Thursday, December 17, 2020

Accursed Ancestry of Agonizing Affliction (A Monster for King of Kings)

The saddest and most forlorn of all creatures are the nasnas, the mutant offspring of a jinni and a human. Unlike many other half-jinn, the nasnas were born with only half a body, and despite being the offspring of relations between a human and a spirit they are not half-spirits, nor are they spirits at all: the nasnas is a being of flesh and blood. Shunned by humanity for their monstrous visage and by jinn for their malformed physicality, the nasnas flee into the wilderness tearfully.

This is further not helped by their deadly touch. The touch of the nasnas rapidly dissolves the skin of whatever it touches; bark peels off of trees, forest mammals squirm and wriggle as they are skinned alive, and the air is filled with fearful screams of people watching their family members grow translucent and die. The nasnas does not want this... they wish they could just pet rabbits and embrace friends without watching their skin disintegrate before them.

Sometimes nasnas are brought in and taken care of by loving jinn or humans, but the majority find themselves huddling in caves as wolves hunt them down for their jinn ancestry and most thinking creatures do not help them. They are melancholic and anxious creatures who generally flee rather than engaging in direct confrontation. This varies, of course... some nasnas, when guided by others with more malicious intent, can use their foul touch for less savory purposes.

Although it is not as widely known, the flesh of the nasnas is one of the finest of meats, at least when it is cured or boiled to rid it of its disintegrating ability. It tastes sweet and salty, and melts on the tongue so softly. Hunting the nasnas is not an especially common activity, since they usually only feel safe to wander about at night, but on occasion hunting parties seek them out to slay them and cook them up. These groups are immediately identifiable by their thick black clothing which covers every inch of their bodies and their tall conical hats, often wielding bludgeons, bows, and knives.
By SamWolk on DeviantArt
(The Arabic text isn't written correctly sadly but it says nasnas)

Armor Class: 13
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: 1 x touch (disintegrate skin)
To-Hit: +2
Movement: 120' (40')
Saving Throws: D12/W13/P14/B15/S16
Morale: 5
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 35
Number Appearing: 1d8 (1d8)

Disintegration: Anyone successfully hit by the touch of the nasnas must make a save vs. death or have their skin rapidly disintegrate as they collapse to the floor limply.
Anxious Reaction: When making a reaction roll for a nasnas encounter, results of 2 and 12 do not make the nasnas automatically attack nor befriend the group. They will never attack except in self defense.
Wolf Enmity: Wolves despise the nasnas as they despise all jinn, and will attack them on sight.
Delicious Flesh: There is a 2-in-6 chance that a group of wandering nasnas is being chased by a nasnas hunting party.

Since the flesh of the nasnas is so important, I feel like it is a great opportunity to write up a Monster Menu-all entry for the creature! The Monster Menu-all is a project by the great OSR blogger and writer Skerples, which you can check out here. For those not familiar, the Monster Menu-all is a project where Skerples writes up info on the meat (or I guess plantflesh for plant monsters) of creatures from D&D bestiaries. Thus far there is an AD&D Monster Manual version (which is staggering in its detail and quantity) and a smaller version particular to monsters from the fantastic underdark book Veins in the Earth.

FLAVOR: Sweet and salty pork that melts unctuously in your mouth.
NOTES: Must be cured for several days or boiled completely through in order to not maintain its skin-melting quality. 
Roll (d10)Result
1A skinless death. The meat was not prepared correctly and it still disintegrates skin. You die as you skin turns translucent and melts off in seconds.
2-4Slow digestion. The flesh takes a very long time to digest, making you reek of nasnas for weeks to any with a strong enough scent. Wolves will believe you to be a nasnas and attack on sight, while nasnas may be more comfortable around you.
5-8No extra effect.
9Spirit vision. Eating the flesh of the nasnas has opened your eyes to the world of spirits, granting you the ability to always see spirits even if they are invisible, for one week.
10The tongue of the nasnas. Eating the nasnas has granted your tongue the ability to melt skin and flesh just as the touch of the nasnas does. This does not affect yourself, and can only be enacted by touching your tongue onto something. This effect is permanent.

The nasnas has been written up for D&D before already... the Brit Roger Musson submitted a nasnas monster to the Fiend Factory column in White Dwarf in the late 70s.

Roger's nasnas is pretty much just a gotcha monster that isn't very powerful but is meant to freak out the players with a weird appearance and a silly way to generate damage. The comment on the bottom about how these creatures would be able to reproduce is a missed opportunity... Roger didn't mention that the nasnas of folklore is the product of a human and a jinni! You will likely also notice that this rendition of the nasnas does not include either the delicious flesh nor the disintegrating touch; these are two elements of nasnas folklore which are not present in the text that most westerners would have seen the creatures in (the 1001 nights), but rather are elements from the Gulf of Aden. The delicious flesh of the nasnas is a trait particular to the area around Hadhramaut in Yemen, while the touch disintegrating the skin of those who come in contact is from the xunguruuf (pronounced hungruf for those not familiar with Somali pronunciation) of Somalia. Technically the actual account there is that those it touches become fleshless but I kinda like the image of skinlessness so I changed it a little bit. I just felt that these elements made the creature really interesting!

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