Spooky Forest

Bestiary

A Compendium of Beasts

Griffin

"'Not who... we found carcasses... across the mountain, eviscerated. We feared the worst, and found it— an Elder Griffin soars above these clouds. It will kill you all…' Geoffrey trailed off."

Prince of Azra

Like most creatures that can tear you limb from limb, griffins come in multiple terrifying variations. However, the most prominent among them is the Highland Griffin, who choose to build their nests near the woodlands and peaks that dot the land. They thrive in solitude, but seek a mate for life once they've fully matured, and can produce an average of three offspring every ten years. All griffins are fiercely territorial creatures that only stray from their domain in search of prey or if encroached upon by persistent adversaries. While most encounters with griffins end in their prey's death, these creatures are prized for their feathers, hearts, and talons, and are at times hunted for such materials.

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Shade

"Khora looked in horror as she realized the hauntling was not absentminded at all. She couldn't see it in its eyes earlier, but she heard it in its voice. The Shade hated her."

Prince of Azra

Shades are a class of hauntling, and an especially vicious variation. They are spirits of the ruthlessly killed, and their thoughts linger only on fury and bitter resentment. They are tied to the place of their final rest and are unable to stray too far from their decaying mortal form. Shades, unlike most other hauntlings, possess a cursed touch and can bestow it upon any they grasp— leaving their victims enveloped in a ghastly red web that saps their life force. Their visible features are difficult to distinguish, as most possess the ability to alter their presence, as well as the perception of those in close proximity. These vile spirits can be dispelled through the power of Divine Light, rune parchment, or exceptionally enchanted weaponry. Caution is advised to any who would dare challenge a hauntling of any kind.

Golem

"Between the tall trees that surrounded them stood a behemoth like Khora had never seen. It was easily sixteen feet tall and hid well in plain view. The creature was formed of stone and held together by vines and moss. It had no facial features but still seemed to groan as it lumbered towards them. Khora saw a green liquid drip from a chip on its shoulder and felt the ground tremble with every step it took.
'A golem,' she whispered as the monster neared."

Prince of Azra

A fledgling race among the Ancients of the elder ages, golems were creatures that embodied the various elements that grace the natural world. Most common among them was the stone golem, a creature of indomitable resolve and unyielding strength. The true golems that dwelled within this realm were extinguished millennia ago, and all that is left of their once-powerful species are the poor imitations formed by wizards and imbued with arcane power. These long-dead monsters are relics of an era lost to advancement, and their remains can sometimes be found anywhere nature still grips our world.

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Black Hound

"'I knew something was about to happen," Bogar revealed, 'Black Hounds have started to appear around the city. Their sightings have been brief, but my people are certain of what they've seen.'
'Black Hounds?' Lucian repeated.
Bogar nodded.
'Unnaturally large creatures, with scarlet eyes and ice-cold breath. They're omens of death, a sure sign that calamity will soon arrive,' Kiri expanded."

Prince of Azra

These apparitions have been scarcely documented outside of legend and myth, but there is a commonality found between each of their tales: they present themselves only in times of danger and death. The Black Hounds, despite their frightening appearance, pose no real threat to those in their presence. They are merely heralds, carrying a message of incoming disaster. Some believe that it is their very own scarlet eyes that preside over the souls of the dead— judging them, before delivering the mortal spirit to its final fate.

Dreamweaver

"'It— it looked like a big bat wi-with spider legs!' Edmund yelped, 'I saw it for a second, but it disappeared!'

'H-how big was it?' Richard wheezed.

'A little bigger than your head, I think,' Edmund reached, 'I don't know, Richard, it was fast!'"

Prince of Azra

Among the most vicious monsters this world has presented to us is the dreamweaver, a creature that is often underestimated by those unaware of its true strength. A single drop of its venom can incapacitate an adult man, more than that leaves any victim in a hallucinatory trance, which usually leads to death. Dreamweavers are reclusive hunters during the day, but incredibly active after dusk. They reside high in the hills and prey upon human and elven travelers that cross their paths. While it has been noted that their venom loses potency in one who has previously been poisoned, scholars have yet to determine this as fact. Although dreamweavers are dangerous predators, they can be easily killed when confronted at their nests. Their yellow-tinted excretions are often sought by alchemists for its alternative properties.

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Nature Spirit

"Richard suddenly became aware of his surroundings and felt a strange energy lingering in the air around them. It was much more powerful than the magic he had felt from Lyla, or even Eilon, but there was something else to it. An air of evil."

