The world magical is full of a great number of spirits, beasts, races and hybrids between any two of the above mentioned. There is another sort of creature, or class of creatures that deserve mention, nay, their own bestiary. These are the Questing Beasts.
A Questing Beast is a rare and unique creature that has very obvious magical traits and innate magical powers. Yet they are also flesh and blood creatures that can with great effort be tracked, hunted and slain, though often at a terrible cost. In most cultures Questing Beasts are omens and avatars of fate or destiny. To see one is to be so marked, be it for greatness or infamy, for long life or a swift death.
Questing Beasts are strange entities and have a natural resistance to magics. Spells aimed at harming them have a 50% chance of automatic failure, not taking into consideration the innate immunities of the individual beasts. They have 90% immunity to poisons, magics of charm and enchantment, and cannot be summoned by any spell. Banishing a Questing Beast can be done, though it is at a significant level of difficulty.
If drawn into combat Questing Beasts take half damage from mundane weapons and normal damage from magical weapons, though their magical powers have a 50% chance of not affecting the beast. Thusly a beast struck with a Flaming Sword will take the normal damage from the sword, but only a 50% chance of taking the fire/flame damage.
Lastly Questing Beasts are able to regenerate themselves fairly quickly. Light wounds can be healed in moments, severe ones in hours, and near mortal wounds in less than a day.
All Questing Beasts are innately magical creatures and all of them have a supply of spells and spell like powers to call upon as needed. These powers are as varigated as the beasts themselves but there are a number that are held in common.
Invisibility - All questing beasts have the power to go unseen for a short amount of time. When this power is invoked, the beast can neither be seen, heard, or smelt. Its presence can be revealed by magic or carefully cast dust, or by keen eyes searching for its tracks on soft ground.
Healing - Each beast has the miraculous power to dispell illness, curses and heal injuries. The method of doing this varies, but all can heal the bodies of others who have become wounded.
Phasing - At great effort, a questing beast is able to 'phase out' or literally sidestep outside of reality. This portal power allows it to move from the material realm into the realms of spirit, dream, astral planes or even hellish realms. It is assumed that this power is limited in how often it can be used as a beast will run until exhausted rather than phase out, and will generally only do so as a measure of last resort.
The Rune Beast
Also known as the Tyursha (TIE-yur-SHA) the Rune beast is slightly larger than a common horse. The head is a mix of feline whiskers and eyes with the jaw structure of a crocodile. The overall body is long and sinuous, a ghostly pale color, and each of the four legs ends in a wicked set of claws. The beast has wings that it carries folded over its back, and has a tail that is half as long as its body.
The thing that actually sets the rune beast apart from the other more mundane quasi-reptilian beasts is the script on its hide. It has large sections of its body covered in pale blue swirling script. This pseudo-celtic knotwork of symbols and figures are said to hold greater cosmic signifigance though none have ever had the beast hold still long enough to read the writing.
It is the speculation of sages that the Rune Beast is an avatar of horoscopes and that the script on it's body is the fate of the person who is lucky, or unlucky enough to see it. The stories hold that if a lone woman sees the beast, she will be blessed with a strong child, but will soon be seperated from the father forever. If a man sees the rune beast, he is destined for greatness, but will loose everything he holds dear first. If more than one man sees the beast, all will die shortly, and if more than one woman sees the beast, plague will be coming.
A native of hot and hostile deserts the Nantorix is rare, even by questing beast standards. The beast is long and sleek like a panther with a narrow quadruped body and tail that is again as long as the body. The head is long and graceful, coming to a delicate snout and flaring out to a set of curling horns that rake back across the body. Along the spine the beast has paired spines that rise like brutal pit spikes. Each had a thick sheath that is self sharpening.
It has no wings, but is able to move with a speed that can leave all but the fastest horses in its wake. Oddly, it can also walk across the surface of water with no difficulty. One of the most striking features of this questing beast are the markings on its velvet black hide. Arcane symbols and geometric diagrams appear on its body with an internal brilliance, shining like the full moon in an ink black sky. These symbols flare into brilliance, and after a random amount of time dim, and vanish. Some speculate that the Nantorix is actually a living spell component for a very powerful and ancient lich or elf mage.
Most of the time, it is prone to be found either basking in moonlight as it is completely nocturnal, or tending the various oases in the desert. A scale from the beast can be used as a spell component to increase the power of a spell being cast, though it must be given freely by the Nantorix as stolen scales evaporate into a cloud of darkness.
