Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Rudimentary Bestiary of Yofga

This bestiary is meant to describe some of the more well known creatures of Yofga and should not be viewed as a comprehensive guide. Strange beasts are found in the deep desert, and travelers should always be wary of engaging the creatures found within it, even if they appear benign or similar in shape and form to more well known creatures.

Atcheth (Aw-chet)
CR 20
The mighty atcheth, the deadliest known predator of the silt oceans of Hasta. These creatures are almost entirely responsible for the absence of water travel and trade on Hasta’s silt oceans. The atcheth are vaguely crocodilian creatures that are usually reported as being at least sixty feet in length. Despite its size, the atcheth is considered to be the fastest known predator the oceans of Hasta. This is due to the six flexible flipper limbs that it possesses on the sides of its body. Each of these flippers is made of a large, flexible bone blade that is capable of propelling the atcheth through the water with incredible speed, or slashing apart prey with the same speed. These bone blades are capable of slicing through even the sturdiest of keels. These blades are surely the most deadly physical attribute of the atcheth, but the bite force of its crocodilian jaws is capable of crushing nearly anything they are able to fit around. Atcheth, supposedly, are also able to emit electricity from their body. The supposed power of this ability differs from story to story and can range from mildly stunning human sized prey, to killing and nearly incinerating it.

Desert Raptor
CR 1
Aside from the extremely rare varieties of dragon that are capable of true flight, the skies of of Yofga are ruled by one creature and one creature only, the mighty desert raptor, sometimes called the ammelger (am-ell-gear). These mighty predators are usually about four feet long with a ten foot wingspan when fully grown. The desert raptor has light grey feathers and a primarily bald head with a small red crest atop its head. It also, of course, possesses a savagely sharp and curved beak and immense talons.

CR Varies By Age and Subspecies
There is not more varied and adaptable species of creature on Yofga than dragons. There exist many dozens of subspecies with unique abilities and different behaviors. As a species, they are almost universally apex predators of their various environments. Physically, they follow the pattern of long bodies with tails at least as long as their body and limbs on the sides of its torso. Their teeth and claws are of course razor sharp. They are all poisonous to some degree, though the precise strength and effect of their venom varies. Most are capable of regurgitating their extremely corrosive stomach acid into a stream or arc of caustic liquid they can drench their prey in, though they typically only engage in this behavior when prey is more difficult to take down than they had anticipated. All dragons are physically strong beasts of great endurance, as well as possessing scales that are much harder and durable than one might think. Older dragons possess scales capable of turning blows that would crack iron plate mail. One thing should be noted when dealing with dragons of all varieties. While these beasts are just that, they are quite intelligent and this intelligence and cunning seem to grow as they age. They are obviously still beasts and nowhere near as intelligent as humans and goliath, but they should not be underestimated as cunning hunters.

Hungry Cactus
CR Varies By Size
Hungry cacti are one of the only forms of plant life found in the deep desert. They are fairly small, with most being round green needle studded balls roughly the size of a goliath fist, though their size varies with how much water they can find to store and consume. Unlike most forms of plant life, hungry cacti are mobile creatures. When a hungry cactus’ root structures no longer find plentiful water deep below the hard sun baked ground, they immediately begin to wither and weaken. Once they have sufficiently weakened that they are easily torn away, the cacti fires several of its hollow needles, which remain connected to the cactus by retractable root structures. This allows the round cactus to roll itself to regions where it detects more water. The cactus’ needles and roots only have a range of ten feet or so, so its rolling progress is extremely slow, but it allows these cacti to survive and thrive when no other plant life could. It should be noted that whatever sense the cactus uses to find water is able to detect fluid within living things, making them a danger to travelers that draw too close. The needles of these cacti are hollow and secrete a caustic, slightly paralytic substance as well, similar to the venom of certain spiders. This allows these cacti to kill a living creature, liquify its insides, and draw its fluids back to the main body of the cactus through the connected root structures. A healthy human or goliath suffers no ill effects from the substance secreted by the cactus’ needles, however, there are reports of hungry cacti measuring five feet or more in diameter that have been able to use the secretions of their needles to paralyze a full grown goliath and feed on them for days before moving on.

