Arcanum 1780: A New World
Beasts of the Forest
Beasts of the Forest
Alternative Names: Wâniyûyâu, Mishi-zhigaag
Type: Giant Skunk
Description: The Aniwye is a giant skunk, roughly the size of a lion, whose pray is both caustic and toxic rather than just foul-smelling. The Aniwye is an opportunity omnivore, eating anything from carrion or vegetables to small game, but it seems that most of it’s meals come from chasing other predators (including human hunters) away from fresh kills.
Alternative Names: Kwanokasha, Hecesiiteihii, Nirumbee
Type: Humanoid (Aggressive)
Description: The so called “Devil Monkey” was once thought to be a possible New World species of baboon when stories first made it to early explores – three-foot tale, shaggy haired humanoids with long faces and an appetite for destructive behavior. Other attributes of the creature – the eating of children, masters of arrow-making and precision shooting and the sadist joy they seem to take in a humans misfortune – we dismissed as folklore embellishments, as these are not traits of any known wild primate, especially a lower primate like a baboon. In the Post-Gomorrah Event world, however, Devil Monkeys have indeed been encountered tipping rocks on trails, crippling horses, stealing children and other malicious “pranks”. Nearly all incidents include reports of high-pitched maniacal laughter.
”Patrolling the foothills north of the Smokey Mountains, we were alert for all manner of beasts or bandits that we might encounter, but we were not prepared for the exhausting assault of the Devil Monkeys. Among my people, the term “Little Enemy” is more common, but I now see the validity of calling these accursed things Devils. For nearly a week the harassed us – it started small, sticks half-buried at inconvenient angles in the path, horse manure flung into our camp fire at night, always accompanied by malicious giggling. It wasn’t until the third day that the Captain allowed for a serious effort to root the culprit out, but by that time, the men were already loosing enough sleep to be sloppy about the initial efforts. Horses were crippled by miniature pits or snare traps, the hat of every soldier was shot by tiny arrows in the same shot – just to show off their marksmanship. It was the fifth night when our drummer boy disappeared in a screaming, thrashing fit while off to relieve himself – we found a cooked leg bone and his boot on the trail the next morning – and that is when things escalated. The next day and a half we spent bush-beating and shooting everything that moved in the trees. The Devil Monkeys, in turn, spared now arrows themselves. On the seventh day, the Captain took an arrow to each eye, and a scorched-earth policy was decided on. We split the company into several small groups and lit a controlled blaze in the small part of forest we could surround, shooting volleys of rifle-fire into the inferno. The Devils chocked on their laughter that day.” ~ Sgt. Red-Waters, Royal Rangers.
Alternative Names: Chiye-Tanka, Wild Man
Type: Humanoid (Shy)
Description: Stories of these shy giants are prolific among tribes – large, shaggy-haired humanoid primitives that make a great effort to go unseen. There is plenty of evidence that these “Grassmen” use simple stone-flaked tools, but appear to sleep in clustered nests found among deer trails. From all indications, the Grassman is a foraging gentle giant that just wants to be left alone, though some tribes report receiving “gifts” of crudely made grass dolls left behind if pumpkins or other fruits and vegetables are left out of r the creatures.
”I’ve seen ‘em, sure enough, Plenty o’times. Ne’er when I have a rifle in hand, he seems to know, but often I think I can feel him watching me while I hunt. I’ve taken to calling this one Bob, and he ne’er seems ta mind or correct me, so Bob it is. Well, it goin’ on a year now, Ol’ Bob sometimes peaks out behind a tree and slinks away – all eight feet of tangled hair and he jus’ disappears on ye if you look for him, but I leave him bowl of rabbit stew or plate o’greens on most nights, and sure ‘nuff if Ol’ Bob don’t leave the dish some place I kin find it easy the next day. Hell if Bob don’t return what’en he borrows cleaner’en most of my neighbors!” ~V.E. Edney, Mountain Man
Alternative Names: Hodag Beast
Description: The Hodag is a squat reptilian boar-like beast with horns, tusks and spines protruding from it’s thick hide. Found in the forests to the west of Lake Michigan, the hodag is a foul-smelling, aggressive beast that has a taste for the flesh of domestic dogs, particularly all-white bulldogs, if sources are to be believed. It’s interesting to note that every reported encounter has been with a male of the species.
