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Month Index: January, 1996


From:     "Richard J. Pugh" <rjpugh@???.net>
Date:     Thu, 4 Jan 1996 01:19:05 +0000
Subject:  Re: CreatuRe: Astrovarg
I found this among some of my files.  Comment away.

==================

ASTROVARG

Climate/Terrain:  Wildspace (asteroids and cluster worlds)
Frequency:        Rare
Organization:     Pack
Active Cycle:     Nocturnal (see below)
Diet:             Carnivore
Intelligence:     Semi to Low (4-6)
Treasure:         Nil
Alignment:        Neutral
No. Appearing:    2d6
Armor Class:      4
Movement:         18
Hit Dice:         4 + 4
Thac0:
No. Attacks:      1
Dammage/Attack:   2-8
Special Attacks:  Ram
Special Defences: Nil
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size:             M (4'-5')
Morale:           Steady (11)
XP Value:

Astrovargs, or "space wolves," are found among the asteroids and cluster
worlds of a dozen different spheres.  They are built basically like a wolf,
but they have two horn-like appendages on the side of the head which looks
somewhat like those of a mountain goat.  They also have a smooth, boney
carapace that covers their forequarters.  The rest of the body is covered
with thick fur, with colors ranging from light grey to jet black, depending
on their habitat.

Combat:  Astrovargs hunt in small packs of 2 to 12 individuals, preying on
the various creatures that live on asteroids and cluster worlds.  Their prey
can range from small mouse-like creatures to things the size of delphenids
and arathax.  Unlike terrestrial wolves, astrovargs do not howl while
hunting, preferring to approach silently.  They communicate with each other
by means of yips and growls, much like domestic dogs.  They also use their
horns to create exotic jestures which are almost like sign language in their
complexity.

They can use their horns to knock down a creature larger then themselves,
and if confronted with humans or demi-humans, they will use this tactic.
Treat this ramming attack as a grapple.  Once the victim is down, the
astrovarg will have a +2 bonus to bite for the next three rounds.  If the
varg manages to land a bite on a downed opponent, it automatacilly inflicts
full dammage.

Habitat/Society:  Astrovargs are very adept at living in an environment
where they really shouldn't be.  They live in asteroid clusters or (more
commonly) on cluster worlds, where they can travel from one tiny world to
another as needed.  Astrovargs can jump very long distances when they must,
sometimes ranging into the hundreds of feet, and this is how a pack can
travel from one asteroid or cluster body to another.  Astrovargs have been
seen in the Tears of Selune in Realmspace, and especially on the cluster
worlds of Borka and Greela in Greyspace.  One the Stellar Islands of
Krynnspace, astrovargs have taken to using the magical roads that other
races use.  Strangly, very few have been seen in the Grinder.  This could be
because so much of the Grinder is filled with voidworlds, preventing a pack
from establishing itself there.

Each pack appears to have a distinct pattern to their fur coats, which is
perhaps how they tell one another apart.  They live in large packs, with
each pack having an "alpha" male, much like terrestrial wolves.  The alpha
male maintains order in the pack, which can number as many as thirty vargs.
When a dispute breaks out among lesser vargs, such as males competing for a
female, two of the "beta" vargs fighting over their share of the pack, or
two males aspiring to be the next alpha male, the current alpha male, using
the "sign language" of the species, convinces the two opponents to settle
the dispute by a duel.  This duel involves the two vargs butting their horns
together in a way similar to that of antelope.  Eventually, one will fall
exhausted, and the remaining male will be declared the victor.  The contest
is never fatal; it is a test of character and endurance.  It is not uncommon
for several of the other pack members to watch the specticle, like humanoids
watching a gladiatorial match.

No one has come up with an anthropological explination for the astrovargs
complex society.  It could simply be that in an environment where the ground
is unstable and things can change in a moments notice, a strict organization
is a necessary trait for survival.

Ecology:  It is not uncommon for individual astrovargs to live alone.  This
is often the result of one being seperated from the rest of the pack.  They
rarely bother humans and other spacefaring races, though they will make
their presence known if any enter the packs territory.  Spelljammer crews
sometimes take an astrovarg as a pet, or ships mascot.  This is often a wise
choice when vermin get aboard the ship while in port.  The practice is
similar to that of ocean ship captains bringing cats on board to catch mice
and rats.

Small packs of astrovargs have been known to live on dwarven citadels, where
the vargs relieve the dwarves of dealing with the various pests that are
somehow always on board.  A small group also lives on the underside of the
Rock of Bral, performing the same task.
==============================================================
Richard J. Pugh, MLS        |RJPugh@???.net
Admin: spelljammer@??.??.uk |http://www.ids.net/~rjpugh
==============================================================



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