Common Beasts of Barsaive Edit
Barsaive’s abundant fauna includes small animals such as mice and frogs that are visible everywhere in the province. More dangerous animals usually stay hidden, sometimes allowing travellers to pass unmolested, other times pouncing at the last moment to take their victim by surprise. Most creatures in Barsaive pose little danger to travellers or attack only when threatened. These creatures—monkeys, sloths, aardvarks, boars, snakes, parrots, hawks, peacocks, tortoises, and so on—have no magic. Other creatures, both mundane and magically endowed, pose a greater danger: tigers, rhinoceros, lions, bears, wild dogs, griffins, giant snakes, leopards, and so on. Greatest of all threats are the Horrors still roaming the world, of course. As everyone knows, we Name-givers have little natural defence against them.
Important: This is what the average person might know about through life experience and stories about the most well known beasts. There are other beasts in Barsaive both magical, mundane and Horror-touched. Information given here is likely to be incomplete or inaccurate.
Riding Beasts (Common) Edit
Domestic riding beasts were almost wiped-out by the scourge. Only the largest Kaers had the luxury of keeping riding beasts alive for 400 years. Fortunately there has been a concerted effort to breed wild beasts with the few that survived in the Kaers and so stocks have been slowly recovering.
- Horses - A mount favoured by humans and elves.
- Ponies - Small horse breeds that are suitable mounts for dwarves. (100 sp)
- Granlain - An unusually large subspecies of Horse one of the only beasts large enough to carry Troll riders. (200 sp)
- Mules (100 sp) - A relatively common work-animal
- Draft Horses (150 sp) - larger and stronger than riding horses, but also slower.
- Riding Horses (125 sp)
- War Horses (1,500 sp)
- Thundra Beasts - A barely domesticated brute that seems to be a cross between a dinosaur and a rhino. Used by Ork scorcher cavalry and some trolls. (4,000 sp)
- Troajins - Tiger-like animals used as mounts by Dwarves native to certain forests and jungles, 4 feet tall at the shoulder with a 5 foot long body and a 3 foot long tail. (100 sp)
- Huttawa - Creatures with the body of a lion or tiger but the head of an Eagle. about 4 foot at the shoulder. Not terribly bright carnivores. (95 sp)
- Kue - Creatures with a lizard-like body but feline facial features and mannerisms, used as ground mounts by Windlings. (90 - 100sp)
- Zoak - A difficult to train beast somewhere between a lizard-like bird and a bat. With plumage on the head and chest, but leathery wings and a curved beak. (115 sp)
- Dogs: Sometimes used by Windlings as mounts depending on the breed.
- Hunting Dogs (30 sp)
- War Dogs (50 sp) - Suitable to be ridden by Windlings.
Riding Beasts (Rare) Edit
- Griffin - Griffins have the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. They are fierce predators, swooping down on their foes to pin them. Once their prey is trapped and helpless, they tear them open with their sharp beaks. None were kept in Kaers and only a handful have been carefully bred and domesticated since the scourge. These are so rare as to be unavailable on the open market. They can fly, but can not stay airborne for long with a rider.
- Dyers - enormous herbivorous herd-dwellers that have two lower tusk akin to those of an elephant but reversed. Deceptively quick when angered. Sometimes used as cavalry by Orks and Trolls, but very hard to domesticate. They can toss a human-sized person up to 30 feet into the air.
- Elephants - Unavailable this far North, but they are used extensively by the Therans as beast of labour.
- Dragons - Somebody once proposed that Dragons might make suitable mounts. They were allegedly eaten whole by the a Great Dragon known as Destroyer of Cities for the insult.
Food Beasts Edit
- Aurochs - Large semi-domesticated cattle
- Chickens and Turkeys
- Dodo - Small easy to raise flightless birds
- Ducks, Geese, various waterfowl and other birds.
- Rabbits and Hares
- Sheep - Prized for their wool
Other common Beasts Edit
- Aligators, Crocodiles, snakes and various lizards.
