You ever wonder about some of the crazy, weird, and in many cases just plain dumb-looking monsters we sometimes see in our Beastiaries? You ever have your players call foul on some creature you’ve cooked up?
You ever want to just weird your players out?
Then sit back and let me tell you of some of the stranger things our world has to offer.
After all, no matter how well traveled you may be, there’s always something weird and wonderful just over that next horizon. Like the Saiga Antelope.
Yes, we’re starting with weird. No, that’s not a trick of the camera.
These creatures actually exist, and are critically endangered. I’m not really sure what all to write about them, to be honest. They look like some made up Star Wars combination of a normal antelope that had its muzzle deflated to form one of the most unexpected nose designs I’ve run across. Or like someone played “got your nose” and then never returned it.
These guys are proof that just about any small-but-weird change can work as a plausible species, if you can justify it well enough.
Like our next animal!
Behold, the Tufted Deer.
No, it’s not a Vampire Deer (but wouldn’t that be an interesting idea to explore?)
After all, do vampires have eyebrows this amazing?
No, no they do not. Those are anime-quality eyebrows right there.
Despite the fangs and amazing eyebrows, though, they are very timid toward humans and prefer to live in places with good cover. In fact, “It can be easily disturbed and, when alarmed, it will let out a bark before fleeing, moving in cat-like jumps.” Which probably means that your players wouldn’t see very much of it, adding to the allure and otherworldly-ness of whatever misty forest they managed to glimpse the animal in.
They’re also adorable.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with the Okapi, which you may already be familiar with. A relative of the giraffe, it looks more like part of a zebra.
It doesn’t take much to make something new for your world, or even just a section of it. Having things that look similar to but unmistakably different from other known animals can be a simple but profound way of setting a particular geographical region or an entire world apart. So if you’re ever feeling not very creative, and the best you can come up with is a giant vampire frog, well, that’s still perfectly in line with the weirdness of nature!
And if your players don’t buy it, you can now show them actual pictures, too.
(A list of these weird animals and others can be found here, for those wondering where I found them. Believe me, it gets weirder.)