In Etruscan Mythology, there are a great many gods of death and the underworld. Most are benevolent and beautiful. There are two, however, who are instead terrifying and monstrous. They are Tuchulcha and Karun.
Snakes grow out of Tuchulcha's head like horns or hair. Just to be good and intimidating, Tuchulcha carries a couple extra snakes in each hand. The snakes bear the diamond pattern of the poisonous adder.
Pinning a gender on Tuchulcha is a bit tricky, partly because of his or her chimeric features, and partly because of ambiguous clothing. There's no surviving myths about Tuchulcha, just a couple of ambiguous frescoes and portraits that could be interpreted in any of several ways. Tuchulcha may in fact be a cross-dresser, hermaphrodite, asexual or whatever other option the GM chooses.
Game and Story Use
- Tuchulcha could serve when you need a horrifying demon or spirit in a game, and want one that's different from anything your players have seen before.
- Hardly anything of Etruscan mythology survived to the modern day, so we don't really know Tuchulcha's true nature, backstory, or even his job in the underworld. That makes Tuchulcha a great starting point or question mark for the GM. You get to decide whatever you want, and the players can't tell you you've got the details wrong. Very handy if you've got a resident myth expert in your play group.
- With the snakes-for-hair motif, you could associate Tuchulcha with Medusa, the Gorgon Sisters, the Gorgoneion, etc. Maybe Tuchulcha and Medusa are cross-pantheon romantic interests?
- For more ideas see Etruscan Mythology.
Building This Character
- Medium to high. Since little has survived of Etruscan myth, we don't know if Tuchulcha is a minor demon or a full-blown god of the dead.
- Whatever trait is used for Intimidation checks in your game is probably going to be Tuchulcha's best stat.
- Endurance, Constitution, etc may be important, as well. Tuchulcha lives in the underworld and plays with poisonous snakes.
- Snake handling
- Poison snakes. Heck maybe Tuchulcha can pluck snakes from it's head to use as darts.
- Possibly some sort of resistance to snake venom, and whatever else the local Hell has to throw at him.
- Flying, definitely.
- Some sort of a fear aura or effect for looking so bizarre and horrifying.
- Possibly enhanced senses due to the ears of a horse and face of a vulture. If not improved hearing and olfactory senses, then a "death sense" maybe?
- Maybe invisibility? There's this one ancient Etruscan fresco in Northern Italy where Tuchulcha watches as Theseus and a buddy play a boardgame. It's hard to picture anyone focusing on checkers when the devil himself is threatening to throw venomous serpents at you. So I figure he's either invisible, or it's like that "chess with death" scene in The 7th Seal / Bill & Ted.