Exalted: The Legend of Denandsor
List of Animals Unique to Creation
Some of these creatures are animals that once existed in reality that are now extinct, in which case that will be noted in the description.
Austrech: More familiar to us as the “terror bird”, the Austrech is a vicious, predatory flightless bird 8-10 feet tall. They live primarily in the southeastern savannah where they subsist on wild goats, feral horses and the occasional unlucky traveler. They are capable of being tamed and used as mounts, but this is suitably rare and generally involves stealing an egg to raise such a mount from birth.
Barghest: Large, black-furred dogs like large pitbulls emaciated so that their skeletons show through their skin, Barghests are actually native to the Underworld and occasionally pass to Creation through Shadowlands. They can sense spirits, and feed as easily on incorporeal beings like ghosts, lesser ghosts, and unmanifested demons as they do living flesh.
Blackstar Mastiff: Named for their distinctive fur pattern- black with small white speckles- the Blackstar Mastiffs are the favoured war dogs of the Realm. They are highly intelligent and often form a tremendous bond of loyalty with their masters, and can easily understand human speech.
Claw Strider: More familiar to us as the “velociraptor”, Claw Striders are 6-8 foot tall, highly intelligent, predatory reptiles who live in the southeastern jungle. They are terrific pack hunters, using (relatively) intricate ambush tactics to take down larger prey such as elephants and yeddim. Claw Striders can be tamed, though similar to the Austrech this is a potentially deadly prospect.
Crag Cat: Small-ish predatory cats of a size with lynxes or bobcats, Crag Cats have two distinct features- a long, prehensile tail, and long jagged claws that allow them to cling to and climb vertical surfaces. They exclusively live among the mountains of the Imperial Isle.
Emperor Rat: Also called a rat-hydra, this creature unique to the tumbled ruins and city sewers of the Scavenger Lands is roughly the size of a lion. A dozen rat heads jut out at all different angles from the neck and shoulders of a scabrous rat body, and eight legs tipped with clawed paws poke out from it’s body at irregular intervals. Rats instinctively seem to follow the direction of, and possibly even worship and serve, Rat-Emperors, although the larger beasts are demonstrably less intelligence than their smaller cousins.
Eoi: Rock-grey winged crustaceans like a bizarre combination of crab and seagull, Eoi are native to the Underworld but a few colonies have made it to the West of creation. They each everything from carrion to live prey, though rarely attack anything larger than a dog, and are often hunted by Western barbarians and ghosts alike so their tough shells can be fashioned into armour.
Giant Rats: In the depths below the grandest cities of creation, strange mutations can take place in the shadows. Unnatural rats the size of children, armed with razor claws and crude intelligence, form bizarre tribes down in the dark, scrawling their bizarre language on every available surface and just waiting for a surfacer to descend into their kingdom to be jealously tortured and devoured. While the Giant Rats don’t seem to be necessarily related to Rat-Emperors, when the two species do team up it is the cause for terror in whatever city they happen to haunt.
Giant Spider: Giant Spiders are common across Creation, except for isolated islands of the West. There are two common types- the Giant Wolf Spider are deadly pack hunters who are common in the East and parts of the Southeast and the lower North. The are about 3-4 feet in diameter and hunt lives wolves, running down prey and relying on a combination of stamina and poison. The giant burrowing spider lives in the South and Southwest, is about 5-6 feet is diameter and hunts like a trapdoor spider, only ambushing much larger prey.
Grelidaka: These bizarre predatory birds roam the West in flocks, where they live off of beached sea life, carrion, and, occasionally, sailors on ships that have been becalmed or stuck in a sargasso sea. Their feathers are rust-brown, their beak sharply hooked, and are about the size of a hawk (3-4’ wingspan). Most bizarrely, they do not mate and lay eggs as normal birds do. Instead, when one becomes old and large enough, it divides into two smaller birds. Because of their tendency to eat their own dead (often producing and additional bird or two in so doing) these birds are one of the more terrifying pests of the sea.
Griefbees: Originally from the Underworld, though they are cultivated in Creation by the occasional necromancer-apirarists, Griefbees are palm-sized, creamy-white bees that made honey from human emotion rather than nectar. This honey is often used by healers in treating mental illness, and the venom of the Griefbees is a highly potent and capable of harming ghosts and the living alike.
Hearth-Cat: Small, red-furred house pets that are rumoured to have been made by breeding fire elementals with cats. About the size of a regular domestic cat, they love human contact and constantly radiate heat, and in the Realm and others who are able to afford them, they are used as literal bed warmers during cold winter nights.
Ichneumon Hunter: A wasp about the size of a small dog, the Ichneumon Hunter is a semi-parasitic species that lives in the South. They are solitary hunters that live off of small animals and birds, but most terrifying is their method of laying eggs. Their sting are actually ovipositors, and it’s venom is an extremely powerful anesthetic. Humans and other large mammals are used as living incubators for Ichneumon Hunter eggs, and many victims don’t even notice until the larva hatch to devour the unfortunate from the inside.
Mammoth: Gigantic, furred elephants about fourteen feet tall that live in the far north. They are widely hunted for pelts and meat, and are occasionally tamed to act as war mounts or pack animals.
Pleagic Dragon: These huge, long-necked aquatic reptiles would be more familiar to us as “plesiosaurs”, or, perhaps, “Nessie”. Forty feet long from nose to tail, they hunt in the waters around the various archipelagos of the West, where they subsist on a diet of fish and the occasional unlucky seagull. While not normally a threat to humans, they are nonetheless dangerous adversaries, and much occasionally be driven away from human fishing grounds, and are sometimes hunted for hides and meat.
River Wraith: The largest Shadowland in the world is the Bayou of Endless Regret in the Southeast, and often denizens of that forsaken swamp end up escaping into the Underworld most of these creatures starve to death, but the River Wraith is a mutated River Dragon that has managed to adapt. It is capable from changing in colour from coal-black to corpse-white and back, depending on what affords the best concealment, and like the Barghest is capable of sensing and eating spirits, particularly ghosts.
Scarlet Crane: Tall, red-plumed herons with huge feathered crests that are common to the Imperial Isle, but are occasionally kept in menageries elsewhere. The plumage feathers of the Scarlet Cranes attract good fortune, and are used in many lesser wonders that are intended to bring good luck.
Sea Dragon: This huge marine reptile would be more familiar to us as a “pliosaur”. These creatures, resembling something like a sixty-foot long, flipped crocodile, feed mainly on sharks and pelagic dragons, but pose a hazard for unfortunate ships that get mistake for lumbering, easy prey.
Siaka: Siaka are large, vicious sharks, close to whales in size, that are known for being a real danger to ships. Fortunately, they live in the West and are rarely seen in the Inner Sea.
Tongma Monkey: Small, large-eyed monkeys that are about the size of a housecat, Tongma Monkeys are often used as performing animals due to their ability to mimic human laughter.