Night hound

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Night hound
Picture
Level 24
Family hound family creatures
Body Type Quadruped
Undead Yes (Corporeal)
Areas Found Graveyard
BCS <Not Known>
HP 210
Armor [?]
Attack Attributes
Physical Attacks
Bite +192 AS
Claw +202 AS
Maneuver Attacks
Breath attack Poison gas
Defense Attributes
Melee +105 DS
Ranged <N/A> DS
Bolt <N/A> DS
Unarmed +143 UDF
Bard Base +97 TD
Ranger Base <N/A> TD
Sorcerer Base +104 TD
Wizard Base <N/A> TD
Cleric Base +99 TD
Empath Base <N/A> TD
Paladin Base <N/A> TD
Major Elemental +106 TD
Minor Elemental +101 to +107 TD
Major Spiritual <N/A> TD
Minor Spiritual <N/A> TD
Major Mental <N/A> TD
Minor Mental +97 TD
CvA +25
AsG 8
Hitpoints 212
Treasure Attributes
Coins No
Gems No
Magic Items No
Boxes No
Skin a night hound hide
Other No

You have never seen anything quite like a night hound, so you are not really sure what to make of it or how dangerous it might be.

Hunting strategies

Night hounds have a breath attack, and attack similarly to other hounds (casting a spell and following with an immediate attack). This breath attack causes a cloud to form in the air, which lingers and can cause damage over time for each round that a player stays in its vicinity. Casting Purify Air (207) on a character will negate the effects of this cloud. Once killed, any active cloud created by a night hound will immediately dissipate harmlessly.

The warding roll the cloud imposes has your TD become drastically lower, making the +72 CS in the excerpt below misleading.

An example of a night hound's breath attack:

The shadowy cloud seeps languidly in your direction.
  CS: +72 - TD: +231 + CvA: -7 + d100: +71 == -95
  Warded off!
You breathe in some of the gas...

As your lungs fill with the dark cloudy substance, instantly your nervous system feels as though it was made of oil-soaked rags and touched with a match!

The sensation leaves you quickly, but leaves an aftertaste of pain throughout your nervous system.
  ... 10 points of damage!

Other information

Zephyr hounds do not have "descriptions" in the old parts of the game, you are not able to make sense of what you are seeing. However, their fur was black, and they are described when generating. They were a special kind of "composite" entity from Rolemaster. Night hounds were supposed to be immune to sleep effects (unaffected by Sleep (501)), which is part of their relevance for Shadow Valley. The poisonous gas cloud is part of their Rolemaster lore, though the mists in Shadow Valley are also poisonous, as would have been the clouds of the dust beetles.

While they are treated as undead --- immune to Blood Burst (701), Nightmare, and Evil Eye (717) --- they are not immune to Mind Jolt (706).

Special messages:

The shadows before you coalesce and take shape in the form of a night hound, its golden eyes gleaming within its shadowy head!

The night hound barks and shuffles backwards on its paws.
The night hound sniffs at the air and growls low in the throat.

Behind the Scenes

In context the night hounds are probably an allusion to "The Hound" by H.P. Lovecraft. It is a story about grave robbers who collect skulls, and discover an amulet from the Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred on the body of an ancient ghoul. They hear the howling of a gigantic hound, with references to shadows cast by the moon. The story refers to a corpse-eater cult on the plateau of Leng, which coexists in various realities. This story refers also to "knockers", with an unambiguous allusion to "The Raven" (about a dreaming demon of shadow), as well as other stories by Poe.

Consider: "Down unlit and illimitable corridors of eldritch phantasy sweeps the black, shapeless Nemesis that drives me to self-annihilation." And, "I had hastened to the terrible scene in time to hear a whir of wings and see a vague black cloudy thing silhouetted against the rising moon", as well as "I pronounced the last daemoniac sentence I heard afar on the moor the faint baying of some gigantic hound. The moon was up, but I dared not look at it. And when I saw on the dim-litten moor a wide nebulous shadow sweeping from mound to mound, I shut my eyes and threw myself face down upon the ground." He had acquired an amulet akin to the one in "The Mound" story which led to the equivalent of the secluded valley.

Something else to consider are the Hounds of Tindalos which haunt those who have travelled through time, residing in the "angles" rather than the "curves" of time, and materializing out of smoke as a head emerges followed by the body. They were cited in "The Whisperer in Darkness" immediately before a reference to Yig the serpent demon, and would be another subtle example of temporal distortion motifs in Shadow Valley. They have been thought to reside in Leng, which provides the way to the cold waste of Kadath, which has the shantak who resemble Terrorites.

Resources

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