In the dank,dense areas of the world where the vigorous and the decaying are intertwined and indivisable, lives the wise bagabond. But getting him to impart his knowledge is quite a chore.
The bagabond is a peaceful, if apathetic, creature that resides in dense swamps, overgrown jungles and other places that are warm, wet, and full of life. Though the color and texture of their skin changes depending of their specific environment, a bagabond will always resemble a sack of potatoes, with no true appendages or extremities. Its face consists of eight beady eyes, usually red in color, set around the deep funnel-shaped holes that lead to its ears. The bagabond has a relatively wide mouth lined with square, flat teeth. Although it has a tongue, the bagabond doesn’t seem to have a sense of taste, which is compensated for by a superior sense of smell in its two nostril slits. The combination of the bagabond’s lack of appendages and its skeletal structure creates a strange shuffling gait which looks similar to a man trying to walk with both legs down one leg of his trousers.
It seems that very early in their lives a bagabond picks a tree to call home and spends a good portion of their time and energy tending to that tree. For the rest of its life, the bagabond will never venture far from the tree. Over a period of years, sometimes decades, of constant care, the bagabond will influence the growth of a particular branch or root, which becomes his throne. By this point such a deep connection has formed between the bagabond and his tree that he doesn’t need to physically care for the tree, although the bagabond will continue to stimulate the tree through their spiritual bond. From then on the bagabond will not leave his throne, even in the rare instance where his precious tree is consumed with flame.
The bagabond, at almost any point in its life, is regarded as extremely wise. They seems to have a fundamental understanding of the cyclic nature of the world that allows them to intuitively grasp the why, hows, and whens of almost anything. It is because of this that a bagabond will sometimes be referred to as the “sage of the swamp”. Despite their great wisdom, however, the bagabond is rarely consulted like a sage. This is because the bagabond is a solitary creature which cares about little beyond his tree, and therefore is unlikely to share his its wisdom. Although they are generally amused by riddles, a bagabond cannot be coaxed into revealing his secrets through competition like a dragon. Additionally, threatening the wellbeing of the bagabond or his tree has never proved successful. The only times that a bagabond has been known to relinquish his knowledge, the bagabond has understood that someone armed with his secrets could benefit his tree. In this way, someone incredibly clever or ridiculously devious and in desperate need of information might be able to convince a bagabond that it is in his best interest to share some of his knowledge.
A bagabond’s knowledge is not infinite, they rarely know details. But their intimate understanding of cycles allows that to tease out most social, political, cultural, and natural trends and these can often lead to the solution an adventurer is looking for to a specific problem.
The bagabond’s feeding habits are not understood. It is widely though that a bagabond receives all it’s necessary energy directly through the bond with its tree but many skeptics think that it is more likely that the bagabond feed off insects like a frogs. Bagabond reproductive methods are similarly shrouded in mystery.
Bagabond often grow to look like their tree as their bond develops. By the time a throne is grown, the texture and color of a bagabond’s skin looks enough like the tree’s that a bagabond sitting in his throne is often mistaken for an abnormal growth in the trees root or branch.
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? Responses (9)
This is quite nicely written. You hit on just the high points, and throw out some tantalizing questions on its nature. I LOVE this thing!! Its potato-sack appearence, its tender-lovin'-care for its bonded tree, the comically tragic description of it walking, the slowly-growing root-throne(!!!). and its understanding of all things cyclical in nature. Thats just beautiful. Pokes the emotions.
Any means of self-defense? I onky ask because you mention that threatening this thing or its tree has never 'proved successful.'
Great work! I will steal this lovely creature.
I had thought that if brute force was used to try and 'persuade' the Bagabond to open up, it would most likely just endure it. Exactly what that entailed, I hadn't really decided. Perhaps if the Bagabond was destroyed, and his connection to his tree was strong enough, the tree would produce a new body for him (grow him a clone). Or perhaps upon death the Bagabond releases spores that float out into the world and grow into new bagabonds (I like this idea as it seems to reflect the Bagabond's love of cycles).
If that is too Ghandi-esque a gm could, I suppose, have the Bagabond, with his last breath, place a curse on those who harmed him, preventing them from ever completing cycle (never reproduce, never decay, never fully digest, i donno) or something. I guess the Bagabond could even bring his tree to life to fight for him, but that really doesn't appeal to me much.
What do you think?
If I threw this at my group on the fly while an invisible being stood behind me growling, 'choose one' with an invisible gun to my head, I'd probably go with spores. It makes the most sense as you mention. There is also something heart-wrenching about the Bagabond simply 'enduring' the pummeling. That seems to fit its nature as well, so I like.
Having said all that, I am gaming this saturday night for the first time in a long time, and will throw this thing into the mix. I haven't yet decided how to round out some of the wonderful vagueness (is that a word?) that you created here, but I may actually give the Bagabond some sort of contradictory 'deadly' innate ability, which the creature itself is either not aware of, or is unable to do anything about. I'll be sure to report how it went next week.
Just to add, I am a fan of any creature that seems grotesque to our perceptions, but is by nature, innocuous or benign. Good show.
*Random rushed thought* Lastly, perhaps when a Bagabond dies, the tree it has been tending achieves sentience, becoming a- *drumroll*- treant. (or your world's equivalent). This way the mystery of the Bagabond remains, but the PCs will now learn the great secret origin of all tree-folk everywhere. :)
Nice, not all creatures need to be violent. 5/5
This is excellent and useful and it goes a long way to imposing subtle mysticism to the swamps, much in the way such feelings of personification and humbling complexity are actually felt. I really like the chance you took with the 'wonderful vagueness', as others have said good speculative fiction works as springboard for the reader's idea not as a complete story. I think that is really true for RPG directed writing.
I thought about this creature for a while, and its vague, peaceful, somewhat absurd nature has amused me. It is mysticism personified, one of the many products of blind natural forces or unknown purpose. Definitively worth using.
Bump. Behold the Bagabond!True mysticism, like manfred said. Take an xp.
One of my favorite creatures ever.
A really good one here! Love these weird (good weird) ones and the comments add to it too!