A penanggalan[note 1] (pronounced: /pɛˈnæŋgɑːlʌnpe-NÆNG-ga-lun[5]) was a variety of female vampiric undead creature.[3][1]

Description[edit | edit source]

A penanggalan had two forms. During the day, the penanggalan appeared as a human female resembling its original form before undeath. At night, the penanggalan returned to its lair and its head separated from its body, revealing a 3 feet (0.91 meters) long tail. A penanggalan's eyes glowed red in darkness.[3]

Combat[edit | edit source]

The penanggalan's head flew around in search of prey, seeking the most charismatic sleeping female (especially between the age of 13 and 40) and choosing males only when no females were available. When a suitable victim was found, the penanggalan hypnotized her, punctured her neck, and fed on her blood throughout the night. The penanggalan then released the victim, returning to suck more blood each successive night until the victim was dead. Even if the penanggalan failed to return, the victim suffered from a curse, dying after several weeks unless dispel evil and healing spells were cast on her. Victims never remembered the feeding of the penanggalan, recalling only vague images of red water and stacked corpses. Female victims who died rose from the grave after three days to become penanggalans themselves, whereas male victims did not turn into undead.[3]

In human form, the penanggalan had the same fighting skills as in life and was unable to cause undeath. When a penanggalan's head was detached, it was unable to move its body but was able to sense other creatures around the body, in which case it would attack them, the only time it would attack creatures that were awake. If a penanggalan's head was exposed to sunlight, it would be paralyzed until the sunlight was gone. If the head was separated from the body for more than seven hours after exposure to sunlight, both head and body began to decay and the entity animating the body returned to the Nine Hells.[3]

Most creatures that witnessed the separation of the penanggalan's head from its body fell unconscious for 24 hours, then wandered around in a stupor for three more days. Creatures that witnessed the head flying around, hissing garbled pronouncements of doom, were often overcome by fear.[3]

Histoy[edit | edit source]

It was rumored that a penanggalan dwelt in the Mere of Dead Men during the 14th—century DR.[6] This undead being was in fact Adele Astrolara, an astrologer who dwelled within Castle Naerytar.[7]

Society[edit | edit source]

Penanggalans lived solitary lives, living in up to six lairs at a time.[3]

Homelands[edit | edit source]

Beyond the Prime Material plane, these creatures could be found in some areas of the Domains of Dread.[8]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Some penanggalans acted as servants of the deity Kiaransalee.[9]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Originally seen as pĕnanggalan in Fiend Folio 1st edition.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Curse of the Azure Bonds
Dungeon #71: "Dreadful Vestiges"Dungeon #72: "Mistress on the Mere"Dragon #258: "Voaraghamanthar, 'the Black Death'"

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 189–190. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brian R. James, Matt James, Sterling Hershey, Steve Townshend (December 2011). Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7869-5838-2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Tim Beach, Donald J. Bingle, Al Boyce, Vince Garcia, Kris Hardinger, Steve Hardinger, Rob Nicholls, Wes Nicholson, Norm Ritchie, Greg Swedberg, and John Terra (1992). Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (MC14). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-56076-428-7.
  4. Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 71. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
  5. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 28.
  6. Ed Greenwood and Sean K. Reynolds (May 1999). “Wyrms of the North: Voaraghamanthar, "the Black Death"”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #258 (TSR, Inc.).
  7. Paul Culotta (January/February 1999). “Mistress on the Mere”. In Christopher Perkins ed. Dungeon #72 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 58–76.
  8. Kirk Botulla, Shane Hensley, Nicky Rea, Teeuwynn Woodruff (1994). Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium Appendix III: Creatures of Darkness. Edited by William W. Connors. (TSR, Inc.), p. 8. ISBN 1-56076-914-9.
  9. Eric L. Boyd (1998). Demihuman Deities. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 24. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
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