Aswang is a catch-all name used in Filipino mythology to refer to a vast array of night-stalking, blood-drinking witches and vampire-like monsters. An extremely confusing subject, there are countless alternative names and regional variants for the creature, and not helping is that it is often used almost interchangeably with Manananggal, a distinctive sort of (usually) female vampire/ghoul defined by its sprouting wings and abandoning its lower torso to hunt at night (not to be confused with the Penanggalan, which is a Southeast Asian vampire that hunts as flying head and guts).
Given how obscure Asian monsters that aren't part of mainland Chinese or Japanese folklore are, aswang are an obscure beastie in the west, but they have appeared here and there in horror games.
Aswang have appeared in two netbooks for the Dungeons & Dragons setting of Ravenloft. The Aswang and the Manananggal appeared in the Book of Sacrifices, whilst two more aswang variants - the Allawig and the Padara - appeared in the Undead Sea Scrolls 2002, alongside a Terror Track of the Aswang. The Chanak, a blood-drinking undead baby created by Manananggals preying on pregnant women, appeared in the Undead Sea Scrolls 2001.
Aswang in Ravenloft are associated with the fan-made domain of Igid Rabi-i, a Filipino-themed domain. The standard aswang is a shapeshifting, blood-drinking undead monster, somewhere between a vampire and a ghoul. These creatures can spread their taint with the use of their blood-drinking tongue attack, much like vampires can spread their own curse with a bite. They can freely shapeshift between their human form, which lets them appear as the living being they were before, and their true form, which resembles a ghoul with an exceptionally long, sharp tongue. This is essential for them, as their humanoid form wards off the otherwise deadly rays of the sun; if an aswang can somehow be tricked into assuming its ghoul-form during the day, exposure to sunlight will kill it within 2 rounds. That said, even in humanoid form, have a certain tell; if you look into their eyes, your reflection will be inverted. They are repelled by holy symbols, living bamboo and living pines, cannot cross a clear line of salt, saltwater, frankincense or cinnamon, and are terrified of cats, turtles and large lizards. Aside from sunlight, they can only be stake of freshly cut, burning-tipped bamboo or pine into their heart and throwing them into the ocean to be consumed by fish.
The Manananggal, or "Greater Aswang", is a more potent variant of the Aswang which can only be created from female victims; normal aswang can be male or female, but only women can be recipients of the dark ritual that Manananggal use to create more of their own kind. They are easily distinguished from female aswangs; in their ghoulish form, their entire upper body separates from the lower torso, using wings to fly off and hunt. This is their major weakness; sprinkling blessed salt over their lower torso prevents the manananggal from reuniting the halves of its body, meaning that when the sun rises, she will be vulnerable to sunlight exposure in the same way as an ordinary aswang. However, as these creatures can sense whenever a being with hostile intent moves within 20 feet of their separated torso, this is easier said then done, as it usually requires the would-be slayers to hastily find the body, rub it with salt, and then escape before the she-ghoul catches and kills them.
Allawigs are an aswang variant who are surrounded by an aura of crimson flames. Whilst this makes them especially potent in battle, they can also use this to hypnotize victims, luring them into ambushes where the allawig can kill them and feed on their fluids. Fortunately, they are easier to spot than common aswangs; just try to get a look at their reflection - if it shows a decaying corpse surrounded by heat mirages, it's an allawig. They can be repelled by holy symbols, mirrors, and any piece of metal sufficiently brightly shined & polished that it can reflect them. Weirdly, their ability to create a hypnotic will-o-wisp effect is nullified if a person is wearing their clothes inside out. To kill them, stake with freshly-cut bamboo or pine, seal the body in a coffin inlaid with mirrors, and throw the coffin in the ocean.
Padaras are an aswang variant distinguished by their constant oozing of blood from every pore and orifice. Needless to say, these are a particularly ghastly breed, and leave a trail of dried blood wherever they go. Even in their daylight form, they still bleed profusely from the slightest touch or scratch, and their eyes are perpetually bloodshot, which makes unmasking them less than challenging. Aside from holy symbols, a string adorned with snake vertebrae can be used to keep them at bay. To destroy one, stake it with a shaft of freshly cut pine or bamboo, and then douse its body with at least three buckets of sanctified saltwater; a destroyed padara will literally melt away after the final dose, becoming a gory slurry that swiftly evaporates.
