Pit of Horrors

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Dec 14, 2023
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Uriel the Mad Genius
Underappreciated, underrated, underestimated, and untolerated!


Race: Cecaelia
Class: Artificer/Alchemist
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Gay

Uriel is based on Eberron & the Forgotten Realms of D&D lore. He's amphibious and a mad inventor who's been banned from every intellectual establishment that can (or will) communicate with one another due to his penchant for bizarre and sometimes horrific experiments. He's known for taking brigands and highwaymen into his temporary employ as a ruse to gain test subjects but the monsters he creates are anything but humanoid. His greatest invention to date he calls miraculum; it is a living dark-purple goo that is viscous, sticky, and slimy but has many potential uses. His brilliance in mixing alchemy and machines is unmatched (or so he claims). He has one sister, Ursula, about whom very little is known by others. Most people believe he's a svirfneblin (a deep gnome), albeit a rather odd-looking one, as he keeps his tentacles hidden.

Inspirations
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
D&D 5e Lore & Rules
Phobies (Steam game)
Dr. Frank's Build A Boyfriend (Steam game)

The following has been posted on my DA but is also here for convenience [spoiler due to length]:
Let me tell you a story about an alchemist who became so obsessed with his work that he neglected his boyfriend until the man left him and his favorite bird until it died - and that’s when the true horror began. The gnome was one of those whose brilliance comes along once in several lifetimes but he was…troublesome. Problematic. He was warned…not once but multiple times. His experiments were inhumane and conducted, probably unwillingly, on brigands and highwaymen kidnapped with his inventions.

The gnome loved his boyfriend dearly; that much was clear. The only thing he loved more than his boyfriend was that pet cassowary of his. But the boyfriend grew cold, unable to handle being abandoned for alchemy by his beloved artificer, and so abandoned the man. So he turned to his only remaining friend: the cassowary. But as with his boyfriend, he became increasingly neglectful, and the bird perished. Desperate, he replaced the bird’s heart and its natural ability to speak with a mechanical heart and voice box; each bore tiny iron rods wrapped with copper wire that was pushed through individual diodes; the other end of each wire was wrapped around another tiny iron rod, and each of these secondary rods was plugged into a dragonshard that replaced its brain. He called the entire setup a one-way arcanomagnetic circuit with a data core. He soaked the bird in formaldehyde at some point in the process to preserve it, and now the bird seems to live again - only it really doesn’t.

Driven by regret and a deep depression, he turned to anger toward his boyfriend and convinced himself that the man was a cheat and a liar. He vowed to create the perfect boyfriend: one who would not abandon him, who would not lie to him or cheat on him, and one who was completely loyal - forever. And he conveniently forgot his regret, as the mix of emotions drove him mad. He became ever more obsessed with his work, and eventually he was kicked out of Castle Lacarnum by Lord Bronte Lacarnum himself and banned from every intellectual establishment that could communicate with one another.

But this was not the end. Oh, no - far from it. Somehow, he managed to sneak back into this establishment with one of his inventions - a platform that rested on eight mechanical, spider-like legs and with a dragonshard set into the center of it. From us, in addition to a number of pieces of equipment and a wealth of materials and alchemical components, he stole a large number of very large diamonds that had yet to be cut and polished. Using magic and ingenuity, he cut and shaped and polished the diamonds into a very large beaker set into the platform, even shaped around the inserted dragonshard. This beaker is what he used to brew his miraculum. Exactly what it is, we’re not sure. It’s a dark-purple, viscous, sticky, slimy…goo.

This miraculum of his is remarkable, however. It can produce a noxious vapor that makes the eyes water, dries out the skin, clogs the sinuses, and chokes you until you suffocate. It does disperse in time, allowing you to breathe once more. When you awaken, the residue that has set in must be removed via a potent healing potion - a Potion of Superior Healing, perhaps - or a powerful healing spell, such as a highly concentrated Cure Wounds spell. If it isn’t dealt with rather swiftly - within three days, we’ve found - the residue begins to eat through you, starting with your lungs. While you can be healed thereafter, what is lost cannot be recovered, at least not naturally. It’s a particularly nasty bit of vapor, but that’s not even the worst of it.

The worst of it is the miraculum itself. It’s psychoreactive. You know how some people say that if you treat your plants very well and talk to them every day, that they’ll grow more quickly and become especially healthy? Healthier than normal? It’s sort of like that with the miraculum. Moreover, he’s used it as a catalyst in several experiments and a bonding agent in several others. It doesn’t seem to be flammable, but it’s apparently intelligent in the way a dog is - in other words, it can be trained. Trained to do what, precisely, we’re unsure of. But it can grow and expand, and it can produce that vapor I mentioned; the vapor itself can also revert into its original state, which is very heavy. It seems to absorb many different liquids, even extremely caustic and quite viscous ones, and it also seems to be able to eat literally anything. It supposedly has a great many uses but we don’t know its full potential. Like I said, we don’t know what it is exactly, but we do know that he returned to this establishment more than once in secret, using subterfuge we didn’t expect from him, to recover his research and steal more than his fair share of materials. Thankfully, he hasn’t been here for a long time.

Until last week. I can only tell you what I saw with my own eyes. After the loss of his research, which we only kept initially to prevent him from conducting any more of his foul experiments and to figure out how to undo anything he might have accomplished - I tell you, the gnome was mad as a hatter - I can tell you nothing more of what he might have invented or how any of it was made. But last week, I looked out my study’s window to see…something…approaching the castle. Now, the moat exists as a disgusting mess of trash, mud, and shit for a reason. Its mudfish are a modified breed created here by a couple of our beast-masters; they are long-fanged mudfish with voracious appetites and powerful jaws that can clamp down indefinitely upon something, and they thrive in filth but can of course only breathe underwater.

It's a measure of protection, and the drawbridge is kept raised unless someone needs to enter or leave, and it’s heavily guarded when that happens. But what I saw approaching the castle can best be described as a mix of wood and iron and leather, and it was huge. It was some kind of makeshift doll or puppet, possibly once a corpse, and it had a rather large diode sticking out of its back that periodically sparked and constantly emitted a loud hum. It dropped into the moat and waded across, getting partially eaten in the process; it kicked holes in the foundation for footholds and climbed up to the drawbridge. At the same time, the mechanical beaker platform had some kind of container atop it; vaporous pressure was put behind it and the container launched as if from a catapult.

