ollums Condition in Scarterra | World Anvil


Even more frightening than ogres, even more frightening than jormangers and wendigo are the ollums!   I'm serious! Don't laugh.   -Beslyfle the gnome, matron of Fumaya's Tenders
  Ollums are gnomes mutated by Cannibal Sickness.

Transmission & Vectors

Ollums are gnomes who develop an addiction to eating mortal flesh. Like a human ogre, a gnome ollum can pass his curse onto his or her offspring.   It is fairly rare for ollums to have offspring. Most afflicted with Cannibal Sickness are also afflicted with ugliness, at least by the standards of what their race considers "ugly" and ollums tend to have their appearance distorted faster than most, so they have trouble finding willing romantic partners among untainted gnomes, and they rarely seek unwilling partners, generally wanting to avoid conflict and not having strong sex drives.   Ollums even find each other off-putting, so they generally avoid other ollums, thus they rarely mate with each with other.   When they do occur, second generation ollums tend to grow even uglier than first generation ollums, but they tend to be stronger and hardier, developing useful mutations faster than their parents.


Ollums remain small, but their limbs tend to elongate and their fingers and toes grow longer. Most ollums eventually go barefoot as they can no longer fit in conventional gnome shoes. On the plus side their toes eventually morph into essentially a second set of fingers allowing them to grip things with full manual dexterity.   Like most of those with Cannibal Sickness, ollums' senses tend to gradually sharpen. Hearing and smell improves dramatically, as does through night vision, though ollums need some light to see. Very few develop perfect dark vision.   Ollums often dislike bright light, but they are not physically harmed by it, nor are their senses impaired in bright light (unless they are one of the rare ollums to develop perfect night vision).   Most ollums can excrete a sticky substance from their fingers and toes. They can use this to enhance pickpocketing ability. This also lets them snatch fish and rodents with their bare hands to eat. Most dramatically, ollums use their sticky fingers and toes to scale walls and ceilings.   A young ollum often has trouble controlling their slime excretions and stick to things they don't want to stick to. Younger ollums often leave slime trails wherever they go. Older ollums can control their slime better and almost never have accidents and leave little sign of their passing.   An ollums' most unique ability is their chameleon power. They can change their appearance to mimic the color and texture of their background. The longer their Cannibal Sickness runs, the better this camoflage becomes until they are practically invisible, yet because they are not actually invisible, divination magics that pierce illusions are useless at detecting ollums.   Ollums gradually increase in strength, especially in the grip strength of their fingers. Good for climbing rocks and strangling throats.   An ollum's increase in strength is not very dramatic when compared to ogres and wendigo. While ollums can overpower most ordinary gnomes, most struggle to take down a human without weapons and the element of surprise.


Purification magic can temporarily suppress an ollum's unholy appetite but to cure Cannibal Sickness an afflicted needs to have genuine remorse, be subjected to Purification ●●●●●, and then go on a lengthy and dangerous quest while resisting the urge to eat mortal flesh the whole time. According to the stories, ollums have been cured of their conditions minutes or seconds before their deaths after dying in a poetic and noble sacrifice.   Ollums are anti-social and it is rare to find an ollum who wants to be cured, but gnomes often work much harder than most races to redeem their wayward souls and a disproportionately high number of them have Purification magic.


The best way to not get Cannibal Sickness is to not engage in cannibalism. The same goes for ollum transformation. A gnome that doesn't eat mortal flesh will never turn into a ollum. The more mortal flesh a gnome eats, the more likely his or her transformation is, especially if they are eating the flesh of other gnomes.


During the Second Unmaking, a lot of mortals turned to cannibalism, and some of them were gnomes.   Most gnomes that survived the Unmaking had attached themselves to groups of surviving dwarves and elves. Ollums likewise usually attached themselves to groups of jormangers and skopen.   At the dawn of the Third Age, most gnomes maintained their friendships with dwarves and elves for generations but most ollums had a falling out with their cannibal brethren.   When the jormangers and skopen fought against their untainted brethren, it was usually convenient for them to cut their ollums loose. Other times, the ollums themselves fled away from doomed cannibal clusters. Most ollums became lone monsters in lonely tunnels and gradually died off. There weren't enough rogue ollums to create a sustainable breeding population.   Modern ollums, rare as they are, have no direct historical ties to the ollums of the Second Unmaking.

