The temperate Adylheim boasts a less diverse selection of wildlife than warmer regions might, but those native to the realm are sometimes as odd as they are rare. From the aeshnida to the griffins, brushkats to warbears, there are plenty of beasts and monsters behind every tree to keep a well-prepared traveler on her toes.
Nonmagical Beasts and Insects
Aeshnida are giant dragonflies that have been taught to accept riders. They are rarely seen outside of Longmoor but are actively bred there. They're only capable of carrying relatively small riders over long distances and their inability to lug much by the way of weight renders their usefulness limited. Their primary purpose in wartime is scouting and acting as quick messengers.
Main article: Baanz
Baanz are one of Adylheim's oddest looking creatures. Its neck is usually the length of its body or longer, and has no definite head-end. It does, however, have a mouth-end, with its neck ending in a single mouth ringed with several rows of blunt teeth and leathery, bluish lips (the baanz is Adylheim's, perhaps the world's only jawless land mammal. Jawless fish such as hagfish and lampreys exist in the deep ocean, but the baanz is the only land-roaming mammal with no jaws to speak of, though its mouth is very strong, and large enough to encompass a human head).
Main article: Brushkats
Brushkats look exactly like little bundles of plant, little brushes, or bunches of flowers, but when they begin to move, its obvious that they're animals. Their eyes and ears are disguised as plant parts, as with their legs and feet and tails. Brushkats can vary in size and shape, and some species even specialize in looking like certain types of plants or flowers. They can change their appearances to coincide with the seasons, including being able to "shed" their "leaves". In case of being eaten, they have a nifty defence mechanism much alike to that of lizards: being able to detach their limbs and grow them back. Some brushkats can grow real fungi, which act more as an irritance to them, as acne is to humans. Some brushkats are also highly poisonous.
Draspis are giant tortoises found in the southern regions of Adylheim. While they are expensive to maintain, their ability to haul cargo is unprecedented. Although far from the fastest mode of transport found in Adylheim a ride on a Draspis is a joy many can share, some have even taken to carving chairs into the shell of the giant creatures to make the ride more pleasant. Others erect large structures on top of the Draspis, giving them the impression of a slow moving camp. The Draspis is generally capable of carrying up to 20 passengers at any time.
Main article: Field Skitters
Field Skitters are classified as bugs, although they are much more dangerous. They are thin beings composed of a hard shell and fleshy soft underside. Their shell is circular and comes to a ribbed sharp edge. They have four pars of limbs, all legs that retract into their underside. Their shell and lags are generally the same length. Therefore a Skitter with a shell diameter of one foot would have foot long legs. Their legs are thing structures with joints in three to four locations, depending on age. The ends of their legs come to a sharp point.
In parts of Arameia and Nerin the fierce Gamu can be found, a large, flightless bird with black and purple feathers. It is known for its lethal kicks, the claws on its feet easily disembowelling its victims, though it will not generally attack humans. Gamu tire easily, unfortunately, and while they are good for quick sprints, they cannot carry riders over long distances. They are occasionally used for military purposes, but their tendency to spook easily makes them badly suited to melee action.
Main article: Griffins
The griffins are monstrous beasts capable of flight with a man and his bow, plus a good portion of loot he may have acquired. A griffin is a large half bird half lion hybrid, with the head, beak, feet and claws, and wings of an eagle along with the body of a lion. Griffins naturally populate the northern mountains, but are in their greatest populations at the Ribs. They've hollow bones to allow for flight, but are no lesser on the predatory totem pole for it; the only truly competing predator in the Ribs are the Dragonkin, which annihilate griffins near their cities for their own safety. They are generally utilised by the der Whurlitz Griffin Riders, and possibly barbarian tribes.
Main article: Pillar Ibex
Pillar ibex look much like traditional ibex, albeit with dramatic variations in the appearance of their horns, and much, much taller. The reason for this incredible size is unknown. It is believed that pillar ibex can only be found in the Ribs. Their horns are long, and extremely jagged, almost like they are covered in backwards-sweeping spikes.
Main article: Rock Slugs
While the latter part of the Rock Slug's name comes from its body shape the first part comes from the "armour" of rocks and debris that cover its shell. The debris and rocks are attached to the creature via a quite remarkable glue produced by glands on the creature's back, this glue is often considered the strongest glue on the world, only dissolved via the rock slug's equally potent digestive fluids. Normally the Rock Slug wears the same "Armour" throughout its life, adding more to it as it grows in size.
Main article: Snerk
Snerks look a lot like satyrs, they stand on two backwards-bent legs and have two hands. Their legs end in hooves, whereas their hands have strong eagle-like claws. Their whole body is covered in fur, mostly brown in summers and mostly white in winters. Their head, unlike satyrs' resembles that of deer, with bright yellow eyes and large brown, black or white antlers. Unlike normal deer, snerks don't lose their antlers each year and instead grow them all their life. The loss of an antler results in the snerk going into depression, when he stops eating and therefore dies in a couple of weeks or a few months.
