Meet the Monsters

Have you ever wanted more information about the monsters that appear in my stories and commissioned art? Here’s where to start.

emoji by dzuque@twitter, banner by orcanist

art by grisserart@twitter

Aros

Full Name: Unknown

Alias: Demon Brex

Race: Asmosyne (formerly Orc)

Color Palette: Green, Black, Purple

One-Sentence Summary: An alter-ego of a more innocent orcish sorcerer, this being looks like a demon and has a personality focused on one thing: ambition.

Short summary: Asmosynes are ageless beings that form unique personalities whenever they bond with a new mortal body that serves as their host. At some point in his life, Brex interacted with an Asmosyne without a host. That moment, Aros was born. The exact mechanics of how Aros appears and just how much influence he has over Brex are unknown, but one thing is clear: When he sees something he wants, he takes it.

Long summary: Behind the scenes, Aros was the name of my old old lion fursona back before I got into fantasy books and games. You probably also noticed that it’s my screenname. A little after I introduced Brex to the world, I got some experimental commissions featuring a Demon form. As much as I love Brex, I did want to have a character that matched my screenname. I developed a little backstory for Demon Brex to give him a separate personality but keep his ties to Brex, then gave him my screenname!

In character, Aros’ name doesn’t come up much. He thinks of himself as Brex, but uses the name to distinguish between the two of them if necessary. As an Asmosyne, he found Brex shortly after his previous host died, then manifested himself upon bonding with Brex’s soul. Asmosynes develop a new personality inside their hosts, taking the physical form of the symbol most associated with ambition and self-interest. Usually, this ends up being demonic traits, though those are often borrowed from the culture of the host, which is why horns, spikes, or manes often appear as part of the new personality.

Asmosyne personalities share the goals of their hosts, if they were uninhibited by social norms and contracts. Plenty of Asmosynes have created violent, dangerous personalities, but Aros knows that Brex isn’t interested in violence, but rather a desire to be known as a great thinker and sorcerer, with a voracious appetite for information. So Aros is keen on extracting information from texts and people, even if it may be uncomfortable.

Fun Fact: Aros’ name is a distortion of the Greek god Eros, the god of love. This combined with his generally sexual and alluring disposition is not a coincidence.

See the art
Read more about Asmosynes


art by grisserart@twitter

Brex

Full Name: Brexothuruk

Race: Orc

Occupation: Sorcerer

Color Palette: Green, Blue, Brown

One-Sentence Summary: A shy and studious orc who struggles with balancing his cultural heritage, biological differences, and thirst for information.

Short summary: Brex was raised by a nomadic, slightly xenophobic, orc clan and only experienced wider society after turning twenty years old. His current goal is to find a way to enroll at the University of Sorcery at the largest metropolis close to him, but that requires scraping together a bunch of money, which means taking the odd adventure for cash.

Long summary: Brex was a character that started out as a fun little thought experiment for a MUD I frequented in college. But the more I roleplayed as him with other people, the more I felt he represented me as a character and as a person. While he struggled both being an orc and an intellectual magic user, I struggled to balance my professional and personal lives as they often diverged. At the time, I was deep in the furry fandom and ready for a new “fursona”, and thought Brex was honestly the best choice, even if orcs aren’t really a typical option for those.

Long story short, I picked him as my character to represent me on furry social media and got more commissions of him, slowly descending into the madness of fantasy worlds, magic systems, and tabletop RPGs. In character, Brex is depicted across a few different points in his life. Sometimes he’s a young, scrappy orc sorcerer looking to learn. Sometimes he’s a warm but jaded lecturer at the University of Sorcery. But he’s always excited to share his thoughts on sorcery and his own story, showing people that you don’t have to choose between your culture and your education.

