Tales of wretched beasts, disturbing men and unspeakable evils pierce our ears and chill our souls. Countless villages, kingdoms, continents have stories of sinister monsters that seek to end us at any moment. Their motivations might differ or be strangely similar. Likely born of pure wickedness, these dark spirits haunt those who get too close to their very brand of malevolence.
Many of these monsters are often accompanied by tales of caution and woe. Those who drift too far off a righteous path are often victims of these horrors. Those who feel they’re too good for the morals of a realm or a certain way of life should always stay careful and alert, lest they fall prey to the evil that lurks nearby… waiting, stalking, preparing…
Author’s Note: Here’s another list of monsters, taking inspiration form creatures around the world. Also, here’s another case where I have 2 creepy horse-themed creatures… for some reason. Maybe I just find horses to be creepy? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s pent up horror caused by seeing that disturbing Archie McPhee horse mask? I don’t know.
UPDATE: You can get the updated version of this via DM’s Guild! Zoanthropes – A Collection of Werebeasts is available now! Please, support the blog via DM’s Guild!
What was covered by our resident archivist was only a sampling of the many were-creatures that torment civilization. Many more threaten to bring ruination to all those who threaten their claimed territory. Woe to those who encounter such fearsome foes, even if they are completely prepared for what lies ahead.
The werebeast, lycanthrope or zoanthrope is a monstrosity born from something dark and primal within us. It is awakened through dark pacts, wicked curses, magical plagues or even an act so vile that your own living realm changes you in response. No matter the origin, such creatures remain a danger to all those around them, even the lycanthropes that aren’t inherent advocates of pure evil. Raw and unrestrained emotion can lead to massive destruction if left unchecked and the were-beast is indeed freed and passionate anger incarnate.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I didn’t finish everything I wanted to do, so I figured I’d expand upon it here. With that, here’s a few more creatures at your disposal, including an update of my werebat from last year! Plus, a whole bunch of inspirations have lead to some cool new creatures.
Made by Doctor Necrotic, for Doctor Necrotic Media. Ravenloft and related content are properties of TSR Inc/Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro. Special Thanks to James Introcaso
“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.
From many reaches of Arcadia, countless fantastical and strange spiritual beings gather and dwell. Many spirits from this plane of existence break free into the mortal realm for a variety of reasons. All have their own goals and means of expressing themselves. These fey creatures have manifested at different points of the multiverse, showing themselves to different cultures and transforming public perception forever more. Those who remain in this realm still have their ways of dragging creatures from the mortal realm into theirs’.
These magnificent beings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, born from multiple ideas across multiple realities. It’s likely that Arcadia itself was born from a collective of powerful ideas, rather than existing as an alternate Material Plane. This expansive plane is still a world onto its own, ranging from the great rulers of powerful Courts to the lowliest of peons that grovel just to get by.
Author’s Note: My first post felt incomplete. With that, here’s another helping of fey that take inspiration from various myths and folklore around the world.
The fey are elusive and mysterious creatures, hailing from across the multiverse itself. Their strange realm of Arcadia is a world of magicks both lost and untold. The denizens of this realm range from helpful to outright hostile at the first encounter. Some have more mysterious agendas entirely.
Author’s Note: To keep up with my fey theme, I figure some monsters are in order! While two of which are alternate looks at an existing creature, the other two are originals (albeit one is an homage to a certain Labyrinth character.) I’ll likely craft up some more creatures for my next post, so that way you all have a nice sampling of fey creatures to run with.
And to give credit where it’s due, I’d like to thank Brynvolk again for the idea of a fey theme in general. This is in part because she’s also the DM for a game I’ve been playing, which also has a faerie theme to it.
Looks friendly enough.
The all powerful queen of Hags is a force to be reckoned with. She can traverse reality, utilize powerful magick and is said to be immortal herself! To many, she resembles the archetypal hag like any other, but this is far from the case. She’s the most powerful of all hags. Some say she’s even the progenitor of hags as a whole. Her dark spawn fill countless planes and spread her dread curse upon many realities. Her motivations are shrouded in eons of mystery. Perhaps she fancies herself as a Queen of Magic itself, seeking to one day control the powers she has long since mastered. Perhaps she wants to make all realms her home, unleashing horrible spirit creatures and dark energies to terraform the planes. No one for certain knows, nor do they want to find out.
To those who encounter her, the best course of action is to avoid at all costs. For if she doesn’t attack directly, her magical hut will. To those who can manage to defeat her hut, facing her within her own domain is a far more challenging task. It is said that she rests deep with the Spirit World of Arcadia, as a means of recuperating from epic conflicts on the Material realm. It is also said she has connections to lands of the dead and the Otherworld. In fact, part of her existence is stuck between the Grey Wastes and Gehenna. It is rumored many magical secrets of the yugoloth come from the Hag Queen herself! However, it seems as though she is more than capable of appearing in multiple places at once, all while her hut contains several worlds in one. Her motivations for collecting pieces of worlds are just as vague as her reasons for committing vile deeds. Few mad scholars assume she has a sentimental attachment to the places she visits, collecting bits of them as a visitor would take a souvenir as a means of making memories.
However, Baba Yaga has a strange side as well. While associated with absolute wickedness, she can show signs of kindness… when it benefits her. Those who show her respect will usually be shown some level of respect in return, even her acting grandmotherly towards adventurers who follow her rules. Sometimes, she observes the world around her through her various alternate forms of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Perhaps she desires love, perhaps she wants to learn about a world she’s visiting, perhaps she’s seeking out a weakness so it’s all the more easy to take what is rightfully her’s!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: As per request, here’s my take on Baba Yaga! For inspiration, I sampled various tales on the fair folk as well as traditional Slavic folklore of the hag queen herself! Of course, the classic adventure for AD&D as well as the Reign of Winter adventure path played their parts too.
“Step inside, what’s the worst that could happen?”
In an effort to keep this blog from being stranded in a theme for too long, I’ve decided to change things up starting in February. For the next little while, I’m going to do creations based on “The Fair Folk”. By Fair Folk, I refer to magical creatures of myth and legend. For the most part, I refer to faerie creatures from folktales and folklore; fey, spirit folk, magical nature beings, etc. Some dwell in the faerie realm of Arcadia, some are native to the material plane. In this regard, it relates to my previous planar/science-fantasy theme, but fey creatures don’t have to come from other planes per se. They can be very much a natural part of your realm. So with that, be on the look out for a helping of mystical and magical things to come.
IMAGE SOURCE: Martin Eager