Far beyond the great desert, one will find the troubled land of Umaab. The people of this once proud kingdom are oft beset by demons who serve the dark god Nergal. The characteristics of these demons are described in the holy Tablets of Adad Untash.
Hurin and Ninumat descended the stairs cautiously. The old curate had nodded off after dinner, but not before his drunken tales of the magics to be found in the lower levels of his temple piqued the interest of the robbers.
The first two levels of the substructure had held little more than some rats and a few barrels of trinkets and talismans the clerics would use to pacify the local farmers when their crops failed or the rains didn’t come as prophesied. Disgruntled that their efforts would go unrewarded, the twin thieves had almost missed the hidden trap door that led to a still deeper place.
A faint red glow fell upon their faces as they stepped lightly on the landing, not a single sound issuing from their careful steps and soft leather boots. As they peered into the doorway where the light was strongest, their breaths caught in their throats. There, rummaging through the scroll-filled shelves, were half-a-dozen man-sized beetles, yellow and black, standing on their hind legs, swords at their sides.
Ninumat – or was it Hurin? – reached slowly for his own blade. Suddenly the creatures turned, instantly aware of their unwelcome visitors. Two of them began to read from scrolls they were holding in their lower hands, while two more drew their swords. The last two, though, simply stood their ground as beams of red light, eerily reminiscent of the glow that filled the room, shot forth from their eyes, striking the thieves, causing them to stiffen slightly and then collapse.
Anu Bata Kalb (Lower Order Demon)
No. Enc.: 2d4 (2d4)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 2 (weapons)
Hoard Class: VIII
These highly intelligent demons appear in our world as humanoid beetles with mottled yellow and black carapaces. They are the bane of scholars, librarians and magicians throughout Umaab, for they are notorious thieves of scrolls, tablets and other written materials. Anu Bata Kalb glow with a faint red light and, even at rest, emit sounds akin to the rustling of paper.
The multifaceted eyes of Anu Bata Kalb cover a wide visual field, making it virtually impossible to surprise them. They attack with ornately crafted short swords, wielding two at once with their primary arms while their secondary arms remain free to grasp at any written material their opponents may possess. Further, they are able to cast spells (of any kind) directly from any magical scrolls they may possess, and do so with great cunning. Finally, once per day a Anu Bata Kalb may emit a beam of flickering red energy that acts as as Wand of Paralyzation.
Additionally, they possess all of the abilities of a typical Lower Order Demon:
- Infravision (90’)
- Half damage from cold-based attacks
- Half damage from electrical-based attacks
- Half damage from fire-based attacks (all)
- Half damage from gas-type attacks
- Telepathy (allows all languages to be understood)
Further, these creatures are:
- Susceptible to damage from “cold iron” weapons – hits from such weapons do an additional 1d3 damage.
- Vulnerable to Holy Water, taking 1d4 damage per thrown vial that hits or an additional 1d2 damage from weapons doused in such a fluid.
- Able to be turned (as creatures of 5HD) by Clerics of the gods of Umaab.
Anu Bata Kalb are typically found in the basements of great libraries, as well as in labyrinths where scrolls and other such items are often unearthed.
The Tablets of Adad Untash tell the faithful that Anu Bata Kalb are the souls of the willfully ignorant, damned to an eternal quest for knowledge.