“Howdy, friend. You also crawl out of Hell?”
“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.
NEXT STOP, WESTWORLD, ALL A-beep-boop-beep!
I’ve seen plenty of things in my day, but none of them involved these divines darned machines taking over the place. I work for a living and some oiled up rust bucket won’t replace me! I’m a representation of the great folk who live here, at least out in Cascading Ridge, a real oasis if I do say! Now the place is probably gonna smell of bad oil. I’m gonna file a grievance to the mayor about this. I won’t be replaced!
– Gristle Pete, deceased cook for the Cascading Ridge Saloon and former miner.
“Shame about ol’ Pete. But, rumor has it that there’s an order hunting down folks who steal a fine explosive powder filled with magic. I heard Pete’s been hoarding it like something fierce. Plus, no machine can shoot with that level of precision, that bullet hole between the eyes? That’s masterwork! Hmm, certainly the act of an elite gunslinger, the wound is still somewhat fresh. I’d say maybe a couple of days old.”
– Jeanette P. Hoffman, Human Smokepowder Shootist, “Wandering Medical Examiner”.
The machines, they seem to be popping up everywhere. As long as there’s some hack scientist with some kinda idea, something automated will appear soon after. Gristle Pete, the saloon’s mad cook got strung up by something a couple of weeks ago after babbling about “automatons replacing him”. Poor ol’ loon. Plus, the owner of the bar seems a bit toooo friendly with his top of the line automaton staff, it’s downright disgusting. Plus, you got the mechanical miners too. Ol’ Pete used to be a miner once, ya know? No wonder he’s paranoid. Keep your distance from one of those wandering tin cans, if ya know what’s good.
Author’s Note: Machines, constructs, robots! I always love crafting something like that. Hell, I did an entire post dedicated to robots before. Plus, what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with some crazy, volatile machines!
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!
“The vast frontier. It’s a place of wonders, of possibility, of a quick and easy death! Don’t let the charms of a free and open land fool you, traveler. It’s a killer place out there. But, the market’s wide open for the taking if you know where to look. There’s a lot of devils in mortal skin looking to sell you a miracle tonic or a little company. If you’re smart, you’ll keep your wallet hidden and find a way to pull a fast one of your own. Or if you’re stuck in the wastes beyond town? Best pack well and ready more than one gun. You don’t know if it’s a pair of fangs or a bandit’s gun that will do you in out there. Of course, you can always drink and gamble your troubles away with us, stranger! We don’t cause much harm, mostly to ourselves… The ladies of the tavern are good at taking care of ya though. Or if you prefer, there’s a handful of men who are good companions too. I’m not just saying that as a recurring patron, either…”
-Rowan T. Jammerson, Human Maverick Rogue, drunken troublemaker, despised wandering womanizer, bastard son of Ex-Mayor Jammer J. Spellman, denizen of the town of Cactus Sting.
Whether in the “civilized” frontier or the badlands beyond, tons of terrors walk the weird western soil. From bandits beyond the grave to massive parasites that love the smell of gold, settlers and pioneers have more than their fair work cut out for them. Even the native locals are wise to keep away from many dangerous lands. And for a good trade, they might even be willing to disclose such information.
Author’s Note: Most of this comes from a mostly forgotten mini d20 setting that is chock full of cool inspiration! Spellslinger was part of the Horizon line by Fantasy Flight Games, who are mostly known for board games. Horizon was a series of D20 books that twisted the system into various new forms, continued through Legends and Lairs. These books allowed for play in steampunk, mecha, horror, weird western and other genres and were all around a good find! Sadly, they’re a bit rare. However, one need not obtain the books to enjoy these monsters. Also, I twisted around some of the magical “brands” into NPC monsters of their own… twisted versions of the old player options, if you will. Look out for a handful of other references too!
You can also find a variety of NPCs at your disposal over on this page.
The Order always prepares for adventure!
The Order of the Shootist, it’s a name claimed in both fear and mystery. They arrive with their incredible weaponry, unleashing thunder claps and smoke. And in mere instants, their enemies drop dead from incredible blasts of metal and fire. Only warriors worthy of their cause are admitted into their ranks. People know plenty about the mythical “fire brands”, as they have for countless years. However, most people are barely proficient. Even more fail to use them properly to begin with! The Shootist rises above these average folk. They hold sacred knowledge about not only wielding a gun with finesse, but a myriad of skills to truly champion their weapons.
For a Knight of the Shootist Order, there are many key features. One must move with a certain panache. Not only must they be graceful with their guns, but their steps must be constantly fluid. One slip up and you are shot down. A shootist has little time to stop and study their enemy, but must make a quick observation on the go. In addition, you won’t see armor worn as often within their ranks. Only truly strong and brisk warriors sport the arms and speed of a gunslinger with the armory of your traditional knight. Such individuals command both respect and a charismatic presence all their own. Some take to the shadows to get in the most brutal surprising shot possible, unleashing a devastating barrage.
Author’s Note: Lots of folks have asked a long time to revisit my shootist post. And since my theme for this month is Gaslamp Fantasy and Weird West, it was the perfect opportunity. So, let’s not just revisit the Shootist, but have a list of new options for the Rogue, Ranger and even Paladin! Take aim and fire, here’s a shooting gallery’s worth of options! However, these can easily be repurposed into a general ranged specialist if firearms are not allowed in your games or not common enough to allow training in.
Heya, Doc here! I wanted to do a slight change of pace from the norm. In support of a theme I have been waiting to look into for a while, here is a sampling of creatures based on fears that I’ve come across at some point in my life. Now, which ones genuinely effect me? I’d rather not say. But, here are some creepy critters inspired by various existing bits from the D&D multiverse as well as my own twisted psyche.
If you wanna jump on board this month’s theme, the theme is “What Scares You?” Read on here!
I had more beyond what I posted! Here’s part 2, containing armor and misc. items! So, let’s travel back into the strange, very chrome future and puruse some equally odd items from a truly alien era! Enjoy!