Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Dreaming of Beastmen

I still go to sleep some nights day-dreaming of Beastmen, Beastmen and what they could be...

 Blanche






AESTHETIC, ENVIRONMENT & CULTURE


Beastmen and Flowers;


This could be a whole thing. They probably don't have much interest in "treasure" but attaining a flower that only grows in a super-difficult area and gifting it to a high status war leader or shaman as payment or tribute would be cool. There are not enough beastmen garlanded in roses and lilies. There is no reason for Beastmen not to like flowers.


Beastmen and Realmstone;

Being bestrewn with lumps of raw realmstone would be good. It's raw magic, and therefore the stuff of chaos, so they should have a natural affinity for it in its raw unworked state and also, having a contempt for people and cultures who work realmstone and *use* it, because as the stuff of primal transformation, it should be respected and honoured, not utilised as a tool. The ritual destruction of such things and pilgrimages to return them to their natural place would be interesting behaviour.


Beastman standards and Trophies

They should have way more stuff from cities they have destroyed, like the skulls of kings with the crowns nailed on, a pyre or brazier fuelled by burning books, the skeletons of formal magicians used as fetishes. HEAD SHRINKING - its been a while since we have seen that!


Beastmen and the Penumbra of the Realms;

This is chaos-land, but not Chaos chaos. Reality decays into strange abstractions, impossible to survive, but this seems like a natural place for Beastmen to hang out - in the Ballardian apocalypse - those who went compulsively towards the perimeter inimical and were changed by it. Turning into a Beastman is a very Ballardian thing to happen; "Oxton glanced at the neighbours dog, he could smell its pregnancy.
"Odd horns old chap," blathered Winstabley as he fumbled with the keys to the Jaguar, its sky-bright surface pulsing incandescence under the lamps of passing traffic,

 "fashion is it?"

"Mm yes," murmured Oxton, "the wife you know. Trends." He would piss in Winstableys face and rape the car.



More Religiosity;

The fact that the Beastmen have and actual value system, other than just "wreck stuff", should be move visibly present in their armies. They should have fanatical priests, dervishes, sacred items or holy mutants they take along with them . Or maybe their sacred objects are the sacred things of other cultures, just defiled, like the book of Sigmar pissed on. Interesting in that idols of the chaos gods, nagash AND Gork and Mork would also be there - it would be pretty cool if you had a beastman standard bearer carrying an idol of defiled icons with Sigmar and chaos and everyones symbols all piled in together - the ultimate "fuck all of you"


Ballgowns;

Beastmen wearing the rags of fine ballgowns should be a thing, the very high-status wear of a destroyed city, defiled, altered and adopted as both a gesture of contempt and an adoption of power. A little like Native American adoption of fragments of western dress but in a strange or misaligned way - wearing them as totems. But yeah, a beastman wearing the shitstained rags of a debutatnes ballgown with the debutantes head tied around his neck by her long fine hair like a medallion, a judges wig, a magicians beard skinned from their face and worn.


Weapons;

these should be more obviously the weapons of other races or groups taken and altered - having poles and hafts made up of parts that clearly come from different cultures and realms - much more of a bricolage.


THEIR OWN SYMBOL!

Even Skaven have one but Beastmen have to trudge along using the same octed that has already been colonised by the shitty godworshippers, they should have their own cool thing, like a version of the octed but primal and simpler, maybe an inward-turning spiral, or a stick-man with an inward-turning spiral for a face.




Adrian Smith?


UNITS


Honoured Spawn;

Funky new spawn models, hung with incense and silks, set with silver chains and braziers hanging from the tentacles, strewn with petals, carried forth on palanquins.


Nascent Turnskins "Half-Hooves"

Normies who reached adulthood, or puberty before they began to mutate into beastmen or otherwise, so like a half-mutated rabble, kind of like the Beastmen version of Imperial Fanatics - having been directly rejected by civilization they will be hyper invested in tearing it the fuck down - but many of them still wearing the rags of clothes and tools from their former lives. Used by the Beastmen as chaff but if they survive and keep winning they can become Beastman _spies_, covering over their mutations with a beggars rags or acolytes robes, infiltrating the despised cities, reporting back and working out how to destroy them. Someone with the memory and experience of civilisation but who has turned against it. Then maybe they can even get leadership positions.


Man-Chariots;

Beastman chariots drawn by lines of enslaved humans (GW too COWARDLY to give us this!)



Turnskin General;

A named character. Like a half-beastman wierdo who is just *that good* at winning battles that they run their own brayheard, maybe he only grew one twisted horn so the other one is beaten out of gold taken from his enemies crowns & is strapped to his head, or their swords. The mutational space between a human and a beast is sculpturally interesting, in some ways much more horrific than a simple goat-man.


