“So, boys. Do we rob a bank, steal some mighty fine booze or feast upon some good old fashioned brains?”
“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.
A lot of locals aren’t that friendly to outsiders… This one is no exception. It even drove off most of the natives themselves.
“Ah, another wanderer wanting to carve up the land. Surely, you don’t plan on heading to the caves of golden walls? There are tales of sinister things that guard the glistening walls of incredible rock and earth! No, friend, you should leave the golden cave down that way alone and continue on your way…” – Crafter-of-Words, a scout for the Clan of the Split Basin, trickster who loves pulling malicious pranks on settlers and travelers alike.
Here’s a continuation of my previous post. These creatures are inspired by various beings from lore and legend. Enjoy.
Author’s Note: This technically marks post # 300! Wow, that’s crazy! Anyway, thanks again to all who support me!
Due to a recent announcement, my Gaslamp/Gothic/Weird Western theme is temporarily semi-suspended. I plan on releasing a mixture of more monsters as well as some player options, (possible) alternate rules and magical items. I’ll release what I have in a few days before this train goes from steam to lightning. That’s right, Eberron content! Also, I say semi-suspended because Eberron kinda channels that gaslamp setting sensibility in a few ways.
“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!
“Jammer J. Spellman for governor! What a joke! His illegitimate son disappeared after following some madwoman some weeks back, plus there’s some scandal over him giving the okay to try to lynch some wolf man over some caravan dispute. The howling varmint broke free and ran, making Spellman look like an idiot! He even gave the sad sack of a mayor a lick on the face, like something out of a satirical illustration book. The rear kissing heeler was never a good mayor, that’s for certain… and now he wants to be some provincial governor? HA! I hope his loss is a huge one. If not, that idiot will run the territories right into the ground.” – Garvin Fripp, disgruntled farmer
Lots of folks populate countless settlements, villages, boom towns, what have you. While the adventurers are trying to uncover all the mysteries of the west; lots of folks have plenty of other jobs to attend to. And beyond those expansive tracts, tons of folks live their day to day, dealing with all sorts of things. Few townsfolk know what the tribesfolk are up to, but it’s known they’re hard working and persevering all the same.
Author’s Note: Yes, I know. A lot of this is reposted material that’s slightly brushed up. But, I figure it’s getting time to wrap things up soon, at least for the weird west. I’m probably gonna continue to my gaslamp stuff in one way or another. I focused a bit too much on the west. Also, I already posted a couple of NPCs in my previous post with the Gun-Mage and the Mad Scientist. Check them out too!
“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.
“Yeah, Fangs Gulch is a place. I found my way there not long after being bewitched and I started turning into one of them. Anyway, the locals look like those animalmen out in the wilderlands, but they run shops, shoot guns and live life like us. The scotch was something great, I only passed out after two jugs mind you. The butcher served up a nice slice of meat he called ‘furless one’. Even the ladies of the night were good too, even if they’re all hairy and have like eight knockers, real bitey and growly too. Hey, don’t look at me like that! It’s no weirder than the bar owner who screws automatons off-hours! Aww shucks, I really am one of them… – Rawoo (Rowan T. Jammerson), Lupine (Ex-Human) Maverick Rogue
The Lupines, especially the Gray Runners, often receive harsh treatment. Life in the tribes prove hard, but life among the outsiders, exotic travelers and other oddities proves all the more frustrating. Hostility seems inevitable, whether in the realms of trade or battle. Sometimes peace is achieved, but it’s often to suit an agenda. Some have sold their wisdom and secrets to get ahead of the travelers, while others have taken to more vindictive approaches… some reactions truly wicked. Most care about the day by day, appeasing the forces above them while surviving in a harsh world. Until recently, the harvests and hunts have been good, as life has been normal.
Author’s Note: By popular demand, here is more content for the gray runners… or rather, what the concept got expanded into. While they feel not overly different than Mystara’s Lupins (I even made a NPC that uses Lupin mechanics), they seemed pretty popular here. Plus, anything to bring more attention to Spellslinger (in the naive hope that Fantasy Flight Games will convert it to D&D 5E! Ya hear that, FFG!? You’d gain money from joining the new edition!) I pondered on how to expand on serpentmen, based on a request on my Tumblr blog, but my previous post points out that Yuan-Ti work just fine. For more on The Lupines, please check out this post here.