Saturday, December 17, 2022

A Terrible Weight Pins you Down (A Monster for King of Kings)

On occasion one may wake up in the middle of the night, pinned down by a terrible weight, barely able to move. Sleep paralysis and terror in the night, shadowy forms crawling about you, your breath forced out from your lungs and your ribs pressed in to not let you take in air to replace it. Eyes staring out at you from the dark, hungry and avaricious.

This is the terrible bakhtak!

By Norma Tattoo, for the album Bakhtak by Hassan K., which you can listen to here. It's pretty good!

Number Encountered: 1
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 2 claws (1d6+1)
Armor: as chain
Morale: 8
Nightmare: The bakhtak can induce sleep and a sudden night terror in a target by simply pointing and giving them the evil eye. Save vs. paralysis or fall asleep and thrash about in an intense nightmare, with the chance of dealing damage to yourself if holding a weapon. The bakhtak's nightmare ability is stopped if its eyes are covered.
Nocturnal: A bakhtak is only ever encountered at night.
Nose for Treasure: A bakhtak can smell gold, silver, and jewels. If its nose is held, it will point you in the direction of nearby treasure.
Sleep Paralysis: The bakhtak sits on the chest of a slumberer, pinning them down. Determine who the bakhtak sits upon randomly, or if there is a particular member of the party which attracts the attentions of unclean spirits. They who the bakhtak sits upon, once they have woken up, must make a save vs. paralysis with disadvantage to be able to move at all, repeating every other round. The one sat upon by the bakhtak loses one point of CON and one point of WIS.
Unclean Spirit: Bakhtaks are unclean spirits and as such are able to be turned by those with the proper capability. They are immune to damage from mundane weaponry, and are immune to fire, acid, electricity, and large blunt force attacks like boulders. The only thing that can harm a bakhtak are immaterial weapons  and items specifically aimed at warding off unclean spirits.

The bakhtak appears as a dark, shaggy, shadowy thing, its long awful hairs swimming about in the air as if it were submerged. Above its moustache as dark as night sits a pale nose, and above that are two pinprick eyes which stare out like baleful stars. Its hands are like those of a woman more than a century old, knobby, lanky, and bent, but its legs are bestial and on thick haunches. It is these creatures which cause sleep paralysis, solely out of malice, taking delight in the discomfort and pain they cause when they suck all the air out of a sleeper's lungs in the night.

At the very least, however, the bakhtak does not wish violence on anyone. While they will use their crone claws to their defense in the rare circumstance that one has an ectoplasmic sword or painful warding rune of some sort, they will never kill anyone, only bring them near to death. After all, if they killed someone that is one less person to torment in their sleep. On top of this, if the sleeper or a friend of theirs is at least able to feebly reach up and grasp the nightmare's moon pale nose, the bakhtak will panic and point them toward the nearest cache of treasure. Normally, the bakhtak uses their awareness of nearby gold to mock the poor sleeper, tantalizingly bringing bounty to their attention in their fitful sleep only for it to be forgotten the next morning, but if one is able to grasp the thing's nose it can be very fruitful indeed. There are tales of great thief kings making their start extorting a sleep paralysis demon for its buried treasure.

But such successes are few and far between. Much more likely than grasping the bakhtak by the nose and forcing it to guide you to gold is that you stay pinned under its weight, for they are far heavier than their small hirsute appearance would suggest, barely able to breathe as you slide in and out of consciousness, the only thing remaining in your mind the vision of terrible hateful stars, a pair of them, staring at you from the night sky above, as shadowy hands surround you.


The bakhtak has been on my encounter tables for KoK for a while but I hadn't really written it up yet. It's not intended to be a fully fledged combat encounter, more a stressful weird set piece encounter, but I suppose you could fight it with the intention of grabbing its nose and pointing you toward treasure! RIP to whoever it is that got sat on though, unfortunate for them really.

Also, here's three drawings of nightmares/night hags by the great German expressionist Fritz Schwimbeck that don't really have much to do with the Iranian bakhtak but which I just think are cool:

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