”We was relaxing ‘round the campfire with our Haud guides when we heard the noise – a low, chuffin’ grumble. Our dog, Chalky, normally a fierce protector, tucked his tail betwixt his legs and went all cowardly in a way to unnerve us. We smelt the thing before we saw it, a rotten stink of carrion and spoiled eggs, then the hodag rushed into our camp – a lubering dark green beast with a frog-like head crowned with horns and bony spears trailing its spine – the dang ol’ things tusks made it seem like it was grinnin’, and maybe it was, because it seemed awfully excited to find Chalky. I think every man in camp got a shot off on that there thing, some two, before it went down. We sure killed it dead, but not before it got a hold of poor Chalky.” ~ Truman Holt, Trapper
Alternative Names: Cipelahkw, Tcipila’kw
Type: Giant Bird
Description: Looking like a huge owl with disproportionately large, glowing eyes and wicked talons, the Moon-Eyed Killer is a beast known for it’s horrifying screeching call and petrifying gaze – it is said that if you look into the eyes of a the Moon-Eyed Killer, you can seen the end of the world.
”Often my grandmother told me tales of an older brother that died when I was still in swaddling cloth, how he was out past his curfew getting into trouble as boys often do, and was taken by the Moon-Eyed Killer – a beast that swooped down from the trees with eyes like twin moons and talons like knives to fly off with my petrified brother, who was so shocked by his vision of the worlds end to move a muscle. Once I was old enough to understand the ways of grandmothers, I dismissed the tale as one told to frighten me into behaving, until I saw the beast for myself. When I was 12 winters old, me and my friends went to sneak off to the Council of Fire to eavesdrop on the men. Before we made it to the meeting place, a blood-cuddling screeching came from the trees as the Moon-Eyed Killer swooped down to us – in the dead of night, only the eyes and talons could be seen. Remembering the legends, I closed my eyes tight to avoid eye contact, and didn’t open them until long after I heard the meaty crunch and felt the wind buffet me as large wings flew off into the night. When my eyes were open, I had one less friend and burning with shame, I vowed to one day kill the Moon-Eyed Killer and wear a cowl of his feathers.” Watches-the-Sky, Mohawk Scout.
Alternative Names: Niagwahe, Oyalkquoher
Type: Giant Bear
Description: A huge, hairless bear with a stiff-legged gait and berserk temperament, the Naked Bear is one of the most feared beasts in the Americas. The Naked Bear has a thick, leathery hide able to turn away spears and arrows, and it’s blood is so thick as to appear nearly solid, making aimed shots for vital organs an ineffective tactic. The Naked Bear appears to prefer the flesh of humans to all other food, and they go to great lengths to get a meal.
”It was an experience that none of us will ever forget, one that haunted most of our dreams for years to follow. The company was on a routine march to Detroit as part of their training, when the beast burst forth from the tree-line – a savage wall of grey flesh and thunderous roaring. It tore through my men like they were nothing, bullets and bayonets shredding the dry hide as man after man was unshackled from his mortal coils. The beast went down, but the damn thing took my leg before it fell. I had my revenge, though – the scored and scarred hide makes a frightful conversation piece nailed to the wall of my den.” ~ Capt. Andrew Roth, Retired.
Alternative Names: Unhcegila
Description: A great black snake, the Shadow Snake is able to both blend into shadows as well as project a ray of darkness. The Shadow Snake seems to be attracted to campfires, but not fire independently. Theories suggest the Shadow Snake may be attracted to the place where humans feel warm and safe and shadows are plenty, but further research will be needed.
Alternative Names: Malsumsa
Description: Large wolves with shaggy pelts that range in shades of black and grey, Smoke Wolves make absolutely no sound while traveling through the forest, and leave no trails. Their unearthly howls are the only sounds every made by these mysterious nocturnal canines. There is no evidence that these wolves create fog, but they are often encountered on nights of heavy fog – though this may just be a canny animal taking advantage of it’s supernatural stealth.
Snake Faced Bear
Alternative Names: Yakwawiak, The Great Man Eater
Description: Truly a creature from subconscious nightmares, the Snake-Faced Bear is a shaggy beast with wicked tusks, savage fangs and claws, and a muscular clawed tentacle sprouting from it’s ursine face. Able to uproot trees and reach into hidey-holes, there is very little one can do to escape the ravenous hunger of the great Snake-Faced Bear.
