The Chungwa Wolf is a large canine that reaches three to four feet at the shoulder and generally twice that in length. The canine species is easily recognized for the glossy orange color of it's coat and the often jagged black marking that cover it. These are not the stripes of a tiger, but more like half geometric shapes in the fur that help the wolf break up against it's natural envirment of sun stunted scrub and rolling sand dunes. The snout is long and has a leathery appearance, while the neck sports a pair of ridges that follow the curve of the jawline and give the animal the appearance of having horns.
Chungwa wolves are common along the edge of the Wastelands can for a short time, no more than a few days, leave those boundaries. As such, they are among the few animals of the Wastelands that are well known. The hides and pelts of Chungwa wolves command a healthy price on the market both for their vibrant color and for the fact that the wolf is a dangerous predator of the Wastelands.
The bite of a Chungwa is very poisonous, though this poison is rarely fatal in and of itself. The bite area swells and becomes numb, with the numb sensation creeping through the body. Once the numbing reaches the torso, the bite victim is often left weak and unable to move or coordinate their movements. In the wild, the wolf uses the bite to help it hunt, as it has a taste for blood and rarely if ever turns up a chase at a hot, screaming meal. Some alchemists have sought this poison to distill it into a pain killer, though have met only frustration and fleeting promise of success.
The Chungwa wolves descended from Imperial Mastiffs and other canines, many with wolf-like appearances. When the Nightmare War decimated the human population and destroyed most of the infrastructure hundreds of dogs and wolf hybrids were left to fend for themselves. Lacking human intervention and hunting magically tainted prey, those precursor wolves would eventually spawn the orange coated Chungwa wolf that now prowls the Wastelands.
Roleplaying Notes and Plot Hooks
The Chungwa wolf can be easily used along the lines of the genre common Dire Wolf, the main differences being it's anesthetic/paralytic bite, and it's vibrant color. This bite allows them to hunt much larger prey, or prey to strong or fast to overcome by brute force.
Great Orange Hunter - An NPC has since decided to go afield and hunt him some Chungwa wolves, part to add the pelts to his wall, part to add to his prestige as a hunter, and part to secure a few pups to add to his kennels. The PCs are involved in being part of a retinue of a pompus noble, protecting him from wild wolves and other beasts, and then trying to deal with keeping live wild wolf pups under control until they are turned over to kennel masters.
A Taste of Blood - Ever so often, an extraordinary wolf emerges from the pack, growing to two or even five times the size of a normal wolf. This beast of a wolf becomes the focus of multiple packs of Chungwa wolves, and under it's direction, they ravage far from their usual haunts. This superior wolf has greatly enhanced intelligence, though not capable of speech, and can exhibit almost mind control like dominance over other wolves. Insert threatened village, or sorcerous demand for the beast.
The Wolf Whisperer - A druid or shaman has garnered the trust of a chungwa wolf pack and has since been running feral with the beasts. Now, he has turned his sights on civilization, and rather than bring it down into chaos and anarchy of the wild, he wants to move the wolves into the lands of the settled, to displace the common wolves with what he considers superior animals. Conflict arises as these wolves are more dangerous, plus the local druids, rangers and such are not fond of their familiar tiber and brown wolves being replaced by an unnatural predator.
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? Responses (6)
A beast to stay well away from.
It is a well-described upgraded wolf, of which there have been many. I like especially the third plot hook, two concepts of nature reverence clashing together, a story to place close to the naive civilization... good one. :)
I love the visual I get with this creature. I'm curious about the poison. Is it just a result of their "magically tainted prey," or a natural development of physiology like a komodo dragon's bite, or what?
I would say it is a byproduct of magical mutation, so the first choice.
A nice replacement for the standard wolf encounter. As Dozus mentioned, it has a good visual.
Another one for the favourites list I think. I should start making seperate categories now that I'm finding more..