A Phantom Bestiary

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Long before men, before gods, before the Foimoire and even the Tuatha-Sidhe, The Dragon stalked across the face of the Phantom World. Uncertain tales say He hatched from the belly of the world, or that She lay the world out of Her, as an egg. Legends credit His breath with the growth of Scalgard's first plants and say that Her dreams, when eventually She lay down to sleep, dotted the world with animals. Somewhere, perhaps sleeping in the heart of the world or moved on to hatch the next, The Dragon still lives. But where or how none alive can say, for none were there, not even The Dragon's Spawn, the drakes.

Though far-fallen from their mythic forebear, drakes are still creatures of power. Massive in size, with armor like layered shields, teeth like spears and claws as sharp as swords, drakes are a plague on the nations of men. Saving only Estria, they are found across the world; black-scaled in the moist fens of the Low Countries, lusterless red in the jagged mountains bordering Saesony, emerald green in the Ceumric forests and brown, wingless wyrms through much of Thrudvang. Wherever they are, drakes are creatures of territorial greed, claiming caverns and forest glens as theirs, and jealously guarding whatever other treasure strength and fate might bring into their hands.

A character knows the following with a successful skill check:

  • Streetwise DC 20 - The Fire On Blackholme Peak - Far to the Saeson east the charmen return from the dark woods with tales of a lonely cave on a lonely mountain and the largest drake they've ever seen. It has fire, it has wings, it has great claws and teeth; is it an ancient thing only recently wakened, or just closer in blood to The Dragon than most? Many men discount the tales, but Blackholme Peak has been glowing nights of late, and a twelve-strong warband who camped near its foot have yet to return.
  • Arcana DC 25 - A Heart Consumed By Scales of Lucre - Some love gold not for what it can bring them, but for its own sake. They love the way the way it shines, the coolness against their skin, the way it smells... They count it, again and again and again. And they try, always, to get more. But gold is closer to The Dragon's soul than anything else in Scalgard, and too much love can change a man. Bit by bit, the body is coated in flecks of gold. Piece by piece, the gold is absorbed into the flesh. The body expands, and changes shape. A mouth becomes a snout, hands become claws, and over time, over time, over time, where once there was a man there is only a Drake.
  • Arcana DC 30 - The Plutarch's Face - In Estria, the Plutarch's bloodline has run strong for a hundred years and more, and ruled all that time. In truth, it is but the blood of one man, alive for centuries. No, not a man... A Dragon! The last heir of The Dragon, the Plutarch has hid himself well and indulged his native greed, happy to remain undiscovered. A good thing, too, for the knowledge at his disposal must surely be vast and his power, if ever it had to be brought to bear, enough to strive with a god's.

Keywords: Dragon

Examples: Adult Black Dragon, Young Green Dragon


The Elemental Lords grant many boons to those who pledge themselves in service, and the greatest among these are allies without number. These are the elementals, formed of the very matter of their patron's influence and given shape by the temper of their creators; a steel elemental is not a shapeless pile of metal, but a great knight in polished and perfectly mirrored plate, a greatsword in its hands. Sized between men and giants, elementals nevertheless do not have the will of these mortal races and, though intelligent, follow the commands of their conjurer or creator without question or pause.

Elementals find form in Scalgard where their creators hold the most power. Dust elementals are not only the librarians in Annwyn's dry, dead realm in the southwest, then, but in universities across Estria; Mannanan's thunder legions arise not in the sky above the world, but on any battlefield that rages fiercely enough to attract Father Wolf's attention. Wherever else, the gods do not lightly leave their defenses aside, and those mortals who would approach the gods must first contend with these most powerful of their servants.

