Gazetteer of the Speaking Lands: Nymphs

This is a fun one.  You folks want nymphs?  Here’s nymphs.  Yes, they’re cute and nubile.  Also they want to eat you alive.


These humanoid predators employ mimicry and glamours to attract their preferred prey: people. Nymphs do not speak or possess any discernable culture, and do not organize beyond a rough hunting swarm. However, their predation often incoporates the appearance of intelligence, culture, and civilization, to the point that many insist that nymphs are people. These theorists often end up devoured by swarms of nymphs.

The typical nymph is a lean and wiry biped with arms tipped with claws. Their facial features are typically pleasant—soft, symmetrical, and striking. Their eyes are large and expressive, with vertical irises. Nymphs have long and flowing hair atop their heads which may continue down their back. Some nymphs, especially in the north, have shaggy hips and legs. Their hair and skin tones range from brown to gold to green.

Nymphs are magical beasts. Like the quickfinch, they have a natural affinity for ley lines. Nymphs often congregate where these conduits of spiritual power cross or overlap wet environments. The predators can channel the energy they absorb to cast glamours, changing their appearance to suit the preferences of their prey. Wizards of the Arcane Mysterium also speculate that nymphs harvest the spiritual energy of the people they eat, further empowering their glamours.

Nymphs are entrapment predators, luring prey into their territory before attacking. Solitary nymphs may seek to lure their prey into bodies of water and then drown them there; nymphs hunting in swarms may fall upon their prey as soon as they are too far away to call for help.

When they do not hunt people, nymphs content themselves with hunting livestock or large game. These are either lured or spooked into rough, soggy ground, then chased down and ripped apart. Nymphs lure criosphinxes and other large predators by appearing to be lone, vulnerable people, then turn the tables once their prey is vulnerable. Nymphs have also been observed snatching fish out of the water to eat. The beasts are a perpetual nuisance in the fisheries of Mergather Gulf, where they will actually bypass fisherfolk to get at their catches of glimmerfish. Luckily, nymphs are in turn a favorite prey of merfolk, who keep their numbers in check.

Nymphs are generally considered a dangerous nuisance, with bounties issued for their heads or clearing out nearby lairs. According to gajaprassidha, nymphs are the lowest rung of the ladder of civilization: their savagery, duplicity, and squalor is contrasted with the grandeur of the gajanana. As such, nymphs are considered literal enemies of civilization and exterminated. By contrast, the dictates of Lorathan stewardship treats the predators as majestic icons of the forest and even maintains groves for their swarms.

Stories persist of nymphs infesting cities, preying on the unwary, and maintaining glamours powerful enough to walk down the street undetected. The Gennishar Archivespeculates that, if the nymphs do harvest their prey for spiritual power, this hunting strategy would require the nymph to eat once every three days.

Honestly, I think the entomological meaning of ‘nymph’ got crossed with my hazy memories of the 1997 movie Mimic (which I only ever saw trailers for), and this is the result.  A result that makes me, personally, clap my hands and giggle with glee.

Looking forward, I’ve selected four of the outgoing references in the nymphs entry as contenders for next week.  Which one of these would you like to check out?

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