Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fauna: Quarra (pack animal)

The quarra is a smallish, fleet-footed, hoofed animal that roams the rocky outcroppings and foothills of Benu's steppe regions. The beasts resemble the pony-sized hyracodon of prehistoric Earth (horse-like in appearance, but actually an ancestor of the modern rhino). Quarra hold much in common with their Earth counterparts, though the males sport a bony skull-plate studded with short, broad spikes above the eyes and down the snout.

Use as domesticated animals

Several nomadic tribes have domesticated the animal, and use it's surefooted climbing abilities and speed over open plains to their advantage. Quarra are often used as pack animals for small to medium-sized loads that accommodate their lighter frame, but they excel at navigating rough terrain so they often make for ideal pack animals.

Long ago, quarra were hunted to near extinction (prized for their colorful coats) until one tribe, the Bando, discovered their innate intelligence. Unlike other pack species, quarra exhibit a higher degree of intelligence and can understand both spoken and gestural commands by their masters. They remain loyal to their death or the demise of those they serve, upon which the pact that bonds both is dissolved and the companion is free to join the wild herds.
Courtesy Wikipedia
Male quarra are slightly larger than females and appear in a variety of brown, grey, red, and purplish tones. They mate twice yearly and face off to claim dominance over suitors and breeding priority in the herd. Females are known to birth twins often, which is thought to be a natural defense of the species who are the preferred prey of Benu's mega-sized strigiforme predators.

A single quarra is matched to a nomadic adolescent upon entering puberty as part of a rite of passage ceremony. The young adults are charged with caring for their companions and will use them to build their  livestock herd. Quarra will live nearly as long as their masters if cared for properly and predators are kept at bay. Quarra also possess some unusual abilities (see below).


NO. APPEARING: Herds (8-40); Always paired with nomad at puberty (about 12 years or older)
MOVE: 15 on open plain
HIT DICE: 2d8+2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2d6+1 ramming
SPECIAL ABILITIES/SKILLS: Low light/dark vision, scent, when 6 or more adult quarra are present they provide their masters with an additional protection (not known if this is magic, but should be treated as such) against fear/intimidation/morale-based attacks (+2 on any saves)
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Studded/bony skull-plate
ALIGNMENT: Neutral in wild/good if domesticated by good aligned nomads (will remain good if released)
Quarra are immune to illusions produced by living beings


125 lbs (light load)
126-275 (medium load)
276-330 (heavy)
A quarra can drag 1,275 pounds for 1d6 rounds before getting tired