is significantly increased.

[AC 6(13), Bite d6+2, Move 12, regenerate 1/round outdoors, 4 in 6 surprise in snow]

As the windigo gains HD from here on its body stretches out gruesome and gaunt, growing taller and more emaciated with each body consumed (from man-sized at 4 HD to twice that at 8 HD). Long hours in the wild blacken its flesh with frostbite. Eventually, the flesh rots away entirely.

At 8+ Hit Dice what remains is a towering skeleton of splintering ice, cracking and popping as it jerks about on sharp limbs. Remnants of skin cling to its frame in ragged strips, and frozen organs swell in its torso, including a heart shining with puissance.

More spirit than substance, at this stage the windigo may fade to the form of blowing snow, rendering it functionally invisible, incorporeal, and flying, though exposure to a flame forces to knit its body back together. It attacks with great frozen claws and pulls at souls with every frozen breath. Those it grasps are brought to its mouth so it may rip off their limbs or consume them whole, head thrown back and choking hideously, leaving piles of cracked bones, tangled hair, and discarded teeth as the only evidence of its passing.

[AC 3(16), Rend 2d6 + Soul Loss + on a 12 save or roll Death & Dismemberment regardless of Hit Point total, Move 15/18 snow form, regenerate 2/round outdoors]

Windigo of up to 12 HD have been observed. Fully 16ft tall, these beasts are found only in the deepest north or on mountain peaks where the snow never melts, stalking endlessly over glaciers in search of food. Monstrosities of greater immensity are only theorized.

Treasure: Often none, though shattering a windigo of 8+ HD produces a pile of primal ice shards that melt only in blood. Enough is found for d6-2 daggers or spear blades and 2d6 arrowheads. These are +2 to hit & damage but good only for a single successful strike. Any human they wound is infected with a windigo spirit. If unused the shards will eventually reform, exactly as a windigo improperly buried.

When possessing Player Characters (Ego 6+HD): The windigo desires to eat human flesh sufficient to increase its HD. If this is not accomplished, an Ego check will force the character to murder if given any opportunity, and to seek out people if away from civilization. Otherwise, the possessed follows the rules for windigo of 1-3 HD above. Once the windigo attains 4 HD, the character dies and is thereafter an NPC monster.

The sudden and horrifying resumption of self. Source.