The catapulted container shattered against the wall of the castle and released thousands of locusts, which covered the moat and the walls and got into the castle through windows…quite the bit of chaos. In addition to this, the mad gnome himself was hurling what we believe he called termite grenades at the raised drawbridge. They shattered and released many termites, which promptly ate through the drawbridge! Once inside, the larger monstrosity both literally and figuratively tore through our guards, breaking them like twigs and ripping out their limbs.

It was fire that eventually did it in. It scorched the leather, heated up the metal, burned the cloth and wood…and at some point, it must have reached something flammable within or upon the creature, because it erupted in gouts of flame that rushed out in all directions. The thing literally exploded, taking out a tremendous chunk of the corridor. When we finally cleared away the rubble, that creature must have had some of the miraculum inside it, because it had almost completely broken down into vapor that was released with exposure. Many were wounded, several were killed…the creature had been destroyed but at great cost.

If the gnome was trying to make a statement, it was indeed quite well-made. If he was trying to accomplish something else…well, we don’t know what that is. Whatever he was trying to accomplish, all it resulted in for us - that we’re thus far aware of - was death and mayhem.

He left after that, and good riddance. We haven’t seen him since, and we don’t wish to. But he needs to be…dealt with. We cannot have him attacking us like this again. The next time, it might be even more devastating! If he can create something like that, what’s to stop him from sending an army against us, however small it might be, given enough time and resources? And what is it he’s trying to accomplish? Revenge? A hostile take-over of the castle and our local and producible resources? We cannot let this stand, but we are intellectuals: wizards, artificers, alchemists, mechanists, beast-masters, swarm-keepers, scholars, sages…we are not warriors. We have many ways to fight, but we are not battle-hardened and hopefully never will be. That is not our purpose.

Nor should it be. The king believes us useful and pays for many of the things that we can provide for him and his family, and we indirectly guard and supply this region in many ways. But we are not soldiers, not warriors…and so we must rely upon adventurers like yourself to deal with threats of this nature. The king has approved a large bounty to stop this madman; several mercenaries and assassins have already answered the call. None have yet succeeded in finding him, let alone bringing back his head, but we are hopeful that this villain will eventually cross the Styx.

Virgil Winston, Wizard & Scrollery Coordinator
Regarding the Mad Genius Uriel Octavixius

Monstrous Menagerie

Bird
A technically dead cassowary preserved by formaldehyde and reanimated via internal arcanomagnetic setup. Those claws are sharp! That beak hurts, too! And of course it can fly. It can also talk. Well...it can mimic. "Talk" is a bit of a misnomer. But it can definitely hold a conversation by mimicry.

Bottle
A huge beaker set into a platform that moves via mechanical spider legs; the beaker is partly filled with miraculum, while a dragonshard set into the platform acts as the power core for the body. This acts as a permanent source of miraculum but can also act as a veritable cannon, producing gas that then resolidifies in order for the remaining gas to pressure-launch it as a projectile; the gas can also presssure-launch a projectile resting atop the mouth of the beaker. Crab-like mechanical arms allow Bottle to hold or manipulate objects on command.

Boyfriend Project #9 #13 #31 #36 #37 #39 #42 #47
Ripped apart, bebuilt, scrapped again, reconstructed, broken down, reassembled...this constantly reconfigured doll-puppet-zombie-thing seems to be a never-ending personal project. Uriel will eventually build the perfect boyfriend! He'll absolutely do it! And he'll be PERFECT! And STUNNING! And FABULOUS! Probably.

Eyeball
Exactly what this massive eye was taken from - or perhaps how it was grown, if it was alchemically produced - is something known only to Uriel. It's roughly the size of a large human head, black as oil, and bears an iris that seems to randomly change color. The pupil expands and contracts as a normal eye would. What is NOT normal is the steel-like hardened miraculum frame that binds it and the pair of mechanical, bird-like legs atop which that frame sits.

Fish
Whatever breed of fish this once was or was bred or cross-bred from, it no longer resembles. The "head" looks a bit like a helmet with a faceted yet surprisingly clear window where the visor would be; within lies the massive head of a brown-and-orange fish that constantly looks either terrified or astonished, and the helmet is filled with freshwater kept ice-cold by the dimly glowing runes adorning the helmet. The body connected to the helmet looks like something out of a nightmare: a giant brown millipede with an orange underside, its many legs consisting of human-like arms with three fingers and a thumb each despite their leathery appearance and a color scheme matching the rest of the body; it has no nails, however, as more humanoid hands might. Its back is covered by barding seemingly made from dark-pink coral that appears to be fused to it, and watertight packs are strapped to it for the transport of a variety of materials, treasures, and other possessions.

Garfield
This blue cat is an adorable but cruel fluffball whose fur is electrically charged. There are black stripes across its back and black rings around its tail, and its fur always seems extremely frizzy. Probably best not to touch it. Or piss it off.
 

Sylent Hyll

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Dec 14, 2023
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Virgil
That’s right, plebian, look away. Give thine vision flight lest thou spy a filthy beggar!


Race: Experiment
Class: Mage
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Bi

His name was forgotten, so he adopted that of a dead man; and why not? For he, too, was dead to the world. Unbeknownst to him, Virgil was one of the earliest experiments of Doctor Octavixius - or so the name had been given. He had been inflicted with a terminal pestilence, one that ruined him in his trade. He had been a cook, and a rather brilliant one, and he had been so vibrant and active and full of life. Yet now…now, he was a shattered shell of a man, a far cry from that bustling king of the kitchen. He slept amongst the rats, watched the spiders play at hunting, and longed for a limb that had been cut off just below the hip. His flesh held a permanent pallor, and his bones barely bore it; emaciated, gaunt, his eyes sunken, his hair completely gone, his arms far too long to be natural, his hands larger than they should be, his fingers bearing thick nails as sharp as knives…his head seemed a little larger than it should be, too, but his eyes…black with irises of an acid-green colour and vertical slits for pupils - eyes like a dragon’s and a temperament to match, yet he sought only that which would help him survive despite his pitiable condition.

