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Atgxtg

The Dullahan -- Happy Halloween

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I decided to write an Halloween adventure for my group and came up with stats for the Irish Dullahan, the original headless horseman, and decided to post them in case someone else wants to do a Halloween adventure for Pendragon. It goes by a few different names, including one in Welsh that I can't find again. It gallops about the countryside at night and is a sort of Banshee/Grim Reaper type of creature. In game terms I see this either as window dressuing for another adventure, or as some sort of obstacleor guardian that the knights must get past. As it doesn't speak, social interaction is somewhat limited.

Legends say that one haunts Silbury Hill, near Avebury,  instead or or along with the ghost of King SIl.

Later legends have it drive a coach of six black steeds, that uses skulls for lanterns which drives the departed tot he afterlife, but I figured that couches were a bit  anachronistic for Pendragon, although some GMs might with to use it - faerie creatures do tend to be a few years ahead in the technology department.

 

Anyway here are the stats. Please let me know if it needs any corrections, or changes.

 

DULLAHAN

The Dullahan. Also known as the Gan Ceann (“without a head”) and the Fear Dorcha (“dark man:”) is a headless rider, clad in black, astride a black horse, who carries his own head in one hand or upon the front of the saddle. This head is the color and texture of moldy cheese and is split from ear to ear by a wide grin. The Dullahan’s eyes are small and dart about quickly, allowing the creature to see even in the darkest of nights. The Dullahan’s head glows with an eerie phosphorescence, and the Dullhan can lift it to see as if it were a grisly lantern. It wields a whip, made from a human’s spine, with skill, able to pluck out an onlooker’s eye with it. The Dullhan’s mount is an all black courser, a tireless animal that shoots sparks and flames from its nostrils, that is said to be able to catch up with anything.

Like the Banshee the Dullahan is thought by some to be a harbinger of death. A Dullahan will ride the countryside at night and when it stop it will speak a person's name (the only time it speaks), and that person will drop dead. The Dullahan does not like being seen while out on it’s ride, and might blind onlookers, either by striking out an eye with it’s whip, or by throwing a bucket of blood into the onlooker’s face.

The Dallahan is an agent of death. Silently, it will ride through the night, and when it stops it will speak out someone’s name and they will die, and the Dullahan will lead their spirit to their afterlife.

The Dullahan has a fear of gold, and can sometimes be driven off by the sight of golden objects, even ones as small as a pin.

Glory Won: 150; SIZ 15, DEX 15, STR 15, CON 20; Move 3; Armor 6; Unconscious na; Major Wound 20; Knockdown 15; Hit Points 35; Healing Rate 4; Damage 5d6.

Combat Skills: Spine Whip 21 (treat as flail, ignores shields and +1d6 vs. mail armor), Sword 16.

Significant Skills: Awareness 20, Horsemanship 20, Hunting 20.

Significant Traits: Valorous 17

Directed Traits: Fear Gold +10 (-10 Valorous)

Valorous Modifier: -5

Spine Whip: The Dullahan wields a whip made from a human spine. This functions as a flail. The Dullahan is so skilled with this whip that it can use it to strike out a person’s eye. This requires an attack at a -10 modifier, and the Dullahan must score a major wound. This is normally done to those who stand and stare as the Dullahan rides by, and not in combat.

Separated Head: The Dullahan carries it head in one hand, or upon the saddle-brow of it’s steed. The head glows like some sort of ghostly lantern, giving it a +5 modifier to Awareness. The Dullahan does not suffer any penalties for Darkness.

Supernatural Sight: The Dullahan possesses supernatural sight, and when it holds it head aloft it can see for vast distances, even at night. It suffers no penalty to Combat Skills when fighting in darkness.

Throw Blood: A Dullahan does not like to be seen when out riding and may throw a bucket of blood into the face of an onlooker, with a DEX roll, as if it were a throw weapon. If successful, the target is blinded for 1d6 rounds.

Fear of Gold: A Dullahan is repelled by gold, and if it sees any gold, even as much as a single coin or pin, it must make a Valorous roll or retreat. Note that the Dullahan must be able to see the gold for this to occur. Gold that is carried in a knights purse wouldn’t repel the Dullahan, but a gold coin taken from that purse or a gold item worn would. To determine if the Dullahan spots some golden item worn or dropped by a character, roll Awareness modified by the situation.

Dead Being: as the Dullahan is already dead, he cannot be "killed", but instead can be banished or laid to rest. As such it does not fall unconscious, and major wounds only result in maiming him further. If reduced to zero hit points or lower he is defeated, but will ride again on another night. To lay one ot rest permantly would take spirtual aid from a preist, or seprating the head from the body, perhaps both.

BLACK STEED

This is a large black horse of incredible speed that the Dullahan rides at a gallop through the night. It breathes out flames from it’s nostrils as it thunders through the night. Legends say that no one can outrun this steed. It is considered to be trained for both battle and hunt.

