(circa "Red Nails")
16th level wizard in life
Hit Dice: 2d12 (13 hit points)
Inititiative: +2 (Dex)
Speed: 30 ft.
Armor Class: 14 (+2 Dex, +2 Natural)
Attacks: Wand of Lightning Bolt +6/+1 ranged
Damage: Wand of Lightning Bold 10d6
Special Attacks: Paralysis, Create Spawn
Special Qualities: Undead, +2 Turn Resistance
Face/Reach: 5 ft x 5 ft/ 5ft
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +5
Attributes: Str 13, Dex 15, Con -, Int 22, Wis 14, Cha 6
Skills: Climb +6, Escape Artist +7, Hide +7, Intuit Direction +3, Jump +6, Listen +7, Move Silently +7, Search +6, Spot +7
Feats: Weapon Focus (Rays), Point Blank Shot
Challenge Rating: 1
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Advancement: by character class
|"Framed in the door to the left of the dais stood a
nightmare figure. It was a man, with a tangle of white hair and a
matted white beard that fell over his breast. Rags only partly
covered his gaunt frame, revealing half-naked limbs strangely unnatural in
appearance. The skin was not like that of a normal human.
There was a suggestion of scaliness about it, as if the owner had dwelt long under
conditions almost antithetical to those under which human life ordinarily
thrives. And there was nothing at all human about the eyes that
blazed from the tangle of white hair. They were great gleaming disks
that stared unwinkingly, luminous, whitish, and without a hint of normal
emotion or sanity. The mouth gaped, but no coherent words issued -
only a high pitched tittering."
~Red Nails, Robert E. Howard
Tolkemec, long thought to be dead, was not mad, as a man is mad. He had dwelt apart from humanity for so long that he was no longer human. Only an unbroken thread of memory embodied in hate and the urge for vengeance had connected him with the humanity from which he had been cut off, and held him lurking near the people he hated.
He had sought something, a magic weapon in the catacombs in which he lived, eating off the corpses of the slain. It was the Hyborian age equivalent of a Wand of Lightning Bolts. But unlike the standard magic item, the arc of electricity only works when it is pointed at something metallic, completing a circut of sorts. Thus, if you kept from standing between the wand and a metallic surface, you wouldn't get zapped.
Tolkemec fights with his magic wand. He no longer remembers his spells.
|below is the original cover of Weird Tales, October 1936, featuring Valeria being tortured. Art is by Margaret Brundage.|
|Robert E. Howard's story, "Red Nails" was first
published in Weird Tales in July, August, September and October of
1936. The story can also be found in the Ace/Lancer paperback "Conan
the Warrior"; the Donald M. Grant Limited Edition "Red Nails", and the
Gnome Press collection "The Sword of Conan". It can also be
found in the Berkley/Putnam collection "Red Nails". Currently in
print is the British volume "The Conan Chronicles Volume II: The Hour of
the Dragon" which is part of Millennium's "Fantasy Masterworks" series.
"Red Nails" can also be found in the Sci Fi Book Club "The Essential
This is the last Conan story Robert E. Howard wrote, although it was not the last one published. Conan and Valeria find themselves trapped in a weird, fully-enclosed city inhabited by two peoples locked in a desperate war of extermination. Though Conan and Valeria offer their services to one side in the war, Valeria soon finds herself the object of the seemingly lesbian gaze of the King's wife, Tascela. Don't get your hopes up though. It turns out she wants Valeria for something else entirely. But you do get treated to a nicely prolonged and explicit whipping of a villainous girl sent to drug Valeria. Later, Valeria is manhandled by King Olmec in some rather undignified ways.
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