Hear ye, hear ye, my friends far and near!
Lore shall we share, every day anew. Come by, visit us and learn of new fears and old beasts!
—- 24th of December —-
Great Red Wyrm
Dragons are known only in tales of terror and warnings of greed. “Do not hoard gold, before a dragon smells it!”, the villagers keep saying. It is a sage advice, for the same goes for bandits and taxmen. These make for less fearsome stories though, but in truth no one has seen any dragonkin in centuries. Names of geographic feature hint that these legendary beings must have once existed, or that people simply had greater imaginations back in the days. Dragonstorm Mountain, the Drakkalor Chain and Dragonpond all hint at a much more exciting past.
For truly these creatures are long extinct, if they ever existed. As war between Order and Chaos begins to stir anew, a Wyrm’s hoard would be an invaluable resource for either side.
The saying remains true though. Do not hoard gold, but gift it freely to those you cherish and love, for else the dragon will come. And taxmen, and other bandits.
—- 23rd of December —-
It is common knowledge that Rats are verminous swarm creatures attracted by waste and filth so common to the dwellings of dungeon creatures and humanoid villages. What is less known however is how very smart Rats are compared to other monsters, even without considering their unnatural growth by overlong exposure to Chaos. Experienced warriors will know not to let themselves be surrounded by these highly aggressive creatures, even though good armor certainly helps and renders their bite attacks harmless.
If kept away from the harmful influence of magic and Chaos, Rats make excellent pets and are a great gift to loved ones, once cleaned and trained.
Most living beings have a skeleton, but as necromancy is a school of magic usually pursued by humanoids only, it makes sense most rituals are about rising the skeletal remains of other humanoid species. There is a poor joke going around the students of arcane arts which goes:
Two men are in a pub, drinking a beer next to each other. The one sighs and complains: “My friend, let me tell you! It is terribly hard to raise a family these days.” The other merely shrugs, and replies: “Not if they’re buried next to each other.”
Under no circumstances should you repeat this joke in the presence of an inquisitor or other affiliate of the Church of the Eternal Sun, as they react poorly to sophisticated humour.
—- 21st of December —-
These giant insectoids come with razor sharp claws which penetrate any armor easily, while also being heavily protected by their powerful carapace. The deceptively harmless looking Claw Bugs have been the bane of many well-armored adventurers, especially since they are attracted to certain areas in dungeons and may show up in greater numbers.
Most hunters consider Claw Bug infestations too dangerous, but there are crafters in towns which will pay high prices for their shells which can be made nearly translucent with the right processes, and then hung from trees to ward of evil spirits.
—- 20th of December —-
Despite its name, the Bugbear is neither bear nor insect. A bulky, powerful humanoid frame walking upright and capable of wielding weapons, scholars have determined the Bugbear to share a common ancestry with goblins. This is of no use for anyone encountering one of these powerful fighters in forgotten caves apart from an amusing anecdote to be shared among the survivors of the enconuter.
Stories about Bugbears are best shared with mulled and spiced wine.
—- 19th of December —-
Slow and sluggish, imperfect but cheaply maintained. In magic- and Chaos-infested areas, Zombies tend to rise on their own without requiring a necromancer or a ritual. They are strong and durable, but a Zombie’s lack of self-preservation or intelligence make it an easy opponent for the experienced dungeon delver. Beware, though, for unlike most other monsters, Zombies will not worry greatly about the loss of a limb in combat, which hardly slows them down.
While there are some cults focussing on the rising of corpses, Zombies hold no place in mainstream Ancardian seasonal festivities.
—- 18th of December —-
While cats have – or rather, had – a protective spirit, it’s a true dog’s life. Disease and malnutrition can turn harmless dogs into crazed, rabid creatures attacking everything in a frenzy they do not fully understand themselves. Dogs are usually trusty companions, so the ethic adventurer should go for a quick, merciful kill.
