pThe Manananggal is a female vampiric creature from the Philippines. The name comes from a Tagalog word meaning to remove, or to separate, and the creature is sometime simply called "The Remover." The meaning behind this comes from one of the creature's characteristic powers, the ability to separate its torso from its body from its body, after which it sprouts batlike wings and flies into the night in search of prey. During the day, they lair in volcanic caves.
The preferred prey of the Manananggal is sleeping pregnant women, but any sleep person is fiar game for them. Their favorite snack is the heart of the unborn child of the woman, which they harvest using their long proboscis tongue. They otherwise feed on blood, using the same appendage.
Fortunately, they share many weaknesses with European vampires, as well as have a few of their own. They are known to avoid salt and garlic, and smearing a mixture of salt and garlic (or ash, in some myths) on the lower half of their body while the top is away will prevent it from rejoining. Since it is unable to rejoin into a human form, it will die in the morning light, as sunlight is fatal to the Manananggal. They also have a special aversion to daggers, stringray tails, vinegar, and some other spices.
Using the Manananggal in Your Game:
The Manananggal functions similarly to a vampire in a lot of respects, and so can be used in a similar fashion. They are creatures of the night, and can be combated in a similar manner as the vampires that most of us are familiar with. In terms of statistics and characteristics, it would likely be very similar to a typical vampire, which is present in many game systems, though some editing may be required to encompass the torso severing bits.
That said, they are different enough with the separating of the upper torso, the proboscis tongue, and other features that they feel like a different creature entirely. They're something of an obscure creature outside of their native region, and so using them in that same fashion would be interesting. Consider presenting the thing when your players enter an unfamiliar location.
I think the creature works well as more of a distraction or "horror of the hour" than as a large-scale antagonist. Their penchant for praying on the sleeping could be used as a means of disrupting rest for the players, which will no doubt weaken them and cause them inconvenience, assuming it doesn't drain someone dry outright, which it very well might, since it's a flying creature that can swoop in quickly and quietly. Assuming you give it a role besides a single encounter, consider it as an interesting enemy for a one-shot adventure. Trying to find the creature before sunrise and survive until then could be a very fun and frightening experience, especially if the players are given innocent sleeping people to protect, such as a village or campsite.
All-in-all, I think there is some serious horror potential here. Be it mysterious deaths in the dead of night, or a string of pregnant women found dead with the hearts of their unborn children missing, there modus operandi of the creature is sufficiently strange and unsettling that it has a rather unnerving quality to it. And if you want some gore, you could always have the creature separate itself in front of your players, literally tearing its torso from its body and sprouting horribly bat wings as blood and entrails drip from it's floating form. That's pretty horrifying too.
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- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.