A few days ago, the excellent Noisms posted an interesting challenge on his blog. Take 2d6 randomly-selected creatures from a bestiary of your choice (randomized with real randomy randomness), assume they're intelligent, and build a campaign world where they're the dominant races. Let's do just that.
I get 10 creatures. Whoo.
My chosen bestiary? The Penumbra Fantasy Bestiary, published in 2003 by Atlas Games. This is a solid and worthwhile choice for several reasons: it's got a robust array of inhabitants; it's one of only two bestiaries I own; most importantly, I wrote a little of it. (One of Noisms's commenters used Borges, which is an awesome idea.)
The lucky contestants:
Njuzu: "A particularly intelligent and territorial race of aquatic elemental creatures." Shapeshifters and critter-controllers.
Kr'awn: "A race of horrible beings resembling a patchwork of humanoid and salamander... all are twisted and deformed." Many have a mutation of dubious value; a few subraces w/powers exist.
Poukai: "An enormous man-eating bird resembling a toucan." Ten feet tall and possessed of a bloodcurdling screech.
Ice Lion: "Fearsome elemental predators... the embodiment of the killing cold of the winter tundra." Big mean kitty with cold powers.
Makara: "Both types of makara [crocodile and shark] have the ability to transform their upper bodies into illusions of other creatures, in hopes of luring victims into the water where they can attack." A water theme is shaping up here...
Dryad: Two new subraces, one for wicked earth dryads (itnala) and another for hardened warriors who outlived their trees (shethala)
Chupacabra: "The elusive 'goat suckers'... they resemble large, long-snouted dogs with big eyes, needle-like claws, and large bat wings." I could not be happier.
Hive Spider, Juvenile: "Once the hive spider has entered the body, it devours the brain matter and creates a nest. It then takes control of the body..." which later becomes a grotesque spider-headed monstrosity. Makes me think of Dax from DS9 gone horribly wrong (or horribly right?).
War Dragon: Moderately intelligent dragons used as servants or partners by warlike humans. My favorite part is the breath weapon -- a war dragon just vomits the rocky contents of its gizzard at you.
Celenian: "A race that looks much like a werewolf in its hybrid form... celenians often are to be found stalking and killing members of evil races." Kind of a blah creature to end on, although some of the moon mythology in the entry is interesting.
My only regret is that my race, the victim-flaying skin-wearing xipitotec, didn't get rolled up. Now to see if I can make some kind of a campaign out of this mess.