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All Of Them Witches: Nolzur's Nightwalker as THE PIPER IN THE WOODS


Rigel
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Thanks, all! I was very lucky with an extended period of great lighting, and getting that slow reveal was a lot of fun. Got to feature it as a Dreamlands Big Baddie in a game recently. 

On 10/30/2021 at 4:28 PM, rubegon said:

Reaper needs to make a Night Stalker in Bones 6.

I wouldn't say no to that! There are so many other color schemes to try...creepy grub-pale, lava horns, sickly green...

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    • By Rigel
      There are those that say that the monks at St. Fiacre's should not plant their vegetables so close to the churchyard, that it is unseemly to fatten the marrows, squashes, and pumpkins so close to human bones filled with human marrow. 

       
      Of course, the same voices don't complain when those same vegetables come to market, ripe and full of rich flavor. But that is another tale, and...
      ...wait, what is this? 

       
      Who comes here at this hour?

       
      A ruffian in disguise, bent on disturbing the bones in the cemetary?!
       
      Nay, ruffians plural! Grave robbers, here to trouble those at long rest under stone! 

       
      And who is this?!

       
      A sinister figure, clearly the ringleader.

       
      "Go now, and find me that wizard's grave!"

       

       

       
      A little foxfire around the eyes and mouth of a carved pumpkin will frighten the superstitious into thinking these grave-robbers are haints. 
       
      "Not one stone in ten is as it was in the old times; be sure where ye dig!"

       
      "Wait, lads--what is that light?!"

       
      "That's no sexton's lamp! Take to your heels, boys!"

       
       

       
      It is, perhaps, only fair that those who mock Jack O'The Lantern get to see the original. A variant of Jack In the Green, easily summoned. 

       
       
      "BOOOOO!"

       
      "YOU WHO TRESPASS ON THE ROW / YOUR FLESH WILL MAKE THE PUMPKINS GROW"

       
       

       
      "'Tis every man for himself, lads, and devil take the hindmost!"

       

       

       

       
      "TAKE THE HINDMOST? SO BE IT!"

       
       
       

       
      "AH HA HA HA HAAAAA!"

       

       
      As I said, the pumpkins from St. Fiacre's are always welcome at market. Something about the tender flesh and delicate taste, the kind you don't find elsewhere.

       
      Rumors that a wealthy patron of the monastery was a sorcerer are just that--old wives' tales. And the story of a guardian appointed to keep his rest secure 'till doomsday? Obviously also fictitious.

       
      Old wives will talk; this is well-known.

    • By Rigel
      A barren, frozen planet. A pristine icefield, burnished and cleared by constant katabatic gales. Graven in elegant Old High Martian glyphs a meter deep in the never-thawing ice, a mathematical proof of such beauty and elegance as to make a genius weep...and a series of universal planetary coordinates. No advanced species could forbear to investigate further!

      These are the work of the Neh-Thalggu, more commonly known as the Braincrabs. Know them. Fear them. Do not trust them.


      Rugose and four-limbed, the first instar is little more than a brain-shaped crustacean beast. (Little Nolzur's Intellect Devourers, came with the Alhoon or Illithilich.) They are shed when the parent has a surfeit of brains and wishes to jettison lesser ones to make room for greater. 

       
      Most perish, being less clever than their prey. But if one can bring down a sentient creature through luck and stealth and devour its central ganglion or brain...it begins to grow, absorbing the knowledge and cunning of its prey, much as some sea slugs repurpose the stinging cells of their prey and make them their own.
       
      After absorbing a few brains, the instar grows into a juvenile. This involves generating more frontal eyes  and a pair of brutal skull-cracking pincers. Recently-added brains are sequestered into thin-shelled bubbles, an adaptation to make sure other, stronger Braincrabs do not kill them when marauding. 

       

       
      The juveniles are very dangerous, acting as psionic predators with the strength of a tiger and the intelligence of three or four sentient creatures, all brought to bear on the problem of obtaining more brains. Depending on its previous history, it is very likely to outwit the average sentient being.

       

       

       
      A Braincrab that has assimilated more than eight brains again metamorphoses, this time into a mountainous, many-limbed hulk, a spiny rugose colossus with a first-class think tank worth of neural tissue working for it. Psionic power abounds, and the elder Braincrab can create immersive illusions at-will or psychically dominate lesser wills. 

       

       

       


      The really unpleasant bit is the way it will out-argue you and succeed. It can make an excellent claim to being a Utility Monster, better at experiencing both reality and pleasure in the cosmos than us single-brained chumps. And what gives it the most pleasure, on the level you and I could never experience? (for so it claims, and has data to back it up--is the data faked? if so, it's too good for us to be able to tell!)? Why, devouring and assimilating more sentient brains! Do you have inconvenient brains in your society? Antisocial or sociopathic ones? It can redirect those energies! Oh, it's a persuasive monstrosity!
       

       

       

       
      The Martians fear and detest them, of course, having as they do great juicy brains practically dripping psionic energy. 

       
      But hunting something that is hunting you, while your strongest weapon is their favorite prey--it's not easy!

