“Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here’s a happy one for you.
Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again.
Happy trails to you,
Keep smiling until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again.”
– A local favorite song written by a traveling group of musicians, known to many saloons across the frontier.
Sure, tomes and bestiaries aren’t as easy to come by out west. But, plenty of folks are filled with tall tales and plenty are still recorded in a helping of journals and logs. These stories might some day become traditions, passed down to both entertain and frighten listeners. But beware, many of these tales are quite true. They exist as warnings to watch your back and that your fear of the dark is probably a legitimate one! And sure, lots of the local tunes folks write are pretty cheery, but that’s just a means of keeping people with it. Now, when you have outsiders start dying off by the droves? They’ll either make songs to mourn you or outright mock you. The western frontier is a harsh place, the residents are almost as harsh as the monsters.
Author’s Note: Outside of a tie-in here or there, I’m gonna wind down on the weird western content as the summer begins to close. Of course, I’m down for going a bit longer, having the more traditional gothic wait till the Fall (or as I call it, “Halloween season”)! Either way, this is the last of my weird western (or rather, Weird America) monsters for now. I’ll have a few more in the future, in other posts… probably.
Legends tell of a humanoid creature that tears the skins off of others, wearing it as their own. These wicked creatures are petty and jealous creatures that crave what they perceive as the beauty of people. They’ll even happily kill for it. In fact, when they desire a new look, they’ll seduce new victims through various means, through acts of dark charisma and sorcery. Many say that the thing will take your breath and your soul alike.
Turn and Spin! Come Off, Skin! The Boo Hag can take a minute to remove or graft skin, as if it were donning and doffing light armor. It requires sewing tools (or in some cases, a sewing machine) and a hot surface (such as hot coals) to do so. It can remove skin from a freshly slain creature or try to flay a living creature. When removed, the skin is stored somewhere safe. This is their main weakness, as destroying the skin is the only way to truly kill a Boo Hag.
Medium fiend, neutral evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 187 (15d8 + 45)
Speed 30 ft., Fly 30 ft.
STR 18 (+4), DEX 16 (+3), CON 17 (+3), INT 14 (+2), WIS 15 (+2), CHR 18 (+4)
Saving Throws Constitution +6, Wisdom +6
Damage Vulnerabilities radiant
Damage Resistances cold, necrotic; bludgeoning/piercing/slashing from non magical weapons that aren’t silvered
Damage Immunities fire, poison, psychic
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, poisoned
Senses. Darkvision 120 ft. (see through magical darkness), passive Perception 12
Languages. Common, Infernal, Abyssal
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
Innate Magic. The Boo Hag is capable of some magical talents, using Charisma (+8 to hit, DC 16) for casting. The Boo Hag can use the following:
- At-Will: Disguise Self, False Life, Friends, Hex
- 1/Day: Hold Person
Boo Hag Weaknesses. While without a skin, the Boo Hag suffers greatly. The hag has disadvantage on Charisma checks (except Intimidation) as well as checks to disguise itself. While in direct sunlight, the Hag takes 10 radiant damage per round. If brought down to 0 HP by sunlight, the Boo Hag disintegrates into dust.
Ridin’ Claws. The Boo Hag can use a bonus action to grab a creature, if it hits with a Sickly Claw attack.
Multiattack. The Boo Hag may make up to two attacks per round. These can be a combination of Shrieking Bone Shard, Sickly Claw and Flaming Bolt.
Shrieking Bone Shard. Ranged Weapon Attack. +7 to hit, ranged 60/120 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d12 + 3) piercing damage. The target must also make a Constitution saving throw (DC 16) or take 7 (2d6) thunder damage.
Sickly Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, 5 ft. reach, one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) slashing damage plus 7 (2d6) poison damage. Creatures hit by this attack must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 16) or the target is unable to recover hit points for 1d10 minutes. Total minutes stack.
Flaming Bolt. Ranged Spell Attack: +8 to hit, ranged 120 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d10) fire damage.
Steal Breath. Melee Spell Attack: Charisma saving throw (DC 16) , reach 5 ft., one grappled or restrained target (or alternatively, a sleeping target). Failure: 40 (8d8 + 4) cold damage. Failure also results in losing maximum HP equal to the total damage dealt. This lasts until a Remove Curse or related spell is cast upon the victim as well as taking a long rest.
Variant Boo Hag: Skin Clad Hag
These are Boo Hags that successfully steal a skin from a victim and put it on. They’re deceptively beautiful and can use their disguise to get close to a victim, riding them for all the breath they have.
They gain the following traits, which may override or alter others:
- Alternate Identity – The hag can assume an identity based on the skin they are wearing, gaining advantage on deception checks and disguise checks to do so.
- Ignore Weaknesses. While wearing a skin, the boo hag is not affected by Boo Hag Weaknesses.
- Not Truly Dead. The Boo Hag can only truly die when without a skin. If brought to 0 HP and killed while wearing a skin, the Boo Hag will return to the point of its death 1 day later.
- Challenge. Increase to 10 (5,900 XP)
Massive parasitic insects. They lay countless clusters of eggs, while hiding themselves in the deepest parts of prairie grass or thick sand. When the time is right, they spring out to claim their prey of all of its blood and much more. The bloated bugs are the size of a fist, capable of expanding into something the size of someone’s guts. Hell, when they’re done, they burst right out of a poor sap just like that.
