Shadow Beasts

It all began in Rova of 4676 AR. What started as stories of strange creatures slinking through the shadows became a citywide panic as Wiscrani began disappearing off the darkened streets. Rumors spread quickly of a return of the White Plague or a resurrection of the infamous Council of Thieves, but these tales were soon replaced by reports of a shadowy calamity at Delvehaven, the local Pathfinder lodge, and sightings of dark and insubstantial beings hunting the streets. After months of ignoring or dismissing the problem, the government eventually launched a campaign to seek out and put an end to what they downplayed as an infestation of giant rats, goblins, and goblin dogs. Yet the dottari proved ill equipped for these midnight hunts, and the office of the mayor offered only empty promises. Growing fear and anger led to scapegoating and suspicions of insurrectionists from Nidal, which culminated in a mob’s daylight burning of twin Nidalese coasters. Finally, for the populace’s protection, a curfew was enacted throughout the city while a small army of dottari and experienced mercenaries were commissioned to deal with the shadowy curse that had afflicted the Wiscrani night. Numerous raids and hunts were conducted in the Dospera and ancient city sewers, only to result in the loss of many hunters with little apparent gain. Thus, the nightly curfew remained in effect for more than 30 years, with the unwary risking their very lives.

Today, with the dying of every day’s light, businesses hurriedly close and respectable homes light lanterns outside their doors. Members of the dotarri light pyrahjes, man-sized torches, throughout the Parego Regicona and in the major plazas of the Parego Spera, patrolling between such islands of light in groups of seven. Taverns, festhalls, and similar establishments maintain sleeping rolls for those who stay after dark, collecting a customary 2 sp fee for boarders soon after twilight. Those forced onto the street after dark typically carry halorans, 7-foot-tall hooked staves hung with bright lanterns, made publicly available along the city’s most traveled avenues.

Despite the city’s adaptation to the nightly scourge, specifics of what the creatures are, where they came from, and their intentions remain the stuff of rumors, with every Wiscrani having his own wildly varying theory. Most residents have accepted and adapted to the deadly curfew, which is frequently broken in the Spera and even more often on Westcrown Island, where few attacks take place. Dottari who catch residents out after curfew can enforce up to a 2 gp fine, but more commonly hurry such scofflaws along their way. Weekly, though, new tales arise of deadly attacks on curfew breakers, assuring that the nightly ban is widely maintained. Several times a year the lord mayor makes a show of decrying the plague of mysterious hunters stalking the city’s streets, promising renewed efforts to put an end to the menace, but little has changed in the three decades since the creatures’ mysterious appearance.

Shadow Beasts

GURPS on Golarion Garrion