The 17 Atacorns

Atanuwe, a nine-legged hermaphroditic horse-thing beloved by the Jale God, was bred with several human women in his service, and the witch-mothers gave birth to seventeen mule-things with the faces of human men and women. These creatures are called atacorns. They are known to dwell near rivers and underground streams. If witches are sometimes characterized as malicious, the atacorns are regarded as experts in the area of cruelty. They are known in local folklore as child-thieves, cheats, liars, poisoners, slave-traders, cannibals, and occasional usurpers.

The 17 atacorns have horns like unicorns. Some horns are vestigial little things that refuse to sprout. Some have many horns. Some have undeveloped nodules where horns might appear. Some have horns that grow smaller as time goes on.

Atacorns have the same stat blocks as Gargoyles, but do not fly.

The 17 Atacorns

1. Kulkurush - The Child Thief
Widely known as the best child stealer in the realms, Kulkurush has three deer-like horns growing from the back of his head which molt every spring. He saves his antlers and in his spare time decorates them with bizarre, intricate landscape carvings which he sells to interested parties. Carrying such a carving on one's person results in a –2 to WIS but a +2 to DEX.

2. Farthigny - Fiddler in the Dark
Everyone who has heard the strange music in the trees near the edge of streams has heard the music of the fiddler in the dark. Farthigny has but a single horn growing sideways from his chin, which he has carved into an ever-present fiddle. He spends much time whittling away at his growth to maintain its pure sound. The bard's guild will pay 5,000gp for the fiddle.

3. Harloch - The Cannibal Below
Everyone thinks it's a troll, but it's massive Harloch that's been demanding payment, slaying and eating those who refuse to pay. He rams misers with his six moose-like antlers, wrenches them apart with his bare hands and eats them alive in front of any screaming onlookers. His antlers are tough as iron and, if one can be separated from his skull, will be found to be as light as the finest balsa wood. They would make excellent paddles, imparting a 30% boost to movement rates if used as such.

4. Yawnwewe - Liar of the Sewers
The small-horned Yawnwewe whispers lies from the gutters near the market's edge, which is, of course, where the most hard-nosed barterers set up keep and somehow, to their unknowing amazement, learn to please a customer with lies. Yawnwewe's two horns are little more than nubs, but could bring a +2 to CHA to those who find them and give them a good rub.

5. Balzak - Poisoner in the Wastes
A touch of Balzak's twisted black horn can turn any water into a rancid, germ-ridden poisonous broth, which is why she's been driven to the edge of the desert, far from any settlement. Thieves and assassins seek her out to make use of her talents. Her horn, if separated from her body, is useless, as it is her malignant soul which uses her horn as its outlet.

6. Luroch - Cannibal of the Docks
Nearly every ship has lost a sailor to Luroch, whose name means "she who devours" in an ancient tongue. Luroch avoids the sun, skulking in the sewer outlets near the dock's edge during the daylight hours. She comes out to feed when the tide returns, spearing unwatchful sailors with her four-foot barbed horn. The horn itself would make a fearful weapon, essentially working as a flail +3.

7. Sisyphut - Child Slaver
Need a child's hands to weave the delicate strands of spidergoat silk? Don't trust gnomes to tend the gardens of your castle's underdark? Sisyphut can meet any child labor need, no demand too large, no child too small! He has connections across the realms, and his special bond with his half-brother Kulkurush can even get you the child of your enemy as your personal valet! Sisyphut's horns are five delicate ivory curves that grow downward from his brow, creating a natural barrier to attacks to his eyes. The ivory itself is valued at 500gp apiece and bring the owner of each a +1 bonus to DEX (Sisyphut get a +5 to all melee attacks despite the obstructed view).

8. Nigoosh - Cheater at Cards
No one expects a dwarf to cheat at cards, which is why Nigoosh, whose hollow horns house marked cards, cold decks, peggers, gaffs, shiners and various blackout inks, gets away with it so much. He's not naturally talented at the grift but learned the hard way at his mother's knee. He's wrapped his two bull-like horns in swaddling and iron to make it look like he's wearing a helm, but don't be fooled when he goes to scratch an itch on his head. The horns are worthless, but there's a 3,000gp price on his head two empires over.

9. Tyrellian - Usurper of Innkeepers
Tyrellian has no horns to speak of; that is because his horn is in-grown, growing from the inside of his forehead back into his brain, neatly splitting it in two. This brain division has given him two distinct personalties: one a humble sniveling servant, the other an arrogant jackass. Tyrellian moves from town to town, hiring on as a floor scrubber or dish licker in isolated taverns on the outskirts of towns and then killing the owner, taking over the business, and murdering patrons in their sleep before quietly escaping and moving on. He carries no money, and his horn, if removed from his skull, will allow the holder to understand the language of fungi.

