Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tzitzimine Star Demons

Our friend +Juan Ochoa  made this beautiful illustration for one of the Aztec-inspired minions I submitted as part of Gorgonmilk's forthcoming Petty Gods Expanded project. Today is the 300th post at FATE SF, and we are providing a Fate conversion for the creature to celebrate the milestone!

The Tzitzimine, more popularly known as the Star Demons, are spider-like servitors of Chaotic celestial deities such as Chicxulub, the Goddess of Decaying Orbits.*  Also known as the Enemies of Radiance, one of the Tzitzimine sleeps within every star and planet in the heavens. During events such as solar eclipses, meteor showers, and rare planetary conjunctions, the Tzitzimine awaken and come forth to consume light. There is a sickening lurch in the sky, as stars and constellations twist and swirl into sudden motion. During eclipses, the Tzitzimine swarm around the darkened sun in a feeding frenzy.

Chaotic celestial deities such as Chicxulub are all too willing to bargain with astrologer-sorcerers and priests to awaken the Tzitzimine within a star or other celestial object. Chicxulub will then nudge the Star Demon onto a downward trajectory toward the summoner’s preferred destination for the summoning. The Star Demons are usually summoned for their services as an assassin.

When awakened by a summoner, a Star Demon will turn its attention toward the nighttime lights of the terrestrial world it sees spinning beneath the stars. It descends to earth on web-threads, making its way toward the beckoning lights of the city or temple below.

Summoners must prepare properly for the Tzitzimine’s arrival, because they are also known as The Greedy Assassins. The patterns must be drawn properly to draw those who journey beyond. The correct incenses must be burned. The words of invocation and invitation must be pronounced properly and recited with the ease of deep familiarity in order to draw the Tzitzimine closer.

There must be attractive items with which to attract the Star Demons. They relish the opportunity to steal Eyes, wands, scrolls, and magic weapons from their intended victims, as well as from careless or unwitting summoners who have not taken the proper protective measures in preparation for their arrival. The Greedy Assassins are particularly fond of superscience devices and possess an intuitive understanding of all of the Indistinguishables.

Tzitzimine are extremely difficult to spot during their descent from the stars. Their carapace is the darkest obsidian black, and the only tell-tale sign that a Tzitzimine is about to arrive is the faint trace of a silvery spider thread in the night sky. Star Demons vary tremendously in size, from the size of a bison to the size of a great dragon. Indeed their apparent size can shift tremendously during the summoning itself, which frequently startles and confuses its summoner.

There is great danger in this.

Those who would control – or more realistically guide – the actions of a Tzitzimine need to stay within two zones of the creature at all times. The Star Demon will establish a mind link with its summoner which functions like the ESP spell (range of three zones, duration 12 turns, not blocked by stone or walls). It will continue to carry out its agreed upon mission as long as the summoner stays within range of it.

It goes without saying that there must also be a significant light source near the locus of summoning such as a bonfire, fireworks, alchemist’s powders, or the bright lights of a great palace or temple. This blaze gives the Tzitzimine the ample light it requires to fuel its Bite the Sun power. Once so-powered, the Star Demon will be able to stalk, blind, and overcome a target. The victim will see and hear little more than the flash of a death-dealing Eye, and the quick flurry of blades preceding their death.

The Tzitzimine can climb large buildings and rain down terror from above. The best defense against the Star Demons is to trap it in an environment where it can't climb away. Teamwork and a diversity of tactics are essential. Pikes or ranged weapons can be used to reach the headbody of the creature. Weapons such as maces and warhammers are a good option against its pincer legs, because forceful blows can crack the exoskeleton. Fair warning: the smoke-sap that gushes out of its wounds has toxic and hallucinogenic effects.

*For more on Chicxulub, see the forthcoming Petty Gods Expanded from Gorgonmilk.


The Tzitzimine 
Spider-like Star Demons 

SPECIAL: The Tzitzimine is a Very Large Monster. It's Headbody takes up one Zone. It's Legs take up another. Each Zone uses the same Approaches, but has its own Stunts, Refresh, and Stress Boxes. Each Zone gets its own Attack each turn.

  • High Concept: Huge spider demons from the stars
  • Trouble: Greedy for Magic Things
  • Aspect: It can climb long as it's BIG!
  • Aspect: Summon them with care
  • Aspect: Assassins tiptoeing on numerous blades
  • Careful: +1
  • Clever: +2
  • Flashy: +3
  • Forceful: +1
  • Quick: +2
  • Sneaky: +1

HEADBODY ZONE: The Tzitzimine's headbody ordinarily occupies a Zone immediately above its legs.

  • Bite the Sun - The Tzitzimine may Create an Advantage by casting a Zone of Absolute Darkness about itself for one scene. The spell encompasses the two Zones comprising the headbody and legs; it moves with the creature. All other beings in the same Zones will not be able to see anything, but the Tzitzimine will continue to see everything as if it were in bright light.* A large heat-producing light source (such as a bonfire) must be exhausted to fuel the spell.
  • Demon of Many Eyes: Take +2 to Flashy Approach when Attacking with technomagical devices, wands, or scrolls.
  • Hellshift - Once per scene, the Tzitzimine can phase through a wall into a chamber large enough to accommodate it. The area must be three zones or more in size. 
  • It's Growing, It's Shifting! - Take +2 to Clever Approach to Create an Advantage by confusing foes about its exact dimensions and location within the Zones it occupies. 

STRESS: 3 Boxes


LEG ZONE: The Tzitzimine's legs ordinarily occupy a Zone immediately below its head.

  • Cathedral Warrior - The Tzitzimine may scale any large structure, enabling its head to continue reigning down death from above with spells and magical devices. The legs cannot be used to Attack while the Tzitzimine is climbing walls or structures, but may be used to fight on top of roofs and structures if pursued there by opponents. 
  • Obsidian Blade Cloud - Take +2 to Forceful Approach when using 3 or more legs to launch a flurry of blade Attacks against an adversary in the same or an adjacent Zone.
  • Brittle Exoskeleton - The Tzitzimine is fast on its feet, but its exoskeleton is brittle. This weakness may be Compelled by the use of weapons such as maces and warhammers. Cracks in the exoskeleton appear with the Compel. Any further Stress incurred causes toxic and hallucinogenic smoke-sap to gush out explosively from the cracks in its exoskeleton. GMs may use this to create a variety of Compels upon the Star Demon's adversaries.


STRESS: 3 Boxes

*The summoner may continue to see normally if it remains in physical contact with at least one limb of the Star Demon.


  1. Outstanding. It's a great concept, and Juan more or less summoned it with that piece at the top.

    1. Yes, I think Juan did summon it. In fact the summoning plaques may look familiar to some...

  2. Great Monster, Wonderful illustration--and congratulations of reaching the 300-post milestone!

    1. Thanks, Jim - and for the support and encouragement that Porky, Trey, and you have given me as I developed all this!

  3. Replies
    1. You're never more than ten feet away from a Tzitzimine!