“Lemme tell you ’bout this really freaky gent, just lingered outside of town for a bit. He got this big ol’ rictus grin, like someone who died clenching their teeth. He asked me about my evening. ‘Course, it was lovely. One of the men of the inn helped me relax real well upstairs a bit, hehehe. Anyway, the mad smilin’ man vanished after I told him off. Damn ghosts. I need some rest, so I don’t cleave off someone’s face…” – Booker L. Wyatt, Human Barber, owner of Wispy Cliffs Barbershop
Dark spirits gather in these parts. Maybe they love the sorrow and struggle that comes with developing frontiers; the lawlessness, the adverse environment, the lonesome people. All sorts of negative traits and qualities seem to lure all sorts of vicious monsters to prey on the miserable locals. Many of the monsters themselves were once the very same miserable locals, in some cases brought back from the grave to terrorize anyone who dares to live life well. Some are just manifestations of pure evil, formed upon this world to destroy.
Author’s Note: You can’t have most weird west tales without a degree of horror. So, let’s dive into some particularly nasty creatures. Some of them are homages and conversions of beloved and infamous monsters from various games; such as Darkwatch: Curse of the West and Deadlands: The Weird West. You could say, I like both… a lot. Also, good lord, are the Hangin’ Judges SOOOOOO 1990’s! I love them, but they are a trope of their era.
The Cheerful Stalker.
“I saw the damnedest thing! The mad bandit we hung from town square, whose had a thing for killing anyone who strays too far from town, he’s back! In not just one day, the bastard is back to murdering townsfolk! What sort of sick and unholy sorcery is this? And worse, his horrid smile. The Hell Beast gave the sickest grin possible after staring me dead in the face. I’ve truly failed my job as a deputy, the sheriff is equally shaken too. We’re all trapped here as we watches and mocks us! We’ll all be claimed by him eventually!” – Clement O. Weir, Human Fighter/Ranger, Deputy of Wispy Cliffs
This creature hails from a realm rife with sylvan magic. However, as many tales will tell you, there are many dark mysterious among the fae. One such creature is the “Cheerful Stalker” as many children’s tales have dubbed it. The creature almost always dresses in fine garb, typically high fashion. Everything it does, it will do in the name of finding, torturing and murdering its designated subject. A lot of the time, the creature will blend in and act completely average to obtain its goals; whether through acts of diplomacy, favors or more. Those who want to discover the monster’s motive will often have to pry and it’s likely the Stalker will catch onto their act. Sometimes, they might even go out of their way to kill those investigating them too, as it’s an obstacle for their goals.
They’re a wandering traveler with an insatiable appetite for murder, particularly of a target it harasses and torments first. This ritualistic killer almost always follows similar patterns as it tracks down and breaks down its prey. Those who have tried to destroy it have found the creature finding them again a day later! And what’s worse, it might actually be one of many. While inherently neutral in gender and appearance, it is capable of taking on the guises of a variety of men and women.
Medium fey, chaotic evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 104 (16d8 + 32)
Speed 35 ft.
STR 15 (+2), DEX 18 (+4), CON 14 (+2), INT 12 (+1), WIS 15 (+2), CHR 19 (+4)
Skills. Deception +8, Intimidate +8, Stealth +8
Condition Immunities. Charmed, Exhausted, Frightened, Paralyzed
Damage Resistances. Bludgeoning/Piercing/Slashing damage from non-magical sources.
Senses. Darkvision 60 ft.; passive Perception 12
Languages. Common, Sylvan, see Designate Prey
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Designate Prey. After studying its desired target for around 1 hour, the Cheerful Stalker will relentlessly pursue that target until it is slain or overpowers it. It will only attack anything in its way if they attempt to prevent it from its goal. It has advantage on all checks to track and seek out its prey. It can also speak and understand one language that its prey knows as long for as long as it pursues that target. Should its target overpower it, the Stalker will flea, proving that it is a coward.
