While reading WutC I realised most of the monsters and situation could be directly translated into sci-fi without much intervention. Some even adhered to what I had in mind for my game. Most of the Monsters in M& already are trans-human. It’s sci-fi catching up with fantasy. It’s the black hole of WutC twisting space-time, blazing ancient roads, long time lost..
As I was preparing my own monster manual for N23, I stumbled upon the article of Luke, see it linked in the M& review. I have notebooks with hundreds of monster ideas for N23, but I’m now going to start with just 52 of them. I I wanted to see what happens if I would adapt my own worldbuilding to the structure of Wolves.
Let’s see if less is more, but i consider 52 to be the magic number for worldbuilding, so from my experience 51 is plenty. .
These are notes in progress.
The world thus created is different from the one I first imagined, which was more strictly adherent to a low-weirdness cyberpunk / antropocentric solarpunk.
I like this switch from the human to the post-human, which a rewriting of ODD makes much more compelling, giving personality to the old cannon-fodder. Until there’s no cannon fodder left.
I wanted to see how far M&, and the OD&D constraints, would bring the rave new world of Network23 I am shaping in my mind for a few years now. So this is the experiment.
As usual, very few ideas are my own, I’m a sampler not a synth. Nothing is invented, everything is sampled or stolen from reality. Writing is a curation of stimuli from the real world and beyond, armed with scissors, glue and voice recorder.
BANDITS _ BANDITS. While escaping scorched earth ruins, they rediscover the timeless joy of nomadic pillaging. For each bandit, a dust bowl, a home without roof, poisoned villages. They give and take right of passage.
BASILISK – SIRENS. EAR-WORMS the instant crawl of thoughtforms, infectious” Sirens attack Calm instead of HP.
BLACK PUDDING – BLACK TAR (also XANADU) coming from the center of the earth, can be harvested for energy. It moves towards others of its kind. Black Tar is hard to stock together in the same place. Whenever Black Tar is found, boom towns are hastily built around it. Few comes back from the extraction, through the allucinatory territory. Used for Lemurian relics.
CENTAURS – WHEELERS “The taming of machines was not free.” ’nuff said here’s one that Luke wrote for RANDOM ACCESS. Human consciousness trapped into a vehicle.
CHIMERAS – DISCARDED MASSIVE SPECIMEN
COCKATRICE – PSYCHOCHICKEN qu’est-ce que c’est. Chicken which self-defend against humans? Engineered for a robot-only environment?
DOPPELGANGERS – REPLICANTS shape-shifting androids
or, going the WSB way: VENUSIAN REPLICANTS. Man made VS alien.
DRAGONS – NOVA DEMONS, a 4-dimensional gang who infiltrates humans through their weaknesses and vices, only want to destroy all human life, bomb the planet and escape. The spirit of the techno-bro illuminated billionaire. Taken from the William S Buuroughs lore (see the Nova Mob in Nova Express).
or ANDROIDS very rare, superhuman, immortal, usually enslaved by contracts they can’t break by humans.
maybe ELECTRIC DRAGON 40K VOLT / CATHODIC DRAGON
DRUIDS – LUDDITES (Fallen Druids: Spore Touched, corupted by mushrooms) DEVOLVERS willingly devolve, or sleeves into one of the animal species, sometimes retaining a minimum of human intelligence.
DRYADS – CULT LEADERS.
ELEMENTALS: NANO FLAME. IRON-BASED FORM. NANO FLUID
ELVES: two options here. ANDROIDS are quite central to N23, but the elves as corrupted clones are interesting. I love the eerieness of elves in WutC. Let’s leave them both for now.
CORRUPTED CLONES. Built by ancient machine, remain in the area they spawn from.
ENNTS: POISON TREES signposts for no-man’s land, the last tree of a forest, are bound to grow fond of blood of humans. Their goal to shield zones from human interference.
GARGOYLES: HEAVY METAL JUNKIES. The substance accumulate under the skin, which becomes harder and harder. Some HM Junkies end up eating themselves, but even knives break against the new Heavy Metal skin.
GELATINOUS CUBE: BIO-WASTE-TRANSFORMER-CUBE: turns biological matter into heat, refused to surrender from its programmed obsolescence, broke the seals and now roams, freed from the humans, but never venturing too far from them. If captured and trapped it can be used as a rudimentary stove or engine.
GHOULS – HOST – (ZOMBIE MUSHROOM CORPSE) powered by Mycellium, creates a hivemind with the other hosts.
GIANT ANIMALS – OVERSIZED SPECIMEN
GIANTS – Men gave a stab at CRISPR engineering. GIANTS stabbed back. Steriles, engineered, most have damaged brain. STORM GIANTS: engineered for war. ROCK GIANTS: engineered for heavy jobs. At a certain age, their brain keep growing and makes them berserk. Giants live 40 years, achieving maturity at 8. Not all of them died when they were supposed to, and broke free. They swore to repay cruelty for cruelty. Giants never forget a thing, since they were made to follow protocols and complex algorithms, they have very high computational power, bugged by very primitive OS, which make them use 1% of it..They’re genius without knowing it.
GNOLLS: NEUROHYENAS. The nanofiber latch makes possible to switch consciousness with an animal. The beast has now control over the owner. The animal can go around without latch, but also a human body armed with a primitive predatory mind will roam at the same time.
