Creatures

Wingwalker

A Wingwalker from Hargreve’s Bestiary

The country of Braelin is full of creatures both mundane and magical, some passive or even friendly, others dangerous or aggressive. We can guarantee that your character will encounter at least some of these wild creatures in-game, but it is up to you to decide how to interact with them.

There is much to learn in game about each and every creature, either from pure observation of behavior or doing a little bit of digging in the local library. Be careful which ones you let see watching you though.

Common Creatures

Arachnids: There are four species of arachnids found in Braelin: grass, woodsman, violin, and black velvet.  Although immediately recognizable by their pinchers, legs, and clicking noises, arachnids come in a variety of colors, and each species exhibits very different behavior.  They are not known to enter civilized areas, but most species are venomous and are thus considered dangerous to humans.

Blacknall Hounds: At a quick glance, the Blacknall Hound may appear to be nothing more than a black, shaggy, overgrown dog, but they hold little else in common with their domesticated cousins. Known for their uncanny tracking abilities, these canines are associated in old lore with crossroads and ancient pathways due to their peculiar hunting patterns.  Hounds rarely harm humans without sufficient provocation or attempts at handling, but they do occasionally get into livestock. They are wild animals and all attempts at regular domestication for personal use have failed.

Bruisers: Bruisers are large reptilian humanoids that originated on the Zikarian isles, but have since spread to inhabit many different regions of Braelin. Pairs are extremely territorial and will fervently defend their hunting grounds, a fact which has led to a long list of violent encounters following the steady expansion of human civilization. Bruisers have been known to hunt a wide range of prey, including other predators, but their favorite food by far is fish; thus their particular fondness for lakes, rivers, and other waterways. Their savage appearance is offset by their love of tribal jewelry, which they make from the plumage of wild birds and various precious gems.

Bush Dragon: The Bush Dragon, which is in no known way related to Dragons, is an aggressive reptilian predator that has no problem attacking small groups of humans. Its favorite hunting tactic involves ambushing prey from the woods. They are cold-blooded creatures and tend to bask in the sun. During cold weather they can also be found huddling in their burrows.

Canids: Canids are dog-like creatures that are classified into three different species: mountain, golden, and tree.  Unlike their mundane cousin, the wolf, not all canid species hunt in packs to take down their prey.  In fact, each species favors a different method, some utilizing magic, others using their physical strength.  Golden canids, for instance, have earned the moniker “spirit hound” for their well-documented ability to see spirits; and Zikarian legends refer to tree canids as “bringers of fire” due to a modest thaumaturgical connection to the element of fire.  All three species are all considered to be intelligent, but cannot be domesticated.

Capaill Ishka: The Capaill Ishka, or ‘water horses’ as they are more simply referred to are heard more than they are ever seen, but have been documented in areas with of deep or quick running water. Their nickname is derived from their very destrier-like appearance, but closer inspection will reveal sharp, splayed hooves, cat-like eyes, and teeth fit for a large panther. They are most typically black in color and are often draped in sea weed. They are rarely seen in heavily populated areas, and while their cries echo near the coasts of Mereworth, they cannot scale rocky cliffs. They’re a creature best not trifled with, the stories you hear about them are true.

Living Statue: The elemental incarnations of metal, living statues are so-called because of their ability to phase between living motion and the still, un-breathing state of statues as they so desire.  Very little is known about the purpose or motivation of living statues, although records describe them as singularly focused and efficient, even to the point of brutality, in undertaking actions.  Scholars and followers of the Brown God tend to view them as particularly interesting mysteries and the locations in which they are found are usually noted as places of interest—for whatever reason—to the god responsible for their creation.

Monkey: The main species of monkey in Braelin is the Hawksworth large-nosed.  They rove in small troops and are known for being playful, clever, and quite tricky, stealing items from unsuspecting Humans in order to shift them around or hide them.  They are not considered to be particularly dangerous; for the most part, they seem to be more interested in having fun.