Easily 30 feet long, the Rassiri is a very rare sight, though not so infrequent as the ever elusive nantorix. This Questing beast appears on the plains and grasslands, a beautiful animal with four strong gazelle like legs and covered with a vibrant red coat. Most amazing still are the feather soft white wings that carry it aloft when it tires of running and cavorting. It has a serpentine neck and a long coiling tail, and a narrow ferret-like body.
There is no elaborate script or runes on the beast's body, only brilliant blue rings. It is said that the Rassiri only appears to hunters and expectant mothers, and that if it appears before a group of non-hunters, that one of those men is a poacher and defiler of animal spirits and has been marked for the predators to remove.
Should a lone hunter find the beast, legend says that he is to cast his spear or shoot as best he can to slay the beast. The Rassiri is able to snatch such missle weapons out of the air without breaking them. Such items thereafter become imbued with the hunter's spirit, making them potent fetishes and weapons for the hunter.
The Tears of Rassiri are said to herald a bad birth that a mother is not likely to survive, but that the child will, and that the child will grow to be strong and hale. Some legends speak that the Rassiri is waiting for someone...someone who has not yet been born in this age.
The Beast of Faleste
The shores of the bay of Faleste are treacherous, the tides often rising quickly and unpredictably, making travel there dangerous. this is the home of the amphibious beast of Faleste. By no means is it a crude toad or base reptile, it is a sleek and dangerous predator with a wedge shaped head and a long body that is dark gray to black on top with a paler gray to white belly. It moves rapidly with long webbed legs and feet and in the water it's sculling tail makes it easily as fast as even the swiftest of ships.
It is considered to be the worst of luck for a man to see the beast of Faleste, for it is said that those men who see the beast are haters and abusers of women, rapists and worse. Should a ship encounter the beast, it is considered an ill omen and many ships will return to port for a new crew rather than face the beast, which favors scaling the side of the ship during the night to lay waste with it's hooked claws and needle sharp teeth.
In the sagas, it was the beast of Faleste that appears to rescue the kidnapped Princess of Pearls and slays her captors, sets fire to their ship and ferries the princess back to the shore where she was recovered by her family.
The Morumnian Setter
What started out as the perfect hunting dog, the hunter's companion and genlemen's setter, in this particular case a breed developed in the highland villages of Kespire, became a legendary beast, and over time a true creature of myth. Resembling a merle-colored dog the size of a silver piece, this miniscule canine, is nearly impossible to find. It is considered to be the luck of the gods themselves to come across it, and sheer folly, awaits those who would attempt to hunt it down. Of course this does not stop the intrepid from pursuing this tiny Questing Beast. All seventeen villages revere the Morumnian Setter, and it is in fact named for one of the highland thorps, Morumn. Many villagers could be seen wearing tiny blue and silver painted wooden icons of a dog, on chains around their necks. These signify luck in highland cultures. Ironically, the breed of actual setter, from which this creature derives it appellation, is long extinct in the highlands.
When little children giggle, their parents often check their collars and chide them that 'The Morumnian Setter must be tickling you again!'
In truth, the Morumnian Setter was a mage who had terribly misused and miscast several spells at once, foremost among them polymorph, shrink, and canine scent. The wizard has been stuck in this current form, for nearly five hundred years. Though he retains little of his prior awareness, several spells still seem affordable to him, chief among those, invisibility, healing, and phasing.
The Morumnian Setter cannot speak, and has no forms of telepathy, nor any kind of magic available, that would allow it to communicate with any intelligent creature.
All in all, the 'creature' is a Questing Beast imposter, but that doesnt stop the highlanders from thinking of it as their very own legend. The questers and hunters that come looking for the fabled Morumnian Setter, bring goods and coin, and the highlanders in turn spin numerous tales of its legend, to keep them coming in droves. Recent tales have claimed, that anyone lucky enough to actually capture the Morumnian Setter, would have their lifespans inceased tenfold.
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? Responses (11)
There is a beauty in these creatures.
A great sub - I'm curious as to why it is closed though. I'd like to see what others could add.
Any plans to add Origins to these beasties, or are they just another mystery like magic itself?
I would say mysterious would be best, they should be magnificent, mysterious, beautiful and even dangerous. And fixed the locked thing, I dont know why I locked it, but apparently I did. :p
Great idea for a scroll! And I like your sample beasties!
Very unique submission. Much better than most, if not all, of mine. I especially like the added ones.
For all it's worth, I simply must second Cheka's note: There is a beauty in these creatures.
Nothing sums it up better.
I plan to add one to this, sooner or later.
This sub is brilliant, I loved it and merely wish there were more. Can't wait to use this in my campaign