Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Aluxo'ob

The Aluxo'ob or Alushes as they are commonly called are a race of sprites native to the Mayan culture. They are small and usually grow no taller than a man's knee. Alux are mischievous little creatures. Helpful and kind if respected, but wicked and dangerous if mistreated.

Alux live near human settlements and protect the land and house of their owner and creator. They are in a way a type of golem. Created in the form of highly detailed clay figures. Shamans can cast ritual spells to embed these figures with life. The common folk take a longer yet equally effective process. They leave the figure under the oldest tree in their land or in a house specially built for the alux, the "kahtal alux". Food and drink is taken to the alux on a daily basis until the clay figure disappears. The alus has become alive and will now protect the land and owner for seven full years. After those seven years the door to the "kahtal alux" (the alux home) needs to be sealed off during the day to entrap the alux inside and prevent him from becoming evil and mischievous.

The alux, although helpful to the owner, can be mischievous at times. They will do common pranks like take items from the owners household or simply move them around. Should the mischievousness of the alux become too much to bear the alux can be destroyed by finding the clay figure and breaking it into pieces. Care must be taken to perform this task during the day. To do otherwise would mean cursing whoever does this with great illness and disease, maybe even death. Needless to say finding the figure is no easy task as it is kept well hidden by the alux.

The alux have the following characteristics:

  • May become invisible at will and are generally invisible most of the day.
  • They are very quick, having a type of displacement effect that makes them hard to hit - AC between 16 and 18.
  • They are low hit dice creatures 2 HD at most, although specially enchanted alux have been known to have 4 to 5 HD ( temple guardians ).
  • They have two or three attacks per round doing 1d6.
  • They can regenerate fully by becoming invisible for a whole round. During this round they can not attack or perform any offensive action. In other words they can't use this ability if they've attacked in a round. Thus they can use this ability in mid round if they haven't attacked yet. An alux can be hit, become invisible, forfeit his attack for this round and regenerate on the next and get back to attacking on the third round fully regenerated. This makes the alux very hard to kill, needing one strong decisive round to kill.
  • If killed they will respawn on the next day as the sun sets. They can't be killed unless the figurine is found and destroyed, and even then the destruction has to take place during the day to prevent curse and disease.
  • They have a +3 to initiative.
Alux prefer sneak attacks or pranks to actual confrontation. They will sneak on their target, stalk them and attack from a distances. They are smart and can set up limited traps: a rock that happens to fall, a log that will trip a character, an unexpected fire starting, etc. They will make good use of darkness and party unawareness to attack. A character may find himself without a weapon or magic item, potion or scroll. Items which were taken by the alux at night or during a lapse of attention.

If cornered to fight the alux will attack quickly and viciously. He will use his invisibility to his advantage, by moving around, attacking by surprise and regenerating quickly. Although alux are usually found alone, they have been known to act in groups. As such they are a formidable opponent that will wear down any party over the course of hours and days by means of sneak attacks, equipment theft and general sabotage. Three of four alux can easily attack a human sized creature and deliver many fast and deadly wounds.

As an anecdote, I'd like to point out the bridge from Cancun's international airport that leads to Kukulkan boulevard and the hotels. Under it resides the kahtal of the alux that protects the bridge. You can see the kahtal on the image below (click on it to be taken to google maps). The bridge collapsed during its construction and precaution was taken to allocate a home for the alux. After the kahtal was built to more incidents troubled the bridge.

Image sources

Cancun bridge : Google Maps
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