The Spirit Realm is home to more than just the mighty spirits the orcs worship. For every great spirit lords over its own plane, and each plane is anything but empty. There are planes oozing with all manner of spirit beings, lessers and underlings to the greater ones. The Burgûl’Dagul is one such being.
Burgûl’Daguli, commonly referred to simply as Shadow Imps, are minions of Sinbad, a lesser spirit of Veist, Greater spirit of illusions, tricks and thievery. In their true forms they are impish in size and appearance, the tallest ones don’t exceed 4 feet of height. Their bodies appear to be made up from a mix of black ink and smoke, keeping a vaguely humanoid silhouette. They sometimes have glowing marks and strange glyphs imprinted on their bodies. They show an impressive variety in body shapes and uncertain amount of body parts as well. The most outlandish of them have a plethora of eyeballs, arms, mouths, tongues, tendrils, horns and so on.
Some choose to hide and adorn their heads under monolithic masks made from an eldritch material secreted by beings found in the Spirit Realm, further adding to the variety of their appearance.
Their bodies are not entirely solid, thus making them terribly inefficient in combat and any tasks that require some amount of physical strength. They are comparable to young children in this regard. They compensate this with exceptional agility, speed and sleight of hand, making them excel at thievery and subterfuge. Capturing one of these imps by hand is virtually impossible.
Imps are characterized by their selfishness and general lack of empathy. They delight in the misfortune of others, as petty as it may be, specially when it is of their own doing. They tend to make an irritating series of cackles when enjoying themselves, sometimes hinting at some form of sadism. Their actions are fueled almost exclusively by an irrepressible thirst for mischief and sabotage. Because of this, they do not care for friendship, even from their own kin. They often assault each other, both physically and verbally. They especially hate running into other imps when attempting to prank a victim, because more often than not they end up stepping over each others toes trying to carry out their own idea of a prank and inevitably end up fighting one another instead. Thus, they mostly prefer to go alone.
Mortal Realm Trespass
In order for an imp to be able to cross over and operate in the mortal realm they need to piggyback on a mortal soul. They usually do this by cleverly using Farseers and Witch Doctors as ferrymen when they perform spirit walks. The otherworldly stowaways stealthily form a parasitic bond with their chosen victim, normally someone other than the Shaman, as non shamans are far more vulnerable and clueless of the dangers of the spiritual planes.
Once in the mortal realm they begin to slowly eat away at their host’s essence. The host first starts to feel slightly weakened and tired, which mostly goes unnoticed as spirit walks are quite draining on their own, so it is dismissed as just a side effect. Then once the host is secluded, either resting or simply in their dwelling, the spirit commences to devour the mind. It then forcefully manipulates the victim’s body and sends it away to complete the consumption in solitude. In the final phase the spirit spreads its own essence throughout the body, slowly replacing the descendant’s former mass with the ink-like substance proper of the Burgûl’Dagul. This invariably shrinks them in size, leaving the resulting fledgeling no taller than 4 feet. The whole process takes no more than three days to complete. The Shadow Imp has complete control, no trace of the former descendant is kept except for the remnants of the soul, which had been assimilated by the creature.
A different route for imps to come to the mortal realm is offered exclusively by Witch Doctors. When one of these shamans brews a hex, they make a call to the spirits and any may answer. They have little control over what the outcome might be. One such outcome is that an imp answers the call. If the hex was directed at someone, the victim will be cursed with the imp. Just like in a spirit walk, if successful the imp will go undetected and undergo the aforementioned process of taking over the victim's soul and body.
Once able to operate in the mortal plane, the creature will seek out descendants for them to trick, steal from and fool. Their very nature is to create mischief, which in turns helps Veist remain prevalent as an immortal spirit. Their tricks can range from harmless pranks to potentially deadly schemes. Any danger however is not posed by the Imp directly, but rather through the circumstances that they are able to create. Also, while they are dexterous thieves, they do so purely out of a desire to cause mischief, not out of greed. They almost never keep stolen items, unless it would help them create more mischief somehow.
The Burgûl’Daguli possess a number of magical abilities to help them prank mortals:
An imp can use illusory tricks to disguise itself as objects and creatures roughly the same size as them. For example they could appear as a cat, a large rat or a stool. They will lose the disguise if struck by even a small amount of force. It is also important to note that his is simply an illusion, not shape-shifting.
(Exceptions to this ability pointed further down in the Redlines)
Their bodies are very malleable and do not fully respect nature’s laws. They can swallow objects, even if seemingly there’s no way it’d fit in the imp’s apparent volume. They can only swallow one object at a time (In the case of say, a pouch of coins, the whole pouch counts as a single item). They can swallow an item as long as it no larger than the imp itself. Animals and small humanoids cannot be swallowed. Swallowed items may be recovered by damaging the imp, causing a forceful expulsion of the item.
