30 April 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Creature 30 - Tavithan

This is the thirtieth 4E Anatomy of a Creature, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

Tavithans were developed with the though of diversifying the fauna in Barsaive with creatures related to existing creatures. Similar to how there's multiple varities of a given thing—each adapted different strategies and developed in an environment. Rather than piling on more and more wacky creatures, building out the ecology some. It also looks like a Blue Ogre, Red Ogre scenario, which isn't the worst since, you know, that's what nature does.


The most prominent physical distinctions between tavithan and their more common relatives, brithans, are their size—tavithans are notably smaller—and their webbed feet. Tavithans are powerful swimmers and can hold their breath for at least 30 minutes. As their name suggests, these creatures live almost exclusively within the swamps of Barsaive, but can rarely be found off of small tributaries.

Their behavior is similar to beavers: they harvest trees with their claws and powerful strength, then fashion them to control the flow of water and construct rudimentary fortifications. This establishes the domain of a tavithan family, or a solitary tavithan in search of a mate. Prior to establishing their permanent family, they travel in groups of only one gender, roaming without having any territory.

Through some unknown impetus, which adepts with Animal Talk have said is a “call”, a tavithan, typically male, establishes a domain to entice another tavithan. If they find it acceptable, they join in the construction, now called “nesting” as the domain rapidly grows more complex and extensive. These domains serve as homes for other creatures either symbiotic, or at least not competitive with tavithans. The behavior of same gender pairing is well known and with fundamentally the same results.

A group of tavithans is dangerous by virtue of their numbers, though back down from any conflict not in their favor. Encounters with a band of tavithan of the same gender generally involve displays of dominance, but rarely any fighting. Encounters of the opposite gender are amicable and may briefly travel together. The “call” is more common after such meetings.

When mated tavithans encounter a threat outside of their domain, they commonly retreat to the safety of their home. However, within their home they enter into a frenzy against any threats and fight until death. If one of the pair dies, the survivor searches for a pair of tavithans of the same gender with a domain, leaving the cubs in their care, after which the survivor throws itself into fights it cannot possibly win until it dies. Tavithans pairs of the same gender search for domains where both parents have died protecting their young to rescue them in much the same fashion, raising them as their own.

Tavithans are suitable as animal companions.

Challenge: Novice (Fourth Circle)
DEX: 7        Initiative:                   7       Unconsciousness:      50
STR: 9         Physical Defense:   10     Death Rating:               60
TOU: 10      Mystic Defense:       12     Wound Threshold:     15
PER: 6         Social Defense:        11      Knockdown:                 13
WIL: 7        Physical Armor:       6       Recovery Tests:           3
CHA: 3       Mystic Armor:           4        
Movement: 12 (Swimming 6)
Actions: 1; Bite: 10 (15), Claws ×2: 11 (14)
Enhanced Sense [Hearing] (2)
Enhanced Sense [Smell] (2)
Frenzy: If the tavithan is attacked in its domain, it fights back savagely, gaining an additional Action and a +4 bonus to Attack and Damage tests.
Fury (2)
Semi-Aquatic: The tavithan can hold its breath for 30 minutes before drowning
Willful (1)
Special Maneuvers:
Grab and Bite (Tavithan, Claws)
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)
Provoke (Opponent, Close Combat)

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