Bestiary

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Jackalare

by T.A. Saunders ©2010 v1.0

Summary

Creature Type: Humanoid
Diet: Carnivore
Activity: Special (see below)
Disposition: Wary to hostile, depending on the disposition of a particular tribe.
Socialization: Solitary or in pairs most of the time. Can be found in concentrated populations rarely.
Special Talents: Shape Theft, Immune to normal weapons.
Special Attacks: Desperate Ferocity
Locality: Kingdom of Vyss, but anywhere is possible.
Longevity: Anywhere between forty to sixty years.
Class Types: 50% of Jackalares will be Soldiers, 25% will be Guardians, 20% will be Witches/Warlocks and 5% will be Paragon Shaman.

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Description

Jackalares range anywhere between a charcoal gray to a rust color with spotting possible along their backs and tails. They are on average seven feet tall for both males and females and can weigh as much as three hundred and thirty pounds for a male and two hundred and seventy five for a female. They are physically strong, though they often look starved, regardless how well-fed they really are. Eyes are uniformly crimson red or bright orange.

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Lore

Jackalares are often mistaken for were-creatures, however despite many claims to the contrary, such beasts are not indigenous to Imarel. The truth of the Jackalare's shapeshifting talent is far more sinister; for this creature to take the shape of a humanoid they must first kill a humanoid then devour their heart. Only then can the Jackalare shapeshift into a humanoid. This ability is not relegated to just humans or elves; any humanoid, including the giant Voraath can be mimicked in this way, however these forms never last more than twenty four hours before they revert back into their true form. It is unknown whether the jackalares as a species have always been able to do this, or if this macabre talent was developed by some other means.

It is also widely argued that Jackalares were not always as they are now; many insist that they were the descendants of humans that were cursed by a powerful seer whose name has been long forgotten. The tale suggests that the original Jackalare might have been trappers and hunters that trespassed upon a witch's grove and killed the animals that took sanctuary there. Others believe that the Jackalare were the result of a Shar`Vaire experiment allowed to run rogue that spliced jackal with human. Some say the Jackalare have always been the fiends they are today; that they grew tall and stood upright from the jackals that roam southern Shalzaar and eventually became their own breed.

While their origins are unclear, the Jackalare of today are well accounted for their exploits across Imarel, especially Shalzaar, near Ta-Nirin where an unusually large concentration of Jackalare reside. It is likely that Murkwhisper Lake houses a few dozen barrows of Jackalare, which is unusual in and of itself since these creatures tend to be solitary or travel in pairs. Nowhere else on Imarel do Jackalare congregate amongst one another in this fashion. It is possible that Murkwhisper Lake holds some cultural or possibly religious significance to the Jackalare that is not widely known; it would explain the zealotry in which they attack Ta-Nirin and every other place or traveler that goes near. Outside this point of gathering are almost exclusively found in solitude or with one other (usually a mate). This solitude allows them to nab an unsuspecting person, kill them, eat their heart and use their Shape Theft talent.

Once the form of a person is taken, Jackalare will try to blend in with the nearest human, or humanoid population and scavenge, steal or murder for whatever they feel they need, before the shape wears off. Food, clothing and weapons are all favorites of the Jackalare, who have no marketable skills of their own to speak of; their entire existence is based on living off other people by whatever means necessary . Targets can be caravans, hunting parties or sometimes small towns, as is the case with Ta-Nirin.

In combat Jackalare fight with both great speed and ferocity, using their claws and powerful bite against their enemies. If cornered or fought to the point that death is inevitable these creatures enact Desperate Ferocity; this throws the Jackalare into a berserk state, by which his or her attacks become three times as powerful and all damage is ignored, until the Jackalare is slain or all opponents are slain. This battle frenzy is so potent that Jackalare have been known to keep fighting, even after being decapitated until the effect wears off, which is roughly five to ten minutes after death.

As mentioned previously, Jackalare are normally solitary, but will sometimes travel in pairs; in the latter case, this is a mated pair that are monogamous and will rear one to four cubs a year during springtime. While most are content to roam the world, when the time to rear cubs comes, they will often seek shelter in abandoned ruins or structures to ensure the birthing itself is undisturbed. Cubs are raised in the sanctuary of this shelter till they are two old, by which time they are expected to hunt for themselves. By five years old, they are fully mature and are forced out of the sanctuary to find their own territories. These sanctuaries are viciously defended and aggressively patrolled almost always.

Jackalare don't usually have any professions to speak of or training, but there are a few that practice shamanistic magic and a few that dabble in sorcery. While Jackalare magi are mediocre at best, their shaman are fearsome in battle and are often looked at as wise-folk amongst their kind. It is thought these shaman Jackalare reside together at the barrow near Murkwhisper Lake in Shalzaar, where they explore deep spiritual matters and preserve the history of their kind. These shaman are the only ones that do not travel often and to see one outside the barrow is an ill omen that Jackalare are coming in force.

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