A character knows the following with a successful Religion check:

  • DC 20 - The Forest For the Trees - The Forest of Ikalda, a week's ride into the heart of Thrudvang, is actually a reserve army of ten thousand Thunder Elementals, petrified into the form of bristling pine trees. Anyone who chops down a tree in Ikalda will go deaf in the resulting explosion. What they're standing in reserve for, nobody but the Duke of Thunder knows.
  • DC 25 - Those Who Are One Army - Against Annwyn's will and power, Nefain keeps some righteous heroes, slain before their time, by her side as her Einherjar, her Steel Elementals. The ritual by which she puts mortal souls in metal bodies is still a mystery, but whatever it is it makes her servants unfailing in purpose and loyalty.
  • DC 30 - Myself to Myself - Elementals are not truly independent creatures, but rather called up from the gods' own potent souls. And as strong as the gods are, creating and maintaining such a construct is draining, even for them. They do not often send their servants far from their places of power and are careful not to sacrifice too many of the creatures, lest their own strength fade as a consequence.

Keywords: Cold, Construct, Earth

Examples: Air Elemental, Ice Archon Frostshaper, Ice Devil (Gelugon), Inevitable (Zelekhut), Iron Golem, Mephit (Dust)

Fir Bolg[edit]

Wild and bestial, these feral wolf-men stand just over seven feet tall and have sworn themselves the enemies of mankind. The Fir Bolg were the first mortal inhabitants of the westlands, and have now claimed the wild places and the shadows as their own. They mark their territory with blood. When the races of men moved west, out of Estria and into Ceumri and the Deiran, and began to build towns and cities, they cleared wide stretches of land to farm or graze cattle and unwittingly stole the lands of the Fir Bolg. Over the centuries, the Fir Bolg have frequently bitten back.

Though not naturally inclined towards industry, the Fir Bolg are a people of feral and cunning intellect. They salvage the tools of those they kill, and over the long years on the moors and in the deepest woods, they have learned to wield weapons and wear light armor. They run on four legs almost as easily as on two, and are masters of pack tactics, grouping together to hound a single foe and run it to ground. When they strike, they strike quickly, and fade back into the shadows, safe from assault until they can burst forth again. Of late, these strikes have been growing in frequency...

A character knows the following with a successful skill check:

  • Streetwise DC 20 - Old Dogs, New Tricks - The Fir Bolg went one step worse than butchering the Fenian Denholm down to a man: they took their place. They kept the fires burning, kept the sheep in pasturage, kept true all the sounds of life. In this way, they took the next trading caravan to come through town entirely by surprise. Only a handful of men escaped that ambush, but when they returned in force the town was abandoned. The caravan wagons, though, and all their pack animals, were missing. Did the Fir Bolg take them, for some other, new plan?
  • DC 25 - The Leader of the Pack -
  • Nature DC 30 - Proud and Bitter Sons - It was Cerithwen made the Fir Bolg, from wolves she found when first she came to Scalgard, but her children failed to hold her interest. While the first dwarves had fosterage from the giants, the Fir Bolg had to succeed, and fail, on their own. Now they seek help from none and their feral hearts scream for their mother's blood and an end to all her works.

Example: Fir Bolg use Gnoll statistics


The oldest dwarven thanes say that their grandfathers are giant folk, the Foimoire, who walked from the eastern seas and drove the Tuatha Sidhe into their dreaming realm. The dwarves give the Foimoire credit for inventing their runic writing and say that the wisest among them knew the languages of the birds and of the earth. They strove with the gods when those Elemental Lords first followed their sister Cerithwen to Scalgard, but proved no match for their magics and retreated beneath the waves from which they had come.