A rotting length of driftwood and a battered tin cup, along with the rags he wore, were his only possessions (well, almost) now. But that old stick…did it speak to him? Or was he simply abandoning what little remained of his wits? No, it spoke to him in earnest…but not with words.

It spoke to him with magic…dark magic.

Indeed, there was far more to this disgruntled and desperate beggar than did meet the wandering eye…

Inventory
Deadwood
Despite its rotten appearance, this fallen branch is surprisingly sturdy. It has an uncanny connection to literal darkness, vermin, and death.

Pouch
Used for holding small things; his make-shift rope-belt is strung through it. Has some candles and other small items in it.

Ragged Cloak
Despite its severe fraying, its rips, the obvious mismatching of colors among the oddly shaped patches, and the apparently mishappen lump it covers, this hooded cloak of (primarily plum-coloured)…uh, presumably either wool (it might not be) actually does an excellent job of enshrouding its wearer - assuming its wearer is less than four feet tall, of course. It has a surprising number of pockets roughly sewn into the inside as well, each of a different size and shape (this may or may not have been intentional) but functional nonetheless. It is held together with rope sealed by tree sap and some other kind of gluey substance that was used to coat it long ago, and it’s as stiff and creaky now as it was when it was first strung through (or maybe it so sealed in order to repair it?).

Rags
This may once have been a halfway decently tailored tunic and trousers - or it may have been just scraps thrown together in a haphazard attempt to cover oneself by a completely inept madman who’d never held a needle. It’s impossible to know at this point. Either way, they’re ripped and improperly patched and just generally…well, rags. They cover Virgil where need be. That’s all that can be said.

Rat Cage
Yes, that is a small cage of iron for a songbird. Yes, those are black rats climbing over and nipping at one another - about a dozen, give or take. And yes, it’s hanging from a make-shift belt of rope sealed much in the same manner for durability as that which binds Virgil’s cloak.

Tin Cup
A battered cup wrought of scrap metal; it has a distinct shape but looks as though someone used it for target practice.

Magic
Rage
This spell silently draws out the inner wrath, bitterness, and hatred of mortals; it amplifies them to woefully destructive heights, turning everyone except the caster to extreme violence. It is uncertain whether these emotions are drawn from the caster or those around him, but the result is undeniable. Thankfully, it lasts only as long as his presence does.

Regenerate
So long as the caster is in physical contact with his Deadwood, any damage done to his body will eventually be undone; he will ultimately be restored to the state he was in when he first found the Deadwood.

Remorse
Those affected by this spell will sink into a deep depression as they are filled with despair. Even after recovering, they are haunted by memories of that depression; it may resurface to a lesser extent in the future when they are stressed.

Retch
This may or may not actually be magic; whether it is or not, it is as foul-smelling as it is caustic when he does it. From somewhere in his throat, or perhaps even deeper inside him, the caster can spew a horrible stream of acidic bile that can eat through just about anything - or anyone.

Retreat
This spell instills dread in those near the caster, making chills dance across their spines and the hairs on their bodies stand on end. Sheer terror eventually drives them to flee from his menacing presence, their minds plagued by seemingly inescapable waking nightmares that continue to haunt their dreams long after they have been driven far from him; anyone affected by this spell will become extremely uneasy around the caster thereafter, whether the spell is cast again or not.

Rise
This spell raises the dead under the caster’s control. Zombies that are burned or destroyed will leave animated skeletons behind, their bones fused together when the spell is cast, unless their bones are also destroyed. The quickest and most complete way to stop them is to shatter the skull; merely beheading them won’t stop the bodies from seeking out the nearest living thing and trying to kill it, and those with jaws still at least relatively intact will attempt to devour the living even if they are not able to be consumed (as in the case of skeletons). After several moments, those slain by undead raised by this spell will also rise as undead under the caster’s control. This spell requires the caster to sacrifice a part of his own body, such as a nail or tooth, which must then be placed inside the corpse to raise it.

Ruin
This spell is a devastating plague, a pestilence that erodes the health of its victims and turns flourishing life into living decay. People and animals in the immediate area surrounding the caster slowly begin to grow ill, eventually retching and stumbling about in a haze of dizziness; those that can sweat do so profusely and can’t keep anything down, not even water, thus dehydrating and starving them; they develop boils that soon pop, becoming open sores that are quickly infected; their muscles grow weak and their bones begin to rot. Eventually, their bodies will become overwhelmed and either succumb to whatever it is that afflicts them - gagging and choking, gasping for air, drowning them in their own vomit and blood - or they will simply begin to shut down, their organs failing one after the other. And once they have perished, the poisons in their bodies will spread. Plants will wither and rot as well, water will grow stagnant and putrid, and vermin will begin to swarm in the area. This spell requires the sacrifice of a rat; its body must be torn open to release the foul magic with which it is imbued. Murdering a diseased rat in this manner will cause the effects to develop and spread much more quickly.
 

Sylent Hyll

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Tactical Adaptation Module (TAM) Unit KRMX-1337-SPK
aka "Tammi"

Race: Android
Class: Security Specialist?
Gender: Female*
Sexuality: N/A [asexual]​

A nigh-indestructible android designed for infiltration, exfiltration, covert combat, and hacking, "Tammi" has the physical measurements 37-36-37; she stands 5' 2" tall and weighs approximately 150 lbs, which is relatively light-weight (despite being heavier than a humanoid female of her height and build should be) considering her structure and integrated technology. She has been given a synthetic humanoid appearance to conceal what she is, consisting of olive skin; amber-colored eyes; and a shoulder-length wavy bob of ash-blonde hair. She is programmed to default her dominance to her left hand but is technically ambidextrous.

Her visual mode selection includes night-vision, x-ray vision, ultraviolet vision, and thermal mapping; her ocular implants can also identify key information, including vital statistics and other information able to be obtained by her programming, and she can search her extensive large-capacity knowledge bank for any information she may have recorded regarding her identified targets or subjects. Her system will "paint" (i.e. highlight) specific targets as necessary for easier identification when she is busy with multiple tasks or her attention is similarly divided in other ways. She can exert up to roughly two thousand pounds (one ton) of physical force as needed, run at a speed of up to approximately 20 mph, pick up sounds too low or high for a human to hear, and visually analyze microscopic particulates; her synthetic skin is also fitted with tactile sensors that react with very low-frequency electromagnetic spectrum put out by her mechanical body, allowing her to experience physical sensation.

