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Original Critter: The O'Bannion Tupilaq

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:24 pm
by Tore
The O'Bannion Tupilaq or sometimes the Barrow Tupilaq is another Alaskan tall tale which seems less and less ludicrous as the year grows darker.

Glenn O'Bannion was originally from Cape Breton, and had come to Barrow, Alaska in the mid-1940s, setting up a bar and convenience store. This really took off when the college center was built in '47.
O'Bannion's only real headache was Amaruq, an old Inuit man who seemed to feel that settling his bill was beneath him. The old man was finally barred one late evening, and his appearance at that occasioned scared even the drunkest patron. “His lips got all white” one recalls. “white and thin. Then he started rocking like he was having a fit. And he cursed O'Bannion out in English and Inuit and French too, I think”:

A week later O'Bannion's son died in a snowmobile accident. The ice he had been driving on should by rights have been much thicker. The death was ruled a tragic accident, although people were talking. Amoruq may even have been boasting to his few cronies.
O'Bannion's marriage did not last long after the boy's death, and he began dipping into his own bottles. He never seemed to sleep anymore, and when asked what he did after he closed up he remarked “Boning up on a few things. What a muk can play at, a white man can do for real”. He could not be made to elucidate.

O'Bannion later confessed to the police that he had saved up “a whole mess of bones and things” from meals and hunts, with the purpose of creating a tupilaq – a vengeful creature given life through magic.
O'Bannion claimed that one night “when I was good and drunk” he tried a ritual gleaned from “some old book” (he never mentioned a title, but these rituals are described in colorful terms in several Danish and Norwegian travel journals). When the police pressed him for details, O'Bannion eplained that he had chanted “some nonsense while naked and “rubbed up against” the collection of animal remains.”I bled on it and busted a nut on it” he explained. “God, I did everything!”

The creature he made was “hairless and sort of like a whipped dog, only the head was misshapen with bulging eyes and a mouth without teeth”. O'Bannion sent it off and claimed to have blacked out.

When next he opened his store, it was to the news that Amaruq had died. With a feeling of sickness and triumph he bought everyone a drink. As the conversation went on he learned that Amaruq had died in the hospital from cirrhosis two days before O'Bannion made the tupilaq.

As the days went on, O'Bannion became decidedly paranoid. He took to asking people if they had seen “an unfamilliar animal” around, and to shooting at imaginary vermin. Finally one morning he went down to the police and confessed his crime, such as it was.

When the targe of a tupilaq dies before the creature can finish its mission, it is likely to turn on its creator. Confessing to having made it with murderous intent is usually held to protect the creator against the tupilaq's wrath. Still, the policecould not find anything to charge O'Bannion with, but let him sleep it off in the drunk tank.

Glenn O'bannion was never seen again. When someone thought to check on him, he was gone from what everyone swore was a locked cell. The only ttting left of him was a piece of fingernail, seemingly broken off in some silent last struggle.

Locals still claim to see the misbegotten creature “with a body like a plucked bird and a mouth that wants to swallow the world”. Sometimes people disappear. Then, Alaska is a pretty big place.

O'Bannion's Tupilaq

Str: 7 Siz 6 Con 22 Dex 16 Int: 7 Pow: 12
Hp: 14 Move: 9 DB NA
"Bite" 50% Damage: See below

Armor: None. The creature can be driven off with violence, but can only be harmed by magical attacks.

The creature's attack does no damage, but if it hits the same target twice he is sucked into another dimension that is all dry frost and iron. No sky or end. Getting out requires srong magic or the creature's death. Maybe both.


O'Bannion's tupilaq will fixate on adult males, usually with alcohol in their blood. It does not have a sense of morals, this is just a remnant of its creator and intended victim.

Re: Original Critter: The O'Bannion Tupilaq

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:38 am
by Dr. Gerard
This is exclkent.

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Re: Original Critter: The O'Bannion Tupilaq

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:17 am
by Tore
Thanks. Scott Dorward posted the picture a while ago, and the critter just sort of developed from that. :)

Re: Original Critter: The O'Bannion Tupilaq

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:27 pm
by Dr. Gerard
Are you using the O'Bannion name as a reference to the same family of Arkham organized crime fame? ... g-members/

Re: Original Critter: The O'Bannion Tupilaq

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:00 pm
by Tore
No, I hadn't thought of them at all. Maybe I should find another name.

Re: Original Critter: The O'Bannion Tupilaq

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:24 pm
by Dr. Gerard
I'm not complaining. It suggests interesting ties that could be left unexplained.

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Re: Original Critter: The O'Bannion Tupilaq

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:17 am
by Tore
8-) True.