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Showing results for tags 'bison'.
Let's talk about monsters for a bit. The name comes from the same root word as "demonstrate" and "monstrance"--attention-grabbing things that draw the mind to greater matters. Like comets, in ancient times, they were seen as more than just malformed dangerous beasts, but as a sign that something was deeply wrong in the world, or a portent of a great evil drawing near. Offenses against the gods, offenses against nature, great upheavals to the realms. It is unclear to me how TSR conflated the Gorgons (women with petrifying glances and snakes for hair; Medusa was only the most famous) with the man-eating red-hot brazen bull of King Phalaris (or perhaps of the cruel engineer Perilaus, depending on how you read the story). But they did! And now there are minis of scutigerous metallic bulls snorting noxious gases. Now, let's talk about the colonial American West. The interior of the country is vast and rugged. Overland journeys by wagon were grueling and dangerous--especially when traveling through the land of people who definitely did not want you around. The advent of the steam locomotive and the railroad was meant to expedite travel. And it did! Ponderous iron-clad engines, belching smoke and steam, whistling like the screams of the damned. On rails laid by slave labor, expendable labor, immigrant labor, cheap labor worked to death, the railways wormed into the interior and crept across the Great Plains. Again, I have to stress the Plains were already occupied, and the inhabitants were not happy to become casualties of Industrial Progress or Manifest Destiny. They were already using those plains! And at full strength they were a terrifying threat, incredible riders and archers who knew the land well. To be specific, the Plains tribes mostly depended on herds of the bison, whose flesh, sinew, hide, hair, and horns provided them with their necessities. And when settler businessmen and governments realized this, they hatched a wicked plan. To aid and unify the genocidal little wars and massacres already ongoing, the colonists would exterminate the bison, and thus starve the indigenous peoples. Mountains of buffalo skulls soared to the sky. The buzzards gorged themselves on the bullet-ridden flesh of enormous beasts left to rot. Displaced and starving, the dispossessed natives were forced off their land or killed in battle. Deep-rooted prairie grasses were replaced by wheat and corn monocultures, undoing the knotted mesh keeping the soil from blowing away. And the iron railroads and their riders advanced on, branching tendrils North and South. This is the sort of cruel and egregious upheaval that creates monsters. And in the Weird West setting of my Bandits and Badlands game, the monster that came forth to demonstrate here is the P'izen Bison. A steel-plated beast of immense size and strength, fueled by an unholy fire, spewing choking gases, bellowing from a rusted throat. It tramples and devours and poisons. It renders the land waste around it, like Catoblepas and Bonnacon both. It destroys the works of man without discrimination. It reeks of sulfur and low-grade coal, burns to the touch, abrades the skin with steel wool. Its gaze paralyzes with dread. It eats men alive. In short, it is a manifestation of all the externalities of Industrial Progress with none of the good parts. Various votaries of the Spirit of the Age, gadgeted up, encased in stoveplate armor and armed with steam-powered fists, have tried to stop it. But that's like trying to stop a spirit of vengeance with bullets, ain't it, pardner? Might as well try to make Old Man Buzzard gag, or try to out-lawyer Old Scratch. *** Nolzur's Gorgon with some green stuff added to make it look more like a bison, plus a couple of smokestacks left over from VROOMgear and some cotton batting. The statuesque lady with the Arkansas toothpick is an Indian Princess from CP's Weird West line, while her elderly companion is their 28mm Victoriana Plains Indian Girl, aged up a bit. Guest appearances from Hellstromme, 91002; Raven 59002, Shaman 59010, Chieftain 50113, and a couple Apaches from Artizan. Also the signpost from Western Sophie. The cacti were just on sale at a hobby store fake plants aisle.