Staring at Monsters – The Alp

In my last post, I said I would steal a lot from other bloggers, even if it’s only the idea. One such idea stems from The Daily Bestiary by Blogger Patch, a blog that goes through diverse Bestiaries since 2011, taking one monster at a time, commenting on their backgrounds and powers and then adding their own adventure ideas, 3 at a time. Initially, I thought about just taking those ideas and fleshing them out a bit (something I still might do), but then I thought I could give it a try myself and do my own adventure spark stuff. Apart from that, Patch started with the original Paizo Bestiary, and the first entry in it just happens to be the Aasimar, so I was willing to take that as an excuse to start with the much more recent Bestiary 6 instead.

Which has the Alp as it’s first entry, an old mythological creature whose name’s related to the English „elf“ that sits on a sleeper’s chest at night, causing them to have nightmares (which is „Alptraum“ in German) and drinking it’s victim’s blood. Originally thought off as a nature god, the Alp would turn into a demon in the middle ages, and it’s easy to see how the stories around it might be early predecessors of what would eventually become the vampire. While doing a bit of research on that topic, I also stumbled about an interesting article about sleep paralysis, which I found very enlightening and that also theorized about the existence of those creatures being early explanations for that phenomenon.

John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare

By Johann Heinrich Füssliwartburg.eduimage, common license, Link

It is easy to see how the bestiary entry turn’s this creature’s traits into monster abilities. The Alp (CR 10) has several spell-like abilities like Deep Slumber and Nightmare, it can turn invisible via Greater Invisibility (in folklore, the Alp is often narrated as wearing a Tarnkappe, like King Alberich from the Nibelungenlied used to, before he lost it to Sigfried. It has a bite attack, draining it’s victims blood, and with the special abilities Crushing Leap and Nightmare Rider, it is able to pin and grapple it’s victim, making itself so heavy in the process that the victim gets serious problems with breathing. It even can shape-change into several smaller animals.

What I find interesting is that the entry makes the Alp‘ alignment into a Chaotic Neutral rather than an Evil entity. And in fact, mythology hints at Alps being able to be negotiated with, and while being mischievous in nature, they are not necessarily out to kill other beings, which I think would make for a rather interesting approach to a scenario, in which the PCs have to use their brains rather than their swords to get rid of such a beast.

But you know what? I already have nearly used all my 500 words for today, and one thing I want to avoid very much for the time being is to go over that limit, so my adventure ideas must wait until tomorrow, which also means that I’ll have another 500 words and can do a bit more than short online descriptions.

Word count day 1: 517.

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