The hideous penanggalen is one of the most horrific vampiric monstrosities. By day, a penanggalen appears to be a normal humanoid, but at night or when provoked, the creature’s head rips free from the rest of her body, coils of viscera and entrails dangling from her throat as she launches into the air, seeking blood to sate her unholy thirst.
Unlike most undead, the penanggalen is more akin to the lich in that she willfully abandons both her mortality and morality to become a hideous undead monster. While penanggalens are traditionally female spellcasters, any creature capable of performing the vile ritual of transformation can become one.
Similar to a lich, a creature works toward becoming a penanggalen. More than one such transformation ritual exists, but all require heinous acts that symbolize the casting aside of kindness, benevolence, and any semblance of feelings other than cruelty. Many of these rituals call for the repeated consumption of blood, bile, tears, and other fluids drawn from captured and tortured innocents.
A penanggalen keeps a vat of vinegar in her lair. When returning from a night of feeding, a penanggalen’s organs are swollen with blood. In order to fit back into her body, the penanggalen must soak for 1 hour in this vat of vinegar. Once reduced, a penanggalen slides back into her body. If a penanggalen is slain away from her body, the body rapidly deteriorates into foul-smelling grit.
The penanggalen presented above was a witch in life.