The Ghar

An example of Bestia Khrok Ghar, or Ghar in common.

The Khrok sub species known as the Ghar originate from the mangroves and tree lined rivers of the Haanjagala. 

Khrok are patient hunters, waiting for hours underwater for their prey. They favour hooked weapons which they can use to snag fishermen and beasts and then drag them into the water, often in a rolling motion using their mass to create tearing torsion on their prey as they go under, tearing muscle and breaking bone with the force. Many a villager has had to watch the mangled remains of a prize animal or a loved one being dragged from a muddy river by one of these beasts, as it slinks off to eat its prize. 

Khrok live in tight knit groups ranging over a large territory. They are a matriarchal society that venerates the oldest of their kind. The eldest female leads, both domestically and militarily. They also perform a shamanistic role in their society, interpreting the will of the gods and wielding magic granted to them. The average Khrok is a challenge to deal with, a Khrok Matriarch is a terrifying prospect due to their ferocity, cunning, patience and primal magic. The older a Khrok gets, the larger it gets. Thankfully for most the average Khrok is only a little taller than most men. But there are a few in each group that grow to gigantic sizes, easily able to take on Trolls, Ogres and the largest Orruks with ease. 

All Khrok have thick scaly skin covering incredibly dense muscle and iron like bones. They easily shrug off damage that other bestials would consider fatal. They can quite comfortably tear a man’s arm off with little effort, or grab him with their jaws and thrash them around till they stop moving. 

The Ghar as a sub-species have adapted trimmer snouts so they can root out fish and certain types of eels that nest in the mangroves and river banks of the Haanjagala, using them for rituals during gatherings, to create personal ungents to be imbibed, or as offerings. Their narrower snouts are also less noticeable when coming up for air during a hunt, whereas their relatives with broader snouts can be quite apparent in the water.

Thankfully it is very rare for Khrok to gather and go raiding or make all out war. This only happens if a major trespass has been made against them or if the signs have been interpreted as favourable in the extreme, often focused on a singular goal, be it a person, a place, or an item. 

The Ghar’s matriarchs tend to offer up far more balanced interpretations of the gods will compared to the bellicose ones of their relatives living in the dry seasonal wadis and rivers of Ilshana’s western deserts, or the esoteric and unfathomable ones of their kin in Ilshana’s south western jungles. 

My advice to travellers in the Haanjagala and Ilshana; Beware the glistening eyes on the rivers and banks at night. They may searching for something larger than fish to get their teeth into while out for a swim….

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

Malphus Seir, The Pale King, Lord of Kul Zhahiir

The Pale King sits amongst Yss’s fel pantheon, each an embodiment of chaos in one form or another. One of two orbiting avatars of chaos undivided, The Pale King and The Beast take a central position in the pantheon of the avatars. They each represent the raw nature of chaos, neither favouring one aspect of its quintessence nor the gods formed and nourished by it.

The Pale King’s legend rose at the end of the Age of Chaos, when malevolent minds sundered one of the realmgates and a horde of untold horrors swept through Yss wiping out civilisations and driving the primitive mortal tribes into desperate acts of survival and heroism. The first tale linked to him recounts the end days of the fel forces rampage. During this time the tribes of men and the remnants of Yss’s other people managed to hold the line against the hordes. Relief came from unexpected quarters, it was during this period that the first Orruks arrived in Yss. It is believed that they pursued the horde through the diminishing gateway and set about them with relish, breaking the back of the invasion and nearly annihilating each other.

The native tribes that had sundered the realmgate had run rampant across the land they coveted tearing down the idols and infrastructure of interlopers sent to “enlighten” them and the rest of Yss. Within this broken kingdom The Pale King rose from amongst the ash and blood and led his followers into battle against the tribes that were carving up the kingdom. Within a scant few years he had driven them all into another coalition, one where they sought to end his ceaseless persecution of their tribes. They chose to draw him to bloodied ground, the site they had shattered the first army of the interlopers. Unfortunately for them he was quite well prepared. He had turned many of the rampaging beasts unleashed by the gates sundering to his will, either through mystic means or through lash and chain. They rampaged through the tribal horde gutting the heart of their defenses while he and his followers waded in and cut down their kings, chiefs and shamans. By the end the beasts tired and wandered away from the battlefield, their purpose served and their appetites satiated. The Pale King rounded up the surviving tribesmen and had them all executed and disposed of. This was the first step on his apothesis to the creature described in the modern accounts.

Like so many of the fel horde that resided within the desolation we know as the Sundered Wastes, The Pale King carved out a new kingdom and built a home for himself and his followers, Kul Zhahiir. Few descriptions exist, but those that do talk of jagged obsidian towers, a pit of darkness, and a vast impossible fortress suspended above it. We know more of his deeds across Yss than we do the nest in which he resides.

The Pale Kings Seal

The Pale King carries an ancient shield along with his favoured weapon, Scourge. This spear is noted down as being in his possession from the earliest accounts, along with his shield. However their description has changed with each account over the millenia. Scourge has changed the most, from an average but sturdy spear into an object of profane power. Its original steel long gone, replaced with what the fel tribes call Blackstone and we call Wyrdstone, Witchstone or Warpstone. Those killed by it are turned to ash or rot away immediately, and those that are merely wounded can suffer all manner of fates, from persistent searing pain, sudden virulent infections, maddening blood poisoning, to rapid mutation and disfigurement. Even when The Pale King is banished and his army broken, Scourge and his shield always make their way back to Kul Zhahiir and into his clutches.

The name Malphus Seir is the earliest name that any scholar can associate with The Pale King, a name he gave to a foolish amateur mage dabbling with shards of Witchstone in a folk tale from the Al’Arkan region. Since then there have been variations of this name in numerous tales of his deeds. But it is unlikely this is his true name, for knowing a demonic entities true name gives you power over them, and none would be foolish enough to openly offer it. Who he truly is and was is lost to time, and only a mad man would try and dig that deep.

Excerpt taken from “A Compiled Grimoire of The Fel, The Demonic, and the Heretic” by Marus Von Helmar, Witch Hunter”

The Koga

An example of Bestia Chelona Koga, or Koga in common.

The Koga are related to the forest dwelling Holzkröte of the Grunvale and the Sangon of Ilshana. These hard shelled amphibious bestials inhabit the exotic lands to the west, from the muddy rivers that nourish the Haanjagala and its mangroves, to the crisp clean streams and rivers of the Shénmì Isles. 

Koga to the layman would appear to live in isolation, however they actually live in large herds spread out over an exceptionally large area. They dig hollows out beneath trees and under river banks and line them with treasures and the carefully preserved skulls of their prey. The Koga’s predatory habits shift seasonally. In winter they hunt alone, grabbing whatever food they can, from passing wildlife, pets from nearby villages, or lost travellers. In the spring they gather together and ravage isolated communities, taking anything and everything they can. They are particularly fond of shiny objects, particularly gems, silver, and gold. They will often roughly hammer bits of precious metals and gems into items they have scavenged to wage war with. Nobody is entirely sure why, it may be a display of power and their prowess as a raider, or maybe they just enjoy them for aesthetic reasons. 

Koga vary in colour between the Haanjagala and the Shénmì Isles. The Koga of the Haanjagala and it’s mangroves have flesh in shades of green and brown, with deep brown and black shells. While the Koga of the Shénmì Isles have a more etheric quality, many being albinos from their flesh to their shells. Some have shells with pearlescent qualities, while some have shells bearing patterns that look like they are made of pure silver. Beyond the albino Koga some have other pale hues, light yellows, purples and pinks.  

Koga are challenging opponents, being far swifter and agile that one would expect. Couple this with their natural defense and they pose quite a threat to an unprepared combatant. The best chance of taking one down in combat is to cripple their legs and dispatch them while they are on the ground. Otherwise I would suggest a sturdy crossbow or handgun, as their shells are easily pierced by the force of the projectiles. Keeping them at range is always preferable to a close encounter…….  

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Hircyne

An example of Bestia Caprigor Hircynus, or Hircyne in common.

The Hircyne along with Baran and the Stier, are the most widespread and most common bestial forms across Yss. The Hircyne share features with domesticated goats, and have a wide range of colouration and forms, dependent on location and climate.  

Belligerent and stubborn, Hircyne are a significant threat to any that might encounter them. Unlike the Baran, the Hircyne find no issue eating bones, tendon and anything else their prey may be wearing. There are many examples of deceased Hircyne specimens with buttons, buckles, coins and other such detritus in their stomachs, and showing no ill effects such as inflammation or ulcers.  

Hircyne, Baran and Stier can often be found in mixed herds, though it is not unheard of for them to live in groups made up exclusively of their own kind. One common trait amongst these groups is their pride in their horns and their disdain of those without. They treat hornless bestials as lesser than their ungor kin, even if the bestial is equal or greater in the natural order (Though they will keep such notions to themselves if the creature is far larger than them). They will only work with other bestials if they see a significant threat or if an alpha forces them to accept the arrangement, often with a few examples made of any with dissenting opinions.

The modus operandi of the Hircyne, Baran and Stier is well covered by numerous tales, personal accounts and historical treatise. For their actions are innumerable and horrifying. No corner of Yss has remained untouched by their kind, the tales from Esel and the Grunvale as a whole would fill volumes on their own. No man, duardin or aelve alive has not heard of their vile actions, nor unacquainted with their foul visage.    

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Feuergeist

An example of Bestia Feuergis, the Feuergeist in common.

The Feuergeist reside across Yss, lurking in damp cave systems and secret hollows in swamps and marshlands, and many found in the sewers and waterways of Yss’s larger towns and cities. These vicious man eaters are true horrors, stalking abroad at night to snatch away victims to consume, children and young women being their preferred choice. These creatures are perfectly adapted for nocturnal hunting, they appear to have perfect night vision, and their dark oily skin acting as near perfect camouflage in the shadows of their preferred hunting grounds.

While vicious when hunting, they are far more terrifying when defending their homes, becoming frenzied and inured to pain. They will lurk in the darkest shadows of their homes, stalking the interloper before striking with claw and blade to tear out the victims throat or dismember them alive. The entrances to their homes are often littered with the remains of unwanted guests, from wandering adventurers to wild beasts. 

Fully capable of killing with just their claws, Feuergeist are always found carrying a blade made from bone with crude symbols carved into the handles, over which they wrap dried intestine tightly. It is theorised that these daggers have not only a practical use, but a religious one to the Feuergeist. Possibly that the act of the kill and the consumption of the flesh is viewed as an offering to their fel deity (Or deities) and an act oneness with them?

Beyond their daggers they will fashion larger weapons from other skeletal remains. A common one being an assemblage of bone that they strap to their forearm as you would a shield, but with a variety of teeth and horns protruding from it so it can be used offensively. It is quite effective at close quarters, particularly in the narrow confines of their homes. They will often reuse helmets and other light pieces of armour if they feel their prey may pose a heightened threat to them and their kin.

Feuergeist are often hunted despite their fierceness, as many that dabble in magic and shamanic rituals, both noble and fel, wish to procure certain glands and the pelts for various rituals. One of the most common is a concoction made from a gland in the base of the creatures skull. This gland is believed to be the source of the Feuergeists heightened abilities when defending its home. When consumed a warrior gains the same ability for a while, becoming frenzied in combat, gaining increased strength and ignoring pain that would disable a normal man. Though this isn’t without risk, many die from their injuries, while others simply keel over and die post battle due to being overwhelmed by the concoction. But those that survive their first use seem to gain a measure of resistance to the negative effects of the concoction, becoming more focussed and aware, and a tempering of their fury when used again.

While I believe that, as with all bestials, that the Feuergeist should be dealt with in an unwavering fashion, I believe that those hunting them to procure ritual items are needlessly provoking these creatures as attacks increase four fold after successful hunts. Their greed and lust for martial recognition comes with a high cost to the innocent.         

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Morsa

An example of Bestia Morsavum, the Morsa in common.

The Morsa are widely spread across Yss, lurking wherever there are high vantage points that they can use to ambush their prey. Individually Morsa are easily intimidated and driven off, but bold when in numbers. A pack of Morsa will spend days or weeks surveilling their prey and the surrounding area, plotting and planning their strike with precision, and accessing their targets strength. During that time they will engage in terror tactics to put their prey on edge, most commonly using their throat sacks to create a terrifying cacophony during the night to prevent their quarry from sleeping and keeping them on edge. These displays are also used to convey information to and from the individual members of the pack, as each Morsa have their own tone. 

Once everything is in place the pack moves in one decisive strike. Each member gliding from their positions down onto their prey in the night, slashing with crude blades and their razor sharp black claws in a vicious frenzied attack. Should the ambush go well the pack will pick clean the corpses and pillage anything they desire and then return to their nests up in the heights. Should it start going wrong the pack will scatter and flee on foot at speed. 

Morsa are not particularly graceful, their bodies are heavy and their winged arms are not designed for true flight, hence them gliding down to their prey and fleeing on foot. In combat they are rather clumsy and brutish. They tend to lash out with blades and claws at anything that is in range, simply hoping that the fury of their attacks will breach an opponent’s defences. If the Morsa terror tactics have worked, their prey is often tired, irrational and confused; which often leads to this frenzied attack leaving them a bloody mess ripe for the picking.    

My only advice to travellers venturing through the darkest woods and perilous mountain passes of Yss is to move quickly and keep an eye on what’s above you, and to seek safety if you hear that terrible noise in the dark. 

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Buru

An example of Bestia Babirusa, the Babirou or Buru amongst the people of Ilshana.

The Buru is a particularly resilient bestial form, capable of receiving grievous injuries and infections and carrying on regardless. Their hides are tough and their muscles dense, they are a stocky but quick creature, though with a short sprint over a protracted pursuit. 

They reside in the wadi’s and river deltas of Ilshana, along with sub groups living in the jungles and savannahs, often in close proximity to tribes of Kheranox. Naturally this leads to conflict as the Kheranox believe themselves to be the rightful inheritors of Ilshana, and the Buru simply so stubborn that they will challenge any that think they have authority over them or their land, which is often whichever area they have deemed theirs.

Buru have a particular appreciation for the flesh of humans, taking great delight in impromptu feasts made from isolated travellers and villages. Their level of joy at eating humans exceeds the usual depravity seen amongst other bestials, specifically seeking them out to gorge on them. While contented to eat meat from other sources, they will always pick sweet human flesh over other sources. 

Buru prefer to use hammers, clubs and maces against their prey, as they tenderise meat and crack the bones in one fell swing. Armour is often simple, scraps of leather, scavenged shields, and on the rare occasion metal armour. It’s considered quite a statement to wear and scraps of metal armour, as it means you had to put in some form of effort to get to your meal out of it’s hard shell, or you killed the fellow tribesman that did, which naturally means you were superior to them.  

The Buru share many physiological and societal traits with the Ebermann in the eastern regions around the Grunvale, and the Engalt of the frigid north, which leads me to believe they all originated from one source stock far back in the first ages of Yss. 

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”