10. Grigi - Panderer to Minor Nobles
The fourth son of a third son of a king might not be high in the ranks of nobility, but high enough to be embarrassed if his betters found out about his particular kinks. That is where Grigi comes in, procuring whores and harlots to service the hanger-ons and distant relations of nobility. There's no human fetish she hasn't seen and several that she's willing to perform herself for the right price. Her triple horns resemble those of goats and are prized beyond compare by a certain nobleman for their penetrative properties.

11. Hessith - Panderer to Fat Merchants
Fat merchants might be rich but riches do not cure the foul of sight. Hessith specializes in finding beautiful maidens to service the foulest of the richly foul. She doesn't engage in any hanky-panky herself. Her sixteen horns were originally ten feet long and grow 1-inch shorter every 100 years. As soon as the horns disappear, she's been assured by the Jale God that she'll ascended to goddesshood. If she is dehorned before her death, they will grow back to their full length in three days. If ground into powder and inhaled, her horns grant a +3 to STR and CON, but such use is addictive and the PC must continue to snort the ground horn every day or take a non-replaceable –5 to HP every day they don't. If a PC manages to snort an entire ground horn over the course of the addiction, they will gain a permanent +5 to CON.

12. Qolalel - Harborer of Child Killers
Qolalel knows all the secret ways in and out of every home and hovel in the kingdom, having scouted escape routes for her band of wretched murderers. She is looked at with scorn by her half-siblings Sisyphut and Kulkurush for protecting those who waste their livelihoods. Her horns resemble a twelve-point stag's, but are harder and thinner. She molts her horns once every three years and sells them as wall decor to the wealthy; yet through her horns she can hear the whisperings in all the halls of powers in which they hang. The value of a set of her horns is 1,500gp; several necromancers and liches have purchased sets for their own use.

13. Du'u - Chamber Pot Sculptor
No one pisses without Du'u knowing. Sculptor of chamber pots used by the rich and the poor around the realm, Du'u knows what everyone has to drink, who has kidney stones, who has various unmentionable diseases, who is pregnant and who is lying about being pregnant, and he will sell this information for the right price. A normal boxwood unicorn horn grows from the top of his head.

14. Onzrwzcn - Trainer of Rats
Rats are ubiquitous in the realms and the reason for this is Onzrwzcn, half lieutenant in the rat piper corps. Gifted with a hollow silver unicorn horn, Onzwrcn drilled holes in his horn, attached a bellows by way of a sheep intestine, and learned to create music in the same manner as a bagpipe. He taught rats to follow his musical commands, training them to fetch keys, steal coins, unlock doors, undo traps, and generally harass those who need harassing by rats. His horn makes for a unique instrument and the bardic guild would play handsomely for its procurement.

15. Lefpth - Trainer of Demi-human Harlots
Working in the employ of her brood-sister Grigi, Lefpth trains halflings, dwarves, and gnomes in the finer arts of human pleasure. Her horn is a small twisted lump of barely protruding keratin no larger than a child's thumb. However, this lump is extra sensitive and merely touching it sends Lefpth into orgasmic tremors. The scrapings and clipping from this horn are a powerful aphrodisiac when mixed with red wine.

16. Redmer - Cleanser of Menstrual Rags
Redmer, whose four horns protrude from his knees and feet, is a thin, sickly looking atacorn whose entire existence has been spent washing the menstrual rags of the upper class. Twisted and bent, Redmer appears to be an ancient, haggard woman when in fact he is the youngest of all the atacorns; he was born elderly and gets one minute younger every year. His horns currently hold no power, but when he reaches the age of ten his horns will give him the ability to walk on water.

17. Nalonem - Goblinoid Lice Picker
Sought out by all the goblin-like races as the finest lice picker in the realms, Nalonem's horns appear more like fine strands of baleen atop her head. The tough rows of horns are a natural comb and she gets handsomely paid to groom goblin shamans and hobgoblin queens. The goblin king has offered to buy her horns for all the wealth in his second-favorite treasure vault; so far Nalonem has declined. If her horns are separated from her head, a tattoo that covers her entire scalp will be visible. This is a map of the Labyrinth of Myzithra on the island of Anari.


cturnitsa said…
Most excellent posting - very imaginative. I like he 17 creatures, and great job naming them. Feels very sword and sorcerery-ish.
Matthew Schmeer said…
@chuck: Thanks! The list of captchas I keep comes in handy for names!
Unknown said…
what an amazing post - really excellent
Matthew Schmeer said…
@damian: glad you liked it!

I just corrected a bunch of typos in the post, too.
Greg Gorgonmilk said…
Matt, I am still struck by these character sketches.