“...haven’t much time. They’ll come for me soon, but I must record some fragment of what I’ve seen. The world must know what it is they’re plotting...They’re old--terribly old. From the muck they must have watched our ancestors crawl up onto land. Even from the beginning, their cold, alien intellects must have plotted our enslavement...”The entire university was saddened by the news of the death of folklorist Henery Gilmarth. Gilmarth was found drowned in Mirky Creek, near a Southron town of the same name. Gilmarth had gone to record the peculiar hand-fishing techniques used by some rural Southrons to pull catfish from their dens.
-- Excerpt of transcript of audio tapes made by Professor Henery Gilmarth
Gilmarth had sent a cryptic message by wire to his research assistant in the City. It suggested these fishing activities were actually connected with some sort of cultic ritual related to the veneration of some unusually large, and up to now unknown to science, species of catfish.
When Gilmarth did not return on his scheduled train, inquires were made. His belonging were found in his hotel room, though the reel from his tape recorder had been removed and apparently hidden amid the clothes in his suitcase. No trace of Gilmarth was found, until children playing in the creek sighted his body a week later.
Local police have ruled his death accidental.
OLD ONE (intelligent catfish species)
# APP.: 1-4
MOVE: 90” (30”)
ATTACKS: 4 (1 bite 1d6, 2 feelers 1d4)
SPECIAL: dominate, slime
Old Ones are sentient fish resembling catfish. They are an ancient race, perhaps the oldest intelligent race in the world, and have an abiding contempt for other species. The Old Ones dominate and co-mingle their blood with isolated human communities along the rivers in which they dwell.
On a successful hit to an opponent, or if an opponent hits an Old One with bare skin, the slime which coats their skin gets may get transferred. A victim must make a save throwing or experience hallucinations, and perhaps paranoia, for 2-8 hours. Scrubbing the slime off with soap or an organic solvent will half the duration of effect. On a damaging bite, genetic material may be conveyed by some unknown means into the victims bloodstream. On a failed saving throw, the skin around the area begins to alter in appearace--to change into a an Old One/human hybrid form. On one short exposure, the effect is short-lived perhaps 2-16 days, but longer with lengthier, repeated exposures.
Three times per day, Old Ones can, with concentration, mentally enslave a person within 30 feet. This functions like the dominate person spell, and allows a saving throw every 24 hours to escape thralldom.