GOBLINS: WILD BOYS (WSB lore, from the homonymous novel).
GOLEMS: TITANS Built to destroy by the civilization of losers.Need power sources to operate. Still found dormient along the new foresty.
GOTHROG – MEGA-CREET, built from billion of pieces sourced from Creets.
GREEN SLIME – Plastic conglomerate. Chemical compound engineered to digest plastic trash. Consumes ALL plastic.
HOBGOBLINS – LEATHERHEAD TRANSPOL. Only once on their life they wear the leather ballistic mask. It’s enough to join the operations. It does not come out easily, and after a while, there’s no reason to not wear it.
INVISIBLE STALKERS – TERMINATOR
JUGGERNAUT – NOMADIC WAR MACHINE
KOBOLDS _ CREETS. mismatched robots, They accrue their body with new pieces. Can also mount human part, which are the best. Feed to best pieces to build a MEGA-CREET
LIVING STATUES – LIVING STATUES made with real organs, briefly described in SPRAWLS. Some statues can move, they are a minority, most are created as set pieces, few lasts longer than few months due to the difficulty to create a homeostatic organism. The artists who are able to make these, are super stars.
LIZARDFOLK – REPTILIAN / VISITORS lol need to rewatch the series it was so scary as a kid
MANTICORE – BOSTON BASTARDS. The robodog stretch the face of humans on their chassis, can actually use the eyes. Very protective of the pack of dogs which instinctively take them as a leader. I’m obsessed with using the Boston robodogs. We need to collectively develop the best ways to keep them at large.
MEDUSAE – PLASTINATORS. attack with poison touch laced with embalming fluid. Skilled surgeons (?) Maybe it’s a xenorace
MERFOLK: FISH FOLK. During the water flood due to the sea raise, few decided not to leave their houses. Few survived below the waves. A bit less inbred than Innsmouth.
MINOTAURS: FRIENDLY HOME CONSTRUCT, Anti-intrusion domotics, powered by the fucking human consciousness.
version 2: SURVEILLANT. Once the surveillance machine is built, it awaits its host.
Some of them were butlers. Others were guard dogs..Unexpectedly, Minotaurs are closed to Beholder more than I imagined.
MUMMIES – ETERNAL BEAUTY FAIL still kind of immortal, but don’t look good, rotten etc. Most mummies did not want to end up like one. Actually it was their worst nightmare. Prolonged life minus the beauty. Cohorts of sycophants surrounds them, adapting to the horrible stench they need to bear in exchange for favours and influence.
ORCS – SELF-REPLICANT UNIT. Needs iron to create more copies of itself.
PEGASI – even bionic, still hate men
PURPLE WORM – TERRA WORM Deep terraforming biomachine. Quickly got out of human hands, like most other monsters here. It’s possible to control them, nobody knows how. They’re building something deep underground, the one you see come harvesting for materials, leaving an eve of destruction in their wake, leading to large bottomless tunnels. The megastructure of SHANGRI-LA is said to be built at the end of the tunnels. This is unverified.
SALAMANDERS – CENTIPEDES swarm on the body of enemies to irradiate them. Leave burns. Another WSB staple HA!
SKELETONS – VECTORS
It is not magic who animates dead, it’s faulty cyberimplants. When not fully paid, they crawl back to the recollection hangars, according to a GPS. Once the GPS breaks down, they run in circles. They mostly want directions, Some are driven mad after being rebooted this way.
SPHINX – ENIAC
TROLL – TALKING HEADS – Max Headroom. The glass thing is too wild even for sci-fi (?)
UNICORN – PERFECT FORM (alien, everybody sees a different thing, all beautiful. Flashback of an interplanar character in Clive Barker Imagica.
VAMPIRES – RICH FUCKS. Billionaires made immortal by prolonged beauty cures involving blood and other body fluids. Some of them like to dress in vampire cosplay. There are synthetic alternatives, but nothing’s like the real thing. The cure must be continued, fresh blood must always be obtained, otherwise the Vampire withers and get stuck in place. Creating another vampire is a significant undertaking, it requires the same cure, it is sometimes made on partners that they want to preserve the way they look in a precise moment. A RICH FUCK survives on the blood of others.
Vampires are expert in the art of the deal. They are narcissists at heart and offer good bargains to the cohorts of human surrounding them willingly, hoping for supernatural favours, the price is often to be paid in blood.
WEREWOLVES – PARTIZANI DANGEROUX i dont know this yet, but the self-cursed Werewolves immolating themselves against the invader seems a good fit. The curse as a self-inflicted disease? Should it spread?
WYVERN – XENOMORPHS – they tried to weaponised them. It backfired. Now they claim biomes as theirs, and shape them according to
ZOMBIES – VESSELS Philosophical zombies, still look and move humans, but in facts are empty shells. Slowly brainwashed through media waves, only the shadow of free will remains. No free will left, only performance of rituals. Vessels are defenseless against possession attempts, of both human and non-human kind..
I think to go all-in we might need a BEHOLDER, which finally makes sense as a series of floating screens and surveillance apparati rather than a goofy deadly enemy. .
the post image is from Daniele “Danielino” La Placa, from the cyberpunk underground comics “Wild Boys” ideated with Juan Scassa, published by Chierichetti Editore, periodically published on Legione.