Book of Secrets
|Activity Cycle:||Any (night)|
|Alignment:||Chaotic evil (see below)|
|No. of Attacks:||1|
|Special Attacks:||Level drain|
|Special Defenses:||+1 or better weapon to hit, immune to wood weapons|
It is truly difficult to distinguish this creature from its fey cousin the vilay (see “Lesser Breeds of the Arak” in The Book of Sorrows), for the fanggen uses illusions to snare people into mistaking her for one of those good-natured tree spirits. Those who see the fanggen’s true visage have usually become her victims, for the fanggen cannot maintain her illusions while attacking. The fanggen true form appears as a wrinkled old hag with stringy green-grey hair, a toothless mouth, long twiglike fingers and a constant hunger in her milky white eyes. All fanggen can transform into crows at will, often using this form to spy upon people near their trees.
Combat: When she first steps out of her tree, a fanggen appears very attractive, using a short-lived illusion as disguise. This pleasing appearance often allows her to strike with surprise. A fanggen’s attack is similar to that of a wraith, her chilling touch simultaneously inflicting 1d6 points of damage and draining one level with a successful attack. If a victim is reduced to 0 levels in this fashion, the fanggen will absorb his or her soul into her tree. The victim’s face, frozen in its last scream, will appear on the bark of the gnarled tree within three days. A person lost this way can only be restored with a wish spell or through divine intervention, an unlikely event within Ravenloft. If the fanggen is killed before the face appears on the bark, the slain victim can be resurrected normally.
Direct sunlight is dangerous to a fanggen; she suffers three points of damage each round she is exposed. Filtered light only reduces the damage by one point. Although fanggen can normally only be harmed by spells or magical weapons of +1 bonus or better, weapons made of copper inflict full damage.
Habitat/Society: Similar to dryads and vilay, fanggen lair within trees. If such a tree is seen without the fanggen’s mirages, it appears as a huge, gnarled, oaklike tree, sporting midnight black leaves and bark. The pattern of the bark is twisted into human faces caught in agony. To trick people into believing her tree to be that of a gentle vilay, some fanggen adorn their homes with the skulls of their former victims. These skulls are not made of crystal, however, offering a last indicator that one is not dealing with a vilay. Fanggen normally keep an eye out for travelers, and are thus seldom seen before they cloak themselves in illusion. However, those fanggen observed by concealed witnesses have been seen caressing the faces on their tree, cackling, whispering, and gloating to the terrorized faces of their past victims. Lately a rare few fanggen have also started to use another hunting technique: They hang treasure found on their victims from the branches of their lair, creating virtual “treasure-trees” to lure the greedy. These rumors have already started to circulate amid the fortune hunters of the Core.
Ecology: Fanggen are antisocial by nature; they can’t even stand their own kind. Fanggen view new souls with far too covetous an eye to consider sharing their hunting grounds with one of their sisters. Should by chance two fanggen trees sprout in the same area the fey will fight each other until one is destroyed. Therefore, two fanggen will almost never be encountered in the same place. Fanggen ignore other fey, neither attacking nor even talking to them. Vilay seem not to mind that the fanggen use their reputation to catch prey. After all, they are two branches of the same tree, and it is not the fanggen’s fault if mortals cannot separate true beauty from illusion.
In the end, the fanggen is a soul thief, no better than most undead, but she is also a rare example that sometimes good can spring from evil. If a fanggen absorbs a total of 100 levels from good-aligned victims, her tree bursts open and the fanggen is transformed. She awakens the next day as a beautiful woman with light hair and pointed ears, and clad in clothes made of soft brown bark. She remembers all the evil she has done in her past life, but she is now of good alignment and will try to atone for her deeds. The reformed fanggen normally leaves the area of her misdeeds and wanders the land, serving people secretly as a maidservant. This behavior has spawned many tales about guardian spirits called the “Braunchen.” Some peasants claim that you must never give clothes to one’s servant spirit, because then it will vanish. Therefore many people who think they are visited by a Braunchen, or wish to receive visits from one, place a dish of milk in front of the door.
Reformed fanggen can be used as a player character race. They have the same bonuses, penalties, and requirements as an elf or half-elf, with the following alterations: Because the character is still of Arak blood she is virtually immortal; she does not age, and is immune to aging attacks. However, she also retains her vulnerability to sunlight, detailed above. Most of the time a fanggen heroine will choose the mage or bard class. The redeemed kit from Champions of the Mists would be very appropriate for this heroine. Lastly, should a fanggen character even fail a madness check, she almost certainly develops a split personality, formed by emerging fragments of her former victims’ souls.
There appear to be no fanggenkin, because fanggen kill every human or demihuman that comes near their tree. There is one exception to this rule, however. The fanggen who use the “treasure tree” tactic to lure victims sometimes allow people to escape to spread the rumor of her lair, making them her unwitting agents.
Last Modified: March 26, 2014, 18:15:08 GMT
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