“Crashing, the beast came. Relentlessly smashing through the heavy brush I hoped would slow it. Like a shaggy avalanche of hot fury, the beast pursued. Seeing a cluster of trees near a small creek, I desperately scrambled towards it, hoping it was the familiar cluster I thought it was – the one with the badger den nestled between the roots of the central tree. I prayed to the Great Spirit that the badger would not be home, or at least fear the Snake-Faced Bear enough to ignore my intrusion. Scurrying into the den, I could hear the great beast thrashing outside, using his powerful tusks to uproot the smaller of the trees as it fought it’s way to my hiding place. Clutching the charm around my neck, I began whispering the chants of the ancients, calling on the spirits of the forest to save me. I felt the mighty clawed tentacle reach into the den and grab my leg just as I melded into to the tree, the confused beast caused much destruction as it vented it’s frustration at losing it’s meal, and I learned a lesson in patience as I spent a week as part of a tree.” ~ Lays-with-Badgers, Haudenosaunee Shaman.
Description: Little seems to separate the Tailypo from a normal wolf aside for it’s unique ability to wander into dreams and unnatural ability to slip into a camp undetected. For some unfathomable reason, the Tailypo appears in the dreams of a sleeping camper, demanding the return of it’s tail. According to all accounts, the dream starts with the dreamer laying in bed (or sleeping bad, or wherever he went to sleep) and a wolf waking him. The wolf demands the dreamer returns his tail, and as the demand is repeated, it becomes more and more urgently desperate, end with a begging plead of “Please, you have to return my Tailypo!”, then the dreamer awakens, with a wolf attacking him – no one standing watch ever noticed the beast approach, and any doors remain closed. No captured Tailypo has shown signs of being anything other than an ordinary wolf – and nothing seems to be amiss with their tails.
Alternative Names: Chenoo, Giwakwa
Type: Ice Cannibal
Description: Though the Chenoo and Giwaka name is more common for the natives of the area, the far-northern name Windigo is the term that stuck with the Westerners of the area. The Windigo is a giant, ogre-like humanoid with disproportionately long arms, a sloping brow and furry hide is covered in chucks of stone and ice with a savage rage and hunger for human flesh. Many legends claim that the Windigo can control winter storms, but it appears more likely that the savage beasts just prefer the horrid weather, as the Windigo are never spotted in nice weather. Native legends are persistent in that the Windigo are men that have been cursed for eating human flesh, but nothing has been confirmed about this.
“A hard winter storm came early and unexpected, even for our wisest shaman, and a party of skilled hunters was missing, my brother among them. With heavy coats and the blessings of the shaman, we went in search of the missing hunters. It wasn’t long before we found the cave recently used as a den, a small pot hanging over still cooling coals and piles of furs, like a small group was trying desperately to stay warm. We all paled when we saw one of the things they did to stay warm – bones in the cooking pot were obviously human. We all stared silently at each other, each wishing for the next to come up with a softer explanation, even if it was a lie. So distracted with our grief were we, that we didn’t notice the beast returning to the camp. The Chenoo hit us by surprise with a savage assault of raking claws and tearing bites. My wits returning, I aimed my rifle at the frost-encrusted monster and our eyes locked. A single tear rolled down my cheek as I gazed into the eyes of the Chenoo with the blood of my companions fresh on it’s lips, and I turned my back and walked away. I knew what had become of my brother.” ~ Eastern-Eyes, Abenaki scout.
|ST: 20||HP: 20||Speed: 5.75|
|DX: 12||Will: 10||Move: 12|
|IQ: 8||Per: 14|
|HT: 12||FP: 12||SM: +1|
|Dodge: 9||Parry: 11||DR: 2|
|Bite (14):||2d cutting|
|Claw (14):||2d cut or imp|
|Traits||Bestial, Berserk (Battle Rage), Claws, DR2 (Tough Skin), Discriminatory Smell, Gluttony CR9, Hard To Kill 2, Night Vision 5, Odious Personal Habit – eats human flesh, Penetrating Voice, Social Stigma (Monster), Silence 2, Sharp Teeth, Talons,Temperature Tolerance 3, Terrain Adaptation (Snow), Uncontrollable Appetite (human flesh) CR9.|
|Skills:||Area Knowledge (Territory)-10; Brawling-14; Climbing-13; Observation-14; Stealth-15; Survival (Woodland)-12; Tracking-15|
|Notes||It is a rare thing that a Windigo can overcome its lust for human flesh and berserk nature. It usually attacks all-out using speed and strength to slam opponents and tear at them with its natural weaponry, and can be a tough opponent to put down. They are, however, capable of silently tracking their prey from a distance for some time on occasion in order to make a surprise attack.|