Canopy Troll by: Ben McFarland

Canopy Troll by: Ben McFarland

We didn't realize what was happening at first. There was a scream and a muffled thump as the mule tumbled off the trail and into the brush. Then again, and again; they dropped from the trees and into our line. The porter in front of me was dashed against a treestump, the awful creature riding him to the ground as its gory black claws tore chunks from his back. I saw too of them pull a warrior limb from limb. Without thinking, I kicked my mount into a gallop and ran. Gods above, I ran.

Canopy trolls possess incredibly sharp claws and amazing regenerative powers, allowing them to recover from nearly any wound. Hunched over, amazingly ugly, and sporting two overlong arms, canopy trolls swing from branch to branch in tall forests, hunting to sate their voracious appetites. Standing between 3 and 4 feet tall, their arms bow at the elbows, hands easily touching the ground as they walk. Fast and fearless, they often rush foes on the ground to distract them from the two or three fellows about to leap on a target from above. Social pack hunters, they quickly dismember and drag their catches up, into the trees to eat without fear of interruption.

Their hides are mottled greens and browns, matching the local bark and mosses. Some have paler bellies to blend in better when seen from below. They occasionally build nests in larger, broader trees, collecting skulls or other trinkets which interest them. They have no desire in a larger society than their own tribe. Larger trolls detest them, thinking them to be degenerate runts best crushed beneath a heavy club and burnt. Some scholars wonder if the canopy troll was truly a lost experimental cross of a choker infused with trollblood.

3: Batbane Women



Sometimes simply called Batbanes or Bat Women,
some claim that these chimeras are the offspring of
a single woman or group of women that were once
human, but struck by a terrible curse for an evil deed
they committed. Others suspect that they are the
unfortunate results of forbidden experiments with
devilish wizardry.

Batbane Women look like a hideous crossbreed of a
human female and a bat. Most of their once human
features are hidden under monstrous deformities.
Leathery batwings stretch from the legs to their
elongated arms, with hands and feet ending in long
claws. Their mouths are full of sharp teeth and their
ears are big and pointy. They are partially covered
in a silky black fur, but have patches of bare skin.
The hairless spots differ in size and position from
one Batbane to the next, with the exposed skin often
showing a sickly and pale appearance. Their faces are
usually but not always hairless.

The Batbane Women are capable of flying for short
periods of time, and prefer to attack their prey
with dives from above. They can use their claws to
grab and carry away their victims if they are not
much heavier than themselves. Due to their ability
to produce and perceive ultrasonic sounds, they
can maneuver in absolute darkness and are almost
impossible to surprise. Their instincts and behavior
are very feral and although they can subsist purely
on drinking blood, they tend to also rip apart and
eat some of the flesh of their prey in the process of
feeding. They get their main sustenance from wild
animals, but prefer the more tasty humanoid blood
whenever the opportunity presents itself. They eschew
the sun, sleeping through the day in dark places and
only come out to hunt at night.

The curse of the Bat Women is lifted during two
nights per year, on the summer and winter solstice.
In these nights, their bodies and minds transform
back to their human origins, and they are driven
to seek the companionship of other human beings.
Though still feral in nature, they regain some intelligence
and a rudimentary ability to speak. Some
Batbane Women even grow attached to certain
individuals they meet during these nights and try
to revisit them again at a later solstice. Usually, their
new friends are totally oblivious to the Batbane’s true
nature. Although a Batbane in human form is generally
in a friendly and social mood, they can still get
very dangerous if they feel threatened. In very rare
cases, when pushed too far, they may even transform
back to their inhuman form before the night is over,
with dire consequences for anyone nearby.
Some believe that if a benevolent soul could unravel
the original cause for their curse and redeem it,
all of them would be saved from their fate, and could
live free from the curse or at least die in peace.

2: Baby Gelatinous Cubes

 Baby Gelatinous Cubes by: Amy Dawn

Baby Gelatinous Cubes by: Amy Dawn

Baby Gelatinous Cubes

Individually, they are tiny and easily brushed off with only minor acid burns, but in groups they are very dangerous. As they slime their way over your boots and up your legs they begin to search out warm unprotected areas to feast upon, and you discover why they are considered dangerous.

