1879: New Earth Creature: The Buggane

1879 GM’s Companion Preview

As magic spreads across the Earth, folkloric creatures are reappearing, but not quite how the folklore remembers them. Some obviously evolve from mundane species the way dwarves evolve from humans, Looking Glass Fever apparently being contagious across every known species barrier. Others don’t have such obvious antecedents. Forthwith, a creature from the Isle of Man, that has spread to the mainland, and is causing some problems.


DEX: 6 STR: 11 TOU: 9
PER: 4 WIL: 5 CHA: 3
Initiative: 6 Physical Defense: 9
Actions: 3 Mystic Defense: 7
Attack (2): 13 Social Defense: 5
Damage: Physical Armor: 3
Claw/Claw/Bite: 14/14/12 Mystic Armor: 8
Death: 57 Recovery Tests: 4
Unconsciousness: 48 Knockdown: 11
Wound Threshold: 14 Movement: 6
Adventure Award: Journeyman Tier
Loot: Broken religious relics and damaged sacred items

Bugganes are Immune to Fear and Charm attacks, so Battle Shout simply won’t work, and resistant to Social Attacks in general, giving them a slightly higher Social Defense. They’re highly resistant to magical attacks, which boosts their Mystic Defense and Mystic Armor.

While the buggane gets its name from a bestial ogre in Manx folklore, bugganes have been spotted on the mainland, not just the Isle of Man, much to the sorrow of those encountering them. Averaging eight feet tall, bipedal, with a thick black pelt, heavy claws, and tusks, they vaguely resemble an unfortunate cross between a snark and an American black bear. Facially, though, they’re more like a giant mole, with deep set squinty yellow eyes, a long snout with heavy whiskers, and a receding skull that’s streamlined for underground travel. They generally make their home in a burrow or handy underground shelter, such as an abandoned coal mine or the basement of a decaying building. Bothering a buggane in its home results in its using Aggressive Attack every round until the intruders are gone, rather like disturbing a very large badger.

Bugganes have a particular hatred for religious symbols and structures belonging to traditions newer than the Picts, which includes pretty much everything in the British Isles that’s not a dolmen circle or a mound. While it’s somewhat dubious that a buggane actually tore the roof off of St. Trinian’s Church back in the 14th Century, they react with savage hostility when finding religious structures, shrines, or people carrying obvious symbols in their territory. The best advice for someone attacked by a buggane is to break the beast’s line of sight, put away the symbol, and then show back up and toss the creature a bit of food, preferably a sweet. Thus distracted, the buggane may forget about the icon that it found so objectionable, assuming of course that while its line of sight to one person is being broken, another isn’t laying about its head with a cudgel. Bugganes often take bits of the smashed items back to their burrows, and create a small hoard with them. Why, nobody knows.

They cannot cross sanctified water, regardless of the Faith that consecrated it, but this applies only to free-standing or flowing water, not to muddy ground made by pouring out a vial of holy water. Churches on the Isle of Man have been installing pipes a yard or so out from the building, in a closed circle, to hold blessed water without having to dig a moat.

Adventure Hook: St. Andrew’s in the Vale, as if it didn’t have enough problems being the only Catholic church in a staunchly Protestant county, has a new shrine icon of St. Andrew arriving in just three days. It’s a massive piece, the size of a door, and will have to be carried up from the train station three miles away in an oxcart, as the road, hardly more than a sheep-path, is just not up to handling a steam lorry. While it’ll be draped in canvas tied down with sturdy rope, the priest is worried about the buggane that has taken up residence in the barrow-entry two thirds of the way along. Father Nicodemus would rather not disturb the creature, much less harm it, although he’s a bit dubious about its possible infernal nature, and worried that it may be out and about and take exception to the workmen’s crucifixes and his rosary, if not the icon itself. The bishop, who’s come out to oversee the installation, has no such qualms, believing the buggane to be a fiend from Hell and a worthy target for pious hunters, and wants it exterminated before the icon arrives. The village folk don’t want a hunt for a large mystical creature going on in their vicinity, and would rather everyone just calm down and deal with trouble if it arises. All three of these factions are looking for assistance.