“You call it wendigo, I call it target pract-AAAAAAAAAAAA!”
The settlements and towns of the west have always been weird. The supposedly more natural things out there? They are far weirder. While the natives are not overly inclined to disclose much about the local wildlife and mythic beings, any information that can be gathered will save your life. You’ve already heard about a fair bit of some of the strange critters in prior lessons and briefings, but there’s a fair bit more to behold.
– a snippet from The Cactus Sting Rangers’ Handbook
There is tons of fascinating mysteries and legends that are indigenous to these regions, much like the people who have long since lived here. Some of the natives know these secrets quite well and most prefer to keep them hidden from outsiders. Whether out of a mutual sense of racism or a fear of what might be done with such knowledge, it remains as strange as the creatures that dwell just beyond one’s vision.
Author’s Note: While a lot of classic monsters are punted around all willy-nilly, a lot of awesome creatures from various native nations often got left in the wayside. While not exact adaptations, I wanted to highlight a few creatures that might appear in a Weird Western type game (or regions a little outside of that, which I started to do with some creatures that have origins in Mexico, the Appalachian mountains, the northern states/Canada and then some). And what better creatures to show up than the folklore and stories of the Americas? For the time being, this will close out the “Weird Western” theme I’ve been doing, at least in terms of monsters. I might be up for crafting magic items or doing something else, but we’ll see. See the previous post for the Wendigo.
Here’s a quickie I really wanted to do for DM’s Guild, in celebration of Eberron being brought back to the game! Inside, there’s 6 new monsters, as well as a brief primer on the warforged race and ways to use them outside of their intended setting.
You can get this document here!
Yes, I’m shilling, but only because I love this book…
Yeah, a lot of monsters lie out there. What do you wanna read about? We got tons of dusty tomes we’ve accrued from the old world, some from the new world. Of course, lots of folks here care very little about reading…
Author’s Note: Beyond a handful of homebrew reflavors of existing monsters, here’s a sampling of creatures from one of my favorite 3rd party books, Tome of Beasts. I’m not sponsored by Kobold Press to do this, I just figure I’d continue my reflavoring posts by expanding to another book this time.
“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!
“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.
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.