The sheep of Bloodmarsh are notorious for their attitudes and habits, described as "abnormally antisocial" by The Hegemon's Review. It behooves the recorder to set forth some data which are often contradicted by the suppositions of the ignorant.
- Bloodmarsh sheep are not carnivorous.
- They do not howl at the moon.
- They do not fear the smell of lemons.
- They cannot be repelled by the sound of laughter.
- A sprinting horse cannot outrun them unless they number fewer than seven.
- They do not come down from the full moon to ravage the country side. They are already here on Earth, you see.
- Proximity to sheep does not afflict people with bad luck. Contrarily, people with bad luck are afflicted with proximity to sheep.
They are shaped like sheep.
Ecology and Habitats
Bloodmarsh sheep rely on wide pastures to provide them with space to roam and feed. They eat very little grass, though, as bloodgrass has in it some coppery component which makes it distasteful to most herbivores. They require large feeding grounds to separate them from habitations which are off-limits from feeding, especially considering the aptitude for the sheep to form the Ravening Wave.
The Ravening WaveWhen particularly enraged or otherwise excited, the sheep of Bloodmarsh are known to amplify their speed by creating a living, cascading wave of flesh by a fairly simple expedient. When charging across the countryside at full speed, the individuals which wind up at the back of the tightly-packed herd leap onto the backs of the individuals in front of them. In this way, a two- or even three-tiered mass of woolly menace is formed, with the fastest individuals on the ground still being overtaken by the runners upon their backs. The whole mass has been measured to progress along at about 1.6 to 1.8 times the speed of a lone member. At this rate, no known conveyance can outrun the flock on flat ground.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Bloodmarsh sheep eat a lot of meat. They can't digest it, of course; they're sheep. Their multi-chambered stomachs don't have a meat chamber, nor even an antechamber or salon. The chambers which do exist can only briefly host meat, maybe serving some hors d'oeuvres and paying light music, until the imminent evacuation back out through the foyer, or rather the mouth, not to take a metaphor too far. However, thanks to the habit of sheep to deposit their former meals in a neat pile of bile-soaked charnel detritus, a variety of acid-resistant mushrooms always sprouts therefrom in massive abundance, providing the sheep with ample high-protein forage which can actually make it through their systems.
The sheep seem to have little communal attachment. They do look to the most bold member to sort of give cues about whether or not something is worth killing, and so by assuming this role, the shepherd can, at least in part, command and direct the aggression of the flock. The sheep prefer to maintain a local and static territory from which they harvest available flesh that nobody's using anymore (such as the flesh of things that have been killed by sheep), and in which they build their vomit piles. Old flocks can erect piles more than twenty feet high and eighty feet in diameter.
Domestication is only possible through the great fortitude of the shepherds. One can take command of a herd, but it's sort of like trying to saddle a horse in full, frenzied gallop. Instead, feral herds are normally exterminated (by the use of already domesticate flocks, eh, why not save the biomass) and pre-tamed herds are split to start new shepherds on their careers.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Bloodmarsh sheep are valued for their wool, their meat, their milk, and their impact on local fauna. Deer are virtually a non-issue for the thankful gardeners of the farming towns, and wolves are so skittish that they can be frightened away by a child who shouts "Baaaa". Sheep are also employed as a first line of defense against incursion by Immortals, as the flocks of only three or four shepherds are quite capable of drowning one or two Mysties in a pile of ravening, dull-toothed fury. The unfortunate smell of the charnel piles is a major downside to their presence, so shepherds are obliged to settle their flocks away from civilization, but this also decreases accidental interactions between sheep and the critters which people hope to keep living, such as dogs and cats and children.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Sheep are raised throughout the lowland valleys between the crests of Bloodmarsh, where the magic irradiation is low and the grass is lush. Incidentally, these are the sites of all the largest wars throughout history.
Sheep are possessed of a sort of low cunning, but little actual wit. They have developed certain strategies of cooperative hunting which are much more reminiscent of those of wolves, much to the chagrin of local wolves. Sheep are also known to lack any sort of self-preservation instinct, flinging themselves at far superior forces with complete savage abandon.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Nothing especial marks their senses. They are, however, uniquely capable of projecting the path of another creature or object into the future, much like humans and dogs but famously beyond the capacity of deer, which are always so excited to hurl themselves in front of moving wagons that they often miss and hit the side.
Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms
Partiboletus brevibracts, the Bloodmarsh corpse mushroom, thrives in the bile-laced vomit piles which the sheep communally maintain. The bile acts to inhibit bacterial decay of the gristly roughage, and the mushrooms thrive in absurd abundance. Sheep seem to love the reddish-brown caps of the mushrooms, so much so that their diet seems to be mostly reliant on these high-protein growths. In this way, despite the sheep's complete inability to digest the meat which it eats in such quantity, it still earns a hearty diet by its habitual depredations.
Ovis aries, conspecific with the sheep of civilized realms. They're only whacked out behaviorally.
Derived from the breed of beautiful white Frochois Beauties.
Least Concern, or rather, Grave Concern. Maybe they should be killed back to a more manageable number.
Bloodmarsh sheep are, on average, more lean and yet more bloated in the stomach than the average sheep.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
The sheep of Bloodmarsh are characteristically pink in the face, with the tint eventually dwindling to give way to white further from the muzzle and front hooves. This gives rise to the trade in cheap pink wool which peasants love to wear.
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