The kha-nyou is an odd looking rodent that has dense grey fur and is about the size of a squirrel or a rabbit. It is noted for its hind legs which are splayed out to the sides giving it a decided waddle as it walks. This is an adaptation that allows the rodent remarkable mobility when in its natural habitat, rocky badlands and boulder fields. It can move among the rocks, climbing them as easily as a squirrel climbs trees.
The mountainous terrain that the kha-nyou is most often found in is noted for its lack of fodder. There isn't much aside from scrub trees, and hearty heath grasses high in the mountains. The mountain goblins, and tribes like the Wudewas and Yeren often make meals of the robust rodent, roasting it on a spit. They often call the rodent the Mountain's Gift.
In truth, the kha-nyou came about long ago, an accidental pairing between a very weak earth elemental, and a large rat. This was being done as an experiment to create a magic eating monster that could burrow through walls and such. As a weapon, the kha-nyou was a failure as the rodents were difficult to control, and the mating seemed to have no effect.
What happened was that the new hybrid was able to sustain itself by feeding on ambient elemental energy in the manner of an elemental. So long as the rodent stayed in rocky areas, especially those strong with elemental magic, it required only water to survive, and feeding was reflexive, rather than sustained. Naturally, those who survived migrated to areas of natural magic to feed off of it. The mountains being one of the strongest sources of natural earth aspected magic in creation.
Dinner Time - traveling in a sparse mountain area, the PCs are shown local hospitality, in the form of a roasted rat on a stick.
Thieves in the Night - A Pc looses a potent magic item, specifically something earth related. During the night, a swarm of kha-nyou were drawn to the earth aspected item and they stole it and took it back to their nest, located at a confluence of geomantic energy.
Contagion - An envoy from the elemental courts approaches the PCs and asks them to come and get rid of the rats that have infested their mountain realm as their numbers have gotten out of control and are draining the local magic supplies.
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? Responses (8)-8
Interesting, very interesting. The critter has some interesting adaptions. Given its origins and initial power source, these magical creatures make a great deal of sense.
I like the plots associated with the critters. Very nice.
Was this perhaps inspired by the recently discovered Laotian rock rat?
Should have provided the link...
Weird, but I like it. A normally looking creature that is miles away from the biosphere around it... and it still survives, accident or not.
Note that any elemental wizard worth his name has a great hint in these low critters.
This is an interesting post that has all those key-elements that breathes life and sense into a lifeform.
Subtle yet interesting. Solid work
I like them. Especially their origin, the union of earth elemental and rat, as well as the 'failed experiment'. Any sub inspired by weird news of the real world is a thumbs up for me!
I'm not sure if this is intentional or not, but the name pronounced purely without silent letters and whatnot sounds a lot like 'canyon'. Minus the n.
I thought that was a nice touch for an animal that can quickly open up a huge avenue of oppurtunities for players.
Useful little critter. I could imagain that having a steady diet of these creatures might give the people eating them an 'elemental taint', if such exists in your world.
At the very least, I'll bet they're high in minerals! :)