- Apes including Gorillas and monkeys
- Cats - Both semi-domesticated "Kaer Cats" and various species of great cats including lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards
- Deer (various types)
- Moles, bats, mice, rats and other small ubiquitous mammals.
- Pangoli - Social, omnivorous ape-like creatures believed to have some kin-ship to humans but have a beastial level of intelligence akin to a dog.
- Spiders, scorpions and a vast array of insects.
- Weasles, ferrets, otters
- Yeti - Arguably intelligent but having no ability to speak. They are shy and retiring.
Magical Creatures Edit
There is a very grey area between magical and mundane beasts. Some birds appear to be able to detect and avoid high magic areas. Some beasts have a terrifying life-cycle, unique physical abilities or grotesque appearances that can only be the result of magical manipulation, The following are just the most clear-cut cases known about. Most magical animals are a result of magical experimentation or accidents. Horror-touched beasts are the result of direct intervention by the horrors.
Magical animals Edit
- Aždaja - 7 headed beasts the size of a small cottage. They can breath fire or have other abilities. There is known to be a large bounty for evidence of their destruction posted by various parties.
- Basalisks - Small lizard-like creatures about 4 foot long with a rooster-like comb on their head. very dangerous creatures that kill with their gaze.
- Brithan - A cross between a Bear and an elemental having a bad day. They look ursine except for a pair of curved ram horns.
- Chakta Birds - Intelligent social flocks of black corvids with gold tipped wings and red flecks in their feathers. Known to attack travellers that do not know how to placate them.
- Chimeras - Large flying beasts with a lions head, 2 additional heads to either side and bat-like wings. Renowned for being exceptionally stupid.
- Cockatrice - Bird-lizard hybrids, featuring a beak with teeth, bird-like wings and body but a lizard-like tail set with highly poisonous barbs.
- Crakbills - 5 foot tall flightless carnivorous birds with a hatchet-like beak and long running legs. They are feared for their paralysing breath.
- Dragons - Intelligent name-givers that have been know to eat people that put them on a list of creatures. Often the size of a large house, flying, firebreathing and sometimes skilled warriors and magicians.
- Earth Q'wril - A harmless but strange creature able to move through the earth as easily as if it were water. It looks like a cross between a mole and serpent about as long as a human forearm.
- Espagra - Flying dragon-like creatures with an iguana-like head about 12 feet long. Not intelligent, they are hunted for their brilliant hide which is imbued with tiny amounts of true air and makes the most fetching leathers.
- Felux - A lion breed changed by magic to give it eyes about as large as a human palm. These eyes can be used to illuminate an area like daylight and they can strobe their light to disorient their prey.
- Firebird - A bird made of living flame that lives only in the rolling lava of the Deaths Sea. Possibly the same creature as the very similarly named Fire Eagle.
- Greater Termites - cat-sized termites that can chew through metal and stone and work as a co-ordinated collony.
- Hell Hounds - Dog-like creatures with flaming eyes that can breath gouts of fire. Intelligent pack hunters
- Ice Flyer - White winged baboon creatures that fly and fight in flocks of up to 2 dozen. They can magically freeze their victims to the spot.
- Krilworm - Nocturnal flying worms about 6-12 inches long, they are winged one-eyed serpent-shaped creatures with a large maw and a single eye each. Its tail has 4 poisonous tentacles upon it and they swarm like piranahs in the air. Nethermancers traditionally have an affinity for them.
- Krillra - about 15 foot long versions of the Krilworm they are often found in the midst of swarms of the smaller creatures.
- Leechrat - A 6 legged rodent that rides upon a larger beast as a controlling parasite.
- Leviathans - Ocean dwelling serpent-like dragons. Less prone to eating scholars than their terrestrial kin.
- Lightning Lizard - Dog sized lizards with long tails that can shoot lightning from their eyes and can warp themselves in an electrical discharge.
- Manticores - Intelligent spell-casting beasts driven mad by the Horrors. with the face of a name-giver, the body of a lion, bat wings and a mace-like tail.
