There is nothing in Desole Cylex that has not been tainted by the infernal forces there. It is said that even the very soil is hoary and sick with the fecund might of forces demonic and debase.
Djueria, the Bull of Hell
Among the legions of demons who name Desole Cylex as their demense on Earth, Djueria is not one of the first that comes to mind. The demon appears as a black bull of massive size, with blood dripping from his savaged toothed jaws. Blood weeps even from his nostrils, giving him a fearsome appearance. He can be calm, almost to the point of being docile, but can explode into bouts of ultraviolence that even more powerful demons fear.
It was King Tiergart the Cruel who summoned Djueria from the Cylex when the cattle of his kingdom were struck with a wasting sickness that left them weak and anemic. Calves were stillborn, and the milk that was given was so thin that nothing could be made from it. Needing good reserves of cattle to feed and make leather armor and glues for the armies, the situation could not be tolerated.
Sacrificing a fine white heifer and seven virginal maidens, Tiergart summoned the demon and bade it fortify the blood of his kingdom's cattle with its dark seed. The demon accepted the offering, and in a whirlwind of savage mating, impregnated 100 heifers that Tiergart had provided as brood cows.
The 100 heifers threw their calves with few problems, and each of the new borns was as black as night. Their eyes held a strange green iridescence, and they drank so greedily from their mothers that their udders were left bloody. The calves lapped even at this blood and were nourished.
From the beginning, the new herd was obviously unnatural. They were content to sleep during the day, resting in the shade of trees. It was at night when the bovines would rise from chewing cud to again graze on grass, carrion, and anything they could catch. It was not long before the ranchers learned that the cattle could see in the dark as easily as they could see in the daylight.
As the cattle grew older, the bulls became more excitable, and were eager, even for bulls, to mate. Many drove themselves into frenzies that left their noses dripping with blood and their eyes bloodshot. The heifers were no less eager, and it was not long before a second generation of the black cattle were born. To Tiergart's delight, the new cattle were robust, thick of muscle, and though the milk was oddly flavored, it was rich and thick.
Hazards of the Herd
While ranching has it's typical dangers, mostly those involving angry cattle, startled animals, and things like herds getting loose, the black cattle were a much larger problem. The old methods of using horses and rope quickly failed as horses were terrified of the black beasts. Ropes could easily be bitten through, and a wounded ranch hand was as likely to be mauled or bitten and eaten by an out of control animal.
Black Leather - the leather made from the hides of the black cattle was exceptionally thick and difficult to work. This also made it better for boiling into hardened leather armor. Each suit of armor made from this leather had the arcane symbol of Djueria embossed above the heart, symbolizing the demon's protection.
Beef - Black cattle beef was dense and very tough, often requiring a long time hanging before it was considered ripe enough to eat. Unfortunately, the meat had a tendency to spoil very quickly past a certain point. Once the meat turned, it was not only putrid, but it was also poisonous. a small delicacy market grew around treating the ultra-tender almost rotten meat with anti-toxins during and after cooking.
Black Tallow - while the same general color as tallow rendered from normal beef fat, the tallow rendered from the black cattle burned slowly and had a thick almost musky scent as well as giving a greenish hue to the flame as it burned. Black tallow candles cost twice as much as their normal counterparts, but lasted 3 to 4 times longer.
Tiergarti Cheese - the milk from the black cattle lent itself to being cultured into cheese and butter, both of which tended to have a mildly unpleasant taste. The cheesemakers experimented with this new grade of milk and created Tiergarti cheese from it. This cheese was a dense and very heavy cheese, and was quite hard. It became haute couture to serve heated and softened Tiergarti cheese with unleavened bread, and honey spiced apples.
The Fate of the Black Herd
The bloodstock of the black herd was dispersed over a long period as the cattle were given as gifts, and bred with other animals. Animal husbandry was not a strong skill in Tiergart's kingdom and the blood of Djueria was slowly depleted until the main herd were black skinned night vision equipped cattle who would eat anything. the fate of the Black herd was carried by a number of bulls and heifers who escaped from the cattle kraals.
This black herd retains the blood purity of Djueria through close inbreeding and an almost sentiently guided breeding initiative. This feral herd ranges across Tiergart's kingdom sometimes simply grazing and at other times banding together to take down a normal cow, or lame horse to eat down to the bones.