Tiny monstrosity, chaotic evil
Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 27 (6d4 + 12)
STR 8 (-1) DEX 14 (+2) CON 14 (+2) INT 3 (-4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 7 (-2)
Skills Athletics +1, Perception +5, Stealth +6
Senses Tremorsense 120ft., passive Perception 15
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Incredible Latching. These parasites can grab onto a victim like no one’s business! They have advantage on all checks to grab onto a creature and to hold onto it.
Hooks and Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (2d4 + 2) piercing damage. Target has their maximum hit points reduced by the total damage taken as the Prairie Tick regains hit points equal to half of that damage. The target must also make a (DC 14) Constitution saving throw or the tick burrows inside of its host. On following rounds, it automatically hits, but may roll to see if it critically hits. Attempting to damage the tick will split damage between the tick and its host.
Chest Burster. When a host that it has burrowed into dies, it uses a reaction to leap from the torso, up to 20ft. All creatures who witness this within 20ft. of the victim must make a (DC 14) Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for up to 1 minute (or until they succeed save on at the start of their next turn.)
Variant: Prairie Tick Queen
.These big nasty ones are the queens. They carry all the youngins on their backs, sometimes releasing them like they were projectiles. In fact, you better believe that swarms of the spawn follow suit wherever she goes.
- Increase size to Small
- Increase hit points to 45 (6d6 + 12)
- Increase Strength and Dexterity to 16 (+3, add +1 modification to relevant attack/damage)
- Gain Hivemind. The Prairie Ticks obey the queen of the hive. While within 300ft. of a prairie queen, they can instantly receive and obey any order she delivers without the need for an action.
- Increase proboscis damage to 10 (2d6 + 3)
- Increase challenge to 1 (200 XP)
Prairie Tick Spawn Swarm
The babies, they’re just as alarming to behold. There’s lots of ’em in a group! The whole horde charges onward!
Use the Swarm of Insects stats (Monster Manual, Page 338).
What it lacks in fiery breath, it makes up for with a bite capable of shredding steel! With talons and tentacles alike, it swoops down to grab prey before its beaked maw can finish it off. These creatures range from an economic menace to a population cleansing fiend!
Huge dragon, unaligned
Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 199 (21d12 + 63)
Speed 30ft., Fly 60ft.
STR 22 (+6) DEX 20 (+5) CON 16 (+3) INT 6 (-2) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 7 (-2)
Senses Darkvision 120ft., passive Perception 12
Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)
Flyby. The Snallygaster doesn’t provoke an opportunity attack when it flies out of an enemy’s reach.
Strong Tentacles. The Snallygaster has advantage on checks to grapple, while using its tentacles. In addition, while making an attack with Painful Grasp, the Snallygaster may use a bonus action to try to grapple once per round.
Multiattack. The Snallygaster may attack up to four times per round, using Deadly Beak no more than twice.
Deadly Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage.
Painful Grasp. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10ft., one creature. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) bludgeoning damage.
Amorphous, barely humanoid, uncanny. These abominations are creations of pure dream energy, forged and hardened by evil thoughts, wicked visions and graphic night terrors. They seek to terrorize all creatures of the material realm, to make nightmares a living reality. Despite their one track mind, they’re far from stupid creatures. In fact, they love dragging all reality into their surreal hell. Those who have connections to spiritual shamans are more warded than those without. However, these creatures have found ways to toss away dream catchers, smash small shrines and desecrate holy spaces all the same. And worst of all, these are just foot soldiers sent to gather what they can for their masters. However, they love to induce sleep paralysis more than anything.
Like all creatures of dream, they return back to their realm when slain. Unless killed in their home plane, they’re never truly dead. Some might hold a grudge.
Medium aberration (quori), chaotic evil
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 52 (8d8 + 16)
STR 10 (+0) DEX 17 (+3) CON 14 (+2) INT 16 (+3) WIS 15 (+2) CHA 19 (+4)
Skills Perception +6, Stealth +5
Damage Resistances bludgeoning/piercing/slashing from non-magical weapons
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, poisoned
Senses Tremorsense 60ft., passive Perception 16
Languages Deep Speech, Quori, Common, Telepathy 60ft.
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Innate Magic. The nightmare entity is capable of casting some minor magical abilities, using charisma as its modifier (+6 to hit, DC 14)
- At-Will: Misty Step, Vicious Mockery
- 1/Day: Hold Person
Phasing Movement. The nightmare entity can move through solid objects. However, should it end its movement in a solid object, it takes 5 (2d4) force damage.
Search the Subconscious. Unless the mind is warded, any attack that successfully hits causes the target to make a (DC 14) Charisma saving throw. Upon failure, the victim’s surface thoughts are known to the Nightmare Entity.
Distorted Reality. Space within 30ft. of the Nightmare Entity is temporarily warped. This counts as magical difficult terrain for all intents and purposes. Starting a turn in this space causes a creature to make a (DC 14) Intelligence saving throw or take 5 (2d4) psychic damage.
Mind Digging Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5ft., one creature. Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) slashing damage plus 7 (2d6) psychic damage.
IMAGE CREDITS: Undead Cowboys – Ned Dameron, Boo Hag – Traci Shepherd, Tick Demon – Mojobob; Lazro creature 3 – JSMarantz
Deadlands is property of Pinnacle Entertainment. Created by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media. All rights and copyrights belong to respective owners.