Yesterday’s SUMMER SPECTACULAR preview showed you a run-down of the malevolent monsters to be found in our upcoming Mythic Monsters: Monstrous Humanoids,but as always we introduce a brand-new monster to the mix. So what in the world is a xotenga? You know, sometimes we give you fun new mechanics, but for this guy I think may be a bit of flavor text might really convey the concept.
Xotengas are creatures of the dust, soaring over the parched savannah and desolate badlands. Xotengas often appear in the wake of natural disasters of all kinds, following in the wake of floods and wildfires as readily as amidst the devastated rubble of an earthquake or volcanic eruption. They are heralds of misery, hastening the onset of suffering begun by inundation beneath tainted waters, roiling clouds of toxic smoke, and burning pyroclastic flows. However, while local legends tell that the appearance of xotengas presages disaster as well as follows it, what is less well known is that their mere presence actually brings about devastation and woe. Xotengas are the living embodiment of famine, some say created as mortal servants by the Four Horsemen that rule the daemonic race to hasten the coming Apocalypse. Hunger and despair follow in their footsteps and rise wherever their shadows fall. From on high their deadly quills rain down suffering and want, leaving those who survive the initial assault to cower in fearful misery as the xotengas begins their long, slow torment.
Xotengas are cruel, ravening beasts, hateful torturers that prolong the agony of their victims as they flay and devour them piece by bloody piece with bony shards plucked from their own flesh. A xotenga does not feast upon its victims for sustenance but rather for pleasure, savoring the pain and terror they induce in their victims. Xotengas do not eat because they cannot; they lack any true digestive tract. They can gobble flesh and bone into their hideous beaks, but what they swallow in hideous gulps is simply deposited into a distensible gizzard where it molders into putrefaction, eventually to be vomited back up.
This inability to eat does not mean that xotengas do not feel hunger as other creatures do, however. To the contrary, they are plagued with an unending hunger that gnaws at their innards like a nest of pitiless worms. Their hunger cannot be sated by food, however, but only by consuming the hunger of others like a gruesome parasite. Their very presence draws forth the hunger and deprivation of others, sapping their life and vitality while assuaging the xotenga’s boundless hunger, if only temporarily. For this reason, xotengas typically prefer capturing their victims, as a creature killed outright can provide them no sustenance. In truth, xotengas do not need to kill at all to draw forth what they need from their victims, drinking their life away until nothing is left but a desiccated husk. However, the vein of cruelty runs deep in a xotenga and they often cannot resist the temptation to torture, as the miserable whimpering, anguished screams, and blubbering delirium of prisoners slowly descending into madness are terribly entertaining to these hateful hunters.
Then again, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so perhaps Chris McFann’s excellently evil illustration may illuminate the situation.