Omen Birds are the harbringers of death and bad things to come. They accompany war/ battle, monsters, pestilance, and disaster. They follow the bringers of such as well as selecting their victims.
Omen Birds are a large black bird with blood red hooked beak, sharp claws, feather crest, and wingtips. Their eyes are red and black. Omen Birds are their own unique Orders, somewhere between Passeriformes (crows/ ravens) and Accipitriformes (Eagles/ Hawks/ Raptors). They exhibit traits of both. They travel in 'plagues' of 20 to 100. While they are effective hunters, they prefer to scavange meals from the kills of others. (Their raptor-esk advantages allowing them to defend their meals from other scavengers). They are quite perceptive and highly intelligent. A Plague will roughly follow an army or militia unit, large carnivores (monsters), and groups of hunters (human or animals). They seem to know these things will provide them carrion. If their scouts find a 'food source' for the given group or creature they are following, such as another army/ bands, villages, or food animals, they will often circle or roost near them, as if they were staking out the future kill. They also seem to be quite aware of the world below them, as they will flock towards areas with less water and food, waiting for the weak to die. Their cunning in this regard is quite marked. It shows a level of intelligence that makes most people uncomfortable.
Every now and again, a plague will sheer off a person from a village or small group, herding them to a place where the plague can take them down undisturbed. It is unclear if they are doing this only for food or beause the plague is bored.
When pressed for food, or when under a certain madness (perhaps signals that only they can sense), a Plague will actually descend on a target or area, attacking and killing for food. It is in this mode that their raptor like abilities come to the fore. Normally they will attack a group of people or animals, but then stop and eat the first kill. Sometimes they will hunt a single individual, and not give up for weeks. (There are tales of people who have hidden indoors for weeks waiting for a Plauge to leave, only to leave months later and be attacked). There are abandoned small villages that were killed off by an Omen Bird Attack.
These animals are strong carriers of mammal disease. Their feces is often so germ filled, that it can infect water source or even cities/ villages/ camps. So the presence of Omen Birds can start diseases and even plagues.
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? Responses (17)-17
Kinslayer, I see these as a Midian animal. They are fantasic, but not excessibely so; they are gloomy and logical. In short, they fit the setting.
Why, thank you, sir.
Would these be any kin to the harbinger birds?
Quote from: 'Death: The Pale Horse'
Some who live in the northeast of the Byzant Empire feel that a harbinger bird that finds its way into someone's home and sings its sad dirge, foretells the death of an inhabitant within a few days. Interestingly, these birds are not harmed they are seen as messengers rather than causes of death and the belief is that killing the bird means the death of everyone in the house. Besides, if two harbinger birds get into the house and sing, then they bring good luck and prosperity.
This is pretty much how I envisioned the harbingers, lacking only the large-flock aggressive behaviour.
I didn't remember those from the book. A pity. Well mine are still good in other games as well.
Very cool birds. These would make great familiars or bond beasts.
Pretty standard vulture-type birds for most purposes, but I like the description. I really like the idea of using the feces spreadign disease in a campaign. That could be a fun adventure for players to try to figure out.
Vulture like? These are raptors my friends. They are very effective hunters. Plagues of them have been known to kill everyone in a village. Ever seen 'The Birds'? Now imagine hawks and eagles instead of seagulls.
They, like hawks, realize that scavenging food is much more efficient. So like hawks who hang out around busy roads to snatch up any roadkill (hawks being the only birds fast enough to fly between cars) these birds will follow armies, bandit bands, and assassins, because they know they will kill more things... thus create more food.
Not the kind of bird to throw stones at.
Subtle and morbid. I like them!
These are like the avian versions of the Hounds of Ill Omen. Me'likes!
A handy critter to think of when Hallowe'en rolls around. If I get a horror-themed game going next month, my players may discover what omen birds are capable of.
As harbingers of death, there is a possible supernatural element that can be played up: What would cause a flock of these birds to obsessively hunt a particular individual or village? That sounds like a curse to me! While we might look for naturalistic explanations, our less scientific ancestors would see this as the darkest of witchcraft.
Actually that would be a great curse, to be haunted by Omen Birds. It might start with one, but these are pack hunters. When there is one, there is a plague of them.
Perhaps these critters, like Cats, can see into the Asteral (able to see spirits and magic). Thus they can be drawn to certain being easily by the spirits/ spells around them.. or they notice 'signs of destiny' in the astreal and attack those.
Well Moon, my original thoughts on this went something along the lines of 'shades of Alfred Hitchcook', but you kinda stole my fire by mentioning 'The Birds'
All the same I find this truly atmospheric, with a wonderfully morbid streak
Great work Moon well up to your normal standard
4/5 I think
Thank you Kinslayer. Nice to have you back. And good to see you active on the net again.
All has been said so far. Nicely done.
I like the idea behind the things, especially the whole "attacking in large swarms" idea. I thought of a new scenario for this:
In a far-off nation, peace has overtaken the land, and the military has grown lax in its prowess. Many different adventurers travel this land, from mages to barbarians, and the main characters, who do not know each other at all, are no exception, having visited for a brief rest from their harrowing travels. However, all is not well, for when night falls on this small country, an Omen Bird plague of gigantic proportions swoops down on the kingdom, ripping the entire area apart in a frenzy of desperate bloodlust (note: if you come across one character, a monk who has dedicated his life to studying these birds, he will tell you that the only reason this has happened is that dozens of smaller plagues have been driven together by a lack of food in their natural habitat and have started working together to gain food. Unfortunately, one of your characters will need to understand Sign Language to get the message, as the poor old man is mute, as his tongue was ripped out by a Omen Bird decades ago during a tragic accident)! Chaos reigns as people across the kingdom desperately try to find refuge from the plague. Many hide in private residences, thinking that the birds will leave after realizing that they can't get inside- however, those inside soon realize as well that perhaps they should have bought more than a weeks' supply of food at the market yesterday.... Especially when they notice that the folks barricaded in across that street got eaten alive when they stepped outside for a supply run. The heroes, who at one time didn't even realize that the others existed, now find themselves thrust into the limelight: as edventurers and fighters of some renown, stranded in a doomed country famed for its peaceful nature, the citizens of the nation are counting on them not just to drive off the Omen Birds, but to find the culprit responsible for depriving them of their regular food-source.
Take everything you just said about that scenario, expand on it slightly, and make it into a plot submission.