Here is a story of heartbreak for you: there once was a King and a Queen who ruled a shining kingdom of playful folk called ‘Tuatha.’ It doesn’t matter why, but the King died and that was considerably sadder than the world could handle. The Queen locked herself in the castle at the center of the world and wept until her kingdom was soaked to its very bones. Those old playful creatures of the hearth and meadow were left, ankle deep in the bog of tears. They weren’t the Tuatha sunbathers of old anymore; they were Bogies.
Now, the nature of a Bogie is a difficult thing. If you ask a dark-minded person what a Bogie is, they would probably say they are a kind of a ghost, like a dead thing. But if you ask someone innocent, they’d probably tell you that Bogies are a kind of a fairy, something innocent like they are. The only people that know the truth are probably the Old Animal Gods or the Hut Witch, but the Animals don’t like all Bogies and the Witch will straight up eat a Bogie.
The Pagans sure as hell don’t know the truth of the matter because they aren’t even from the Fen. They arrived here from who-knows-where and they don’t seem to have much purpose except to maybe annoy the Bogies. Sometimes people—Pagans and Bogies alike—and sometimes treasures, and even Animal Gods fall into the swamp and are never seen again. People say they go somewhere else, but what do they know?
Bogies organize themselves into informal groups with different lifestyles and customs. Weem focus on the wisdom of the old days by writing in the Old Tongue of the moths. Their customs are full of sadness and nostalgia, like dancing the Heydeguy. They hang out in the Pumpkin Patch and whisper secrets to each other when no one is looking. Pwcks track the Animal Gods and roam around getting into all kinds of kerfuffles. They are like ghostly imaginary friends lending a helping hand and the occasional jolt of panic. When Pwcks are feeling social, they gather at the Rushes and splash all around. Redcaps look spooky as hell and don’t mind getting a little blood on their hands (either through healing or harming). They like places of dark mojo, so you’ll most often find them at the Crossroads.
When a Bogie gets too close to death, either through their own obsession or through actually being destroyed, they become a Willowisp. Willowisps exist as a nearby immaterial presence but they will possess bodies and come back to life. They appear as they did in life, but they exist only to destroy and torment those they loved. Most of the old Tuatha who became Bogies have succumbed to the call of true death.
Not everyone roaming around the fen is a Bogie. Pagans are all over the Fen and they have their own ways. They live short lives eking out an unenviable living right outta the swamp. Some of them stick to one place and some of them wander, but you know a Pagan when you see one. By ancient pact, Pagans must give offerings to Bogies when they come to their villages. Pagans have a tradition of cutting wood and which manifests as the Dauntless Hewer style of combat for the Great Ax.
There is a Hut Witch in the Fen but she can be mighty hard to deal with. She eats Bogies who accidentally perform one of three secret taboos in front of her. She won’t eat grown up Pagans, but she’ll throw a hex like a hot rutabaga.
The Blighted Fen is also home to Animal Gods, survivors of the old fairy-tale days when every story had a moral that involved some kind of violence or mutilation. The Animal Gods are jealous, confused, and angry at Bogies and the Fen in general. They need to be reminded of their place by kind words and flattering gifts. Each Animal God has a traditional offering that is given as part of its propitiation but many of them have been forgotten. Even the Animal Gods misremember the “old ways” and often display a distorted, nostalgic view of the past.
Consequently, they can be demanding and irrational. However, they have blessings to bestow on those who weather their declarations. Animal Gods have no priests, for their memory and ability to distinguish individuals is quite diminished.
Magic School: Swamp Mojo
Bogies and some talented Pagans know the secret ways of Swamp Mojo, and contrary to popular accounts, you either have the mojo or you don’t. If you have it, you can do all kinds of things; flatter Animal Gods, raise up dead folks so you can ask them to dance, and even haste yourself to safety when you tickle an alligator’s snout. I’m not even joking. So mix up a nasty pot of whatever-that-is, comfort that heartbroken friend we’ve all got, and maybe show off a little… because those are how you keep high levels of mojo.
Makeup or Costuming Requirements
Characters portraying Bogies must wear either prosthetic “elf” ears or prosthetic faerie wings (preferably dark, pastel, or translucent; no neon please). Bogies also have a makeup requirement and must display a blacked-out animal nose, glittering skin, or pale corpse-like skin highlighted with streaks of red (blood). If killed, Bogies need no external means of returning to life; they simply wake up in their bed or in the nearest Heydeguy circle. Bogies who are destroyed too often forget their living selves and become Will-O-Wisps, evil spirits who torment the living.
Two types of characters come from the Blighted Fen: Bogies and Pagans. The Blighted Fen is a dark fairy tale and Bogies are old primal characters in that narrative. Fractured is a horror game, but Bogies are intended to give lightness to the afflicted as a matter of their everyday behavior. They follow their own personal customs and don’t care for social niceties. Pagans are simple, short-lived people who enter the Fracture knowing nothing about it or much else. They are intended to be an easy character to play. Some Bogies demand Pagans interact with them according to old customs, but it is unclear whether such customs need be observed outside of the Fen.
Bogies and Pagans both know their way around a soggy water-table, and thus receive the first level of Survival for 5 character points. The Blighted Fen is actually quite a dangerous place but it is filled with compassionate Bogies and thus Bogies (and ONLY Bogies) receive the first level of Healing for 5 character points. Pagans are a humble woodcutting people, and they receive the first level of Axe for 5 character points. Something about being born in the Fen puts the magic in your step, and consequently characters from the Fen pay 10 character points for the first level of Swamp Mojo instead of 15 like other characters.