I haven’t posted in awhile (tho I’m writing behind the scenes, honest!), but I wanted to share a little information about the world of Dreamland RPG. Today’s topic is one of my favorite Dream-Quest creatures: zoogs.
In Dreamland, most monsters (or rather, beasts) are divided into families of creatures. For example, there are many types of cats… dragons… fairies… and zoogs.
In most Lovecraftian media, it’s assumed that zoogs are a single type of creature that inhabits a single place, the Enchanted Wood. But what if they’re not? What if they’re a common type of creature, a genus or phylum, that can be found in many places? And in many diferent shapes?
Here’s the beginning of their entry, as currently written….
Zoogs are creatures of silence and darkness: the things you hear moving in the woods, the thing under the bed, the thing in the cellar. Children sometimes sense their presence when adults cannot. Many dreamers know only of the zoogs of the Enchanted Wood, secretive creatures who make wine and sometimes devour passing travelers, but in truth they are only one species of the diverse and disturbing creatures known as zoogs.
Four common traits unite the many kinds of zoogs. First, they share a language. Second, though their forms vary greatly, they are always covered with hair or fur. Third, they are always creeping and hiding. Four, they appear in the ancient lore of no waking-world culture; only a few dreamers, poets and children’s-book authors know of them. Even Dreamlanders hesitate to speak of zoogs, for fear that the zoogs will hear them and silence the speaker.
Zoogs live in burrows or nests, either underground, between the walls of houses, or in the trunks of trees or giant fungus. They are as intelligent as humans, but do not wear clothes. They rarely use tools either, though different groups of zoogs have different crafts that they specialize in, such as jewel-cutting or winemaking. Most zoogs are between the size of a large rat and a monkey, but some species are as tiny as a fly, while others are as large as an elephant.
Although some zoogs are curious about humans, all zoogs hate to be seen by them, except by those few allies who can speak their tongue. They have little trouble avoiding human eyes, or ambushing prey, due to their supernatural stealth. (Depending on the zoog, this may take the form of hiding in shadows, or camouflaging themselves as an inanimate object.) Most zoogs simply hide in roots, creeks or gutters when humans approach, but small hostile zoogs creep and stalk their prey until they can attack in a horde. Large hostile zoogs hide behind trees, lampposts and walls, reaching out to grab their prey with a long, furry paw. Zoogs never attack human settlements unless they are confident in their ability to leave no survivors, so no one can tell other humans what they look like.
There’s more, including descriptions of all the types of zoogs shown in the pictures. And of course these zoogs have names! But I won’t share them here yet. Do you recognize some of them? What do you think they are?
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