Monday 4 January 2010

My 50th post - Undead Stirges!

And you thought regular stirges were bad.

Frequency: Very rare
No appearing: 6-24
AC: 6
Move: 3”/18”
HD: 1+3
%ge in lair: 85%
No of atts: 1
Damage per attack: 1-3
Special attack: Drain levels (for each round following the achievement of a hit, half a level is drained away, per stirge)
Special defences: +1 or better weapon to hit.
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: NE
Size: S
Attack as if a 3HD monster.

Not affected by sleep, charm, cold or hold person, poison or paralysation.

Turned as a wight. However, such is the cunning of these creatures that if they sight a cleric, they will circle him/her so that only part of the flock is affected by the turning attempt and the others will attack from behind.

These sinister and horrible creatures are clearly related to normal stirges but how they attained their unlife is a matter of debate and conjecture. Suffice it to say that they are greatly feared for the reasons listed below.

They look much like regular stirges except that their wings are of bone and rotten leather, and their faces are mere skulls, with the long proboscis a razor-sharp talon of bone. It is through this that the life energy of victims is drained.

As with most undead, a vial of holy water will do 2-8 damage if it hits an undead stirge. The problem is getting a hit.

If, at the end of a particular round of attacks, a victim is left with but half a level, that victim becomes a semi-zombie, still alive but totally under the power of the stirge flock. They can be used to seek out living beings, and lure more victims to the feeding ground of the flock. The victim’s pallid appearance and trance-like state may give their status away. The semi-zombie can try to break free of the stirge flock once per day by saving vs. WISD and then making another save vs. CON. If they manage this, they are no longer under the control of the flock but are still in a state of semi-zombieness and are filled with a craving to restore their lost levels by draining others until they have returned to their normal level. The semi-zombie can drain half a level per successful hit achieved on a victim. The freed semi-zombie possesses its normal intelligence and will use it to cunningly set up opportunities to regain its levels.

If a victim of the flock loses all or more of his levels in a particular round, he becomes a full Stirge zombie.

Stirge Zombie

Frequency: Very rare
No appearing: 2-16
AC: 7
Move: 9”
HD: 2
%ge in lair: 85%
No of atts: 1 (bite)
Damage per attack: 1-4
Special attacks: None
Special defences: Cannot be slept, charmed or held. Cold-based spells have no effect.
Intelligence: Non-
Alignment: Neutral
Size: M
Turned as a normal zombie, although the turner gets –2 on the die roll if the stirge masters are within 30’ at the time of turning.

The Stirge zombie is what becomes of a victim of an Undead Stirge when all their levels are drained. They are a pallid grey with numerous puncture wounds all over their bodies. Whilst they can attack, and will do to protect their stirge masters, their primary function is to prevent the escape of a group on whom the undead stirges intend to feed.
Holy water will do 2-8 damage per vial that hits.

(Not being the world's greatest artist, I've not attempted to depict these creatures pictorially. However, if you fancy having a go, feel free and let me know what you come up with)


  1. Happy 50th Post!

    I love undead creatures and these are a worthy addition. What makes these particularly nasty is that Stirges are so small adventurers might not realize imediately that they aren't simply regular Stirges.

  2. Like you, I'm a big fan of the undead as will be seen in future posts. In fact, it's the main reason I reacquired the Fiend Folio - well, it wasn't for the Enveloper or the Protein Polymorph!

    I should think that since it's been shown on Saturday Night Fight Club that a flock of regular stirges can take out a hill giant, that there might be a call for giant-sized stirge zombies, with the commensurate increase in hit points.

    May I also apologise in advance to all the players out there whose DMs read this blog and decide to send the undead stirges at them as a special New Year treat!

  3. The stirge sure has been getting a lot of love from the OSR lately. Player's everywhere, Beware!

  4. Like Stirges ......but nastier ....B-)

  5. Just hope you never have to find out how nasty!