- Naga - large snakes with a bald name-giver face. They are capable of camouflage, entrancement and may be able to practice magic.
- Plague-lizard - a wolf-sized lizard-rat hybrid that spreads plague through its many pustules on its skin.
- Saural - Lizard-frog creatures that live primarily in the Serpent river and secrete a potent acid.
- Sea Snakes - large amphibious snakes that are warm blooded and omnivorous. A threat to swimmers in many rivers.
- Shadowmants - Flying manta-rays that carry a viscious stinger that can kill a troll in a few minutes.
- Shrieker Bat - 4 foot long bat-like creatures that have large eyes and small ears, which can paralyse victims with their screech and can shatter brittle items, even swords in some cases.
- Skeorx - A horse-sized tiger-like creature with a snake-like tail with razor-sharp bones. aggressive, resistant to magic and with claws that can shred plate steel they are highly dangerous.
- Storm Wolves - Taller than mundane wolves and found in packs of up to 2 dozen strong. They can summon and control storms. In stories they often help heroes and are staunch enemies of corruption.
- Triplicants - humanoids with sub-name-giver intelligence that can summon duplicates of themselves (normally an additional 2 hence the name)
- Unicorns - Powerful horses with a spear-like horn. Some believe they are peaceful and can destroy horrors if approached by people of exceptional spiritual purity. Others report being gorged by the horn. The horn is reported to be able to detect and purge and poison if ground up and digested.
- Vetta - Gazelle like-creatures that can suck the energy out of people and animals alike and leave them lazy and listless.
- Willow-the-wisps - Tiny humanoids that often give off light. Highly variable in their nature, some are hostile, some are passive only guiding people to a ruin. Some can twist magic and some create sound rather than light.
- Wyverns - Two-legged dragonoids. Unintelligent and feral creatures only about 30 feet long. Claw-tipped wings and a barbed stinger on the tail which drips with a deadly poison.
Horror-Touched Beasts Edit
- Cadavermen - Still intelligent people raised from death by the Horrors or Nethermancers. Unable to eat anything but the flesh of name-givers they are driven by pain, particularly by hunger unless they have recently eaten. They appear as near-rotten corpses but some have inhuman strength that degrades over time.
- Changelings - Windlings corrupted by the horrors that are capable of shaping bone with their bare hands. They invariably kill travellers only after torturing them and folding their skulls inwards upon their brains.
- Ghouls - Humans infected by a horror-disease that diminishes their sight, increases their sense of smell and makes them obligate cannibals. They can only survive on name-giver flesh leading many to kill themselves in despair first.
- Nightwists - Ephemeral spirit creatures that corrupt the magic of an area
- Plagues - Gaunt humanoid figures that spread pestilence and disease capable of evading attacks by use of illusions.
- Qural - Jungle-dwelling things that live in tree tops they are know for their paralysing tentacles that can drain a namegiver body of all blood in just under a minute.
- Shadows - A living shadow made from a soul torn from its body by the horrors. Capable of possessing people and mimicking a real shadow.
- Spectral Dancers - Undead near-intangible creatures that are seen dancing endlessly. Known to invite people to join them in their dances.
Other things Edit
- Cave Trolls - Degenerate creatures descended from Trolls that have forgotten their names in the centuries hiding in mountain caves. Much stronger than their civilised cousins they mix raiding with some crude barter and carry large stone axes.
- Harpies - Semi-intelligent flying humanoids that attack in flocks and are terrible carriers of diseases and parasites.
- Ogres - Intelligent but brutish humanoids that can smell precious metals and gems and carry unnaturally tough clubs. there is rumoured to be a rare variant of Ogre that can instantly heal its self.
There are many things "known" about Dragons.
- Many are the size of a large hall (about 120 feet long from nose to tail), they can breathe fire, frost, acid and/or other substances and can fly.
- Using magic is as easy to them as breathing, they are its absolute masters
- They know only a handful of tricks.