If you receive a pup as a gift, make sure it is well-nourished. Also, do not forget to pay a cleric for a regular Cure Disease cast on your pet.
—- 17th of December —-
Rumours speak of a protective presence watching over all feline life. After the cataclysm which followed Andor Drakon’s defeat, this presence seemed to become weaker and weaker. A blessing for stranded mercenaries having to defend themselves from aggressively hunting cats.
A Wild Cat is ferocious but easily distracted. A toy or such thrown in the opposite direction can work wonders, and in this season, there are many toys hanging from trees, ripe for the picking.
—- 16th of December —-
Lesser demons filled with malicious mischief. Originally summoned or created as small servants with limited intelligence, Imps are notoriously tricky but just as notoriously harmless. Loners and weak even against the most inexperienced adventurer, their high magic resistance means even skilled wizrads carry a dagger.
Imps have enough inate magic to animate ornaments and decorations, capable of turning festive trees into harmless little nightmares.
—- 15th of December —-
Not naturally born creatures, Hell Hounds have little in common with normal hounds. Rather, they are the very essence of a Bad, Bad Dog shaped into a bundle of mad ferocity, hatred and hellfire.
Most Ancardians have no concept of “Hell” apart from these demonic beings, even though they are reportedly adorable as puppies. The Eternal Church strongly recommends the detection of magic cast on any puppies gifted to highborn sons and daughters, as Hell Hounds have been used in some highly creative assassination attempts.
—- 14th of December —-
There is something creepy about an eye that never blinks. Beings of nearly pure arcane magic, Floating Eyes have an abundance of spells to fire at unsuspecting victims and high magic resistance. Though highly agile due to their small size and floating nature, closing in and whacking them with a blade of your choice is the recommended tactic if encountering these rare creatures in the depths of a dungeon.
Though sparkly while alive, they quickly lose their lustre after being defeated. Entrepreneurish gnomes once tried breeding them as gifts and pets, which is why many Floating Eyes are now encountered near former gnomish settlements.
—- 13th of December —-
Mass of Primal Chaos
When a creature becomes so corrupted by the unchecked forces of Chaos, it will slowly lose all resemblance to the original being. What starts with a tentacle or two and a third eye will eventually become a gibbering mass of pure, primal Chaos, driven only by hunger. Masses of primal chaos integrate organic material to gain new abilities, and even well-equipped adventurers are strongly advised to keep their distance.
Some hedge wizards claim you can predict the future by the way a tentacle flops after being cut off, but usually this kind of future only involves a devoured hedge wizard.
—- 12th of December —-
These strange, solitary creatures rose from a druid’s experiment to create a fearsome bear with the intelligence and wisdom of an owl. While there is little intelligence in these freakish beasts, there’s a lot of ferocity in their maddened little brains.
While Owlbears are a hoot, please do not confuse them with the traditional owlbeer served during Ancardian festivities.
—- 11th of December —-
Gnolls are half hyena and half man, bred into a deeply tribal society of pack hunters. They favour light armament and spears, and are rarely encountered alone. Gnolls have exceptional noses and ears, and hiding from a Gnoll is ill-advised.
Right after birth, a Gnoll pup is easily confused with a regular hyena pup. Anyone intending to gift a pup to their loved ones is strongly advised to double-check said pup’s true nature.
—- 10th of December —-
Bigger and meaner than your average goblin, though thankfully not smarter. Skilled and brutish warriors make do of whatever they find. A clever adventurer judges the peril a single Hobgoblin presents by careful observation of its equipment. A Hobgoblin wielding a rusty knife is a very different foe from one wielding a mysteriously glowing blade.
Hobgoblins will steal whatever they can. Even if they can be tamed or befriended, do not bring one to your family festivities unless you wish to see their creativity when it comes to weaponizing ornaments, food or trees.
—- 9th of December —-
While Hurthlings are cheerful social creature, every once in a while one is born that is marked from birth as an outcast. Shunned and feared, Black Hurthlings quickly learn to hate everything Hurthling society stands for – music enrages them, gardening sickens them and the only thing these Hurthlings like to cook are their enemies while they are still alive.
