Friday, October 30, 2009


"Scarecrow on a wooden cross, blackbird in the barn…" - John Mellencamp, Scarecrow

When I think back to Halloweens of my childhood one image keeps coming back to me. No not vampires or witches, those were more artifacts of my later years. No the image that kept my 4-5 year old self up at night is a Scarecrow. We had the cardboard, jointed Scarecrow that that was common in the 70's. We hung up in our house for a couple of Halloweens. Given the house, I had to have been 4 or 5 at the time. That thing scared the hell out me. I don't feel that fear now, nor even the memory of it, just the memory of the memory, devoid of fear. It's odd really. So this year we wanted to find a Scarecrow for our house, now some 35 years later. I have NEVER seen one though that can match up to the memory I have. So it should be no surprise that I have used Scarecrows in all my games. In fact, Larry Elmore was channeling me (of course!) with this famous cover to Dragon Magazine. I loved the witch on it (and no one can do a witch quite like Mr. Elmore) but that Scarecrow is just plain evil.

For this Halloween here is a collection of Scary Scarecrows to add to your games. Not every game is here, but some of the ones I have used in the past.

Ghosts of Albion/Cinematic Unisystem

Razzle dazzle drazzle drone. Time for this one to come home.
Razzle dazzle drazzle die. Time for this one to come alive!
- Parchment found near a risen scarecrow

Scarecrows are basic guardians similar to druthers, but not nearly as powerful. Like mundane scarecrows, their bodies are made of straw and cloth. They stumble clumsily about their assigned area and attack most anything that wanders through it. Some scarecrows are bound to a post, and use their paralyzing (fear) gaze to imprison any trespassers.
Scarecrows are assigned to protect a particular area. They never leave the area, even when chasing an intruder. They will attack anything humanoid or animal-like in appearance that walks into it's territory, unless otherwise instructed by their creator.

Name: Scarecrow
Motivation: To follow orders
Creature Type: Magical Construct
Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 2, Constitution 6, Intelligence 0, Perception 1, Willpower 0
Ability Scores: Muscle 16, Combat 5, Brains 0
Life Points:
Drama Points: 1
Powers: Fear Gaze (paralyze), Hard to Kill 2, Immune to cold, fear, poisons, sleep, water, and any mind effecting spell, Vulnerability to fire.

Name Score Damage Notes
Punch 5 8 Bash
Slam tackle 5 8 Bash
Takedown 6 4
Dodge 6 Defence action
Grapple 7 Resisted by Dodge

A scarecrow can paralyze a victim with its gaze via its fear attack. The victim needs to make a Willpower check (doubled) with at least one success level.
Because of their straw bodies, scarecrows are extremely vulnerable to attacks from fire. They take double damage from all fire attacks. In addition, a scarecrow guardian will catch fire easily after any attack that would normally ignite mundane items.

A scarecrow can be created easily by a standard ritual. A basic scarecrow is used for the body. It usually takes a couple of hours to construct a scarecrow, not counting the time for the ritual.

Animate Scarecrow
Quick Cast: No
Power Level: 3
Philosophy: Witchcraft
Requirements: The creation of a scarecrows body and an hour long ritual.
Components: Common components.
Effect: The witch must prepare the scarecrows body out of hay, straw and old clothes. This should take at least an hour or two to gather materials and make the body. Longer times are needed for more complex scarecrows, but never more than three hours. Successful casting means the scarecrow is animated and will respond to the witchs commands.
Spell failure or backfire results in a scarecrow that can never be animated. The witch will need to burn the wood and start over.
Creation: Alteration, minor (+3), Casting Time (-2), Touch (-1), Permanent (+6), Unusual materials (-1), Philosophy ().

Witch Girls Adventures
Scarecrow (Rank 2 Monster)

Body: d8
Mind: d2
Senses: d2
Will: d2
Social: d2
Magic: d2

Life Points: 16
Reflex: 11
Resist Magic: 5
Zap: 10

Skills: Fighting +2, Scare +6

Construct: Scarecrows are created and are immune to Mentalism magic. They also feel no pain, never grow tired and do not need to eat or sleep.
Vulnerability to Fire: Scarecrows take x3 damage from fire.
Fear: Scarecrows are surrounded by an aura of fear. (Scare Skill at +6)


Whatever they made with. Some witches will equip their Scarecrows with a mowing scythe.

