The forests, the swamps, the lands lost to wilderness, fang, and willow. These lands are home to the creatures of wiing, tooth and claw. Some far more capable of fending off the hominids, others still, are less fortunate, falling prey to spears, arrows, and dogs. As the hominids encroach upon the sacred woodlands and miry bogs there are times that the thorns and vines are animated by the spirit of the land in order to fight. In this way the mysterious guardians are formed. In the shapes of wolves, bears, and many other greater and more terrible beasts, each with eyes of glowing emerald. Fiercely defending creatures of burrow and glade.
A weapon of war created by an extinct race, this rat appears normal but is a simulacrum - beneath it’s mangy fur is a body of bronze. Commanded by words in a lost language, wherever it goes a virulent and lethal plague follows. The cure is similarly obscure.
An insidious creature, most likely somehow "related" to trappers and lurkers, the Dead Leaves (for no other name exists as of yet for this foul thing), hibernates for three of the four year's seasons, deep underground. Its active time is Autumn, when trees shed their leaves, depositing colorful carpets across the ground. The terror then emerges and blends in with the surrounding leaves, perfectly camouflaged, waiting patiently for unsuspecting victims. In appearance it resembles nothing more than a ten foot square, six inch thick, layer of bright yellow, orange, and red leaves. The only hint that someone is walking on top of it, comes in the form of an unusual amplified sound of leaves crunching underfoot. Too late usually, the victims notice this additional "crunch". The Dead Leaves will then swirl and "rise" up to smother and suffocate the victim, like a colorful, malevolent, boa constrictor.
Fire, as can be imagined, is particularly effective against this creature, but one has to *know* it's there before putting it to the torch. And there's the rub. The creature is impossible to "identify" in a large patch of fallen leaves by eyesight alone.
The food that eats you back.
Creatures of nightmare, the thankfully rare Mesnoi have unique form and attributes. Only one Mesnoi at a time will ever be "encountered".
In appearance, a Mesnoi resembles a walnut-sized chunk of freshly-roasted red meat from some uncertain yet familiar, edible animal. The insidious creature camouflages itself quite appropriately whenever it can, by slowly making its way amidst feast tables and trays of roasted meats.
Once eaten by the unsuspecting, the Mesnoi sinks down to the stomach, reforming if chewed, and begins to lap up the gastric fluids, digestive juices, and bile that it craves, like a sponge.
The Mesnoi carrier will experience mild to severe stomach pains during this time.
After a few hours of this (this is the only time that the Mesnoi can be purged with magic, or other mundane means), the Mesnoi transforms into its true form inside its victim, that of a miniature, once more walnut-sized, pot-bellied, devil-horned, snake-tailed imp. This horrid little creature then begins to chew and eat its way out of the victim from the inside out with its tiny, razor-sharp teeth, like a rat forced to do so via torture.
The victim almost always dies a slow, agonizing death. That much is certain. The devilish imp then exits its victim and begins its seventy two hour existence of mischief and malevolence, until it once more turns back into a hunk of roasted meat with the movement capabilities of a snail.
Sessiliths (name based on the word sessile) are gargoyle-type creatures which are stationary, attached to the stone of whichever foundation they are bound to. Though they can move their extremities and limbs they are unable to move away from their particular perch. In lieu of swooping down and attacking like their mobile cousins the gargoyles proper, sessiliths are equipped with their own brand of mischief. The creatures are all able to verbalize and thus usually hurl vile insults and curses upon passersby. The cumulative effects of dozens of sessiliths cursing, screaming, and speaking in tongues, can have an effect of temporary confusion (or even discord) in those forced to listen to the shrieking stone gremlins.
Additionally, most possess the ability to "spout" or spit forth various undesirable projections, such as tar, boiling water, or even acid. While they can usually be avoided easily enough or even destroyed (their "bodies" feature the same defenses as gargoyles), sessiliths are usually placed in such a way as to hinder all trespassers and interlopers, narrow corridors, claustrophobic tunnels and other related "gauntlets", where they cannot be easily avoided. Like gargoyles, sessiliths come in all sorts of grotesque shapes and sizes, though they tend to resemble tiny horned devils, demonic amphibians, or simply distorted faces and heads, more often than not.
A swamp witch that, when she dies, a huge black worm burst from her corpse and tries to burrow into the nearest living creature to use as a new host. If the the worm is injured in-between hosts smaller black worms swarm out of any wounds and burrow into anything living.
These humanoids have flesh that resembles a peeled orange or other citrus fruit: semi-translucent with prominent veins. Brightly colored, some Rutaceaens are orange, some are yellow, and some green. They prefer warm climates with lots of rainfall.
