Monsters: The Nain Rouge
Detroit, MI (WKQ News): The severe storms have left the Detroit metro area. Over the past 24 hours, Detroit has suffered intense thunderstorms, with wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour felling trees and utility poles throughout the region. A spokesman for DTE Energy reports it could be a week before power is completely restored. Large hail stones smashed windows and damaged vehicles , and officials are blaming severe lightning strikes for several fires downtown. Sightings of le nain rouge are on the rise, and the mythical creature is being blamed for these catastrophic events.
Nain rouge is French for “red dwarf,” but for the people in the Detroit, Michigan area it might as well mean “bad luck” instead. Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the first European settler in the Detroit area, arrived in the area for the first time in 1701. The explorer sat on the banks of the Detroit River, surveying the picturesque scenery before him. As he removed his boots to dump out the dirt within, he was approached by a small and curious creature, about the size of a child. The creature cawed, like the sound of a crow, rather than speaking. [More...]
Cadillac bemusedly watched the creature as it pranced about the beach. Soon, the creature picked up a stick and wielding it as a sword. Cadillac laughed at the antics of the Red Dwarf. Whether this scared the creature or something else set it off, nobody knows. But whatever the reason, Le Nain Rouge lunged at Cadillac, who then drew his own sword and attacked the creature, chasing it off into the woods. Soon after the attack, Cadillac lost his significant fortune after a stroke of terrible luck. Cadillac’s encounter would not be the last time Le Nain Rouge would be seen before a cataclysmic event.
On July 30, 1763 Le Nain Rouge appeared in the camp of British soldiers stationed near Fort Detroit. Chief Pontiac, of the Ottawa tribe, laid siege to the fort, with over 1,000 warriors from a half-dozen tribes. On July 31st, Captain James Dalyell and his men tried to break the siege, but Pontiac and his warriors were ready; some say the French tipped off Pontiac to the approach of the British soldiers, while others say Pontiac’s knowledge was supernatural. Whatever the source, Pontiac and his warriors routed the British soldiers in what became known as the Battle of Bloody Run – named because the creek turned red with the blood of the 58 British soldiers killed or wounded that day. Both sides reported that a small red creature, about the size of a child, was seen dancing on the red banks of the bloody creek after the battle.
Le Nain Rouge was also sighted several times in the days leading up to the catastrophic 1805 fire that destroyed much of Detroit. Just before General William Hull surrendered Detroit in the War of 1812, he reported a dwarf who attacked his men under cover of the early morning fog.
Sightings of Le Nain Rouge continued throughout the history of Detroit. Some appearances by the Red Dwarf in the latter half of the 20th century include 1967, just before the events of the 12th Street Riot, and in March of 1976 just before a huge snow and ice storm, when two utility workers eating lunch in their truck reported seeing a child climb a utility pole. When they moved closer to tell the child to come down, the creature leapt from the pole, hissed at the workers, and bounded off into the night.
In Your Game Le Nain Rouge fits easily into any fantasy game that includes the fey; it may attempt to communicate with non-fey creatures in times of danger. It may also fight in defense of its territory, allied with gnomes, dryads, or quicklings.
Le Nain Rouge is best represented in a d20 Modern game as a unique fey creature native to the area around Detroit, Michigan. The creature holds great power of luck and fortune, particularly what is termed “bad” luck. Yet the creature itself is not malevolent; it doesn’t seek to harm to others unless it or its home is threatened – an event that happens all too often for Le Nain Rouge’s taste. In fact, many sightings of Le Nain Rouge are misinterpreted. Often – as during the attack on Captain Dalyell or the blizzard of 1976 – the creature seeks to warn humans of impending doom, hoping his warnings save lives. The inability to communicate with people is decidedly frustrating to the Red Dwarf, and sometimes its frustration shows as it growls in disgust.
Those who study the supernatural often mistake Le Nain Rouge for a dryad. While both creatures originate in the Realm of Faeries, Le Nain Rouge is not physically bound to a tree. Those who seek the creature would be wise to avoid such a mistake. The creature stands between 2 ½ to 3 feet tall and a thick pelt of red hair covers its body. Its eyes glow red, and sharply pointed teeth — often described as rotted, though in truth they are naturally black in color — fill its mouth.
It’s difficult to include Le Nain Rouge in a game bereft of supernatural beings. The best option in this style of game is to go the cryptid creature route. A cryptid is an animal that’s said to exist, but no scientific proof exists. In such a scenario, Le Nain Rouge isn’t a single being, but rather a rare or endangered race of small bipedal animals with red fur. Such a creature wouldn’t hold any sway over luck or fate, and sightings of it just before tragic events would be a coincidence; people just don’t remember the sightings that occurred when nothing happened, focusing instead on those rare confluences in time when a sighting corresponded to a memorable event.
Le Nain Rouge CR 7
CG Small fey
Init +9; Senses Low-light vision; Listen +15, Spot +15
Defense 22, touch 16, flat-footed 17 (+1 size, +5 Dex, +6 natural)
hp 66 (12d6+24)
Massive Damage 18
Fort +8, Ref +13, Will +9; evasion
DR 10/cold iron
Spd 30 ft., Climb 15 ft.
Melee 2 claws +12 (1d3-1)
Space 5 ft. by 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks Nature’s Curse 3/day (DC 24)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th):
At Will — ghost sound (DC 24), electric ray;
3/day — invisibility;
1/day — fog cloud.
Before Combat Le Nain Rouge prefers to avoid combat whenever possible. Given time to prepare, it casts invisibility on itself and attempts to slink away.
During Combat Le Nain Rouge uses its nature’s curse ability on any creatures possessing cold iron weapons. If none do, it instead curses those presenting the most immediate threat. It prefers to attack with its electric ray spell-like ability, and will cast defensively if necessary.
Morale Le Nain Rouge seeks to exit combat almost as soon as it begins. If it suffers more than 17 points of damage, it uses it fog cloud ability to gain concealment to Hide, then uses invisibility the next round before fleeing.
Str 8, Dex 21, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 27
Base Atk +6; Grp +1
AP 3; Rep +0
Feats Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Improved Damage Threshold, Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse (claws)B
Skills Balance +17, Climb +23, Concentration +12, Hide +19, Jump +11, Knowledge (arcane lore) +6, Listen +15, Move Silently +19, Spot +15, Survival +11, Tumble +17
SQ Empathic weather
Empathic Weather (Su): Le Nain Rouge possesses an intricate connection with Nature, such that in some circumstances its emotional state is reflected through the weather in the region. Whenever Le Nain Rouge becomes angry or scared (such as from suffering morale-affecting damage), there is a 50% chance of severe weather impacting the region. This severe weather is either extreme thunderstorms or a blizzard, depending upon the time of year. The storm lasts for 24 hours.
Electric Ray (Sp): Through its connection with Nature, Le Nain Rouge can generate a dangerous discharge of static electricity at will. It must succeed at a ranged touch attack against any single target within 60 feet. If it successfully hits its target, it inflicts 2d6 electricity damage (no save).
Nature’s Curse (Su): Three times per day, Le Nain Rouge can curse a target. If the target fails a Will save, it’s cursed with terrible luck for the next hour. Whenever the target would need to roll a d20 (such as a saving throw, skill check, or attack roll), it must roll twice and use the least desirable result. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Skills: Le Nain Rouge receives a +4 species bonus on Listen, Move Silently and Spot. In addition, it may use its Dexterity in place of its Strength when making Climb checks.
Environment Rural and Urban (Michigan, USA)
Organization Solitary (Unique)
Allegiances Chaos, Nature
Advancement 13-20 HD (Small)
Level Adjustment —