Description: Scarecrows look exactly like normal scarecrows, though those with the ability to see magical auras will notice an aura around the Scarecrow and possibly an evil looking glow in their eyes. Scarecrows can follow very simple orders. "Guard this field from trespassers." "Keep everyone but me and those I am with out of this barn." The words are not as important as the intent of the words. As long as it is simple and the witch can put it in a sentence or two then the Scarecrow will follow her commands.
  • Cryptozoology fact: Scarecrows can be created by any witch with the proper spells, but regardless of the type of witch all Scarecrows "Seem" evil.

  • Cryptozoology fact: Witches cannot turn people into Scarecrows nor bind their spirits to one, that is only rumor.

  • Cryptozoology fact: Scarecrows are known for their fear causing effects and their difficulty to make; a Scarecrow in a field is a good sign that the witch that owns it is powerful.
Create Scarecrow Spell
Conjuration, Rank 3
The witch needs to construct a scarecrow and then use this spell in order to bring it to life. The spell is difficult to learn because it is no longer featured in most spell texts. The cost to make the Scarecrow materials and construct it is worth only 10 allowance points, but can take a couple of hours to fashion properly.

Spellcraft & Swordplay

#App: 1 (1-2)
AC: 3
Move: 40'
HD: 3 (13 hp)
Attacks: Slam (fists)
Special: Immune to sleep, charm, paralysis, compulsion
Treasure: None
XP: 20 + 39 (59)

Vulnerable (Fire)

D&D 3.x / d20
Scarecrow Guardian (From my "Liber Mysterium")
Medium-Sized Construct
Hit Dice: 3d10 (15 hp)
Initiative: -2 (Dex)
Speed: 30 ft.
AC: 10 (-2 Dex, +2 Natural)
Attacks: Slam +2
Damage: Slam 1d6
Face/Reach: 5 ft by 5 ft
Special Attacks: Paralyzing Gaze
Special Qualities: Construct, Fire Vulnerability, damage
reduction 15/+1
Saves: Fort +3, Ref -1, Will +4
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 6, Con --, Int --, Wis 16, Cha 1
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-4)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always Neutral
Advancement: 4-8 HD (Medium) 9-12 HD (Large)

Scarecrow Guardians are basic guardians similar to golems, but not nearly as powerful. Like typical scarecrows, their bodies are made of straw and cloth. The stumble about their assigned area poorly and attack most anything that wanders through it. Some Scarecrow Guardians are bound to a post, and use their paralyzing gaze to imprison any trespassers.

Scarecrow Guardians are assigned to protect a particular area. They never leave the area, even when chasing an intruder. They will attack anything, humanoid or animal like in appearance that walks into it's territory unless otherwise instructed by their creator. Paralyzing Gaze: Target can not move, as per the Hold Person spell as cast by a 10th level cleric, 30 ft., Will Save DC 15

Construct: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.
Fire Vulnerability: Because of their straw bodies, Scarecrow Guardians are extremely vulnerable to attacks from fire. They take double damage from all fire attacks.
In addition, a scarecrow guardian will catch fire easily after any attack that would normally ignite mundane items. A scarecrow on fire receives 2d6 damage each round (do not double this damage)

Undead ScarecrowSome Scarecrow Guardians are imbued with a spirit of a person. These scarecrows have all the same traits as a normal Scarecrow Guardian, except their creature type is undead, and have the same hit dice (though the type of die is changed to d12) and skills as their previous incarnations. Undead Scarecrows can still be bound to an area to protect, and still obey the commands of their creator. An Undead Scarecrow has the same CR as when he was living +1. An Undead Scarecrow whose master is killed has a 10% chance of being freed from his control, 25% chance of dying and a 65% chance of continuing to guard his specified area.

ConstructionA Scarecrow Guardian can be created easily by a standard ritual. A basic scarecrow is used for the body. The material components necessary for creating a Scarecrow Guardian costs 2,000 GP and require the Craft Wondrous Item feat. Understanding the ritual necessary for creating the Scarecrow can be done by a caster of at least 10th level. Completing the ritual drains 500 XP from the creator and requires the spell Animate Objects. The material components necessary for creating an Undead Scarecrow cost 10,000 GP and require the Craft Wondrous Item feat. Completing the ritual drains the creator of 1,200 XP and requires the spells Trap the Soul, Animate Objects, and Animate Dead, not to mention a living sacrifice (usually a small animal) which must be killed during the ritual to provide the life force.

