Emotional Monsters II

Looking back on some of the monsters I like most, there’s an emotional driver that really underscores the concept. So, I present this challenge - create a monster based on a powerful emotional driver.

Don’t concern yourself with how it would interact with the players - look at it from the monster’s perspective: make the monster’s experience of that emotion as full and defining as possible, then imagine the consequences. (Let the players’ reaction emerge naturally.) How does this shape the creature’s outlook, habits, society, trappings?

If you like where it’s heading, then consider hooks for the players. How do they meet? What does the monster want? (Does it want something from the player? To harm them? To help them?)

The Rules

  1. Pick an emotion
  2. Pick a defining physical trait (e.g. large nose, albino, etc.), a real-world animal or a classic monster
  3. Mash them together and make a concept!
  4. Start with a sketch if you like (make five concepts, and only do stat blocks for your favourites).
  5. If you like it, burn it! Spend your time on the beliefs and instincts!

Feel free to encourage others, pointing out which of their ideas you like and urging them to develop further. As this is a brainstorming exercise, please withhold criticism or hand-wringing about whether you’re doing it right. You are. Go!

For inspiration:

Aardvark, Alligator, American Bison (Buffalo), Ant, Anteater, Antelope, Ape, Armadillo, Ass/Donkey, Baboon, Badger, Barracuda, Bat, Bear, Beaver, Bee, Bison, Boar, Buffalo, Bush baby, Butterfly, Camel, Caribou, Cat, Caterpillar, Cattle, Chamois, Cheetah, Chicken, Chimpanzee, Chinchilla, Cobra, Cockroach, Cormorant, Coyote, Crab, Crane, Crocodile, Crow, Deer, Dog, Dogfish, Dolphin, Donkey, Dove, Dragonfly, Duck, Dugong, Eagle, Echidna, Eel, Eland, Elephant, Elephant seal, Elk, Falcon, Ferret, Finch, Fly, Fox, Frog, Gaur, Gazelle, Gerbil, Giant Panda, Giraffe, Gnu, Goat, Goose, Gorilla, silverback, Guanaco, Guinea fowl, Guinea pig, Gull, Hamster, Hare, Hawk, Hedgehog, Heron, Hippopotamus, Hornet, Horse, Human, Hyena, Iguana, Jackal, Jaguar, Jellyfish, Kangaroo, Koala, Komodo dragon, Kouprey, Kudu, Lark, Lemur, Leopard, Lion, Llama, Lobster, Locust, Loris, Louse, Lyrebird, Magpie, Mallard, Manatee, Meerkat, Mink, Mole, Monkey, Moose, Mouse, Mosquito, Mule, Narwhal, Newt, Nightingale, Okapi, Oryx, Ostrich, Otter, Owl, Ox, Oyster, Panther, Partridge, Peafowl, Pelican, Penguin, Pig, Pigeon, Platypus, Pony, Porcupine, Quelea, Rabbit, Raccoon, Rail, Ram, Rat, Raven, Red deer, Red panda, Reindeer (caribou), Rhinoceros, Salamander, Sea lion, Seahorse, Seal, Seastar, Shark, Sheep, Shrew, Skunk, Snail, Snake, Spider, Squid, Squirrel, Stinkbug, Swan, Tapir, Tarsier, Tiger, Toad, Turkey, Turtle, Vicuña, Walrus, Wasp, Water buffalo, Weasel, Whale, Wolf, Wombat, Worm, Yak, Zebra

Adoration, Affection, Aggravation, Agitation, Agony, Alarm, Alienation, Amazement, Amusement, Anger, Anguish, Annoyance, Anxiety, Apprehension, Arousal, Astonishment, Attractiveness, Bitter, Bliss, Caring, Cheerfulness, Compassion, Contempt, Contentment, Crosspatch, Defeatism, Dejection, Delight, Depression, Desire, Despair, Disappointment, Disgust, Dislike, Dismay, Displeasure, Distress, Dread, Eagerness, Ecstasy, Elation, Embarrassment, Enjoyment, Enthrallment, Enthusiasm, Envy, Euphoria, Exasperation, Excitement, Exhilaration, Fear, Ferocity, Fondness, Fright, Frustration, Fury, Gaiety, Gladness, Glee, Gloom, Glumness, Grief, Grouchy, Grumpy, Guilt, Happiness, Hatred, Homesickness, Hope, Horror, Hostility, Humiliation, Hurt, Hysteria, Infatuation, Insecurity, Insult, Irritability, Isolation, Jealousy, Jolliness, Joviality, Joy, Jubilation, Liking, Loathing, Loneliness, Longing, Love, Lust/Desire, Melancholy, Misery, Mortification, Neglect, Nervousness, Optimism, Outrage, Panic, Passion, Pity, Pleasure, Pride, Rage, Rapture, Regret, Rejection, Relief, Remorse, Resentment, Revulsion, Sadness, Satisfaction, Scorn, Sentimentality, Shame, Shock, Sorrow, Spite, Suffering, Surprise, Suspense, Sympathy, Tenderness, Terror, Thrill, Torment, Triumph, Uneasiness, Unhappy, Vengefulness, Woe, Worry, Wrath, Zeal, Zest

I’m sorry.

