Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Strength of a Beast

Hi again! If you read this, you didn't ditch the blog due to the long wait since the last creature, which means you probably enjoy fantasy beasts to some extent. This time I present a non-exotic kind of creation, where by small means I have tried to come up with something interesting. I am very attracted to the forest creatures of the northern temperate zone (moose, deer, rabbits, wolves, squirrels etc). They have something mysterious in common, I think. Watching them on a misty field in the morning, in their grey-brown attire, just infuses that fantasy vibe in me. It is easy to picture small differences in their natural anatomy, and turn the entire scene into a fantasy world right there. Just some minor tweaks to what you are used to, and that could be it. Of course, on a still digital picture, this magic is a lot harder to bring about. I'm not sure I have succeeded at all here, but in any case I like the Nothnock.


TERRAIN: Mountains and highlands
FOOD: Omnivore
SIZE: 5’ 4” (160 cm)

AGILITY: 10-15
CHARM: 1-2
(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running x 2, Climbing x 5
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The hide of the Nothnock is unusually thick and hardy, and the creature is extremely insensitive to pain.

2 CLAWS: 1–3
(If a Long Sword causes 1-8 points of damage)

The Nothnocks prefer to come charging down the mountainsides, or to jump down upon their prey from higher grounds. Though very strong from a firm position, they try to benefit from their great mass when charging. They are good climbers but take advantage of their rock-like bodies, for camouflage, when hunting quick and agile animals like mountain goats and monkeys.

MUSCULAR GROWTH VIRUS: All Nothnocks are born with a potent virus which disrupts the hormonal balance and causes severe growth of muscle. This virus halves their natural life span, but has been part of their biology for countless generations. Their bodies are hard and resistant, which suits their violent life-style and the tough terrain of the mountains. The Nothnock's teeth, tusks, and claws may cause infection and result in uncontrolled muscle growth. During a couple of weeks the strength of the victim is increased by 2-5 points. With this change of physique follows a greater tendency for violence and weakened mental resilience (-2). All effects are permanent, and to all knowledge incurable. The virus seem to have no contagious power in other life forms.
Some barbarian mountain tribes has been known to seek out and fight Nothnock beasts in rites of initiation The men of these tribes usually die young or return physically stronger.

In Nothnock groups and families fights are regular events. Both males and females resolve even the smallest of conflicts through bloody battles. Often entire groups engage in King of the Hill-like brawls. These are fierce and may end in the death of several group members. Though powerful creatures of the mountains, Nothnock groups rarely grow beyond ten members.

The creatures are omnivores but prefer freshly killed meat to cadavers, mushrooms, roots, and vegetables. They hunt in teams when possible and can plan and synchronise attacks well, despite their short-tempered violent nature. During the sun of day they tend to rest in great caves, and like to move about and seek out food from dusk to the early hours of morning. Nothnocks are territorial creatures and rarely move further than 12 miles (19 km) from their main lair.

Young Nothnocks grow up quickly, and reach full maturity in less than two years. Attempts have been made to tame them, but few have succeeded. The foul smell and loud growls of these creatures make their company undesirable, even when they're not attacking.

The Nothnocks recover quickly from injuries. This might have something to do with the virus, but no increase in the rate of healing have been spotted among other infected life forms. Some Nothnock specimens are said to have regenerated lost limbs – a rumour which has made the species interesting to physicians and other healers. Many of these creatures are more or less dressed in scars, and must have some powerful resistance to infections. With all the battles among themselves, more Nothnocks should be seen limping or disabled, but such creatures are only rarely reported.

The cold air of northern highlands suit the Nothnocks perfectly. They stay out of forests and they can't swim. Like bears, they can still be found catching fat salmon from the rivers, and looting eggs from the nests of birds. They chase the agile foxes down the slopes, and they terrorize the goblins, when they emerge from their tunnels in the mountainsides.

Nothocks live to be 25 years old. They are grey to brown in colour, and partly furred. Their hands and feet are dexterous tools, and their bodies are pure strength. They move about in a gorilla-like fashion, but are more closely related to boars.

© Copyright 2011 - Nicholas Cloister