CLIMATE/TERRAIN:Desert, Hinterlands
TREASURE:Incidental (if any)
HIT DICE:2 + 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK:By weapon type
SPECIAL ATTACKS:Estrangement, concealment
SIZE:S (4-5′ tall)
MORALE:Average (8-10)
XP VALUE:2,000
AD&D 2e statistics

Beyond the well-honed belief-systems of the Outland Gate-Towns lie the Hinterlands — an hypnotic vagary of hypothesis and conjecture. The ixnae embody this suspension of belief, natives of a gauze-like border between the Hinterlands and the the Ethereal Plane.

Each member of the ixnae (there is no singular noun) resembles a slender, Dwarvish humanoid. However, there is an unhealthy disproportion between the features of each individual. The heads are slightly too large, taking up almost a third of the creatures’ height the arms and legs dangle beneath like taproots. The skull is more conical than round, tapering to a nobbly cluster of hair. Each enormous pair of eyes seems wet and vulnerable in the sand-swept plains, yet burns with a savage hunger for the flesh of those with conviction.

COMBAT: The ixnae are essentially a race of cannibalistic humanoids, and they fight in a manner torn from a colonist’s nightmare. Any sentient (believing) being is potential prey to the ixnae, who often begin by circling a party of explorers and ‘tightening the noose’. After an initial volley of blown darts, the Ixnae pounce collectively, wielding clubs, claws, fists or stones. However, despite their ungainly appearance and mundane arsenal, the ixnae score damage in proportion to the strengths of their victims.

The Ixnae also have the uncanny ability to blend into the desert around them, becoming completely undetectable until moments before the attack commences. This can also effect an escape if overpowered. Finally, the physical appearance of the ixnae is so unsettling — so conceptually wrong — that it can set an Ultroloth’s opalescent eyeballs on edge. Sighting a member of the Ixnae warrants a save vs. Paralysation, otherwise the character is unable to act for 1d4 rounds.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: Where there is a semi-mythical tribe of pygmy cannibals, there is certainly a chieftain and a witch-doctor / shaman. However, there is no individualism in the ixnae, they operate as a community. If there is a language behind their guttural grunting, no-one has yet been able to decipher it by means magical nor mundane.

ECOLOGY: Here’s the dark of the ixnae … being a semi-tangible blend of Hinterland and ether, the ixnae exist in the heads of their victims as much as in the metaphysicality of the Outer Planes. That is not to say that the ixnae are not real… rather they are unreal. Not having belief of their own substantial enough to enforce their existence, the ixnae feed (literally) on the belief of others by consuming their bodies. Theoretically, a lack of nourishment would cause them to fade into the sand … but as the pulpy embodiment of established mythology, the ixnae will always be half-there.

Source: The Groke, artwork inspired by Steve Wallace. Author’s note: Imagine the ‘Boy’s Own Adventures’ popular in Victorian times. Picture the small party of knock-kneed explorers, all pith-helmets and handle-bar moustaches. Now picture a lost battalion of fiends, keyed up for the Blood-War. Now magnify the experience of the explorers so that it is proportionately equivalent to the baatezu victims.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *