Even gods need practice. When the makers of universe decided to create Elves, their first attempt failed. Thus, the Neanderthelf was born. Void of the grace that define their more common cousins, the Neanderthelf is a cruel and ignorant race. While Neanderthelves share many of the physical qualities of Elves, including their long lives, their brutal nature has stunted their growth as people. They build no grand cities and know nothing of magic. They live in nomadic tribes where might makes right and the most common way to end an argument is a split skull.
Most cities take great pride in arena combat, but few follow the ancient tradition of bullfighting. These battles once pitted expert fighters against prized bulls in fights to the death – all to the cheers of a massive audience.
That all changed upon the discovery of sentient animals. Suddenly the general public became repulsed with the idea of bullfighting, opting to follow other forms of entertainment instead. In a last-ditch effort to save their businesses, some arenas hired necromancers to reanimate and empower bull corpses. This side-stepped any pesky ethical problems while creating a brand-new market for arena combat.
Outside of a few occasions where the undead have escaped their pens, the move has been fairly successful. Many patrons take great pride in “grooming” their bulls to be both effective and theatrical in combat, adding bone armor or arcane symbols for visual effect.
And when a fan-favorite bull such as Zomb the Unholy is killed? There are usually enough profits to make resurrecting the beast a mere inconvenience. After all, what’s the problem with killing animals for entertainment when they’re already dead?
Don’t bother answering if you’re a Lawful Good Cleric. Nobody cares what you think.
Do you want a miniature of this Beastie? Well, this Annis artwork is provided by the folks at ArcKnight, who produce Flat Plastic Miniatures and other RPG supplements. You’ll get one if you order ArcKnight’s Ancient Evils set!
Of all the monsters across all the realms and all the planes, tarrasques are easily the most dangerous. These massive beings are vicious, deadly, and surprisingly resistant to magical spells which normally protect the communities in their path. When just one emerges from the bowels of the earth, entire cities will be lost as countless adventurers sacrifice themselves to halt its progress.
And yet, even the most powerful of tarrasques once began life as an innocent hatchling.
A mature tarrasque can lay a single dwarf-sized egg every 500 years, although mating pairs are uncommon. When an egg is laid, it gestates for six months before hatching, usually with the assistance of its mother or another helpful creature.
The hatchling always imprints on the first creature it sees, trusting its “parent” to feed and protect it in an uncertain world. If the creature it bonds with is not an adult tarrasque, the hatchling will still become a lifelong companion to it and treat any trusted allies like its own family. While the hatchling’s first attempts at combat are enthusiastically clumsy, it will eventually grow into a powerful being in its own right.
Which is a problem. The typical adventurer’s life is short and brutal. Even an elf who retires from questing will reach an advanced age at 750 years, fabled rumors of immortality to the contrary. Tarrasques, meanwhile, live for millennia. There has never been a recorded case of such a creature dying of natural causes. So eventually, the tarrasque hatchling will lose its imprinted parent. And when that happens, it will start to lash out at creatures around it.
Most of the civilized world views tarrasques as monsters. But the tragic reality is every single tarrasque is vicious because it is grieving the loss of its mother.
Many who see the Coccihemoth for the first time underestimate it thanks to its resemblance to the humble ladybug. Those foolish enough to approach, however, often learn a swift lesson about the deadly nature of this giant insect.
Though lumbering and clumsy, the Coccihemoth is a powerful creature with an insatiable appetite. Able to emit a foul smell when threatened, it’s been known to devour entire adventuring parties; pulling them into its gullet one by one as they choke on the stench of tainted air.
Before humans, dwarves, or even elves existed, the behemoths walked the material plane. Widely considered one of the first beings shaped by the gods, behemoths were so mighty they unintentionally threatened the other races intended to populate creation. With no mortal force capable of taming them, the gods stepped in directly to capture the beasts and take them to celestial realms where they could serve another purpose.
Yet the presence of behemoths has not been forgotten. Every few millenia someone will claim to have seen a behemoth the gods missed in their initial sweep. Even more concerning are the beasts who seem to have escaped from celestial planes, still wearing the harnesses forged by the gods to control their actions.
Behemoths are massive but solitary creatures, typically driven into a rage at the mere sight of another creature in their territory. While they are strict herbivores, sentient beings give them a wide berth – behemoths will often swallow other creatures, damage them with acid from one of their stomachs, and vomit them out in an effort to disorient them. A behemoth left to itself might eat an entire forest or drink up a lake, but allowing that is safer than confronting one in combat.
Or at least it was. Some “divine behemoths” who escaped their masters still wear their celestial harnesses. If a mortal could take hold of this harness, they would become master of a force many in the material plane have barely seen. Of course, behemoths are loathe to let anyone close to them, let alone allow a humanoid to crawl along their fur…
Do you want a miniature of this Beastie? Well, this Annis artwork is provided by the folks at ArcKnight, who produce Flat Plastic Miniatures and other RPG supplements. You’ll get one if you order ArcKnight’s Legendaries set!
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Easily identified by its hard external skull cap, the Hammerhead Naga is a deadly reptile that uses its predominant physical feature as a weapon to bash its opponents into submission. The true threat however, lies not on its head but in its mouth. Deadly venom drips from its fangs. Those unfortunate enough to meet the inside of its maw will be the recipients of a terrible and searing pain.
A tree-like creature similar in semblance to a pineapple palm tree, the Poison Pineapple starts off as a small and mobile plant. When it matures, it finds a river or stream to put down roots and serve as its permanent feeding ground.
Once it’s rooted it leaks an acidic nectar that taints the waters. Once the river’s sufficiently murderous, the Poison Pineapple will suck the waters back in, consuming the carcasses of the creatures that died in its soup.
Though it only happens once every few years, the Poison Pineapple will sometimes grow seedlings. If they survive the drop to the ground they’ll hatch into new Poison Pineapples. They’re also lethally toxic, as many unfortunate souls have discovered when trying to take a bite from the tree’s “fruit.”