Weird Western Monsters – Part 2 (Strange Beasts and Beastly Folk)

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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.

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Amphibi -An Amphibian race for D&D 5th Edition

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Born Strange, Drawn to the Strange

Amphibi, a species of humanoid amphibians.  These creatures have been called many things; bullywogs, grippili, frog demons (though, these comments hail from another plane of reality entirely).  Some dimension hopping amphibi have even been worshiped by a deranged cult from a plane called Terra.  In truth, these are quite distant from the truth.  Like many beings descended from Arcadia, realm of the Fey, they were sculpted from strange magic and other creatures.  Unlike other beastly folk, the Amphibi are a mystery.  Some figure them to be the remains of a fae worshiping cult from a swampy demiplane that wanted to embrace true faerie power.  There is little proof of that, plus the amphibi themselves don’t seem to know much about it either.

No matter their origins, they tend to dwell in lush and murky habitats; whether that would be a temperate or a rain forest environment.  Their skittish nature pushes them towards isolationism, more than anything.  However, they are also quick to attack anything that they cannot trust.  Despite all of that, they’re both clever hunters and crafters; creating a bunch of strange little contraptions to make day to day life more interesting.  In fact, some have returned to their odd routes and have begun to worship an entity they call “The Fallen Glow.”  To them, it is an animated chunk of star that flew into their territory.  In reality, it’s an alien being locked in a semi-conscious state… but just powerful enough to be influential.

A Friendly, but Quirky Folk

While decently trusting of others, many of them also have a slightly skittish side.  It is typically not hard to frighten an Amphibi.  How they react entirely depends on whether they prefer fight or flight responses.  While many will seek an opportunity to run away, others will use innate poisons or their own weapons to strike back.  This isn’t to say they’re not open to negotiations and diplomacy.  Many attempt to reach out to other lands in effort to expand networks and create allegiances.  However, common flaws of an unintentionally cold nature and situational awkwardness have hampered this to an extent.  In spite of that, observers tend to notice an often relaxed demeanor among the Amphibi when they’re not under intentional stress.  A popular phrase among their people in response to a soothing environment is “feels good.”

Author’s Note:  Well, this was a strange request.  But hey, amphibious humanoids are an essential part of D&D!  So, how could I resist?  Besides the tongue in cheek pokes at D&D inspired products and real life happenings/memes, I wanted to make an homage to David Arneson’s Blackmoor; Egg of Coot, Temple of the Frog, Beagle and all!  Also included is a new deity for science-fantasy games.

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Swinefolk – A “Porc” Race for D&D 5th Edition

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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!

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Minotaur- A Tough Bovine-like Race for D&D 5th Edition

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“Call me ‘beef’ one more time, I find human to be delicious!”


Born into Darkness, Creations of a Mad Man


Legends of their peoples’ origins have long since been an enigma.  Some say they were born in service to the glory of the puzzling maze, perhaps they are scions of the Demon Lord Baphomet, to some they are harbingers of the end days.  Much like the Minotaur themselves, these legends and stories have traveled across boundless planes.  In reality, the archfey lord of Nightmares brought such creatures to life in boundless mazes of his design.  Unlike the myths, these labyrinths weren’t made to protect something or to hide his work, but as a means of psychological torment and dastardly experimentation.  Few know the truth, but they have likely been driven to insanity by their petty pseudo-god.  Like all beast folk of Arcadia, their kind was not initially born but remade.  Several creatures ensnared under the Nightmare Lords grasp were warped into their current form, in an attempt to create relentless servants of chaos.  To this archfey, an army of unstable beastly horrors is exactly what was needed to turn the tides in war.


Fierce in Strength and in Spirit


While the Nightmare Lord’s brainwashed army of bovine-headed horrors began to ravish the material plane, not all were controlled to commit horrible acts.  Those who broke free from this control fled to dark corridors and sprawling tunnels.  Ironically, such hiding places were much like the horrible conditions they were tortured in for so long.  Even so, their familiarity with dungeons and mazes lead to them building complex mountain-side societies.  Rather than build over the land, they built into it; eventually developing all sorts of defensive methods against intruders and invaders alike.  In the years following, they had met conflict with the subterranean mound fey, human settlements and extraplanar entities.  This never deterred their survival instincts and knack for defensive innovation.  Eventually, some of their own became among the first to ascend.  A described high queen of healing and life was among those most powerful.  Those devoted to her cause can craft salves of magical healing through prayer and meditation.

Beyond worship of ascended minotaur powers, their societies have emerged to be an industrious and militant society built on protection and honor.  Some are driven by a passion to fight for what they believe in, while others are driven by keeping their kin safe at all costs.  These beliefs have lead to them being a prominent developer of arms and armory, making them a desirable trade ally.  However, their self-imposed sanctions make it harder for contraband dealers and illegal traders to gain powerful supplies.

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Avian – A Bird Race for D&D 5e

BIRB POWER!

Hailing from the highest regions of Arcadia, the Avians are naturally at home in the air.  Alongside airborne races such as the Avariel, these intelligent beasts comb the skies in search of new lands and new adventures.  Despite certain forms being common, there are many types of Avian in this realm.  However, only a certain amount of sub-types are common in other Material planes.  Typically the sturdiest and sneakiest stock slip their way through dimensional gateways.