Imps can turn their body to a near-liquid state for several seconds, evading any physical attacks for a short period of time and moving at great speed in a direction of their choosing. This is used to perform a quick getaway when in danger, mostly. They cannot fit through bars or anything that they couldn’t normally go through, so they may still end up trapped if used poorly. They need to rest before being able to use this ability again (Only once per encounter). Also, any items being held in their bodies are dropped upon using this ability.
In a manner similar to sensory illusion, Imps can create false sounds and objects at will in their vicinity. These illusions are not hampered by logic, they will persist regardless of anyone not believing in them or realizing it is fake. The limitation to this ability is once again the size of the Imp. The Imp cannot illusion objects or entities much larger than itself. Auditory illusions have no restriction.
Re-absorption and regeneration
If they lose a body part or segment, they can reabsorb it to instantly recover that specific lost mass. They can lose a body part from being attacked or through self mutilation. It is not strange for these beings to mutilate themselves as part of a prank.
If they lose a body part and are unable to retrieve it they will slowly grow it back in a couple days time.
They can ignore light for a period of time, becoming practically invisible. Very similar to the way ghosts go unseen, save a few differences. They can only perform a couple of actions while invisible, after that they will lose the veil and become wholly visible again. They will slightly flicker when performing actions while invisible. They are able to manipulate objects and interact with people while invisible, this counts as an action. They can only turn their own bodies invisible, any objects and clothing they hold will still be visible, including swallowed items. Otherwise, they can move freely without disrupting their magic cloak. This is mostly a tool for them to get in position or set up for a scheme.
Also, unlike ghosts their invisibility runs out. An imp can maintain their cloak for around 5 minutes (in-roleplay time) at most, this is without them doing anything that would disrupt the cloak. Once their veil is lost, they must rest to refresh it (Only one use per encounter).
- Shadow Imps are weak to Ascended soulfire, as their soul is technically a bonded perversion of a descendant’s soul. Paladin magic and Clerical light has no proper effect on them, as they harbor no taint and are not dark in their origin.
- They may be expunged from the mortal realm by a Farseer if they somehow ended up in a spirit walk with one. They may be susceptible to hexes performed by a witch doctor, if applicable.
- They are resistant to fire and chilling cold, temperature harms their strange bodies to a lesser degree than mortals. They are roughly three times harder to kill than a normal man with spells and attacks of this nature.
- Magics such as arcanism, earth evocation, elementalism and any other capable of physical force will harm the Imps accordingly.
- They take damage from physical attacks. A well placed blunt strike can reduce their bodies to a black puddle. They can also be slashed apart and not allowed to regain their lost mass. They are incredibly hard to hit, however.
- Arrows and other small projectiles tend to get stuck on their bodies and cause minimal damage. They can easily remove them afterwards, but the damage will remain. Getting struck by such a projectile forces them to eject any swallowed items. It takes roughly three to four direct hits with arrows to fully defeat an imp.
Imps do not truly die, as they are not mortals themselves, technically belonging to the Immortal Spirit category. Their bodies can be disrupted enough that they practically die much like anyone else does, but the spiritual energy that makes up most of their being will persist, as well as their twisted soul.
When this happens, they leave behind a puddle of black ooze that evaporates quickly. It will be some time before they can materialize again at a different place. (Same respawning mechanic as everyone else.)
- Burgûl'daguli are adept at stealth and pick-pocketing by default.
- Imps may wear cloth (such as a cloak) and use items appropriate for their size. They will always be very deficient with the use of weapons, however.
- Imps move fast and can climb many things, as if they were a squirrel or similar. They scamper and clamber all over the place.
- They do not truly feel pain. What they feel is their energy and essence being depleted. They are afraid of their energy running out just like a mortal is afraid of dying.
- They cannot have wings, nor any other appendage that would enable flight or glide. They also cannot use Deceitful Guise to turn into a bird and fly away.
- Deceitful Guise cannot mimic a descendant. Animals are perfectly fine as long as all redlines are respected.
- Any display of strength that would surpass what a halfling can do is forbidden.
- Do not circumvent metagame rules with this creature. Do not spy on groups of people with invisibility to then snitch at the enemy faction.
- Shadow Imps may never hold allegiance to anything other than themselves. Respect their antipathic nature in roleplay.
- Do not remain invisible forever. That's just cheap.
- Cannot wear armor.
- Illusions aren't real, they cannot have any direct effect on anything.