“Aswang” is a template that can be added to any humanoid creature (referred hereafter as the “base creature”). The creature’s type changes to “undead.”
- Hit Dice: Increased to d12.
- Speed: Same as the base creature, but also gains a climb speed of 30 ft.
- Armor Class: The base creature’s natural armor increases by +4.
- Attacks: The aswang retains all attacks of the base creature, and also gains a tongue attack.
- Damage: The aswang’s tongue attack deals 2d4 damage.
- Special Attacks: The aswang retains all the special attacks of the base creature, and also gains those listed below. All saves have a DC of 12.
- Fluid Drain (Ex): An aswang can drain the body fluids of a living being with its tongue, inflicting 3 points of permanent Constitution drain per round from a helpless victim as a full-round action.
- Create Spawn (Su): Any humanoid slain by an aswang’s fluid drain attack rises as an aswang 2d6 hours after death. The new aswang is not under its creator’s control.
- Twilight Scream (Su): Once a day, and only after nightfall, an aswang can let loose a malevolent scream that starts from a low moan and rises to a shrieking crescendo. This lasts one round, and affects all living creatures within 60 feet, who must make a Fear save. This is a mind-affecting fear ability
- Aswang’s Feast (Su): An aswang can turn any corpse in its early stages of decomposition into a suspicious meatlike substance it considers edible. This works just like the polymorph any object spell cast by a 12th-level sorcerer.
- Special Qualities: The aswang retains all the special qualities of the base creature, gains those listed below, and also gains the undead type.
- Alternate Form (Su): An aswang can assume the shape of a white dog or a black owl as a standard action. This ability is similar to a polymorph self spell cast by a 12th-level sorcerer. In these forms the aswang will avoid combat. An aswang can only use this ability at night.
- Turn Resistance (Su): An aswang has +4 turn resistance.
- Fast Healing (Ex): An aswang heals 3 points of damage each round as long as it has at least 1 hit point. If reduced to 0 hit points or lower an aswang automatically assumes gaseous form and attempts to escape. It must reach its lair within two hours or it is destroyed. Once at its lair, it heals at a rate of 3 hit points a round.
- Abilities: Adjust from the base creature as follows: Str +2, Dex +2, Int –1, Wis +3, Cha –3. As undead creatures, aswang have no Constitution score.
- Feats: An aswang gains Alertness, Lightning Reflexes and Multiattack, assuming the base creature meets the prerequisites and doesn’t already have these
- Saves: Same as the base creature.
- Skills: Aswang receive a +4 racial bonus to Hide,Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock and Search checks. Otherwise, same as the base creature.
- Climate/Terrain: Any land and underground
- Organization: Solitary
- Challenge Rating: As the base creature +1
- Treasure: Standard
- Alignment: Usually neutral evil
- Advancement: By character class
- Manananggal Sub-Template
- Speed: Same as the base creature, but also gains a climb speed of 30 feet and a fly speed of 60 feet with poor maneuverability.
- Armor Class: The base creature’s natural armor improves by +6.
- Special Attacks: As the aswang, but with the additional attacks listed below.
- Aura of Fear (Su): The mere sighting of a manananggal causes all creatures within a 40-foot radius to succeed at a Will save at DC 13 or flee in fear, as the spell of the same name.
- Pact of Transference (Su): The manananggal is able to pass on a fragment of its essence through touch to a living humanoid, willing or otherwise. The victim then becomes a manananggal herself. The original creature can use this ability three times in its undead existence before its body disintegrates. The victim must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) or be permanently drained of all Constitution and transformed into a manananggal in a single round.
- Alignment: Always neutral evil
- Allawig Sub-Template
- Armor Class: Allawigs gain a +1 Deflection bonus to AC in addition to the +4 natural armor bonus for being aswangs.
