Our dusty little library ain’t much, but it’s a miracle that we can bring literature to this equally dusty frontier settlement. All I care about is getting the know-how to these folk. An informed folk is a healthy folk. As it is, they keep their bodies active, nothing wrong with stimulating the mind too! While you’re here, check out some of these accounts from travelers. We’ve been collecting them here. Tons of stuff on some of the fearsome critters to wander these parts… Some even come from parts unknown! You’re a traveler, this sort of stuff will keep you in the loop. – Anna Von Hindervoltdheim, Gnomish librarian of Wispy Cliffs.
One need not travel far to see familiar faces out west. Sure, they’re a bit different in many ways, but something’s kinda uncanny. Creatures, like people, have a habit of traveling too. One could say their ancestors might have found their way much like we did. Lots of science folk wanna document these differences to put forth some big claim. I dunno what it is yet, but it’s probably as odd as dinosaurs flocking to some hole inside of the world. But hey, at least these folks don’t think the world is flat or something. Everyone knows it’s really a cube!
Author’s Note: A lot of existing monsters, as well as creations of my own, can easily be fit into this quasi-setting/idea I’ve been playing around with. So, let’s dive into it! If you have any other ideas, let me know! Also, yes I know, this isn’t really a full post from me… just a list of ideas that use existing stuff… I promise I’ll have some original stuff ASAP! Consider this an interlude of sorts!
Other Varmints of the Weird West:
- Aarakocra – Bipedal vultures. They have all of the keen senses of a scavenger with good wits too. They have made a hobby of stalking anyone who looks like they’re about to drop. While many aren’t particularly malicious, many have taken up careers in thieving. (Add poison resistance, advantage on saves against poison and disease. – Monster Manual, Page 12)
- Automatons – Impossibly smart machines. They have a sinister secret to them, they have a living brain bound to them or even a soul, the latter akin to the warforged. Mad scientists and madder mages are often responsible for these existing. Many have absolutely lost it over their augmented existence.
- Carrion Stag – The local nickname for the flying antler terrors of the grey mountain reaches. These atrocities were born from some fell power and relentless protect it while picking off foolish travelers who dare to intervene.
- Coyote – A classic varmint that loves to crunch as it does yap in the night. It’s loathsome song is iconic to the west. (Jackal, Increase Strength to 13, bite damage to 1d6, hit points to 7 (2d6) and challenge to 1/8 (25 XP). – Monster Manual, Page 331)
- Coyote, Trickster Hounds – These variants of the Blink Dogs resemble coyotes, with a greater sense of mischief and mayhem… and a larger frame! (Blink Dog – Monster Manual, Page 318)
- Creatures of Fear – The Bayous south of the desert territories are rife with horrid things. Waterlogged bodies of pirates preserved under the supernatural muck and water, literal creatures of shadow conjured by oblivious priests and mobile colonies of plague and disease found in toxic swamps.
- Dinosaurs – Remember that comment about the hollow world thing? Well, it might be true. Or at least, a valley untouched by time might exist. Gwan-something-or-other… Anyway, ancient beasts live there! (Monster Manual, Page 79/Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Page 139)
- Dreamland Entity – Known as many things across many cultures, these beings are creatures of light and dark, sweet dreams and nightmares. Some wish to empower and invigorate a dreamer, while others wish to harness them or destroy them. The Society of Esoteric Consideration as well as the Seeking Mind tribe are adept at combating the more horrific of these creatures, due to their connections to psychic power. However, even the strongest minds falter before the strongest of the dreamlanders, The Quori.
- Dream Warped – There are those who wander too close to the eldritch horror that lies beyond our skies. By pursuing such a danger cause, they become a part of the very horror they wished to know about. Molded into foul puppets of the dreaming, they cause all sorts of havoc on all other things, especially where the energies of the dream are quite strong. (Star Spawn – Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, Page 234)
- Enraged Wind Maiden – The Wind Maidens are already terrifying creatures, but one scorned? Watch out! These banshee like terrors haunt the sprawling sands seeking to exact revenge on whoever they see. They’re vindictive, hateful and full of spite. As such, their attacks aren’t meant to lull the victim into a slow demise. Instead, they fight viciously and unleash a horrid shriek capable of immediate killing. (Banshee – Monster Manual, Page 23)
- Fell Folk – Many witch doctors, priests and more are capable of falling to shadowy influences. They’ve since become twisted and warped by spiritual forces of darkness. The Fell Folk were once prominent members of various villages and tribes, tending or aiding their people. However, whether out of desperation during a hard time or finding a means of power, they were led astray by immoral and wicked forces. Many tales tell of just people who were consumed by the power in the pursuit of noble and good reasons. Now they wander alone or together, seeking more to corrupt while finding more power. (Hags, change creature type of all to fiend – Monster Manual, Page 176/Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Page 159)
- Fiends – The creatures of the underworld. In backwater communities and sinful cities of the weird west, evil can easily find a home. Fiendish creatures can weasel their way into dens of sin or establishments of order, finding ways to twist normal life into a living hell. Even on a more mundane level, ol’ scratch will find a way to your soul one way or another! (Monster Manual/Volo’s Guide to Monsters/Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes)
- Great Nature Spirits – These powerful beings are often conjured by equally powerful shamans, usually to serve them in some incredible deed. Many of these spirits are called forth to either protect or avenge the wilderness around them. When a Shaman is on a vendetta against a settlement, you can bet that one of these spirits is following close behind. (Elementals – Monster Manual, Page 123/Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, Page 202)
- Hellfire Engine – One of the result of fiends reaching out to desperate mad scientists is the creation of a construct so vile, it can only be of diabolic origin! This is the hellfire engine, a warmachine build to unleash destruction and harvest souls. It’s said that a whole army might be needed to take such a horror down. (Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, Page 165)
- Legion of Calamity – After the Great Divide, the war that caused the many territories to fight among themselves, concluded; many were still itching for a fight. Needless to say, their desires for chaotic violence were met with a united and hostile government against them. Despite the executions of these individuals, their restless and hateful spirits lived on. On the night of their deaths, they return as undead horrors hoping to exact revenge against the lands that stopped their entropic crusade. One could roll the Hangin’ Judge into their ranks as well!
