Other Magic #2: Monsters of the Americas

The first edition of Other Magic (ZineQuest 2019) focused on real world folk magic traditions, with an emphasis on those of the United States and Mexico. Other Magic #2 is designed to complement the first issue by highlighting the monsters of the broader Americas where those folk magic traditions exist.  These monsters come from the myths and legends of various regions within the United States, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.  They are bizarre, obscure, and distinctly different from the ones found in most roleplaying games.

Since the goal is to present the monsters as they appear within folktales and myths, Other Magic #2 focuses on their traditional behaviors, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, without modification. As with the first issue of Other Magic, the emphasis is on magic and the supernatural as they are understood by regular people in the real world. Some of the monsters can be defeated or killed, while others can only be driven away or avoided. Most of them are not “I slay it with my sword” or “I shoot it with my gun” types of adversaries, because that is not how they are conceptualized in the real world stories.

The monsters that can be defeated with standard combat techniques come with suggestions for how to provide them with appropriate game stats, without referencing any particular rpg system. So, for example, the description may say “twice as strong and three times as tough as a gorilla.” That lets you take information that is most likely available in your system of choice (the stats for a gorilla) and adjust them as indicated.

Since standard hack and slash attacks won’t work on all of the monsters, it is important for the characters to observe them carefully, talk to NPCs, and do research before a confrontation. That makes these creatures particularly well suited to mystery, investigation, or monster hunting games, or to more action-oriented games when the GM wants to present the players with an unusual challenge that can’t be faced in the “normal” way.

There are 16 monsters in this collection, with two facing pages devoted to each.  One page will have an illustration of the monster and some fun “flavor text.” The other page will contain general and game-related information on the creature.

The remaining pages of the zine are devoted to topics that include:

  • a general overview of how to provide a fair challenge to players when faced with a monster they can’t defeat
  • general geographic and cultural notes about the regions covered
  • how to use the monsters in various settings and time periods
  • a map of the countries in which the creature can be found