Monday, April 27, 2020

Bestiary: C is for Cave Beasts & Companions

This'll be a short one, just the essentials. You need stats for dogs and horses, and I need to write the words "spiderwolf" and "cave pigeon, giant".

An effort to force myself to finish the Bestiary for the Mountain at the End of the World. Stats are for the GROG, so base AC is 0 ascending and base attack is 10 + HD ascending. Morale would be 7 or 8 + WIS modifier, if you don't feel like assigning it by fiat.


Dogs are a perversion of the canine form, one of nature’s great servants turned to serve mankind. Every dog burns with an internal fire, as can be seen in the smoke that issues from their panting mouths. They are the ultimate scavengers, capable of sustaining themselves on meat, vegetables, fruit wood, coal, oil, or any other digestible or flammable substance. Many families keep dogs as companions, especially those who reside in areas such as the Mountain where the forests are too dangerous to log—besides the security that a well-trained guard dog provides, their body temperature is sufficient to heat a small home through the winter.

Famous Nose: Dogs can track targets across long distances by smell, and ignore difficulty on rolls to detect things that have a scent. Wolves and other doglike beasts can too.

Internal Flame: Dogs never take damage from normal cold weather, and confer this benefit to companions of their size or smaller so long as they remain in close contact—riding or being carried by the dog and sleeping snug up against it, for example. Non-dog animals of similar size and nature (wolves, hyenas, jackals, coyotes, et cetera) don't possess this ability.

Dog, Common Working

HD 1 HP 4 Size Small AC 2 (unarmored)
Init +2 Speed 40'
Strength 10 +0 Dexterity 12 +1 
Intelligence 2 -4 Wisdom 12 +1
STR Attack 11 melee bite 1d4
Speaks Arqot, excitedly and happily

Working dogs weigh about 20 to 50 pounds, and are common throughout the few bastions of civilization on the Mountain. These stats can also be used for doglike animals like coyotes, dingoes, hyenas, and jackals.

Dog, War

HD 2 HP 10 Size Medium AC 2 (unarmored)
Init +2 Speed 40'
Strength 12 +1 Dexterity 12 +1 
Intelligence 2 -4 Wisdom 12 +1
STR Attack 13 melee bite 1d6+1
Speaks Arqot, boldly and brashly

War dogs are nearly the size of a hobgoblin. They are large enough for small characters like goblins to ride.

Takedown: When a war dog hits with a bite attack, they can make a free combat maneuver to trip their target.

Hill Wolf

HD 2 HP 10 Size Medium AC 4 (unarmored)
Init +4 Speed 40'
Strength 12 +1 Dexterity 14 +2 
Intelligence 2 -4 Wisdom 14 +2
STR Attack 13 melee bite 1d6+1
Speaks Serumic, cruelly and hungrily

Wolves, red in tooth and claw, are one of the favored beasts of the natural element of blood. They have been innoculated against Arqot, and the sound of it sends them into a slavering frenzy in which they will attack those they hear speak it heedless of their own safety. Wolves use pack tactics when fighting, seeking to encircle their opponents and drag them to the ground before moving in for the kill.

Takedown: When a hill wolf hits with a bite attack, they can make a free combat maneuver to trip their target.

Photophobia: Hill wolves roll Wisdom to enter areas of bright light. If they fail, they cannot enter and lurk on its boundaries, staring with palpable fury. They can try again once every minute. Those brave enough to charge torchbearers are canny enough to wrestle them to the ground and snuff out the light so their packmates can approach.


HD 2 HP 10 Size Medium AC 6 (spider chitin, as leather)
Init +4 Speed 50' Climb 50'
Strength 12 +1 Dexterity 16 +3 
Intelligence 2 -4 Wisdom 12 +1
STR Attack 13 melee bite 1d6+1 + roll Strength or poison 1d6/round until Strength roll passed
Speaks Serumic, Skittering, in an alien and predatory manner

Terrifying combinations of arachnid and beast, spiderwolves are agile, skittering abominations with all the cunning of a wolf married to the patience—and venom—of a man-sized monstrous spider. They can be found on the upper slopes of the Mountain as well as inside and beneath it, but sometimes venture lower into the foothills. It’s not unheard of for spiderwolves to join ordinary wolf packs on occasion, a frightening prospect for those who make it their business to hunt wolves.

Chitinous Pelt: Spiderwolves are protected by sturdy chitin as well as thick ruffs of fur, giving them +2 AC.


Horses were one of the first species to be domesticated in the civilized lands, and nature has fully cast them out. There is no part of a horse made of anything natural; no ash and no fish, certainly, but also no bone nor blood. Their skeleton is composed of a gelatinous cartilage and their veins filled with oil. When they burn—because they are so very flammable—they leave no ashes, just a puddle of horrible, melted cartilaginous glue.

Horsehide: Horses have tough, leathery skin that grants them +2 AC.

Oil in the Blood: Horses are filled with oil, and very susceptible to ignition. If an attack or other effect normally has a chance to ignite targets, horses automatically catch fire. Even when taking fire damage that does not normally carry a chance of ignition, they must roll Dexterity or burst into flame for 1d6 damage per round until extinguished. They bleed oil when cut, and can be healed 1d6 HP (horse points) by forcing them to drink a pint of oil.

