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The Grey Men, swamp-dwelling creatures that seem to possess great intelligence but never speak, hold a peculiar place in Mousillon’s folklore. On one hand, they are held responsible for the disappearance of any number of peasants who ill-advisedly leave the safety of their home village. On the other, they have acquired reputations as defenders of Mousillon’s wild and abandoned places, keeping even greater horrors from infesting the duchy’s swamps. Some villages leave offerings to the Grey Men and consider particular swamps sacred to the creatures, and a taboo exists throughout Mousillon on harming the Grey Men on the rare occasion a peasant comes across one.[1a]

In spite of their privileged position on folklore, however, a Grey Man is a very dangerous and completely unpredictable creature. For every tale in which a Grey Man escorts a lost peasant back to his village or protects the year’s swamp harvest, another has them tearing errant commoners apart or punishing those who trespass into their sacred swamps. No one can be sure what the Grey Men want, but they certainly seem to want something, for their interactions with the peasants of Mousillon go beyond simply living in the same land. There are even a few tales of the Grey Men ushering Questing Knights towards the hidden pools where the Lady manifests, but no one really believes such tall stories.[1a]

A Grey Man is a shambling, hulking creature one and a half times the size of a man and of roughly humanoid shape. Its body seems made of compacted ooze and swamp debris, and its face is mostly featureless except for its small, glinting eyes, which alone suggest some intelligence in the creatures. Its oozing paws conceal claws of splintered bone and its upper body can open up to reveal a gory black maw filled with spinelike teeth. Most dangerous, however, is its habit of crippling those who come near it, filling their veins with stagnant swamp water and afflicting their hearts with the decay and chill of the marsh. However, a Grey Man does not always fight those who trespass on its swamp—it is just as likely to passively observe them, lead them into greater danger, or even help them. The Grey Men’s motives are unknowable and their methods obscure. Those who know them best understand that they do not know the Grey Men at all.[1a]

SourceEdit

  • 1 Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Barony of the Damned
    • 1a: pg. 43

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