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Author Topic: Karchan - Horse Bane  (Read 1711 times)
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Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715

« on: March 30, 2010, 04:50:55 AM »

After writing up some fairly powerful monsters, I decided to do something low level and simple - the Karchan.  Believe it or not writing up low level creatures is more difficult then the big dangerous ones. I'm on vacation next week, so there won't be an update next Tuesday.  On the good news side, I have five more pretty much complete.  From the beginning, I've had a goal and a theme for the creature write ups.  The goal should be fairly easy to figure out, but the theme is a bit tricky.  I've made one mistake on meeting my goal, but it wasn't a fatal one.  Guesses?


Karchan, the Horse Bane

We thought we’d gotten safely away after we cut down that legate and his mercenaries, but we hadn’t accounted for his demon. It toyed with us for two days forcing the birds and vermin to attack us again and again. We had no rest; snakes would enter our campsites and attack anyone who tried to sleep. Even after building a ring of fire around the camp we still weren’t safe, as animals threw themselves on or through the flames to attack us. We lost more men to the demon then we did attacking the legate and his guards.

The demon was driving us south and west, away from any settlement or outpost that I knew of. I couldn’t understand what it was doing as this area was free of the Shadow’s taint. It was an arid wasteland that even the free riders avoided. Tired and increasingly desperate, the double handful of us who survived were almost falling from our saddles.  The horses weren’t much better.  We had to change mounts every few hours and they were still getting weaker and weaker.

Toward twilight on the third day, we entered a region riddled with long dry stream beds and low canyons. That’s when we heard the first howls. They echoed through the canyons, seeming to come from all sides.  The horses bent back their ears and started to pull at their bridles. Panic was setting in, I was barely able to control my mount as I saw the shapes rise up out of the scrub grass. There were dozens of them, crude parodies of wolves, with horns along the top of their heads and savage distended lower jaws. 

The sight of the beasts, their yelps, and their awful scent drove the horses mad. We had to cut the spare mounts loose and they scattered with half of the beasts eagerly chasing after them.  The rest, led by a particularly massive beast with glowing eyes, came directly for us. I knew we couldn’t control the horses for much longer, so I yelled for everyone to dismount.  I hit the ground hard and the master of the pack was almost on top of me before I got my sword out. I hurt it badly on its first pass and it backed away seeming to watch with amusement as the rest of its pack slaughtered the remaining horses and several of my men.

At the end there were only seven us with over a dozen of the beasts dead or dying around us.  Only the master of the hunt, the massive pack leader remained.  Our horses were dead or so far scattered that we would never recapture them. The beast had an unnatural intelligence; I could sense the demon behind its eyes. Satisfied with the carnage it had created and knowing that we were wounded and on foot in the middle of the wasteland, it turned and slowly walked back into the canyons.

The demon never bothered us again.  It had had its fun and punished us sufficiently. Eleven of my men were dead. The carcasses of forty horses were left to the scavengers and we were forced to leave most of our gear with them.  Now more then an arc later, I believe that we were lucky.  The demon expected us to die slowly of thirst and exposure. If that hunting party hadn’t found us, all that would’ve been left is our bones.

Karchan, the Horse Bane
Medium Animal
HD: 4D8 +12 (30 hp)
Init: +2
Speed: 40 ft.
AC: 16 (+2 dex, +4 natural), touch 12, flat footed 14
Base Attack: +4
Full Attack: Gore +5 melee (1d8+3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Stench
Special Qualities: Horse Bane, Low-light vision, Scent
Saves: Fort: +6, Ref +4, Will +2
Abilities: Str: 17, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 8, Cha 4
Skills: Hide +2, Listen +8, Move Silently +2, Spot +6
Feats: Alertness, Improved Natural Attack (Gore), Weapon Focus (Gore)
Environment: Southern Eredane
Organization: Solitary, Pair, or Pack (6-24)
Challenge rating: 3
Alignment: Neutral
Advancement: 5-8 HD (large)

Your horses start to panic as a pack of squat, hairless beasts with large horns and distended jaws charge at you through the tall grass.

The Karchan are survivors from the Age of Years.  They are primitive pack hunters that ruled the plains at the start of the First Age. With few natural enemies, they were able to compete with the more advanced and efficient hunters like the wogren and large cats.  The large number of Karshan wee a plague to the Dorn and especially the Sarcosans.
The Karshans developed a taste for horseflesh and their stench and gore attack provided very useful as they attacked the Sarcosan herds.

During the later Second Age and throughout the Third Age, the Karchan were hunted almost to extinction, surviving in only most isolated areas of Eredane.  With the collapse of the Kingdom of Erenland, their numbers have grown dramatically. The Karchan have taken to attacking isolated farms and smaller herds of horses. Some legates, especially in areas where the free riders are activate use the Karchan as a host for the astirax.

Combat: The Karchan are primitve hunters who rely on numbers and the fear they can create with their stench. Cooperation in a hunt between pack members is almost non-existent.  Once one of their prey is down, multiple pack members will stop to feed rather then hunting down more prey. The Karchan will also fight amongst themselves for meat even when other prey is readily at hand. They are easily distracted, but ferocious in combat, fighting to the death.

Before combat they will try to use natural cover to get close to their prey, staying downwind if possible.  They’ll use their stench to cause animals to panic, trying to separate the weak from a herd. If attacking humans, they’ll try to drive off or destroy the horses first.  If the humans leave their horses behind, the Karchan will normally allow he humans to flee, preferring to feast on the freshly killed horses.

Horse Bane (Ex): The sight or smell of a Karchan causes fear in all horses (DC 16 Will save).  Trained warhorses gain +4 to their Will save. Even if the save is made, the horse is -1 to hit and damage against their hated foes. The Karchan, in their desire to gorge on horseflesh, receive a +2 to hit and an additional 1d6 damage when attacking horses.

Stench (Ex): The Karchan can excrete a musk that cause fear in natural animals.  All animals must make a DC 15 Will save or be panicked until it can no longer smell the musk and makes a successful Will save. Humans find the smell nauseating and must make a a DC 12 Fort save or be sickened for 2 rounds.

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