These cattle also retain some of the supernatural powers of Djueria. The most prominent power is the ability to create a cloud of nearly inpenetrable darkness around themselves. They do this when threatened by predators that they cannot handle themselves. They will also use a blighting power to bring crops to spoilage to make them easier to digest, though they seldom eat the entire field that is laid to waste by this power.
It's just a Cow - the PCs encounter one of the black bulls that is patrolling its territory. The locals cross themselves and make warding gestures, and leave the PCs alone with the bull. Can they deal with the enraged bull, can they calm it, or do they have to face it's 2400 pounds of thickly skinned, blood dripping fury? The bull attacks the largest party members first, and will deal with female characters by trying to trample them, and crush them under its bulk.
That Cow is Radiating Evil - a detection spell names a plain black cow as evil, it comes from the Djueria bloodline, but the blood has been diluted. What happens when the PCs realize that half of the cattle in the region give false positives on a Detect Evil spell?
Where's the Beef - The PCs are invited to a soiree held by a local lord wishing to make a good impression. Of course the delicacies of Tiergarti cheese, spoiled Black beef, and curdled milk sauces are the main dishes. Yech!
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? Responses (18)-19
I really like the submission, I just think that 'Fiendish Cattle' is kind of a tame and uninspired name for it... How about 'The Demon-Cattle of Djueria' or the 'Black Herd of Tiergart' or something like that?
Or, Stench Kine :D.
I love creatures like this, and I cant even put into words why that is. I like how you broke the critter down into leather, tallow, cheese, etc. I dub you the Cranial Butcher. Nice Scras!
I like this post. CP is right, the name is lame. Tiergart's Cattle or Djueria Breed or Black Breed, or some such, would be better.
Other than the cattle are evil, what other endangerment do these things provide? Their advantages far outweigh any disadvantages.
I do like the nice details.
Added Hazards paragraph and changed the name from Fiendish Cattle to the Demon's Herd. Name was both tame, and lame. Ack!
Had to add the hazard paragraph, really an oversight on my part. The black herd is more dangerous since they have tainted blood, and have qualms about eating horses, cattle, humans, rotten meat, its all pretty much fair game.
Not the kind of burger you would want to eat at MacDonalds.
Well, at least it _is_beef :)
Haha! Good one Cheka!
I think that eating these should have more dangerous effects, though. I would consider all who ate of them to be somewhat tainted in some manner. Perhaps they are more suseptable to dark infuences, etc.
In any case, this is cool submission. Kudos!
Make a stew outta the meat. Or pelt a besieged city with spoiled meat, or live cows...
Hah! Now that's a good one - in lands touched by evil, not even the cattle will be the same. Liked all the details.
Ever played the Cow Level?
The false 'Detect Evil' signals are great! Most likely, the armor and anyone eating the meat or cheese will detect as evil too :)
Down with the Detect Evil spells! Where is Evil is truly afoot, they should be detecting it left and right.
"Where is little Joey?"
"Oh, he went to look at the new cows our neighbours bought."
This one could be quite useful: There are many societies that measure a man's wealth by how many cattle he owns... Perhaps the adventurers could be hired in the aftermath of a series of cattle raids, only to discover that the raiders aren't nearly as dangerous as the cattle they have stolen!
The Church might declare the meat from these cattle to be "unclean", triggering a schism as infertile regions that have grown dependent on this "hardy breed" are faced with economic disaster.
I could see places that enjoy gladiatorial-type contests adopting these foul-tempered creatures for bullfights. To misquote Tom Lehrer about bullfighting: "There's nothing as glorious as watching a man face down 1000 pounds of angry, charging pot roast!"
This has a lot of potential. I especially like the details on the goods that can be made from these cattle. However, it does need some cleaning up here and there, but otherwise, great sub. And I agree with Wulf on the bullfighting idea... that'd be flippin' sweet.
You have made a credible threat from simple livestock, and eradicating the Black Herd might create economic disaster, so the adventurers can not simple kill the 'devil-cows'.
"I guess we never should have let the demon herd graze near the graveyard. Now all the markers are missing or broken and 17 of the graves appear to have been dug up. And where in Hades is the undertaker?"
Love it! I love how these beasts are vicious, demon tainted creatures, and yet are still simply animalseven though they radiate evil there is no intended malevolence to them, and they still have their own instincts ( They're not maliciously destroying the crops with rot - they simply do it for easier digestion!
I can see this being used as a special event at the end of a rodeo! And when the bull kicks you off, run for your life before it decides to eat you!