Her integrated technology includes both offensive and defensive systems. A thin, white-lot laser can be emitted by the tip of each of her fingers and thumbs for a variety of purposes - including, but not limited to, welding; soldering; melting; and transmitting energy or heat, even to the point of overloading an outlet or system. Her full open hand can also be used to mimic hand scanners, sending out a pulse that scans them for the correct patterns and activates them to grant her access to whatever the scanners are protecting; this same pulse can be emitted as a defensive strategy as well, distorting the air and violently repelling anything in front of it. Both of her hands possess these functions, and her mechanical body can put out a similar pulse as a forcefield around her to deflect anything that her body can't withstand.

She isn't completely indestructible or invulnerable, of course, but her defenses and sturdy construction do give her a significant physical advantage over most humanoids that she might encounter. In addition, her body can produce and deploy nanobots that consume their own energy and materials to repair her body, replicating its existing structure to rebuild it as necessary, but this takes a lot of power and some time. While she does have a self-destruct mechanism as well, it's locked until certain very specific conditions are met and must be manually unlocked by accessing the partitioned self-destruct system via her operating system. She does not require sustenance or air but she does have to recharge herself at least once every twenty-three hours for a period of at least one hour in order to be fully functional; longer charges may be required if she's used significantly more power than her charge has allotted her. She can charge herself by plugging into any energy-based system but a designated charging station will provide the quickest and most efficient charging operation.

Her measurements are based on Scarlett Johansson's, if you're curious, though she's an inch shorter and weighs roughly 25-30 lbs more.

Equipment
(Click images to enlarge.)


Tactical Combat Suit
Skin-tight and can expand; appears as a cloth cross-hatched mesh available in various colors (KRMX's is dark-red). It is highly resistant, able to withstand incredible pressure as well as endure extremes of cold and heat; repel radiation and most liquids; and resist deterioration via acids and other corrosives. It is machine-washable and stretches to fit, though each suit is typically tailored to its intended wearer in order to best fit their body shape and proportions. The downside is that it's not breathable but it does leave the hands, feet, and head open (it closes around the neck).

Combat Boots
Heavy-duty all-weather, all-terrain combat boots with internal armor plating that stop just shy of the knees. KRMX's are dark-red.

Combat Harness
Advanced Tactical Pistol (ATP) Mark XIII (x2)
---30 rds/sec, 30 rds/mag
Delayed Fission Detonation Rounds (DFDR) Magazine (x8)
---Capacity: 30 rds

Utility Thigh Strap (x2)
KO Gas Grenade (x4/strap)
---Doubles as white smoke grenade for concealment.

Automation Access and Database (AADB)
More commonly referred to as a wrist-COM (wrist-computer), this is used primarily for hacking technology; can store up to approximately 700 petabytes (reference) and has an upload/download rate of approximately 1 terabyte/sec. It puts out active low-yield energy distortions when in use and is heavily encrypted, accessible only by way of a very long and complex password programmed into KRMX's knowledge bank, thus preventing it from being tracked or easily accessed either directly or remotely. KRMX's is worn on the right wrist and accessed by her left hand.

*Technically does not apply but her programming has instituted a female persona & appearance for interfacing with organics.
 

Sylent Hyll

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(Click to enlarge.)

Solveig & Volva
If you can cast it, I can build it. Magic isn’t just staves and wands and potions; sometimes, it’s also machines.

Race: Norn

The Norns were ancient long before the earthly plane was formed. Exactly what they are is somewhat mysterious even to them. They believe that they began as spirits of a kind, yet they watched the development of the planes and took from their observations a method of forming physical bodies; however, these bodies were limited and many tried to destroy them in order to revert to their previous forms…but they could not. They instead perished, for they had bound their spirits to these new bodies and thus deprived themselves of much of their power within the many universes. When the earthly plane was able to support them, they no longer had to use their magic to sustain themselves and were able to bind their bodies to it just as their spirits were bound to their bodies. While this was only partly intentional, they once more realized that they now could not leave…but they also realized something else.

With much of their magic able to now be devoted to other purposes, they realized that the earthly plane was one of several vital key pieces of the universe. It is the coalescence of many elements, many bodies and flows of magic, and a gateway to many other planes and realms. Pooling their magic into the earthly plane, they began to realize just how powerful they had become - powerful, but in a very focused way. While many of their unique magical talents were now lost, they had an insight into the planes that almost no other being had - even into planes that many gods were not aware of. Over time, they learned to subtly shift these planes in ways that the gods didn’t immediately notice. Historical paths could be altered. Destiny, the path one followed through life, was ever-changing and not easily shifted except by individuals; it was determined by their choices. But fate…fate was unchangeable - except by the Norns. The Norns needed great power to do so, but they could change the planes in unfathomable ways over vast stretches of time with just a handful of manipulations at particular intervals throughout history.

The Norns are potentially immortal, yet they can extinguish themselves by burning too much of their mana for it to be restored. Their children age much as human children do in their early years, while their adolescence radically slows their rate of growth to one year for every decade lived. And as they leave their adolescence for adulthood, this is slowed exponentially to roughly one year for every century lived. It may be that this is slowed further to a millennium or even longer later in life, though only the most ancient Norns know whether this is actually true.

Descendants of the first earthly Norns are typically far less powerful than their ancestors, yet they can draw upon their ancestral “sight” through deep meditation in a process known as astral projection. The popular idea of this is that one becomes a kind of ghost, the spirit leaving the body to wander the plane, but this is not true. Rather, a Norn in deep meditation projects their spirit in such a way that they can observe many planes at once; they do not actually leave their bodies behind. This process can send their mind’s eye into any point in history within the realm they inhabit and those connected to it, but only Norns who have lived for centuries can fully control this. As such, many visions are disjointed and confusing; they must be interpreted by the Norn receiving them. Significantly elder Norns can guide them in such interpretations but the conclusions must ultimately be their own.

It is for these visions that Norns are often referred to as Wanderers.

