Ecology of the Scarecrow
When the Moon Rises High, the Strawman is Nigh ....
By Steve Townshend
At harvest time, when death revisits the twilight world, eerie scarecrows loom in silent vigil over the domains that they protect. With immortal patience bound to their master’s command, the stoic sentinels hold their post through wind, storm, and flood. Fear is the scarecrow’s singular purpose, and fear is its grimmest weapon. Fear binds it together and draws it like a hunger. Gaze too long into those formless canvas faces and you will see fear and death smoldering like corpse candles in the scarecrow’s dark, sackcloth eyes. This article discusses the purpose of the scarecrow, the ritual behind its construction, variations based on their stuffing, and presents three new types of scarecrows with which to terrorize brave heroes.
In folk tales, humanoids that made enemies of powerful evil beings such as demons, fomorians, hags, and oni were warned by these creatures that they would have their bones ground down and their entrails stuffed into scarecrows. Only too late do some poor fools discover that this fate is not just a storybook threat.
About the Author
Steve Townshend’s recent design credits include Monster Manual 3, Demonomicon, Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale, and The Madness of Gardmore Abbey. Oublivae and the banderhobbs number amongst his wicked children. Steve completed the heroic tier as an actor and improvisor, but took the fiction writer paragon path. He lives with an elf princess and their familiar in Chicago, a Big City on a Lake.