In The Brexiverse, magic is conducted through pieces of metal, often fashioned into wearable accessories like rings or necklaces. Each spell is composed of a set of runes, executed by the will of the sorcerer after the runes have enchanted the accessory. The spells are powered by a resource within the sorcerer’s own muscle tissue. It’s kind of like writing a program in code: The runes are the programming, the accessory is the executable file, the sorcerer’s muscle is the machine running the program.

So far, I’ve written one semi-published novella featuring Brex, telling the story of how and why he left his orc clan.

Fun Fact: In Brex’s world, there’s no such thing as wizards. Magic users fall under the umbrella term Sorcerer, even if it means a mismatch with some other established universes. If Brex were a D&D character, he would undoubtedly be a wizard.

See the art
Read the novella (PWYW, 2–3 hours)


art by gotsomehaps@twitter

Carris

Full Name: Carris of the Auromancers

Race: Minotaur

Color Palette: Green, Red, Orange

One-Sentence Summary: A cheerful and jolly knight-errant traveling the world to make a positive impact, often running afoul of traps and unsavory monsters.

Short summary: Carris is a member of a holy order of sorcerers. Auromancers have physically transformed themselves into minotaurs as a symbol of their devotion to their god Aurochs who values strength expressed in good deeds. Carris used to be an orc sorcerer, but ran into another Auromancer in his travels who changed his outlook on the use of magic and strength for the common good. After some deliberation, he joined the Auromancers and changed his name to Carris.

Long summary: If you read the short summary and wondered “Is this guy Brex too?” The answer is yes and no. In early 2016, I was feeling a little FOMO on not having an actual animal fursona anymore, after a few years of being an orc. Again, the character design came first and the backstory came later. A friend drew some sketches of what a “bull-Brex” would look like, tusks and all. I liked the symbolism of bulls strength mitigated by their often-docile nature (except for rodeo shows, of course). Carris also offered a foil to Aros, forming a sort of id-ego- superego trio for the three characters. If anything, Carris cares (get it?) too much about what other people think and whether he’s doing the “right” thing for everyone, and has developed a bit of a martyr complex. In character, Carris was born from Brex meeting an Auromancer and learning about the order, then deciding to join them. I won’t go into the details, since there’s a nice short story about it. But suffice to say, he had quite the transformation.

Fun Fact: Carris’s name is a distortion of the Greek god Charis, both that he’s charismatic and he cares a lot.

See the art
Read the short story (5 minutes)


art by rootsworks@twitter

Dourar

Full Name: Unknown

Also Known As: The Gilded One

Race: Unknown (formerly Human)

Color Palette: Purple, Blue, Gold

One-Sentence Summary: A mysterious creature who never leaves his forest domain, said to be the reason behind the disappearance of many adventurers and resurgence of just as many monsters.

Short summary: Dourar is a cross between a lich and a demon, as a human sorcerer who searched for a way to live forever but lost his connection to his own humanity in the process. Now he resides in a single forest, known for his characteristic wolf skull he wears as a mask, and often transforms hapless adventurers into feral monsters. Aside from his gilded mask and claws, his body is made entirely out of conjured arcane energy.

Long summary: Dourar was an adoptable that I saw and immediately fell in love with, developing a backstory for him in the middle of debating whether I should buy him from the artists, Weedshibe and ForestFright. (This will not be the last time this happens.) After some thought, I decided to write out his in-character backstory as a quick piece of short fiction. All of my previous characters were monsters in aesthetic but not disposition. Even Aros as a demon was generally more bark than bite. Dourar was a chance to develop a character who was not just imposing, but immoral and frightening. He’s a danger to his community and often turns mortals into monsters without their consent. If there’s a villain in this bunch of characters, it’s Dourar. But his goals and values are strangely compelling, especially for someone like me who wants the chance to let loose and be indulgent once in a while.

Fun Fact: Dourar’s name comes from the Portugese word meaning “to gild.”