They seem almost iridescent in some respects. In darkness they do not glow but even the faintest of light will cause them to light up like a wild animal’s eyes in campfire. The sickly green glinting in the dark recesses of a corridor should give all pause to tread carefully.

Sometimes they can be found living within the bowels of certain creatures. Cave dwelling dragons and the like find them, for some reason, quite tasty. Some have even gone so far as to use them as guards to keep creatures from eating mushroom gardens. 

Intelligent races who dwell in these creatures habitat have mastered the use of crafting tool will use makeshift tools looking like a stick and a small metal scoop on the end of it and hurl these little creatures at enemies with surprising accuracy.

1: Absorber Imp

 Absorber Imp by: Jürgen Mayer

Absorber Imp by: Jürgen Mayer

Absorber Imp

An Absorber Imp is a very small demon, typically about one foot tall, with a pitch black hide, a set of leathery wings, often strangely colored eyes and a head like a miniature dragon. They possess child-like intelligence but cannot speak. Their reflexes are quick, they can sense magic and are able to fly for short periods of time.

Absorber Imps are often used by more powerful demons as retainers, and fulfill simple tasks and services for them. Still, it is possible to encounter and Absorber Imp on its own, if it was lost, trapped, abandoned, or on a mission for or even fleeing from its master. It is very rare to face two or more absorber Imps in the same place. They don’t work well with each other.
Like most imps, they are not truly evil but mischievous in nature and love to play pranks or otherwise annoy their chosen victims. These pranks are never intended to be life threatening but can sometimes be dangerous. The favorite victims of Absorber Imps are those gifted with magic powers, because they feed on magical energies. 

It is not known whether their name originally stemmed from their skin’s property of absorbing all light or for their more fantastic ability to absorb pure magic power. These imps can absorb any magical spell or effect in its vicinity, regardless of the intended target, are of effect or power. The original magic effect is canceled completely and is instead stored inside the imp. The imp can store the magic of up to three spells or other magic effects at the same time for as long as it wishes, potentially forever, but it can also unleash its powers whenever it wants to. Absorber Imps can also decide to devour a magic power that they previously stored. This destroys the magic completely. 

When the Absorber Imp releases stored magic, it can choose all variable aspects of its effects, like targets, as if it were the original caster of the spell or the original user of a magic scroll or wand. If the imp as already currently stored three magical powers it can choose to absorb a new magic effect and release one of its stored ones simultaneously.
Absorber Imps are immune to magic weapons and can absorb magical effects of magic weapons hitting them, including all damage, like they can absorb other magic. They can release the stored effects from magic weapons by hitting the intended target with their otherwise not overly dangerous claws. 

Due to their ability to store spells and sense magic, Absorber Imps are rare but highly priced familiars for witches, warlocks, and dark mages. Although it is not easy, they can be befriended, especially if they are well fed with magical energy. An Absorber Imp familiar is a double-edged sword though, because no matter how well trained, they will never stop playing pranks.
Absorber Imps can be bound into shards of obsidian, if one knows the required ritual. They will stay bound until the world of release is spoken or the obsidian is shattered. Furthermore, magic effects or damage originating from magical obsidian objects or obsidian weapons cannot be absorbed and fully affects the imps. Any damage received from obsidian weapons is a perilous and grave incident for an Absorber Imp and one of the only sure ways to permanently destroy them instead of just sending them back to their shadow realm. For these reasons, most are afraid or even repelled by obsidian objects of any kind. 

The Absorber Imp’s eyes change with the kind of magic powers it has currently stored. An absorbed fireball might turn its eyes into a fiery inferno, a friendship enchantment can make them seem trustworthy and a portal spell might transform them into actual windows into time and space. Often, but not necessarily always, the eyes adjust to the most powerful magic that is currently stored. Pitch black eyes can be a tell for an Absorber Imp with no stored magic whatsoever, or an alarming signal for devastating black magic.