Nightstalker: As implied by their name, nightstalkers are dangerous and highly aggressive monsters that roam only after nightfall.  They have a dark, heavily-armored exoskeleton and a frighteningly well-defined grasp of tactics and ambush.  Their exoskeletons appear to contain trace amounts of tin ore, which can be gathered up as long as the creature’s armor has not been completely destroyed in the effort to defeat it; however, they are very difficult to fight and anyone who is untrained in hunting them is warned to keep well away.

Panthers: Like canids, the cat-like panthers come in three (known) distinct species. The spotted panther is predominately arboreal, and known for being extremely territorial and willing to fight to the death to defend it’s range. The Black-Footed prefers areas around waterways and is a known swimmer and den-digger (and for it’s human like scream, the only vocalization it makes). Panthers are predominately solitary creatures, apart from the Tawny, which is known to travel in tactical ‘troops’.

Plant Monster: Plant monsters are semi-sentient creatures that inhabit forests or their immediate environs.  They are benevolent and helpful toward other creatures, with a particular fondness for other flora and fauna.  Unprovoked, they pose no threat to the average passersby.  However, there are documented incidents in which angry plant monsters have attacked overly successful hunters or those who exploit their forest homes.

Sea Ghost: Colloquially known as “sea ghosts,” these creatures represent the elemental incarnations of water.  Often found wandering aimlessly around still bodies of water in small groups, they are frail incorporeal beings who seem to take little notice of what is around them.  This is not to say that they are not sometimes dangerous, however; threatened sea ghosts have been known  to cause mischief using the thaumaturgical abilities of the water element.

Sentinel: Sentinels are the elemental incarnations of earth; due to their ability to speak in simple, broken sentences, they are considered the most intelligent and—by some—the Brown God’s “favored” incarnations, leading to speculation among scholars that the god might in some way prefer the element of earth to that of fire, water, metal, or wood.  Whatever the case may be, sentinels are most often found at sites of natural disasters with the apparent intention of maintaining calm and stability within the affected areas.  They are rumored to be quite kindly and slow to anger, although they are extremely formidable opponents indeed if pushed to violence.

Skinks: Skinks are small, green reptilian creatures who live in large social groups called “broods.” Male skinks, although small and relatively feeble alone, can be quite a handful in large numbers. The brood mother serves as the group’s tactician, sic-ing its brood n whatever prey it can find—or whoever poses a threat.

Spright: As their colloquial name—derived from “sprightly,” meaning “agile” or “energetic”—implies, the elemental incarnations of fire are playful and sometimes wayward creatures who greatly enjoy games.  Such games are usually innocuous, but because sprights are very easily angered, interactions can turn devastating or even deadly quite quickly.  Numerous stories and tales caution human participants from winning such games, as one way to upset a spright is to beat it at its own game.  Bubbly and full of energy, sprights tend to move alarmingly quickly and hum loudly as they travel.

Stemman Wild Pig: Solitary by nature, the wild pig is an omnivorous, and very opportunistic scavenger. They are native across much of Braelin and Seren and are the assumed ancestors of today’s domestic pigs. Although attacks on humans are not common as the pigs tend to avoid them, they do happen on occasion. A cornered or surprised wild pig will defend itself vigorously and is best left alone.

Water Baby: The harmless-looking water baby is a small, frail creature residing in or near bodies of water.  It has blue or black skin that resembles fish scales and lives in large groups.  Although water babies never stray far from the water, they can threaten those who venture too close, reportedly pulling their victims into the water to drown them.  Despite this danger, however, treasure hunters actively seek out water babies, who usually keep chests of valuables, stuffed with items they have looted from their victims, hidden near their homes.

Wingwalker: In common opinion, wingwalkers are considered to be a huge nuisance and aren’t particularly special in any way—the pigeons of Éras, so to speak. They are large, flightless birds with brown or black bodies and white wings whose shrieks and calls are as unmistakable as they can be grating on the nerves. They aren’t considered to be of any real threat to humans, but are a noticeable problem amongst crops of magical flowers.

