Hippogriff

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Hippogriff
Species beast
No. Appearing 2–8
Behaviour subsocial
Range savanna, steppe
Size 16 hands at the withers
Weight 1,100 lbs.
Intelligence 4
Armour Class 5
Hit Dice 5+5
Action Points 8
Max. Stride
THAC0 18
Hp/Die d4+d6
Attack Forms talons, fang
Damage 2–16, 2–12
Special Attacks back kick, +2 to hit while diving, ethereal flight

A steed born of a mare and a griffon, noted for its speed, its furious demeanor when wild and its fantastical ability to remain in flight for long periods. The beast is infamous for its part in the myth of Bradamante and Ruggiero, lovers who were adventurers in the 9th century.

It is said that griffons are known to naturally mate with mares, though rarely. Though writers often make the mistake of depicting the hippogriff as a male, as described in Ludovico's Ariosto's poem, Orlando furioso, the resultant hippogriff is always a filly. Because it is bore by the mare, a mammal, there is no egg; the hippogriff is born live, with soft talons and beak. The young filly is meek and mild for the first few weeks, enabling a husbandman who comes across the animal in the wild to secure the beast in a cage before the animal's mood changes, usually late in the fourth week of life. At that time the talons and beak harden and the beast turns extremely vicious; training the beast to accept a rider usually takes a year. Attempts to breed hippogriffs in domestic menageries have failed.

Typically, mares of a distinctive type are led into the wild in mid-April into known wild breeding areas. Griffons will often sense if the mare is truly alone, so the mares are usually abandoned. These mares are searched for during the month of May, by which time pregnancy can be determined and the mares led home to give birth. Hippogriff cots will sometimes obtain four or five offspring each season. The typical lifespan of a hippogriff is 40 years. Hippogriffs, like mules, are barren.

The hippogriff's front feet are heavy talons with edges equal to a slightly dulled axe. The hooked beak is more powerful, catching its prey in a dropping, side-tearing motion that will throw stunned victims to the left or right. If approached from the rear, a hippogriff will kick with its back hooves together, causing 2–20 damage on a single hit. If using this attack, it will still fight with its beak but the talons will not be employed that round.

The wild beast will tend to fly skyward before beginning its attack, dropping from a height of 60 to 80 feet in a single round, diving at a single victim on the ground with both talons and beak with a +2 chance to hit (THAC0 14). Hippogriffs do not carry victims off; they prefer to kill and then eat the carcass on the ground. If stunned, there is a 50% chance a wild hippogriff will break off the fight and seek a meal elsewhere.

Hippogriffs are able to fly continuously for 6 to 9 days at a time. They are curiously able to fly through spatial ether, so that they have been known to break the Earth's atmosphere, with a natural ability to plane shift. This is not fully understood. Hippogriffs have been known to fly as far as the Moon, though there is no known example of the beasts flying further into space.

Hippogriffs can be trained and ridden.


See Bestiary