Friday, 25 September 2015

Dream Whistler (Runequest Version)

The Dream Whistler 

Sometimes, the membrane between the realms of wakefulness and sleep grows threadbare. That untenable things of both beauty and madness sometimes find their way into the waking world, is beyond dispute. That those inhabitants of dream are violently forced to conform with the physical laws of our own bleak cosmos, is fuel enough for a thousand nightmares of horrors born afresh to a hunger, which must now feed.

One such horror is the Dream Whistler. 

Arising from the chimera of amour which most often assails youth, in slumber they are amorphous clouds of half forgotten loves and desires. In flesh, they are cruelly rendered as obscene mollusc things as big as hippos (although no bigger than mice when first conceived, upon taking a lair, they quickly and unnaturally grow in size... a process which leaves them ravenously hungry). Their heads are always different: generally idealised representations of people the Whistler's original host once dreamt of. If that love was true and reserved for one person alone, then only one head will be present and near perfect. If that host longed for more than one person, then multiple faces will develop, with imperfections in their features growing with the number present. These slack jawed, drooling countenances are all sculpted from flesh, hair included, so as to resemble awful, glistening statuary. The creature has one functioning mouth set into it's upper trunk. Beneath this horrible lamprey like orifice are arrayed row upon row of pendulous mammary sacs. 

Their means of locomotion are extremely limited, having to rely only upon long spindly arms and barely obedient cephalopodium. Ultimately they bind themselves to surfaces wherever they find themselves lairing, in a fashion akin grotesque barnacles. The lair is of particular significance to the Dream Whistler, being in a sense, a part of it's body (and hunting routine). They secrete themselves in lonely places of beauty...beneath crumbled bridges, in the dark of mossy forgotten crypts, at the bottom of crumbling wells, in the hollows of great dead oaks. Places where lovers might wander and carve their names into wood or stone and perhaps leave a little of themselves behind. 

How do they get there? Some say that they are born from the death anguish of suicidal unrequited love. The monster manifests near a place where someone has taken their own life out of despair (this is partly true). Others suggest that (and these scholars are perhaps more accurate in their assessment), the Whistler gestates within dreams and whilst still tiny, manifest physically within the cerebellum, ultimately exiting the host via the nasal cavity. This can be the result of grotesque magics, but the spectre of spontaneous creation is also postulated as viable. If this be so, could our very dreams be merely incubators for monstrosities? If so, what then of our true natures?

The Dream Whistler, once created, secretes itself in the aforementioned lair and waits. A kind of hidden antennae set within the creatures' head area, picks up electromagnetic signals from nearby psyches. These are nearly always the minds of romantics, given to wandering and contemplation in places of serenity: poets, artists and lovers--- the forlorn, the lost, the pining and the mad. Once it has detected such a mind, it makes an imprint of the brains waveform and then 'pings' this waveform on a frequency only detectable in deep sleep.

The chosen, wherever he is, receives this waveform and it alters the very fabric of his dreaming. Any loved one that appear in the dreamers' sleeping worlds, can be replaced by an illusionary puppet under the control of the Dream Whistler. This puppet looks, speaks and acts exactly as the dreamer would expect of the loved one being replaced. It then attempts to lure the dreamer back to the place of serenity. This manifests beyond mere reverie. The suggestion or 'whistle' is strong enough to induce somnambulism. The poor slumbering victim will rise from his place of rest and make his way physically to the lair of the Dream Whistler. This may take several attempts over a number of nights and/or weeks. Sometimes the whistle is lost (lead blocks it as do more exotic, magical materials) and the victim awakens to find themselves miles from civilisation in the darkness of the countryside. In terror they flee home, but the process will only repeat itself, night after night.

Upon arrival at the lair of the Dream Whistler, the victim remains asleep, perceiving the image of the dreamt loved one waiting with open arms, drawing the sleep walker to fall into their loving embrace. In reality, the Dream Whistler's physical manifestation enjoys or needs to consume a certain amount of fatty tissue and compels it's victims to suckle at it's grotesque teats. These mammary glands produce something akin to an opiate/glucose/milk. The Dream Whistler will then nurture the victim for weeks. Throughout that time the poor dreamer never awakens, sucking greedily at the things narcotic breasts, insensible to the straining of their flesh and skin, the weird milk coursing through their bodies. In a short period of time, victims are flabby, oily mockeries of their former selves and ready to be plucked like gross fruit.