Main article: Upok
An Upok stands five feet tall and weighs 100-150 lbs. Their bodies are brown, fur-covered and shaped like a disc that is oriented parallel to the ground when standing. They have six legs arranged like spokes on a wheel about the rim of the disc. The two front legs also double as club-hands devoid of opposable digits. Each leg is a foot and a half long and has one knee which bends toward the body. On top of the disc are two stalks containing mouths. Their lips each have a prehensile nub protruding from them at the fattest point.
The Principality of Nevros also train a specific breed of bears into the much feared Warbears which are ridden into battle as crack cavalry. These are very rare however and are rarely seen outside Nevros.
A bogeyman’s form is somewhat vague, as few, even Dungeon Keepers, have gotten a really good look at them. At best, they appear to be of a human shape, their bodies thin and faces gaunt, without any sign of character. Bogeymen cannot exist in any space that is touched by the direct light of the sun, and will avoid any and all firelight if it’s within their power. Moonlight is tolerable, but somewhat painful to endure. Most often, a bogeyman will require cloud cover to function at full capacity. Iron is deadly to them as well, so young men who might carry knives or other tools aren’t common targets, unless they’ve been scouted extensively. Bogeymen are extremely fast on foot, and can cover forty miles per hour without tiring in complete darkness. They are creatures who usually roam within Maadrth's domain of Deep Earth, where the sunlight never touches. The more intimidating the space that is set up, the darker it is, and the further away from the surface it is dug, the more likely a bogeyman is to take up residence there. They are often used as familiars by Dungeon Keepers.
The Caladrius is a rare species of white bird. Their plumage, when it is burned and the resulting smoke inhaled, can cure any disease, as such Caladrius feathers are highly sought after by alchemists, magi and healers who believe their healing powers may aid them in their craft.
Gargoyles are the product of wizards tampering with the forces of life. They can often be found where wizards live or have lived in the past, the gargoyles outliving their masters by centuries. Gargoyles are generally stone creations, created from statues inscribed with Prime Words. They exist in a multitude of variations, some capable of shooting fire, others made of molten lava. They are generally capable of obeying basic commands but are rarely more intelligent than a dog.
Main article: Drakes
Drakes are among the fiercest inhabitants of the Ribs. These huge, winged reptiles are not to be trifled with. Drakes are among the largest creatures in Adylheim capable of unassisted flight. They are fiercely intelligent, territorial and menacing.
Ghouls are natural, semi-sentient creatures. They live the majority of their life underground, but are known to haunt cemeteries and catacombs. In these places they live their lives dining on the remnants of those dead. While their bodies generally looks like that of a very pale emaciated human being, their faces look altogether more doglike. They are only capable of eating decaying flesh. Fresh meat or vegetables hold no interest for these creatures. While they are not undead in their own right, they are often associated with the undead and many necromancers have learned their strange tongue.
Known by various names, Gnolls, Goblins, Nisser and many more throughout Adylheim, these minute humanoids are rarely much larger than a human fist. They’re stooped creatures, faces hidden behind dirty braids of hair and equally dirty clothing. They are usually seen moving something, perhaps pulling a bag twice their size or a dead pigeon, or otherwise performing some manner of purposeful action, at least to them. They are usually only visible through the corner of the eye or when someone isn’t focusing on them. Some Magical Analysts believe they are inhabitants of one of the Shifting Realms, which explains why they are only occasionally visible as well as the lack of any known habitats for this strange race. There are many legends and superstitions surroundings these creatures, though mentioning them is generally considered bad luck, so if people notice their presence, they usually will not mention it. Some believe they have some grand, sinister purpose which it is better not to get in the way of, others believe they are merely a pest but it’s better to stay on the safe side.
The Mefici are a crystalloid race who live primarily underground. They do not use magic in any conventional sense. While Mefici may theoretically live forever, they create bodies for themselves when they need to move around. This process takes place in what they refer to as the Flesh Forge, where a flesh body is grafted around the crystal housing their consciousness. This is usually followed by a series of metal plates which protect the body and leave little to be seen. The Mefici communicate through a form of telepathy similar to that of the Dae’vol, though it is reputed as being painful for those who are subjected to it. This is believed to be because of the alien nature of a mind made from stone. Mefici as a race deal in absolutes and have problems with concepts such as lies and half-truths. The heavily armoured bodies of the Mefici are generally short and squat, but powerful, to allow them passage underground. Mefici naturally exhibit talents of earth manipulation and can often reshape tunnels to be large enough to fit them. The Mefici are excellent smiths, and they are extremely well paid for their products.
Main article: Trolls
Trolls are one of the largest races known, they are typically almost twice as tall as a human and normally have the strength to back their size up. Their skin is rougher than human skin, and have about the same toughness as leather. Their skins usually range from pale pink to darkish brown with the occasional grey. For the most part they appear to be cast in the image of humans, their bodies are very similar. However, trolls are usually hairier than humans, their noses, eyes and ears are larger in proportion to their heads and their mouth is often filled with terrible fangs. Some trolls have been known to let moss, and other small plants, grow in the crevasses of their leathery skins, typically it appears to be the equivalent of wearing jewellery in a human. Trolls are typically nocturnal creatures and rarely come out during the day, their eyes allowing them to see in all but total darkness. During the day, trolls typically sleep in a state where they barely seem to breathe at all. Which has lead to many myths that they turn to stone if they see the sun.