The campaign pushed into the Grey Wastes themselves. We were readied for countless fiends, all battling in the name of their dastardly causes. We even were readied to control the sinister magics of the Night Hag. But, something unexpected and foul caught many by surprise… Aberrations formed and mutated through necromancy. Surely, these beasts weren’t native to the plane, but something brought them there. Something perfected them. The casualties within my own legions became astronomical, even with pushing the abominations back long enough. – Lucien, an angel-blooded aasimar paladin, captain of The Indefatigable.
My series of planar monsters continues with a healthy mixture of folklore, pop culture and crazy custom creatures. This time, a post devoted to horrible things to crawl up from the Lower Planes! Fiends, hellish constructs, necromantic mind flayers, cursed souls and more!
Author’s Note: In addition to some more planar threats, I wanted to ramp things up a bit with some more out there experiments. Also, shout out to Brynvalk for inspiring one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard of. Also, I’m back to bringing in a fair number of fiends to horrify my mini-bestiaries! I love making fiends! Also, pardon the classic rock references. But, it wouldn’t be my first time.
“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!
My good blogger buddy, Brynvalk, is hosting a theme once more! This time around, it’s “Tabletop Tales“. If you wanna know more, please hop over to the page in the link and help support the theme! For more on RPG Blog Carnival, please go here! Despite the slight break in theme from Gaslamp Fantasy/Gothic Horror/Weird Western, my content will continue during the next week. Who knows? Maybe I’ll make another blog carnival post that’s also a themed post for here. Some kinda lore related post or world building that ties into the theme of stories in the tabletop realm. I may be truly something out there, but I have a few fun ideas here and there!
In the meantime, please indulge a mad bard as he recants tales of wonder, woe and weeeeiiiiiiirrrrrddd stuff! Let me share with you stories of high adventure! (cue Conan the Barbarian theme)
“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.
“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.
Many incredible mages exist throughout the multiverse. They have unlocked the secrets to incredible power, twisting magic into spells rarely seen by fellow spellcasters… if at all. Those of great power tend to be reclusive, for a powerful mage makes many enemies. Some even take their magic to new and epic levels. Whether they become archmages, demigods or just powerful spirits locked in some dimension; some yearn for a student to pass their work onto in some capacity. After all, while some magical secrets should die with their creator, other gifts should be passed on.
The Ancient Magi Patron provides one such method. Those in service to the ancient magi are typically scholars of the arcane, seeking ways to expand their knowledge and craft. Many are devotees to the very arcanist they serve, while some are just greedy and desire to steal forgotten magic for their own benefit. More often than not, their arcane superior is aware of their intentions and will use them accordingly. Many ancient magi aren’t even on this plane anymore. Many of them have long since passed away or are locked in other realities. Some have been stranded in the Astral Plane, effectively frozen in time; while others are permanently sealed in unknown demiplanes. Some lucky ones dwell on material planes, but try to make their presence as nuanced as possible. Great mages like Mornenkainen and Elminster are examples of such magic-users.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Looking back, I wasn’t really too happy with my original draft. The general idea was solid, but I tried to make it feel too much like a binder vestige instead of a patron. Plus, some of the mechanics were made when I didn’t fully understand the warlock class. Now, some of the ideas here are heavily experimental. Giving a class ability to cast a certain spell 1 – 2 per day… and at the strength of the warlock’s level? That might be a bit strong, but I wanna see where I can develop this. None the less, I wanted to make a warlock patron that carries both a bit of sorcerer and wizard flavor to it. Plus, I created a quick-n-easy class variant for those of us who are nostalgic for the Archivist from the 3.5 Book, “Heroes of Horror”.