OSR: The Ghost Whale of Endon

Whale oil was once a luxury in Endon. The only thing preventing widespread adoption was supply; there was no real whaling industry. All that changed when Bartelby Spuggs began polymorphing pigeons into whales. In a gore-soaked field downwind of the city, Bartelby and his apprentices run a roaring whale-oil factory, boiling and rendering thousands of pounds of blubber into pure clean-burning for lamps, soaps, and cosmetics.

Hardly anyone gave the whale-oil works a second thought until the deaths began. Neighbors reported a horrible shrieking howl and found a room soaked in gore. Urchins saw a huge phosphorescent shape glide through the fog. Something huge and horrible stalks the streets of Endon, seemingly killing at random.

Pigeons are not very bright. Their feeble little souls rarely survive being polymorphed into whales. But once, by accident, one of Bartelby assistants polymorphed a stray dog. Dogs, as any professional wizard knows, have the greatest soul-to-mass ratio of any mammal. No sensible wizard would credit them as distant evolutionary relatives to whales, but it's true. Being a whale was, for the dog, a deeply confusing experience, so after death the dog-whale stuck around to see what the fuss was about.

Endon is haunted by a cetacean ghost. It glides through the streets on foggy nights, a translucent outline paddling through clouds, buildings, and cobbled streets. It is a lonely whale. Sometimes, it howls.
Carly Sorge

Ghost Whale

HD: 7
Wants: friends, belly rubs, krill.
Armor: none. Requires magic weapons to hit. All the usual ghost immunities (charm, sleep, cold, electricity, etc.).
Move: 2x fly, swims through solid objects
Morale: 6
Damage: 1d8 life-draining bite, whale howl (see below).

The ghost whale's howl affects anything in a 50' cone in front of it. It starts as a low rumbling, then rises to a painful, oppressive shriek that bursts blood vessels, cracks skulls, and pulps eyeballs. It takes two rounds to reach full power. In the first round, anyone in the area of effect can try to flee the area. If they remain inside, they take 1 damage. In the second round, anyone in the area must Save or die. Typically the ghost whale only howls once a night.

The ghost whale is also a dog. It wasn't a particularly good dog in life but it wasn't vicious or spiteful either. It wants to chase carriages, sniff garbage, and fall asleep in front of the fire; all things made difficult by its spectral existence. It might be possible to tame it.

Treasure: 1d10lbs of ambergris ectoplasm (ghost whale barf). Like half-real solidified glowing air. Worth 1,000gp per lb to any wizard or perfumer in Endon. One of the few scents ghosts find pleasant. 

Yes, it's just a reskinned Banshee.

So What About The Law of Conservation of Mass
Utter nonsense. Ever seen a fire? Reduces heavy wood to light ash. Burns oil and spirits into nothingness. Or consider ice. Allow a sealed container full of ice to melt and less water than ice will be found inside. No, I'm afraid mass is not conserved. It comes and it goes as it pleases.


  1. That is both hilarious and full of pathos...

    nicely done!

  2. This pieces has two of my favorite quotes from you:

    "Dogs, as any professional wizard knows, have the greatest soul-to-mass ratio of any mammal."


    "No, I'm afraid mass is not conserved. It comes and it goes as it pleases."

  3. Thought I would let you know here that your G+ post is getting a bunch of spam comments...

  4. The soul:mass ratio thing explains a lot about dogs. Jives with what I know about them at least.

  5. Splendid, absolutely splendid.

    I can see why many polymorph spells are described as not being permanent in some systems... Otherwise, a semi-competent wizard with a few bugs can easily feed a mid-sized town.