Creatures of Athas: K'lgythk
A new creature for your Dark Sun games - the deadly K'lgythk.
The crimson sun began its descent out of the olive-tinged sky. Only a few moments after the sun dipped below the horizon, the heat of the day began to ebb away, promising another frigid night. Ulinar gathered up his bedroll into his pack, flung the two waterskins over his shoulder and belted on his sword. Preparing to depart, Ulinar went still when a sound caught his attention. Lifting his head towards the disturbance, Ulinar caught a faint movement from the corner of his eye. Scanning the area, but detecting nothing out of the ordinary, Ulinar presumed the cooling breeze was playing tricks on him and readjusted his pack and waterskins in a more comfortable position for the night’s journey. However, just to be safe, he opened his palm to the ground to draw the needed life force to cast a spell. Pulling a pinch of dried carrot from his belt pouch, Ulinar completed the incantation and began scanning the area with magically enhanced vision. He did not detect any activity beyond the breeze and small scavengers emerging from their dens, so he began to walk towards the cliffs.
It seemed, tonight, that the cliff face Ulinar was heading towards was closer than it had appeared this morning when he bedded down, which made him feel better. After his travels in this region of the world, he would be more than happy to return home to Urik, and his mentor and friend, Aliana. They had gone their separate ways when Ulinar decided he had learned enough and wanted to see more than Urik’s city walls, so he had left, leaving behind only a promise to someday return. After two years of wandering the Tablelands and beyond, he was ready to go home - at least for a short time.
The evening was tapering off to a pleasing coolness, not the frigid night Ulinar thought it was going to be, and that made traveling bearable, even bordering on pleasurable. With these conditions, Ulinar was making good time and in what seemed like almost no time at all, he noticed Ral had risen to its zenith, with Gunthay not far behind. With all the light the moons gave this night, Ulinar wondered of the prudence of using one of his more powerful spells so early in the evening. Shrugging off his doubts, Ulinar began a steady jog, recalling the fact that he had not seen one of the kreen in almost five nights and invigorated by the thought of being closer to home with each step.
Although the brisk pace brought the distant city closer, it was thirsty work. Slowing so he might take a drink from one of his waterskins, Ulinar lifted the skin towards his parched mouth and glimpsed movement off to his left. Quickly turning to look, without so much as a drop of water reaching his lips, Ulinar gasped in surprise, seeing a group of strange animals in the distance, watching him. Too far away to be able to discern what they were, Ulinar decided it would be advisable to be on his way. With that, he again raised the waterskin, quickly drank and resumed jogging in the direction of the cliffs.
Looking back to see if the creatures were going to follow, Ulinar stopped short, for there was nothing there now. Scanning the area where the animals were, a pang of fear raced through his heart. Where did they go? They couldn’t have moved that fast, could they? Being a cautious individual, Ulinar began to draw on the life force around him once again. Plucking an eyelash and pulling a piece of gum from his pouch, Ulinar spoke the syllables and released the energy that would cloak him from sight. Confident that he was a little safer now, he started for the cliffs.
Jogging into the better part of the night while watching his trail for the strange animals he had seen, Ulinar watched as Ral began to wane with Gunthay not far behind. Looking ahead to see if an adequate place to rest for the day ahead would present itself, Ulinar was barely able to discern the sound of movement from behind him. Turning to see what it was, Ulinar was shocked to see the creatures he thought were far behind him. They were now at a closer distance than before, and he was able to make out their appearance, barely. Only the remaining light from Ral and Gunthay allowed him to see them at all, even with his enhanced vision.
Ulinar quickly dropped to a crouch, placing one hand on his sword and opening the palm of the other. Looking at these strange beasts, Ulinar felt a twinge of terror when he realized he had heard of these beasts. When the strange halflings he had met described hairless cats without eyes, which devoured kreen and halflings alike, he thought it an embellished tale meant to scare him, but now Ulinar had reason to believe those strange folk.
Taking advantage of the distance left between them and the magic that protected him, Ulinar studied the beasts. The six creatures before him had jet black skin and eyes that were as dark as their skin, giving them the impression of having none. Deciding to wait to see if the creatures would leave, Ulinar’s heart began to beat fiercely when he noticed they were looking right at him.
