Following on the heels (flippers?) of Cthulhu’s appearance as a patron in issue #1, Tales from the Smoking Wyrm issue #2 brings you another patron: The King of Beasts!
The King of Beasts is at once a noble lion and a nimble hare, a fearsome serpent and a flighty crow. He watches over all animals of flesh and bone that crawl, slither, swim, and fly with detached interest from within the Great Jungle. Insects, mollusks, and stranger beasts are far too alien to respond to the King. The King of Beasts sees all his subjects as equals and does not regard humanoids as anything more than intelligent beasts. Those who form pacts with the King find themselves battling both the forces of law that threaten the natural order with their artificial institutions and the hordes of chaos threatening to destroy the balance of the animal kingdom.
The article includes a full patron write-up, allowing your caster to run wild—invoke patron results, spellburn and patron taint tables, and three new spells: speak with animals, bloodsense, and awaken.
As you might suspect, much of the power the King of Beasts grants revolves around emulating the creatures under his purview. While this can be potentially quite devastating to the caster’s enemies—for who would want to face a combatant equipped with Claws of the Bear, Speed of the Gazelle, Wings of the Eagle, and Shell of the Turtle—the caster can be quickly overwhelmed by the raw, primal essence of the patron’s power.
That primal nature ? That’s what happens when the caster elicits results from the patron taint table, the danger being that the caster begins devolving in numerous ways:
On the other hand, if the caster can maintain control of these base instincts, they stand to become a true force of nature. Speak with animals, as you might guess, allows the caster to communicate with all manner of beast, permitting the King’s worldly minions to become the eyes and ears of the caster. Bloodsense grants a small measure of the King’s senses to the caster, denying enemies escape:
And the final spell, awaken, allows the caster to bond with spirit animals, taking on various aspects of the bonded creature, and granting what we have dubbed “boons” and “banes”—boons being beneficial aspects of the creature such as a bull’s strength, an armadillo’s armor, or a horse’s speed; and banes, of course, being negative aspects for that animal, such as a crocodile’s laziness, or a bat not wanting to engage its foes in the light of day.
So go ahead, accept the King of Beasts as a patron, and take a walk on the wild side!