“There’s living dead, even in the wilderness… Well, damn.”
“The job is clear. You shall escort my caravan through the brutal and harsh beast lands, then aid me in distributing these medicinal creations to the people of my tribe. The latter is easy, the former is likely to kill you if you lack the knowledge. As it is, some buffoon who followed me around nearly died, but I taught him some of my ways. But, he’s not important. Are you up for this task? If not, stand aside. And please, direct questions for my caravan’s scout. He is knowledgeable on almost all travel matters. Also, don’t mind the living dead.” – Moonlotus Fadingdusk, a human witch from the Seeking Mind tribe… Or so she says.
There’s a handful of beastly creatures out there in the weird western frontier. A few varmints aren’t overly harmful, while others are truly malicious. The vast wilderness requires one on their toes at all times, lest they get torn apart by the seems, some quick snack for a cunning predator. It’s this reason why rangers and trailblazers join caravans, to minimize casualties outside of civilization.
Author’s Note: More weird critters, yeah! I decided a few obligatory folk tales were a necessary add-on, because fur bearing trout and jackalope are truly fun stories. While it was supposed to be in another post on native inspired folk beasts, I added the accursed wendigo here. Warning, this one is quite strong!
“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.
Why hello-li-lo-li-lo! The name is Jermaine! Funny name for a guy like me, I know, but I’m the one and only! I know what you’re about to say… What am I? Don’t worry, I am not offended, not in the very least! I love to talk about myself! I am of the Arcane and I am here to serve you. These robes I wear, they are ceremonial, for the high holy act of commerce and trade; a sacred practice among my people. My people have scoured wild space, the planes, the multiverse, you name it; we have visited it! Many like me collect all sorts of oddities for my “bizarre bazaar”.
Unlike that barmy star berk, I assure you that my wares are much safer… and much fairer of a price. My associates procure a wide variety of simply marvelous items from all over all known realities, the price you pay matches the story and the piece! Now, what is my specialty? Why, I collect and craft technological crafts empowered by The Art… That’s “magic” for the clueless out there. I’ve rambled far too long… So my lovely observers, do you see anything you like? Hmmm? … Oh, and one more thing! No refunds, a merchant has to make a handful of jink somehow. Ya hear me, baby?
Author’s Note: I’m back with another contribution to the RPG Blog Carnival! This month’s theme is gonzo cross-genre gaming, hosted by Cross-Planes! Find out more HERE. Also, stay tuned for my theme post next month!
If there is one thing I love, it’s magitech! Sure, most of my planar items count as this already, but I wanted to try something new. In fact, I made a new shopkeeper narrator for the occasion as well! (Don’t worry, Zam’dul isn’t going anywhere, Jermaine promises this!) Here’s a sampling of technomagical devices for your games! And yes, Scaramouche from the Samurai Jack miniseries inspired Jermaine the Arcane. I also went a little crazy on these, so they might be a tad unstable.
Hardy Hogs of Arcadia
In olden days, they were called the “Pigmen”. More often than not, they were mistaken for another fearsome race known as “The Orcs”. While Orcs were born from natural means and from a different reality entirely, Swinefolk were created by the Arcadians as sturdy infantry for war. These creatures were bred to charge into foes, goring them with their tusks; all while sustaining incredible amounts of damage. Like many of the beastkin that dwell in the material realm, many broke away from Arcadia; whether from imperial campaigns or out of rebellion. Built much like their wild ancestors, these creatures are brute ferocity incarnate. While not too threatening from afar, the Swinefolk are known to brashly charge into their floes and slam them with their deadly tusks. They are also skilled at combat and are a challenge to down. While stocky and often foul tempered, they are able to endure suffering like few other creatures can.
Warring Clans, Brutal Combatants
Contemporary swinefolk tend to be divided among two societies, the natural dwelling truffleroot caste and the imperial-minded sylvan caste. The former cares little about outside politics, focusing on their own societies. This can range from ensuring survival to slight self-indulgence. More often then not, they just prefer to be left alone and to their own devices at that. While they’re curious about new developments in the world around them, they tend to be apathetic to trends and popularity in general. While they tend to be the more mellow of the two societies, they can still be angered quite easily. The latter was built upon spreading fear and servitude to the dark fae… or at least their newer societies have taken inspiration from this. In a sense, these ‘pigmen’ are closer to how many portray another creature called “The Orc”. In fact, it has earned them the nickname of “Porc” as a result. But, best be warned, using that nickname around this breed of swinefolk is a good way to provoke violence. The fact that these creatures have arrived to the material realm recently has made this distinction all the more apparent. While the Sylvan get along with the Orcs, the Truffleroot have come to dislike them immensely.
Even among the swinefolk themselves, there is a lot of anger and aggression. The two split factions often but heads whenever they meet, almost literally. Their civil war is endless and tireless, as is their hatred for each other. While some have escaped the politics of both factions, said politics still have a habit of catching up to them. Many adventurers have taken a roll as emissary or representative for either faction; while others seek out adventuring out of pure rebellion. For some, adventuring is a means of escape and independence. For other more harshly minded swinefolk, it’s a means of assembling a new faction to crush the other two.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This started as a pun for April Fool’s Day that never got fleshed out beyond a bad pun… So, yeah. Anyway, I wanted to come back to said “POrc” race and actually make it something. I’m not fully content with it, so I might change it up a bit later. Until then, playable big pig things!