Was this some strange effect caused by the blackness of their eyes, giving the appearance of looking directly at him? Or could they truly see him?
Ulinar was given the answer within moments of the thought when the beasts charged directly at him. Assuming the creatures could see him, Ulinar thought it wise to use the time it would take the animals to reach him for defensive purposes. Summoning the energy for a spell, Ulinar formed the raw energy to his will and released it to bring up four images of himself. Drawing his sword, a parting gift from Aliana, the steel gleamed in the waning light of the moons as Ulinar stood his ground, ready to engage these beasts for his life.
When the first creature was upon him, Ulinar made a quick jab at the beast’s body but was taken back when the creature deftly twisted from his assault, barely nicking the cat-like thing. Composing himself, Ulinar made ready for another lunge at one of the circling beasts. Raising his sword for the attack, Ulinar gasped as he was assailed by a fury of claws and teeth. It felt as if each of these monstrosities had struck him with deft precision. Feeling the blood flow from him, Ulinar began to panic, but quickly brought it under control when he realized letting his fear take control was surely the quickest path to his death.
With sword poised to strike, Ulinar released an onslaught upon his attackers. Once again, surprise and fear raced through Ulinars chest, for the creatures deftly evaded his strikes and those that did hit their mark failed to slice into the thick hides of the offending creatures.
At this point, terror truly struck Ulinar, and it was a force greater than the combined wrath of his opponents. Unable to keep fear at bay this time, Ulinar fumbled with his pouch grasping for the bits of fur bound to a small glass rod needed to cast his remaining powerful spell. Unable to control the fear gripping him, Ulinar drew the life force of the plants around him too quickly, and in shock witnessed the land around him turn as black as his foes hide.
Ulinar, appalled by what he had done, did not notice that his attackers were stunned from his spellcasting, which had granted him the needed time to finish the spell. A brilliant blue-white crackling energy shot from Ulinars hands, striking the fell beasts in front of him, three in a row. The bolt hit the first creature and dissipated into nothingness.
Staring at the beast, trying to rationalize what he just witnessed, Ulinars jaw fell open in bewilderment. That spell should have torn the thing to pieces! It should not be standing there, nor should the two behind it!
Rage began to swell in Ulinars heart. Anger at these beasts that had attacked him. Anger at himself for not being more cautious. Using this rage to fuel a final assault on these creatures, Ulinar swung the sword with a power he had never felt before. Determined to prove himself better than these…things, Ulinar was a terror to behold.
Ulinar’s sword strokes fell upon the beasts. He knew not if it was only one or all. Ulinar felt the hot spray of blood across his face and neck and lifted his sword again, and felt blood drip down his legs. As he brought the weapon to bear once more, it seemed heavier. Determined to win, Ulinar swung the heavy steel down, unable to see for there was blood and fury in his eyes. Ulinar heard a yelp and twisted his head around with maddening slowness; through the blood, a bright spot appeared in the distance.
Reaching up to wipe the blood away, Ulinar could see the crimson sun ascending into the sky…and then it was gone.
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Crimson Savanna / Rajaat’s Swamp
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
ACTIVITY CYCLE: Nocturnal
INTELLIGENCE: See Below
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Evil
NO. APPEARING: 2-20
ARMOR CLASS: -2
HIT DICE: 7
NO. OF ATTACKS: 5
SPECIAL ATTACKS: See Below
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See Below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Nil
SIZE: M (6 feet long)
LEVEL/XP VALUE: 5000
PSIONICS SUMMARY: Dis 1/Sci 2/Dev 2; PSPs 45
Att: none; Def: IF
PLAYER’S OPTION: #AT 1; MTHAC0 17; MAC 5
CLAIRSENTIENT: Sciences - True Sight, Clairvoyance; Devotions - All-round vision, Combat Mind.