- Nuwisha – A variant of the Lupine, based on the coyote. Besides being shorter and looking a bit different, they mostly share the same stats (swap out Animal Handling and Intimidate for Deception and Stealth). They’re far more chaotic leaning and scowl at any instance of law. However, they’re more willing to work with the settlers, at least as mercenaries and sometimes hit-men.
- Nuwisha Shapeshifter – These coyotefolk have found methods of shifting forms, making them superior spies and bandits. Those who aren’t content with life among their people prefer to use their powers for their own desires. Villagers in their lands fear the powers of shapechanging, often ousting them as a result. (Jackalwere, increase bite damage to 1d6+2 – Monster Manual, Page 193)
- Revenant – What’s more weird west than an undead gunslinger out for revenge? Simply give them a pistol and you’re set! (Revenant – Monster Manual, Page 259)
- Scarecrew – Trying to manage crops on tough mountains or desert heat is a madman’s project. That doesn’t stop a lot of farmers. However, some get desperate and turn to darker means to protect their land. What was once a straw dummy or doll becomes something more sinister, barely bound to the farmers’ word. You best treat your new guardian with respect. (Monster Manual, Page 268)
- Serpentmen Cultist – The humid rain forests that span an impossible distance from the desert lands hold a horrid secret. While majority of the serpentmen who have infiltrated several towns aren’t that strong, there are far stronger bidding their time for a full invasion. (Yuan-Ti – Monster Manual, Page 307/Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Page 202)
- Sideshow Mummy – One of the greatest sideshow oddities to ever draw a crowd is the preserved remains of some bandit or outlaw who was shot for a bounty. Sometimes even the souls of the departed catch onto these sideshows and don’t approve, inhabiting the their own tortured remains. The Sideshow Mummy is a result! (Mummy – Monster Manual, Page 228)
- Spirits of the Seasons – These spritely beings embody the changing of weather over the course of a year’s time. While less pronounced in much of the west, seasonal shifts do happen. And with each season, it’s likely one of the spirits may make its appearance. However, some are more likely to appear in different places, such as a Winter spirit in the mountains or a Summer spirit within the desert sands. (Eladrin – Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, Page 195)
- Steam-Bound Vampire – As technologies have improved throughout the world, many take notice. In this case of these undead, they see an opportunity to bolster their own abilities. Many sought out mad scientists, some of which they turned into their ghoulish servants, to help build a harvest apparatus to make them truly fearsome creatures. Luckily for them, the west is low key enough for them to merge with machine and unleash havoc!
- Tabaxi- Traveling beastfolk from various reaches of the western regions, but mostly a ways south. These big catfolk dwell in wandering tribes, many originating in steamy rainforests and by incredible temples. Many are curious and fickle, while others embody the harshness of the hunt itself. To many, they’re hardly all that different from the Lupines. Don’t tell them that, of course! ((Racial Traits) Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Page 113/(Druid/Scout/Tribal Warrior NPCs) Monster Manual, Page 346, 349, 350/Tomb of Annihilation, Page 232)
- Tabaxi Jaguar Knight – A stalwart defender of the temples hidden by thick leaves and rope-like vines. These warriors are quite formidable, even possessing the power to take the form of their ancestors. (Add the ability to Wild Shape into a Panther 2/Day to Tribal Warrior, Challenge 1/4 (50 XP) – Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Page 113/Monster Manual, Page 350)
- Tortle – A humanoid turtle-like creature native to the coastal and bay regions far beyond the weird west. Save for the terrapin-like family members, it’s rare to see such a creature here. It’s likely they’re passing through and using the desert as a temporary, if not very flawed, shortcut. However, same take shelter in many a desert oasis. (Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, Page 242)
- Vampire – The walking dead, cursed to feed on the living. Wherever there’s an issue with undead, one can usually find a vampire.
- Werebeasts – Those cursed with the darkened soul of the beast. These pitiful beings are forced to wander nights in a feral form, either prowling upon or rampaging against civilization. While not all forms are carnivores, almost all of the dark spirits wish to undermine society and progress in any way possible, usually through brutal violence. As such, the victim’s mind is pushed back to watch sickening acts of carnage as a bestial force takes over. Those who aren’t pushed into savage acts usually channel their rage into fighting back other supernatural horrors, such as a dread force of decay known as “The Wyrm.” (Monster Manual, Page 206/Curse of Strahd, Page 242/Zoanthropes: A Collection of Werebeasts)
Image Credit: Alkenstar – Pathfinder (Paizo)