“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.
“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.
One might wonder, what is the power of a spiritualist? It’s very much laid out in their name, someone who works with the spirits of the deceased. Such sorcerers are fabled for calming angry spirits who lacked desire to move on to the after life. In some instances, they have found ways to harness the spirits, whether out of mutual pact or magical extortion.
For most of your life, you have felt a connection with spirits. Over time, you tried to develop talents to reach out to the realms beyond. While not a bloodline in its own right, you have been touched by the nether realms, planar domains where souls travel upon death. Harnessing your talent, you are more than capable of communing with spirits either through seance or through a known spell.
However, conjuring and working with spirits is often taboo, and is such practiced in secret. While some may hear of you and seek you out for counsel when dealing with the dead, others might see you as a second rate necromancer. Some orders have even formed within various religious organizations as exorcists, while others revel in individual freedom when dealing with the shadows beyond our world.
Author’s Notes: I’m back with Blog Carnival content once more! This time, I thought I’d dabble into the Occult theme by making a Spiritualist based circle for the Sorcerer. While other classes also felt like good picks, this felt like the quickest match for me. So, let’s speak with the dearly departed as we explore the Nether World with the Spiritualist. And as a bonus, have a background on exorcism.
You may find more on the May 2017 Blog Carnival here! Alternatively, you may be interested in the Sage Variant: Occultist background that I made last year. This would better fit a medium who contacts spirits through seances and the like, should you favor a more gothic flavor over a high fantasy one!
Also, this is the first pass for this sub-class, it will be due for revision in subsequent weeks. This first draft is experimental and possibly volatile.