Prince of Azra

Very few records from those who lived during the peak of the Ancients’ reign survived; however, even to those moored solely in the present, it is common knowledge that nature spirits are among the few creatures that come as close to being godly as anything of this earth. These entities lived through the dawning of our realm and stood steadfast until sometime after mortalkind’s arrival. Like most other monsters of that era, their forms and powers echo the natural world and possess as much variety as the land we dwell in. Just as most Ancients, it is believed that if any nature spirits still remain, they are extremely limited in number and pose an incredible threat to any who encounter them. These beings of a bygone age can only be challenged by exceptional sorcerers, and, even then, victory is far from certain.

Soul Seeker

“'It hasn't made a noise— I don't think it knows I'm here,' Richard whispered.
"'No,' Aven clarified. 'They never make noise.'
"The creature began sprinting toward them, its jaw hanging low and its empty eye sockets staring into its prey. The only sound it made was the occasional click of its joints as it drove itself forward.”

The Sworn Defender

Dreaded things; these creatures may resemble a skeleton, but do not be mistaken— they were never living. Soul Seekers are formed by the hands of most wicked sorcerers, those among us who have torn soul from flesh and cleaved from it all the grace it might have held. While these creatures are bound to the will of their master, they will perpetually seek that same light that brought them into being. There are endless variations among their ranks, as their strength and abilities are determined by the stability of the soul that drives each individual. They can be damaged by almost any weapon, but only powerful magic can truly destroy them. Approach with extreme caution.

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Skinchanger

“Aven's clothes and skin began to deteriorate, transforming into a thick white paste that sloughed off his form and dripped onto the ground. Beneath it, there was a thin, translucent flesh that allowed them to witness the twitching muscles within it. He looked up at the thing's face, only to see its glassy, reptile-like eyes glaring back at him. They were as empty as an infinite abyss.”

The Sworn Defender

One of this world’s many flesh shifters, this is a creature defined by its need to hunt in a group. Their natural appearance may differ based on habitat. A cunning, shrewd beast that possesses the ability to reason, to speak, and to plan its attacks; it can mimic any individual’s voice after hearing it for but a moment and bears a striking skill in imitating even the most intimate mannerisms a person may carry. Their greatest shortcoming is their need for one centralized figure of authority. To slay the skinchanger leading the nest is to cripple them all. They can be wounded as any mortal might be; however, only silver has been noted to be effective in slaying them. Otherwise, these creatures can recover from even the most deadly of wounds.

Spriggan Lord

“In the center of the pit — encircled by dozens of colorful flowers, shrubs, and vines — there sat a thing. He would be hard-pressed to call it a person, but there was a resemblance in its shape. It looked how an average person might if they had been tied to two carts that sped off in opposite directions— all stretched and lanky and awkward. Its body seemed to be made of wood and held together by blades of grass that cascaded and locked around each loose piece. The creature had a human enough face, albeit formed by weathered bark, yet it was encased in a giant deer skull, resting between the open jaws.”

The Sworn Defender

Though few spriggans are believed to remain in the world today, they are fearsome beings that must not be underestimated. They are descendants of the Ancients who held dominion over this plane before the rise of mortalkind, and their powers, though diluted from their predecessors, are exceptionally potent. The Spriggan Lord is among the most dangerous of the spriggan variants, capable of extensive influence over the natural world and willing to use this skill to deadly pursuits. Spriggans largely reside in isolated forests, those not yet touched or bordered by man's world. They will guard their lands with their lives, a choice that has brought their vicious reigns to a near end.

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Earthmover

“At first glance, the serpent seemed to be made of flesh and blood, like most other living things; however, this was not the case. His rough hide was formed of stone, and his blood was the same material that ran through Tala. The light in his eyes was magic itself. His race was the precursor to the golems: the superior elemental.”

The Sworn Defender

The Earthmover is a monster of deadly ability and godly size, these creatures were believed to have been among the most powerful of the Ancients. They made their homes beneath the earth, burrowing across the realm under our feet and leaving massive tunnels in their wake. Elder myths have claimed that there was once an Earthmover large enough to swallow the world before it was slain. These creatures are long extinguished from our realm, and their remains can seldom be found now, as precious materials could be mined from within them.

Werewolf

"The monster stretched its limbs as it began to stand upright; its arms and legs buckled and cracked when it moved. Its growl echoed across the chamber when it bared its teeth and lunged towards him."

The Sworn Defender

Once men, these things bear a curse that is said to have come from the hand of a god. No matter what their spirit may have held before becoming monsters, it is lost upon transformation. Few can remember their alternate selves when commanded by the beast blood, and fewer can resist the call to violence. It is believed these vicious things possess their greatest measure of self-control beneath an absent moon. Arcane power is effective in their slaying, but silver is the undisputed weapon of choice in hunting werewolves. They are to be approached in groups, and with no small amount of caution.

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