Creature Feature: Devil Stag

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It moves with a terrible grace. A deer the color of demon-skin moves through the brush, accompanied by the smell of sulfur and brimstone. Upon its head is a set of wicked antlers made of tarnished gold and covered in carvings. However, its most unsettling feature is its mouth, a menacing grin made of glistening fangs.

Devil Stags, or Briar Demons, are the faustian deal-makers of the Wild. They have made their home in the woods for as long as mortal life has told stories of monsters that bargain away your soul and eat your flesh. Cunning and intelligent, they can offer great power or second chances to those unable to act on their own. However, a deal with a Devil Stag is never quite what it seems and its bargains almost always end in terrible calamity.

A Devil Stag’s most potent and infamous ability, is that of granting wishes. While certainly not unlimited, the scope of a Devil Stag wish is practically that of divine intervention. Poor serfs find themselves as wealthy kings, arcanists are granted long-forgotten knowledge, and countless others have had their most fanciful or vengeful whim granted in mere moments. However, this is not a gift and there is always a price that must be paid.

A Devil Stag speaks in a low rumbling tone that is half verbal and half telepathic. It knows every language that has ever existed although it tends to have an archaic flare with its word choice. More often than not it will remain hidden if possible, speaking with intruders and attempting to gauge their weaknesses and abilities before offering up a bargain of their own volition.

When words don’t work, the Devil Stag attempts a more direct form of persuasion. Conjuring up visions of grandeur and pride in the minds of victims, it attempts to convince them of what can be gained of such power, even if the visions are all lies. Barring that, it will either flee (it despises violence) or try to kill the weakest member in a brutal rush, after all: a wish to bring back a dead companion is still a bargain.

There is much talk of the Devil Stag. Most comes in the form of children’s tales and nursery rhymes that warn of them and the evil they sow. Another more mature tale is a particularly famous play that details the story of a cleric who bargains his soul for a perfect life. However, frightful and broken legends claim the Devil Stags have been around since the dawn of civilization, citing paleolithic cave paintings warning of a demon with golden horns.

DEVIL STAG WISH

While a wish from a Devil Stag has no real limits in scope (outside of god-hood or the like), they always tend to end in ironic disaster.

Immortality – become trapped in a cave-in, forced to slowly compress into nothing over an eon.

Wealth – Become the repeated target of assassination attempts.

Resurrection – The body is returned, but the soul slowly decays.

Return to the Past – Become caught in an endless time-loop.

Great Knowledge – It becomes too much, madness sets in.

The Price:

Your firstborn child.

Your immortal soul.

An unspeakable act.

RARE GOODS:

Golden Antlers

A pair of magnificent wicked antlers of solid gold. Demonic etchings twist around its surface.

A spellcaster holding the antlers, while speaking the command words, can cast the Devil Stag’s Visions of Grandeur like a spell 1d6 times per day.

 

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