Monstrous Monday: Skaevling

You walk across the rooftop, bow drawn, twirling an arrow like a baton in your off hand. Corvana stands at the corner, leaning out over the open city street with one hand on the wing of a gargoyle. She takes in a deep breath and lets it out.

“I love nights like these,” she says. “Nights where you can just sit and listen to the sounds of the city.”

You grunt in response, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. Your muscles are too tense, the hair on your neck and arms standing on end. All you can think about is the bat. Why did you take this damn job? Mog’s laid up in the church, and now you and Corvana have to fight the thing on your own.

You look down at the arrow and test the tip for sharpness. Again. This must be the third time. A gust of wind blows by and Corvana’s cloak makes a sound. You look up to see her grab her crossbow. Shit. You turn around and struggle to nock your arrow, but drop your bow as the night explodes with the sound of the bat’s shriek. You put your hands over your ears, but it’s too late. You can’t hear anything. You drop to your knees, your vision wavering as your eyes vibrate in their sockets. A moment later, you feel something sharp dig into your shoulders, then you’re airborne, looking down at the rooftop.

You watch Corvana load her crossbow and take aim. Part of you hopes that her aim is true. The other part sees the long drop to the cobblestones below, and secretly hopes that the crossbow misfires.

Welcome to the first week of November! This is NOT going to be a theme month, unlike October. Though, for the last week, I do have a special monster planned. Until then, though, let’s take a look at the Skaevling!

This monster is actually from my homebrew setting: Subvera. They’re bat-men. Or Man-bats. Or humanoid chiroptera. Or whatever. The point is, they have humanoid bodies, but the head, wings, and feet of terrifying vampire bats. And they will mess you up!

Shrieking Lurkers

Skaevlings are not particularly stealthy creatures, but they silently soar on currents of air, hang from the ceilings of caves, and lurk on clifftops and the rooves of buildings. A skaevling in a crowded city street is a deadly threat, which is why many cities with a thriving nightlife hire hunters to keep their rooftops clean of such beasts.

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Fly Alone, Sleep Together

When skaevlings leave their home caves, they are quite independent. Occasionally, two or three skaevlings will take a night flight together, but most do so alone. When they return to nest, however, it’s not uncommon to find a dozen skaevlings or more in the same cave or abandoned building, as they nest in groups. In large cities where skaevlings nest in buildings, dozens of hunters have to be amassed in order to end the threat without a danger to the common people.

Opportunistic Scavengers

Skaevlings are hot hunters. They do not usually seek out prey, but tend to stumble upon it or let it stumble upon them. When this happens, they attempt to stun their prey with their sonic shriek attack, which is loud enough even to kill. They then swoop down upon their prey and grapple them so that they can latch on with their powerful jaws and feed. Often, this process will kill a creature outright, and skaevlings tend to feed on cattle, goats, and other livestock. In cities, they will often feed on the homeless or citizens who make the mistake of traveling alone at night. The shriek of a skaevling oft means death to those who hear it.
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As always, here is the PDF.

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