Super-Mutation Primarch-Level Beastman;

(I guess they already have this with the "Gorfather", though so far he exists only in lore I think). Something like this must happen occasionally, a freak where all the mutations worked out just right and you got an awful kind of winged animal angel - a nice big hyper-charismatic model for GW to make bank off, could go back to Medieval Devil Imagery.


Weird little abortive goat foetus shaman guys;

Being carried around by a bigger dude obviously,


Ivar-The-Boneless Spawn General

Someone who got chaos-spawned but kept their mind and individuality, this makes them sacred to the Beastmen as a raw example of Chaos untainted by any particular pseudo-god. They are fucked up and random like a Chaos Spawn but have all the accoutrements of Lordship, like beastman chicks to fan their hideous cancerous bulk and they are holding a wine goblet in one pseudopod and holding up either a telescope or a monocle to their giant insane egg-yolk eye.


Anti-Priests

Hardcore Sam-Harris Daoist immortal/Purtitan Beastmen. Like the Beastman versions of Sigmarines, in character at least, so juiced up on unbelief and sacred ritual that they can resist and undo the work of gods. The more powerful and singular your model is the greater the effect they have.


Humanoid Riding Beasts;

Like huge naked mutated asymmetric men, all a bit different and skew-wiff - hair and beards dragging in the murk, being ridden by wierdly attractive multi-breasted female beastmen YEAH I WENT THERE YOU KNEW WHAT I WAS YOU KNEW


JUST A WHOLE NEW RANGE OF CHAOS SPAWN

and I want them modular too! Spawn Legions - some real super-random Hironimus Bosh apocalypse legions shit, look like they are literally made of crazed human sins combined with teratomas plus a circus freakshow. 

19 comments:

  1. Got excited for a second when I saw Anal-Priests, then realized my mistake. Stealing it!

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    1. So the great wheel of inspiration continues to turn

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  2. I adore your dig into beastmen! They've always been done a bit dirty by GW - they should really just hire you to do them. I like your little snippet from J. G. Beastman; the point about them wearing old ballgowns brought to mind a bit from a different writer too:

    "A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided cavalry jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained weddingveil and some in headgear of cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or saber done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses’ ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse’s whole head was painted crimson red and all the horsemen’s faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them like a horde from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of Christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools."
    - Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy

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    1. I immediately thought of this passage as well reading the bit about the ballgowns!

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    2. Will make sure the GW design team are forced to read Blood Meridian.

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  3. This post immediately reminded me of Arnold K’s reimagining of druids as apocalyptic agents of civilization’s destruction rather than lame-ass forest hippies. GW’s beastmen are so often shown as “twisted, primal nature” but there’s plenty of room for “nature-as-entropy.” GW Orcs and GW Beastmen share so much design space: chaotic evil, hordes, savage, might-makes-right, unsophisticated, etc. I think it’s high time they get reworked into something more unique and your vision strikes me as the right path.

    Also, as another idea: human sympathizers/thralls/cultists. There was one WHRPG scenario (don’t remember name or edition) where the PCs get kidnapped in a small town and must escape before being sacrificed by the (previously nice & friendly) beastmen worshipping townsfolk in a moonlight orgy. That sort of “praying to the forest spirits/beasts” for protection is a good excuse to have more human elements in a beast men army, I would imagine.

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    1. Humans would make pretty good pastoral herd animals; they can go a long way, eat almost anything, have a natural hierarchy so you just need to control the 'alpha' - oly problem is not much eating on them.

      Beastmen should be pretty intelligent I think, maybe even more intelligent than the average city dwelling mortal, or at least more driven, active and potent.

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  4. I love your imaginings of the beastmen as more then chaos' unwanted children!

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  5. BEASTMEN AND THE CONCEPTUAL AUTO DISASTER. Numerous studies have been conducted upon patients in terminal paresis (GPI), placing Thrak the Beastlord in a series of simulated auto crashes, e.g. multiple pileups, head-on collisions, motorcade attacks (fantasies of Beastlord assassinations remained a continuing preoccupation, subject showing a marked polymorphic fixation on windshields and rear trunk assemblies). Powerful erotic fantasies of an anal-sadistic surrounded the image of the contender for Lord of the Braystone.

    Subjects were required to construct the optimum auto disaster victim by placing a replica of Thrak’s head on the unretouched photographs of crash fatalities.