Class: Artificer
Gender: Female
Age: 140
Apparent Age: Early 20s
Sexuality: Lesbian

Solveig stands just five feet tall and has a pear-shaped figure. She’s pale but not in a sickly manner, despite attributions to the contrary by the blacksmiths she mostly spent her youth around (ignore the mages, they’re idiots and elitists). Resting somewhere between a golden and white-blonde, her hair hangs to her shoulders in a somewhat asymmetrical bob; her hair is naturally straight and it’s usually styled with bowl-cut bangs, but sometimes she has it curled into a wavy bob. Her hair tends to get in her way as often as not but she’ll be damned to the Chasm before she grows it much longer or cuts it much shorter than it is. She likes her hair just the way it is, thank you. Her eyes are somewhat unique; the right eye is a vibrant purple hue that glows brighter the less light there is around her, while the left eye is an icy blue. Her button nose and small, roundish face makes her look much younger than she actually is, which doesn’t help her at all when negotiating with people or trying to convince them that:

ONE - Yes, she actually is a genius and she did in fact build Volla.
TWO - Yes, she is actually an adult despite her stature and youthful visage.

And THREE - Yes, she is deaf but she is absolutely not stupid. She can read your lips, you worthless toad-sucking mongrel-kisser.

As to Volla…Volla is her pride and joy, her companion, her beast of burden, and as complicated and confusing as it is incredible. Since she didn’t have any friends growing up, Solveig built one - with a lot of help from local blacksmiths and an inordinate span of years spent studying several arcane and labor-intensive disciplines, admittedly. It’s taken decades to get to the point that she has, and her mostly academic isolation has been far more fruitful for her than most people realize. Volla looks like a machine because it is a machine built in the style of a large wolf - one that comes up to her bosom and is longer than she is tall. Using mana ritually focused into arcane-infused crystals called mana shards as a power source, it can hold a charge from four for somewhere between six and ten hours, depending on what it’s doing during that time. A metal bin with a complex locking mechanism and an arcane seal is strapped to its back for carrying spare parts, equipment, tools, and other necessities. Set into its back is what she calls her sandbox.

The sandbox is a brilliant adaptation to help her realize that someone’s speaking to her when she’s not looking at them (she can read lips). Being completely deaf has some serious disadvantages, especially since she doesn’t really like to be touched by someone she isn’t extremely familiar and comfortable with. She was born deaf but the sandbox is a huge help to her, even more than her mastery of CSL (common sign language); she took an outdated system of hand signs and expanded upon it, making it quicker and easier to use and understand, but the sandbox literally uses sand to write out what people are saying to her.

The key to its functionality is an expensive crystal plate cut from a clear, flawless, very large diamond. Beneath this lies a sieve plate, and beneath that lies stored sand. Channeling mana directly from inserted mana crystals to manipulate the sand, the individual grains can come together to form various shapes and words or numbers that she can read. Light filtering through the mana-infused crystal plate - called a screen - alters the color of the sand from its usual golden-tan hue into a brilliant green color once it rises through the sieve plate. The sieve plate is measured perfectly to act both as a kind of floor for forming text and what-not and to mark the distance at which the light becomes too scattered to alter the color of the sand. So anything below the sieve plate retains its ordinary color, while anything above it appears bright green so that it’s easier to see. She tried to make it blue but that turned out horribly; green is the only color that really seems to work. It was an insanely expensive experiment.

Just forward of the sandbox is a kind of inverted conical horn set into Volla’s back. This is connected to an internal audio receptor and the funnel narrows sound vibrations in order to best interpret them so that Volla can then process them into channeled mana. This in turn moves the sand into the shapes it needs to be moved into through the sieve plate, and Solveig can read that when she notices that something is happening under the screen. Since she always has Volla by her side, she often glances at the screen unconsciously just to see if someone’s saying something to her. Volla fittingly means “seer” and is a word of the old tongue that her people occasionally still speak. It’s rare to hear it these days, though, as her people are far too scattered to be commonly encountered (especially due to her people’s restless nature and resultant nomadic lifestyle).

Solveig has a habit of carrying a folded stack of parchment sheets or a small scroll and an enchanted quill that writes without the need for ink. Growing up, writing was the quickest way to get her message across. She never learned how to make words appear in the air using one of the elemental disciplines, as that was an advanced technique mastered by much older mages; it required a degree of control she hasn’t attained to this day. She does, however, have a talent for air- and water-based magic; mixing them to create ice is simple enough for her, but her favorite offensive practice is to mix fire and air in order to create lightning. Fire is said to be the easiest of the basic elemental disciplines to learn but the hardest to master; fire can only be coaxed into being, guided - never controlled - or snuffed out, either by smothering it or drowning it. But lightning…lightning is far more unpredictable even than fire. It is not a living, breathing thing as fire is but a complex element (an element comprised of two or more basic elements) that can only be unleashed. It does have a tendency to streak toward the ground or toward anything that can connect to the ground - trees or even people, for example - but she’s found a way around the lack of control…sort of.

Volla.

It requires surprisingly little mana to manipulate fire and air into a bolt of lightning, which seems to expand on its own and lash out against a target with devastating power. Using a cyclical drawing technique in the process of channeling mana directly from Volla’s mana shards, bolts of lightning can be hurled from the conductor stored in its jaw at a phenomenal velocity and with enough power to shatter a boulder and almost instantaneously electrocute most living things born of the earthly plane. In addition, flammable alchemical fusions carefully stored in small tanks in its shoulders can be released through small launchers set into them as streams of roaring fire. A small tank set near its tail houses semi-solid alchemical spheres that can’t be touched by bare skin, as they’re stored at absolute zero; the retractable launcher above the tank can hurl one of these spheres at a distance of about a hundred meters, causing a colossal explosion of flash-freezing ice on impact. Between its ranged weaponry and its own heavy body and powerful jaw, it’s a deadly opponent - and also a strong beast of burden and a valuable friend. Sure, it isn’t technically alive, but try telling Solveig that when people are being…well…people and she’s feeling low.

