Bestiary

Aerial Creatures

Birds

Moongazers are a naturally inquisitive, tool-using species that one could easily mistake as your common raven when viewed from a distance. However, these birds are slightly smaller than an average corvus, and possess significantly more varied coloration than those birds. Moongazers are a largely black plumed, night-flying bird with a distinctly long tail-plume and two arcs of stark white on the posterior of each wing. These markings are said to vaguely resemble a second pair of eyes. Its crest bares another, much smaller white splotch. The exact dimensions and shape of these patterns varies between individual birds, and ones with particularly striking 'eyes' are held as the highest pedigree of the breed.

It is said that these birds, who are otherwise completely jet black, use these extra pairs of 'eyes' to divine a path to anywhere they have ever traveled before. Indeed, these curious avians are surprisingly intelligent and can be trained to carry messages from place to place. Their coloration make them superb at relaying missives by night, which is just dandy considering their largely nocturnal habits. Their dark plumage also serves to conceal the exact location of the birds. Furthermore, the large, white eye patterns on their wings can often make the birds seem like a much larger predatory creature when viewed from above by a hungry hawk, eagle or owl.

Legend holds that these birds were once completely white and were supremely proud of their plumage, which was so white that each bird seemed to shine like the sun itself. One day, one such bird, so great in its vanity, decided that it would attempt to take the sun's place, and so flew into heaven to try and replace it. But no bird can fly as high as the sun, and in the attempt, its precious feathers were burnt black, save for three eyes that warily watch those who would jeer at its hubris. Even today, the birds are said to be more active in the evenings and during the night in order to avoid seeing the sun in its full glory. Their name is derived from this legend, as it is said that the Moongazers have learned to love the moon, who also seems to scorn the sun in its nightly sojourn across the starlit sky. Thus, their white 'eyes' are always turned skyward, admiring their nightly companion as it travels from horizon to horizon.

They typically feed on small rodents, although they are also quite partial to moths and nightcrawlers.

Aquatic Beasts

Whales

While they are actually the most common of the whale species that are found in the oceans that border the Civilized West, Grey Whales are actually not as commonly hunted as their larger Bowhead cousins. At least, they are not hunted by the folk of the West. The Raiders of White Hall frequently hunt Grey Whales for their meat.


Sharks

These aggressive sharks are known for being found in both the open ocean and the Great Salt River. Even more frightening is that they are occasionally found in fresh water rivers as well! (Those that flow into the ocean). Their range is generally in the waters off of Galenthia and (as noted) occasionally in their rivers. While they are not the largest shark species, they are likely the most aggressive, and more shark attacks occur from this species than any other (Real world equivalent is the Bull Shark).

Legendary Sea Beasts

There are two legends of whales commonplace among sailors. The first is of the White Whale. Said to actually be of the Black Whale species and yet a pure white in color, the elusive beast has been the subject of many hunts, but none have successfully brought one home. It is said to be larger and more aggressive than others of its' species. Most tend to dismiss the existence of the creature, but "old whaler's stories" still crop up frequently.

The other legend is that of the Blue Whale…said to dwarf even the largest known whales in size, it is rarely spotted by sailors that venture further to the west in warmer waters. These creatures are said to be peaceful, which is probably good because they're as large as most boats. Unlike the White Whale, the Blue Whale is generally accepted as actually existing, though none have been caught…largely because there isn't a boat large enough to haul them back to land.

Game Animals

The important thing to note when hunting any game is that all animals within a given nobles' lands are assumed to be property of that noble. Commoners have a very limited selection of animals that they are permitted to hunt on a regular basis (usually limited to small game), and otherwise must either wait for a given Noble to grant them permission to take an animal of a larger variety or wait for a Noble to declare an "open season" on a particular type (commonly done after harvest but before winter, usually allowing each family to take one deer). There are allowances made for self-defense or the defense of family or fellows, but they will often have to plead their case to a local noble before they're "cleared" of any wrongdoing. Poaching is a serious offense, akin to thievery in most areas, though some lands and provinces are considerably more lax about their hunting standards than others. (Also note that the rules for hunting game apply equally to those listed below as they do to any that are mentioned as being hunted above).

