Towards the tail end of my group's short venture into the world of D&D 4E, I came across a very cool monster in the 4E Monster Manual 3 that I never got the opportunity to use. The banderhobb is a giant frog-like creature that kidnaps children in their sleep by swallowing them whole.
As the day recedes, shadows lengthen over the world like grasping claws. That's when the banderhobbs come. Beneath the stars, in the dead of moonless nights, they march in ones and twos from the land of death and darkness. A banderhobb's snaking tongue ensnares its victim, drawing it into the creature's distended maw before it is swallowed into the banderhobb's cavernous stomach. Then the creature departs to where its master waits for it to regurgitate its stili-living cargo. For what purpose? A banderhobb never tells.
|Banderhobb by Howard Lyon|
That is some pretty creepy shit, and I could see a whole adventure being built around it. Perhaps the PCs enter a sleepy town, and while they are there, they meet children during the day but then never see them again. Behind the scenes, the townsfolk have made a deal most unwholesome with some dark power in return for protection, good crops, wealth or whatever. The banderhobbs are the minions of the big bad guy, coming to collect the town's children as payment, and it is up to the PCs to solve the mystery.
Now those types of adventures sound great on paper, but can be really difficult to pull off. Another alternative is that the PCs have pissed off some big bad, and he periodically sends a banderhobb to snatch a hireling or henchman from the group while they are all sleeping. Eventually someone (likely another lackey) sees this and gives a description of the monster, and you can sort of build it from there.
More Banderhobb lore:
Parents tell children that if they misbehave, banderhobbs will come to take them away. According to stories, the torsos of banderhobbs are carved with ritual markings that allow them to pass between worlds at places where the veil is thin and shadows are thick. Their home is the plane of shadows, where their ancient master dwells in a dark tower.It should be easy enough to throw some stats together for your game of choice. They basically have 2 claw attacks, and can lash out with their tongue and catch people and swallow them whole (probably just do a save versus petrify to avoid being swallowed). Chasing a banderhobb down after it has swallowed someone and run away should lead them to the plane of shadows. Awesome!
People speculate that the banderhobbs' captives work as slaves in the Shadowfell until they eventually transform into banderhobbs. Fragments of lore tell of vast feeding pits where banderhobbs feast. In the dark reaches of this place, no god watches.
Here is a link to the creator's page, which has the original sketch.