Pony, Ass, or Burro

HD 1 HP 5 Size Medium AC 3 (horsehide, as leather)
Init +1 Speed 40'
Strength 12 +1 Dexterity 12 +1 
Intelligence 2 -4 Wisdom 10 +0
STR Attack 12 melee kick 1d6+1
Speaks No languages

Ponies, asses, and burros are all common pack animals, and large enough to serve as a mount for a small creature like a goblin. A pony, ass, or burro can carry about 200 pounds before it starts staggering around like an idiot or just gives up and lies down.

Horse, Light or Mule

HD 2 HP 13 Size Large AC 4 (horsehide, as leather)
Init +2 Speed 60' (light horse) or 40' (mule)
Strength 14 +2 Dexterity 14 +2 
Intelligence 2 -4 Wisdom 10 +0
STR Attack 14 melee kick 1d6+2
Speaks No languages

Light horses are commonly bred for speed and beauty, and can carry about 400 pounds. Mules are slower but make much better working animals, and can carry around 600 pounds. Either can drag five times their carrying limit.

Horse, Heavy

HD 3 HP 25 Size Large AC 3 (horsehide, as leather)
Init +1 Speed 50'
Strength 18 +4 Dexterity 12 +1 
Intelligence 2 -4 Wisdom 10 +0
STR Attack 17 melee kick or trample 1d6+4
Speaks No languages

Heavy horses are excellent workers, strong and slow to tire. They can carry 450 pounds easily, 900 pounds at maximum, or drag just over two tons.

Cave Pigeon, Giant

HD 4 HP 34 Size Large AC 0 (unarmored)
Init +0 Speed 30' Fly 60'
Strength 18 +4 Dexterity 14 +2 
Intelligence 1 -4 Wisdom 6 -2
STR Attack 18 bite 2d6+4
Speaks The birds are an enigma, you cannot speak with them 

Giant cave pigeons stalk the internal caverns and tunnels of the Mountain, using their steel-hard beaks to chip away at the stone and form their filthy burrow-nests. They are large, aggressive, and invariably hostile.

Blindsense: The underdeveloped eyes of a cave pigeon register only the presence or absence of light, but they have developed other senses to compensate. They suffer no penalties from being blind, but are only aware of creatures within 60 feet.

Cave Pike, Giant

HD 2 HP 34 Size Medium AC 2 (fish scale, as leather)
Init +0 Swim 60'
Strength 14 +2 Dexterity 14 +2 
Intelligence 1 -4 Wisdom 6 -2
STR Attack 14 bite 1d8+2
Speaks Hadeal, clumsily and stupidly

The terror of Mountain fisherfolk, giant cave pike are ill-tempered beasts that will happily capsize a rowboat or dinghy to get at the meat inside. Those who have ventured into the Mountain itself tell that the pale specimens which live in the subterranean rivers and lakes beneath it are even larger and more malicious.

Fish Scales: Giant cave pike scales are tough and slippery, giving them +2 AC.


HD 6 HP 57 Size Huge AC 4 (tough hide or scales, as leather)
Init +2 Speed 40' Fly 60', if winged
Strength 20 +5 Dexterity 12 +1
Intelligence 10 +0 Wisdom 12 +1
STR Attack 21 talon, claw, or hoof 1d8+5
STR Attack 21 bite or gore 2d6+5 (if able)
Speaks Varies, see below

Chimerae are strange beasts, seemingly cobbled together from parts of others. Their origin is unknown—some think them a terror born of the natural world, others that they are the experiments of mad wizards. Chimerae vary dramatically in form, but some combinations breed true and have created well-known subspecies: Gryphons, hippogryphs, sphinges, manticores, owlbears, pegasi, and “true” chimerae.

Tough: Chimerae have either thick leathery hides or scales, granting them +2 AC.

Chimerae Generation

d6 What form is its body?
  1. Body of a bear, upright, with feathered and taloned winglike arms..
  2. Body of a horse, feathered wings.
  3. Body of a cheetah, leathery bat-wings.
  4. Body of a lion, feathered wings.
  5. Body of a lion, scaled bat-wings.
  6. Body of a lion with the forelimbs and chest of an eagle, feathered wings.

d8 And what of its head?
  1. Head of a goblinoid.
  2. Head of an orc.
  3. Head of a lion.
  4. Head of a horse.
  5. Head of an eagle.
  6. Head of an owl.
  7. Head of a bull.
  8. Three heads—one draconic, one leonine, and one goat.
Chimerae with wings can fly.

Chimerae with draconic, eagle, lion, or owl heads have bite attacks, and chimerae with bull or goat heads have gore attacks. Chimerae with three heads can make three attacks with no additional difficulty for making multiple attacks in a round. Chimerae with draconic heads can also breathe fire after visibly "winding up" for 1 round (sharp inhalation, torches gutter and candles and lamps blow out, etc), dealing 4d6 natural fire damage in a 50 foot cone with a Dexterity roll for half—in rounds where the chimerae winds up or breathes fire, the draconic head cannot also make a bite attack. 

Chimerae with humanoid (goblinoid or orcish) heads speak Common, and chimerae with draconic heads speak Scale. The intelligence of chimerae vary as widely as their forms do; some are incredibly wise, and others no more than hungry beasts.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate how uniquely weird your world is, and how committed (for lack of a better word) you are to hitting its core themes over and over, to the point that even dogs aren't "just" dogs. I want more fantasy worlds like yours.