The ultimate fate of the Whistler's victims is to be messily devoured, lifted with ropey arms and stuffed into the waiting maw. This process is surprisingly swift, considering the measured pace of the Dream Whistler's hunting and fattening ritual; the victim is only barely aware of their own grisly demise as their somnolent bliss is ended.
Hunting the Dream Whistler is not impossible and upon discovery, it can be destroyed with flame and steel. The fact that it is largely stationary works against it. However, it is more than capable of defending itself and is able to use it's milk gorged victims as loyal and suicidal bodyguards (for their part, they perceive attackers as monsters invading their dreaming or threatening their beloved). The creature is dangerously psionic and is capable of employing surges of brain cooking energy waves. Finally, it's long, ropey arms clutch and grasp spasmodically and unpredictably, attempting to grab and then eat brave adventurers.
The final tragedy, is that upon the Dream Whistlers death, it's former victims are never able to truly forget their experience. They pine for that long dream wherein they were glutted upon ambrosia in the arms of their beloved. Following a period wallowing in a wasteland of cakes, pastries and other fattening foods (which they crave following the cessation of the Dream Whistler's milk), they are eventually found, having taken their own lives, at or near the old lair of the Dream Whistler. But before that moment comes, there is yet a worse horror: a freshly incarnated Dream Whistler (the same one?) crawls from the victims nasal cavity to nest anew... to whistle once more into the darkness for prey.

I'm going to forego the dice roll required to get a species variant. I figure you'll only use the Dream Whistler once. Plus I'm lazy. Also...yeah, I'm lazy.

Characteristics Attributes.                         Location AP/HP
STR: (20) AP  2 (+3 for heads)------   1-6 Cephalapodium 2/13
CON: (19) Damage Modifier +2d6 -- 7– 9 Abdomen 2/13
SIZ: (44) Magic Points 17 ------------    10-12 Chest 2/14
DEX: (6) Movement Immobile ---------13-15 Right Arm 2/11
INT: (10) Strike Rank 8 ------------         16-18 Left Arm 2/11
POW: (17) Armour : 'Almost-flesh'. --19-20 Head 2/12
CHA: (9) 
Abilities: Dark Sight, Grappler, Multi-Headed (3), Terrifying, Swallow (After successful grab), Psychic Emanations
Skills: Athletics19% Brawn 90% Endurance 80% Perception 70% Sing (Whistle) 95% Willpower 88% 
Combat Style: Clutching Horror
Weapon Size/Force Reach Damage AP/HP
Bite M T 1d6+2d6 As for Head
Claw H VL 1d6+2d6 As for Arm (victims grabbed , will be moved towards the mouth for biting and swallowing)

Special Notes: 
An immature Dream Whistler has only 2hp per location and no armour, but possesses a Movement speed of 6.

The Dream Whistler's Psychic Emanations can be detected only in sleep and only if the dreamer has passed close to the lair of the Dream Whistler. The Dream Whistler first attempts a psychic 'mark' which grants it a long range connection. This attempt is imperceptible to the victim. A Resisted Willpower roll is required, with failure indicating that the Dream Whistler has established a connection. From that point on, the Whistler will enter the dreams of the victim night after night...each night requiring another Willpower roll to resist sleep walking towards its lair. Whilst the Dream Whistler is present inside the mind of the victim, normal sleep is impossible, the victim being rendered Weary for the duration of the psychic onslaught. The victim, upon arriving at the lair of the Dream Whistler, does not awake and immediately nestles into the creatures blubber to glut itself on the creatures milk.

The Dream Whistler's milk is a POT 95 toxin (resisted by Willpower) that induces blissful hallucinations and subservience to the monster. For each week of suckling, the victim gains a point of SIZ and loses a point of CON.

As mentioned above, the Whistler is capable of using its psychic power to do more than merely lure the weak to their deaths. It is capable of launching a Psychic Wrack (see Luther Arkwright p.62) which damages the body of the target. It may spend 1 MP+1MP per target and, if it succeeds in a Willpower vs target's Willpower, deals an intensity 5 psychic burn to the victim. This manifests as d8 damage right to the head, bypassing any armour unless head gear is made of lead. For the purposes of magical protection, consider the psychic wrack to possess a magnitude of 3.

Note: Obviously the Dream Whistler makes an eerie whistling a fragment of a tune. This whistling sounds quite disarming and out of place.

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