As if the wind called out in terror, I heard a faint cry being carried into the winding streets of urban civilization. Minutes of silence filled the sloping labyrinth of metal, concrete and wood as the fog rolled in. Barely within eyesight, he stood there as an outline in the mists. The unearthly quiet was slain by his sickly cackle, a sound reminiscent of countless madmen laughing and screaming in simultaneous cacophony. The hunter’s call was likely an attempt to demoralize me, making it easier to take down his meal. Hunched over, the man creature looked as if ready to pounce; I becoming prey for an incomprehensible predator. As it fazed in and out of corporeal state, the shadowy figure dashed ever closer, as if only existing in the faint illumination of the street lamps. Before I could cup my mouth with an empty hand, the ghastly visage jumped directly within a few steps distance. The monster’s proportions were similar to a man, but far too alien and uncanny to truly be registered as much. A gaping maw, piercing marble-like eyes, almost digitigrade like stance, a hunched back. Such a thing couldn’t have been spawned in this world, but an infernal underworld or somewhere beyond. No matter, I gave into primal fear and reacted in violent defense. Upon trying to slam an arced punch from my right hand, the creature was pushed back. However, it looked neither stunned nor truly affected. As such, I ran as to my house, never gazing behind my back. I still don’t know what manifestation of evil I encountered, but I revel in absolute ignorance for the time being. – A survivor’s account of the “Cheerful Stalker.”
Many assume this creature is a vampire who has turned to macabre theatrics to scare victims, a mad wizard whose dabbling in dark magic has turned him into a monster or even a creature from hellish depths sent to punish mortal creatures of a “sinful plane.” All of these are false tall tales and narratives from the fearful masses. Such takes on this being are the results of political propaganda, mortified storytellers, anxiety-ridden survivors and culturally dependent interpretations. A local legend, a mystery man, a cautionary tale, a moral avenger, a psychotic murderer, an alien threat. All of these things could describe a strange “spirit” known by most as the “Cheerful Stalker.” His name comes from the demented grin he displays to targets of his brutal wrath. Also, it refers to his obsession with pursuing a target until their death or insanity.
Such a creature is actually fae in origin, hailing from the distant realms of Arcadia. Like most denizens of said dimension, they follow complex and alien codes of morality; with viewpoints that are equally as surreal to the outside onlooker. The Cheerful Stalker is no different. It sees all life from this world as one of two things: objects to toy around with or food. Sometimes, he’s partial towards both. On another note, some have questioned if this creature actually is male, despite the fact that he prefers to mimic the form of a well dressed male of high society. However, it is possible that this is just a preferred disguise. The creature could very well identify as male as well. While the creature is obsessed with hunting extraplanar creatures, it does so with intelligent planning and an almost sadistic zeal for prolonging the suffering for as long as possible. However, he doesn’t hold grudges and will avoid targets that prove to be too strong or can overpower him. The Stalker is, in the end, a coward. Upon defeat, debasing and shouting down the remaining essence of the creature is the only way to kill it.
Author’s Note: Alas, my Gothic and Gaslamp theme is slowly coming to an end. My reason is simply that I don’t know how much more I want to do with it. With that, I wanted to take part in Brynvalk’s RPG Blog Carnival theme of The Fae as well! You can read more about that, HERE. As I’ve said, the fey theme was a challenge for me. However, I’ve learned quite a bit that has carried over into some of my other stuff. Among them was applying the fair folk to horror. Dark and nightmarish is my forte, after all. So, with that, here’s a creature inspired by bogeyman legends, serial killers, creepypasta, faerie tales and various folk legends. And seeing as he’s inspired by the concept of the thought form or “tulpa”, stories of his dark deeds will keep him alive for ages to come.
Medium fey, chaotic evil
Armor Class 16
Hit Points 156 (24d8+48)
Speed 30 ft.
STR 15 (+2), DEX 18 (+4), CON 14 (+2), INT 12 (+1), WIS 15 (+2), CHR 19 (+4)
Skills. Deception +8, Intimidate +8, Stealth +8
Condition Immunities. Charmed, Fear, Sleep
Damage Resistances. Bludgeoning/Piercing/Slashing damage from non-magical sources.
Senses. Darkvision 60 ft.; passive Perception 12
Languages. Common, Sylvan
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
Aura of Fright. Creatures that come within 60 ft. of the Stalker must succeed a (DC 16) Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. If failed, the creature can make a new save at the end of their turn until successful or the effect ends. Upon doing so, they are immune to the effect for 24 hours.
Designate Prey. After studying its desired target for around 1 hour, the Cheerful Stalker will relentlessly pursue that target until it is slain or overpowers it. It will only attack anything in its way if they attempt to prevent it from its goal.
Innate Magic. The Cheerful Stalker has innate fey talents at its disposal. Casting depends on their Charisma. (DC 16)
- At-Will: Bane, Disguise Self, Dissonant Whispers, Invisibility (self only), Misty Step
- 1/Day Each: Compulsion, Fear, Mislead, Spider Climb
Mundane Disguise. As long as the Stalker stays non-violent, it maintains advantage on Deception and related checks to maintain the facade of a normal person.
Never Slain. When the Stalker is reduced to 0 HP, its corporeal form returns to the realm of Faerie or another appropriate substitute (such as the Shadow Rift). The only way to truly “kill” it is for its desired victim (or if there is no desired victim, the whole group) to intimidate the Stalker, effectively proving they are stronger than the monster. If this is not done, the stalker will materialize in a spot within 1d10 miles of where it dropped after 1 day.
Multiattack. The Cheerful Stalker may make up to 2 attacks per round. Only one can be Mad Rictus Grin.
Jagged Blade. Melee Weapon Attack. +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d8+2) slashing damage plus 5 (2d4) poison damage. The target of the attack must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 16). Failure results in taking an extra 5 (2d4) poison damage and becoming poisoned for 1 round.
Gnashing Teeth. Melee Weapon Attack. +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (4d6+4) piercing damage.
Mad Rictus Grin (Recharge 5 or 6). Melee or Ranged Spell Attack. +8 to hit, ranged 60 ft., any target affected by a fear effect. Hit: 25 (6d6+4) psychic damage. The target must also make an Intelligence saving throw (DC 16.) Failure results in the subject being paralyzed for up to 1 minute. The subject may attempt another saving throw at the end of their turn.
Thanks for checking out my post! Please, check out the other entries for this month’s carnival!
Image Source: Dracula – J.E. Larson, RPG Blog Carnival – Roleplaying Tips
Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media.