- Damage: Allawig tongue attacks do a further +1d4 Fire damage when they hit.
- Special Attacks: As per the Aswang, except that Allawigs do not have the Twilight Scream special attack and have the following unique special attacks.s
- Create Spawn (Su): Same as the base aswang, but 25% of all the allawig's victims become allawig themselves.
- Fire Touch (Su): Any person touched by an allawig in its ghoulish form takes 1d4 fire damage per round (no save). If the allawig touches a combustible non-sentient, non-magical object smaller than itself it instantly bursts into flames. This supernatural touch also slightly affects non-magical metallic objects with a low melting point, such as gold, silver, bronze or copper.
- Bedazzled Lure (Su): The allawig can use its fiery aura to produce a hypnotic pattern that can affect a maximum of three people at a time (as per a mass charm spell cast by a 16th-level sorcerer, no save) and lure them into its lair where it can feed on them. To prevent the lure the targets must wear their clothes inside out. The allawig can use this ability while in its alternate form.
- Pact of Transference (Su): The allawig is able to pass on a fragment of its essence through touch to a living humanoid, willing or otherwise. The victim then becomes an allawig himself. The original creature can use this ability two times in its undead existence before its body disintegrates into ashes. The victim must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) or be permanently drained of all Constitution and transformed into an allawig in a single round.
- Special Qualities: As per the Aswang, but with the following additional traits.
- Aura of Fear (Su): The mere sighting of an allawig causes all creatures within a 50-foot radius to succeed at a Will save (DC 10) or flee in fear, as the spell of the same name.
- Turn Resistance (Su): An allawig has +2 turn resistance.
- Alternate Form (Su): An allawig cannot assume the form of a huge white dog, but can assume the form of a fiery red-feathered owl with glowing blue eyes.
- Fire Subtype (Ex): An allawig is immune to fire and fire-based attacks, but takes double damage from cold except on a successful save.
- Abilities: Adjust from the base creature as follows: Str +2, Dex +4, Int -1, Wis +2, Cha -3. As undead creatures, aswang have no Constitution score.
- Alignment: Always neutral evil
- Padara Sub-Template
- Attacks: In addition to the Aswang's Tongue Attack, a Padara gains a Ranged Spit Attack that deals 2d4 Acid damage (no splash damage).
- Damage: Padara tongue attacks deal a further +1d4 Acid damage when they hit.
- Special Attacks: As per Aswang, plus the following.
- Create Spawn (Su): Same as the base aswang, but 25% of all the padara's victims become padara themselves. Additonally, 5% of all female victims of the padara become manananggal.
- Contamination (Su): Padara can use their dripping blood to turn foodstuffs and liquids into poison. To do this the padara must be in contact with an amount of food usually seen at a banquet table, or at least a bottleful of potable liquid. When the contaminated food or drink is imbibed, the poison deals 1d4 points of temporary Constitution damage for three rounds unless the victim makes a Fortitude save (DC 18). This poison can affect a given creature only twice in a 24-hour period.
- Special Qualities: As per Aswang, plus the following.
- Aura of Fear (Su): The mere sighting of a padara causes all creatures within a 60-foot radius to succeed at a Will save (DC 14) or flee in fear, as the spell of the same name.
- Turn Resistance (Su): A padara has +2 turn resistance.
- Liquid Bones (Su): Padara have the ability to turn their bones into liquid. In this state the padara are immune from any nonmagical bludgeoning weapons. Transforming to and from liquid state each is a full-round action.
- Abilities: Adjust from the base creature as follows: Str +2, Dex +3, Int -1, Wis +4, Cha -5. As undead creatures, aswang have no Constitution score
- Alignment: Always neutral evil
Terror Track of the Aswang
Application: The aswang is known as a gossiper and an eavesdropper, one who mingles with townsfolk in the daytime and seeks out prey in the night. This terror track is for a personality who disrespects the privacy of simple folk, or who for no good reason uses his or her curiosity in malicious ways, voyeurism as an example.
Stage One: The character's eyes turn into a salty blue, increasing his Charisma by 1. During the night however, his eyes glow eerily, so much so that anybody within 20 feet of the character must now make a Fear save (+3 bonus).
