Exploring Ravensridge: The Eldritch Deep Fiends
In this second installment of exploring Ravensridge, we're going to take a look at the Deep Fiends; ancient monstrosities that live in abundance in the Dark Marsh, outside of Ravensridge City and the Marrow Basin below. Little is known about these abhorrent creatures, but they have been the stuff of nightmares for generations, causing unexplained disappearances and whispered tales of terror.
Deep Fiends are entities that defy the laws of our world, existing in a state of perpetual physiological flux. Their physical forms are in constant transformation, a grotesque dance of morphing, undulating, growing, shrinking, and warping. Encounters with Deep Fiends often plunge victims into a realm of hallucinations, blurring the line between reality and delusion.
These creatures exhibit a grotesque diversity of forms, from conglomerate humanoid shapes to nightmarish amalgamations of tentacles, eyes, and animal features. A typical Deep Fiend may appear as a shimmering fleshy blob of coiling tentacles wrapped around a pit of hundreds of human hands, before changing into a spider legged mass covered in snickering mouths and blinking eyes.
Deep Fiends seem to be able to control the warping of their form to some degree, some even able to maintain a semi-permanent semblance at will. Their size can vary from that of a human child to larger than a city block. Humans generally attempt to categorise classes of Deep Fiend based on their size, from the smallest to largest as such: Spawn -> Crawlers -> Conglomerates -> Leviathans.
Deep Fiends do not seem to need to eat or drink, and seem immune to most forms of damage and disease. Despite this, some humans have found ways to destroy a fiend. Weaponry tipped with Cordstone often proves fatal for a Deep Fiend. Upon death, the creatures dissolve into a pile of silver gleaming sand.
Origins in the Bedlam Lacuna
Deep Fiends originate from the Belam Lacuna, a nightmarish plane of existence also known as the Silver Desert, or Bedlam Lacuna. An eternally black sky devoid of stars curtains the movement of endless, turbulent sands. The stillness of air and absence of sound are hallmarks of the alien landscape. Deep Fiends are not the sole denizens of this desolate landscape; other chrome-like creatures, known as Deep Hounds, share this bizarre realm, emerging from the hills like antlions, only to burrow again into the depths of the sand.
Deep Fiends' incursion into the mortal realm has been attributed to an arch-demon named Gith Tar'oth. Once banished from the Underworld by seven other arch-demons, Gith Tar'oth found imprisonment in the Bedlam Lacuna, and found a way to puncture a hole into the mortal realm.
Trecherous Silver Sand
The silver sand left in the wake of a Deep Fiend is a perilous substance with the power to warp one's perception of reality. In proximity to sentient beings, it can transport individuals temporarily to the Silver Desert, leaving them disoriented and bewildered. Exploiting this eerie sand, enterprising criminals have developed the expensive drug Orensbane, renowned for inducing vivid hallucinations and psychedelic experiences. Additionally, a vile substance known as Void or Ink is painstakingly extracted from imprisoned Deep Fiends, serving as another source for illicit substances.
Behaviours and Encounters
Deep Fiends are unpredictable entities, exhibiting moments of terrifying aggression juxtaposed with curious calmness. Encounters with them are typically fatal, as they voraciously seek to engulf and consume any sentient beings within reach. Most disturbingly, Deep Fiends appear to relish the taste of Palidfolk, tracking their caravans for weeks like relentless predators. This animosity between Deep Fiends and Palidfolk has sparked long-standing conflict within the Marrow Basin, with the latter viewing the former as abominations that disrupt the natural balance.
Communication among Deep Fiends is often cryptic and unintelligible gibberish, occasionally extending to telepathic exchanges with humans, although such occurrences remain exceedingly rare.
While the mechanisms of Deep Fiend reproduction remain elusive, accounts exist of Leviathan-class Fiends implanting eggs within humans. This gruesome process begins with the egg consuming the host's mind and gradually replacing their bodily tissues with the undulating matter of a Deep Fiend. This unsettling method ensures the Fiend's immortality, allowing it to be reborn in a new host upon the death of its former vessel.
The Footsloggers of Grimton
Beneath the murky sewers of Ravensridge lies a clandestine underground society known as Grimton. Grimton is guarded by the Footsloggers, a faction of protectors, trackers, and rangers, safeguarding against the numerous creatures inhabiting the perilous Marrow Basin. Through their alliance with certain Palidfolk caravans, Footsloggers have acquired knowledge of Cordstone weaponry, essential for combating Deep Fiends. While the act of slaying a Deep Fiend is a remarkable feat, Footsloggers exercise caution and avoid these nightmarish entities whenever possible.
Using Deep Fiends in your Game
While it's all well and good to read up about someone else's world, I want to provide you a means to incorperate the Deep Fiends into your world if you so wish (if you're playing 5e, Deep Fiends can make for fun Warlock Patrons). Below is a table of adventure hooks you can use to intice your players into interesting encounters with Deep Fiends:
|1||A noble's child is afflicted by a Deep Fiend egg, and desperately seeks aid. The Palidfolk may have a solution, or perhaps there are remedies deep underground.|
|2||A cult worships the Silver Sand as a gateway to enlightenment. Unknowingly, they have opened a gate to the Bedlam Lacuna and have all perished as Deep Fiends and silver sand pour continuously from the opening.|
|3||A scourge of Deep Fiends launch a coordinated attack on a populated city. Who has organised them? What do they hope to gain from the destruction?|
|4||A cunning Deep Fiend proposes an alliance, offering the party power and knowledge in exchange for assistance in breaching the barriers between worlds so it may return home.|
|5||A drug hitting the poor districts of the city is sending many folks into comas as their consciousness is transported to the Silver Desert.|
|6||Rumours spread of a Deep Fiend champion; a part human part Deep Fiend hybrid that is enacting the will of it's master.|