To Celtic Monsters
|Arimaspe and Gryphon. Ancient Roman fresco (60-50 b.C.) from Pompeii, Italy. This fresco comes from the Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii and was reconstructed from fragments.|
The Adar Llwch Gwin were giant birds, similar in kind to the Griffin, which were given to a warrior named Drudwas ap Tryffin by his fairy wife. These birds were said to understand human speech and to obey whatever command was given to them by their master. However, on one occasion, when Drudwas was about to do battle with the hero Arthur he commanded them to kill the first man to enter the battle. Arthur himself was delayed and the birds immediately turned on Drudwas and tore him to pieces.
Originally Posted by
Stycotl of the Giant in the playground forums.
On this Thread
|Hit Dice||3d8+6 (19 hit points)|
|Speed||10 feet, fly 100 feet (good)|
|Armor Class||20 (+6 Dexterity, +4 natural armor); touch 16; flat-footed 14|
|Attack||Bite +5 melee (1d6+3/18-20) or Claw +1 melee (1d4+1)|
|Full Attack||Bite +5 melee (1d6+3/18-20) and 2 Claws +1 melee (1d4+1; plus rend if possible)|
|Space/Reach||5 feet/5 feet|
|Special Attacks||Pounce, rend|
|Special Qualities||Clever beast, Low-Light Vision, out of the sun, Scent|
|Saves||Fort +6, Reflex +9, Will +9|
|Abilities||Strength 16, Dexterity 22, Constitution 16, Intelligence 2, Wisdom 18, Charisma 10|
|Skills||Balance +7, Bluff +14, Hide +8, Intimidate +3, Listen +10, Spot +14, Survival +10|
|Feats||(B) Iron Will, (B) Weapon Focus (Claws), Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative|
|Environment||Temperate Forests, mountains and seaside cliffs|
|Organization||Solitary, pair, or aerie (3-6 adults and 2-8 chicks)|
|Treasure||Half standard (any Awakened raptors have full standard)|
|Alignment||N (though many of them display clearly chaotic tendencies)|
|Advancement||4-9 hit dice (Large); 10-18 hit dice (Huge); 19+ hit dice (Gargantuan)|
A large eagle with silver and gray plumage alights on a craggy ledge. Large, golden eyes reflect the light of the sun as it tilts its head this way and that, watching the ground so many hundreds of feet below for prey animals. A long-feathered crest gives it an imperial mien, regal and intimidating–and this demeanor is only accentuated by its razor-edged black beak, and long, rough-shinned legs with thick scales and curved talons.
The aadar llwach are large raptors, closely related to dire eagles. These birds are fierce hunters, and are extremely intelligent–capable of imitating the vocal patterns of other creatures, even humanoids, and understanding rudimentary language skills. Far smarter even than the most brilliant crows, an aadar llwach is a prized companion to anyone that appreciates such majesty, hunting prowess, and animal Intelligence.
Common legend states that the aadar llwach were created by the Queen of the fey in order to serve as scouts and guardians to her noble knights. One of her knights was renowned for having won the service and favor of an entire aerie of aadar llwach through his diligence to the Queen. These birds protected him as they would their own chicks, and served him loyally for many long years, until the day that he betrayed his Queen's trust in exchange for petty revenge and monetary wealth. His disillusioned aadar llwach family tore him to shreds and flung his remains into the sea.
The raptors of that aerie are said to be the direct ancestors of all wild aadar llwach living today. Any raptors still in the service of their Queen are likely to be Awakened and civilized (to the extent that the wild creatures of fey magic can be civilized). Indeed, legend states that many aadar llwach still serve the Queen of the faeries, and that these birds are more intelligent than humans, and larger than horses.
These birds can live for decades if they are not killed in fierce battles with larger predators. As they age, they continue to grow; in fact, the faerie courts often boast that their Queen rides atop an aadar llwach the size of an ancient dragon.
These animals are not sentient in the humanoid sense, and do not speak any languages. However, as smart as they are, even the wild ones have learned a scattering of words in the local tongues, and can mimic these words, and often, they can even understand their most general meaning.
Aadar llwach are cunning predators. They are also violently and fearlessly territorial, and an angered aerie of aadar llwach has been known to drive off even wyverns and drakes from their cliff faces. They will eat anything that they can kill and humanoids and other sentient races are as likely to be targeted as are deer, seals, and other animals. They use pack tactics when possible, but are deadly hunters even when solitary.
Pounce (Ex): If an aadar llwach dives or charges a foe, it can make a full attack, including a rend attack if applicable.
Rend (Ex): If an aadar llwach hits the same creature with both claws in the same turn, it latches onto the body and tears the flesh, dealing an additional 1d4+4 damage.
Clever Beast (Ex): Aadar llwach as exceptionally intelligent animals, and indeed, some think that the raptors have a near-sentient level of awareness. An aadar llwach is treated as having an Intelligence score 10 points higher than it really is for the purpose of determining skill points (for racial hit dice only) and trainable tricks (through the use of Handle Animal).
Generally, an animal is capable of learning 3 tricks per point of Intelligence. In the case of the aadar llwach, mimicking certain words or other animal sounds counts as a trick (generally on a one for one basis). The aadar llwach gains a +8 competence bonus to Bluff checks in order to mimic a sound or word that it has learned as one of its many tricks. This does not count as actually knowing or understanding a language, though the birds have been known to learn the meanings of a select few words in the tongues of humanoids and monsters.
