Sunday, March 27, 2022

Parrot-Fiends of House Manati (and the Unceasingly Useful Dermestid Box)

I mentioned these creatures in my last post, so I felt it was probably a good opportunity to write them up and describe more about them! 

Its hand twisted backwards, perhaps a hint to its provenance.

Number Encountered: 1d6
Hit Dice: 2+2
Attacks: claws/bite (1d6/1d6+1)
Armor: as leather
Morale: N/A
Avian Screech: Parrot-fiends are able to let out an ear piercing shriek. This shriek will always attract 1d4 additional parrot-fiends, as well as 1d6+1 city guards or house Manati stooges depending on the context. Typically, a parrot-fiend will only screech either when they have someone in their undying grasp, or when they are close to dying.
Magic Resistance: Parrot-fiends have +4 to saving throws versus spells and magical effects.
Moonlight Power: Parrot-fiends are weak and delirious on the night of the new moon, and emboldened on the night of the full moon. 
Undying Grasp: The parrot-fiend may sacrifice its claw attack to instead attempt to ensnare a single human sized enemy in its grasp. The target of its undying grasp must make a saving throw or be captured, and once captured only a successful open doors roll with assistance will be able to free them.
Undying Loyalty: When confronted with the dermestid box (see below), they have advantage on their fleeing roll (i.e. they roll twice and take the better result).

The dreadful parrot-fiends are the foul undead creations of the sorcerous scions of House Manati, the descendants of the Conquering King's princes stationed in Elburz Satrapy all those centuries ago. They are created in a secret ritual, passed down only through one particular matrilineal of the noble house, that which claims descent from the stargazer wife Vani, third wife of Manat son of the Two-Horned Conqueror. This ritual is done only on the night of the full moon, its eerie greenish light bathing the princely sorcerer in unnatural energies. Other than this, very little is known about the creation of the parrot-fiends, and in fact nobody knows where the parts which make them are sourced; it is obvious that the things are the merger of the desiccated body of a human being and the head of a great big crimson parrot, but who the bodies are from is the subject of rumors and nobody in this part of the world has ever seen a parrot of such a hue or size before. Gossip and whispers that the Vani-Manatis use the bodies of dead servants or of slaves or of long dead ancestors are just hearsay, and only in far eastern hinterlands can it even be dreamed that such a large and brilliant red parrot may roost.

House Manati employs parrot-fiends as a gruesome additional security in their palatial estates and, most notably, in the rich princely quarter of Tabur, the Bay of Red-Feathered Plenty. This is not to say that they rely solely on parrot-fiends, since they are slow, incapable of communication, and can only be produced once a month, not to mention their eerie uncanny countenance that puts even members of House Manati on edge. The parrot-fiends are more roving jailers and alarm systems than actual guards or mercenaries; they only capture intruders for humans on Manati or municipal pay to deal with rather than being a true defense themselves. In Tabur, in fact, the city guards despise the parrot-fiends and find that the undead creatures take a significant portion of their job, and perhaps even obstruct their sovereign operation in a full quarter of the city. But the interests of Manati and of the lesser notables of the city are great, and the wishes of those who are protected by the shuddering corpses win the day. The city guards would be very kind to anyone who could at all bring the parrot-fiends down a peg, even if it means angering House Manati. Outside of Tabur, parrot-fiends are a fixture of Manati estates, with the exception of those lesser scions and isolated valley dehqans who the heads of the house deem unworthy of receiving any fiends. These less notable princes would do anything to have a parrot-fiend in their possession; having even one is a status symbol of sorts within the circles of the house. 

An officer of the guard, drawn a tad too messily (also an akinakes short sword)

Tabur City Guard
As a level one fighter (HD 1+1, ATK 1, AC leather+shield, MRL 7)
Officer of the Guard: Large groups of guardsmen may be led by an officer of the guard, a high ranking guardsmen, second only to the city's captain. Officers of the guard fight as city guards with a +1 to hit and armor as chain+shield. When an officer of the guard is present, all guardsmen have morale 9. Officers of the guard are identifiable by the banner upon their back that looms over the streets, decorated with the symbol of Tabur, the ancient basilisk.
Equipment: City guards wield maces or akinakes (short swords). Those stationed at or near the city walls carry bows. Additionally, they always carry with them rope for tying up targets.

House Manati Stooge
As a level one fighter (HD 1+1, ATK 1, AC leather, MRL 6)
Mercenary: Most, but not all, men at arms in the employ of House Manati are mercenaries in some form or another. Their allegiance is to coin or to land, not to the noble house. 
Equipment: House Manati stooges wield hand knives, wooden bludgeons, hatchets, or slings. All stooges will have slings and one such melee weapon.

The Unceasingly Useful Dermestid Box!
Not everyone can be initiated into the beauteous cosmic mysteries that provide the ability to turn the undead, and yet standing skeletons and crawling corpses are a perennial, albeit not overwhelmingly common, hazard to travelers along abandoned roads or delvers into dark depths! The solution, then, is to find the one thing which can prompt disaster for the dead: decomposition. Enter the dermestid box, a wooden export of that ever industrious city Humakuyun on the Sea. This is a wooden container wherein lies a crawling mass of skin-devouring beetles; by simply opening the box and tossing its contents on a beskinned undead foe, it is possible that faint memories of self preservation will prevail and the thing will stagger back at the thought of its skin and flesh being eaten.

Dermestid Box.....20 drachmae
A single use item that, when thrown on an undead target that still has its skin (skeletons and the like are unaffected) prompts a d6 roll to see if they stagger back in sudden realization. There is a 3-in-6 chance of a reaction. Some undead which are made feverishly loyal through special sorceries, such as the parrot-fiend, have advantage on this roll.


  1. I misread the creature's name as "Parrot Friend," and was sad when I realized it would want to turn me over to cops. ;_;

    This is a phenomenal little monster, and the dermestid box would be at home among the minor alchemical items commonly found on any table of purchasable equipment.

    1. Oh thank you very much! I'm glad you like the monster and I'm glad that the dermestid box feels right at home lol. Unfortunate that these things are fiends and not friends though... truly unfortunate.