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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shadow Caryatid

These unusual undead are manifestations of the restless souls of innocent women slain by violence, driven to avenge their deaths. No one understands the exact conditions required to cause one of these creatures to appear, since the perpetrator of the violence usually doesn't survive long enough to explain.

Shadow Caryatids appear only between sunset and sunrise, vanishing instantly in the direct rays of the sun. They appear as a life-sized statue carved from pale marble depicting a slender female figure dressed in long, flowing robes and wearing a veil that covers her face. To most observers there is little else to see, but to the Caryatid's target, there is a sinister aspect to the figure, a hint of menace in the blind shadows hidden by the veil, a faint scent of blood in the air around her.

Caryatids are undead creatures, but not particularly evil. They avoid contact with anyone other than their victim, and never move while under observation, appearing to be nothing more than a mundane piece of statuary. They have the following characteristics:
  • Resilient Form - The stone flesh of a Caryatid has Superb toughness and quickly regenerates any damage done. Even if reduced to powder a Caryatid's body will fully reform with the next sunset.
  • Sudden Movement - A Caryatid can shift position in the blink of an eye, moving up to 200 yards in a single round, so long as she is unobserved. The creature is utterly silent while moving, and can instantly freeze in place.
  • Dread Aura - A 30 foot radius aura of dread surrounds the Caryatid, instilling a desire to flee in anyone within the area of effect. A Fair test of willpower negates this ability, though the Caryatid's victim suffers a one rank penalty on this test.
  • Hand of Doom - If the Caryatid is able to touch her target, the victim must make a Superb test of willpower or have the attribute drained one rank. This power only affects the Caryatid's target. Should the victim be reduced to zero willpower they are slain, their mind destroyed by the Caryatid's fearful aura. Victims slain by a Shadow Caryatid are invariably found crushed beneath a fallen statue.
The Shadow Caryatid will relentlessly follow their victim wherever they travel, moving swiftly and silently throughout the night. They approach their victims from behind, and always strike a grasping, reaching pose when near their target. As the victim's willpower is slowly destroyed they become more and more panic-stricken as terror slowly erodes their mind. Should their victim be brought to justice by mundane means the Shadow Caryatid will be freed from their unnatural life, their soul freed to ascend to whatever afterlife awaits them.
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