Innate Magic. The Cheerful Stalker has innate fey magics. Its casting stat is Charisma (+7 to hit, DC 15) and knows the following spells:
- At-Will: Bane, Disguise Self, Invisibility (self only), Misty Step
- 3/Day: Compulsion, Fear, Mislead, Spider Climb
- 1/Day: Plane Shift (only to its home realm)
Maddening Grin. While the Stalker’s disguise is dispelled or done away with, any creature that steps too close to the Stalker sees its twisted and impossible rictus grin. When a creature enters within a 20ft. range of the stalker, it must make a (DC 15) Wisdom saving throw. If they fail, they take an extra 7 (2d6) psychic damage and are frightened for up to 1 minute. However, at the start of their turn, they may make a new save. Any creature that succeeds the save is immune to the effect for 24 hours. This is a fear effect.
Vengeful Stalker. When the Stalker is reduced to 0 HP, its corporeal form returns to whatever domain of the a faerie of your choosing (even places like the Shadow Rift, in the case of Ravenloft). It will materialize up to 100 feet away from where it was last killed after 1 day. However, if a designated victim of the stalker makes Intimidation check to threaten the spirit of the Stalker within 1 day of defeating it, it remains “dead” out of cowardly panic.
Multiattack. The Cheerful Stalker may make up to two attacks per round.
Corrupted Blade. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) slashing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage. The hit creature must make a (DC 15) Constitution saving throw. Upon failing, the creature takes an extra 5 (1d8) poison damage and becomes poisoned for until the end of their next turn.
Gnashing Teeth. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.
Plump and grotesque, these creatures are walking and bloated bombs filled with sickly puss, bile and a strange supernatural acid. Besides unleashing blasts of its projectile vomit, it’s capable of cleaving foes with its unwieldy blades. These hell creatures seek to carve and corrode the world around them.
Large undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 64 (6d10 + 30)
STR 19 (+4) DEX 13 (+1) CON 20 (+5) INT 9 (-1) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 5 (-3)
Damage Resistances acid
Damage Immunities gpoison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses Blindsight 120ft., passive Perception 12
Languages understands Common
Challenge 3 (700 XP)
Multiattack. The Oozer may attack with Giant Cleavers twice per round.
Giant Cleavers. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit 13 (2d8 + 4) slashing damage.
Vomit Shot. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 60ft., one creature. Hit: 19 (4d8 + 1) acid damage. The target must also make a (DC 16) Constitution saving throw or have their speed reduced by half until the start of their next turn.
Death Throes. Upon being reduced to 0 hit points, the oozer uses its reaction to explode. All creatures within 10ft. of it must make a (DC 16) Dexterity saving throw. Upon failure, they take 13 (2d12) vs. acid damage.
Disclaimer: Like all creatures with a death throes ability, don’t abuse it! Your players will get tired of it.
The damned souls of particularly cruel folk who exploited the law to destroy their enemies and anyone else who dared to disagree with them. In the afterlife, they have become a ghastly mockery of their grisly actions. These hanging judges may have received their just deserts in life, but in death they only cause more pain and suffering at the hands of their own “law”, which they enforce throughout the whole region. And even worse, some might lead a posse of like-minded individuals who have an equally deranged take on the law.
Medium undead, lawful evil
Armor Class 16 (supernatural leather armor, akimbo style see below)
Hit Points 102 (12d8 + 48)
Speed 30ft., Hover 30ft.
STR 17 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 19 (+4) INT 13 (+1) WIS 16 (+3) CHA 15 (+2)
Skills Intimidation +10, Nature +5, Perception +7, Stealth +6
Saving Throws Strength +7, Dexterity +6, Intelligence +5, Charisma +6
Damage Resistances cold, fire, damage from magical weapons
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison, psychic, damage from non-magical weapons
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses Darkvision 120ft., passive Perception 17
Languages Common, Abyssal, Infernal
Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)
Akimbo Style. When the Hangin’ Judge has attacked with its bayonet scythe and revolver in the same hand during the same round, it may use a bonus action to use its off-hand to attack with either weapon. Its modifiers are applied to the respective attack and damage. Furthermore, while wielding both weapons, the hangin’ judge increases its AC by 2.
Arcane Firearm. The Hangin’ Judge automatically reloads its revolvers when bullets run out. Furthermore, the Judge’s attacks count as magical.
Call to Action. The Hangin’ Judge can call for aid from other hangin’ judges. They usually show up within a night. The allied creature can be from an indeterminate distance, as long as they exist on the same plane.
