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Book of Beasts / Gaming / RPG

Book of Beasts: Hag – Cuca

Book of Beasts, Chapter One: Cuca

A crocodile wearing a strawberry blonde wig and a hooded cloak reaches into her handbasket and pulls out a frightened child far too large to reasonably fit inside. “Naughty child soup!” she cries in delight, placing him in her cauldron. “Or soap? Which should I make? I can never decide!”

Cloaked Dragoness A cuca’s cloak is magical, allowing her to hide or appear as any humanoid, from a human crone to a dragonborn princess, though her favorite shape is an anthropomorphic alligator or crocodile. But if she sheds her cloak, she reveals her true form: a dragoness.

Basket or Bag? A cuca carries a basket or bag that is far larger inside than out. She uses it to hold children who come out as fresh and healthy as when they were put in.

A Nose for Naughtiness Cucas can smell alignment, even miles away: Goodness smells disgustingly sweet and cloying, but Evil is deliciously savory. They find naughty children the most palatable of all, for they haven’t developed the gamey complexity of adults.

All in One Gulp The cuca can open her enormous jaws and swallow any smaller creature. She prefers children, of course, but will make exceptions.

Soup or Soap? Cucas keep cauldrons which they use to stew children into soup or alchemical concoctions, including magic potions. Spare children are kept as prisoners or slaves.

Seven Year Beauty Nap Cucas sleep only once every seven years, but when they do, they enter a long hibernation. If woken from their beauty sleep early, they will be cross and crabby, and they always awaken famished. 

Kooky Cuca Covens Like other hags, cucas form covens, which they do as part of schemes to tempt the largest number of children to naughtiness, then gobble them all up. A cuca may consider joining a coven with different hags so long as children are still on the menu.

Hag, Cuca

Medium fey/large dragon, neutral evil

Designer Notes: The Cuca is the bogeyman of Brazilian folktales and like all the best folklore, is a mixture of cultures: the Coca, a legendary Portuguese dragon; the native Tupi language word for to gulp being cuca; a pun on cloak, coconut, and crocodile; and also slang for crazy, as in the English kooky. She’s also the villainess of Yellow Woodpecker Ranch, a Brazilian children’s television show, and her gloriously over-the-top drag queen costume recently led to her becoming a meme and gay icon like her fellow bogeyman, the Babadook.

Cuca

Medium or large fey, neutral evil

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)

Hit Points 82 (11d8 + 33)

Speed 30 ft.

STR      DEX     CON     INT     WIS     CHA

18(+4)  12(+1)  16(+3)   13(+1)   14(+2)   14(+2)

Skills Deception +4, Perception +4 

Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 14

Languages Common, Draconic, Sylvan

Amphibious. The cuca can breathe air and water.

Basket of Holding. The cuca also carries a wicker basket that functions as a modified bag of holding, which she uses to transport those she has kidnapped. Unlike a bag of holding, the cuca’s basket allows anyone placed inside of it to breathe normally. If the basket is taken away from the cuca, its contents can be removed, but nothing else can be put inside. Once its contents are removed, it reverts to a mundane basket.

Cloak of Disguise. The cuca wears a tattered cloak wherever she goes. As long as she wears it, she can cast the disguise self spell at will. When she uses the cloak, however, she can create an illusion of herself as a Medium-sized humanoid, rather than the Large-sized draconic fey that she is. If she loses her cloak, she can don another, which becomes a cloak of disguise for her at the next dusk. If removed, her cloak of disguise reverts to a mundane cloak.

Innate Spellcasting. The cuca’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

At will: minor illusion, disguise self (with cloak)

Nose for Naughtiness. The cuca has the ability to smell goodness and evil in the air and follow it to its source, even from a mile away. As an action, the cuca opens her awareness to detect those of good and evil alignments. Until the end of her next turn, she knows the direction of the nearest person of good alignment and of evil alignment, though not their exact distance or location. 

Actions

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) piercing damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 13). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the cuca can’t bite another target.

Swallow. The cuca makes one bite attack against a Medium or smaller target it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target is swallowed, and the grapple ends. The swallowed target is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the cuca, and it takes 10 (3d6) acid damage at the start of each of the cuca’s turns. The cuca can have only one target swallowed at a time. If the cuca dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse using 5 feet of movement, exiting prone.

Credits:

Lore: Kevin Andrew Murphy

http://kevinandrewmurphy.com/

Statblock: Eugene Marshall

https://arcanistpress.com/

Ink: Bien Flores

https://www.deviantart.com/bienflores

Colors: Carly Sorge

https://cbsorgeartworks.tumblr.com/

Sensitivity Editor: Pamela Punzalan

https://www.patreon.com/thedovetailor

Art Director: Aaron Acevedo

http://sigil.info/


This creature is from the upcoming Book of Beasts. Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new monster as part of our Monster of the Week series!

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Kevin Andrew Murphy writes short stories, plays, poems, novels, and roleplaying games. A long-standing contributor to Wild Cards (www.wildcardsworld.com), George R.R. Martin’s super-hero series, Kevin’s story for Mississippi Roll, “Find the Lady,” won the 2019 Darrell Award for Best Novella. On the gaming end, Kevin’s currently editor in chief for Savage Sign, the Savage Worlds roleplaying game magazine. Kevin’s next short story is “Anastasia’s Egg” coming out in October in Weird World War III edited by Sean Patrick Hazlett for Baen. A lifelong resident of California’s Bay Area, Kevin has recently relocated to Reno, Nevada.

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