Monday, October 22, 2012

Monstrous Monday #4: Witch Monsters

For today I want to do something a little different.

The Witch came out over the weekend and I want to talk about the relationship between witches and monsters and why there are monsters in a "class" book.

There are essentially two types of monsters that come up when talking about witches in myth, legend and fairytales.
1. Monsters that are associated with witches.  These would be things like familiars or created monsters.
2. Monsters that are witches.  The hags and crones of myth, but also some vampires and werewolves.

I'll cover these both with some examples from The Witch.

Monsters Associated with Witches
Witches have a number of "monsters" that are often associated with them.  Familiars and created monsters are the most common.  In The Witch I cover familiars quite a bit as a character option, but I also include a lot of special familiars.  The Brownie, or brown man, is known to many gamers. What many people don't know that the mythology of the brownie is tied to old pagan beliefs.  The Cait Sith, or faerie cat is another type of creature that indicates the presence of a witch, or in the case sometimes is a witch.
Other  creatures pose an interesting problem because of how they are portrayed in myth  is sometimes different from how they are portrayed in the rules.  Gnomes are a good example.  In the games (and SRD) they are a player character race, but in many pagan myths gnomes are creatures of earth, something like an elemental, that can aid a witch. To split the difference I made their magic more witch like than other portrayals.  Witches are often found in the company of trolls since both are fairy tale and fantasy staples. These trolls are not the green, rubbery type, but more of the creatures of earth found in Norway.
For created creatures, I have included the Druther, which is a special form of a wood golem that I created in my games years and years ago.  Another original monster is the Batling, a monster created by witchcraft, but has an ecology of it's own.
Plus we should not forget flying monkeys as a more recent example.

Monsters that Are Witches
Witches in fairy tales are often monstrous looking women and not normal human women with a particular career choice.  These monsters are covered well by the Hag monster in the rules, but there are a lot of different types of hags.  There are swamp hags, hags that live in ginger bread houses at the edge of forests, hags that live under the sea, or rivers, cold wastelands or ones that steal into homes to take your souls, breath or children.  I want to cover as many of these as I could and enhance them with rules I have in the book.
There are other creatures too that often blur the lines between creatures.  The Baobhan Sìth blurs the line between witch, faerie, and vampires. The Strigoi is described as a witch and a vampire.  The Boroka is witch  that under a curse and is also a cannibalistic monster.  The Rusalka is an undead witch.

There are many more, and I still have quite a few on my hard drives.  These though I think represent a good cross section of with related monsters.

For your consideration, the monsters from the Witch.


Baobhan Sìth
Banshee
Batlings
Bendith Ý Mamau
Boroka
Brownie
Cait Sídhe
Druther
Earth Troll
Elf, Gypsy (Ranagwithe)
Fen Witch
Green Jack
Hags
 - Annis
 - Cavern
 - Green
 - Ice
 - Moon
 - Sea
 - Storm
 - Swamp
 - Wood (Makva)
Imp
Jack-O’-Lantern
Night Hag
Rusalka
Scarecrow
Strigoi
Winged Cat
Winged Monkey


The Witch is out now at DriveThruRPG in ebook format.  Print copies are on the way.

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