Thursday, November 10, 2011

Arcadian Beasts of the Wood

These elusive beasts mostly inhabit the vast woodland of Woodbury Forest. Some, however take to smaller forests and groves throughout Calabria.

After Sir Edwin Landseer

The White Hart is believed to be an aberrant member of the red deer family. Seen only once every few generations, this enormous male is a ghostly figure, and it said to be able to outrun an arrow in flight. The sight of the Hart is said to inspire courage against odds. Legends tell of tides of battle that were turned when the White Hart appeared. Eating the heart of the creature on the eve of battle is said to assure victory. The droppings of the Hart are highly valued by alchemists.

The Golden Hind is counterpart to the White Hart. She bears antlers of pure gold, and is said to appear to star crossed lovers. A trinket of golden antlers is a symbol of forbidden love.

Barbara Longhi

The Unicorn is a solitary beast, in all the ages of Calabria seldom seen beyond the borders of Woodbury Forest. It is said that there is only one Unicorn at any given moment in time, and it can foretell the hour of its death. Knowing this, it mates only once in its lifetime, and a newborn Unicorn comes into the world as its sire draws its last breath. The unicorn foal is born to a mare which has been marked by the Unicorn during a full moon. Legend tells of one such mare that was captured to lure a Unicorn to its death, and resulted in the birth of a Unicorn in captivity. The young Unicorn was set free when it seemed it would surely die in absence of its freedom, resulting in perhaps the extinction of the creature entirely.

The Unicorn horn is prized as proof against poison, and is highly valued by those with numerous enemies.

Viktor Vasnetsov

The Calabrian Wolfhound is an enormous lupine with an affinity towards humans. Various tales tell of Wolfhounds raising human babies lost in the woods, fending off creatures of the Monstrous Races, and even carrying humans on their backs away from danger. Various attempts to tame such creatures inevitably fail, as the Wolfhound is fiercely independent, and could never be mistaken for a "pet".

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Arcadian Beasts of the Air

Arcadian beasts are elusive creatures, typically displaying uncanny awareness of human intention. While most are wild beyond any hope of taming, there are notable exceptions.

Francis Blackwell Mayer
The Gryphons of Calabria make their homes in high peaks of the Iron Hills. These bright minded and inquisitive creatures are ferocious hunters, and enjoy pursuing prey trough the winding valleys and thin woodlands of the mountain range. They prefer feet footed or deft winged targets, and therefore pay little heed to herd animals. Their diet consists mostly of wyrms, deer, horse, mountain lion, wolf, eagle, and salmon. Being normally day hunters, their interaction with nocturnal creatures such as wyverns is rare, yet such aerial combat is a spectacle to behold.

The Clan of the Gryphon have the Gryphon as their totem, and elite members of the clan called the Gryphonym each form a lifelong bond with a Gryphon. Such Gryphons allow the Gryphonym to use them as mounts. The Gryphonym have a treaty with the merchant guilds of Calabria, and serve as messengers and couriers in times of national emergency. A Gryphonym rider is stationed at each of the main cities of Calabria, where they serve for 30 days before being replaced by one of their kinsmen.

The Gryphon is protected by bounty in Calabria, with any harm to a Gryphon usually resulting in death by public hanging or decapitation. Possession of even a single Gryphon feather is a punishable offense.

Gustav Moreau

The Pegasus is a rare winged beast resembling a horse. Legend tells that the original Pegasus was a unique immortal that bred with the common horse, spawning an entire race of creatures. The Pegasus haunts isolated valleys among the Iron Hills, typically making its home in cave openings in sheer cliff walls.
The bone of the Pegasus is highly prized by Alchemists for its lightweight yet durable nature.

Pegasus, the being after which the race of creatures is named, is rumored to yet live on an island in the seas beyond Calabria. Some say he lives among the Elves, and cherishes their company.

Arnold Böcklin

The Wyvern is a fearsome nocturnal beast, with bat like wings. Wyverns typically haunt the mountains of the Iron and Silver Hills, but have been known to descend into the low lying hills of Freehold. They feast upon timid creatures such as deer, and have a particular taste for herd animals. Wyverns have been known to be tamed by Hobgoblins and other fearsome creatures and used as mounts.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Arcadian Simians

Arcadian creatures are solitary or belong to small groups, and seldom engage with man. They fall into two main categories, Simians and Beasts.

Simians are called so, seeming in ways similar to humans, yet alien. They often have upper torsos of resembling humans, with lower bodies of beasts. They build no structures, yet they may excel in craft and art. Among them are Centaurs, Satyrs, Nymphs, and Sphinxes. They make their beds in natural environments or in the abandoned ruins of man.

Guiseppe Maria Crespi

Centaurs are perhaps the most likely to engage with man. Stories are still told of the days before The Shattering, in which the  Centaurs of Calabria united with man in a war against the monstrous races. Place names honoring the sacrifice of the noble Centaurs remain throughout Calabria. Carr Peak, which lies between Merchant's Republic and Freehold and through which the Via Imperium winds, features the largest monument in Calabria to a Centaur warrior.

There are numerous legends of Centaurs mentoring human youths in the ways of archery, poetry, and music.

Arnold Böcklin

Satyrs are timid creatures which relish the simple joys of sensual delight. They are famed for frolicking with nymphs of the wood (Dryads), and being lovers of music and dance. An encounter with a Satyr may result in good or ill, as they are temperamental beings, and are easily offended.

John William Waterhouse

Nymphs are female creatures aligned with nature. They include the Dryads of the Trees, Oreads of Mountains, Naiads of the Streams, Aurae of the Winds, and the Lampades, bearers of Flame.

Many a sad song and story tell of ill-fated romances between mortals and Nymphs.

Gustave Moreau

The Sphinx is perhaps the most cunning of all creatures, and rarest of the Simians. They are famed for their knowledge of the histories of men, as well as their grasp of logic, puzzles, and riddles. They are fierce creatures, with little patience for the arrogance and ignorance men.

 They inhabit remote ruins, where legend says they may reconstruct the daily deeds of an entire city merely by studying the shards of pottery and refuse left behind.