The Sluagh

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Climate/Terrain: Cerilia, near populated areas
Frequency: Rare
Organization: Host
Activity Cycle: Nocturnal, near midnight
Diet: Nil
Intelligence: Very (11-12)
Treasure: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic evil
No. Appearing: 1-20
Armor Class: 0
Movement: Fl 24 (B)
Hit Dice: 8
THAC0: 13
No. of Attacks: 2
Damage/Attack: 1d6/1d6
Special Attacks: Domination, poison
Special Defenses: Range
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: L (10' tall)
Morale: Elite (13-14)
Bloodline: None
Blood Abilities: None
Perception/Seeming: None/None
XP Value: 4,000

The Sluagh (SLOO-ah), or the Host of the Unforgiven Dead, are the spirits of Cerilians who have died with unspeakable crimes on their consciences. Rejected in the afterlife by their gods for their transgressions, the Sluagh become trapped on Aebrynis.

The Sluagh appear as vaporous apparitions. Their heads and upper bodies, though composed of gray mist, retain a human shape—indeed, their facial features might be faintly recognizable to those who knew them well. Their expressions still hold the malice and cruelty they did in life.

Below the waist, the figures taper off into foggy tendrils.

Were the spirits that comprise the Sluagh capable of remorse, they would not be sentenced to such a lousy way to spend eternity. The gods, after all, were once themselves mortal—they understand mortal weakness, and they understand forgiveness. But when death is the only reason an evil person stopped committing heinous acts, the gods feel quite justified in withholding the compassion the deceased never showed.

The unforgiven dead are sentenced to walk the earth until they have made up for their crimes. Unfortunately, those who make up the Host just never get it. They find fault with the gods for rejecting them instead of looking inward with a critical eye. They use their extended time on Cerilia as an opportunity to continue the plots and vendettas they began while alive. And they enslave the living into abetting their causes.

Combat: Though the Host of the Unforgiven Dead can be deadly in missile combat, they prove even more sinister in personal encounters.

Typically, the only sign of an impending Sluagh attack are gathering cumulonimbus clouds with high vertical development. The Host can easily hide themselves in these clouds to gain surprise

The Sluagh attack from the sky, hurling their invisible darts at those below. Each dart inflicts 1d6 points of damage. Two to three minutes after being hit, victims feel a burning poison (class B) enter their veins and must attempt a saving throw vs. poison for each hit. Failure means they suffer an additional 20 points of damage from the poison; success reduces the damage to 1d3 points.

Because the Sluagh attack from such a distance (clouds tend to be at least half a mile—880 yards—in elevation), they are out of range for nonmagical weapons and many offensive spells. Dungeon Masters may allow characters to use battle spells (as described in The Book of Magecraft and The Book of Priestcraft) during combat with the Host.

By far the most insidious encounters with the Sluagh come when they attempt to dominate (per the domination spell) a character's will. Driven by vengeance, a member of the Host sometimes descends from the clouds to speak to its victim. The malevolent being addresses the character in hypnotic, soothing tones to lower the victim's guard, then subjugates his or her will. The master then uses the character to carry out acts of vengeance against its old enemies. Should the victim avoid being killed by those enemies for his or her actions, and live long enough for the effects of the domination to wear off, the character must succeed at a system shock roll or die.

The Host of the Unforgiven Dead is a threat native to Cerilia, and therefore has no Seeming score. Even if members of the Sluagh adventured in the Shadow World while alive, upon death they lose any perception score they attained.

Habitat/Society: The Sluagh live in the great gray clouds that drift across Cerilia's night skies. From there, they launch their attacks on the living. The newly dead tend to focus their ire on enemies they had as mortals—particularly if their deaths occurred at the hands of such enemies. As time passes, however, this focused hatred expands to encompass all the living, from powerful kings to simple farmers to dumb animals. Those caught outdoors at midnight, be they men or beasts, risk dropping dead—the victim of an invisible dart. When someone dies unexpectedly, from no apparent cause, the victim is said to have caught the eye of the Host.

Ecology: The Sluagh not only interf e re in the affairs of the living, but also fight among themselves. Folk wisdom says that particularly violent storms indicate mighty clashes going on between factions of the Sluagh. Occasionally, the morning after such an event, their blood stains ro c k s and stones. The phenomenon is called shegh nan sluagh, or “blood of the Host.”