Deathmares

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Havard
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Deathmares

Post by Havard » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:50 pm

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Deathmares are described in p122 in the Savage Coast Monstrous Compendium PDF.

In this thread Cthulhudrew wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:44 pm
Yeah, this one feels a little bit half-formed (there are a couple of creatures like this in the SCMC- the Deathmare is one of the oddest, IMO)
These undead creatures are spirits of horses who were treated badly by their owners in life and return to deal revenge on all horsemen.

My initial thought is that this creature doesn't feel particularly closely tied to the Savage Coast setting. I am wondering if they could be linked to Takhati Stormtamer somehow.

Do you have any ideas for using Deathmares in Savage Coast campaigns or Mystara campaigns in general?

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Re: Deathmares

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:47 am

Honestly, I think these are one of the most ill-thought out monsters in just about any D&D product that I've come across, at least from a mechanical perspective.

I think the concept is good- mistreated horse spirit out for vengeance. But it's sole ability is to entrap people who mount it so that they can't escape, and then it rides them into some kind of fatal accident. The whole encounter basically is just a DM trap for a PC that doesn't have a horse, and is predicated on that PC deciding to throw his saddle on this thing standing out in a field, just waiting for such an event. It isn't even entirely clear if the horse is somehow immune to whatever fatal trap it rushes its unfortunate would be rider into.

I would revamp this thing if I were to use it; give it some other kind of ability besides just cursing its rider into an inability to dismount. Give it some kind of charm or suggestion ability to influence people to ride it, and maybe summon other horses or something.

I definitely agree that it doesn't feel particularly Savage Coastal (I think several creatures in the MC fit that bill). I like your idea of linking it to Tahkati Stormtamer, but I think it would be as an adversarial relationship. After all, he is the Immortal credited with domesticating the first horses, and this horse's nature almost seems counter to that. Perhaps they are vengeful spirits created by one of his adversaries (either Danel Tigerstripes, or maybe Karaash or Wogar- one of the patrons of the humanoids that once conquered the Atruaghin tribes). It also seems very much like an undead, evil counterpart to the Chevall, the were-centaurs that protect horses.
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Re: Deathmares

Post by Sturm » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:52 am

Probably it was meant to be used as an adventure seed, with PCs hunting down one such creature which has already killed some people. Could work well in a mystery, as the PCs may investigate on people killed while on horseback, but they may not realize from the start it is the horse the killer...
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Re: Deathmares

Post by Big Mac » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:40 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:47 am
I think the concept is good- mistreated horse spirit out for vengeance. But it's sole ability is to entrap people who mount it so that they can't escape, and then it rides them into some kind of fatal accident. The whole encounter basically is just a DM trap for a PC that doesn't have a horse, and is predicated on that PC deciding to throw his saddle on this thing standing out in a field, just waiting for such an event. It isn't even entirely clear if the horse is somehow immune to whatever fatal trap it rushes its unfortunate would be rider into.
Shouldn't these things appear in areas where horses have been mistreated (so that they are more likely to catch the right sort of people, than if they are in random locations)?

How about if they act a bit like a normal horse for a while and trap people who use a whip or somesuch?

How about if they try to murder the families of the people who mistreated them or somesuch? At least something like that, would create a pattern, where a NPC would notice what was happening and ask the PCs for help.
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Re: Deathmares

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:15 pm

Sturm wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:52 am
Probably it was meant to be used as an adventure seed, with PCs hunting down one such creature which has already killed some people. Could work well in a mystery, as the PCs may investigate on people killed while on horseback, but they may not realize from the start it is the horse the killer...
I suspect you are right; it just makes sort of an odd addition to a monster book, though, to be such a singular type of foe/encounter. I'd rather see something more broadly useful in a monster manual personally.
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Re: Deathmares

Post by brassdragon » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:25 pm

The deathmare sounds a lot like a kelpie, only reimagined as a vengeful undead.

Expanding the range of undead animals could have potential, but I'm personally tempted to re-reimagine them as undead chevalls instead.

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Re: Deathmares

Post by Argentmantle » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:17 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:47 am
Honestly, I think these are one of the most ill-thought out monsters in just about any D&D product that I've come across, at least from a mechanical perspective.

I think the concept is good- mistreated horse spirit out for vengeance. But it's sole ability is to entrap people who mount it so that they can't escape, and then it rides them into some kind of fatal accident. The whole encounter basically is just a DM trap for a PC that doesn't have a horse, and is predicated on that PC deciding to throw his saddle on this thing standing out in a field, just waiting for such an event. It isn't even entirely clear if the horse is somehow immune to whatever fatal trap it rushes its unfortunate would be rider into.

I would revamp this thing if I were to use it; give it some other kind of ability besides just cursing its rider into an inability to dismount. Give it some kind of charm or suggestion ability to influence people to ride it, and maybe summon other horses or something.

I definitely agree that it doesn't feel particularly Savage Coastal (I think several creatures in the MC fit that bill). I like your idea of linking it to Tahkati Stormtamer, but I think it would be as an adversarial relationship. After all, he is the Immortal credited with domesticating the first horses, and this horse's nature almost seems counter to that. Perhaps they are vengeful spirits created by one of his adversaries (either Danel Tigerstripes, or maybe Karaash or Wogar- one of the patrons of the humanoids that once conquered the Atruaghin tribes). It also seems very much like an undead, evil counterpart to the Chevall, the were-centaurs that protect horses.
I'll agree. Great concept, not-so-great execution. Since several of the Baronies are modeled after the American West and ranching, I assume horses are fairly common and abuse isn't non-existent. Its a terrible trap for PCs as it would be nearly impossible to cast Remove Curse from a saddled bucking horse or touch someone on the horse. I'd even imagine that it would try to 'parry' attacks against it by putting the rider into the path of harm. Coupled with the fact that the horse is immune to normal weapons, it might be a tough fight.

Since it is undead, its best choice would be to submerge itself with the rider. I mean throwing itself off a cliff would work, but I normally equate hitting the bottom as an attack that skips damage resistances like magic or silver.
Savage Coast Monster Compendium wrote:The deathmare continues to search for victims until its previous owner dies, at which time it simply fades away.
I'd imagine that it reforms until the time of the owner's death, sorta like a revenant. Its neat little one-time use monster in its current form. Another terrifying aspect would be a herd of these from an abusive stable owner or rancher. You could have a larger encounter that is picking off gauchos across the Baronies.
Savage Coast Monster Compendium wrote:These creatures normally stand idly by a roadside or field, patiently waiting to be approached or mounted, but sometimes one will walk up to a campsite as if wanting food.
A gaucho could have gone missing, the party is hired to find them. The party sets out across the area to find them. They find his horse who seems to spook easily at being led, maybe tricking a party member to ride them, and deathmare has victim #2. Or the deathmare could lead the party to the death of one of their mounts, forcing them to use it.

I remember after a tornado that destroyed a barn that horses were popping up around people's homes and along streets. The domesticated animals knew that people have provided them with food and shelter in the past and assume that other people would as well, so the wanting food aspect is a reasonable one.

I'd see them being more dangerous sneaking into corrals of newly caught mustangs and waiting to be 'broken'.

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