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Monsters of the Greek Heroic AGE: Empusa

All heroes need foes to vanquish. Myths from a variety of ancient cultures involve people overcoming great odds to save their loved ones, to fight against the whims of gods, and to defeat the minions of those gods. This article introduces foes from classic tales of Greek mythology to Green Ronin’s Dragon Age system. Some will seem familiar. Some will have a different twist than you may have seen previously in other fantasy roleplaying games. They can be used as is for many campaign settings or you can re-skin them for use in Thedas.

I have tried to keep to the classical characteristics of the monsters described below as opposed to regurgitate characteristics shown in other roleplaying games. However, the recorded myths involving these monsters vary, and in some cases I have taken some poetic license in combining or leaving out some of the characteristics from myth.

The empusa awaits you beyond the jump.

Empusa

Exactly what empusae are is a mystery. One myth states that they are the daughters of the goddess Hecate and the spirit Mormo. Empusae are described as beautiful humanoids, with flaming red hair, but have one leg shaped like a donkey and a second leg made of brass. After seducing young men, empusae feast by paralyzing them with a kiss and then draining their blood. After the victim’s blood is drained, the empusa eats the victim’s flesh, leaving nothing but cleaned bones.

A second myth states that empusae are beautiful spectres from the underworld who ambush travelers on the road. Some stories state that these empusae can be chased off by insulting their looks.

A few sages speculate that both of these myths are true, and that the empusa can switch back and forth between spectre and corporeal forms.

Spectre Form

Abilities (Focuses)

-1

Communication

0

Constitution

2

Cunning

5

Dexterity (Draining Touch, Stealth)

4

Magic

2

Perception

-3

Strength

2

Willpower

Combat Ratings

Speed Health Defense Armor Rating

15

30

15

0

 

Attacks

Weapon Attack Roll Damage
Draining Touch +7 2d6 + 5 penetrating

 

Powers

Favored Stunts: Dual Strike (3 SP), Seize the Initiative (3 SP)

Incorporeal:  When in spectre form, empusae ignore the effects of terrain, which they can pass through, and non-magical damage, which passes through them. Only the damage wrought by spells and magic weapons harms them normally.

Manifest:  When in spectre form, the empusa can change to corporeal form as a major action. Any damage she has taken remains.

You’re Ugly:  Empusae are very conscious of their image when in spectre form, and they do not react well to insults. A successful Communication (Performance) test vs. the empusa’s Willpower will cause the empusa to flee, screaming.

Corporeal Form

Abilities (Focuses)

5

Communication (Deception, Persuasion, Seduction)

1

Constitution

2

Cunning

2

Dexterity (Bite)

5

Magic

2

Perception

1

Strength

2

Willpower

Combat Ratings

Speed Health Defense Armor Rating

12

30

12

0

Attacks

Weapon Attack Roll Damage
Bite +4 1d6 + 2

 

Powers

Favored Stunts: Skirmish, Disarm, Blood Drain.

Blood Drain:  When attacking with a Bite, the empusa may drain the vital energy from her target as a 3 SP stunt or if the target is paralyzed. The target takes 1d6 + 5 penetrating damage and this heals the empusa by the same amount. On a successful Constitution (Stamina) test vs. the empusa’s Magic, the damage is only 1d6 penetrating.

Paralyzing Kiss:  The kiss of an empusa acts as a paralytic. The target must make a successful Constitution (Stamina) test vs. the empusa’s Magic or be paralyzed for 1d6 rounds. This ability may not be used in combat.

Fade Out:  When in corporeal form, the empusa can transform into spectre form. Any damage she has taken remains.

3 Replies to "Monsters of the Greek Heroic AGE: Empusa"

Newcomer

January 6, 2014 at 9:36am

Missing a title heading on my browser (firefox 26.0)

Marc Radle

January 6, 2014 at 1:12pm

Yep, I’m seeing some really wonky display issues on this as well …

Wade Rockett

January 6, 2014 at 2:16pm

The title should be there now. Marc, do you see any other display issues besides that?