C is for Catoblepas

C is for Catoblepas, who does not like to romp,
Its death-gaze keeps visitors out of its swamp.

Catoblepas

Faerie Might: 30 (Animal)
Characteristics: Int —1, Per +3, Pre —5, Com —1, Str +6, Sta +3, Dex +1, Qik —3
Size: +2
Virtues & Flaws: Monstrous Appearance; 2 x Greater Power, Huge; Faerie Beast, Improved Powers, Tough; Wrathful; Incognizant, 2 x Poor Presence, Traditional Ward (religious symbols)
Personality Traits: Wrathful +6, Protective +3
Combat:
Hooves: Init —1, Atk +9, Dfn +7, Dam +7
Tusks: Init —3, Atk +12, Dfn +6, Dam +11
Soak: +6
Wound Penalties: —1 (1—7), —3 (8—14), — 5 (15—21), Incapacitated (22— 28), Dead (29+)
Pretenses: Athletics 2 (running), Awareness 6 (intruders), Brawl 6 (tusks), Penetration 1 (Corpus), Survival 4 (swamps), Stealth 5 (hiding), Swim 1 (sluggish waters)
Powers:
The Gorgon’s Gaze, 0 points, Constant, Corpus: The Catoblepas’ gaze kills those who look it in the eye.
(PeCo base 30, +1 Eye, +2 Sun, +1 Constant Power)
Its Poisonous Breath, 3 points, Init —6, Corpus: The Catoblepas’ breath inflicts an Incapacitating Wound. The Catoblepas must target an individual and the breathe is potent to Range: Voice. Wind and weather conditions can reduce the range to Touch.
(PeCo base 20, +2 Voice)
Vis: 6 pawns of Animal vis in six neck vertebrae.
Appearance: Take a warthog head, one that has been kicked around by the local footballers, attach it to a long, sickly-pink, fleshy neck, then afix the neck to the body of a big, black buffalo and you have the Catoblepas. Topped with a dark mane and beady red eyes, the Catoblepas is horrifically ugly, a misshapen, shambling beast that smells as bad as it looks.

The Catoblepas is a fearsome faerie originally from Ethiopia. The original Catoblepas lived in the swamps near the source of the Nile River, protecting the area from explorers. Other faerie Catoblepases can be found protecting other famous natural areas, usually the origin point of an important river.. Supposedly there is a Catoblepas guarding the source of the Danube River, the source of the River Shannon, and the source of the Seine.

While dim and incognizant, the faerie knows that it is powerful and that its breath and glance can kill. It purposefully leaves slain victims along access routes to the area it is protecting. This is both to warn and lure new victims. The Catoblepas gains vitality from the fear it engenders in those seeking the protected site; leaving victims as route indicators heightens the anxiety of new explorers. It prefers to surprise a group of people, kill one or two as a display of power, and then bask in the terror generated by the victims’ fleeing companions.

Unlike other faeries, even those in bestial form, the Catoblepas cannot talk. It has no interest in parleying with visitors. It’s sole role is to protect the source of the river and scare off those who would discover it.

Story Seed: A colleague writes the magi saying that he has captured a Catoblepas and needs help bringing it to his covenant. Will the magi travel to Ethiopia and help transport the faerie? It is perfectly safe, he writes, “I’ve covered the beast’s head in a burlap bag. Nothing could happen.”

Illustration by August Ryan.

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