       
      A Martian High Intelligencer can outwit all but the eldest Braincrabs, but the gamble is a perilous one indeed. You do NOT want a braincrab with the powers of a High Intelligencer. That's how you get a planet converted to a brain farm, which in turn leads to Great Old Ones. Not even once! 

       

       
      Oddly, the best defense against the Braincrab is a hive of the insectoid Mandibulate Commonweal. One has the intelligence of a beast, two of a slightly smarter beast, five of an average human...and a whole hive can rival a supercomputer. Their individual brains are not worth a Braincrab's attention, and yet the hivemind can outmaneuver it intellectually as easily as the workers can swarm and savage it physically. 

      The Commonweal will not gain knowledge from the reclaimed brains, though. Only nourishment. 
       
      Below, how to make a juvenile Braincrab.
       
       
       
    • By Rigel
      Been doing some butchery, some Frankensteining lately. Particularly for my sci-fi setting. And has it produced results!
      First, the ingredients.
      A while ago, I ordered a Reaper Burrowing Behemoth (44058) and it was a fantastic sculpt. But I got two left feet, to match my own. Customer service quickly replaced it, because Reaper is THE BEST--but now I had some leftover insectile CLAWS!

      Then, Nolzur's came out with an Ankheg. Segmented, metameric abdomen, mantid-like foreclaws, two pairs of limbs, shield-like, many-eyed spiky head.
       
      And also with a set of hideous ...Quori? Never heard of, maybe a Pathfinder thing  apparently an Eberron aberration. One of them is a grotesque tailed many-limbed squirmer with big ol' pincers. 

      And with an Alhoon with many spell-effect tentacles.

      Now, I have a few factions of spacemonsters. One is insectile, and I gave a Burrowing Horror a third set of ankheg limbs to bring us to six total...
       

       

       
      ...while giving the burly Horror claws to an Umber Hulk:
       

       

       
       

       

       
      Now everyone has six limbs and I can rest easy! 
      BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE
       
      Another faction is the horrid Crawlers. These I have posted before, and are mostly Bathalians. Shield-like heads, mouth tentacles, squirmy bodies, appendages made to mutilate and maul. 
       The Tsucora Quori are warty and rugose and squirmy and pincered, but lack the characteristic head and tentacles.

       

       
      But a Chronoscope Hound of Tindalos (50289) has just the right kind of head on a lean and easily repurposed body! A little green stuff to fill in the Quori's unmistakable eyes and nostrils, and a little work with some wire cutters, and behold!

       

       

       
      Oh yeah, that's a Bathalian! 

      I also snipped some tentacles from the Nolzur's Alhoon to give our Craboid Black Cat Alien (see link to Crawlers, above) the mouth-tendrils it deserves.

       
      Wait, but what of the mutilated Ankheg? 
      Oh, it fits in with the Crawlers just fine now. 

       

       
      Happy crafting, folks!
    • By Rigel
      "This is the maiden all forlorn
      That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
      That tossed the dog
      that worried the cat
      that chased the rat
      that ate the malt
      that lay in the house that Jack built."
       

       
       
      A nice crisp sculpt by Bobby Jackson! This lovely young lady served as an NPC in an All Of Them VVitches game I finished recently.
      The game was based on the nursery rhyme "The House that Jack Built" coupled with an ergotism infection plot. Our PCs were called to investigate into incidents of violence and madness in the town of Millsbach, home of Jock Jocksson's brewery and famous Red Rye Ale. There are rumors of witchcraft, or Devil curses, or the displeasure of the Good Folk. The PCs need to solve this without giving traction to any of these rumors.
       

       
      Beccah Burns here is a fine milkmaid, but the cow up and gored her in the arm last week after getting out of the fence and into the millet and rye fields nearby. She is at the age where everything bad is a catastrophic disaster. Drinking ergotized milk is doing nothing for her emotional state.

       
      She is also deeply infatuated with Angus, a local farmer (and he with her) whose chickens have been eating leftover infected grain from the brewery, causing the chickens to savage him whenever possible.
      (This is the man all tattered and torn in the rhyme.)

       
      Fortunately, after several violently hallucinatory episodes, our PCs managed to figure out what was going on and destroy the stocks of tainted rye as well as several giant rat-men who may or may not have actually existed. Angus wound up a bit of a local hero after blowing up a grain mill, and the PCs got invitations to the young lovers' wedding! Fun times. 
       
      More pix, you know the drill.
       
    • By Rigel
      Sometimes happy accidents of design work out great! Wizkids/Nolzur's put out a two-pack of constructs recently, including this little Stone Defender. The box art has a lot of wooden components, but the overall shape is pure pulp robot, from the cycloptic lens to the bulbous lower legs to the weird backpack doohickeys. Looked a lot like a flashing strobe or siren light above some wind-up keys, and the tubes on its 'ankles' might be the same. 
       
      So here it is, a sentry-bot, on lone vigil at the spaceport.


       

       

       


       
      and with some colleagues from Hydra's Robot Legion!
       

       

       
      C&C welcome: I know there are a heck of a lot of mold lines and I feel the OSL could be better, especially on the red flasher. 
       
      Also featured: 72611, the Power Generator from CAV, and 72612, Small Storage Tank. Great sci-fi set dressing. 

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