Morgan's Iron Kingdoms Gearbooks: FMF Creature Feature

This thread is going to be the new creature section of the Gearbooks. I’ll repost posts from the old mixed thread here to start with, but otherwise this thread is supposed to only contain creatures that can be encountered and/or trained, but no creatures that can be created (these will be in the magic thread for thralls and wolds, for example, or the mechanika thread for steamjacks, vectors and myrmidons.

Creature Feature Table of Content Links:

Creatures used as tools and weapons:
Monkey, Trained
Tatzylwurm Viper, Trained

Dead Man’s Shoes

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-The original post can be found here-

-The original post can be found here-

Dead Man’s Shoes

It galls me as a scholar that this entity, which is probably better described as a haunted object, is so commonly referenced by a moniker that does not adequately describe it, as few people pass away from a mortal injury to their feet. Still, even though ‘dead man’s coat’ or ‘dead man’s hat’ would usually be a much more accurate description of a piece of apparel still showing evidence of what caused its first wearer’s demise, the popular name does imply accurately that ownership of these items confers both boons as well as banes that will cause a repeat of their first wearers’ destinies…”

Image adapted from, retrieved 30th July 2023

Stats, Skills, Abilities and Templates:

This character only uses WIL (most Dead Man’s Shoes have WIL 10-11).

Additional Traits and Abilities:

Anchor – The item haunted by this entity needs to be exorcised or completely destroyed to end the haunting for good (e.g. armour needs to be melted down and all its cloth and leather parts burnt; by contrast, merely cutting up a haunted greatcoat might not work if a piece if used to patch up another greatcoat, which will then become the next anchor).

Death-Seeker – If the character wearing the Dead Man’s Shoes gets into a situation in which they could receive the same mortal injury that killed the original wearer, the character must make a contested Willpower roll against the Dead Man’s Shoes. If the Dead Man’s Shoes win, they entice their wearer into engaging in the situation in a way that makes their Fated Death likely, usually by causing thoughts or hallucinations that misrepresent the situation in some way (e.g. by making opponents appear treacherous, promoting a violent response, or by causing their equipment to seem to be in bad shape, falsely promising an easy win).

Fated Death – When a character wearing the Dead Man’s Shoes suffers the same kind of mortal injury from an attack that killed the original wearer, they lose Tough, cannot heal or be healed, and cannot be successfully treated by using the Medicine skill unless the haunted piece of clothing is removed first and moved further away from the wearer than the item’s WIL x6 feet).
The kind of mortal injury covered by the Fated Death trait is unique to each Dead Man’s Shoes, as well as specific in many of its details (e.g. the Fated Death may require suffering the Lost Limb (right arm) result on the Injury Table (see IKRPG, p. 217) after a strike from a bladed weapon in melee; in this case, losing one’s right arm to a bullet would not count, and neither would losing one’s left arm to a blade or getting the Spitting Blood result from a strike with a bladed weapon, though the exact type of bladed weapon that does end up taking the wearer’s right arm – whether axe, cutlass, or sword – may not matter).

Haunted Object – The Dead Man’s Shoes appear to all intents and purposes to be a single suit or piece of armour, piece of clothing, or shield, with the (usually eventually repaired but never wholly erased) damage caused by the attack that killed its original wearer as the only outward indication of anything unusual about the object.

This Is Not How I Die – The Dead Man’s Shoes grant their wearer +1 ARM, and when the wearer spends a feat point to Walk It Off (see IKRPG, p. 221), they always regain the maximum number of points of damage. Wearers with the Feat: Revitalise Mighty archetype benefit (see IKRPG, p. 116) gain an additional point of damage when they use the benefit instead.
Additionally, when the wearer of a Dead Man’s Shoes has to make a roll on the Injury Table but does not get the result specified by its Fated Death, the result is ignored, and the wearer rolls 1d6, suffering the Concussed effect on a result of 1-3, the Battered effect on a result of 4-5, and the Battle Scars effect on a result of 6 (Whenever the battle scars result is rolled, the wearer will also develop a faint scar suggesting the ghost’s Fated Death. This scar has no in-came effects, but it will become more defined each time the wearer suffers the Battle Scars effect while wearing the Dead Man’s Shoes).
When the Dead Man’s Shoes protect their wearer by changing an injury, the wearer also loses 1d3+1 points of Willpower and feels a chill ‘as if somebody had just walked over their grave.’ This Willpower loss should be kept secret from the player, and can only be recovered from at a rate of 1 point per day once the character has not worn the Dead Man’s Shoes for a full 24 hours. Even putting on the Dead Man’s Shoes for a single round resets the time for recovery to begin.
If the character wearing the Dead Man’s Shoes runs out of Willpower, they lose the This Is Not How I Die trait (including the ARM bonus and vitality recovery bonuses).

