Thursday, October 29, 2015

[Cryptworld] The Month Of Things: Screaming Skull

A Caterwauling Cranium for Cryptworld

STR: NA --- WPR: 8 (120)
DEX: NA --- PER: 3(45)
AGL: NA --- PCN: 6 (90)
STA: NA --- PWR: 130
ATT: 1/* --- WND: 0*

Experience: 1,000

A screaming skull is a form of ghost (Cryptworld rule book, page 60) that remains tethered to the last remnant of its former self -- its severed skull. (The skull can be said to be "haunted" by the restless spirit.) The creature has a supernatural attraction for a specific location that held great meaning to it during its life, usually a beloved home or residence, although it could also be a favorite club, a friend's house, etc. In death, the spirit has a need to be anchored to that location for all eternity, and it will bring down great vengeance on those who dare to remove it from its favorite "haunt." Those who reside at the location usually have inherited the skull along with instructions to always keep the skull at hand lest it voice its hellish displeasure.

There are two kinds of screaming skulls that could be encountered: passive and active.

Passive screaming skulls are satisfied with their existence as long as they remain within the confines of their preferred haunt. These skulls prefer to be placed on public display, for example, resting in the center of a dining room table as a macabre centerpiece or sitting on a fireplace mantle for all to see. (To keep the peace, the skull's owner allows this grim relic to remain on display.) If the screaming skull is ever removed from the confines of its haunt, the skull will begin wailing and screaming at random intervals soon after being removed. This terrifying caterwauling usually terrorizes the thief into returning the object. However, if the skull is not returned to its former residence within the first 24 hours, it will lash out at the person who removed it with its Shriek of the Accursed power. It will continue to use this power once a day against its kidnapper until that person is dead or until it is returned. If the person who removed the screaming skull dies before they can return the grisly artifact, the screaming skull will suddenly "reappear" at its proper haunt within the hour.

Active screaming skulls are angry that they have not crossed over and horrified that they remain locked into their vessel. These screaming skulls truly do "haunt" their preferred locations by their constant wailing and moaning. The amount of noise the screaming skull will produce varies: some will constantly whimper and cry without stopping, whereas others will scream and shriek once every couple of weeks for a few ear-splitting moments before going silent again. These screaming skulls must also remain in their preferred haunt, although they are not as picky when it comes to their location. Their owners have been known to seal them behind brick walls, hide them in closets and desk drawers, or tuck them away in steamer trunks in the basement or attic. Although the constant caterwauling can be lessened with these methods, it can never be completely silenced. As with the passive skulls, an active skull will attack anyone who removes it -- usually the location's owner, now desperate for any respite from the shrieking. The screaming skull will curse the victim with its Shriek of the Accursed before it suddenly reappears at its proper haunt. (It will not wait for the victim's death, as it simply wants to return home.)

Screaming skulls cannot be attacked in the typical fashion. Any blows visited upon the skull will be ineffective as the skull can reform itself even from catastrophic damage. The only way to destroy the screaming skull is to give the residing spirit rest by rejoining its skull with the rest of its body. But even if the location of the body is known, the skull will not allow itself to be removed form the premises without attacking. Usually the best course of action in dealing with a screaming skull is to leave it alone.

Screaming Skull Powers

Shriek of the Accursed: When the screaming skull uses this power, it opens its jaw as wide as it can and releases a soul-shattering scream of anger, fear, and anguish. All within hearing range must make a fear check on column 6 and suffer the results of the terrifying wail. The person who removed the skull that the skull has specifically targeted will also hear the shriek, regardless of where they are in relation to the skull's location. (Even if they have thrown the skull into a well and driven off, they will hear the skull's shriek as if the skull were beside them.) The targeted victim will immediately take Medium Damage as per a successful Armed Combat Result (2d10 x 2 STA and three Wounds). Finally, upon hearing the shriek of the accursed for the first time, the target victim's LUCK score will drop to 0 permanently. This is usually enough to prompt the remover into returning the skull to its rightful location as quickly as possible.

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