The Raspel

An example of Bestia Raspestis Caerban, Raspel in Deiran and common, Caerban in Old Nythric.

Raspel are another widespread bestial species seen across Yss. However some of the largest populations can be found amongst the hills of Deira and Nyth Mor. These vile pests nest in vast labyrinthine warren systems carved into hillsides. Anywhere between twenty to thirty Raspel will occupy an average warren, but it’s not unheard of for multiple joined warren systems to house up to a hundred of them. 

Physically an individual Raspel is of little concern for most people, their only real advantage being speed over short distances. Beyond this that are individually quite cowardly when confronted. However in larger numbers they can be quite a challenge to deal with. They quite quickly become frenzied and are emboldened to act in a vastly different manner to when they are on their own. 

The Raspel are generally a pest to rural communities, often stealing crops and trinkets from farmsteads. But Raspel on the hunt are anything but a minor pest. A pack of Raspel area real threat to isolated farms and villages. They will terrorize the inhabitants at dusk, creating all manner of noise and din beyond the reach of ranged arms in order to rattle their prey. Then once the sun has set they venture into the village or the farmstead, ransacking anything they can get into and dragging away whatever they can pilfer. Most villagers and farmers will lock themselves away in their homes and hope that is all they want. 

Unfortunately they often spend this time trying to find an entry point into the homes and searching for a weak target to drag back to the warren. They have a particular predilection for stealing away babies and young children, often by distracting the rest of the family while one or more of them makes entry into the home to secure their prize. Their probing and planning usually occurs over a number of nights till they either achieve their goal or realise their targets are too challenging. At this point they will melt away and either wait for another opportunity a few weeks later, or simply trek to another location rich in possibilities.

Total eradication of these pests is the only way to ensure an area isn’t plagued by them again. Because if only a couple of them escape and survive, the problem can quickly return after a few seasons.   

~ 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 Blutvolk

An example of Bestia Blutvolk, the Blutvolk in common.

The Blutvolk can be found across Yss in many colourings and ranging in size from the height of an average man, to towering monstrosities capable of tearing a house down. Blutvolk are highly territorial, hunting over a vast range that they have marked. Initially Blutvolk can be found in tight knit packs, but the more success they have, the larger they grow, with pack leaders growing to prodigieous sizes and becoming more far aggressive. This often leads to  internal conflict as the lead Blutvolk eliminates challengers and culls weak blood, and it’s not unheard of for them to simply slaughter their whole pack in a rage leaving them as the undisputed master of their territory. In this state the Blutvolk is most problematic, as they fear little and will attack anything and everything within their territory. Villages and towns, travelling caravans of merchants and seasoned soldiers, all learn to fear the lone Blutvolk, as left unchecked the creature will simply carry on reaping the rewards of being the lone apex predator. Those left for a decade or two are taller than a man on horseback, and easily capable of tearing the mounts head clean off with little effort. When they have reached this size it takes a concerted effort to hunt and eliminate, as the lesser arms that most militias and rural hunting parties are equipped with are of little concern to such a beast.

Yss have many tales and myths involving Blutvolk, many detailing heroic hunters slaying the rampaging beast after it had ravaged the land and consumed a number of men, women, and children. One contemporary story within the Grunvale details the tale of a lone Forrester slaying the beast that wiped out his village and family, having stalked the beast for months he finally cornered it and split the creatures head in two after a gruelling blood soaked duel. 

Another mythological tale comes from Cathairs distant past detailing the Vargenskung, or the King of Wolves. It details a Blutvolk of mountainous size, as tall as the pines that litter Cathairs hills and mountains, a beast capable of swallowing a man whole, armour and all. The whole of Cathair was its territory, as less would never satiate its hunger. Every creature in Cathair feared it, as nowhere was safe. Eventually the ancient tribes of Cathair banded together and sought allies capable of assisting them. From the mountains came a band of Fyreslayers relishing the chance to kill such a beast, particularly when such a large bounty had been offered. The battle was long and bloody, as these things usually are, and only ended when the woodland spirits themselves chose to attack those defiling their forest. The beast was eventually slain by an enraged treelord thrusting a felled pine through its chest like a spear. The Fyreslayers chose to fight against the spirits as they distrusted such creatures, while the tribesmen knew that laying down their arms would appease them and show they meant no harm to them. The tribeman walked out of the forest, but not a single Fyreslayer. Their fury and pride led them to a pointless end.

There are, as I have mentioned a great many variations of the Blutvolk across Yss, and with a staggering number of local names for this creature, far too many to list here in their entirety. But they all share the same lupine features, from Nyth Mor to the Shénmì Isles. Some may have smoother coats and alternate patternation, but they all share the same behavior patterns. Their actively predatory nature makes them a priority for eradication, because a pack left to their own devices can quickly become tomorrow’s nigh unstoppable rampaging beast.                                                                                                                     

~ 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 Ursek

An example of Bestia Ursek, the Ursek in Deiran, the Orzek in Arturan.

Native to the northern reaches of the Grunvale and beyond, the Ursek has a particularly fearsome reputation. The Ursek are often found roaming mountain passes and the darkest parts of ancient forests in relative solitude, only gathering in numbers when the need arises. These creatures are a mass of muscle and dense layers of body fat, which combined with their unnaturally rugged hide, affords them a great deal of resilience to to the average blade and spear. To stumble across the site of an Ursek attack is a sight of pure horror. Corpses torn apart, rib cages crushed and opened up like potted meat, limbs and innards strewn around while smashed and gnawed heads sit atop twisted necks. Little can stop one of these creatures when they attack, and nigh on impossible to stop if they are enraged.

The heavily wooded and mountainous areas of northwestern Deira,The Kingdom of Arthtir and the Cantons of Cathair play host to sizable numbers of Ursek and their smaller cousins the Urczarn, with Arthtir having a long standing tradition of their nobility hunting Ursek and Urczarn as a rite of passage. Thankfully the Ursek are isolated to the north, with only small groups of Urczarn occasionally being encountered in the southern mountains of the Grunvale.

The term Orzek is the earliest name for these creatures, originating amongst the isolated ancient tribes of Arthtir millennia ago, before it was carried south by Deiran traders and morphed into its current form. While the Ursek is noted as existing in the south during those times, it was such a rarity that it only appeared anecdotally in local myths and tales. Whereas the tribes of Arthtir had such regular and protracted encounters with the Ursek and Urczarn that they quickly formalised their names, with them entering their everyday lexicon and as an ever present threat. To this day the people of Arthtir stand against these creatures as their ancient ancestors did, using heavy spears to hold them at bay while warriors with jagged picks and serrated axes tear at the beasts flesh.

Thankfully I have only encountered one of these creatures on my travels, which was one too many despite my endeavors to catalogue such creatures. A truly terrifying sight, its blood caked brown furred mass thundering into our caravan while we were traversing the snow laden forests on the border Deira and Arthtir. It tore open two of my hired guards within seconds. The only reason I and the rest of our group made it to our destination was thanks to me prudently hiring a number hunters from Arthtir, all working as guides during a harsh winter due to there being little quarry at home to feed their families. Two of the hunters fell to the creature along with six other hired swords, leaving ten armed men slain by the creature, and seven other members of our caravan joining them. Were it not for those hunters I am sure I would not be sat here recounting that most traumatising of experiences.

~ 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 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”