Human-bodied and goat-headed, [they] ... are tied irrevocably with the Rune of chaos. They are given to atrocities and foul practices, and carry numerous loathsome diseases.Broos have the ability to procreate with any species, intelligent or otherwise, with the resulting offspring taking characteristics from both its Broo and non-Broo parent. Most Broos in the Dragon Pass area (the area of Glorantha originally most detailed in RQ's early materials) have the heads of goats and other herd animals, hence their nickname, but Broos come in a variety of types, depending on their parentage.
Anyway, during the RuneQuest Renaissance of the '90s, a product was put out for RQ3 called Dorastor: Land of Doom, which detailed a Chaos-tainted land to the south of the Lunar Empire. As I've stated several times before, I never played much RuneQuest at any time, but I was often interested in it. Just before Avalon Hill was purchased by Hasbro in 1998, the company was selling off its stock of RuneQuest materials in very cheap -- and hefty -- bundles. I bought them out of curiosity and it was then that I first read Dorastor. The supplement included a NPC known as Ralzakark, leader of Dorastor and king of the Broos.
For reasons I can't fully articulate, I found Ralzakark quite frightening. Perhaps it was because he had the head of a unicorn, a creature normally associated with purity and goodness. Perhaps it was because he was an urbane, sophisticated creature unlike his subjects. Whatever it was, Ralzakark frightened me. I don't mean scared in that ooga-booga-monster-in-closet sort of way; I mean in some psychological/emotional way. Ralzakark was a disturbing NPC -- and fascinating too. For all I know, I may be the only person who finds the Unicorn Emperor of the Broos unnerving, but I suspect not. I know of many people who find the Broos more than a little creepy and Ralzakark's inversion of many of the known facts about these creatures probably does unsettle people besides myself.
This got me to thinking about how the best fantasies, the ones that really stick with me, are frightening on some level. Shelob, in The Lord of the Rings, frightens me and so does Gollum, come to think of it. They both touch on things within my psyche that I'd rather not think about and force me to confront them. Most of us, I imagine, need to do this from time to time, which is why I think it's healthy for children's stories to include frightening elements. It's the same reason I think RPGs shouldn't shy away from being frightful. That's not all they should be, of course. Still, I think they're a lesser entertainment than they can be if they neglect to include things to unnerve us from time to time.