“Why do they always faint when they see me?”
The streets are seemingly cast in a dark and gloomy shade among the lit up lamps. Flittering insects cast sinister shadows on the cobblestones below. However, the chill down your back is far from a winter wind. You feel it, don’t you? A cross between a clacking of razor blades upon your coat mixed with the sharp feeling of exposure to ice. It’s right behind you. As to what it is? You dare not find out, but your doom is likely spelled out for you, regardless. Before you can react, the words, “I have use for you” buzz in your mind before all turns to black.
Author’s Note: Weird Western stuff is fun, but it’s only a single flavor of the Gothic. I’ve always been one for horror in an urban environment, such as jolly old London. Plus, I wanted to switch gears to something a little more traditional D&D. Also, I was really eager to bust out some references to Castlevania! (Yes, most of them are Symphony of the Night.)
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.
“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.
Born (Or Reborn) among Wild Realms
The Plant Folk were created within another reality known to scholars as “arcadia”. What exactly is this realm? Not fully known, except it is the origin source of several types of magic as well as the fair folk. Besides the native denizens, many fantastic creatures have been created through use of their alien magics. Among these mystical sights and strange places is the Wyld, a sprawling plane of untamed wilderness. Its alluring and inspiring atmosphere is quite deceptive, as terrible monsters and far worse curses dwell within the spacious demiplane. Those who become trapped are doomed to become one of the many kinds of wildlife that inhabit this realm. The plant folk are one such creation.
Native to a domain known as the “Wylds”, a planar place of natural beauty and (at times) savage brutality, the plant folk are at home within the bounds of their typically serene wilderness. Like the beastfolk, many of these created beings weren’t originally humanoids. In their case, they were merely plants that were animated and given new life through powerful sylvan magic. Many have taken after the realm that created them, in hopes of creating a utopia of the organic, while defeating the inorganic. Despite this, many are by no means evil and aggressive, some don’t even follow the cult-like ethos of their home plane. Many grow tired of the semi-comprehensible rules, hidden behind the alien chaos of the primal realm. As such, they’ve set out to explore other possibilities within known (and unknown) reality. Some still retain attachment to their original home, but hope to “put down roots” elsewhere.
Author’s Note: Looking back at what I made last year, I was wasn’t satisfied with my concept for races of magical plant people. They seemed really derivative and some decisions felt like rehashes of previous posts, with a different theme. Now, I’m still struggling a tad with the concept, but here’s my updated take on the idea! Some of the ideas are something I wanted to try and might be revised in another draft. Also, I’m sorry for that one pun… Really, I am.