Hangman’s Rope in Tremanac | World Anvil

Hangman’s Rope


Hanging criminals by the neck is a common means of execution the world over. Most of those carrying out this grisly task are aware that you should a different rope for each person to be hanged. For some this is a matter of efficiency as it is faster to cut a body down than untie the rope while it is still supporting their weight. But for those that know a thing or two and don't foolishly dismiss the old stories, it is a way of preventing the creation of more hangman's ropes.   When a person filled with malice, hatred, or fear dies they may leave some of that feeling behind in the objects around them. Ever notice how people avoid the gallows and shiver if they get to close. That's a combination of the fear of those executed there. It's faint and there may be other emotions mixed in, but most of what those executed there feel is fear.   The same thing happens with the rope used to hang them. If it is just one person's fear that it will be barely be noticeable. However, if the same rope is used for multiple people it may absorb fear from all of them. If the rope is used for anything else afterwards people will be unwilling to touch it. They won't tie knots as tightly, nor will they grip it as hard. This leads to accidents and talk of a cursed rope.   But what if the emotion isn't fear? What if several murderers who feel only anger and malice and hanged with the same rope? That is when something far more sinister is born - a hangman's rope.  
By the fading light of the campfire I saw something slithering from Josie's pack towards Nully. I thought it was a snake until I saw it had no head. Before i could even shout it had looped itself around Nully's neck and started choking him.
— Harron Onyx on seeing a Hangman's rop


A hangman's rope appears like any other slightly used rope, with nothing to indicate it is unusual. However, it posses a sinister intelligence, and all the malice of those hung with it. Capable of moving on it's own, one of these ropes will wait until it is unobserved before striking. Snaking it's way along the ground it will form a loop or noose to strangle it's victim before returning to where it was stored.   It will normally leave solitary travellers alone as it prefers to sow mistrust between a group. The obvious rope marks on a victim's neck ensure the rest of a group will think one of the others commited the murder. The rope is aware it will typically be viewed as a tool instead of the culprit, especially since it doesn't appear magical.
This was written for Spooktober 2023 to answer the Slither Prompt.
Destroying a Rope
One of these ropes can easily be destroyed by burning it. However, it is advisable to have a cleric nearby as the flames may release a dark spirit that will be hard to deal with using steel alone.
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Cover image: Harvest is coming by Tanai Cuinsear


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