The Black Hurthling’s idea of a festive cake is a knife, a scream and fresh eyeballs. They are both horrible hosts and thoroughly unwanted guests.
—- 8th of December —-
Powerful warriors of a warlike, violent race more closely aligned to Chaos than Order. Minotaurs often use sophisticated weaponry that emphasizes their great bodily strength: axes and heavy blades. A Minotaur is a deadly foe in close combat, and they have the speed to close in to even the most nimble adventurers.
Minotaur horns are not only prized in Alchemy, the barbarian tribes also value them as base products for festive trinkets used to adorn their camps during special seasons.
—- 7th of December —-
A simple, harmless creature grown to no longer harmless size. Rumours claim these giant creatures are a failed experiment to grow an additional food source in the more inhospitable regions under the earth. There are only so many mushrooms one can eat before being heartily sick of it, though how many giant legs of frogs one can stomach is still up to debate.
Even with heavy use of alchemy, frog remains are a poor family’s feast.
—- 6th of December —-
Some people are notoriously easy to corrupt, for a variety of reasons all usually boiling down to personal power. And the changing powers of Chaos certainly grant these cultists outlandish and unexpected skills, as well as the ability to spread the corrupting touch of Chaos to those they encounter. The cautious adventurer is advised to keep these mad men at bay with spells and bow.
There is a tale from other realms, other realities. A man rode through the darkness, and cut his own mantle in two parts to share with a cold, poor man he met on the road. The Chaos Cultist no longer wears a cape. He gave it to a poor man as well, but it devoured him.
—- 5th of December —-
Giant Ant Worker
While the horrifying visage of a Giant Ant is the last thing many young adventurers see, these usually peaceful and highly social insects are merely interested in expanding their hive’s territority. Unfortunately this often means where there is one Ant, others are not far. Their poisonous fangs and hard chitin plating make them a challenge for the hardiest of warriors.
Frozen by the cold snow, unhatched Giant Ant eggs are a cheap and efficient decoration for evergreen trees.
—- 4th of December —-
Never quite where you expect it to be, Displacer Beasts fracture and reflect the light to appear standing several feet of where they actually are. The mating ritual of Displacer Beasts is said to be a very complicated process. These elusive beasts are often hunted for the highly magical components of their corpses, but during winter time, their skin is prized for its beautiful decorative effect.
Displacer Beasts are notoriously hard to hit. The well-prepared adventurer brings spells or abilities that target a large area in which the real Displacer Beast might hide, not just its projected image.
—- 3rd of December —-
It would be easy to blame the influence of Chaos for these mutated beings, but nature sometimes follows the strangest paths all on its own. Born and bred in the murky depths of shallow pools and underground rivers in hostile environment, Frogmen favour spears and other tools for fishing and fighting. Despite their below average intelligence, they are highly skilled in the use of weapons and both agile and strong combatants.
Very adventurous cooks claim the leg of a Frogman tastes like turkey, but even they would be loathe to serve this for festive family dinners.
—- 2nd of December —-
Sometimes when a creature of strong will perishes, most often in a gruesome, unplanned way, something remains behind. As with most things left behind, these remains tend to turn violent and dark. Ghostly creatures are extremely dangerous to those unprepared and are best confronted by spells, not by blade.
The smart adventurer will make certain there are no unsettled debts or ungifted presents left behind when they venture into perilous depths, to minimize the chances of being turned into a ghost of Christmas past. Because who would want that?
—- 1st of December —-
Traditionally created to train young warriors in the art of hitting things, a recent prank by students of animancy magic has caused untold panic among said warriors when a straw puppet began to move on its own during combat exercises. It fled the compound, and has not been seen since. Enchanted or not, the creature lacks any offensive abilities or training and should be easily defeated even by those without formal weapon training.
Additionally, straw burns really well and can serve as festive decoration.