CLIMATE/TERRAIN:Any Lower Plane and Outlands
INTELLIGENCE:High to Genius (14-19)
ALIGNMENT:Neutral Evil
HIT DICE:7 + 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK:1d12+6 (Mala-griff) or 1d6/1d6 (claws)
SPECIAL ATTACKS:Domination, music, spell abilities
SPECIAL DEFENCES:Hit only by +1 or better weapon
SIZE:M (5′ tall)
MORALE:Elite (13-14)
XP VALUE:6,000
AD&D 2e statistics

The Mala’kin, or herders, are a race of nomadic fiends travelling the Lower Planes and the Outlands. They have no interest in the Blood War and their motives are kept mysterious. They herd petitioners like a cutter herds sheep (or a hag herds larvae). They keep magical controls over their “cattle” with their magical weapons called the Talons of Malar, their amulets and flutes. Mala’kin are a rather small race, averaging about 5 feet tall. They have thin long arms and most are pot-bellied. Their legs are goat-like, with sharp hooves and coarse fur. To complete their satyr-like appearance, they have short horns and goat ears.They have a long, hairless, prehensile tail. Their faces have always exaggerated, grotesque beastlike features. Their skin color vary, though they are always sick-looking. Do not laugh, however, for mala’kin are powerful beings. They always carry weapons they call Mala-griffs (talons of Malar), which looks like a pole with a mechanical claw at the top. An amulet and heavy chain usually rest on their chests.

COMBAT: Mala’kin prefer to attack with their Mala-griff. If disarmed, they claw at opponents with their strong arms. They have no problem with petitioners: A single note on their magical flutes and the petitioners’ wills are broken utterly, allowing them to be directed with the Mala-griff (save versus spell -4 to resist the effect of the flutes). Against other foes, things are different. The Mala-griff act as a trident of domination (save versus spell or helpless for 2-8 rounds). The amulet is more potent still: It act as a charm person (or monster) spell (1 time per person/week). What they can’t dominate, they destroy. At will, they can summon the effects of a chromatic orb of any kind; slow (3/day); polymorph other (1/week); and teleport without error (1/week). They don’t use the last except when absolutely necessary because it leaves their herd unguarded.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: Mala’kin live to herd petitioners. They’re on the move constantly and never willingly step into a burg. No one knows why they herd petitioners, since they do not seem to gain anything from it—but who knows where these creatures take the poor sods. Another thing dark about this kind is their magical items. Maybe it’s really their patron Malar they’re always talking about that give them to the mala’kin. Baatezu respect mala’kins for their loyalty (that makes them easier to peel) and tanar’ri despise them. Once a petitioner is part of a mala’kin herd, the fiend produces a little amulet out of his own and puts it around the petitioner’s neck. Then the petitioner undergo a radical transformation: In 2d6 weeks he mutates into a goat-like creature. It’s a slow, progressive change, but after that time he walks on all four and he is not recognizable by anyone. A goat-like petitioner is called a malakian. If someone steals the amulet of a still living mala’kin (any, even a malakian), he transforms into a mala’kin of the same rank in 1d6 days as the original withers and dies. The unfortunate thief cannot get rid of the amulet. If a mala’kin is killed, its amulet is destroyed. A herder won’t make his herd fight for him, for he place its value before his life.

ECOLOGY: Like many fiends, mala’kin eat for pleasure only, and certainly never harm their petitioner/malakian charges. There are many rumours as to why this is, but it’s a cert it’s something to do with Malar the Beast Lord…

CURRENT CHANT: Mala’kin herds with the help of the mala’dims (or brutes), strong mixing of fiend and machine. In order of promotion there are the malakians, the “cattle”, the herders, the brutes, the nomads (or warriors), the juggernauts, the Barons, and the all mighty Malarians. The guardians are herders who got demoted when they lose their herds. This kind is barmy by any standards (even a fiend’s), they are evil and loyal, yet their not lawful. The pattern of promotion is weird indeed: The herders fear being promoted to brutes because they are far less intelligent. Once in a while, however, when a herder’s herd reach a certain size, he is drawn to a place known only to them, where the promotion occurs. The malakians life force is used to fuel the transformation. Malakians are transformed into herders and so on. The whole barmy race seems to be an operation of Malar to drain gods of their petitioners but they do nothing about it.

The Herders are not welcome on Pluto, the realm of Hades, and are hunted by psychopomps as ferociously as they hunt thieves of spirits from the River of Souls.

Source: Martin Bourassa

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