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Birds of a Feather

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As the name would imply, Avians look like upright/semi-bipedal bird creatures.  Despite their beastly appearance, they are none the less capable of intelligent thought and insightful wisdom.  Some are very confident speakers as well!  While not using their wings for flight, they’re capable of operating complex objects or utilizing weaponry with the hand-like ends of arms.  In some instances, an Avian is capable of utilizing its talon feet to manipulate objects while in flight.  Some have been able to covet large amounts of (typically shiny) objects with their talons before taking to the skies, as their witnesses are more than likely unable to catch them.  Some are capable of incredible talents much like the birds they descended from; agile feats of combat, the ability to seek out death, inspiring aid through bird song.

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Feuding Societies and Free Outsiders

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Avians in their home realm are divided based on the variety of bird that inspired them.  Some avians, such as Corvid based ones, tend to lay within realms that touch the Ethereal, the Demiplane of Shadow or lands of the Unseelie.  Some avians, like Songbird based, are likely to dwell close to realms that touch the Astral, the Demiplane of Radiance and the lands of the Seelie.  More neutral, such as the Hawk-based avians, tend to stay within the most wild of Arcadia’s endless worlds.  Politics and extreme bias play quite the roll among natives to Arcadia, especially their sky dwelling residence.  However, neither side is geared towards good or evil, just because there’s a favoritism towards certain parts of Arcadian life.  They tend to be ambivalent towards viewpoints outside of their own.  However, stereotypes tend to breed and spread throughout the various avian societies.  More adventurous avians are quick to dispel these notions and are likely to cross into other planes entirely.  Some caravans and colonies have even started from an avian desire to see the multiverse as a whole.  Many avian who have left Arcadia have also left their allegiances to factions behind as well, aiming to start anew in realms of countless possibility.

Author’s Note:  The Aarakocra have been rather divisive for a long time.  Their appearance in 5th edition has been no less controversial.  I’ll admit, my version isn’t an attempted fix on what’s dubbed broken.  Rather, it’s my own take on the concept from the ground up, using various species for inspiration.

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Meles – The Mutated Results of Dwarven Explorers for D&D 5th Edition

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“Few will admit it, but our people were once great and powerful dwarves, not talking fuzzy forest animals!” – Torg Stoneforger, Meles Warrior

In ages past, a huge colony of dwarves sought out to adventure the planes beyond.  While many establishments were temporary, they settled on a mountainside and forest that reminded the colony of their material plane home.  Many planar explorers know such a place, the Fae World of Arcadia.  However, the powerful spirits of this wilderness plane took ire of their presence in a relatively short time.  As such, they placed a hex upon them.  At first, nothing seemed off; the dwarves had a stronger sense of smell, they gained a taste for new things, they became more active at dusk through night time.  In the weeks following, they began to take on physical traits of badgers, as panic set in.  As time went on, the explorers became less like dwarves and more like badgers.  Revolts against the fey and attempts to escape happened less and less as their minds faded into something somewhat sentient but beastly at the same time.  Their newly formed badger bodies and minds became comfortable with the dens they built as they truly became a part of their strange extraplanar home.  Only a rare few had their minds kept intact enough to inform any willing to listen about their dwarven heritage.

Meles, to the untrained eye, appear to be awakened badgers.  However, they are semi-humanoid creatures that look like badgers.  While most of them argue they are badgers given expanded minds by their gracious hosts, the ones that know the truth are stubborn about it, despite not valuing intellect as much as their descendants.  Ironically, these “Dwarf Minded” are typically viewed as social outcasts and oddities by their people.  That doesn’t stop them from trying to seek a way to become dwarves again.  No matter, they often send out adventurers to explore the boundless reaches of reality and bring new information back.  In a sense, their drive to explore and learn hasn’t left since the colony first arrived.  In fact, the some explorers have encountered their old clans from the Material Realm.  Sadly, neither of them were able to recognize each other, beyond a sense of comradery they re-established.  In a sense, they’re outsiders for choices that their ancestors made.  For that reason, many “Dwarf Minded” go on quests to become dwarves, in hopes of reintegrating into the societies their ancient explorer families hailed from. Majority of Meles are deemed the “wild” social caste, living as beasts given some semblance of thought and guidance.  However, they use their somewhat intact minds to bolster their instincts and savage fury. The “Throwback” caste have done all in their power to rekindle their lost heritage by any means possible.  To them, balancing the past and the present is the only way to stay sane.  They are typically more aware and knowledgeable than their more bestial relatives.  However, they are still aliens among dwarven society, friends at best.  However, more sinister wild Meles have taken notice of this, channeling dread spirit magicks in an effort to infect other planar dwarves with the same power that created them.  Most extarplanar Meles that aren’t Dwarf-Minded explorers or feral scouts were likely created this way.

Author’s Note:  I had a discussion about stupid D&D races and among them was the Wildren.  They’re dwarf spirits that bump uglies with celestial badgers.  Yeah, that’s kinda weird and something I wouldn’t plan on using.  So, I babbled about how I could create a better race. Instead they’re ex-dwarves cursed by fey magic, some embrace their wild status while others try to desperately try to remain dwarven in some way.  Plus their name comes from Meles Meles, the name for the European Badger.  Also, I stumbled across a cool reiteration by Dungeon Hacking, which you should check it!

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