Thursday, October 11, 2012

Whispers in the Dark

Old houses and buildings sometimes become havens for the strange creatures called babblers.  People seldom get a good look at babblers: they're skilled at staying hidden, owing to their ability to contort and flatten their bodies and their chameleon-like power to blend into their surroundings.  What fragmentary descriptions exist suggest they are approximately three to three and a half feet tall and look like a scrawny cross between man, gecko, and frog. They have large, milky yellow eyes and many have strange ruins cut into their skins.

Babblers crawl up from--somewhere--to invade the crawlspaces or basements of buildings. They lurk in vents or even under beds.  From hidden places, the babblers whisper to their human victims.  Their utterances are jibberish--and that gives them their name.

Babblers tones seem to wheedling at first, then plaintive.  When this fails to achieve...whatever it is their after, They may attack in anger.  The cycle may take several nocturnal visitations over as much as a week.

Those that encounter babblers often develop a peculiar aphasia "the Jabber." How the jabber is transmitted is unclear. It may be through the babbler’s bite--certainly most who develop it are bitten--but it has been suggested that only close proximity to a babbler is necessary.  The mechanism is likewise unclear.

Those exposed get a saving throw. Failure means development of an aphasia within 2d6 hours based on the following table:

1-3: anomia - character is unable to remember names either of people or objects (except in general terms).
4-5: fluent aphasia - character is able to speak in a normal manner except that they use the wrong words, and perhaps even nonexistent words.
6-7: receptive aphasia - as above, except the character is also unable to make sense of the speech of others.
8-9: expressive aphasia - character has difficulty producing fluent speech. Words are pronounced with difficulty, in a halting manner, or with odd intonation.
10: global aphasia - The character is either unable to produce speech, repeats single words (perhaps in echo-like manner) or either occasionally shouts a single expletive.

Cure disease or the like will remove the illness, but otherwise it is permanent. in most cases (75% of the time) ability to read and write is preserved.

Babbler: #App.: 1-4, HD: 1, AC 6, Atk: 1 bite or claw (1d4), Special: stick to walls, chameleon skill, transmits "the jabber."


Porky said...

That's a clever creature concept. Not only moody - and educational too - but playing with areas that don't get discussed so much, and maybe aren't so often used.

Trey said...

Thanks, Porky. I think the film Pontypool was a partial inspiration.

The Angry Lurker said...

A new name for the missus!

Porky said...

Interesting film - based on a quick rummage only, it looks like it might be a shrewd subversion of the nastier side of the zombie apocalypse concept, maybe the start of an attempt to turn a juggernaut.

Trey said...

@Lurker - Use at your own risk.

@Porky - I think that's about right. I think it's well done for a low budget film and has an interesting concept.

Zanazaz said...

Poor, lonely babblers. Are they evil, or just seeking friends? Sure their ways may be strange and alien, but has anyone tried to befriend them?

Cool monster. Great for a sub-plot in a campaign.

Trey said...

Very good questions, indeed. I like throwing ambiguity like that into monsters from time to time.

Justin S. Davis said...

Pontypool was what immediately came to mind, before I saw your comment...

...but that movie would have been INFINITELY better with gecko-frog-men as the baddies.

I like these. I'd use 'em.