Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Blog or Treat: Remembrance Thief

Perhaps one of my favorite posts on this blog is also my oldest: Demons and Fae. It examines the demon variety chart in Monster Hunters 3 (page 19) and talks about how it can  expanded and used to create Fae. It also talks about how a single monster concept can be used for multiple monster types, and it inspired me to actually write an expanded table and build a generator so you don't have to roll 50 dice to get answers.

This monster was generated using those tools and posts, but this time I'm not picking a monster type: I'm showing how the monster can a demon, an evil fae, or a type of vampire. I hope you find the monster evocative.

The monster is focused on Monster Hunters, as the original posts and the book that inspired the creature are focused there, but it can fit in variety of campaigns, particularly standard horror.

The Monster

Remembrance Thieves prey upon the dearest memories of their victims, finding the nearest and dearest things to their hearts and stealing them away to fuel its arcane life. They can't actually destroy the emotions that tie people together, but they eagerly consume and destroy the specific memories that do so, emptiness and general mental damage in its place.

Remembrance Thieves spend much of their time in the form of small animals seeking to gain access to prey. Each one has only one form: The most common include Rats, Ravens, Spiders, Bats, and Snakes. In all cases the animal will look particularly repulsive, even for its species.

The monster cannot enter a private residence without being invited in, and unlike vampires, have no form acceptable to do so, and a welcome mat does not suffice. Being carried inside is a valid tactic, and many remembrance thieves like to try and stow away on luggage.

Once inside, the creature hides until night, when it manifests as its true form: a grotesque gargoyle like monster with gleaming eyes. It perches on beds and peruses through the minds of its victims, looking for a memory to steal. This requires either physical contact or 10 minutes of perching within 2 yards of a sleeping victim's head. The perching method give the thief +4 to its roll. In its search for for juicy memories, its likely to come across all sorts of facts about the person.

Actually stealing a memory only takes 1 second, but the creatures will rummage around in a mind for up to an hour at a time, looking for more memories to steal. Once again, the thief gets +4 to its roll if its properly perched.

Remembrance thieves are supernaturally hard to recognize, as they cloud thoughts about them: even in plain sight, a perception check is required to see one, and if they're trying to hide, they receive a +10 to their roll. This is a supernatural effect that can be countered by someone who knows what they are dealing with via a will roll, or counter measures to mind effecting magic. Once noticed, a remembrance thief stays in the mind, though they usually attack or flee once that happens.

What are These Things?

The creature type of a Remembrance thief has intentionally been left vague. This is intentional, because the fluff can fit so many kinds of supernatural creature. All are malevolent, but the above will remain true for all of them. The type also will effect how the stolen memories manifest themselves, and how to counter the effects. It will also effect the combat afterwards...

Fighting a remembrance thief  is almost a different encounter than discovering and tracking it down. Yes, it should probably be a challenging fight, but combat stats should be a campaign dependent decision. And combat stats really aren't core to this monster: in this case its about the hunt, not the fight.


The most malevolent option, demons live to cause pain and suffering in others. Nights when a demonic remembrance thief visit are likely to be fraught with nightmares and be less than restful. Thoughts taken will be the ones likely to cause the victim the most confusion and suffering. Long term damage may take the form of madness, anger, and turning on all they once loved.

In a monster hunters game, choose a weak or strong demon, as appropriate, but always give them wings and claws. Demonic variety should probably be toned down for the type, as two powerful several abilities are already included! (Mind Probe, Alternate Form, and the resistance to being noticed). It would be an unusual remembrance thief that made it to Demon Lord Status, but they're sneaky enough that the demon may be able to limit its interactions to one or two hunters at a time. 


Yes, there are more vampires than the ones that suck blood! These ones suck memories. Leech  requires a failed quick contest of wills, but gets the +4 for a proper perch. Symptoms of a victim include the lost memories, but also general weakening and fatigue: the vampire doesn't just take the memory, but the victim's very life energy. While there are no physical marks of the damage, the loss of life energy is real. Vampire remembrance thieves are more likely to be subtle about the thoughts they take: they need lots of them, and they don't want to loose their meal ticke.

This is an unusual vampire, arguably being a different kind of undead. Some classic vampire weaknesses, like the repulsion to garlic, should probably be dropped. The sunlight vulnerability may or may not be kept: its not needed for the monster, but is still an interesting limitation, and most can just hide under a log in their animal form. They make more vampires when they kill their victim by draining all of their energy. Such vampires will have no memories of their former self at all.

Stat as you would a vampire: a variety of templates out there. Particularly nasty vampires may have a human looking form as well as the grotesque perching form.


This is probably the 'strait' way to build a remembrance thief. An evil creature that craves the thoughts of others, the faerie damages the memories of its victim. While it does less physical trauma than a vampire and don't inflict overt mental effects like a demon, that just means that more memories are stolen before the victim notices. Victims are likely to fall away from activities, places, and people they love, and often enter depression. Fae are seeking the memories themselves, and tend to target the most poignant and meaningful first. They also tend to take more than they "need".

In a monster hunters game, build as a you would a demon, but flavor it as a fae. Substitute normal demonic weaknesses for Iron and other weaknesses in your setting (which may or may not include holy attacks).

The Pieces you Need:

So what are the actual stats for this thing? Well, first pick a template that fits the faerie, demon, or vampire. Then apply the following traits:
  • Mind Probe 
  • Mind Probe (Ranged, Reliable +4, reduced range 1/5, 1 minute immediate preparation required, only when perched above sleeping victim)
  • Alternate Form (Choose a small animal, reduced time *1/5, 2 seconds)
  • Divine Curse (Cannot  enter buildings 'uninvited')
  • Affliction (Amnesia, one memory only)
  • Obscure (Defensive, Stealthy, Resistible, Mind effecting, Magic)

And you have your remembrance thief!

So Which Kind?

I hope you enjoyed your options. What will you build the thief as? A gluttonous fae? A new form of subtle vampire to shake up the game? or as a malevolent demon aiming for madness rather than death?

Happy Halloween!

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