AD&D 2nd Ed
Witch's Scarecrow (from my "Complete Netbook of Witches & Warlocks")
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Fields or Gardens (Sub-arctic to Sub-tropical, always near a witch's lair)
DIET: None
THAC0: 18
SIZE: M (4-6')
MORALE: Fearless (19)
PSIONICS: Nil, Immune to Psionics

Appearance: Witch's Scarecrows are motley creatures pieced together from a variety of materials. Sticks, twigs, old leaves, straw and similar materials are used to stuff old clothing into a manlike shape. Their heads are often stuffed bags with crude caricatures of a face or hollowed out, carved gourds or pumpkins. These creatures are usually set on a stout staff stuck in he ground, and look completely unremarkable. So unremarkable that only a Detect Magic or True Seeing allows someone to distinguish it from a normal scarecrow when it is not in motion. A moving Scarecrow has an odd grace, joint-less and fluid. It seems on the end of collapse yet continues to walk in defiance of what it ought to do.
Combat: Witch's Scarecrows made for combat, they're only supposed to scare things away. These creatures are surrounded a powerful fascination aura that they can employ whenever they are seen to move. Any intelligent being observing a moving Witch's Scarecrow must save vs. spells or be so overcome that they can do nothing but gape at the moving creature. Once this fascination has a hold of a victim, it lasts until one turn after the scarecrow leaves the area, the scarecrow remains still for a turn, the victim is scared by the scarecrow, or the victim suffers a damaging attack.
The Witch's Scarecrow has two forms of magical fear. It can cause anyone meeting its gaze to flee in utter fear for 1d4+10 rounds, with a chance (adjudicated by the DM) of dropping anything they have in hand while they panic. Only Witches, Priests, and victims with 6 or more hit dice, are allowed a saving throw against this attack. Whenever a Witch's Scarecrow is actually pressed into a fight its fascination aura becomes so intense that it acts as anyone approaching within ten feet becomes stricken by an identical magical fear. Things that have no fear, such as golems or undead, are immune to this effect.
These creatures are immune non-magical missiles of less than siege size, any harmful effects of the weather. They are immune to some spells, including Call Lightning, spells that cause sleep, charm, paralyze, or hold victims, as well as spells that require a biological target like the carious cause wounds spells.. They are resistant to most forms of fire (+2 saves, & half damage). They are vulnerable to the flames hand-wielded, non-magical torches, suffering 1d10 points of damage per strike. Additionally so long as their creator lives or a witch inhabits her nearby dwelling, these scarecrows neither decay nor show any signs of aging. Habitat/Society: Witch's Scarecrows are guardians created, not to force or harm intruders, but to frighten them away. Their nature limits the places they can inhabit, but within those limits they perform well. The ceremonies that allow one of these creatures to be animated fail if not performed in a field, garden, or other cultivated area of land. Thereafter, the creature regards this area as its home. While it will keep watch over it's maker and her dwelling while they are nearby, it will not travel with her if she leaves or wander off on its own.
Witch's Scarecrows are not violent by nature, and only attack if they are struck first. They seldom pursue fleeing opponents, only doing so if their maker has been slain in their sight. Those knowledgeable about such similar creatures find Witch's Scarecrows have a one distinctive behavior. They are themselves fascinated by children. They will neither harm nor attack them regardless of the children's actions. They will entertain children with pantomime and play along with any of their games as best they can. It will try to interpose itself between fighting children, and anything attacking a child in the presence of such a creature will be attacked it turn.
Ecology: Witch's Scarecrows have no need to eat, respire, or even breathe. Unlike most magical constructs, they have some small effect on the local ecology. Simply, they're excellent scarecrows. Most animals, for birds and foraging rodents to deer and even bears, will be quickly chased from any area the Scarecrow guards.
These creatures are created by witches to guard their lairs. The three part process requires a small stone (and any natural stone will do) to be consecrated by a Bless, then covered with layer after layer of certain leafy herbs, soaked in water to make them pliable and bound with twine. When this is the size of a proper heart a body must be built around it, a task which requires no special materials or effort. Finally, the scarecrow must be taken to a field the witch owns for its animation. This must be done on a moonless night sometime between planting and harvest or the ceremony will fail. The Witch must prop the scarecrow up on a staff and cast the following spells: Animate Object, Cloak of Fear, Resist Fire, Spook and Quest. If successful, the witch hears a slow, steady heartbeat for a short time.
Of course, a number of legends surround Witch's Scarecrows. The tales of these creatures becoming fierce avengers of their mistress' murders are certainly from some form of divine intervention rather than any inherent ability of their own. The report of one such creature, who was often used as a target by local archers, hurling arrowheads from its bodies was most likely the result of some singular enchantment. Lastly, legends that such creatures may freely use a the powers of a magical wand concealed within one of their forearms or similar staff that they are propped up with are probably not true.

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