Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-18-2018, 10:56 AM   #1
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

I require suggestions of monsters, both monsters which already exist in D&D (for conversion) and simply mythological ones that I can stat in GURPS. They should be serpentine, lizard-like or dragonic, ideally something blasphemously infused with serpentine elements.

The PCs have already met a snake-like hydra, a thessalmera (chimera with extra snake heads), thessalhydra (ditto for hydra) and about a thousand snakes. They are now examining a hatchery of some sort, where there are several dozen eggs from reptilian beings. This hatchery is located next to a marvelously verdant magical tree and a deep pool of water and everything seems to grow at a very healthy pace, especially considering the lack of sunlight or any nutrients which don't come from the pool or the tree itself.

These are eggs from hydras, huge snakes, carnivorous lizards and other similar monsters. Eggs from what other monsters ought there be there?

What other monsters might the PCs encounter when they crawl through a tunnel away from this place, to find the lost temple?

Background
A party of courageous PCs and their NPC allies are questing for a lost temple, as one does, below the ancient city of Unthalass in a wartorn land based on Mesopotamia.* They've heard rumours of a mysterious 'Belit emuqtu' ('Wise Lady'), also known (though rarely spoken of unless with trusted friends) as the 'Sarratum sanaqi' ('Queen of Tortures'), and run into her servants, who raid the surface world for slaves and take them into Tamtuthalass, the thriving undercity below Unthalass, and onward to further depths.

The PCs showed commendable restraint in ignoring almost all opportunities to get side-tracked from their quest for the lost temple of Su'en and refused stoutly to get involved in the criminal politics of Tamtuthalass. They did hear sufficient rumours to theorise** that whoever was running the slaver gangs was using very old legends and myths of the Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal and/or the Mother of Monsters, Lamashtu/Dimmu/Lilitu, to terrorise their enemies.

Apparently, underbosses are also using mythological names or titles and spoken of as the 'children' of the Wise Lady. Their titles include Abyzou, Belit Kubu ('Lady of Stillbirth'), Akhkhazu, Belit Lilitim ('Lady of the Night Spirits'), Manungal, Belit Musna ('Lady Stonesnake'), Anat-Mushus, Belit qastim ('Lady of the Bow'), Tanit-Mushussat, Rabat sirim ('Mistress of Snakes'), Ashtart-Mussatur, Belit selitim ('Lady of the Afterbirth'), Namtaru, Ba'al mutanu ('Lord of Pestilence'), Basmu-Ezzaku, Ba'al imtim ('Lord of Venom'), Zaphon-Mutu, Ba'al kashapi ('Lord of Sorcerers'), Marerru, Ba'al rabisu ('Lord of Takers') and others.

There is also a cult of Tiamat, whose modern faith focuses mainly on dragons, but who is also known as the Nemesis of the Gods and in ancient times appears to have had many of the Mother of Monsters aspects that the 'Wise Lady' is claiming. From what the PCs can tell, the cult of Tiamat and the slavers claiming to serve the 'Wise Lady' are rivals who mostly hate each other, but exist in a tentative live-and-let-live relationship, at least while foreign troops are occupying Unthalass.

Most vital to the PCs' current situation are rumours of a son of the 'Wise Lady' who has rebelled against his mother and is reputed to have hidden in the ruins of an ancient abandoned temple*** under the city, where he is said to be working with a faction of the Tiamat cult, blasphemously trying to bring into existence new dragonic and serpentine beings and thus usurping the traditional role of the 'Wise Lady'.

He is usually referred to as 'Ushum-apiru' ('The Rebel Dragon') by followers of his alleged Mother, but the full name and title he now claims seems to be Kurushumgallu, Ba'al apiru ('Lord of Rebels'). One PC now has a theory that there may be a connection between this character and a mythological figure by the name of Ningishzida, a chthonic serpent god whose name translates into the 'Lord of the Good Tree', at least in light of recent events.

*Actually Unther, in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, but that's all that important to these speculations.
**With their Expert Skill (Bardic Lore) and Theology (Untheric).
***When a fanatical worshipper of the Wise Queen tried to convince a PC (masquerading as an ally of the Tiamat cult) to find out which faction of the Tiamat cultists were aiding the Rebel Dragon, a player actually said: "No, we're going to focus on our quest, of finding the lost temple beneath the city."
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 03-18-2018 at 06:06 PM.
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 11:07 AM   #2
Donny Brook
 
Donny Brook's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Snoopy's basement
Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

I don't think you mentioned basilisks yet.
Donny Brook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 11:12 AM   #3
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
I don't think you mentioned basilisks yet.
They very clearly have nothing to do with Lady Stonesnake...
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 11:35 AM   #4
tanksoldier
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Well, if you’re open to D&D...

From the Scarred Lands setting there is the fallen titan Mormo and the Aassathi, Gorgons and Medusae who are her children.
tanksoldier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 12:01 PM   #5
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
Well, if you’re open to D&D...

From the Scarred Lands setting there is the fallen titan Mormo and the Aassathi, Gorgons and Medusae who are her children.
Well, the 'Wise Lady' is a similar archetype as Empusa/Echidna/Lamia/Lamashtu/Dimme/Lilith/Lilitu/Tiamat, the Mother of Monsters and/or the foe of civilisation, Queen of Chaos and Nemesis of the Gods.

And there may or may not be Gorgons and Medusae associated with her or specific bloodlines 'descended' from her.

