Category Archives: Beastiary

Hemel Walvis (Sky Whale)

Sky Whale
Sky Whale

The sky whale (hemel walvis as it’s named by the giant natives of the Karas Waste) is a massive creature that can grow over 100 feet (33 meters) long.  Unknown outside of the Waste, the origin of these bizarre creatures is a mystery.  They seem to subsist on the ambient magical energies emanating from the Karas Waste–a result of a devastating magical attack during the early Lich Wars–and are largely docile.  Sky whales have a sonic defense, which they put to use if they are under attack.  The sound is enough to stun most predators as the whale flees.  The sky whale may have other defenses, though they aren’t well documented or fully known.

 

Valued for their meat– which the People of Woestijnstad (the giants who inhabit the town of Woestijnstad in the Karas Waste) describe as having a pleasantly chewy texture with a naturally spicy aftertaste– and their bones (used for many different things including beautifully scrimshawed art pieces), the sky whales have been becoming more and more scarce in the Karas Waste.  The People of Woestijnstad have enacted strict hunting measures to ensure that they do not depopulate this valuable creature.  These hunting measures are enforced by their Torvaren, a group of druids who act as spiritual leaders and guides to the People of Woestijnstad.

 

Kobolds

Kobolds are small creatures that have (slightly disgusting) claims to a mighty heritage: they are the effluvia of dragons. When a dragon of a certain age sheds its scales, kobolds grow like mold on those left over scales. They coalesce out of the ether and start as tiny, maggot-like grubs that feast upon the scales, then, when they reach a certain size, fall off the scale and begin a rather disgusting metamorphosis.

 

At this stage, the larval kobold is a ravenous creature that eats anything it comes across–including other kobold larvae. Perhaps four to six inches in length, these maggot-like larvae have six legs that have tiny claws. They squirm around, digging into the earth while their excrement and other bodily waste makes a rather potent and disgusting slurry in which they live and swim around in. These pools can get to be as deep as thirty feet and have as many as a thousand larvae in them.

 

The larva matures and hardens into a rock-like cocoon after about three months.

 

The kobold pool begins to harden and calcify until it resembles a barren patch of muddy earth. This is deceiving, however, as anything weighing more than five pounds breaks the thin skein of apparently solid earth and quickly disappears into the pool where it quickly drowns as the viscous liquid is nearly impossible to swim in. The cocoons absorb the rest of the ‘nutrients’ in the pool for 3-6 months, growing steadily larger. Once their cocoon phase is over, the kobold hatches and climbs out of the pool, full-grown and vicious.

Once the kobolds emerge from their birthing pool, they begin to have ‘normal’ lives. They have a cunning sort of intelligence, but are not known for their higher thinking skills. They can breed with one another, though every subsequent generation after leaving the original pool becomes less and less potent. Kobolds fresh from the pool are considered a high threat in the Imperium and one of the (many) reasons that there is such a high bounty for both dragons and kobolds.

The Wasting Miasma (Zombies!)

A disease which has been detected in frontier regions, which creates a wasting disease targeting the mind and flesh of it’s victims. Due to the nature of the disease, early cases have been mistaken for a reappearance of the undead. Victims are, rather, subjects of an extremely degenerative disease which results in the rapid decay of the dermis and certain brain tissue, but otherwise improves the constitution of those suffering at an extraordinary rate, allowing them to survive in spite of the loss of the primary protections of their mortal counterparts.

Those suffering from the Miasma gain an extraordinary improvement of their constitution, aside from the immediate damage to their flesh and minds. Catalogues of notes from scientists and combat reports indicate mostly that they are very difficult to kill, continuing to survive after the loss of their limbs, and requiring fire or a severance of the nervous system to completely disable. Damage to tissues in the heart does not appear to slow them, and they do not appear to need to eat or breathe.

All known species can suffer from the disease, including most beasts; mammal and reptile specimens have been recovered, though insects appear to be immune, and avians do not survive the disease, instead perishing within 24 hours. Mammalian and reptilian species who come into contact with the serum of an afflicted creature will start to feel feverish, and the disease will fully take hold over a period of 24-48 hours.

A great deal of effort has been placed on research for a cure. Known treatments include the amputation and cauterization of affected regions within 2 hours of contact. Success varies, and it is unclear at this time how quickly the disease becomes irreversible, though it seems to take some time to enter the bloodstream, possibly being rejected initially by the body’s natural defenses.

Afflicted beings often seem to wander aimlessly, becoming excited only in close proximity to anything with a heartbeat. As they age, they seem to lose this tendency, becoming less mobile but regaining some of their mental capacity. Field studies of disease victims in captive have revealed very strange results; damaged brain tissue seems to be actively regenerating and re-writing it’s own DNA, which has lead to theories that those suffering from the Miasma can live in excess of a century, perhaps longer, and around the 100-year mark their body adapts to their condition and reroutes certain processes, re-enabling a semblance of intelligence and communication. Though there have been no successful attempts to carry on meaningful discourse with an afflicted creature, there are many accounts from natural philosophers and linguistic professionals indicating that the range and syntax of their guttural sounds may indeed be a primitive and visceral form of communication. It is theorized that they are able to communicate among themselves in this way, and religious activists have suggested they may even have the capacity to worship a deity, though who this would be remains speculative, as no known deities, cults, or Sanctums practice guttural intonations of this sort.


Those who have regained their intelligence pursue humanoids with greater fervor and vigor, utilizing their tireless muscles and endurant bodies to great effect, overcoming normal limitations of speed and strength to become true terrors to an unprotected victim. Theories on why the afflicted become excited around humanoid targets run a large range, some postulating that the beings’ awareness of their disease leads them to seek out healthy individuals in a futile effort to replace their damaged selves. There are no records of any attempt to actually transplant the organs of a mortal donor to an afflicted victim, to reverse the condition at an advanced stage. Other theories suggest that the beasts feel hunger, despite lacking a biological need to consume food for nutrients, and that mortal flesh is the most appealing (much as humans prefer a good steak, dwarves their stout ales, and elvenkind the mana of their fields and forests.)


An Order has assembled, prepared to fight the spread of this disease and prevent it from overtaking mortal realms. Their symbol is a crest of interlocking “U”-shaped symbols, pointing outward, and is used to mark areas which have been cleansed and are under quarantine pending an investigation by their leading experts. Citizens are explicitly warned to avoid contact with areas known to be contaminated by the Miasma, and respect quarantine areas without question. This has lead to some common speculation about whether or not the Miasma is a natural disease, or the result of failed government experiments.

Shoggoth

shoggothShoggoths are the catch-all name for the monstrosities that emerge from The Scar on the eastern border of the empire.  There does appear to be some organization to these vile creatures, but their forms are largely mutable enough that most people group them all into the same grouping.  Shoggoths typically look alternately piscine or amphibious, with strong mixes of arthropod body structures.  They have slimy skin and lots of excess flab and fat that doesn’t seem to impede them from fantastic feats of strength.  They are almost universally hostile and seem to go out of their way to harm anything not themselves.  Individually, the shoggoths don’t seem to possess much intelligence, but when acting as a group, they seem capable of making advanced tactical decisions and acting in concert to accomplish complex goals.

No one knows what the shoggoths really are or what their origins are.  Everyone seems to agree that they come from The Scar, but because the Wastelands are crawling with shoggoths–lately even more so than usual–there hasn’t been much effort to make a full investigation.  They seem to be mortal, though they decompose at an accelerated rate, bubbling and hissing as their corpses disintegrate.