Bestiary

The following collection of creatures can be used in The Strange or any Cypher System game. I’ve organized the ones on the site by law, level and recursion for convenience below.

Creatures by Law

  • Magic: Animate Scarecrow, Briar Wolf, Ghoul, Giant Spider, Harpy, Tanglewyrd

Creatures by Level

  • Level 3: Animate Scarecrow, Briar Wolf, Ghoul
  • Level 4: Harpy
  • Level 5: Giant Spider, Tanglewyrd

Creatures by Recursion

  • Liberty & Death: Animate Scarecrow, Briar Wolf, Ghoul, Giant Spider, Harpy, Tanglewyrd

Animate Scarecrow

None know for certain how these malevolent creatures come into existence. Their straw-filled bodies and pumpkin heads seem almost laughable, until they lash out with sharp, wooden claws or a rusty, old sickle. Great evil motivates them, and while they have no real intelligence as humans would understand it, they are crafty and sometimes form in groups to hunt prey.

In the old cornfield
On a dark, dark night
The scarecrow dances
In the cold moonlight

Level: 3 (9)
Motive: Fear and murder
Environment (Liberty & Death|Magic): Abandoned fields, sometimes groups of these strange things gather together to haunt a field.
Health: 9
Damage Inflicted: 3
Movement: Short
Modifications: Speed defense as level 5, because only the head is vulnerable to damage.
Combat: Animate scarecrows attack with claw-like wooden hands. Some carry corroded old tools such as an ax or scythe.
Interaction: There is no reasoning with an animate scarecrow. They seek human victims to fertilize their fields.
Use: The characters are tracking a fugitive when his trail leads them into an abandoned cornfield.
Loot: Usually nothing of value will be found on these creatures.

GM Intrusion: The character’s weapon becomes lodged in the scarecrow’s body. It takes an action and a successful Might roll to free it.


Briar Wolf

Terrifying, black wolves stalk The Briarwood In the recursion of Liberty and Death. These wolves have no fear of man. Indeed, they seem to take delight in actively hunting any poor soul who stumbles into their territory.

Level: 3 (9)wolf
Motive: Hunger, bloodlust
Environment (Liberty & Death|Magic, or Standard Physics): Dark forests or desolate moors.
Health: 12
Damage Inflicted: 4
Movement: Short
Modifications: Perception and tracking as level 4.
Combat: The pack may howl before entering combat. This counts as an Intellect attack and inflicts 3 points of damage to all characters who fail their roll. Briar wolves attack with slavering jaws. In groups of six or more, they attack at level 5, inflicting 6 points of damage.
Interaction: Briar wolves cannot be reasoned with. They hunt for sport and are tenacious once on the trail of prey.
Use: The characters are lost in the forest when they hear an unnerving chorus of howls.
Loot: Briar wolves have no treasure.

GM Intrusion: The wolves the characters are facing is distracting them from the alpha (level 5, Health 20, damage inflicted 6) who springs on a character not engaged in the melee.


Ghoul

Cannibalism. The very thought of it disgusts any sane person. A man may be driven to cannibalism from extreme hunger, but those who relish the taste of human flesh eventually turn into ghouls. These creatures are humanoid in general shape, but stooped and animalistic. Many older ghouls have dog-like heads and jaws. All ghouls have a pale, corpse-like appearance and a terrible charnel smell. They shun bright light and they see perfectly well in the dark. While many consider ghouls to be a form of undead, they are, in truth, living – albeit revolting – creatures.

Level: 3
Motive: Hunger
Environment (Liberty & Death|Magic): Graveyards, mausoleums, crypts
Health: 12
Damage Inflicted: 4
Movement: Short
Modifications: Treat as level 5 for stealth.
Combat: Ghouls attempt to rend and grapple with their grave-dirt encrusted claws and bite with their blackened teeth. They will form a pack to mob more powerful opponents. Treat a group of 4 ghouls as a level 5 creature.
Interaction: Ghouls are intelligent and can be reasoned with if the party is obviously strong and well-prepared. Ghouls know that they will always gain the upper hand in the end…
Use: The graves in the pauper’s cemetery are being desecrated. The characters are asked to put a stop to the grave robbers, but resurrection men are not to blame.
Loot: Ghouls are not above robbing the dead of their belongings. Jewelry, burial goods and grisly trophies can be found in their lairs.

