The monster under the bed has a name, a dapper look—and a stat block. It is the bogeyman, a creature that feeds on his victims’ terror by shrouding itself in the aura of whatever they fear most.
As the Bestiary 3 notes, most of these fey concentrate on one victim at a time, but sometimes they terrorize whole cities as serial killers…and sometimes they steal children to carry on their foul legacies.
After a mishap in a treasure vault, a party’s fighter is brought out of the dungeon as a 10-year-old boy. While the other members work to find a cure for his predicament, the fighter has a new problem. Decades ago a bogeyman fed on his fear in secret, but was driven off by a cleric after his parents realized something was amiss. While the fighter may have forgotten this episode, the bogeyman never did…and now that he smells the child-scent of the fighter on the wind again, he intends on finishing what he started.
A bogeyman has taken up residence in the temple of Hammon, hiding in the darkness behind the two-story-high doors of the tabernacle. No one, from the acolytes to the high priest, can explain why they suddenly fear the chamber, but they do. As they grow more and more unsettled, the clergy start leaving off their duties. But the temple exists to guard an even larger set of doors…and if the bogeyman’s occupation keeps interrupting the holy rites, the thing behind those doors may get out…
The bogeyman Bergram Hightower recently ran across a mob of pugwampis. Delighted by their propensity for causing accidents, he trained them in further mayhem (earning them rogue levels). Now Bergam’s Boys aid the bogeyman in spreading all kinds of mischief in Donnyfair, and the town is in a panic by day and under curfew at night.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 42
I’m also interested in how bogeymen line up with other fey conceptually. It seems like minor fey (grigs, pixies) tend to live in and protect nature. As you move up the scale of power and magic, mid-level fey basically are nature, albeit local in scope (dryads and nymphs especially). The more powerful a fey is, the more it tends to become a personification of some larger concept, the way certain outsiders and undead are—an entire season, perhaps, or the hunt, or (in bogeymen’s case) “a supernatural manifestations of society's willingness to do itself harm.”
I’ll offer another hypothesis. Part of being in the natural world is being in the dark—blind, alone, hunted by predators you know are out there but cannot see. As humans built houses and lit fires, they pushed the dark away. Bogeymen were originally nature’s way of reminding folk that the dark and the predators were still out there. Over time the nature part fell away, and bogeymen became forces of fear itself.
(A little dash of bogeyman influence in the gene pool might also explain Pathfinder’s stalker bugbears.)
Also, over the course of this blog we’ve had a bunch of monsters that are specifically female, some of whom reference or represent classic female concerns or anxieties—aoandons most recently, and also banshees, hags, etc. It’s interesting that bogeymen, as creatures that spread and feed on fear, are all male…
Meanwhile, whoa. I was not ready for the SRD redesign. But it’s got Bestiary 4 monsters now, which means you can go back and finally get Bezravis’s stats!
Hey! I did a radio show! Crazy, right? (For the hundred-some new readers who’ve joined us in the last month, radio is a thing I do.)
I tried to make up for my recent truancy by delivering a ton of new music from the likes of Bishop Allen, plus a brief tribute to Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie. Enjoy!
(Link good till Friday, 8/22, at midnight. If the feed skips, Save As an mp3 and enjoy from your desktop.)
Also, this video is great. And true. Baltimore, man.
The Loft was the first or second DIY show I ever saw, the first time I heard a Pavement song, and by my third time there they had me taking money at the door—which as a nerdy 10th-grader made me feel more included than anything basically ever. (Speaking of nerdy 10th grade things…)
Wham City gets mentioned a lot here as well, so Dan Deacon fans will want to check this out. (Sadly, I actually missed a lot of Wham City’s golden era because I was so wrapped up in events put on by the radio station I was DJing for. I did nearly hit Dan Deacon at a crosswalk, though.) And if you don’t know Baltimore club…