Dream Eaters, also known as Nightmare Foxes are a rare species, due largely to over hunting. At first glance they resemble an average fox that’s been dipped in black paint. They are small of build, about a foot and quarter at the shoulder on average. As such they are fragile creatures, relying mainly on speed for protection. What differs them from the average fox are luminescent white eyes with no visible pupil and a sticky black oil secreted by glands covering their skin. The oil gives off a pungent odor, similar to that of decaying flowers. No one can quite say what color a Dream Eater’s fur is, as the oil clings relentlessly to whatever it comes in contact with.
Dream Eaters are nocturnal, and notoriously curious. When there is no sense of danger, they are apt to snoop around camps of sleeping adventurers or whatever else they com across in their wanderings. Their namesake comes from such encounters, as the pungent oil they produce causes troubled dreams in many species. The only known species who seem immune to this effect are Orcs.
The preferred habitat of the Dream Eaters are ancient forests with little light and scarce flora on the ground floor. They are well suited to a life in the shadows, oversized ears and uncannily sharp hearing taking the place of eyesight as the most important sense. Sent also plays a large factor in how they perceive the environment, as they share a sharp nose with other closely related fox species.
Dream Eater has but one use to the animal: deterring those who would otherwise consider it breakfast. The rotting scent dissuades most predators from hunting the Dream Eater. Nature never intended for human’s interest in the same oil, however. While it has no known magical properties, it is useful in discouraging dangerous wildlife and masking scent. While the user will undoubtedly suffer from unpleasant dreams, the scent effectively deters predators and hides scent trails remarkably well.
Another strange characteristic of the Dream Eater is a magpie- like mentality. They gather shiny or interesting objects, filling their dens with glittering trinkets. Often times they make of with small valuable or merely shiny bits after a visit to a slumbering camp. Following their keen sense of smell, they have a history of raiding food stores as well. They will not, however, venture close enough to a slumbering adventurer as to wake him, even should a shiny object be visible.
While not particularly vicious creatures, they pose a real threat to the moral of any adventurer. They have a habit of following a source of food. Once having discovered a plentiful food source, they will trail it for days and even weeks, visiting at night.
A merchant caravan traveling along a well traveled road reports strange dreams and missing food rations, as well as an unsettling smell of decaying flowers. According to the report, whatever phantom may be haunting them has followed the journey the entire way, never failing to visit every night. No sentry has seen a thing, yet it is suspected that a mixture of long days and alcohol has made for sleepy sentries. Adventurers are wanted to discover and vanquish the source of the assaults.
A Skein of Oil
Any merchant worth his salt sells skeins of Dream Eater oil, as its properties make it useful to many calibers of men, from adventurers and explorers to the common hunter. As such competition for the Dream eaters is fierce. One corpse provides a full skein of oil, nearly priceless. Hunters are in demand in nearly every city that boarders a Dream Eater’s habitat- merely ask around with the local traders and merchants.
An ambitious young man has decided to tame a Dream Eater, and harvest oil from the creature without harming it. Enlisting the aid of adventurers, he has formulated a rough plan on capturing the fragile creature without harming it.