Waterhorse

(Tom Clare)

Among the most bloodthirsty and devious of fell creatures, the Waterhorse haunts cold lakes and waterways waiting for the unwary. Only when it spies a potential victim does it show itself, taking on the form of a magnificent steed with a coat like dappled velvet. This fine animal proceeds to go through its paces, seeming friendly, docile and playful and, apparently, masterless. Any man would be proud to possess such a mount and a character who attempts to catch and mount the horse will do so quite easily.

It is when they are astride the creature that it will show its true nature. With a malevolent whinnying laugh it will rear up, striking out at any bystanders, before turning tail and running at a bone-rattling pace towards the water. To his horror the unfortunate rider will find himself unable to leap off the horse’s back – its skin clings to his rump and thighs. If he has time he may be able to shuck his trousers or robes and roll off, but the beast will do all it can to prevent him: its neck can twist right around into an awful, unnatural position so that it can bite at its victim, tearing chunks of flesh away, or breathe on him with its foul breath.

If the Waterhorse is not stopped before it reaches its lake the seated character is lost. The creature will plunge into the cold water, carrying its victim down into the depths, where it will devour him. Only his liver will float back to shore; apparently the waterhorse dislikes the taste.

Sometimes, if it hasn’t fed for a while, the beast will seize cattle or sheep that have wandered too close to the shore and tear them to pieces, inspiring great hatred in the peasantry who dwell nearby. A community haunted by a Waterhorse will be desperate, first petitioning their lord for help, then begging any party of armed men that pass.

A slain Waterhorse will collapse onto the ground, for all the world like a real, earthly horse. Only when direct sunlight falls on the carcass will it melt into a fetid mass of foam and jelly and stagnant water.

(Bulya)
In the isles surrounding Ellesland* a similar creature is called the Shoopiltee, the Njogel, or the Tangi depending on the location. In Cornumbria* it is known as the Cabbyl-Ushtey or the Glashtin. It also appears in Mercanian* lands where it is known by the name Bäckahästen, the brook horse. In Thuland* it is called Nøkken, where the horse shape is often used, but is said to not be its true form. In the Lyften Isles* it is called Nykur or Nennir. In many of these places it is said that the Waterhorse can assume other forms including human. Truly ancient Waterhorses are often called Each Uisge, these beasts are much more fey and powerful and it is said can only be harmed by hot iron.

Rumours persist of charms which can render a Waterhorse docile and even can turn them into an ideal husband... those who have tried to discover the truth of such charms have joined the other bones at the bottom of the lochs.

Fearsome

Once the Waterhorse has revealed its fell nature any mortal viewers must make Fright rolls with a dificulty of 12. Anyone actually mounted upon the creature, however, must make a Fright roll with a dificulty of 15.

Stagnant Breath

Once every three rounds the Waterhorse can blow its fetid breath into the faces of anyone within 3m (including anyone astride it). A character who fails to roll equal to or under their reflexes on will inhale some of this in, and will be incapacitated for 1d6 rounds with dry retching.

Average statistics

ATTACK 20 Bite (d8, 4 points) or Kick (d10, 6 points)
DEFENCE 10
MAGICAL ATTACK N/A**
MAGICAL DEFENCE 10 Movement: 15m(30m)
EVASION 5
STEALTH 14
PERCEPTION 8 (Elfsight)
Health Points: 1d6+16 Rank Equivalent: 7th

Each Uisage add 2 to all Stats, damage is increased to 6/8 and their Hp is increased to 3d6+24. Immune to non-magical or non-iron weapons. Rank Equivalent 9th.

Treasure

1d6: 1-3 = none; 4 = meagre; 5 = poor; 6 = moderate.
Such items will be at the bottom of the creature's lake and probably inaccessible to PCs in the normal course of things, but a captured or badly wounded waterhorse may attempt to buy its life with the promise of treasure. Ensuring the beast keeps its word will require some cunning upon the PCs part.

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