Arguably the most prized game in the West. Bringing home a wild boar is sure to make for a most excellent meal and often quite a celebration. Indeed, nobles often organize boar hunts as entertainment…albeit somewhat dangerous entertainment, as Boars can grow to rather immense sizes and are aggressively territorial. Their tusks are quite capable of rending a man's flesh and more than a few people have never made it home from a boar hunt gone wrong. That doesn't stop people from trying, though, as roast boar is among the finest delicacies of the Civilized West.

Livestock

Descended from domesticated Aurochs, several varieties of cattle are raised in the West, both for purposes of food (primarily dairy) and as work animals (Oxen). While short-haired varieties are far from unheard of (particularly in Galenthia) the most common cattle of the West are the "Shaggy Cows" which have a thicker layer of fur than some other types. Beef is not a terribly popular meat in the Civilized West, though far from unheard of. Pork, chicken, and goat all precede it in terms of availability and popularity, and more often it is the dairy products derived from cows that are prized, particularly cheese and butter.

Land Beasts

Bears

The ferocious bears of the north are known for their white pelts, and their immense size that's matched only by their ferocity. Of all the breeds of bears common to the West, the Ice Bear has the biggest reputation for aggression and being "man-eaters." Thankfully, they are rather rare south of the Northern Mountains, with only those in the al'Callenta and al'Ramar lands seeing them with any frequency.

Bovines

These wild cattle have all but faded from the West, having in many cases been captured, domesticated, and bred out of existence. Known for their long horns, there are a few herds known to still run the plains of Galenthia, but they are an increasingly uncommon sight.

Deer

A shaggier, hardier breed of deer that roams in great herds in the open spaces of Northern Aequor and the wastes beyond the mountains. Rumor has it that some tribes of the Northern Barbarians actually raise and herd them much like sheep or cattle, but those of the West have not taken to the practice. The are a fairly common target as a game animal in Northern Aequor, however.

Dogs

A war hound used throughout the West. Bred during the Vir Sidus Empire from massive Empire Wolfhounds who were bred with Wolves. The Elementi Hounds stand easily as tall as three feet, are capable of wearing armor if properly trained, and have been the companions to many Lords in the field of battle. They have an incredibly long lifespan, encompassing nearly fifty years, and can form quite the attachment with their owners. Some Nobles have gifted children with Elementi pups with the intent for the pair to grow together and share a bond while acting as guards to the heirs of the house. These fine animals can cost nearly as much as a warhorse for a highly trained war hound, while pups can cost considerably less. House al'Mordran is the largest provider of Elementi hounds to the West, owing to their limited access to genuine Imperial bloodlines.
game stats
Elementi are incredibly expensive. They tend to bond with those who grew up with them, and if bonded they have different stats as indicated with the second set of stats.
Skill: 2/3
Stress: 6/8 (+Armor Value)
Mechanics
Elementi give players a second attack at the skill listed above, 2 for a normal non bonded Elementi, and 3 for Bonded. This is an ADDITIONAL ATTACK made as if they were a second player.
Players who are fighting with an Elementi Companion can not be flanked.
Bonded Elementi can deflect a sorcery attack made at them or their Bond Mate ONCE per scene.
Elementi can Wear Armor. Elementi is very specialized and costs two times the amount of normal Armor. Elementi can NOT wear Heavy Armor.
Elementi have armor can have Elementi Fighting Claws attached for an extra 20 Crowns. These do 1 Extra damage on a successful attack.
Elementi give a bonus +1 to Perception checks.
Elementi can be healed like a normal player
Special
An Elementi counts as both an NPC and an Additional player. As such, Elementi can gain TWO Temporary wounds. They may not, however, receive Permanent Wounds, because a permanently wounded Dog is too sad and Snoopy's heart can't take it.
A Player may transfer a Temporary Wound to an Elementi.
Elementi are naturals at avoiding traps and do not take trap or collapse damage. They also do not SET OFF Trap or Collapse damage. Some speculate that this is because the Elementi is a playful creature and wants to see you fail. Because it's funny.

