Horrors by Gaslamp – Gothic Creatures and Tales of Woe

Ravenloft

“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.)

Continue reading

Advertisements

Lore from the People Part 1 – Classic Mythologies of the Americas

Image result for wendigo art pathfinder

“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.

Continue reading

More Weird Western monsters from other sources (Tome of Beasts)

Image result for tome of beasts

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.

Continue reading

Weird Western Monsters – Part 4 (The Brood, The Damned and the Undead)

Pale Bill by SpineBender

“Howdy, friend.  You also crawl out of Hell?”

“Lemme tell you ’bout this really freaky gent, just lingered outside of town for a bit.  He got this big ol’ rictus grin, like someone who died clenching their teeth.  He asked me about my evening.  ‘Course, it was lovely.  One of the men of the inn helped me relax real well upstairs a bit, hehehe.  Anyway, the mad smilin’ man vanished after I told him off.  Damn ghosts.  I need some rest, so I don’t cleave off someone’s face…” – Booker L. Wyatt, Human Barber, owner of Wispy Cliffs Barbershop

Dark spirits gather in these parts.  Maybe they love the sorrow and struggle that comes with developing frontiers; the lawlessness, the adverse environment, the lonesome people.  All sorts of negative traits and qualities seem to lure all sorts of vicious monsters to prey on the miserable locals.  Many of the monsters themselves were once the very same miserable locals, in some cases brought back from the grave to terrorize anyone who dares to live life well.  Some are just manifestations of pure evil, formed upon this world to destroy.

Author’s Note: You can’t have most weird west tales without a degree of horror.  So, let’s dive into some particularly nasty creatures.  Some of them are homages and conversions of beloved and infamous monsters from various games; such as Darkwatch: Curse of the West and Deadlands: The Weird West.  You could say, I like both… a lot.  Also, good lord, are the Hangin’ Judges SOOOOOO 1990’s!  I love them, but they are a trope of their era.

Continue reading

Weird Western Monsters – Part 3 (Steam Machines and Clockwork Fiends)

Image result for "Westworld"1973 robot

NEXT STOP, WESTWORLD, ALL A-beep-boop-beep!

I’ve seen plenty of things in my day, but none of them involved these divines darned machines taking over the place.  I work for a living and some oiled up rust bucket won’t replace me!  I’m a representation of the great folk who live here, at least out in Cascading Ridge, a real oasis if I do say!  Now the place is probably gonna smell of bad oil.  I’m gonna file a grievance to the mayor about this.  I won’t be replaced!
– Gristle Pete, deceased cook for the Cascading Ridge Saloon and former miner.

“Shame about ol’ Pete.  But, rumor has it that there’s an order hunting down folks who steal a fine explosive powder filled with magic.  I heard Pete’s been hoarding it like something fierce.  Plus, no machine can shoot with that level of precision, that bullet hole between the eyes?  That’s masterwork!  Hmm, certainly the act of an elite gunslinger, the wound is still somewhat fresh.  I’d say maybe a couple of days old.”
– Jeanette P. Hoffman, Human Smokepowder Shootist, “Wandering Medical Examiner”.

The machines, they seem to be popping up everywhere.  As long as there’s some hack scientist with some kinda idea, something automated will appear soon after.  Gristle Pete, the saloon’s mad cook got strung up by something a couple of weeks ago after babbling about “automatons replacing him”.  Poor ol’ loon.  Plus, the owner of the bar seems a bit toooo friendly with his top of the line automaton staff, it’s downright disgusting.  Plus, you got the mechanical miners too.  Ol’ Pete used to be a miner once, ya know?  No wonder he’s paranoid.  Keep your distance from one of those wandering tin cans, if ya know what’s good.

Author’s Note: Machines, constructs, robots!  I always love crafting something like that.  Hell, I did an entire post dedicated to robots before.  Plus, what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than with some crazy, volatile machines!

Continue reading

Weird Western Monsters – Lupine NPCs and Variants

image

“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.

Continue reading

Weird Western Monsters from various sources

Image result for "Wild west""D&D"

Our dusty little library ain’t much, but it’s a miracle that we can bring literature to this equally dusty frontier settlement.  All I care about is getting the know-how to these folk.  An informed folk is a healthy folk.  As it is, they keep their bodies active, nothing wrong with stimulating the mind too!  While you’re here, check out some of these accounts from travelers.  We’ve been collecting them here.  Tons of stuff on some of the fearsome critters to wander these parts…  Some even come from parts unknown!  You’re a traveler, this sort of stuff will keep you in the loop.  – Anna Von Hindervoltdheim, Gnomish librarian of Wispy Cliffs.

One need not travel far to see familiar faces out west.  Sure, they’re a bit different in many ways, but something’s kinda uncanny.  Creatures, like people, have a habit of traveling too.  One could say their ancestors might have found their way much like we did.  Lots of science folk wanna document these differences to put forth some big claim.  I dunno what it is yet, but it’s probably as odd as dinosaurs flocking to some hole inside of the world.  But hey, at least these folks don’t think the world is flat or something.  Everyone knows it’s really a cube!

Author’s Note: A lot of existing monsters, as well as creations of my own, can easily be fit into this quasi-setting/idea I’ve been playing around with.  So, let’s dive into it!  If you have any other ideas, let me know!  Also, yes I know, this isn’t really a full post from me… just a list of ideas that use existing stuff…  I promise I’ll have some original stuff ASAP!  Consider this an interlude of sorts!

Continue reading