The evening creeps upon us quicker as the year rushes to winter.
As the trees shed their leaves in preparation of a chilled slumber, we’re once more left to wonder what lurks in the deepening shadows of the twilight hour.
The midnight hour will soon be upon us, and we, as lonely travelers upon the road of our own imaginations, begin to spy all manner of ghasts and ghoulies from the corners of our eyes…
But make for the bridge, for the power of he who stands grim vigil in the darkened hollow, always seeking to replace that which he has lost, will be broken once the far side of the covered crossing is reached.
Now that we’re in the right frame of mind, let’s begin this Trilogy of Trilogy of Terror offerings with a look at how we might present The Headless Horseman in a horror setting.
This will be the first How to Stat an Iconic Creature in Zombie d6-lite presentation for this Trilogy of Terror!
The Headless Horseman
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance … the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.
-Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
Also referred to as The Galloping Hessian, The Horseman is a a terrifying foe.
A heady 13 facts about The Headless Horseman:
- The Horseman is a ghostly figure that cannot be damaged, defeated or destroyed.
- The Horseman haunts only specific nights (e.g. Halloween, Harvest, etc.)
- Though headless, The Horseman cannot be tricked or bargained with.
- The Horseman seeks to behead others in a vain search for his own, now long-lost head.
- Though the ghost is of a male, and seeks to find his own head, The Horseman is known to decapitate both male and female victims.
- Once he determines the target of his hunt, The Horseman cannot be deterred from trying to decapitate his quarry.
- The Horseman haunts a given area and is forbidden by unknown means from hunting beyond its borders.
- Typically the border of the Horseman’s hunting area is physical (e.g. a river, a bridge, a wooded hollow, etc.)
- The Horseman cannot hunt during the day and must return to the site of his grave before daybreak.
- The Horseman is armed with a single ghostly saber used to cleave his victim’s head from their shoulders.
- In some tales, The Horseman substitutes a flaming gourd (like a pumpkin) for his own head as he gallops throughout the countryside in search of prey.
- If The Horseman decapitates his victim, he will disappear with the severed head, only to return after a time (another night or season) when he realizes the head is not his own.
- Fleeing is the only method of surviving a meeting with the ghost of The Headless Hessian.
The Horseman is a dangerous foe that will challenge even the most seasoned of d6-lite horror players.
Let’s see how I would stat The Headless Horseman.
In d6-lite format, The Headless Horseman would look like:
|The Headless Horseman cannot be harmed or defeated, he can only be eluded. Fleeing to safety is the only means of surviving an encounter with the cursed spirit of The Galloping Hessian.|
|The Horseman haunts a specific geographic region demarcated by physical boundaries and only on specific nights/times.|
The Headless Horseman is a superior horror creature that will ceaselessly pursue his goal.
A quick review of the statistic block indicates that the tireless ghost of the Hessian is stronger, smarter, and faster than the average.
Only by escaping the hunting grounds of The Headless Horseman can one hope to survive to dawn.
Now hurry for the bridge fair traveler!
Stop for no man lest your head fall like the leaves before the frost and find its new home atop that of The Horseman ere the midnight hour chimes!