No, wait, I’m not.

Shocking Mouse
This diminutive rodent has an electrifying personality - literally! Though he has an extremely limited vocabulary, he is capable of inflecting his speech to convey a wide range of emotions. Friendly, adorable, and easily excitable, this creature has a nasty surprise for the players - it can call down lightning when threatened!

laugh Awesome.

I was working on a bunch but I seem to have closed the tab!

Shock Dugong : a wise and gentle sea-cow, purveyors of river lore. Easily spooked (even mid-conversation), and impossible to find once they flee. Must be approached with superlative stealth, or with patient overtures.

The Duck of Satisfaction
This duck is a calm and placid creature. It inhabits a peaceful pond in a serene, wooded area. Oddly, though, this duck is always found alone. Those who enter the duck’s domain are flooded with a profound sense of contentment - it’s so nice here, why should I bother leaving?

But the cute, calm exterior hides an awful truth: the “duck” is really the physical manifestation of a vengeful nature spirit! It lures would-be heroes into its calm, lush grove, and being filled with a false sense of security, the heroes let their guard down…

Angry Mosquito
I don’t even have to describe anything here. You’re already screwed.

A physical manifestation of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The swarm of Anger clouds those who would seek revenge, or succumb to bloodlust. A curse laid by the Faithful on heathens, the only way to be rid of the damned things is to seek atonement for your sins.

The Worm of Displeasure
Traits - Tiny, Apple Lover, Nauseating, Tastes Awful.
Stats - MW1
Skills - Camouflage B7

Seems you never find these things until it’s too late and you’ve bitten it in half.

Little Yappy Dog of Annoyance
Traits - Little, Born Dodger [C-O for Avoid], Loud, Adorable, Follower, Inopportune Yapping, other Dog traits.
Skills - Conspicuous B5, Yap B5, Stealthy B2,

Don’t feed one, or it will follow you forever.

The pigeon of social embarrassment
Always poops on you when you’re in your finery, and that stuff is so difficult to get out.

The Swarm of Queens

Perfection is built bit by bit. It is drawn out of an unworthy world through the labor of the worthy. As the perfect hive is built of what the Swarm of Queens refine from mud and wood and bone, so too are new Queens added to the swarm. While most of the creatures living in the world are worthy only of contempt, a few show some sign of potential. They have some thing to offer the Swarm. These ones are brought to the Hive and given over to larvae that has been specially cultivated. They are subjected to the proper rituals and made of one blood with the hive and its Queens. When it is done, the imperfect has vanished and the Swarm of Queens is made stronger. Those that draw their contempt but fail to show any glimmer of worth as an individual are ignored or used as meat, or if needs be are given over to larvae that has not been specially cultivated. They can become the workers and soldiers, or if physical sturdy enough the doomed consorts of the Queens who are needed as the base element of the organic alchemy that begins the process of larvae fit to become another

Traits: Contemptuous, Alien, We Are of One Mind On This, We Are Not Amused, Wicked Sting, Inner Alchemy, Queen of the Hive

While inspired by wasps, I think that you could get away from them physically being the same. You could work a creepy pod person/social clique to the extreme thing by having them look human—perfected, but human. In many ways, their attitude towards other beings is not that different from Beholders—and so you could go with something more like a Dungeons and Dragon’s aberration if that’s the right tone. What’s key is the wasp life cycle and the easy to project attitude of “Fuck you, I’m a wasp” when you see them in action (like the three Japanese wasps murdering the shit out of a hive of honey bees). Oh, and the larvae assimilating those who have a trait that the Queens are forced to respect. Because if someone has something worthwhile, they must essentially be a Queen of the Hive, just in need of liberation via exposure to the proper larvae. Anything else is unthinkable.

Arousing Sheep ~ Farmers are banned from raising them in most kingdoms.

Some other classics:

Melancholic Donkey ~ Lost his tail.
Excitable Tiger ~ With bouncy tail.
Stupid Bear ~ So dumb that it never occurs to him to eat that pig who’s always hanging around, even though he’s always losing his huny.

I could go on, but I think perhaps I shouldn’t. Here’s a more serious proposal:

Spirit of Pure Emotion
This monster is the physical embodiment of raw emotion. Choose one emotion, and give your spirit a related Emotional Attribute, exponent 1 - 5. Shade is up to you. Your spirit can only act in accordance with its single driving emotion. Its only “attack” is to project its emotion upon others – roll the emotional attribute to do so – resulting in the afflicted gaining an emotional “wound”, rather than a physical one. Furthermore, if the spirit ever takes damage, it does not suffer a wound. Instead, successful hits increase the spirit’s emotional attribute by an exponent equal to the wound coordinates. Once the spirit hits exponent 10 in its emotional attribute, it is destroyed.

This would make for some quick, yet truly terrifying encounters, I think.