Out of the Sun (Ex): Aadar llwach have a very definite understanding of angles and distances. They also well understand the blinding quality of the sun above them, and are very skilled at ambushing their prey from seemingly out of the sun appearing suddenly in a flurry of rending claws and fearsome bites. If the sun is out and visible to the raptor's foes, it gets a +6 circumstance bonus on Hide checks during its approach, and takes no penalties to the check due to moving at a high speed. This bonus is not effective versus foes with Blindsense or Blindsight.
Skills: All aadar llwach receive a +4 racial bonus to Listen and Survival checks. They also receive a +8 racial bonus to Spot checks.
Strategies and Tactics
Aadar llwach are furious combatants, and their willingness to enter close combat with any foe has made so that few of the wild birds ever reach venerable age, size, or intellect. They fear nothing, and consider prey anything that they can kill. If they know their prey far in advance, they can actually orchestrate ambushes, relying on their vocalization to mimic sounds that would attract their targets. In battle, these raptors pounce on their foes in a lethal rush, dropping from the sun like feathered angels of death. They use guerrilla warfare to extreme effectiveness, swooping, striking, and then dancing away again before their foes can return the assault.
Training an Aadar Llwach
Aadar llwach can be trained like other animals with the use of the Handle Animal skill. Riding an aadar llwach requires an exotic saddle built for a small rider.
Aadar llwach eggs are worth 5,500 gp apiece, while chicks fetch upwards of 8,000 gp each. Professional trainers charge 400 gp to rear or train an aadar llwach chick.
Note that an Awakened aadar llwach ceases to learn tricks through Animal Handling, as it is now a sentient being.
Aadar Llwach as Animal Companions
An aadar llwach may be selected as an animal companion by a druid of 4th level or higher. Treat the druid's level as three lower than normal for the purpose of determining the companion's characteristics and special abilities.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (nature) can learn more about aadar llwach. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.
|This creature is called an aadar llwach, creations of the fey courts. These birds are exceptionally intelligent animals, and are gifted with legendary hunting prowess. They are caable of learning many tasks and many tricks, and can even learn to parrot words, as a crow or a parrot can. They use this mimicry skill to ambush prey.|
|The aadar llwach ambush their prey by diving out of the sunlight, which assures that any foe suspicious enough to be searching the skies for them will be blinded and dazed. Though most of these birds live but a score of years, if left to die of old age, they often exceed 200 years. These large raptors are often larger than dire eagles, and some have been known to prey upon horses and even elephants.|
|Aadar llwach are noble birds, though they are still animals, and the magic that once created them gives them a strong familial tendency, and a strong desire to serve. If charmed through one's skill with animals and the wild, they have been known to attach themselves to that individual, and to protect and venerate them.|
|Aadar llwach that have achieved venerable age have been rumored to Awaken to true sentience. Whether this is a magical side effect of their creation, or is merely the result of decades of exceptional intelligence and experience, no one that can say for sure has.|
Individual (EL 4): A single aadar llwach has taken up residence in the crumbling attic of a village chapel. The bird seems to be sick, and attacks any passers-by on sight. Putting the bird out of its maddened misery might be the only realistic solution, though one with the capability to calm and heal the beast might earn a lifelong friend.
Aerie (EL 9-14): The cliffs above the bay are famous for its aerie of aadar llwach. Currently, seven of the raptors reside there, and they have been the apex predators of the ecosystem for many years. The people in the port below love the birds, and see them as an auspicious sign when the majestic birds are glimpsed fishing in the sunlight. This afternoon, however, one of the birds became tangled in the fishing net of a known pirate ship, and the entire aerie jumped to the offensive when the ruffians began torturing the snared raptor. A quick skirmish ended in the deaths of two of the birds, and the wounding and capture of another. Now the three remaining aadar llwach circle the moored ship, desperate to find a way to rescue their two wounded family members. The city is in an uproar, and has demanded that the birds be released. An envoy sent by the mayor was turned back not only by the harsh words and projectiles of the pirates, but also by the frenzied attacks of the three tiring raptors.
llwach are not natural animals by the strictest definitions, but they were created
as a part of their wild environments, and have long ago adapted to their lives
as wild animals.
Environment: Aadar llwach are fond of mountains and craggy cliffs places that they can secure a large aerie from predators and other dangers. They are sufficiently intelligent to choose locations that are close to their primary food source, be that the fish of a great river or the livestock of a well-traveled trade route.
Typical Physical Characteristics: The average, young adult aadar llwach has a 10-foot wingspan, and weighs in the neighbourhood of 200 pounds. Chicks are fairly large, often the size of chickens. Though legends of titanic raptors abound, the largest documented sightings in humanoid lands have described aerie elders that stretched over 30 feet from wingtip to wingtip, and probably weighed close to 2,000 pounds.
Alignment: As animals, unawakened aadar llwach are neutral. Older, Awakened aadar llwach can choose any alignment that fits their ideology, though most of them tend to remain neutral, or become chaotic neutral.
Aadar llwach don't collect treasure for the sake of collecting treasure, though there is always a large scattering of debris beneath their aeries. Generally, the longer the aerie has been established, the higher the chance of coins and other goodies being found below. Some of the raptors have developed a taste for shiny metals though, and it has been reported that some of the aadar llwah have become fond of decorating or indeed, fabricating their nests with gaudy fabrics and polished metals.
of the raptors are certainly aware of the value of trade goods, and have certainly
gone out of their way to amass gold and magical items. These birds have occasionally
been known to trade with other creatures for further wealth, though they more
often simply take what they wish.
To Celtic Monsters
The Worlds of Mankind is owned and created by Mark John Goodwin
The text on this page is Open Game Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game License v1.0a.
System and the d20 System logo are trademarks of Wizards of
the Coast, Inc.
and are used according to the terms of the d20 System License version 6.0.
A copy of this License can be found at www.wizards.com/d20.