CR 1
Husks are the strange humanoids that exist around The Font of Shadows. Some say they are the dead killed by the volcanic region around The Font of Shadows, others say that they are living creatures made savage and insensible by the strange emanations of The Font of Shadows and the trials and tribulations they have suffered living in close proximity to The Font of Shadows. Husks are dangerous to most travelers, but not all. Some they attack on sight, while others are able to walk into their field of vision without being hindered in any way unless the non-husks initiate contact with the husks. Husks are dangerous because they are very resilient creatures that simply do not show restraint or retreat in the face of superior odds. Once they begin attacking or hunting prey, they do not cease until they have been dismembered or otherwise rendered unable to continue the conflict. In addition to this, they are able to enter short periods of intangibility, which makes destroying them difficult.

Jester Hounds
CR 1
Jester hounds are a peculiar type of canine found primarily in the more fertile lands around the cities of Yofga. Jester hounds are grey canines that are typically about two feet tall at the shoulder and four feet long from nose to tail. Jester hounds are omnivores and are not above scavenging. This makes them fairly benign creatures in terms of how they relate to humans and goliath. The small canines often run in mated pairs and despite their fairly benign nature, they can become dangerous opponents when they are back into corners or when their young are threatened. Outside of those situations, they are more likely to flee an opponent than stand and fight. Jester hounds have two unique characteristics, the first is that their barks and yips sound disturbingly similar to the cackles and laughter of humans. They also possess a bizarre illusionary displacement ability that leaves the jester hounds never quite where they seem to be.

Krosank (Crow-sank)
CR 1
Krosank are large lizards of burden and food source used by many towns and the cities of Yofga. Adult krosank are typically eight feet long and approximately six feet tall at the shoulder. Their bodies are heavy and muscular with thick bones. They are not capable of great speeds, but their plodding gait and unflagging endurance allows them to cover many more miles than their smaller and fleeter cousins. Krosank are primarily herbivorous, but will eat pretty much anything that their blocky teeth can break up enough to swallow. Their tough hide is nowhere near as durable as that of dragons, but it is somewhat resistant to minor blows, which makes it hard for smaller predators to prey upon them. Krosank have a long, flexible neck that terminates in crocodilian head and atop the very end of their snout is a short, thick horn. Due to the mild temperament of these beasts, they very rarely use their horns in defense, but there are cases of krosank that have been tormented by their handlers impaling their tormentors and using their muscular neck to fling them up into the air.

Mega Scorpion
CR 4
The deserts of Yofga are full of many variations of what might be called regular scorpions. They vary by size and color and the toxicity of their venom. Standing above these arachnids as their god or king is the mega scorpion. These large creatures are often about the size of a krosank, but the stories of desert tribes claim that they have been seen to reach as much as fifteen feet in length. They are an ugly creature with a urine yellow carapace with black splotches of color scattered randomly on their thoraxes. Mega scorpions behave in a manner very similar to their smaller brethren, though their size and the toxicity of their venom allow them to hunt much larger and dangerous prey than their normal brethren. One oddity of the mega scorpion is that its pincers are more agile and have a larger range of motion than typical scorpions, as well as appearing more like hinged clamps or spades than blades. Very little is known about the life cycle of mega scorpions, as they are typically well equipped to slay any researchers studying them, but the odd configurations of their pincers has led many naturalists to conclude that they are great burrowers.

Neko Snake (Knee-ko snake)
CR 4
Most of the serpents found on Yofga tend to be small poisonous creatures typically found in the areas where the fertile lands surrounding the cities meets the rocky terrain of the deep desert. The neko snake, long considered the symbol of modern medicine on Yofga, is strange in that it is the only constrictor snake known to inhabit the deep desert, though that is the most minor oddity of the creature. The neko snake is typically ten to fifteen feet in length and possesses a thick, muscular body capable of crushing prey that might be considered far deadlier and stronger than it is. Neko snakes are bizarre serpents in that at about the midpoint of their body, they split into two, and sometimes three, heads. One head is considered male, and the other female, as neko snakes are apparently solitary creatures and are capable of impregnating themselves in a way that biologists and naturalists are not able to understand. Hunters and beast harvesters have found that neko snakes are incredibly hard to kill due to incredible properties of regeneration that they possess. Stories persist of grievously wounded neko snakes having one or more heads severed and returning to life while hunters are in the process of cleaning their kills and harvesting the organs of the serpent. There are also unconfirmed stories of the severed heads of neko snakes growing into new neko snakes. There is a thought process among certain naturalists that this is the means of reproduction for neko snakes, but it has not been confirmed. Because of its strange regenerative properties, many physicians will pay well for access to a neko snake’s liver, spleen, and a good amount of its uncontaminated blood.

