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Sumath

Assyrian Spirits of Protection

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As Thunder Brothers are clearly based upon Assyrian Lamassu, I thought it’d be fun to bring some other Assyrian spirits to Glorantha. Below are my interpretations of three spirits that feature in the Ashurbanipal and permanent Assyrian exhibitions at the British Museum. 

 

Nishrail 

Assyrians believed these angelic spirits, manifesting as eagle-headed and winged humanoids, offered protection from bad spirits and curses. 2143983415_AssyrianSpiritsNishrail.thumb.jpg.19d4e845c5b53ee5276159230f04cdbc.jpg

 

In Glorantha, Nishrail are cult spirits of sun deities, and are also known variously as Kuribu, Eagle-Lords or Feather-Spirits. 

They are often part of a temple’s defences, bound into statuettes or friezes depicting their likeness, and will engage any intruders (defined by the binding priest) in spirit combat, or deter them using spirit magic. 

Anyone attacked by a Nishrail appears to observers to be surrounded in a halo of light during spirit combat. In the eyes of the defender, the bright-eyed Nishrail appears before them, and each attack it makes is accompanied by the Nishrail’s ritual gesticulations and stylised wing movements.  

They address their opponent in Firespeech, their deep voice reciting mantras of protection and duty. When facing anyone with a Darkness rune affinity, Nishrails do an extra +1 spirit combat damage, and they have two points of Spirit Screen against attacks from such opponents.  

Despite their conservative nature, Nishrail are curious creatures, so are sometimes found as gateway guardians in parts of the Spirit World that are not associated with sky cults or spirits.  

Nishrail 

INT 3D6+6    Average 16-17 

POW 3D6+6    Average 16-17 

CHA 4D6+6     Average 20 

Skills Spirit Combat POWx5% 

Runes Fire/Sky 90%, Harmony 70% 

Spirit Magic Befuddle, Detect Enemies, Disruption, Extinguish, Ignite, Light, Lightwall, Slow 

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Urmahlilu 

An Assyrian protective spirit in the form of a lion-bodied centaur. 

 

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In Glorantha, Urmahlilu are earth spirits summoned by priests and shamans to protect holy sites and communal spaces.  

In Dragon Pass they are called simply Urmah, Hearth-Keepers or Herd-Watchers and in Prax will often be bound into the carved pole of a clan ring’s communal tent, a collar upon a lead herd animal, or at seasonal hearthstones. In Esrolia and Sartar, they are often bound as defenders of earth temples. They are known in Peloria as Shedu, where they are depicted with outsized fangs and claws, and reviled as demons. 

In the Spirit World they are found in wide, open tracts analogous to plains or grasslands. Usually they will engage any intruders in spirit combat. Though formidable spirits, they can also be dangerous when they manifest physically. An Urmahlilu must be compelled to do this though, usually through the use of a Command Cult Spirit spell.  

Urmahlilu in Physical Form 

STR 3D6+6   Average 16-17 

CON 3D6    Average 10-11 

SIZ 4D6+8   Average 22 

INT 2D6+6    Average 13 

POW 3D6+6   Average 16-17 

CHA 3D6    Average 10-11 

DEX 3D6+3    Average 13-14 

Hit Points 15 

Spirit Powers: Solid Form 

Skills: Spirit Combat POWx5% 

Runes: Earth 80%, Beast 60% 

Armour: 2-point fur on lion body-parts 

Physical Attacks: as a lion’s Claw and Rip attacks. 

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Ugallu 

An Assyrian guardian spirit with the head of a lion, body of a man, and feet of a bird. 

 

1090344908_AssyrianSpiritsUgallu.jpg.e71829b036534a2e6223c8fb4b56a6ab.jpg

 

In Glorantha, Ugallu are trickster spirits, eager to enact mischief upon anyone idiotic enough to steal from or desecrate a shrine to Eurmal. They are commonly known as Jinx-Spirits, Catcallers or Kickers, but they have been called far worse. 

Rather than attack directly, the Ugallu might briefly manifest their legs behind the offender to kick them up the behind, or a hand to flick ears or noses, or pinch uncovered flesh, before dissolving again. Once aroused to action an Ugallu can be pitiless, harassing their victim well beyond a shrine’s boundary with a rapid barrage of thumps, kicks, trips and curses from all directions.  

They may also be employed to set off any elaborate traps that Eurmali have constructed to protect a holy site. Stories of Ugallu tell of them convincing victims to undertake daft, dangerous (and utterly fictional) rituals to gain entrance, or of possessing an intruder and using the body to sow confusion or enmity amongst any companions. Trespassers recall their helmet plumes suddenly going up in flames, or of a disembodied leonine head appearing in the air to taunt, pose meaningless riddles, or lay curses.  

Despite its fearsome appearance, Ugallu tend to have incongruously lilting voices and laughter. They can speak at least five languages (but can swear in twice as many) and will communicate in whichever one they think their victim is least likely to understand. If they are unable to torment an intruder they will reluctantly resort to spirit combat. 

An Ugallu can be forced to take corporeal form if one is quick enough to spot and grab a disappearing body part (requires successful Scan, Dex x2% & grapple), uses a Command Cult Spirit spell (Trickster only) or if one addresses the individual spirit by its true name.  

When encountered in the Spirit World, Ugallu are free-roaming, attracted to spiritual crossroads or labyrinths and, whilst not malicious, are just as unhelpful as you might expect them to be. 

Ugallu in Physical Form 

STR 3D6+6   Average 16-17 

CON 3D6    Average 10-11 

SIZ 2D6+6   Average 13 

INT 3D6+6    Average 16-17 

POW 3D6+6   Average 16-17 

CHA 3D6+3    Average 13-14 

DEX 3D6+6    Average 16-17 

Hit Points 13 

Spirit Powers: Blink*, Covert Possession, Curse, Solid Form 

*Blink is the ability to rapidly manifest all or parts of the Ugallu’s solid form, and to dissolve it just as quickly. 

Skills: Conceal 60%, Fast Talk 75%, Stormspeech & 4 Other Languages (INTx5%), Sleight 65%, Spirit Combat 70% 

Runes: Disorder 75%, Movement 65% 

Spirit Magic: Disruption, Glamour, Ignite 

Armour: 4-point mane on head 

Physical Attacks: Kick 70%, Fist 65% 

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