Friday, 5 March 2021

Velvet Hooks; Zug-Zug

Aye the content-mines have ruined many a man..


For behold, after consulting with my Art Director, I/we now continue and enhance our long-running additional content series for out book 'Fire on the Velvet Horizon' (see right side bar for copies), in which we add adventure hooks for the monsters, hopefully making them slightly more workable for an actual game.

So now we will attack this alphabet of creatures from both ends. Scrap from the front and I from the rear.

Here are Scraps already done posts;

The Zug-Zug, a creature with the scaled physical capacities of a giant man-sized Honey Badger. Dangerous enough if it were simply an intelligent beast, but the Zug-Zug is not only incredibly hardy and physically dangerous, but very long-lived, and measurably more intelligent than a man, though still with the instincts and priorities of a solitary beast.

Hooks that are pretty much in the text already:

1. Bring Me Its Skin. A depraved (and stupid) ruler demands a Zug-Zug skin, offering an astonishing price. Finding and killing a Zug-Zug will be hard enough but if the tribes local to its area discover your intentions their responses will vary from unhelpful to outright hostile.

2. Bring Me The Beast. A deranged Thaumaturge has built the worlds ultimate prison and wants a live Zug-Zug to test it on. Something never before achieved.

3. Avenge My Balls. A great hero and leader defeated many terrible monsters in the area and was beloved by all the tribes. he seemed set to unify them into a nation until he was semi-castrated by the Zug-Zug in the night. Now, crazed and embittered, yet still wealthy from his adventures, he seeks a fresh source of testosterone and revenge against the Zug-Zug.

4. Find The Child. The only child of a high-status tribal leader has wandered off into the bush and disappeared. The evidence suggests they may have encountered The Zug-Zug. They have been known to "adopt" lone children and defend them relentlessly. The chief wants their kid back.

5. The Zug-Zug War. A wandering shaman has declared a great vision quest against the Zug-Zug! No longer will human communities act as passive cattle for the creature but unify, break it dominion and become great themselves. Some groups favour this loudly, others quietly, and some are against it. Many are split. The cultural shift has lead to internecine strife, group-on-group violence, and more Zug-Zug attacks. If you enter this territory, you better be prepared to take a side in the developing Zug-Zug war. Some thing the Shaman is protected by his magic, others think the Zug-Zug has allowed him to preach to further divide the tribes.


6. Nothing but a Soulless Man. Some wacko wants to turn into a Zug-Zug and believes they can do it if they can only find a way to remove their soul. The religious authorities are dead-set on stopping this person, mainly due to the soul thing, but also because they are quietly worried he may be right. What does the Zug-Zug think? 

7. Caverns of the Zug. The Zug-Zug has disappeared and a hunter claims they have stumbled upon its abandoned lair. Most of their party were killed by simple but cunningly arranged traps of various kinds, or the less-dangerous creatures which have also taken up living there, but they did come back with some strange and rare items. (The Zug-Zug is breeding in another territory but will be back).

8. Invasion of the Zug-Zug. A young new Zug-Zug has broken away to form its own territory. This intersects with the expanding satellite settlements of a growing frontier town. Now its a brawl; human society vs The Zug-Zug. A battle across every level, tactical, strategic and logistical.

9. The Too-Wise Girl. A much-loved local healer has begun having complex thoughts about her communities relationship to the Zug-Zug; "Do we belong to the Zug-Zug?" "Are we its pets, or its food?". The locals, who all like her a lot, desperately want someone to find a way to get her to stop thinking these things.

10. You Are Expected. The PCs are hired to protect a researcher travelling the plains interviewing people about the Zug-Zug. But as they go on it emerges that many of those who chose to speak to the researcher are killed shortly after they leave. Is the Zug-Zug  using you to indicate potential future threats, or is something else going on?

11. A Sacrifice Too Far. The villagers make regular sacrifices to appease the Zug-Zug. Its not clear this is really necessary, other local tribes don't do it, but they are all convinced they have a special relationship with the creature. They now believe they have to sacrifice one of their own or the Zug-Zug will be enraged.

12. Voice in the Night, Words in the Dust. A local tribal poet gains some fame abroad after their verses are transmitted by a traveller from Jukai. But are they real or did the traveller make them up Ossian-style? Investigation reveals there is a Poet, but local rumours say they only transcribe words in the night and signs in the dust from secret encounters with the Zug-Zug. What is the real truth?


  1. The pose and sass of Scrap's Zug-zug reminds me of the favourite beast of my childhood, The Snide:

    (As a kid I made versions of the snide, and other creatures from Holbrooke and Sime's Bogey Beasts, into D&D monsters. I once ran an adventure to find the snide's lair)