HARP Bestiary Preview Excerpt: Gorcrow

Copyright John Duffield and Aurigas Aldebaron LLC © 2016

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"The Gorcrow will dive from height, folding back its wings and free falling towards its target."

HARP Bestiary Preview Excerpt: Gorcrow

Stats

Name Gorcrow
Level 1
Size Medium
BMR Type Fly : Biped
BMR 43 : 9
# Enc 3-20
Outlook Aloof
Treasure -PP
DB 60 (QU 40, Instinctive Defence 20)
Hits 100
Init 36
Stamina 53
Will 37
Magic 42
Build Monster

Attacks

Beak -- Small Puncture 40

Claw -- Small Slash (6) 30

Skills

Acrobatics (6) 46, Ambush (6) 36, Camouflage (4) 31, Endurance (6) 100, Flying/Gliding (6) 46, Foraging/Survival Mountains (6) 45, Foraging/Survival Woods (6) 45, Navigation (6) 45, Perception (6) 67, Resistance - Magic (2) 42, Resistance - Stamina (6) 53, Resistance - Will (4) 37, Stalking & Hiding (6) 46, Tracking (3) 32, Beak - Small Puncture (6) 40, Claw - Small Slash (6) 30

Talents

Combat Awareness, Enhanced Senses, Extremely Nimble, Instinctive Defence, Lightning Reflexes, Natural Weapon (Beak), Natural Weapon (Claw), Skill Specialization (Flying)

Description

The Gorcrow appears to be a much larger version of the common crow with midnight black plumage and a wingspan that can reach eight foot. Gorcrows are, like their smaller brethren, carrion birds and they haunt those places where such food is readily available.

Gorcrows have large, taloned feet and hard, sharp beaks which gives them a fearsome ability in combat which is only enhanced by training.

Gorcrow eyes range from a startling bright blue through to a deep, almost blue black.

Lifestyle

Gorcrows exist in what is referred to as a murder which can consist of three to twenty individuals. They mate during the spring seasons producing two to three eggs and couples only remain together for a single season.

They prefer high roosts and will often utilise tall trees and buildings in urban settings, cliff faces, or mountain sides in wilderness areas. During nesting season they will seek out cliff faces and inaccessible high locations to roost. A nesting area can have several dozen murders meaning that several hundred of these birds are present. For those seeking to gain eggs or young it poses a significant threat as one parent will stay with the young at all times.

Like all carrion birds the Gorcrow is an opportunist and will scavenge off recent kills and is not above attacking the weak or sick if it looks to be an easy kill. Given their size and numbers they are capable of taking down livestock and humanoid prey and have thus earned a bad reputation amongst the settled lands.

Battle fields draw these creatures along with their lesser brethren and often they have been found at sites of raids or banditry.

Abilities and Combat

Gorcrow will seldom attack a live prey by itself, instead calling with its harsh voice to bring others to its side before they attack en-masse via swooping and diving. Gorcrow will target the eyes of its victim and those that seek to drive them away, raking at the face of its chosen prey with their talons or hitting with their beak.

They will break off and wait if the victim is stronger than expected or others come to its aid. They are patient and one or two will watch for another opportunity.

Dive

The Gorcrow will dive from height, folding back its wings and free falling towards its target. The Dive attack is treated as a Charge attack the creature gains a +1 to OB and a -1 to DB for every foot of distance travelled, with the modifiers not exceeding +50 to OB and -50 to DB. The Gorcrow's skill in Flying/Gliding is used for this attack.

If the target of the Dive is aware of the attack, and has a Pole Arm, they automatically gain initiative over the diving creature this round. The actual attack itself delivers the creature's talon attack and also delivers a Medium Sweeps/Unbalancing attack. If the result indicates that the target falls, then the creature is on top of the target and has the target pinned.

Swoop & Slash

The Gorcrow swoops in on their target from height and slashes with their beak striking for damage before flying away. The attack is treated as a Charge attack the creature gains a +1 to OB and a -1 to DB for every foot of distance travelled, with the modifiers not exceeding +50 to OB and -50 to DB. The Gorcrow's skill in Flying/Gliding is used for this attack.

The attack uses the Gorcrow's talon or beak attacks doing normal damage against the target.

Background

The Gorcrow is a naturally occurring creature which goes about its existence with no sense of malice. It has been demonised, worshipped as a totem, hunted for its feathers and used as guards or couriers for centuries.

Gorcrows often have a sinister reputation which is not necessarily a reflection of their true nature. Magicians and darker ilk find the Gorcrow to be a useful and valuable servant due to their higher intelligence and their size.

Gorcrow populations will grow during times of conflict and unrest as the sources of food are more common and easily obtained and conversely they fall, at least in the settled lands, during times of peace.

Their eggs are prized by some as a delicacy and their young are able to be reared and trained if taken within the first month of hatching. The price for a young Gorcrow varies from a few silver pieces to as much as ten gold pieces depending on the market and buyer.

Elves see the Gorcrow as a bird of dark omen but will punish those who hunt it for they see it as the messenger of the Gods of Fate.

Adventure Notes

Gorcrow can be a serious problem to a party if they have been weakened after a bad battle. This may see individuals or the whole party targeted as easy prey. Other times the party may be actively hunting them due to a bounty or even looking for the nesting area to gather eggs or young.