Arcania
Singular arcanum in this context.
  • Basic Water & Air Manipulation
  • Basic Fire Evocation & Manipulation
  • Basic Mist & Fog Evocation & Manipulation [air+water/water+air]
  • Basic Ice Evocation [water+air]
  • Basic Lightning Evocation & Manipulation [fire+air]
  • Levitation [air]: While not full flight, this method of channeling the primal element of air allows Solveig to move her body through space. The process is slow (about 5mph) and requires great concentration; moreover, this is an extremely draining technique for her and she cannot hold it for more than a minute while moving; she can, however, nearly double the time by not moving at all (i.e. hovering in place rather than levitating toward or away from a focal point) - as long as she maintains her concentration.
  • Warmth [fire]: Solveig can channel mana to draw heat into herself without invoking fire as a whole.
  • Cooling [air]: Solveig can channel mana to push heat out of her body.
  • Breath [air]: Solveig can channel mana to draw air into her lungs when she cannot otherwise breathe; while not nearly as draining as levitation, however, this can be exhausting due to the need to constantly maintain it and it requires a fair amount of concentration.


(Click to enlarge.)

Believing that the best place for Solveig was among mages and academics due to her being born deaf for an inexplicable reason, Solveig was abandoned in a city called Stormhaven. The city was built upon and around a broad, deep, fast-moving river called the Stormpass, so named for it seemingly cutting through the land like an unstoppable storm; it is a thriving magocracy led by a council of Archmages - old, powerful mages venerated by the general population - and a presiding Grand Archmage, who makes all final decisions and can overturn the council if he or she or they feel that it must be done. This is an exceedingly rare event, however. At the center of the city is the Capital Tower, wherein the council and the Grand Archmage reside; this place also serves as the leading academic center in the region.

The White Marsh is an expansive wetland so named for a particular viscous white sap that flows from some of its trees; this sap is a lethal toxin but wary mages can draw immense alchemical potential out of it. Said mages have divided their arcane elemental disciplines into four basic elements: fire, water, earth, and air. Rather than the plebian belief that these elements oppose one another in some arbitrary fashion, they act as elemental poles that keep a tentative balance in the earthly realm. Mana, a kind of free-flowing energy that can be harnessed by those who know how to sense and tap it, can be channeled in order to manipulate the raw elements themselves in many ways. One of the most common uses of this vast array of techniques is to combine certain basic elements in order to form complex elements - fire and air into lightning, for example, or water and air into ice or mist or fog, or water and fire into steam; fire and earth can even be combined to form molten rock, while earth and water can create mud, and fire and earth can even be combined with air to create smoke. The more elements that are combined in their raw, primal forms - the more complex and unique or even powerful the result can become.

Solveig’s parents were not completely absent during her youth, but she was left mostly alone as she approached her teen years to be taught primarily by the mages of the Capital Tower. Despite this, she developed an innate understanding of both magic and her own ability to project her consciousness over the course of many years. Initially, she was forced to exchange written words in order to communicate beyond simple pointing and miming; she helped to expand an archaic sign language, however, for much easier communication. She also saw magic in a very unique way, allowing her to work with local blacksmiths in order to create many things that the local mages had never seen before. Some of her simpler designs were reminiscent of dwarven mechanisms, such as using steam for locomotion in a windmill or waterwheel; others were far more complex and used magic in ways that the mages believed it was not meant to be used. When she was well into her adulthood, at least chronologically, she was politely asked to study elsewhere since she clearly no longer needed academic guidance.

Basically, she was told to piss off and not return, but in such nice words. Apparently, her experiments had cause a bit of chaos here and there…there had been no serious injuries, of course. Nobody had died…well, that anyone knew of. Might have been some mosquitoes that died…but fuck them, they’re assholes anyway. And that one cat was never quite the same after it wouldn’t stop meddling with one of her machines…welp, it learned its lesson, at least. It never bothered her again. In fact, it screeched and fled in terror at the sight of her after that. She knows it’s wrong but can’t help laughing every time she thinks of it.

She was a lonely child, though, so she ultimately designed a machine that would be her constant companion for many decades thereafter: Volva, a mechanical wolf with some devastating hardware. She’s still developing it all these years later, and it can’t really think beyond simple functions, but at least she’s never alone anymore. She doesn’t like being alone…

Possessions:
  • Simple & complex tools for smithing & tinkering.
  • Many spare parts and mechanical…things…in various states of construction, deconstruction, repair, disrepair, and general chaos.
  • An enchanted peacock feather quill that produces ink as needed; the color of the ink can be changed via concentration.
  • Books & papers with notes, diagrams, schematics, random scribbles, drawings of cute animals (often due to boredom), etc.
  • Blank (or mostly blank) sheets & scrolls of parchment for writing, typically as a means of quick communication.
  • Volva


(Click to enlarge.)

Threadz
The Queen’s Tavern
 

Sylent Hyll

Thread starter
Dec 14, 2023
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Awards
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Click for larger image. Model is Stefania Ferrario.

Svetka Shvets
Whether you like it or not, you're in the middle of a war that has been raging for the better part of a thousand years:
a blood feud between vampires and werewolves - and they're not alone in this engagement...


Race: Therianthrope
Subrace: Lycanthrope
HT [human]: 6'
  • 6' 3" with boots!
HT [werewolf]: 6' 6"
WT [human]: 160 lbs
WT [werewolf]: 300 lbs
Gender: Female
Sexuality: Lesbian
Point of Origin: Nordvik, Russia

Nordvik no longer exists. That is probably for the best. Those who know of it consider it prominent only during the twentieth century, when men and machines drew salt there and hunted for oil; they supplied fisheries using the penal colony that was established at Nordvik. It was first mapped in 1739 as part of the Great Northern Expedition. I was born there in 1771, by which time my people had been living there for several decades. I don't know much about the history of the place or my forebears beyond that.

What I do know is that we have never been human. I have been told that we once were slaves to vampires, but I didn't meet any until I was in my thirties - and by then, I had already learned much about them from my father. They expected me to marry and provide children for the tribe but I refused. When I married an outsider to shut them up, they banished me for my shame.

It was almost a year before I let him touch me, and that only because I did not know if I could survive the winter on my own. It was a compromise. It was not pleasant, and it bore him no children. It did, however, make him sick...I knew what I am, have known from birth, but he did not. His body rejected whatever our unfortunate contact tried to give him, and it ultimately made him sterile - and then killed him. That's when they found me. I was too strong to kill or capture but too weak to kill them.

When they hit my tribe, they hit them hard. Only after did my tribe find me. They did not kill me or welcome me back; they begrudgingly drew me back into the fold only because they were desperate for numbers. What I had learned of the vampires, I was now trained to use in battle.

