Thursday, February 08, 2007

Monster: Nagpa

I'm constantly flipping through old D&D books looking for monster descriptions which might correspond to miniatures I have, whether the miniature is intended to be a D&D monster or not.

I'd purchased some minis at a hobby store in Davenport, Iowa, last year which were made by Crocodile Games This is a company that has a game called Wargods of Aegyptus, and they've got some amazing miniatures in that line. I'm planning on using their Basti figs as Catfolk and really expanding that race of creatures as Bast worshippers in my world. I know she is Sharess in the Realms, but no god minds expanding their worshipper base and the catfolk seem perfect for this.

At any rate, I was flipping through the Mystara Monstrous Compendium and saw the entry for the Nagpa on page 82. The illustration looks like the creatures from Dark Crystal, but I thought I could find a way to incorporate the Nekharu miniatures I got in Davenport into my campaign by using them as an altered version of Nagpas.

I left the creature entry essentially the same, but rather than having them created as a curse by non-specific "certain immortals" I tied them directly to the Mulhorandi pantheon which is based on Egyptian mythology. All the stats and most of the entry are the same, though priests who become nagpas don't have staves, they have daggers and skulls which have been enchanted to function as "rings of spell storing."

This is what I came up with:

Nagpas are, or rather were, Mulhorandi mages or priests of the god Set, a particularly nasty evil god in the Mulhorandi pantehon. They are cursed with this disfigurement for causing a great offense to Set, or for failing him in some spectacular way. This punishment is somewhat similar to what happens to drow priestesses who fail Lolth’s test and are transformed into driders.

After the transformation, nagpas are banished from Mulhorand territories and transported by magic to some far flung desert region, usually Anarauch, to wander the length and breadth of Faerun in search of powerful artifacts with which they might placate the angry god and be granted a lifting of the curse. The nagpa tend to be solitary in their search, believing that combining efforts will lessen their individual chance to be granted the boon of returning to their former selves. When nagpa do come together, it is often in order to combine efforts to research magic which might reverse the curse placed upon them all without having to return to Set and beg this gift from him. Every nagpa is aware that any petition which does not result in lifting the curse results in a horrible death.

So far as anyone knows, the Nagpa Curse cannot be removed by any spell less powerful than a wish, but they labor in hope of finding something that will help them. Nagpas will most often be discovered deep in ruined temples below the sands of the desert and will always have extremely large collections of powerful magic items. Their wizard laboratories will always be decorated as though a temple to Set, and they will have tried to curry favor with their god by attempting to spread his worship wherever they go, even though they secretly hate him for placing the curse upon them. This conflict tends to render their service to Set somewhat ineffectively, though they can have fanatical followers. Sometimes these followers detect the heresy of the nagpa’s resentment and they will revolt, killing the nagpa if they can as an offering to Set.

Extremely rare occasions may find a solitary nagpa traveling overland with a rare and powerful artifact on its way back to Mulhorand and a temple of Set.

Fortunately for the nagpa, and unfortunately for those who would plot against them, these creatures instinctively know if they are being ridiculed or plotted against anywhere within a 100-mile radius. It is believed that this is part of their curse. They can track such gossipers as long as the speakers remain in range. A nagpa's ears suffer a burning sensation that grows hotter as the nagpa gets closer to the individual who spoke about the race. Items such as amulets of non-detection protect speakers from the cursed detection of the nagpas. They are determined that none should mock them or work against them. When a detractor is found, he or she is immediately killed by the nagpa. It then wanders away, consumed with feelings of guilt, remorse, relief, and joy.

Similarly, chanting or being in the presence of those who are chanting to the worship and glory of Set has a cooling, calming, and sustaining effect on the nagpa. For each hour of such chanting the nagpa regains 1d3 hit points per chanter and the worship of Set itself nourishes them as though they had eaten a full meal. So long as they worship, or cause others to worship Set, they have no need for food or water. In fact, attempts to eat or drink normally cause 1d6 points of damage as though they were poisoned.

Ecology: These cursed creatures cannot eat, sleep, laugh, reproduce, or take part in any other activity enjoyed by living humans until the curse is lifted. Some evil mages use the skin of nagpas as parchment for scrolls of certain powerful necromantic spells.

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