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Amarok

Due to the Aristotowl debacle, we decided it was unwise to head into the woods unaccompanied. Luck shined upon us and Baron Rortor of Fywich invited us along with a hunting party deep into the Kingswood. As we rode with ten other men and women along a brook lit by shafts of golden sunlight, Rortor told us the legend of the Amarok, a beast rumoured to inhabit the wilder parts of the forest.

Legend has it that the Amarok was originally a previous baron’s prized hound. It was badly mistreated by its owner and lashed out. In a fit of rage the baron tried to kill the beast with his hunting knife, but through sheer force of will it escaped to the forest. Now it has been rumoured to have grown to an immense size. It lurks in the woods and hunts down hunters that split off from the group, searching for revenge against the owner that betrayed it.

As the brook led into a deep and rugged valley, I asked the baron if we could split off from the group, with a hunter to accompany us, to follow some strange tracks that Bradley spotted. The baron was hesitant but agreed to send us off with one of the hunters, a young western man with long coal coloured hair named Wynn.

We set off down the path that the tracks led down. As we progressed, the temperature started to drop and Wynn warned us of a storm. It being too late to rejoin the hunting party, we decided to hole up in a cave for the night and return in the morning. I walked alone to a stream to draw water and spied a silhouetted figure on the crest of the valley with glowing yellow eyes. I would have mistaken it for a pair of stars if not for the sound that came from it.

It was a long and mournful howl, seeming to come from all directions at once as if I was surrounded by a pack of sorrowful hounds. Needless to say, I returned quickly to the cave and warned the others. Thunder rolled in and rain poured down. The thick trees were illuminated in flashes of lightning.

We heard the howl again, this time much closer. Something about the harrowing noise affected me deeply. I wiped my face and was surprised to find that tears were streaming out of my eyes. Lightning flashed again and we could see a hulking figure blocking the entrance to the cave, its miserable yellow eyes staring us with a curious mix of pleading and malice.

Wynn drew his longsword and rushed in, I tried to draw my hanger but it became stuck in my belt. The beast leapt on Wynn. Its mouth closed on the man’s ribcage and caved it in with a sickening crunch. Closer to the firelight we could see the beast in its full glory. It was the size of a full grown boar, with hulking shoulders and smaller back legs. It somewhat resemble a mix between a bear and a hunting hound. It was covered in matted red fur and had a long snout. At first its hair seemed to be moving with a life of its own, but a closer look revealed maggots crawling out of gaping wounds on its flank. Several arrows and knives stuck out of its back.

Bradley reacted strangely to it. He moved forward with his fist outstretched and called to it, saying “Doggy” softly.  The beast seemed to not know how to react at first. Bradley reached it and started scratching it behind the ear, whispering “Good doggy”. The beast growled and a ridge of fur on its back stood on end. I regained my senses and called out to Bradley, telling him to get away. The beast pinned Bradley beneath it in a swift movement, baring its teeth close to Bradley’s face. I was ready to charge in to help when Bradley scratched it under the chin and said to the creature “You are a very good doggy.”

The beast stepped back from Bradley and starting shaking its head and coughing up maggots. It began a bizarre metamorphosis. It shrunk and its bulging muscles deflated. Its eyes lost their malevolent glow. Before I knew it, it had changed to the form of a wounded hound, limping and whining. Bradley named it Benjamin.

~ Riffolk

Rules

Description:
This creature looks like a giant hound with bulging shoulder muscles. Its sad eyes glow yellow. It is covered in wounds that drip maggots. It always walks with its tail between its legs. This creature lurks in forests following groups of people. As soon as a member splits off from the group it will approach and howl. If a character draws a weapon in front of it, the creature will attack. If a character passes a hard (-20) calm animal check, or if a healing spell is cast on the creature, it will revert back to the form of a wounded dog and follow the character around until it dies.

Equipment:
Fangs (10 Grapple Damage), Claws (-5 Damage, cannot Parry)

Abilities:
Strong: 10 bonus to Strength checks and Melee and Grapple damage.

Tough: 10 bonus to Toughness checks and one extra Wound.

Fearsome: Opponents must take a Will check at the start of combat or be affected by Fear.

Sorrowful Howl: This creature can Howl as major action. All opponents that fail a Will check get a 10 penalty to Intellect checks for an amount of turns equal to the degrees of failure and begin crying. Critical failures result in the target being paralysed by grief for 1 turn. Demons and Undead are not affected by this.

Fury: This creature gains one extra attack per turn for every wound dealt to it in the last round.

Iron Hide: This creature has 10 armour on all locations.

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