Wisp: Opinions about wisps vary greatly from person to person.  These nocturnal creatures appear as flickering yellow lights within marshes, meadows, and along grassy hills.  Some people have reported that, upon coming close enough to reach out and “tag” a wisp, they have received a reward; others tell the tale of how they became hopelessly lost.

Undead: Certain shamans have developed the ability to raise and dominate undead creatures.  They are generally classified into two different categorizations—corporeal and incorporeal—which in turn have three levels of increasing strength and power.  The scariest thing about the corporeal undead is that they are, to a casual observer, indistinguishable from the living.  However, look closer and you may notice a shambling gait, a lack of coordination, or a certain deadness in the gaze.  The incorporeal undead, of course, are trickier—they are, like spirits, invisible to the untrained eye.  It is when a phantom comes round that it is helpful to have a shaman or a Xiros around…

Ursine: The ursine is a medium sized, heavy-set mammal that are classified into two separate species: mountain and woodland. Depending on the species they may either be grey, white, or black in coloring. Although similar in appearances and their aggressive, territorial nature and omnivorous diet, their hunting strategies are markedly different. They are best left to their own devises.

Vulpurus: These peculiar fox-like creatures are supposedly diurnal, as they are only ever seen out and about during the day, but Braelinese creature experts claim that their sleeping patterns deny all classification. Their sentience is unknown, but they do seem to grasp the concept of trade over theft, and always seem to be in possession of the strangest array of trinkets. While deemed non-threatening to the casual passerby, a boon to the land – their presence typically signs a rich, healthy area – and sometimes a valuable trade partner, they are best left undisturbed if you aren’t wanting for mischief or trouble.

Zabolie: The zabolie is described as having a facial structure resembling that of an elderly man with bushy black hair and a stooped form.  In behavior zabolies are extremely intelligent with a distinctly mischievous bent; they have been observed undertaking impressive displays of mimicry, responding to the calls other species or even echoing Human language that they have recently overheard.  To all appearances the creatures harbor a peculiar fascination for Human-made objects and often destroy or take apart such items, presumably to see how they work.  Although some people consider them nuisances because of this habit, others insist that “helpful” zabolies have repaired pieces of broken armor that were left unattended outside their homes.  The truth of these rumors have not been substantiated through first-hand observation; but it is known that zabolies are able to use basic tools.

Creatures of Lore

Firebird: Stories about the firebird go back to before written record; it is believed that they originated on the islands of Zikari before being transported to the mainland by ancient Serenite sailors.  Instantly recognizable by its glowing feathers and entrancing song, the firebird is much-revered throughout the world.  Generally speaking, firebirds are gentle but easily startled, and will often provide healing and other restorative magic to those they deem worthy.

Gruagach: A gruesome and bloodthirsty creature from Stemman folklore, the gruagach is commonly invoked by frustrated parents attempting to scare their children into good behavior.  It is said that the gruagach stalks the night looking for disobedient children to snatch and gobble up; the darkest versions of this myth describe the way in which the gruagach dons the skin of its victims after it has finished sucking the marrow from their bones.  Described as vaguely humanoid in form, the creature is supposed to have long, sharp claws and a hunched, animalistic posture.

Gyrizo: According to late Dark Days folklore from the contemporary Hawksworth region, the gyrizo is a small, non-aggressive woodland creature of great intelligence.  Stories describe them as uncannily self-possessed—though most bits of lore agree that they lack the capacity for Human speech—and extraordinarily spry, with bushy brown hair and a humanoid visage resembling that of an old, stooped man; and even go so far as to assign to them the ability to turn invisible.  The people of the Dark Days believed that leaving gifts of acceptable quality within a small house-like structure of twigs, bark, moss, or other natural materials out in the deep woods would cause local gyrizos to grow friendly and leave gifts in return.  However, the gyrizo—if indeed it even exists—is so shy and elusive that many individuals today dismiss the tales as the quaint but untrue fancies of a group of brutally oppressed people looking for a small measure of comfort.  More likely the tales are inspired by the zabolie, a creature whose existence is proven and recorded, and which almost exactly matches the folkloric descriptions in its form.