I don't know what Aassathi are, though, and Google is not helping, beyond teling me that they are a race from the Scarred Lands. Can you describe the salient points?
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 03-18-2018 at 04:47 PM.
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 04:35 PM   #6
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Things I'm considering include nagas, nagahydras, Deathcoils (y-u-u-uge constrictor snake), behirs, part-dragon/part-serpent creatures, dinosaur-esque beings, monstrous monitor lizards and landwyrms (e.g. Landwyrm, Underdark).

What kind of dinosaurs would be a cool threat for a very powerful party of adventurers underground, possibly in tight tunnels or possibly in larger caverns?

Chimera-like snake heads or other dragonic or serpentine features added to them are optional, but highly desirable.

Adding venom, acid spitting, poisonous breath or such features to 'ordinary' giant snakes or reptiles might be nice.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 03-18-2018 at 05:17 PM.
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 05:46 PM   #7
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Azdaha, a snake that never dies of old age and always keeps growing until eventually it is forced to take up an aquatic lifestyle. (Persian)
David Johnston2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 06:00 PM   #8
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Azdaha, a snake that never dies of old age and always keeps growing until eventually it is forced to take up an aquatic lifestyle. (Persian)
Azag, the Serpent of the Deeps, is a local myth. Primordial, unimaginably ancient, awesomely powerful serpent of a size said to be literally infinite. Either located deep underground, in the deepest abyss of the oceans or both (perhaps slumbering in the sacred Abzu/Abyss, the cosmic life-giving freshwater reservoir). Variously said to be the son or lover of whichever Goddess is serving as the Mother of Monsters in the fashionable myths of the era, Erershkigal/Lamashtu/Dimme or Tiamat.

Neighbouring cultures, some of which have previously been colonies or provinces of the Untheri Empire, in more prosperous or possibly less decadent times, have concepts of monstrous serpents such as the azi dahaka and similar. Would make a reasonable 'ethnic' name for the Deathcoils or a similar truly massive, intelligent serpent.

It helps that one PC is an immigrant from a culture where azi dahaka and shahmaran are known mythological monsters and/or gods, which the PCs have already been speculating about as religious influences from earlier Tiamat-worship in that area. Or, of course, an earlier divinity which the modern Tiamat may have subsumed/supplanted.

One PC, not on this adventure, is actually an ancient historian of the area, archeologist and scholar of comparative mythology. He gave them a briefing full of pedantic extra detail on the history of the Tiamat cult and various possibly related chthonic serpent cults. I imagine they are desperately trying to remember it now.

Of those PCs who are present, one is a Xenophile cryptozoolist and naturalist, and the other is a very mythic bard*. They ought to get plenty of extra detail on creatures encountered, beyond just what Observation tells them about their threat level, what with their expert skill levels in Expert Skill (Bardic Lore), Expert Skill (Cryptozoology) and Naturalist. And solid professional Theology (Unther).

*As in, he lives myths, not just tells them. When his entire family was slaughtered by the Mulhorandi Empire who claimed his native desert (over some piddling dispute regarding the perfectly natural raiding he engaged in against travellers), Rasul Khamsin Mubtasim is said to have sworn vengenace against the offending soldiers, their captain, his general and viceroy, Pharaoh himself and the entire population of Mulhorand. His hunger for vengeance was such that he called upon the powers of fiends and devils to satisfy it, ultimately carving a bloody swathe through the garrisons around the desert until every man who'd had any part in slaying her family was dead.

Whereupon the still raging Rasul was dragged down to the Seven Hells, to serve his fiendish allies for a year for every day they had aided his quest for vengeance. A century later, Rasul returned from Hell. At first intent on resuming his insane quest, Rasul can find no one to slay who had anything to do with the crimes against his family, but did not let that stop him, not until the divine light of Su'en, the Light in Dark Places, washed his heart pure of the hate that festered there.

Now Rasul is on the path of redemption, but everything he does, he does with panache and an eye to increasing his legend. So far he has been the subject of the first proclamation of anathema by the head of the Tiamat cult directed at a mortal for a couple of millenia, dominated a vampire by the power of his gaze and addicted her to him, seduced a warlord ataman of a powerful tribe into giving him his daughter in marriage, participated in stealing thousands of fine horses, the entire year's tribute of fine horses from the Bey of Murghom and his subjects to their suzerains in Mulhorand, and, obviously, defeated foes ranging from famous warriors to high priests, legendary magi and the descendants of gods.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 03-18-2018 at 06:38 PM.
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 07:01 PM   #9
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Reptilian or Serpentine Eggs as Breakfast?

Side-question: Out of at least six dozen large to huge eggs of snakes, lizards and various lizards, which species might make the tastiest breakfast?

Rasul didn't get a chance to eat with the other PCs, because he was building intimidating sculptures / totem poles / art installation from hydra heads and monstrous skeletons. Now he wants a huge egg as breakfast. None of that dried rations junk for Rasul Khamsin Mubtasim.

The PCs will use magic to sense fiendish, unholy or cursed taint before eating anything. They'll also want to avoid eating anything intelligent to be a person, not an animal or at least animal-like beast (no matter how dangerous). With their skills and magic, they ought to be able to find eggs that are 'merely' from huge serpents, dinosaurs, other huge lizards or some reptilian monsters not actually intelligent.

But what kind do they want?

Snake? Lizard? Something else?
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2018, 09:42 PM   #10
Dalillama
 
Dalillama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Default Re: Reptilian or Serpentine Eggs as Breakfast?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Side-question: Out of at least six dozen large to huge eggs of snakes, lizards and various lizards, which species might make the tastiest breakfast?
Iguana eggs are popular in parts of South America and the Caribbean; I'm not aware of any other lizard or snake eggs that are regularly eaten, but that might be due to availability rather than flavour.
Dalillama is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
chthonic, forgotten realms, monsters, mythology

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.