Feature image from: Wikimedia Commons.
“A man without horns is a helpless beast.”
— Popular saying.
At a distance, the horned folk look like people with heads of animals with horns and antlers, of a great variety. Goat heads are the most common, but ram, bull, deer, moose, elk, gnu heads can also be found. They rarely form groups, most often wandering alone, hunting and foraging in the wildernesses. The horned folk are very elusive, usually fleeing rather than fighting; unless they’re cornered, when then they attack ferociously. They’re very good at hiding in the wilderlands, covering their tracks skillfully. They’re nocturnal, and most active at moonless nights, although they can sometimes be watched during dawn and dusk. While catching sight of one isn’t a rare ocurrence, getting close to one is, given their behavior, really difficult; naturally, stories abound about them.
|1||“I think I saw a minotaur in the woods!”|
|2||“These beastmen are more scared of you than you could be of them.”|
|3||“Yttica saw a shadow with antlers some nights ago, then she disappeared.”|
|4||“There was a merchant who employed one of them as a guide, or so I recall.”|
|5||“I was outside that miserable night! Bonfire lights, smoke, and those maddening songs! And, by the gods, I swear I heard screams!”|
|6||“Avoid the trees whose barks have more than one kind of marks.”|
|7||“Farmers near the old road often talk about missing cattle and sheep.”|
|8||“My aunt, a hunter, almost died to one of them; she said it fought like a rabid beast!”|
|9||“I was looking for berries other day and my dog brought me a goat horn, it was sawed and hollowed.”|
|10||“Have you ever seen two of those horned folk together? Me neither!”|
|11||“Yesterday at the tavern, that group of armed travellers talked about a suspicious clearing deep in the forest.”|
|12||“My friend saw a huge moose a week ago, and it was wounded; later, they only found blood trails, no other traces of the animal.”|
In truth, horned folk are humans that, in the past, saw themselves growing up horns and antlers in their foreheads, without apparent reason; horrified by what they thought was a curse from the gods, they flew the cities (and the clerics’ wrath) to live in the hinterlands. To better disguise themselves, they hunted horned animals and skinned their heads to make masks; the first to do so knew of minotaurs, and wanted to make himself look like one. Deep in forests, jungles and swamps, they formed small, hidden communities, embracing the worship of forgotten entities; some in hopes of reversing their condition, others forsaking civilization entirely.
|d6||Why their horns grew?||Who they worship?||For what reason?|
|1||They were indeed cursed by a god.||Urdaltas, Keeper of Forbidden Secrets.||To reverse their curse.|
|2||They were betrayed by their most beloved.||Naras-Datog, Bringer of Pestilence.||To take revenge against who crossed them.|
|3||They betrayed their most beloved.||Ajitarek, Charioteer of the Gods.||To escape from their pursuers.|
|4||They insulted a short-tempered caster.||Bemesnuir, Eyes of the Night.||To crush civilization under their feet.|
|5||They accidently ingested a mutagenic substance.||Anek-Varvat of the Crimson Spire.||To bring their master upon the world.|
|6||They were warped by another plane’s humors.||Rognaviel, the Fractured Symmetry.||To live away from those who hurt (or were hurt by) them.|
AC 7, HD 1+1 (5 HP), Attacks 1 x horn or weapon (1d8 or by weapon), THAC0 18, Movement 120′ (40′), Saving Throws D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (1), Morale 6 (10 if cornered), Alignment Neutral or Chaotic, XP 23, Number Appearing 1 (1d6+4 x 10), Treasure Type B.
- Weapons: lone horned folk carry bows, spears and the occasional axe or dagger; leaders also carry swords.
- Hiding: in the wilderness, horned folk can hide as well as halflings (90%).
- Leaders: their small communities are led by leaders, with HD 2+2 (11 HP).
- Cultists: one tenth of the horned folk are cultists, with the senior among them having HD 2 (9 HP) and the ability to cast a single spell of the Cleric list each day.
- Others: some horned folk sometimes accept other denizens of the wilderness in their midst. Roll a d100 under their lair’s population to determine which beings can be found with them (decimal digit), and how many (unitary digit, or half of it rounded up for those marked with an ‘*’) according to the table below; if rolled over, they have no other allies. Treasure for any number of allies follow their own entries, as expected.
|d10 (decimal of d100)||Allies of the horned folk|