Undead – This character is not a living character and never flees (though the ghost is actually inside the Dead Man’s Shoes and thus invisible and immobile). Additionally, the wearer of the Dead Man’s Shoes suffers damage and effects like an undead while wearing the item (e.g. they suffer boosted damage rolls from balefire weapons or become weakened inside a warding circle).

Creature Templates:

Dead Man’s Shoes (continued)

More a curse than a traditional haunting, the Dead Man’s Shoes are an object haunted by a spirit that seems to try to finally find peace by re-enacting the death that it thinks should have claimed it but didn’t. These object-bound ghosts usually appear to act out of a desperate longing rather than any malice towards their wearer, and have even been known to protect their wearer from dying in ways that are different from what the ghost thinks their proper demise should be, but it should not be forgotten that the ghost will also try to actively guide its wearer into situations in which they can find the death it longs for, and can somehow prevent any aid, whether magical or mundane, from saving a victim that has fallen to the circumstances the ghost desires for itself. Even more tragically, the ghost still does not find release in killing its wearer, no matter what kind of death it manages to enact, and will invariably and mindlessly wait for the next victim to put on the Dead Man’s Shoes so it can try again.

While rarely correctly identified as such, Dead Man’s Shoes seem to be a surprisingly common haunting, as a matter of fact, with suits or pieces of armour or shields having been passed down from generation to generation in families with a proud martial background, particularly among the nobility, as well as those families often coming to see it as a mark of honour to die in the same manner as the first wearer of that heirloom that otherwise seems to bring a noticeable measure of protection and good luck to the warrior.

Dead Man’s Shoes Lore
A character can make an INT+Lore (undead) roll to determine what they know about this entity. They learn all the information up to the results of the roll. The higher the roll, the more they learn.
10: It’s unlucky to wear a coat that still shows the hole of the bullet that killed its previous owner.
12: Don’t rely on lucky charms to save your life on the battlefield, because they may also have a particularly nasty piece of bad luck in store for you.
14: If all the wearers of a suit of armour have been killed the same way, there may be more afoot than a flaw in the suit’s construction. Better get a priest to bless it.
16: Some ghosts seem to think that they can find peace by making others die the way they died, and while they may prevent death from finding you any other way, they will also work to ensure you fulfill their desire.

Adventure Seeds:

  • The adventurers are hired to find the lost expedition of a nobleman and recover a family heirloom, the suit of armour worn by the family’s patriarch. Before they can set off, the adventurers are also approached by another party who offers them a better price, claiming they are the eldest son of the dead patriarch they are looking for who has been (unjustly) cast out for a minor past transgression. No matter whether the adventurers choose to betray one of the parties or not, they will also be followed by mistrustful agents of one of their prospective employers. Eventually, the expedition’s graves can be located in a cave where they seem to have perished one by one while defending their besieged refuge. The armour is nowhere to be seen, but opening the unnamed graves allows the adventurers to find a number of bodies all bearing the same mortal injury, until they eventually locate the final grave, where the last survivor buried the last wearer of the heirloom suit of armour, still wearing the suit and also killed in the same manner as the bodies in the other graves… will the adventurers insist on completing their mission at this point, or will they try to keep an apparently cursed suit of armour from finding new victims, even if it means fighting off the agents pursuing them first?
  • Adventurers of a mercenary nature are hired to take part in the operations of a mercenary unit named Willard’s Blood (or a similar moniker). During the following engagements, the leader of the mercenary band is slain, but his second-in-command is willing to uphold the deal, and also takes on his deceased commander’s armour, the signature suit of armour of the commander of Willard’s Blood. Then, in a subsequent engagement only a few days later, the current leader of the mercenaries suffers the same fate as his erstwhile commander (potentially despite all attempts by the adventurers to save him). While the troops toast his valorous passing, and proudly point to fact that their band’s founder had also been killed that way, which had prompted his lieutenant to rename the band in his honour, the adventurer may now suspect that there is something sinister about the mercenary commander’s signature suit of armour, something that is perhaps only noticeable to outsiders at this point. But are they willing and able to either get rid of the cursed suit of armour, whether by deceit or by force (which would not be a mean feat considering they are surrounded by heavily armed mercenaries) – or do they simply wish collect their paycheck, potentially even after seeing several more men rise to the position of leader and die to the same curse while they stand idly by?

Comments welcome, as usual.