We stuck to the wilderness as human settlers built Nordvik up. It eventually housed the penal colony it was known for but they had no idea the danger they were in or what was protecting them from it. Then the war broke out halfway through the twentieth century, and the Americans came as allies. We stole some of their weapons - and many of ours - modified them, perfected our techniques based on their tactics...the vampires had their own learning curve, of course, but they had to be clever. We did not.

We're simply more powerful, physically speaking. They are faster, so numbers are imperative in a fight. One vampire can take on a small pack, so long as they're of a decent age and have some skill to them. But we were trained to hunt them. They had their death dealers, and we had our ubiytsa - our killers, our murderers, our slayers. We know which ones the bloodsucking fiends called us.

I am one of the last of the ubiytsa. Now most lycans, as they call us, can handle themselves against all but the eldest and most powerful vampires. But because we were among the first to start hunting them as they hunted us, at least in the modern eras of the Motherland, we ubiytsa are still the best at what we do...and what we do isn't very nice.

Silver might be poison to us, but the vampires have many weaknesses. The sun burns them - that is the best way to fight. My understanding is that is why they enslaved us to begin with - to use us as guard dogs. Filthy suchka*...then there's fire. We don't like getting burned any more than anyone else; we got a lot of fur when we change, and burns heal as slow as they do for humans, but at least ours do heal. But bloodsuckers? Fire is the ultimate weapon if you can't use the sun against them. They go up quick and the burns don't heal! Not fully. They always have scars, if they survive...and unfortunately, some of the suka** always survive. They're like fucking cockroaches.

Their hearts and their heads - those are the strongest and weakest points. Cut off their heads, they die like any other fucking thing. Stab them in the heart, though, and it just paralyzes them; the younger, weaker ones might be totally paralyzed but some of the older, more powerful ones can still move a little - just with great difficulty. But destroy the heart entirely, or remove it, and they can't recover from that. Got to remove the heart and destroy it, or just destroy it on the spot, or they'll recover. Also, the blood they drink has to be pure - can't have been coagulated, can't be mixed with anything, or it goes down hard. It's like food poisoning for them. And our blood is like acid when they drink it. So we take some of our blood, mix it with a little vodka, and we got one hell of a weapon when we can't use a gun or a deadlier weapon. I like molotovs, but I don't waste vodka on that shit - unless it's really cheap, shitty vodka that isn't from Russia. We have the best vodka in the world, you know.

I also like guns. Guns and molotovs. My bullets are custom. I lace them with the vodka-blood mix so if they get shot, they feel that shit like the suchka they are even if it doesn't kill them. But of course, the best weapon I got? Shifting. I get big and furry and savage, a truly primal monster of unbridled strength and ferocity. My claws can rend steel, and my jaws can crush their skulls like a hammer crushing a watermelon! (You ever tried that? Did that for fun to take out some frustrations a few times over the years...great way to spend some time when you're drunk. Waste of food, though...don't tell anyone.)

They heal like we do: fast. They live like we do: forever. And they kill like we do: without mercy. They use supernatural powers like making bats swarm or turning into mist. Us? We got us. That's it. Our bodies are built to destroy anything that gets in our way. We're much stronger, they're much faster, but the war rages on night by night and day by day. Hound us? Fuck them. We're the hounds. We're the hounds of hell, and we give them the damnation they didn't get when they should have fucking died in the first fucking place.

We're ubiytsa.

We're not alone, though. Ever hear of the baba yaga? Russian boogeyman, outsiders call it. Rumor has it she was actually a babka - a wise woman - but a really powerful and immortal one. There are plenty of babki in old Slavic stories, mostly healers and spirit guides. Whatever she was, if she ever even existed, what we got helping us are ved'ma; it means something like "to know".

Christians and Catholics, they call them witches. The whole idea is ridiculous, the way they think of it. But a vedmak or vedma - the modern male and female terms - have been largely forgotten these days. They do rituals, yeah, but it's mostly folk medicine and prayer. However, some of their medicines are secret and powerful, and the oldest ones know things even the vampires don't know.

One thing they know is how to turn into any animal or object. I've seen it. It's...stranger than how we change. I can't describe it. But they used that knowledge long ago to teach us how to control what we are, weaponize it, turn it against our masters. That's what I've been taught. It's how we escaped them, supposedly, and learned to fight back in the beginning. Supposedly, some of them can see the dead and even talk to them; some can see the future. Some can visit our dreams and tell us things. They don't help us as much as they used to, but they still help us with medicines and advice and in other ways.

Do not underestimate a vedmak or vedma, and do not dismiss them.

Svetka's Tribe
Perhaps more accurately known as a pack at this point, Svetka's tribe originally numbered over a hundred and mostly hunted in the coldest northern regions of Russia. They are particularly known for being of a consistently rare white breed, with the darkest boasting shades of silvery-gray fur. Even when human, they bear a remarkable resistance to extremely cold temperatures. They tend to be incredibly strong even if they don't look it, have an incredible sense of smell as well as keen hearing and perfect night vision, and they heal rapidly; they heal even more quickly if they've recently eaten raw meat in abundance (from which they do not take ill), either in human or lycanthropic form. Their eyes tend to take on shades of silver or gray when they change, rather than the yellow that people typically think of. They are known as the belyy volk, or white wolf, tribe or pack and are significantly smaller in number than they once were; despite their decreased population, however, they are also considered a greater challenge than many other werewolves due to having thicker and tougher skin, a trait most likely owing to their much colder and harsher environment. They are immune to most diseases and many poisons, and their bodies purge much of what might infect them as part of their healing process.

Inventory
While this isn't a complete taking of her general possessions, it calls out several important items. With regard to weaponry (and ammo especially), most customizations are done by Svetka or someone close to her even if such modifications might exist on the open or black markets already; this gives Svetka a sense of personal satisfaction. She has a habit of kissing every bullet she loads into a magazine as a kind of good luck charm and every grenade she throws for the same reason.

  • Signed Original Copy of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Modern Hardcover Reprint of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • Cigars & Flip Lighters

Yes, she smokes. Her body purges any damage that might occur from it, so why not? She keeps some good cigars, too. She likes flip lighters because they're reliable; the ones that are open are too cheap and can be unpredictable, but flip lighters have never failed her - for smoking or for lighting molotovs. And yes, she drinks vodka, but honestly...what hard Russian doesn't? Some stereotypes are at least mostly true, after all.