Hang ‘Em High. If brought to 0 hit points, the Hangin’ Judge will remain unconscious for up to 1 hour before resurrecting back to normal. If strung by the neck by a noose, the Hangin’ Judge will drop to 0 hit points and become dead. After one day, it will reanimate and be restored back to its regular state. If the hangin’ judge has been hung by a noose and is also tried by a (respectable) judge or law figure within that 1 day time, the Hangin’ Judge will remain dead and cannot be reanimated.
Magic Resistance. The Hangin’ Judge has advantage on saving throw against magical effects and spells.
Multiattack. The Hangin’ Judge may attack three times per round.
Bayonet Scythe. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature. Hit 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage.
Revolver. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 60ft./180ft., one creature. Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) acid damage. The target must also make a (DC 16) Constitution saving throw or have their speed reduced by half until the start of their next turn.
The ‘Glom, short for conglomerate, is a mixture of undead corpses fused through unholy magic. It sloshes and slinks across the land, looking for more bodies to consume to make it stronger. It’s a single-minded killer obsessed with strength at the cost of any living or dead creature it might find. Its disgusting features have a habit of inducing terror in all that gaze upon it.
Large undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 93 (11d10 + 33)
STR 16 (+3) DEX 13 (+1) CON 16 (+3) INT 5 (-3) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 7 (-2)
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses passive Perception 11
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Aura of Fear. Any creature that enters or starts its turn within 60ft. of the ‘glom must make a (DC 14) Wisdom saving throw. Upon failure, they are frightened to upwards to 1 hour. At the end of its turn, it may attempt a new save. If the target ends its fear effect, it is immune to it for up to 24 hours.
False Appearance. While motionless, the ‘glom looks like indistinguishable from an ordinary pile of corpses.
Multiple Limbs. The ‘glom possesses parts from various bodies, effecting it in different ways. Depending on what excess limbs it has, depends on what boons it has. Choose one of the following (in the case of gaining more features, each one can’t be obtained more than once):
- +10ft. speed, Advantage on all saves and checks to avoid being moved or falling prone, increase dexterity by +2. (this increases AC by 1)
- Advantage on Perception checks made with sight and hearing, in addition to advantage on saving throws versus blindness and deafness, increase wisdom by +2.
- Can use a bonus action to make one of its attacks, increase strength by +2. (this increases the claw attack and damage as well)
- Gain advantage on checks/saves versus stunning, paralysis or falling unconscious. Furthermore, the ‘Glom is proficient in saving throws for Undead Fortitude. Increase constitution by +2. (this adds an additional 11 hit points)
Undead Fortitude. Like the Zombie, the ‘Glom is incredibly resilient, maybe more so. If damage reduces the ‘glom to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5+the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the ‘glom drops to 1 hit point instead.
Multiattack. The ‘Glom may attack up to 3 times per round.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) slashing damage. The ‘Glom can forgo damage to grab the target instead. The DC to escape is 14.
Consume Corpse. The ‘Glom may devour a body that is dead or dying. By doing so, it regains 11 (2d10) hit points, as it mends and replaces damaged parts. In addition, it gains another feature from Multiple Limbs until it gains all four.
Variant Skeleton: Reaper Bones
- Give the skeleton the following:
- Multiattack. The Reaper Bones may attack twice.
- Sickle. change shortsword damage to slashing.
- Remove shortbow attack.
- Increase to Challenge. 1/2 (100 XP)
Variant Skeleton: Kegger Skeleton
Give the skeleton the following:
- Lose all other attacks.
- Gain Action – Suicide Rush: Ranged weapon attack: (DC14) Dexterity saving throw, 15ft. blast radius, all creatures. Failure: 4 (1d8) bludgeoning damage plus 9 (2d8) fire damage. Success: half damage. If the Kegger skeleton has any remaining hit points, it’s reduced to 0. A kegger skeleton who has activated this ability cannot be brought back through reanimation a la Animate Dead. Higher level magic is necessary.
- Death Throes: Upon being reduced to 0 HP, the kegger skeleton may use its reaction to activate Suicide Rush.
- Increase to Challenge. 1/2 (100 XP)
IMAGE CREDIT: Pale Bill – SpineBender, Hangin’ Judge – E Blackmore, ‘Glom – Aldin “Buzz” Aw, Art from Zdzisław Beksiński, Dracula – J.E. Larson; Reaper – Dave Wilkins; Assorted Darkwatch Screenshots – High Noon Studios