Saturday, May 31, 2014

Frightful Fridays! Loup Corbeau

Welcome back to a delayed Frightful Fridays! I apologize for the delay caused by some real-life, work-related issues, but I hope today's offering will make up for the wait. Theodric the Obscure pointed out this image, from the recently released movie Maleficent, as well as a number of other fey-related creatures. Regular readers know I like creature mashups, so this one appealed to me. Based on the associated fey creature images, some of which will appear here in the future, I decided that a fey origin fit this creature much better.

I hope you enjoy the loup corbeau, and I'll be back on Friday with a new monster. Thanks for reading!

This sable wolf's eyes gleam with intelligence. Weirder still are the tufts of feathers comprising its tail, overhanging its eyes, and jutting out at odd places. All four of its legs ending in a bird's claws complete the unnerving visage.
Loup Corbeau CR 2
XP 600
CN Medium fey
Init +2; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +12

AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural)
hp 22 (4d6+8)
Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +5
Weakness vulnerability to animal spells

Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +4 (1d6+3 plus trip)
Special Attacks creature of omen
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th; concentration +5)
3/day—hide from animals
1/day—hunter's howl (DC 13), longstrider, magic fang

Str 14, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 15
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 17 (21 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Mobility
Skills Acrobatics +9, Perception +16, Stealth +9, Survival +8 (+12 when tracking by scent); Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +4 Survival when tracking by scent
Languages Common, Sylvan
SQ hunter

Environment temperate forests and plains
Organization solitary, pair, pack (3–10), unkindness (11–100)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Creature of Omen (Su) Any intelligent humanoid seeing a loup corbeau knows that it portends a great or terrible future, and must make a DC 13 Will save. If the victim fails the saving throw, it is shaken for the duration of a future combat encounter, or other stressful situation, within 24 hours (as determined by the GM). However, if the potential victim beats this ability's save DC by 5 or more (or rolls a natural 20), it instead gains a +2 luck bonus on ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks during all future combat encounters within 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Hunter (Ex) A loup corbeau treats Survival as a class skill and gains a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent.
Vulnerability to Animal Spells (Ex) A loup corbeau can be affected by spells that normally affect animals. For spells that do not normally allow a saving throw (such as hide from animals, which only allows a saving throw for recipients, but not for the animals warded against), a loup corbeau can attempt a Will or Fortitude save as appropriate to the spell.

Mixing and matching creatures is not the sole purview of mad wizards and unknowable aberrant beings. Fey ladies and lords also dabble in the creation of animal combinations based on animals that pique their interest, such as the raven-and-wolf mashup known as the loup corbeaux (loup corbeau, singular). Fey do not stop at just merely merging two creatures together and throwing the combination out into the wild as a beast. Rather, they granted the new creatures intelligence and power and set them out to wreak havoc on mundane settlements. The most notable effect derives from the foreboding that confronts all humanoids, who seem to have strong superstitions about ravens, wolves, or both. The loup corbeaux have not completely ascended their animal natures, however, and remain susceptible to effects that target animals. Sages speculate that the fey left this as a failsafe in case the loup corbeaux turn against them.

Loup corbeaux breed true, and many live in the wild where they congregate in packs or temporarily in much larger unkindnesses. The combination of the incredible eyesight of a raven and the strong sense of smell of a wolf make them formidable hunters. They reserve most of their spell-like abilities for tough prey; on the hunt, they make liberal use of longstrider thanks to its extended duration. Loup corbeaux have a wide range of vocalizations, allowing them to bark, howl, caw, croak, and even speak (albeit with a raven-like croak). They use these vocalizations to communicate with each other and confuse prey.

A group of loup corbeaux gathering in an unkindness weed out the weak members in an unusual way: they all simultaneously use hide from animals, and those who cannot perceive the others are ripped to shreds. The survivors are free to mate with the assurance that their offspring are of superior stock.

Chaotic or fey spellcasters of caster level 7th who have the Improved Familiar feat can gain a loup corbeau as a familiar. A loup corbeau can target the spellcaster with any spell-like abilities it possesses (even those with a target of "You").

A spellcaster capable of casting summon nature's ally III (or a more powerful version) can add a loup corbeau to the list of available creatures.