“Moundmen, moldmen, the lumpen gristly bold,
fen dwelling beasts that lurk and groan
in the bogs they keen and drone,
moldmen, moundmen, filthy shambling foul,
apt to lurk and skulk and growl
in the mire they hunt and prowl.”-Victran Children’s Rhyme
Also Known as: Moundmen, Moldmen, Skulks, Bogmen, Insinik, Stinkers, Bog beasts, Foul ones
Habitat: Swamps, Forests, Jungles
Hazard Level: High
Brogs are the unwanted answer to the unasked question “What happens when you combine an Urpan with an angry pile of rancid rubbish?” These foul bog-dwelling scavengers are powerful, territorial, opportunistic and just clever enough to be dangerous. They also have an appetite for meat that drives their attacks against people. They can be found in shallow waters across Aeldos; swamps, bogs, fens, drowned forests. Brogs stand around 1.5 meters tall at the hump and most weigh between 100 and 120kg, though more corpulent specimens have been observed.
The Brog or Skulk is an almost humanoid creature with a severely hunched posture, bulbous belly, and a long shaggy coat of fungal growth. They have sunken black orbs for eyes set at the front of a broad head and above a gaping lipless maw of jagged and rock hard teeth. Cutting away the fungal “fur” of a Brog reveals a creature of bizarre anatomy, more plant than animal. Their skin is a thick algeal structure, more like peat moss than flesh and hung on a skeleton that is more wood than bone. Their internal organs are equally alien; they lack any form of true circulatory or respiratory system and instead possess an array of bacterial and fungal sacks that seem to drive them. And while they possess humanoid characteristics like stereoscopic vision and functional opposable thumbs as well as a relatively large cerebellum, that same ‘brain’ is incredibly simplistic and they lack the intelligence to use their natural traits to any advantage.
The most distinctive quality of the Brog is their incredibly foul odor, produced both from glands spread across their body and by the nature of their dens. Sufficiently mature Brogs in a hunting frenzy produce a smell that has been characterized as a cross between rotting carcasses and rancid effluvia which can immobilize prey and predator alike and has been described as “wet month old midden”, “swamp vomit”, and “rancid fruit soaked in vinegar”.
Brog live in group wallows, pits filled with the remains of their food, both pre and post digestion. Brog wallows contain recesses dug into the walls and covered with stretched and rotting skins, bark, and other materials to make rudimentary abodes. Wallows are usually marked by a total absence of foliage nearby, as the species is ravenously omnivorous and will strip an area bare of any matter they are able to digest. The densest population of Brogs can be found in the great southern mire.
Brogs are an asexual species and each individual can seed 3-7 new Brogs. The species gestate in pods which grow in soil or water and the length of gestation is 1-3 months, reaching maturity at a year if they survive. This large brood size and rapid growth would generally present an ecological problem but mortality is high. They are easily tired, generally stupid, not particularly durable, and territorial and fratricidal to the point of self defeating. Skulks also frequently come into conflict with apex and mesopredators and more aggressive herd animals such as cervids, bovids and pachyds, competitions they often lose.
Brog are omnivorous opportunists, typically surviving on vegetation and scavenged kills, no doubt owing to their smell, but they are known to attack human camps and settlements en mass. Depending on the number of Stinkers in a wallow they can present a considerable threat.
The species demonstrates a very basic intelligence. Careful observation suggests that they possess a rudimentary language, primarily physical, and entirely indecipherable to humans. They are also simple tool users, wielding bludgeons, sharpened sticks and rocks when anticipating a battle. They have even been known to construct traps in the form of pits and rockfalls. This apparent demonstration of intelligence and communication seems highly limited; captured specimens have proven impossible to domesticate, emitting only unpleasant screeching and bellowing sounds and failing to respond to even the most careful interactions. Skulk bodies decompose rapidly upon death, making their study difficult and onerous.
Brog think of power purely in terms of physical girth, and organize themselves by size, with the fattest rather than the strongest leading. While not universal, many Skulks are cautious and cowardly, readily fleeing injury or capture and abandoning prey to even minor threats.
Variations of the Brog species are a well known threat found across Aeldos
Some natural philosophers and Lorekeepers have proposed an interesting origin for the Brog, suggesting that they share common ancestors with other plant-like humanoids such as Mossfolk, Kelthia, and Tamaa. This argument suggests that Brogs are the end result of an artificial evolutionary program intended to create a servant species, though clearly not a particularly intelligent one.
Stories about Brogs are used frequently in southern Victra, western Lux, and Granden as threats to scare children into obedience.