UL BANNER

DOLMENWOOD BANNER

3/12/2011

The House Knoblin

This creature was inspired by a dream I had several minutes ago. I'll try to recall it as best I can, but already I can feel it becoming hazy. 

I'm standing near a kitchen table. My mother is sitting there, and sitting across from her is a little man. I know who and what he is, but he doesn't have a name. He is no more than three feet tall and has the face of an old drunk, save for his unnaturally large eyes and ears. His clothes are raggedy. He lives in this house -- my mother's house -- but he is not a proper resident. The little man is eating a bowl of stew. He says nothing but occasionally looks up at me. "I was thinking I might take him out to the bar," I am telling my mother. It was a preposterous thing to say, because no one gave that sort of attention to these little whatever-they-ares. "I believe you would do that," she says and smiles. "Well, would you like that?" I ask him. He looks at me hopefully, but says nothing.

"Old Beggar" by Reinhardt Sobye

HOUSE KNOBLIN
FREQUENCY:  Common
NO. APPEARING:  See below
ARMOR CLASS:  3
MOVE:  15"
HIT DICE:  3
% IN LAIR:  90%
TREASURE TYPE:  See below
NO. OF ATTACKS:  1 (scratch)
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  1d6
SPECIAL ATTACKS:  Memory loss
SPECIAL DEFENSES:  Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE:  Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Average
ALIGNMENT:  Neutral or Chaotic Evil
SIZE:  S (2 1/2' to 4' tall)
PSIONIC ABILITY:  See below
LEVEL/XP VALUE:  VI/635

The average house knoblin appears to be a diminutive, non-descript old codger dressed in threadbare garments which look as though they came from someone's garbage pile. They are rarely encountered outside but are a common enough site in the homes of peasants and rustics, whose company they seem to prefer. All knoblins are fond of beer and cheese. Dogs do not seem to be aware of them. Cats avoid the creatures but otherwise exhibit no animosity toward them.

Knoblins are a sort of magical infestation that is normally harmless when dealt with in the correct fashion. They can appear out of the blue. The farmer's wife might find a knoblin warming its hands by the hearth after dinner, though the door to her cottage was locked and her windows all shut and latched. If there is a way to guarantee that your home will never have a knoblin in it, it is a preciously guarded secret.

At first, the knoblin seems to be mute. It will point and nod or shake its head, but very little else. When it does begin speaking, a new phase of the infestation has begun (see below).

Once a knoblin has taken up residence, there is no telling when it will leave. How the master of the house treats the creature will dictate the course of events. Only a fool would deny a knoblin a bit of food now and then, especially when it signs for it. Often they will sleep under the master's bed, but sometimes they prefer places higher up, such as the mantle or the top of a cupboard. 

Provided that its host treats the knoblin like a welcome guest, no trouble will come from it and it will never speak. Things go sour when the knoblin is mistreated, which includes kicking it out of the way or mocking it or denying it supper. Then the creature will begin talking at all hours of the night, having strange conversations with itself that often devolve into loud arguments. Its appearance will gradually become more sinister as well. The thing's fingers will elongate and sprout ragged-looking claws which it will use to scratch furniture, walls, sleeping children, dogs and any who approach it. When a knoblin is in misery -- as this state is commonly called -- there is a 10% every day that an additional knoblin will appear. The same rules apply to this second guest, who will be affable enough until he is mistreated. A content knoblin and a miserable knoblin ignore one another, but when both are discontent they will become quite loud at night. They may howl and bark and smash dishes and pull the cat's hairs out -- one by one -- till the poor thing is bald. 

Only a gift from a stranger may (40%) appease a miserable knoblin and render it content again. But this is no guarantee and it's more than likely (80%) that the knoblin will revert to its tantrums the following week unless it receives another gift from a different stranger. These strangers may be known to the host but must be new to the knoblin, never having come to the house while it was knoblin-occupied.

Knoblins have the ability to become invisible at will and can put any creature to sleep with a word once per day for 1d6 hours (no save). When a person is scratched by a knoblin there is a 50% that the victim will forget everything, not unlike someone afflicted with amnesia. This includes the memory of what the victim was doing or saying at the moment the scratch occurred. A span of time (1d8 hours) must pass before memories will begin to return. (For the purposes of my own campaign -- which uses a memory cell chart -- a character loses the use of his/her memory cells until the amnesia has passed.)

Those who treat a knoblin well may find themselves rewarded later (20%). After the creature leaves, a map leading to a nearby cache of valuables might be found somewhere in the house. Invariably this hoard will contain items stolen from those houses the knoblin lived in previously. These might include cutlery, silver coins, rings (magical or non-), and miscellaneous knickknacks that could potentially be valuable.  

5 comments:

  1. is this something of your own creation? these things are great. so many quirky and interesting things i hope we encounter!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like these kind of infestation/curse creatures that bring to mind fairy tales and medieval folklore.

    Incidentally, urbandictionary.com has a definition of knoblin as "Someone who is extremely skilled at the art of fellatio." In the words of George Takei: Oh my. :O

    ReplyDelete
  3. @joby: Yep, it's my own beastie. I was thinking certain areas of the campaign world would be more infested than others.

    @ze bulette: That's...kind of...awesome! I guess I should've figured, given that knob is a synonym for man-junk.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Without dreams, where would fantasy be?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kinda creepy... but in the same way that the original fairy tales were kinda creepy.

    ReplyDelete