    In 82% of cases massive rear-end collisions were selected with a preference for expressed fecal matter and rectal hemorrhages. Further tests were conducted to define the optimum model-year. These indicate that a three year model lapse with child victims provide the maximum audience excitation (confirmed by manufacturers’ studies of the optimum auto disaster). It is hoped to construct a rectal modulous of Thrak and the auto disaster of maximized audience arousal.

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  6. I just re-read this after coming home, and it occurs to me that this:

    Man-Chariots;

    Beastman chariots drawn by lines of enslaved humans (GW too COWARDLY to give us this!)

    ...reads like a Trump tweet from an extremely dark timeline.

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    1. I've met with the Beastmen; great guys, horns, hooves, just the whole deal. Don't believe what you read in the press! Really just wonderful folks and a deal, the deal I've got, boy,(they said I couldn't do it, said America couldn't do it), "deal with the Beastmen?", they said, you remember, "No way!" they said, "can't happen!", "Impossible" thats what congress, thats what the media thought, well hooves you, because fur, fur like you've never seen, felt it, the softest I'm telling you the softest fur, and horns, sharp as anything, no Chinese horns here, American! Yes! We did it! You did it! Beast-Men! Beast-Men! Beast-Men!

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  7. I don't know if any number of humans pulling a chariot will give it the same (literal) impact as a pair of horses, but if they were pulling something that didn't rely on physical mass and speed it could be pretty cool. Maybe a mobile herdstone kind of thing.

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    1. Well classic early indo european chariots are more for carting archers and high status dudes about aren't they?

      Plus imagine the *moral* effect if you charge a line of harnessed, blinkered drugged up humans into a line of spearmen!

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  8. On flowers, I assume the main reason for beastmen not being associated with them is due to a sort of "macho" culture in fantasy. Writers probably project their bias of what is seem as manly in western culture into fantasy, with flowers seem as feminine.

    "They probably don't have much interest in "treasure" but attaining a flower that only grows in a super-difficult area and gifting it to a high status war leader or shaman as payment or tribute would be cool."

    I like the idea of certain types of flowers which only grow on the bodies of *insert ideal religious archetype*, much in the same way as medieval christians believed in myroblyte saints smelling like roses.

    You probably could adapt that into adventure hooks. Like a pious PC/NPC being threatened because their body would turn out as fine relics. Or raiding expeditions into religious temples for acquiring those magical body parts.

    "The skeletons of formal magicians used as fetishes"

    Supposedly (according to Jean de Lery) some groups of amerindians of the Tupi-Guarani culture would make flutes out of the bones of their enemies. They would use those as war instruments for intimidation during military expeditions.

    Who knows, maybe if you play the flaut of (or more exactly, from) a deceased enemy you can still make out their low wheezes of agonizing pain?

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    1. "I like the idea of certain types of flowers which only grow on the bodies of *insert ideal religious archetype*, much in the same way as medieval christians believed in myroblyte saints smelling like roses." - thats a very good idea. maybe if you bury a dead.. nope lets say if you bury a priest of Sigmar alive with some realmstone what grows is a lightning tree or something, a 'return' of the transmutational power of chaos to a 'natural' state, and the Beastmen can harvest twigs or blooms for various purposes. It gives them a really good reason to go after high status leaders of pretty much any faction - to bury or burn them alive and harvest the result.

      "Supposedly (according to Jean de Lery) some groups of amerindians of the Tupi-Guarani culture would make flutes out of the bones of their enemies. They would use those as war instruments for intimidation during military expeditions." - another EXCELLENT idea - maybe all beastman music should be made with the residium of an enemy and a friend (for the counterpoint)

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  9. I love this, Warhammer beastmen have such wasted potential compared to Glorantha's Broo or even WoD's Garou. Actually if we nick the creepy cross-species outbreeding stuff from those settings it works even better with your post about Wood Elf-Beastman alliances.

    Say Beastmen can be born unpredictably to members of any species- by direct parentage or infection or as throwbacks to distant ancestors, whatever - *except* for elves. Because they are perfect immortal magical assholes. So the whole elf/beastman alliance sort of works out easier for them, at least when their ideologies match up. But at the same time it's all doomed and tragic and what-not because on a fundamental level they are incompatible - the elves relationship to nature is the opposite of the beastmen's, though equally opposed to everyone else's.

    Plus you can have different tribes of beastmen - hardcore nature worshippers, pure god haters, the old fashioned chaos worshipping types - each of whom thinks the others are wimps who are too close to humans. They compete to find, create, capture or recruit newly turned Beastfolk like the Garou in WoD.

    I don't know how Age of Sigmar's alliance setup works, could they do things like: can't have anti-priests in your army if you any of your units have marks of chaos, if you have any Wood Elf detachments you can only use man-chariots and your turnskins can't use equipment from the Empire list, etc.

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