See the art
Read the short story (5 minutes)
Play the game (10 minutes, NSFW/18+ only!)


art by taoren@twitter

Eijiro

Full Name: Eijiro, Wandering Inquisitor

Race: Oni

Color Palette: Red, Brown and Black

Alignment: Chaotic Good

One-Sentence Summary: A former oni detective that became disillusioned with the protective force he once served, Eijiro now wanders the multiverse looking for wrongs to right and corrupt institutions to dismantle (as nonviolently as he can manage).

Short Summary: Eijiro was once an enforcer of the law, his dream since he was a child. But a chance encounter with a suspect led to his horn breaking and changing his life forever. In the ensuing chase to find this suspect, he stumbled upon technology that allows him to venture to different planes of the multiverse. With no ties to his home plane to keep him settled down, Eijiro now visits other planes, searching for his suspect and trying to do right by innocent citizens of any world.

Long Summary: Eijiro has been in the works for a long, long time. He came from the concept of combining two loves of mine: fantasy and crime stories. And with a veritable sitcom cast full of monsters already established, it seemed like the perfect time to make an oni detective. But, roughly around this time, I started feeling less and less excited by the idea of a monster who works for an institution that serves, in my opinion as a marginalized individual, the wrong community. Plenty of media already exists as police apologetics, and there was an opportunity to tell a story through a fantasy world that could be connected to — and not quite weighed down by — our real-world struggle to keep the peace.

It was difficult to make the ultimate decision on establishing Eijiro. Some elements were pretty straightforward: As an oni, he should have some Japanese-inspired aesthetics. I wanted my next monster to be plus-size, since the current crowd lacked some actual fat representation. And I wanted to explore an identity that doesn’t get much attention: Aromance. All of these came together surprisingly well, but that didn’t give him much motivation as a character.

Eijiro’s backstory is perhaps the most tragic, but also the most hopeful of these monsters. It’s among the longest, but perhaps the most worthwhile to read. I won’t spoil the details, but as a result, he now wanders the multiverse searching for hidden truths and corrupt institutions. He still functions as the delightful marriage of fantasy and crime narrative, but now he has a better, and in my opinion nobler, purpose.

Fun Fact: The book on Eijiro’s hip was a gift from his old commanding officer. It allows the owner to magically transcribe conversations within earshot of the holder, which is very useful for interviewing suspects and/or persons of interest.

Read the short story (20 minutes)


art by paladinspen@tumblr

Fydes

Name: Fydes of Westhaven

Race: Tiefling

Class: Paladin

Alignment: Neutral Good

Color Palette: Light Blue, Black, Gold, Yellow

One-Sentence Summary: Fydes is a grumpy tiefling paladin sworn to an oath of redemption and protection, unaware of and apathetic to his demonic heritage.

Short summary: In a lot of ways, Fydes is the team dad, whatever his team may be. Fydes is gruff, grumpy, and stoic, but committed to the well-being of his companions and mercy to his enemies. Being a tiefling never really bothered him, and once he took his oath, nobody ever bothered to ask him why. He can be overprotective, overly controlling and overfunctioning, but it comes from a place of love. And anxiety.

Long summary: Fydes, much like Dourar, was an adoptable I saw and immediately imagined a history for. His original art was drawn by paladinspen, pictured above. As soon as I saw him, I imagined him being really fun to both get art of and play in a D&D game. Unlike my other primary D&D character, I haven’t had a chance to play him in a game yet, but he makes for a good standby.

I’ll just quote his backstory from the character sheet to give you the rest of this summary.

Born to a pair of tieflings, Fydes was named after the virtue “Bona Fides”, meaning “in good faith”. While they were the only tiefling family in their town, the three of them cooperated with the rest of the villagers. Eventually, Fydes took an interest in the followers of Eldath, later becoming a cleric in their ranks. He met a human woman with them and married her, and together they raised a son. But Fydes often put his faith before his family. He later discovered that his closest friend was having an affair with his wife, but recognized that he had been an absent husband and father. When the village was attacked, he was too far away to return and protect them. Instead, his closest friend proved victorious against the attackers and kept the town safe. Upon his return, Fydes and his wife agreed to separate, and he took it upon himself to train as a paladin, taking an Oath of Redemption in hopes that he can prove himself and protect those that he traveled with, no matter the cost. And then, perhaps one day, he could return to his family and be the father he should have been.