The truth of these stories are kept by the Foimoire's few, certain children: the giants. Between half again and thrice a man's height, they are creatures of incredible strength and possessed of what must surely be knowledge of the Foimoire's ancient magic. This they practice with rage in their hearts for, dutiful sons, the memory of their fathers' fall burns within them and they would have revenge, if not on the gods themselves, then at least the men who birthed them. Their schemes, though, come with only slight aid from kin, for giants are solitary creatures who do not often unite but instead make their lonely homes in the Foimoire's abandoned castles, sunken below the surface of the earth or floating far out to sea. As company they keep only captured slaves or a single apprentice who they tutor in their magics - indeed, mortal wizardry has its origins with the Foimoire, as do darker pacts besides, and for love of their fathers and love of learning the giants will teach some of this power in exchange for service. A supplicant must be quick to bend knee, though, and hope to catch his tutor otherwise without a student, or be met with no grace at all. The only certain exception is a dwarf, with whom the giants will begin no strife, lending credence to the small folks' claims of cousinage.

A character knows the following with a successful skill check:

  • History DC 20 - Steading of the Hill Giant Chief - All is not well in Srumnir, a city of the Low Countries; Froyja, the champion, has been taken war-captive by a giant living in land claimed by Edward the Bald, a disagreeable Saeson duke. Served by ogrish servants, the giant's fortress would take an army to seize, but that would invite war with Edward and his nearby Saeson allies.
  • History DC 25 - The Frost Giant's Daughter - On an island off the north coast of Seasony, the giant Isvath has a human daughter. Her true parentage even Isvath's old apprentices do not know, but word has spread that the girl, named Aelwyn, is a beauty like no other. Many are the men who had taken on the challenge of winning her to wife, but the tasks Isvath have set them have so far bought them only Annwyn's embrace. This would seem to be Isvath's own cruel revenge for the Foimoire's fall; indeed, it may not even be possible to win his game.
  • Arcana DC 30 - Calling Their Fathers' Names - Through their inherited magics, giants may become the fathers of monsters. The amphibious kua toa, the venomous basilisk and the various ettins and ogres among the so-called "lesser giants" are all their children, sent out of the giants' halls to smash low the kingdoms of men. But so, too, is Aelwyn Isvath's true daughter.

Keyword: Giant

Examples: Ettin Spirit-Talker, Fire Giant Forgecaller, Hill Giant, Ogre Thug


These "Children of the Earth" claim that they were dreamed into existence by the living consciousness of the natural world itself, when the land had newly formed from the mists of glory. They strove as knights against the dragons and, later, when Cerithwen came to light the nighttime sky they strode above the Fir Bolg, who only watched and built their nations in the Strange Lords' shadows. It was not until the Foimoire came to the Phantom World, with shadows of their own in giant and dwarf, that the Tuatha-Sidhe quit Scalgard in favor of their ethereal Dream Realm.

They have not quit the plane of man forever, though. They may cross over at barrows and dolmens, where the ties between their world and Scalgard are strong. Some have made tiny kingdoms, in places far from men, but these never last, for the pacts between the Tuatha-Sidhe and the Foimoire forbid it. More strongly, though, they must answer to a mortal wizard's call, for by ancient pact man's magic is the magic of the Tuatha-Sidhe; the Tuatha-Sidhe will serve as a wizard's teachers for this boon and, when he asks, powerful soldiers in his service.

The Tuath-Sidhe come in a wide range of appearances and sizes, from tiny sprites to noble, silver-pelted cat-men, from giant trolls with cloven hooves and mighty thewed arms to strange creatures made entirely of verdage. Each, no matter the kind, is possessed of some mysterious magical ability.

A character knows the following with a successful Arcana check:

