23 July 2013

Earthdawn: Anatomy of a Creature 02 - Delaris Earth Q'wril

This is the second Anatomy of a Creature in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.

When creating new creatures, my general preference is to take a pre-existing creature and create a new variety of it, rather than crafting something brand new. While I'm not normally a major proponent of verisimilitude in my game, this is one area that I like it. It shows how creatures have adapted to various areas, been changed by the Scourge, or even possibly purpose bred. Also, it is a nod to the old video game RPGs where you would encounter the same enemies with a different name and palette swap throughout your adventure. This is another example of that. The fact that I made some fun trophies has nothing to do with this creature's existence.

Earth q'wril have spread over Barsaive and are generally regarded as a non-threatening nuisance. Those in the Delaris Mountains are a different story entirely. They are significantly larger than their brethren, roughly on par with a medium-sized dog, with a thicker hide and calcification over their vital areas. Additionally, their social structure is more complex and will move and act together much like a school of fish, or a swarm of insects.

They still feed on the roots of vegetation, but are also known to supplement their diet with protein. To accomplish this, they work as a group to lay traps for larger prey by burrowing a pit just beneath the surface. After their prey falls in, they may launch attacks through the walls, or simply bury their quarry and allow them to suffocate.

Despite their apparent ferocity, when threatened they will quickly retreat. It is unpredictable how they will act next, at times leaving their meal alone, others continuing to harass it until it is in a suitably weakened state. If given no alternative, they will fight to the death, particularly to protect their young, but in general prefer to retreat.

Their favored target is the cave crab, which their beaks allow to easily penetrate the shell. While uniquely capable of hunting cave crabs, and eager to do so, they are only willing to consume the flesh as a last resort. This has led to speculation among dwarf scholars that the Delaris earth q'wril was an abandoned (or not) project by a great dragon to aid them in hunting their favorite meal. 

DEX: 8   STR: 6   TOU: 6   PER: 6   WIL: 7   CHA: 6

Initiative: 8
Actions:  1
Attack (4): 12
Damage:
Bite (5): 11 (see text)

Physical Defense: 11
Spell Defense: 7
Social Defense: 9
Physical Armor: 8
Mystic Armor: 3

Death: 56
Unconsciousness: 48
Wound Threshold: 10
Recovery Tests: 3
Knockdown: 8
Movement: 7/6*
* The second value is the creatures burrowing Movement Rate

Powers: Durability (3), Locate Target (6) 12, Silent Walk (2) 10, Surprise Strike (3) 14

Loot: Triangular beak worth 25 silver pieces (worth Legend Points)

Legend Award: Fourth Circle

Rules: All standard earth q'wril rules apply (refer to Gamemaster's Guide, pg. 167).