Fun Fact: Fydes is named after the Roman god Fides, which is also where the phrase “bona fide” comes from. However, his name is pronounced so that it rhymes with “tides.”

See the art
See the character sheet


art by luckygonecrazy@twitter

Greggurr

Full Name: Greggurr Dwarvesbane, The Fiendblade

Race: Bugbear

Class: Warlock

Alignment: True Neutral

Color Palette: Brown, Blood Red, Black

One-Sentence Summary: Greggurr is a charming and jolly bugbear mercenary turned warlock in a strange relationship with his patron.

Short summary: Greggurr Dwarvesbane carries his trusty pact glaive wherever he goes, which is a little unnecessary given he can summon it at well. Guess you can’t really shake weapon training as a bugbear. After quietly deserting his bugbear gang, Greggurr took on odd jobs and bounties, quietly fearing his destiny in the goblin afterlife, enjoying the company of many a suitor in his evenings. And then one night, a patron entered the picture and Greggurr found himself with a whole new set of arcane skills.

Long summary: Unlike Fydes, Greggurr first appeared as a D&D character, but the more I thought about him, the more I grew to love his concept and backstory. At first he was just a fun idea to bounce around with a friend, but by the time I played him in our first session, I knew I wanted to develop a real backstory and design for him. Thankfully, The Adventure Zone proved you can make a fun character out of a bugbear, so people are more receptive than ever to handsome and charming bugbear gentlemen.

In character, Greggurr is jolly, charming, and frequently flirty. His natural charisma certainly helps his warlock spells, but his true calling is smashing heads, which is why he makes such a nice Pact of the Blade warlock. In D&D 5e lore, bugbears are a goblinoid race, which means that after death, their souls are conscripted into a war by Magubliyet against Gruumsh, the god of orcs. He’s not exactly comfortable with this, and when an opportunity came along with a fellow of demonic interests offering the chance to send his soul somewhere else, he jumped at the chance. Really, the warlock magic was just a bonus at that point. I won’t go much further than that, since he’s got a nice little story to read as well.

Fun Fact: Assuming Greggurr makes it out of the Underdark in our current campaign, Fydes and Greggurr…well they’re not dating. But they’re not not dating.

See the art
Read the story
See the character sheet


art by grisser@tumblr

Hadal

Full Name: Hadal the Shrewd

Race: Asmosyne (Formerly Felarin)

Color Palette: Red, orange, and brown

One-Sentence Summary: An immortal demigod with the power to make every convenience you could imagine come true, if you don’t mind inconveniencing another random person in equal proportion (because he sure doesn’t).

Short Summary: Like Aros, Hadal is a personality formed by the combination of an Asmosyne and a mortal. Unlike Aros, Hadal’s former mortal self is essentially gone, having perfectly merged into his new personality. Once an entrepreneur in the typically peaceful Felarin capital city, his attempts and combining sorcery and marketing came to a crushing, tragic failure. While soul-searching in nature, his body came into contact with a wandering Asmosyne and the rest is history.

Long Summary: Hadal was another adoptable, this time from lewdliege at Tumblr. His design felt very much like one of those guys you love to hate, and also one of those guys that you’d still be willing to have a one-night stand with, if given the chance. Upon adopting him in early 2018, I was feeling particularly frustrated by the techbros in my area, who were frequently hot, willfully ignorant, and struck a lot of the same chords as Hadal. So I developed his backstory to mirror one of a tech industry leader, except as a fantasy allegory. You might notice that in his story, he mentions drinking water from a stream before finding the Asmosyne, a gentle allusion to the “raw water” craze going around the Bay Area elite recently.

