Friday, April 11, 2014

The Origin Story of the Head of Uulhj: “Jowls of the Mad”

Head of Uulhj: “Jowls of the Mad”

 An Origins Story by Kevin Holmes

Head of Uulhj: "Jowls of the Mad" painting by Mike Burns

Far removed from the world’s surface rests a network of caverns lined by the drool of the Uuhlj. In time since lost, a demonologist cult sought to unleash chaos onto the world by opening a gateway to a dimension of pandemonium, only to become quickly overcome by the madness they had sought to embrace. With much difficulty and after much death and destruction, a band of demon hunters with a foundation of experience backed by powerful curse wards and sanity charms was able to hunt down the Uuhlj. Though the demons were immortal, the hunters sealed them away in one of the darkest corners of the underground, binding them completely and leaving them with no possible means of escape.

Innumerous years passed as the stories of the demons, their cult, and even those who fought against them were lost to time, yet the demons remained, furiously gnashing against their indestructible shackles. As their bonds did not break, their bones began to twist, their flesh tearing over eons as their heads severed themselves from their torso. With their bodies bound, these demon heads drifted off through their vault to aimlessly roam the long since abandoned connecting tunnels.

Uuhlj are fearsome in a way very different from an adventurer’s traditional encounter in that they are remnants of an immortal terror and cannot simply be defeated. Though incredibly slow in nature, their sheer presence emits a terrible aura of madness, causing the afflicted to suffer from a range of detriments ranging from paralyzing confusion to sinister and murderous suggestion. Often those unfortunate enough to encounter the head of the Uuhlj are more likely to find themselves backstabbed by befuddled allies than they are to get reach the fiend’s proximity. Should the demon ever wrap the shambles of its jaws around an unsuspecting victim, that person’s mind would surely be lost to madness forever.

Careful preparation is the cornerstone of living through an encounter with the head of an Uuhlj. With the aid of powerful curse wards or sanity charms, adventurers are able to approach the demon heads from a careful distance. At a range, the Uuhlj’s already tattered skin can be torn further with much resistance, and though it is impossible to kill one entirely, mangling one beyond recognition would certainly immobilize it, though the demon shreds may still prove problematic to those who encounter them in the future.


Kevin was an old roommate and good friend of mine from college, and he has a good head on his shoulders when it comes to designing monsters and their back-stories. I didn't have anything super specific in mind when I painted this piece, but Kevin saw it and then wrote up his own idea for the origin of this monster, which I was very excited to include here in my blog. It was a fun experiment and I hope I we get the chance to do this again in the future. In the mean time, if you liked Kevin's story, you should follow him on his twitter page. He's in the process of building up his web presence right now, but if you're interested in seeing some of Kevin's future projects that would be the perfect place to be to find out about them. Thanks Kevin!

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