Humanoid Monsters of Nonesuch

Here’s a sketch of the various humanoid monsters common to the Land of Nonesuch.  The goal is to make them, not unique, but distinctive and recognizable…if they’re mooks, they’re not generic interchangeable mooks.  On the other hand, I want to avoid the “in this world, Orcs are descended from flightless birds, and are the proud descendants of an ancient and cosmopolitan culture, more like feathery elves” that I’m sometimes prone to.  I want them to be reminiscent of common fantasy and folklore, if slightly skew. Some of these have already made an appearance in the kids’ game.

  • Orcs – magically evolved pigs (totally swiped from Grognardia’s Dwimmermount).  Evil, comically greedy, quarrelsome, and easy to trick.  The Three Stooges of humanoid monsters.
  • Kobolds – magically evolved dogs.  Neutral, generally traders and merchants in the dungeon economy (Rat on a Stick, anyone?), some actually live peacefully in some surface cities.  Something along the lines of Nessie from Too Many Curses or the kobolds from Suikoden.
  • Hobgoblins – mischievous house-sprites.  I know that I just got done saying I didn’t want this to be another “well, in my world” setting, but folklore trumps Tolkien and D&D here.  Good, although tricksy.  Puck is a hobgoblin.
  • Redcaps – these replace the D&D militaristic, organized, larger-sized goblin troopers.  Evil, sadistic buggers who dye their caps in human blood.  Iron boots, iron pikes, and faster than anybody can run away.
  • Goblins –  I’m really torn here.  On the one hand, I have this vision of them as these nasty, deformed little mushroom men out of Goya that use human corpses for compost.  On the other hand, I’m also attracted to the Labyrinth version of goblins (also one of the sources for the feel of this setting), with each one a unique Henson-esque critter.  I could combine the two, I suppose, or have them both be true in different parts of the setting.  Or I could split them into two different kinds of monsters and call one of them goblins and the other… I could call them wirry-cows, I suppose, which would be good folklore but be unintentionally silly to my players.  Ooh.  Bogeys would be a great name for the mushroom-type.
  • Bugbears – more the creepy bear in the woods sort than a generic bogeyman. Definitely not an oversized Hobgoblin war-leader out of Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance.
  • Trolls and TrollwivesThese guys.  The males are big and hairy, with huge noses and ears; the females are slight and beautiful.  Trolls are one of the PC races in the setting, though you have to roll really well to qualify.
  • Ogres and Giants – Haven’t really given a lot of thought to them yet.  Probably straight out of the Book of Wierd.

3 thoughts on “Humanoid Monsters of Nonesuch

  1. Your initial thought for Goblins reminds me of Goombas, from the Mario universe. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad association either.

  2. Glad to see I’m not the only one thinking more along folkloric lines than D&D’s Classic (and still fun, but… lacking freshness?) Tropes.

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