- They often eat Namegivers
- They are courteous hosts
- They lie all the time and can not be trusted
- They can not speak an untruth
- They must be bribed by a gift of great value (1,000 silver pieces worth or more) before they will even grant an audience.
- They are mindless beasts
- They are the greatest of sages in the world and have endless secrets.
- They are nowhere near as clever as they think they are.
- They can read your thoughts
- They will devour cities to recover the smallest piece of their treasure hoard.
- Eating the heart of a dragon gives great magical prowess.
- They are cultured patrons of the arts and cities of Namegivers
- Dragons are the sworn enemies of Thera
- They are immortal and many are millennia old.
- They loathe elves but favour dwarves
- Dwarves and Dragons are eternal enemies.
- Dragons are believed to have created elves in a previous age
- There are were-dragons, able to change between a dragon and name-giver form at will.
- They have numerous agents and servants
- A merchant was killed for complimenting a Dragon in the wrong form.
- They can not stand the presence of anybody, not even their own kind
- If you do a great boon for a Dragon they may grant you a wish. .
- The most "Well Known" Dragon is Ice-Wing, who accepts guests if they bring a sufficiently impressive gifts (to his lair at Mount Vapour, a few days from bartertown) and are unfailingly polite.
- There are rumours of a Dragon named Charcolegrin in Parlainth that has claimed the old royal quarter of the city.
- There is a dragon that patrols the Mist swamps. Almost nobody who ventures more than a days march into the swamp returns. Although it is unclear what kills them first. The dragon, the Boiling waters of the swamp or the large collection of generally lethal magical beasts.
- There are several types of Dragon. The Dragons that inhabit the lands of Barsaive are often called "Common Dragons", although scholars have long pointed out that calling a Dragon such may be unwise. Their formal Throalic name is "Zmaj" for the Elven word "wise" although they are often called Earth Dragons or Western Dragons. There are believed to be other species elsewhere in the world in distant Cathay and in the depths of the ocean, but nobody in Barsaive who has seen one and lived, has talked of the matter.
- They can mark mortals, which gives them great power over the person so marked.
- Nobody touched by the horrors can create true art (although clever and powerful people can work around this by copying others art, create painful, degrading or mocking art and using other methods.)
- They don’t have names
- They come from outside Astral space
- Blood Magic draws them in.
- They can possess people, drive them mad, unnaturally extend life and can do many things that normal magic can not.
- They are drawn to Adepts and sources of great magic.
- They hit Thera the hardest.
- There are some that can act as gateways to other Horrors. If allowed to spread they could cause a second scourge.
- They twist living things to suit their needs, which is why there are so many forms of dangerous new wildlife that was unknown before the scourge.
- Their preferred sustenance is causing name-giver suffering.
- Their bodies often often contain riches of the people and things they have devoured.
- They are a type of spirit that can only exist for a short time in our world.
- Most need plentiful magical energy, a link to a name-giver or suffering to survive long in most parts of the world.
- Fighting the horrors is one of the few things that Throal and Thera agree upon.
- There is a horror known as the Hunter-of-Great-Dragons. It is the most powerful of its kind and entire nations of adepts have been unable to slay it.
Things you may know about raising the dead:
- The spirit takes a few minutes to leave the body. Certain powerful alchemical remedies and magical items can restore the very recently dead to life.
- Greater Horrors can restore even the long dead to life, often as a reward for some terrible service, but sometimes for no reason at all. Although the person still appears dead and horror-marked.
- A Blood Magic ritual exists to bring the long dead back to life, but it is universally abhorred. It involves ritually draining 7 people of blood to the point of death and bathing the dead body in the blood. Each person involved must die, it is difficult to manage the magical energies and all sacrifices must be younger than the person was in life.
- It is rumoured that the Passions can restore the dead to life, but only for a specific task. This might be what Harbingers are.
Plants of Barsaive: Edit
Blood Moss - A rare plant infused with Elemental Wood. A deep crimson in colour and moist to the touch as it , drips seemingly human blood. Found only in the Blood Wood.