Stage Two: The character's senses become heightened, gaining the Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Open Lock, and Search skills (if the PC already has any of these skills, points are increased by +4). The character however becomes aversive to bamboo or evergreen trees: merely being within 10 feet of them causes him to be moody, nauseous and very temperamental.
Stage Three: The character's physical prowess improves, gaining two points each in Strength and Dexterity. His skin and flesh, however, become stiff, cold and gain the texture of parchment: he cannot stay under direct sunlight for more than 10 rounds or suffer 1d4 fire damage each round under sunlight.
Stage Four: The character's tongue becomes long, hard and prehensile, and can now be used as a weapon in a ranged attack, dealing 2d4 damage to a target. This horrible change however lowers the character's Intelligence score by 1.
Stage Five: The character recovers faster than normal, healing 3 points of damage each round (as long as he has at least 1 hit point left. However, he can no longer pass through a clear line of salt or cinnamon; as much as a tablespoonful of either substance now deals 1d6 damage to him.
Stage Six: The character can now let loose a Twilight Scream once day and only after nightfall, starting from a low moan and rising to a shrieking crescendo; any living creature within 60 feet of him screaming must now make a Fear save. Holy symbols now physically repulse him.
Stage Seven: The character can now scale vertical surfaces, gaining a climb speed equal to his normal ground speed. From this point on he is can now be turned by good clerics and paladins.
Stage Eight: The character can now turn any corpse in its early stages of decomposition into a suspicious meatlike substance it considers edible, which works just like the polymorph any object spell cast by a 12th-level sorcerer. However, he finds every other food repulsive and can no longer eat any food except these polymorphed corpses.
Stage Nine: The character can now polymorph at will into a white dog or black owl, and now gains a ghoulish form. However, using these abilities under daylight can destroy him, which can make him crumble to dust in five rounds.
Stage Ten: The character gains the abilities to drain fluids from a living being and create more aswang spawn. From this point on, a stake made of pine or bamboo driven into his torso is now lethally dangerous, and seawater can destroy him in two rounds.
In All Flesh Must Be Eaten, the Aswang and Manananggal are specifically mentioned as alternate "skins" to use for the Penanggalan statblock in the Atlas of the Walking Dead sourcebook.
The generic Aswang presented in the former sourcebook are a species of blood-drinking Filipino shapeshifters. During the day, they appear as beautiful women, and reproduce by marrying human men; sons are human, daughters are more aswang. However, they never smile in a way that shows their teeth, because even during the day, the fact that they have twice the normal amount of canine teeth (8) is blatantly obvious. At night, they shift into a more feral, almost hag-like form, with elongated fangs and claws. They need to feed on blood on a regular basis, using hypnotically beautiful singing voices to lure people into range of their teeth. These aswang can and do genuinely love their human husbands, and will usually struggle to keep them ignorant of the fact their wife goes out every so often to eat people.
Night Horrors presents three specific species of aswang, all shapeshifters who are often ignorant of their true nature during the day, but assume a monstrous, blood-drinking form at night. The Halimaw becomes a winged demonic humanoid, the Tik-tik becomes a blood-sucking bird-bat thing, and the Sigbin becomes a hornless goat which attacks with ears it can clap to lull victims into a trance and a tail it wields like a whip. Oh, and just to make it clear; White Wolf didn't make up any of these creatures, these are all real Filipino monsters. Even the Sigbin. Southeast Asian mythology is weird.
In all cases, vampires absolutely hate them, as the aswangs have no traditions of hiding their depredations, nor any of the special powers that enables vampires to hide their feeding. Add in that aswang have to kill their meals, which only makes humanity take up arms, and it should be no surprise that the Kindred are doing their best to exterminate these "cheap Filipino knockoffs".
Manananggal also make an appearance in Shadowrun, with detachable head and vulnerability to salt. In-game, there is very little known about these creatures or their motives beyond that they're spirits hailing from a 'dark and unknown' metaplane that come to the physical dimension to feed on the essence of living beings.