SIZ 31, DEX 33, STR 29, CON 20; Move 13; Armor 10; Unconscious 13; Major Wound 20; Knockdown 31; Hit Points 51; Healing Rate 5; Damage 6d6

Combat Skills: Hoof 8 (–3d6), Trample 10 (–4d6; prone foes only).

Significant Skills: Awareness 15.

Tireless: The Black Steed can sprint all night without any signs of fatigue.

Edited by Atgxtg
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Good work. My quibbles:

  • An undead have no Unconscious or Major Wound threshold. You have to put it to 0 HP
  • A -5 Valorous is a bit weak for an " agent of death ". -10 is probably more accurate
  • 5d6 damage is a bit weak for a monster. 6d6 seems better
  • Glory won become 200 if you follow my advices

Otherwise, your dullahan will probably show up in my game one day or another ;)

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4 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

Good work. My quibbles:

Reasonable quibbles. I'll give you my reasoning for doing it the way I did.

 

4 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:
  • An undead have no Unconscious or Major Wound threshold. You have to put it to 0 HP

That depends on the undead, sources aren't always consisitent on this. . I agree with removing the Unconscious stat, but usually in KAP they still take major wounds. It's just that having limbs (and heads) cut off doesn't affect them the same way it does normal folk. If I didn't have to consider consistency with previous stats, I'd get rid of CON and give it hit points equal to twice it SIZ. It's not like the thing can catch the flu or  get poisoned.

 

4 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:
  • A -5 Valorous is a bit weak for an " agent of death ". -10 is probably more accurate

Feel free to adjust, when I was statting it up I asked myself the same thing, and just tired to find a niche for it, based on other creatures. But, in the stories it's noting for taking out onlooker's eyes with it's whip, or throwing buckets of blood into thier faces. I doubt that it would need to do that with a  -10 to Valor  That would zero out all those commoners.

 

 

4 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:
  • 5d6 damage is a bit weak for a monster. 6d6 seems better

Make it bigger. At SIZ 18 it will do 6d6. Nobody ever fights one in the stories though.

4 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:
  • Glory won become 200 if you follow my advices

Maybe even more.

4 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

Otherwise, your dullahan will probably show up in my game one day or another ;)

Enjoy. In my campaign I'm going to use it at Silbury Hill, along with King Sil, and rather than having it riding about the countryside it will be barring the Pks entry into the mound. Though convoluted means  the PKs in my game own a year's (40 days) knight's service to King Bladud, and he is sending them off to Silbury to get something from King Sil., and there are legends of both Sil riding around the area in golden armor, and of a headless rider. And on Samhain, when the viel between worlds is the weakest, the PKs can get into the mound. Whether or not they can get out again is another story.

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On 10/21/2019 at 9:51 AM, Atgxtg said:

I doubt that it would need to do that with a  -10 to Valor  That would zero out all those commoners.

A ghost is an -10 Valorous and it's immaterial. That's why I'm suggesting a -10.

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3 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

A ghost is an -10 Valorous and it's immaterial. That's why I'm suggesting a -10.

The GPC lists "Phantoms" as -5 to -15, giving us a lot of leeway. . A Banshee is +0 and fills a similar role, a Nukalevee is another "horseman terror" is +0, yet is truly horrific to look at, having no skin. So if you think a -10  fits better, go with it. Ultimately it seems to come down to how tough a given creature is. The guardian ghosts in the barrow mound from the GPC are tougher, and keep coming back.

If you think a -10 is more appropriate,  go with it.. In play, when the knights confront it, the difference between -5 and -10 won't matter much.

Edited by Atgxtg

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21 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

The GPC lists "Phantoms" as -5 to -15, giving us a lot of leeway. . A Banshee is +0 and fills a similar role, a Nukalevee is another "horseman terror" is +0, yet is truly horrific to look at, having no skin. So if you think a -10  fits better, go with it. Ultimately it seems to come down to how tough a given creature is. The guardian ghosts in the barrow mound from the GPC are tougher, and keep coming back.

I checked the GPC yesterday, and clearly, I did not find any unquestionnable logic in it either. It's subjective as you said.

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9 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

I checked the GPC yesterday, and clearly, I did not find any unquestionnable logic in it either. It's subjective as you said.

Very. For instance the guardian ghosts in the Adventure of the Burial Mound give a -10, but the bodies of said ghosts, with the stats of knights, who keep coming back when slain, do not. Overall I think the valor modifier is mostly a representation of how tough a creature is to defeat, modified a little for how impressive it is supposed to be.

On the plus side, it makes it easier for us to tailor the modifier to serve out purposes.

Oh, I did update the entry to eliminate unconsciousness and the effects of major wounds. Maybe we can go with a -7 to Valorous? Possibly upped to -10 when it lifts up it's head like a lantern?

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg

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