Kalashnikov AK-74
Not to be confused with the earlier AK-47 model, this rifle is particularly notable for a compensator to increase stability and a somewhat straighter magazine. The weapon remains unmodified, as modifications have not been necessary, except for a custom compensating suppressor. More info on the gun can be found here. The rounds it uses are standard 5.45×39mm modified as hollow points with a teflon coating and loaded with a mix of vodka and lycanthropic blood, allowing them to pierce most body armor and poison vampires.

KP-9 Bronza [modified] x2
Semi-automatic pistol based on the design of the PP-19-01 Vityaz Parabellum submachine gun and given the iconic look of the AK-74 rifle; however, this has been modified for full automatic fire. At a glance, it looks little different from the original weapon; only on close inspection is the truth revealed. It was made in the US by Kalashnikov as a legal semi but obtained and modified for personal use by Svetka. It bears a standard 30-round magazine and can practically fire roughly a hundred rounds per minute, assuming quick reloads. It is relatively accurate at short-to-mid-ranges but radically loses accuracy as range increases. The safety has been removed from each of these and the barrel is three inches longer than the standard; further, the compensator has been replaced with a suppressor. This has improved its range a bit but the weapon maintains its original stability. The gun uses 9x19mm Parabellum rounds modified as hollow points coated in teflon and loaded with a mix of vodka and lycanthropic blood, allowing them to pierce most body armor and poison vampires.

Mosin-Nagant Rifles [several, mostly modified] [info]
These are mostly kept as collectibles and used for testing various modification schemes at this point; they don't see much use anymore for modern ubiytsa missions or general combat. They're still fun to fire sometimes for recreation, though.

Makarov Pistols [info]
Several of these weapons are kept in reserve and unmodified, as they're light-weight pistols that are easy to carry as a back-up weapon. As with other weapons, Svetka has modified their standard 9x18mm Makarov rounds as teflon-coated hollow points loaded with a mix of vodka and lycanthropic blood, allowing them to piere most body armor and poison vampires. Suppressors are sometimes added in the field but they aren't typically added at the start as they're not intended to be used as a primary weapon.

Molotov Cocktails [many]
Seriously, you can never have too many of these. While she might use cheap vodka for her bullets, however, Svetka considers using any vodka (except maybe something made outside the Motherland) to make molotovs a waste of vodka. Her supply of ready-made molotovs can range anywhere from a dozen to several dozen.

*[Russian] "little bitch"
**[Russian] "bitch"
 

Sylent Hyll

Thread starter
Dec 14, 2023
0
Awards
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www.deviantart.com


Eldrith Elspeth
Friends call me Ellie. Girlfriends call me whatever they like.
You're not my friend. You're not my girlfriend.
You don't get to call me anything.


HT [human]: 5' 3"
WT [human]: 90 lbs
Gender: Female
Sexuality: Lesbian
Point of Origin: Pending

According to my doctor, I'm underweight; I should be about twenty to thirty pounds heavier. I've always been skinny, though - not much muscle mass and almost no fat on my body. I used to get sick easily, but a prescribed steroid cocktail bolstered my immune system enough that I could get the usual innoculations; most of it was flushed out of my system, but my immune system did get stronger. Small miracles, I suppose. I shouldn't be alive, really. A strong wind could knock me over and when I was a kid, someone sneezing in the same building as me probably could have put me into bed. Just imagine what an epidemic would have done.

But that's where technology comes in handy. While it unfortunately doesn't float under its own power, my pack's internal electromagnetic liminal system allows me to utilize the same technology that miniaturizes pokeballs to store an inordinate quantity of supplies while rebounding gravitational and inertial force in such a manner that it's almost weightless regardless of its construction or contents. I may not be physically adept, but I can build just about anything and I'm good at innovating new designs utilizing existing technology. I'm also good at hacking.

My family owns the Elspeth Disposal Service, or EDS. It's...it's a landfill. Basically a dump. Only it's massive. The company is involved in several clean-up and beautifcation projects and publicly ecofriendly, but no one is allowed inside the landfill. High-voltage fences line the razorwire-topped stone walls that surround the place, and biometrics are required for admission via the security or maintenance entrances. As an only child and the mobile programmer for the on-site systems, I have access as needed. There is a clean zone that I live in, but I spent a lot of my youth - far more than my parents would have liked - exploring the dump itself.

It's filled with koffings and weezings, muks and grimers, trubbishes and garbadors...I love it. My parents just see it as a corporate legacy; for me, it's a playground and a valuable resource for parts and materials. Of course, I'm not stupid - mask and gloves, always, when exploring the place. But it's yielded more than just viable scrap. It's yielded my pokemon as well.

If you must know, my favorite color is purple; I like pizza and Mountain Dew; I do not like to be touched; and...I'm not good with people. Oh, I'm good at robbing them. My pokemon help with that. I don't bother stealing pokemon, though; too bothersome trying to control, repurpose, or sell them. But supplies and equipment? Absolutely. If I like you and we become friends, you still can't touch me. But if I like you and we become more than friends...maybe I'll let you hold my hand. I might even be not wearing gloves at the time, if you're really nice. My gloves are nasty, anyway; they're work gloves and I sort through garbage and junk with them. Sometimes I pat my pokemon with them. But you? Yeah, you can't touch me. No touching. Ever. I don't like it. Unless I really trust you. Which I don't.

Pokemon
Click to enlarge pokeballs.



"Queen"
[Poison]
Muk [f]

Abilities:
Stench, Sticky Hold

Frequent Moves:
Acid Armor, Belch [after eating berry], Gunk Shot, Haze, Poison Fang, Pound

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



"Princess"
[Poison]
Weezing [f]

Abilities:
Levitate, Neutralizing Gas

Frequent Moves:
Belch [after eating berry], Explosion [rarely], Haze, Poison Gas, Smog, Smokescreen

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



"King"
[Steel/Ground]
Steelix [m]

Abilities:
Rock Head, Sturdy

Frequent Moves:
Crunch, Dig, Iron Tail, Screech, Slam, Smackdown

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~