The Mooncalf is primarily inspired by Caliban (from“The Tempest”), but grotesque people of a demonic nature are a recurring theme in art and literature. The Mooncalf race could also be used in Gothic settings to represent characters inspired by Igor (from the cinematic adaptations of the Frankenstein story), Erik (“The Phantom of the Opera”), or even the mutants of movies such as “The Hills Have Eyes”. Good, Quasimodo-like Mooncalves are also possible, creating rich opportunities for role-playing. Mooncalves might also be used as a replacement for various races of standard Fantasy, such as Orcs and Ogres.
A grotesque mutant of a Demonic nature.
A Mooncalf is a malformed person produced by demonic interference in the natural course of human reproduction and development. Sometimes, a Mooncalf is the spawn of a witch and her demon lover. Often, the reproductive organs of witches and warlocks are so polluted by sorcery that they will always make Mooncalves, even without intimate contact with demonic beings. Sometimes, the Mooncalf is the offspring of human parents, but conceived while one of the parents was demonically possessed. A pregnant woman who encounters demonic forces may also be shocked by the birth of a Mooncalf child. Most disturbingly, it is possible for people who were born human to change into Mooncalves, if their bodies are exposed to certain energies of a chaotic, demonic, or spiritually polluting nature. Such mutation sometimes occurs as a result of prolonged contact with demonic artifacts.
Mooncalves are as varied in appearance as the demons that spawn them. Always, they will be grotesque and disturbing. A Mooncalf may be unusually tall, or extremely short, with eyes that bulge horribly, or peer behind small slits in sunken sockets. Some Mooncalves have hides so scaly as to mistaken for fish skin from a distance; others are covered with patches of musky matted fur. Still other Mooncalves are completely devoid of any hair at all. Mooncalves tend to be unnaturally strong and somewhat dimwitted, and those qualities will usually be reflected in a muscular frame and dull expression.
Mooncalves have human-like metabolisms, and require the same kinds of food and drink as ordinary humans. Their polluted minds often crave food that normal people would consider disgusting, however. It is not unknown for Mooncalves to become cannibals, for example. Some compulsively eat dirt, or soiled rags.
Mooncalves have the same lifespans as normal humans. Their bodies tend to be perceptively cool to the touch, and Mooncalves are less affected by cold temperatures than most other creatures. Consequentially, many wear little clothing, and sometimes don’t bother to repair damage to their dwellings. Mooncalves are quite comfortable living in cool, damp areas underground, such as city sewers.
Unlike most of the other Freak races, Mooncalves can transmit their condition to any offspring that they make with normal humans. Many Mooncalves in fact feel an overwhelming desire to reproduce themselves in that way. When Mooncalves mate with each other, the results are particularly grotesque and twisted Mooncalf children.
Psychology & Behavior
Many Mooncalves have difficulty formulating rational or abstract thoughts. Often, Mooncalves communicate in ways are that are either exceedingly literal, or else extremely strange and confused. Many are functionally insane. Violence is in their nature, and Mooncalves often interact with their environment in destructive ways. The few Mooncalves who are of average or better Intelligence often plot acts of horrible vengeance upon the normal humans who torment them.
Mooncalves tend to be unconcerned about the their own appearance, or the condition of their dwelling places. Perversely, they tend to become obsessed with beautiful people and animals, usually with tragic results.
Mooncalves possess human souls, and despite the demonic influence on their minds, Mooncalves are not always of Chaotic or Evil Alignment. Some few are even Good or Lawful, and thus constantly at odds with themselves.
Mooncalves In Society
Mooncalves are despised by almost all civilized people as symbols of chaos and evil. Unfortunately, even good Mooncalves can expect nearly limitless abuse and hatred at the hands of the ignorant and self-righteous. Those Mooncalves who are intelligent enough to manage it, and caring enough to be bothered, often disguise themselves when they interact with normal people in polite society.
Just about the only regular employment Mooncalves can find is as soldiers or criminal enforcers, or in circus sideshows. Many take to robbing graves for money. Mooncalves naturally gravitate towards the company of other outcasts, including Gypsies, Bandits, and Magicians. Mooncalves are also sometimes employed as servants by Mad Scientists.
Relations With Other Races
As previously stated, humans who are not themselves social outsiders, outcasts, or criminals will seldom knowingly accept the company of a Mooncalf. Mooncalves frequently associate with Cambions, who often see the Mooncalves as weapons to be wielded by a strong leader. Fairy Changelings will also befriend Mooncalves, but on a more equal and honest basis. Nephilim are disgusted by the misshapen bodies of Mooncalves, and Seers feel a similar instinctual revulsion for them. Dhampirs, on the other hand, regard Mooncalves as close cousins. There are tales of Vampyres employing Mooncalves as slaves, but Mooncalves are not unique in that regard. Mooncalves are themselves frequently cursed to rise as Vampyres after death.
In Fantasy settings, Elves would regard killing a Mooncalf as an unqualified good for the world, and a selfless act of mercy towards the miserable Mooncalf! Other Demi-humans will react in a similar manner to humans, avoiding Mooncalves whenever possible (unless they are themselves outcasts). The exceptions are, of course, Half-orcs, for whom the Mooncalves are true kindred spirits.
Unlike the other spirits who procreate with humans, demons are utterly indifferent to the Mooncalves they help spawn – neither helping them in any way, nor singling them out for abuse. Such indifference contrasts with the devils (who dote upon their beautiful Cambions as investments in Evil), the archons (who callously manipulate the Seers they consider to be nothing but tools), the angels (who regard the Nephilim with a mixture of hatred, horror, and disgust), and the Fairy Folk (who love their Changelings as full kin).
Extraplaner Type: Mooncalves have the Extraplaner type. They can use any magic reserved for Extraplaner beings, but are also subject to spells that affect Extraplaner beings. In particular, Mooncalves can freely employ weapons and items of a Demonic nature.
Resistance To Cold: Cold-based attacks do one less hit point of damage per die when used against Mooncalves.
Deepvision: Mooncalves can see in condition of absolute darkness, to a range of 120 feet.
Demonic Weaknesses: Mooncalves are subject to all the weaknesses of demons. Spells that affect Extraplaner creatures of Chaos affect Mooncalves. Protection From Chaos for example, will prevent a Cambion from entering an area, regardless of the Mooncalf’s actual Alignment. Weapons specially enchanted to do extra damage against demons are just as effective against Mooncalves.
Polluted By Chaos: No matter what a Mooncalf’s actual Alignment is, they will always be detected as Chaotic by magic that reveals Alignments. Likewise, any spells or magical effects that target Chaos will always affect Mooncalves.
Subject To Rebuking: Lawful Clerics can turn (but never destroy) Mooncalves as if they were Unique Undead, regardless of the Mooncalf’s actual Alignment.
Scavenger Abilities Adjustment: +1 on Improvise Tool (compensating for the Mooncalf’s otherwise dulled intellect)
Attribute Adjustment: +4 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma
Movement: 30 feet
Starting Languages: Common. Mooncalves can also understand (but not necessarily speak or read) the language of demons without any prior training.