Hadal’s abilities center on convenience, or sloth if you’re looking for a traditional sin. With the snap of his fingers, he can get you (or himself) anything he wants, at the cost of inconveniencing a random person in the world somewhere. It’s meant to mirror the way that we’ll pay for convenience, even at the expense of our global or local economy, the way that rideshares are swallowing revenue losses to compete with taxis or how Amazon undercuts its competitors to later raise the price on those same goods after the competitors are out of the picture. Every time Hadal uses his magic to get what he wants, the world is slightly worse off for it, though he thinks it’s worth it. Do you?

Fun Fact: Hadal’s name comes from the “hadal zone” of the ocean, which is itself named after the mythological underworld of Hades.

Read the story


art by skybluew0lf@twitter

Vezir

Full Name: Vezir, Architect of Ages

Race: Unknown (Often described as a Naga)

Color Palette: Black and Gold

One-Sentence Summary: Ageless and supremely powerful, Vezir hovers somewhere between demigod and actual deity, aiming to implement his grand designs of utopia upon the world.

Short Summary: Vezir, the self-styled Architect of Ages, sees himself as the last true hope for utopia in his realm. Rather than watch the world fall to entropy, he’s made it his mission to find powerful figures, control them under his magical sway, and lead them to build the world he knows will prosper. Even now, he has a network of agents ready to strike and remove meddling forces, setting up stalemates and cold wars until he can take full control and assert his power over every individual.

Long Summary: Vezir was an adoptable from scales-and-spirals over on FurAffinity. The character was a labor of love for the artist, but didn’t quite fit with the art and stories they wanted to make. I’d found scales through one of the posts they made about the then-nameless naga character, and well, immediately felt the urge to adopt him as soon as I found out scales had put him up for auction as an adoptable. Notably, scales was wonderful to work with and helped come up with a fantastic final design and color scheme for him.

Vezir never felt like a heroic figure, so it sounded like the right time to develop a villain to serve as a foil for the other monsters. Dourar and Hadal both have their villainous streaks, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re fairly harmless. Vezir is different, since he’s both extremely old and naturally immortal — and he has ambition on the scale that none of the others do. Vezir wants to reshape the world itself into his vision of utopia, and sometimes he makes a decent argument for letting him control so much. He’s far more competent at keeping a society progressing than power-hungry mortals, to the point where he’s already slipped his coils around some of the most powerful figures in his setting and now controls their decisions.

But what he doesn’t realize is that by choosing to protect his own power, he eliminates the agency of the people and the whole point of trying to guide the world to his utopia in the first place. In Vezir’s mind, it’s much better to have a modicum of free will while everything else is taken care of than to have actual freedom for members of a society.

Fun Fact: Vezir’s name comes from the not-so-subtle twist on the word “Vizir,” seeing himself as advisor to the world. He’s also the first character to break the pattern of alphabetical names. For now, at least.

Play the game (NSFW 18+ only, 20 minutes)


A Note About Setting

Several of these gay monsters show up in multiple settings because I’m a huge nerd for fantasy settings but also hate locking characters into one specific world. There’s probably a place for every character in each of these settings but it’s worth noting that each character comes from

“The Brexiverse” is a goofy little name I’ve given to the original setting where Brex and a few other characters reside. It’s a place with sorcery, dwarves, lion-people called Felarin, demons without hell, and a very mischievous lich. It’s a bit more narrow in focus as a setting than most, but that’s because it serves as a backdrop mostly for Brex, but has room for Carris, Dourar, Hadal, and Vezir.

“The Grand City” is a place where a dozen or so factions called Houses compete for money, fame, legacy, and more. It’s inspired by tarot symbolism and serves as the home plane for Eijiro.

A good chunk of these characters also have a place in the Forgotten Realms, known as the standard setting for most D&D games, which is where a few characters got their start, namely Fydes and Greggurr.