Felines

The keeping of domesticated cats as pets is commonplace throughout the Civilized West, both for companionship and for hunting rodents and other vermin within the home or places of business. There is usually an ample population of stray cats in any given city or even town, and occasionally their populations grow so large that they become a nuisance and are actually hunted for a time to "thin the herd." They are also, perhaps to the discomfort of some, occasionally a source of protein for the lowest classes.

Horses of The West

A horse is a horse, of course (of course!), and while in truth there are breeders who keep track of bloodlines and try to breed superior war-horses, who really has the "best" is open to some debate. Still, at least two great houses have a reputation for fine warhorses, albeit for slightly different reasons. Likewise, some Houses specialize in horses for other uses.

Perhaps the top contender for "best War horses" the Al'Callenta lands produce powerful beasts with a reputation for speed in the charge, and (by horse standards) absolute fearlessness. The coat of al'Callenta war horses tends to be a little bit thicker than most horses, apparently adapted to the cooler climes of the North, and they can be prone to overheating in warmer southern climes.

Lupines

These large, grey-furred canines hunt in packs that range from the northern mountains (and probably beyond) all the way down into the Duchy of Wayston in Galenthia (and are occasionally found in the other northern segments of Galenthia. Their reputation as being dangerous to men is highly exaggerated, though they are certainly a threat to livestock and potentially small children, and will attack men if the pack is hungry and the man in question is alone or injured. This makes them a common target for hunters in the West, and in many provinces Wolf pelts fetch a bounty from the local lord. Some provinces and groups see a certain nobility in these animals, however, and are more respectful of wolves, tending to avoid harming them whenever possible.

Vulpines

These foxes live in the northernmost reaches of Aequor (and further north), and are known for a coat that turns snow-white in the winter. They are highly prized for that white fur, but hunting them in the winter months is an arduous task that few have the patience to undertake.

Snakes

Ash Serpents are truly huge snakes, the largest of which can actually swallow a fully grown human whole. However, that is only the beginning of the danger these creatures hold. Ash Serpents are a type of constrictor and capture their prey by first paralyzing them with its venom, and then squeezing it to unconsciousness or death. To make matters worse, since the return of magic Ash Serpents have begun to exude a choking coat of ash created by the heat they exude scorching the ground in their wake. While they sometimes cause small fires with this ability, it mostly just creates a fine coat of ash that when hunting and has cornered a prey tends to sting the eyes and make breathing difficult. Only adults are ever found, as infant Ash Serpents remain underground until they re at least ten feet in length, and these, the juveniles, are usually accompanied by their siblings and a parent showing at the very least a strong familial bond in the creatures.

game stats
Can only be found in the MOUNTAINS. It has to be a mountain range so a lone mountain in a plain isn't going to have these creatures. They like cold environments and are more likely to be found in Aequor than Galenthia.
Skill: 3
Stress: 10
Special Attacks
Bite: A player bit by an Ash Serpent must make a Physical Stress Check (+dice 4d3+Physical Stress stat) at difficulty 10. Failure means the player loses their next action and can be coup de grace'd by the Ash Serpent. (GM Note, it will deal with other prey first). Bites do +1 damage and win ties (except against Hybrid or Great Weapons). This is due to their immense size and the strength of the Ash Serpent.
Constrict: If the Ash Serpent makes a normal attack and wins, the player is constricted. Players have their Physical Stress in rounds to escape or will pass out, at which point the Ash Serpent can Coup d Grace them. (GM Note, it will deal with other prey first). To escape a player needs to roll Brawn at dif 10. They may take no other action while constricted except sorcery and speaking.
Immunity: Ash Serpents are completely immune to fire. They are NOT supernatural but are instead a strange evolution created by magical exposure during the Age of Legends. As such they do NOT suffer from Light Silver or Sidhe Steel damage bonuses to the supernatural.

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