The third son of a candle-maker, and secretly a spy, Tsiao Fong Wei betrayed his family, clan, and town to the merciless Qongg Dynasty, causing the deaths of his own family members. He survived to an old age hiding out in the country side and keeping a low profile. One day however, the “Paper Knife” finally found Tsiao Fong Wei , and exacted his revenge on behalf of the folk, dead and tortured.
After a furious struggle, the “Paper Knife” plunged twin burning candles into the eyes of the traitorous old man and laughed, as Tsiao Fong Wei howled in dismay and pain. Some say Tsiao Fong Wei died that day. Others say that the old man somehow escaped despite his sudden anguish and utter blindness.
The truth is lost to time.
But to this day the children of the Red-Ridge County towns and villages are told by their parents to always beware twin lights in the darkness and to never venture into the woods at night, and to keep an ear open for the Groaning Ghost, for somewhere out there Tsiao Fong Wei the Traitor, now a vengeful spirit, stumbles about the darkness moaning and wailing, candles still sticking forth from out of his otherwise empty eye sockets. And though the candles plunged into his eyes all those years ago were a’flame going in, now the wax protuberances are somehow lit from within and burn without, and two flickering lights in the darkness, always portend his coming.
It has been said that within the mountains (or was it the darklands?) there dwells a fluffy creature of immense cuteness. This creature is so adorable that all who encounter it are filled with joy so great their mortal forms cannot contain it. And they explode. Several magic institutions are desperate to study the creature or better yet capture one to prove the theory of an elemental plane of "D'Awwww".
Foot Coral. It attatches to a foot like moss, almost gluing itself to an organism. It gets its food supply from the ground, and does not leech off the host in any way. It is not a malignant organism, and is entirely harmless. But it only grows on human feet, and even then, never on the left foot. An organism that it grows on can feel touch through the coral, but not pain. Removal of the coral is painless, but why would you want to?
Texturally, if fells like a dry, non slimy amoeba.
Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.
Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.
Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.
The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.
Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.
In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.
Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.
The soul of a mage has been trapped in his own bust for centuries. The bust is a foot in height and made of a dark silvery metal. It is well crafted, perfect in every detail of the mage's features. The frozen expression is one of shock. It was sold off in auction after the mage's unexplained disappearance and has been passed around as a curio ever since. The cause of his entrapment? He practiced in secret; none knew of his hobby. Being self taught, he was unable to tell that the spell he thought was for protection was actually for entrapment...
A group of humans living in a mountainous area have spent generations mining, drinking home made liquor, and generally not spreading the gene pool around enough. The end result is a sub-race of humans who no longer have necks, rather their heads protrude from the upper portion of the torso between the shoulders. They have beards, and lacking the ability to turn their heads, can only see what they are directly facing. They are simple and to the point, and direct to the point of bluntness.
Inside a mad scientists laboratory the PCs find a short creature with smooth, oily and whale like skin. The head is faceless and smooth also. But hundreds of white eyes on the PCs from the fat belly of this creature. The PCs are about to kill it as it speaks to them in a feeble but intelligent voice, asking them to pour the contents of a green vial on it. Will they do so? And if so, what will happen?
Hate and vengeance are powerful forces. They dull the inhibitions, cloud the thoughts, and drive people to commit unspeakable acts. There are demons that reflect intense human emotion, taking shapes that best reflect the desire and experiences of their victims.
A golden skull contains the spirit of a person who has been magically entrapped in an ethereal undead status by an ancient ritual. The person was boiled alive in a golden mixture until nothing remained of him except the bones, now covered by a golden layer. Whoever has these golden bones, controls the spirit and can command it. It can assault the living with wind and storm. Manipulate objects and communicate with the living. (Inspired by Anne Rice, Servant of the Bones)
A furry animal with human eyes and a trunk that devour dreams and nightmares.
Consider the idea of spontaneous genesis of life, as used to be belived. What strange kinds of life might arise from modern substances? What kind of vermin would a landfill produce, or an oil spill on the ocean?
The apples of a certain tree, when allowed to dry on their own, all have the appearance of shriveled human skulls.
People argue about the true form of the beasts known as "Bloodtouches", since they seem to take dozens of forms. Unfortunately, their bite's effect isn't in doubt. Anyone bitten by the bright crimson beasts rapidly loses all hair; their skin color shifts to bloody red. Many people fear those under this curse; villages of blood-skinned outcasts huddle in the wilds.
This really comes from an ancient Chinese novel. Imagine during the PCs' travels, they come to a place where the gender roles are completely reversed. What adventures will the PCs encounter in such a place?