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Basic Information

The Chonchon is a monster of South American legend (and specifically Mapuche mythology), common around Peru and Chile, that takes the form of a human head, sometimes with talons, that flies about using its massively enlarged ears as wings. The name is said to be an onomatopiea for the sound of its wings in flight - or possibly the cry it makes whilst hunting.

Allegedly, any given chonchon will actually be the erstwhile head of a local magician who has used a magic ointment to separate his head from his body and go flying about at night for his own purposes - which are typically malign. Like many such workings, it is dispelled by daylight - although rumours vary as to whether the sorcerer dies if head and body are still separate at daybreak or whether the head is just left rolling about helplessly until night falls again. Likewise, killing the unattended body may kill the chonchon, or may simply prevent it ever returning to human form again.

This would seem to be a transformation of very limited use - all the magician can do is fly around somewhat noisily as a disembodied head. Presumably it might be good for attending secret wizards meetings or fairly basic reconnaissance but it's not as though the wizard in question can carry much or take notes as he goes. Likewise, in terms of doing anything he is limited to any magic he can use without his body, harsh language and biting people.

Comparable monsters may include the "Flying head monster" of Iroquois legend, the Malay penanggalen (which tends to take rather more in the way of entrails with it) and the Japanese nekukubi (which seems not to require wings). Fantasy adds further such things of various natures.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • A chonchon might be able to use another chonchon's body … and maybe even hijack a decaptitated corpse - if only on a temporary basis.
  • Assuming access to the ointment - or a work around - an imprisoned wizard might be able to fly his head out of the window at night to work mischief.
  • Once a chonchon is spotted, hunting down its body might be amusing, if only to identify a wizard.
  • As noted, utility depends on the ability to use magic with words alone. If a lot can be achieved like that then it might well be helpful.
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