GM Intrusion: The ghoul lets loose a bone-chilling howl. The character must succeed in a Challenging (15) Might roll or lose his next action frozen in fear.


Giant Spider

Arachnids of incredible size haunt The Briarwood In the recursion of Liberty and Death. Treat as a Night Spider, from The Strange Bestiary. A cluster of spiderlings will not erupt from a giant spider when it is killed however.


Harpy

Harpies are terrible and ugly creatures. They have the head and torso of a woman combined with the wings and lower body of a carrion bird. They are foul things who delight in filth and given over to sadism if they have the chance. Harpies often appear in groups called broods and may be led by a brood mother who should be treated as level 5 and have a Health of 20. harpy

Level: 4
Motive: Hunger, anger and madness
Environment (Liberty & Death|Magic): Forests, ruins and desolate places
Health: 12
Damage Inflicted: 4
Movement: Short, Long when flying
Modifications: Fight and defend as level 3 if they cannot fly.
Combat: Harpies attack by swooping at their victims form the air. If a character does not succeed in rolling at least a level 3 initiative, he may not Attack the harpy this round.
Interaction: Harpies are somewhat intelligent and may be reasoned with if the party appears particularly strong. Never trust these foul creatures. They may trail a party they had previously parlayed with, only to ambush them when they are wounded or let their guard down later on.
Use: The party must investigate an old ruin, only to find it is infested with harpies.
Loot: Belongings, including money or cyphers from the harpy’s victims may be found in their foul nest.

GM Intrusion: A pair of harpies grasps the character and carries him aloft, releasing him to fall when they have climbed 50 feet into the air.


Tanglewyrd

The Tanglewyrd is a malign vegetal intelligence. It resembles a writhing mass of pumpkin vines. The creature survives by draining the bodily fluids from its victims. It can survive on animals, but humans are its favorite food. The Tanglewyrd can animate the desiccated remains of its victims; enmeshing them in its vines and using them as puppets to defend itself and capture prey.  The creature has the remarkable power to remain hidden in plain sight. It is unknown how it performs this deadly trick, but it makes it a deadly ambush predator. It is possible to defeat the invisibility power of the creature by walking in a specific pattern while approaching it. It may be an adventure in itself to discover this weakness.

They have a strange power over Animate Scarecrows and may control a number of them equal to the number of victims they have consumed (up to its level times 3 in number). When the Tanglewyrd is ready to reproduce (usually when it has reached its maximum Health), it will instruct one of the creatures to extract a seed pod and carry it to an appropriate feeding ground for its offspring.

The Tanglewyrd is a tenacious plant. Even if defeated, it will regrow its thorny vines in about a month. To truly kill the creature, you must dig it up and burn the roots.

Level: 5
Motive: Thirst for blood
Environment (Liberty & Death|Magic): Non-urban areas such as forests, prairie or deserted fields
Health: 15
Damage Inflicted: 5
Movement: None
Modifications: Add 2 to Health for each victim the Tanglewyrd has consumed (up to its level times 3 in number).
Combat: The creature will automatically win Initiative on the first round of combat (unless the characters have approached using the correct pattern. The creature may make a number of attacks equal to the number of victims it has animated (up to its level in number). Once the creature is reduced to or below its base Health it will lose these extra attacks.
Interaction: The Tanglewyrd views humans as prey. There is no reasoning with this fiendish plant.
Use: The party is crossing a desolate moor, when they are surrounded by a mass of desiccated corpses. They soon discover they have not encountered zombies…
Loot: Gear, money or cyphers from the creature’s previous victims may be found.

GM Intrusion: A rasping vine plunges into the character’s torso and begins sucking out his vital fluids. He immediately drops one step on the damage track.


Numenera, The Strange, the Cypher System, and their respective logos are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Monte Cook Games characters and character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC. Content derived from Monte Cook Games publications is © 2013-2016 Monte Cook Games, LLC.

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