Night Fowl
CR ⅛
Night fowl are small black birds found in and around the cities and most towns of Yofga. These small birds are typically about 10 inches tall with a wingspan of about 14 inches. They are capable of flight, but prefer to run along the ground. They are primarily carnivorous scavengers and possess a robust serrated beak. They are rarely seen during the day, as they are primarily nocturnal, but have been known to hunt and travel during the day when necessary. The feathers of night fowl are strange in nature. Rather than possessing normal feathers like other avians, night fowl possess very lightweight and flexible blades of chitin that allow them to fly and give them an almost iridescent black coloring. Night fowl also possess insectile compound eyes that give them an amazing range of vision and impeccable night vision. Despite their size, night fowl are amazing hunters and hiders and most cities and towns have massive hidden populations of these small birds within their borders. Despite their predatory nature and small size, these birds exhibit very little hostility to or fear of humans and goliath and many families within the cities and towns of Yofga keep a night fowl or two as pets.

Norvesk (Nor-vesk)
CR 3
Norvesk are a spider-like creature about five feet in length when fully grown. Like most spiders, they have a bulbous body, eight eyes, and eight legs, and are capable of utilizing webbing. Norveks are subterranean creatures that live within complex burrows that often intersect with old ruins beneath the deserts of Yofga. Their entrances to these burrows often double as an ambush site due to their skill at camouflaging the entrances to their burrows to be no different than the surrounding desert. Most spiders have spinnerets on the end of their abdomens to release webbing. Similar to scorpions, norvesk have three tails that come up over their abdomen and allow them to spray webbing in almost any direction the norvesk wishes. The poison of the norvesk is mediocre in terms of toxicity to healthy humans and goliath, however, it should be noted that the webbing of norvesk is corrosive to almost everything except the chitin of the norvesk.

Riding Krosank
CR ½
Ok, I’m going to be straight with you. I’m feeling lazy. Riding krosank are warhorses. They have the exact same statistics as a warhorse (Monster Manual page 340). They look like the krosank described above, but they’re smaller and faster.

Silt Shark
CR 5
The silt shark is a mighty amphibious beast that lurks along the shores of Yofga. Most silt sharks are approximately ten feet long with a kind of egg shaped body with powerful tails, short stubby legs, a fin jutting up from their back like a blade, and huge cavernous mouths full of row upon row of shredding teeth. The silt shark’s feet end in three clawed toes. These thick talons are sharp, but they are built like large scoops, allowing the silt shark to propel itself easily through water or dig its way through soil. The silt shark is a ravenous beast and their fins have been seen poking up aboveground as far as ten miles inland as the creatures hunt for prey. Though not nearly as destructive or deadly as the atcheth, the silt shark is capable of destroying most sea vessels and turning small towns into wide swatches of disturbed earth.

Steluj (Stell-luge) Beasts
CR Varies

Steluj are a particularly rare class of desert creature. Sometimes humans and goliath are killed and eaten by desert beasts. Sometimes those humans and goliath have studs. It is well known that studs respond to the desires of those that bear them. Very very rarely, a desert beast will consume a human or goliath and after digesting it, the studs implanted into the corpse will be freed and wind up implanting themselves in the stomach of the beast. Beasts are unable to think and direct their will the way humans and goliath are, but they are able to hunt and hunger and fear and flee. These basic desires are enough to direct studs that a desert beast has consumed and implanted in its belly. Such creatures are understandably rare and can be extremely dangerous at times, assuming the studs that they have consumed have a practical benefit and one that can be directed by the simple desires of a beast.

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