  • DC 20 - Scions of Dream and Horn - Sometimes known as Half-elves, the Aelfin are changeling children, fathered upon human maids by, or by human men upon, the Tuatha-Sidhe. Born into the society of their mortal mother or left on the doorstep of their father's house, their appearance will always betray, however slightly, their immortal parentage. Stranger still, the Aelfin have also each inherited an almost magical knowledge from the otherworld that can give them strange insights and surprising knowledge beyond their chosen role in the world.
  • DC 25 - Poor, Abandoned Soldiers - The Strange Lords left for the Dream Realm, and took their best knights with them, but their bondsmen did not merit such an exalted retreat. No, the goblins were left behind to make their own way in the world, and the memory of what they lost twists in their haunted hearts. There is order to them, civility, but it's a veneer that only poorly apes a half-remembered dream. Perhaps it is that dream that brings the goblins into such frequent service of Aelfin or Fey-pact Warlocks. But perhaps there is no dream at all, and the goblins were never abandoned, and the Tuatha-Sidhe are playing a far more subtle game, and have their hands on far more pawns, than sages have ever credited them with...
  • DC 30 - Walking the Never-Trod Path - The doors to the Strange Lords' realm have not closed completely; there are cracks in the wall between worlds. The foot of an abandoned path, the frame of a broken door, a hollow made by two trees entwined, all of these may open to the Dream Realm for he who has the key. The Tuatha-Sidhe's ancient songs of power are folklore now, passed down and corrupted with time, but a man who can sing their original notes without his voice breaking might step through to the other side and seek his heart's desire. The Strange Lords, of course, know their own songs, but only rarely seem to use them, and none have been willing to say why.

Origin/Type: Fey/Plant, shapechanger, spider (also creatures named "Goblin", "Hobgoblin", "Bugbear" and "Troll")

Examples: Cyclops Impaler, Dryad, Eladrin Twilight Incanter, Fomorian Painbringer, Goblin Hexer, Razorclaw Stalker, Treant, Unicorn


When most men die, their spirits march to the shore, and the black spectral ships that carry them to Annwyn's realm. Some, through misfortune, strength of will or sorcery, are forced to stay behind. There are victims of an undead's own attack, souls marked by the touch of chaos and bound to walk the earth; kings and heroes with deeds undone, whose ghosts rest uneasily in their graves; and, worst of all, those called up by the power of the elemental gods, for even the dead have use as tools. Mannanan sends his storms after Annwyn's black ships, and he claims what souls he sinks for his own, giving them over to his priests or turning them loose as he wills. The Prince of Dust is little better, using the souls he claims in much the same way; though at least his priests have the power to put down what they or others call up. There are few foes worse than the undead; immune to fear, terrible to behold and potentially without number.

A character knows the following with a successful Religion check:

  • DC 20 - The Tomb of Horrors - The bog-barrows that dot the Low Countries hold the remains of those lands' once-proud lords, but not all their souls rest easy in Annwyn's halls. One ancient prince, Draugr, has stirred at the clash of arms overhead, and he prepares to march to war once more. Shepherds have seen his barrow-door stand open to the moon. Farmers have seen, before fleeing in terror, too many of the newly dead, not tied down in the ancient style, crawl their way across the fen to meet him. Villagers in their homes have awakened from black dreams screaming his name. When his host is complete will it be vengeance he seeks, or conquest?
  • DC 25 - The Ashen Covenant - In old, decrepit temples throughout Thrudvang and Saesony, a terrible doom awaits. A cult of the dead and nearly so, traitors to Annwyn's will, the Ashen Covenant would throw open the gates to the Halls of Dust and let the dead walk beside the living. Such an order is hardly healthy, though, and already through ritual, through sacrifice and through art, the Covenant have shown they are far more concerned with the hearafter than the health of anyone who's yet to cross that line.
  • DC 30 - Stilling the Black Ship's Sails - Wise sages know that Annwyn must call the dead to him, lest their souls stay uneasy in Scalgard, but the wisest of the wise have learned that there may be a way to keep his call from reaching your ears. On the night of the new moon, when Cerithwen turns her face from the world; if it is cloudless, and Mannanan does not race through the sky; you would wear a symbol of power and, with blasphemous words, try to bind a god to a circle of black stone stolen from the dwarves. Succeed, and Annwyn's immortal, lich-power may be yours; fail, and he will most certainly have a new soul in his care.

Type: Undead

Examples: Boneshard Skeleton, Corruption Corpse, Deathlock Wight, Horde Ghoul, Wailing Ghost (Banshee)

Legends of the Phantom World