Friday, October 1, 2010

Creature Feature 1: That Which Was Taken Outside

According to common lore, these creatures are the twisted revenants of dead newborns. Only those left to die by exposure in cold climates become the phantasmal beasts - in some places placing a baby in the wilderness is the preferred method of infanticide, an attempt to somehow defer guilt upon Nature itself.

Regardless of origin, Those Which Were Taken Outside are a very real phenomenon when traversing the wintry woods. Haunting the few scenes of their short lives, those on the ethereal plane can see them clearly as a naked and frostbitten child, sitting on the cold ground and staring. On that plane they are at their weakest; they use it only to hide and sneak. They can enter our own plane at will, in the form of an over-sized, child-like thing with a massive, softened head and cord-like, withered limbs.

Those Which Were Taken Outside attack by manifesting in physical form directly before their chosen victim, usually the party member that reminds them most of the parent that abandoned them. A manifestation is preceded for a round by the sound of a baby crying, giving anyone familiar with such creatures a chance to avoid being taken off guard. Otherwise, the attack comes as a complete surprise, as the child-thing lurches forward and “embraces” its victim in a death-grip. While some speculate Those Which Were Taken Outside seek only the warmth and love denied them, in truth they leech heat out of all they touch, and those in their arms are doomed if they cannot break free.

To add the the horror, the monster grows larger as it drains warmth and, finally, life. This makes it harder to escape the longer one is trapped, and the beast only moves on to the next victim after dropping the frost-burned, stiffened corpse of the prior. All the while, its gaping mouth never stops emitting the piercing cry of an abandoned babe slowly succumbing to the chill night air.


  1. Eeeexcellent.... but might I suggest "The Exposed?" TWWTO is a bit long.

  2. It is long - I figure most people wouldn't call them anything at all, and TWWTO is what the old man at the bar might be presuaded to whisper fearfully.

    This is based on the Utburd, a Scandinavian folktale. "Utburd" literally means "That which is taken outside." But I dig "The Exposed," too, and you're right that it's much handier for the GM.