R'Tak, The Cannibals of the Forest

Copyright D. Andrew Ferguson © 2005

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"They consume the flesh of the fallen, and of their enemies"

In the early days of creation men and elves walked this land with many horrendous creatures. In this time before civilization finding a living was difficult, nigh on impossible for some and it was at this time that a great evil was able to get a foothold in the jungle.

The summer had been difficult with fires and plagues stretching the resourcefulness of the young races to the breaking point but when the rains came so did a great evil. It was a particularly bad rainy season and legend records that a terrible hurricane had hit the eastern shore of the jungle devastating the people and destroying what little food and shelter they had. The next month was horrendous and the jungle predators hunted men and elf.

It was at this time that evil struck. The elf whose name shall not be spoken was visited in a fever dream by a spirit who promised to share the secrets needed to survive the jungle in exchange for an oath of fealty. The elf, delusional and starving, easily agreed to the spirit's offer. The spirit however was evil and beyond any remorse or compassion. It instructed the elf to consume the flesh of the weak and also of fallen enemies.

The elf struggled with this but gave in to its hunger. Eventually it slew its own ailing grandmother and devoured her.

Over the next few weeks the elf grew strong again while its fellows grew weaker. The elf slew several others to hide its crimes. Soon those who would oppose the elf were too weak to resist and the elf was instructed by the spirit to slay its enemies and perform a ritual.

The elf quickly killed the tribe's ailing leaders and made a stew of them as the spirit had instructed. The elf then fed the stew to the others. He claimed that it was the meat of a deer, and the others praised him for his hunting skills. Over the next months, the elf grew in power as it fed the other elves the flesh of their kin. He continued to enchant the meat and feed it to them until there were too few elves to continue slaying and no others could be found.

Then he claimed that the greedy humans were talking all of the game in the forest. The now strong elves attacked a small band of humans, killing them. It was not until this point that the extent of the elf's treachery was known. As soon as the fighting was over ,the starving elves quickly devoured the fallen, human and elf alike. They were no longer elves but had become the dreaded R'Tak, the cannibals of the forest.

R'Tak

Level: 5
Special Abilities: None
Hits: 122
Stats: St: 75 (5); Co: 75 (7); Ag: 75 (9); Qu: 75 (9); SD: 75 (5); Re:75 (5); In: 75 (5); Pr: 75 (5); PP: 55.
RR: Stamina RR: +39; Will RR: 35; Magic RR: 35.
Size: Medium
Movement: 12
Initiative: +14
Defensive Bonus: 38 (18 Qu, 20 soft leather)
Attacks: Composite Bow +80, Shortsword +80.
Treasure: NN2N4
#Encountered: 1-5
Culture: Nomadic
Outlook: Cruel
Lifestyle: Cannibal
Important Skills: Ambush (10) 64; Stalking and Hiding (18) 80; Sniping (10) 64.

R'Tak are evil cannibalistic elves who hunt other sentient beings for food.

These fey creatures are chaotic and evil to the core. The same height as a human, their build is reminiscent of a starving elf. They have enormous pointed ears, tiny black orbs for eyes, a pair of circular holes for nostrils, and a thin slash of a lipless mouth above their soft chin.

The Cannibals of the Forest, as they are sometimes called, have retreated from the Eastern shores into the forest where they are better able to maintain their horrid lifestyle. R'Tak live in family groups of 3 to 20. They consume the flesh of the fallen, and of their enemies. When times are tough, they will resort to murdering friends and family in order to find "appropriate food". Luckily these creatures do not breed often, with a couple giving birth once every ten years or so and even then almost half of the children are eaten before they reach adulthood.

At a distance R'Tak are often mistaken for elves, or sometimes ghouls, but up close there is no mistaking their evil intent.

Although the R'Tak do not worship any of the gods, they do venerate the spirit Lalambhula who taught them the secret of cannibalism and allowed them to survive the time of famine.

Combat

R'Tak favor tactics that do not put them in harm's way. They generally prefer the volley fire of arrows to melee, at least to weaken their foes. However once blood is spilt, it is an altogether different matter as the fey R'Tak rush into combat and attempt to hack at their prey without the grace so common to their kin. R'Tak are cowardly and selfish and are likely to run when facing overwhelming circumstances even leaving family members to die. They justify this with the rationale that when they do return they will find some sort of meal waiting for them later. R'Tak never use poisons.

Myths and Misconceptions

There are many myths regarding the R'Tak, many of which they spread themselves. Many mistake the R'Tak for dark elves, a different species that has little in common with the cannibals of the forest.

Treasures

R'tak strip their prey of all valuables before dumping the masticated corpses in the depths of the forest. Because of this, the R'tak tend to have much wealth and may possess valuable items.

Incorporating the R'Tak into your adventure.

1. The PCs are hired to rescue a person kidnapped by the R'Tak.

2. The PCs have to travel through land held by the R'Tak

3. The characters find a book with a reference to the spirit Lalambhula and something referred to as his children.

4. Several caravans traveling through the forest have been attacked. The survivors state that their attackers were evil elves. This has led to tensions between the humans and other elves that live in the area. The PCs are hired to research the survivors' claims.

5. The PCs have to find a magic item that was held by a person who disappeared in R'Tak controlled land.