“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.
“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.
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!
What a wild night I had. I got kicked outta Wicker Valley by a bunch of complainers, stumbled drunk in the desert, was chased by giant wolves and met the most beautiful wandering honey! She took me to some big tent or whatever, gave me the best boozy juice I’ve ever had. When I came to in the morning, I was face down right outside of this town. Lucky break, huh? Granted, my ears and nose look a bit weird and I look a bit mangy. Must have been out of my mind for weeks, but my luck got me to survive! Anywho, you want some info on the weird critters I stumbled upon? I got a whole notebook’s worth! – Rowan T. Jammerson, Cursed-Human Maverick Rogue
All sorts of incredible things lie in the reaches beyond the boom towns, outposts and whatnot. Some might be potential allies, while most will kill you for survival’s sake. And, the farther from main parts of civilization you go, the lower your likelihood for survival is. The wilds sports a wide variety of strange flora and fauna alike, some with minds all their own.
Author’s Note: Originally, this was supposed to be a conversion of Spellslinger. That fell through. So, that’s pretty much it for my take on Spellslinger related content, unless there are requests for more NPCs based on the Brands and the like. By the way, keep an eye out for more weird western creatures, as well as a few conversions from other games.