A block of villains! I’m going to begin a few posts here that will all be about potential villains my campaign world might have. I’ve talked about the importance of having some bad guys who are pure evil in a world of gray. First up, The Sleeping Ones.
I’ve mentioned these creatures a few times in the past. They are half-aberrant, half-devil beings that have the alien mind and feeling of entitlement to Canus of the former, and the cruel and cunning mind of the latter. Indeed these creatures are tough, smart, and powerful. They also hold a belief that Canus was a land their ancestors dominated long ago before it was stolen from them by lesser beings. They wish to take back their world back from these unworthy usurpers.
A History of The Sleeping Ones
Long ago when the metallic dragons fought the aberrants for control of Verda, the dragons summoned legions of devils to aid them in their cause. Some of these devil escaped the dragon’s thrall and sided with the aberrants. The devils and aberrants produced a horrific offspring, with the abilities and strengths of both of their bloodlines. To their parents and dragons this race was called morchia.
As it became clear the metallic dragons and tieflings we’re going to achieve victory, the pure-blood aberrant and devils sacrificed themselves so their beloved children could retreat to Verda’s Underdark. Still many morchia died in the final days of The Dragon Aberrant War. Those that lived, recovered and began to form their own society deep below Verda.
Thousands of years later the morchia came forth from The Underdark of Verda. They fought with tribes of monstrous humanoids and humans on the surface slowly reclaiming their lost lands. The morchia were called The Awakened Ones by the tribes who did not know the history of these strange creatures. The tribes knew only that the beasts had awakened from somewhere deep within Canus, hence their new title.
While the morchia were powerful, the tribes were far more numerous and their superior numbers helped them survive – for a time. It became clear that eventually The Awakened Ones would win out against the tribes.
However, the tribes were not Verda’s only inhabitants. The tieflings saw the way the war was going and for a time remained safe in their Spires. But the tieflings feared correctly they would be the next to fall if something was not done. So they began to research all of their tomes. They search every last aberrant ruin they could find. They spent all of their energies trying to find a solution while the tribes of Verda were slaughtered.
Finally, the tieflings used ancient magic unlocked deep within the ruins of Verda, and combined these old rituals with spells taught to them by the dragons. The ritual took hold of the morchia and opened the ground beneath them. As The Awakened Ones fell deep into The Underdark, a deep slumber overcame them. The powerful ritual, referred to as The Reckoning Spell, consumed many tieflings in the process of its casting, but the morchia had been defeated. Any that had not fallen to the ritual were quickly killed off or ran deep into Verda’s jungles. The tribes took to calling their defeated foes The Sleeping Ones – a warning to themselves that these creatures might someday return.
The Sleeping Ones Today
The people of Verda have a long memory as far as The Sleeping Ones are concerned. Nightmarish tales are passed down through generations about the horrors the tribes endured at the hands of these beasts. Most of the people in the tribes have never actually come face to face with these creatures, but they still speak their name in a soft whisper. These tales are not the kind used to scare naughty children. Oh no, they are the kind that make grown adults retch and cry out in the night.
The tieflings broke apart and hid the scroll that detailed the components of The Reckoning Spell. They thought a tool so powerful should be one difficult to retrieve and one they be tempted not to use. Now the scroll lies in five pieces in various parts of Verda. A piece might be entrusted to a tribe chief of an obscure but powerful clan or deep within and ancient ruin or somewhere in Verda’s uncharted territory. Each piece’s location is known only to one tiefling. Thus the knowledge is spread across five individual tieflings and their identities are known only by The Grand Council. They only come together and reveal their information if The Grand Council calls upon them, which has not happened… Yet.
Some of the morchai escaped into the jungles of Verda and remain alive and awake. These villains rarely show their faces though sometimes an individual will cause mischief. Enslaving a tribe to cause havoc and destruction is a favorite activity of these vagabond morchai. They also search for ancient artifacts left behind by their ancestors, slaughter lesser beings to prove their dominance, and seek others of their kind to keep reproducing.
There is a darker truth being uncovered in Verda. Many morchai have come together and plan to wake their sleeping brethren. They believe The Reckoning Spell can be reversed and have made it their mission to seek out the scroll and revive their kin. Then with Reckoning Spell in hand, they will lay waste to the lesser beings on Canus and take back their home.
Abilities and Appearance
The morchai runs the gamut in appearances. They all have features that point to their devil ancestry – horns, tails, claws, sharp teeth, and fiery eyes. Their more random features are the aberrant ones. Some have the tentacles of a mind flayer or otygyuh, or the eyes of a beholder or mouths of a gibbering mouther or the beak of a grell, etc. Some have more than one of these features. The combination of these alien and devilish features is grotesque and at times mind-bending.
As far as powers go, The Sleeping Ones are resistant to fire and poison and damage from non-magical or non-silvered weapons. Those resistances come from their devilish lineage as well as a claw attack and a flame projectile attack.
From the aberrant side, The Sleeping Ones have a powerful domination ability that allows them full control of an individual’s body. Since their appearances vary based on their aberrant lineage, so too do their powers. I can roll on the table below to generate these random abilities.
Roll 1d12 and add an ability to the base morchai.
- Tentacles (grant a grab attack that deals damage)
- Eye rays (multiple eyes grant the creature a few unique eye ray attacks)
- Beak (granting a bite attack)
- Gibbering mouths (horrendous sounds may nauseate enemies)
- Mind blast (an attack that can stun enemies)
- Extra crab claw (grants a grab attack that can be used as part of another attack)
- Flesh wings (grant a fly speed)
- Shapeshifting (can shapeshift into any creature of the same size)
- Sonic scream (attacks all enemies within a particular radius)
- Enormous maw (can swallow creatures whole)
- Supersized (creature is one size category larger and gains a trample attack)
- Roll twice on this table, if this result comes up again, roll three times on the table.