K’lgythk are large, feline predators of the Crimson Savanna and Rajaats Swamp. They appear to be large panther-like creatures at first glance, but upon closer inspection, it is apparent they do not have fur, instead possessing a skin that is a sleek ebony color that makes them almost invisible at night. To give them an even stranger appearance, k’lgythk have eyes that are jet black, with no visible iris or pupil, giving them the appearance of being blind, which is not the case, for they have exceptional vision and are able to see into the infrared (Infravision 120 feet).
Some stories are told in the Crimson Savanna that these creatures were not always as they are now. It is believed these creatures were small, docile animals that could be kept as pets, but some force seems to have twisted and changed them from the animals they were to the monsters they are today.
These creatures are now one of the most feared predators that roam the Crimson Savahnna and horror stories are told of the wake from a hunting party of k’lgythk. Kreen villages have been ripped asunder and halfling scouting parties have returned with only 1 or 2 members able to crawl back to the Cliffs to gasp their last breath about the dreadful things that slaughtered the others…
This plague, of sorts, seemed confined to the Savanna until the Great Earthquake opened a rift to the Tyr Region…it is now only a matter of time until they discover this entry into a new land.
Combat: K’lgythk usually hunt in groups of 2-20. They hunt at night for the most part and are rather stealthy, partially due to their dark hides, which give them the ability to hide in shadows (50%); they also have the ability to move silently (75%). K’lgythk are able to track their prey by scent, giving the hunted less chance of escape.
Another thing that makes k’lgythk so dangerous, is that when they assemble in greater numbers, the group as a whole becomes more intelligent. Although it is by no means a great intelligence, these creatures become quite deadly when they assemble in large numbers and gain the ability to form plans and strategies. The intelligence increases as follows:
|Number of K’lgythk||Intelligence|
5 is the maximum intelligence k’lgythk can achieve with greater numbers, which is one reason they travel to in maximum of 20 per pride.
When k’lgythk have tracked their victims, depending on how many are present, they may have a plan of action and when the attack is made, they do so with a devastating 5 attacks per round: 2 front claws, 2 rear claws, and a deadly bite. On a roll of a natural 20 on a claw attack, damage is doubled, which would be considered a rake.
A k’lgythk’s greatest ability does not lie in their physical attributes, but their ability to absorb and drain magical properties. Although not considered magic resistance, this attribute works in a similar way. Any spells cast which would directly affect a k’lgythk is absorbed by the targeted creature. If injured, any spell directly affecting the k’lgythk will heal the injured k’lgythk 1 HP per spell level. This occurs with both arcane and clerical magic. Any spell cast that would not directly affect the k’lgythk will occur normally, such as a haste spell cast on oneself.
This ability also works on items that have a magical enchantment which are within 60 feet of any k’lgythk. A Saving Throw vs Magic is allowed (use the owner’s Saving Throw).
Habitat/Society: K’lgythk gather in groups of 2-20 and usually have hunting grounds ranging from 40-100 miles. Within this range, they mostly hunt other animals, but will move on if food is sparse. They will also leave their grounds if they catch the “scent” of magic. Anything with a magical enchantment or any spellcasters always capture the attention of these creatures. In larger groups, k’lgythk will attack small villages if they are hungry, or sense any magic in the area.
When there are 4 or more k’lgythk in a group, one of the k’lgythk will assume the role of “leader”. This does not grant any additional bonuses, but if the leader is killed, the others will fall into a squabble over whom should lead now, unless the number of k’lgythk drops to 3 or less, at which time they will either press the attack, or flee (make a Morale check with the appropriate modifiers)
Ecology: K’lgythk have a lifespan of 23 years. Most encounters with k’lgythk are normally very disorienting: they attack in the night with great stealth, giving the appearance of supernatural creatures, and giving rise to the stories that abound from their exploits. Rarely, when one is killed, a skilled tanner may be able to make armor from their hide. If done correctly, it will have the properties of leather armor, but with a 4 AC. Anyone attempting this feat would have to use the Leatherworking and Armorer Proficiencies with checks made at a -3.
Due to the fact k’lgythk strike with speed and stealth, there is not a great deal of information about these terrifying creatures. Mostly all that exists are stories, often embellished, with little truth, that only enhance the fear these monsters cause.