Cultural Reception

"Gnomes are friendly and gregarious, but Mera bless them, they are are also nosy busybodies, and gnomes have very little respect for another mortal's privacy. It can be annoying at times, but it also keeps gnome community safe.   An ogre or especially an jormanger can often take on a mundane job that doesn't interact with other people on a regular basis and hide in plain sight, remaining undetected for years. An ollum cannot pull off this trick.   First off, ollums physically transform faster than most other cannibals, but even if they could hide this somehow, it will do them little good. Gnome communities try to not to leave anyone on the outskirts and they will immediately notice any odd behavior.   That doesn't mean gnomes are going to immediately say 'oh no, we have an ollum!' and break out the torches and pitch forks, but they will try to figure out why Waredar keeps refusing social invites, seems to have an odd pallor and goes off by herself into the woods so often.   Most ollums cannot handle that level of scrutiny, so they don't try to live among normal gnomes.   Ollums are still gnomes, albeit corrupted gnomes, so they crave a sense of community. Most ollums will seek out a community to join, usually a community of criminals or monsters, whoever won't look askance at a cannibal in their midst, providing they are useful.   Lone ollums do exist. It's noted that they are always very lonely. They will frequently talk to themselves and they will sometimes play mind games with their food.   In combat, they don't have the brute strength of other cannibals, so they rely on their stealth. Even lone ollums prefer to use groups in an indirect way.   Ollums often will look for two groups at war and skulk around battlefield sites, picking off stragglers. Not only does this mean there is an abundance of vulnerable wounded prey, but the disappearances will usually be blamed on the other side, not some invisible cannibal.   Also note, if you are hunting down cannibals, most cannibals cook their food, but ollums generally eat their meat raw, both animal flesh and mortal flesh. Some believe that since cannibal gnomes have forsaken Mera's sacred values, that ollums no longer derive any joy from hearth fires, but I believe the explanation is less metaphysical. Ollums rely on stealth to survive and a cooking fire will give away a person's position for miles."   -Daana of Meraland, Defender of the Hearth
"Mera gave us gnome silver tongues as a tool to spread peace and harmony but our silver tongues can be used for evil. Any good thing can be turned to evil.   Most of the very best and the very worst human kings and queens have gnome advisors. Mediocre human monarchs usually have human advisors.   A wise and just king probably has a gnome advising him on how to efficiently protect and serve his people. An ironfisted tyrant king probably has a gnome advising him on how to efficiently oppress and exploit his people. It is probably not too surprising that the most powerful ogre chiefs in recorded history had an ollum advisor giving them advice on how to eat people more efficiently.   What is suprising is that peace and harmony can be turned to evil. I see I got your attention...good.   You probably heard that Cannibal Sickness manifests differently in different races. Ogres, skopen, jormangers, etc. Most of the time, cannibal mutants are xenophobic and can barely work with their own kind, let alone outsiders. It is almost unheard of for cannibals of different races to cooperate with each other.   Almost unheard of does not mean never. When cannibals have peace and harmony amongst each other, all normal Scarterrans tremble in fear, for they are all prey. When we see cannibals cooperating across racial lines, there is usually an ollum puppet master pulling the strings of the grand coalition creating peace and harmony among murderous cannibals.   Gnomes don't really have magic tongues. We seem to have magic tongues because we are good at reading people so we can gauge emotions and adjust what we are saying on the fly The scroll heads say "gnomes instinctively see and interpret micro expressions that other mortals do not notice." Village wise women simply say "gnomes have good instincts".   Ollums are also good at reading emotions and figuring out what people want. They are arguably better at this than untainted gnomes. Some believe ollums can actually read minds because they seem to be uncannily accurate at guessing specifically what people want. A cornered ollum will offer you the moon.   If you are motivated by greed, they will offer to take to you to great hidden treasure if you just spare them. If you are motivated by justice, they won't hesitate for a second to sell former companions up the river if you just just spare them. If you are motivated by compassion, they will spin a tale of how desperately they seek redemption from their lowly state.   Obviously you would be a fool to trust an ollum as far as you can throw one. We gnomes are compassionate and often try to cure those afflicted with Cannibal Sickness. Keep in mind that ollums will try to use your empathy against you. Most ollums don't want to be saved, but they are damn good at pretending to be remorseful when the situation calls for it.   -Beslyfle the gnome, matron of Fumaya's Tenders
The concept for this monster is a combination of Gollum from Lord of the Rings and gnomes. Since they are based on gnomes, the "G" is silent, ergo "ollums".   Thank you to my friends for suggesting this.
Chronic, Acquired & Congenital
Extremely Rare
Affected Species

Articles under ollums

Cover image: Collme the ollum by Eron12 with Hero Forge


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