Rendercoon

If ever there was fluffy, cuddly ball of nightmare fuel, it is the tentacled, dire-raccoon-like beast called a rendercoon.
 
A rendercoon once bit my sister...
— Stefanos Vel-Barboza, Seskyalii skald alchemist
 
Many speculations and rumors surround the origin of the rendercoon. Some believe that it is the offspring of a dire raccoon and a summoned creature from the Outland realms of the Feylands. Yet, other stories persist about a wizard's enchantment on a stuffed animal gone horribly wrong. Debates have raged across the years over this beast. Skalds have engaged in death-defying poetic rhyming duels because of these disagreements. 
 
The clearest origin stories come from the locals of Copan Shire who claim that the beast is native to their lands. According to the locals, rendercoons were already there when the first halfling pirates settled the region.
   
She bit it back...
— Stefanos Vel-Barboza, Seskyalii alchemist
 
Ruins in the Copin Shire region, specifically in their western lands, have depictions of rendercoons etched into the walls and part of the tile artwork. This suggests that the beasts may have existed during the time of the Ancients and so might have a connection to the animals. A sizeable amount of them have been found in and around those ruins.
   
They became fast friends. She named it 'Chompers'...
— Stefanos Vel-Barboza, Seskyalii alchemist
 
Elder treants were consulted on these ruins and the perplexing origins of the rendercoon. However, those Elders had little to say on the topic. At least, nothing they were willing to admit to.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Well, I'll admit, nothing says 'hands on' like a raccoon with tentacles...
— Kavi ot’Maninga Sukir Arroweye, Orisnuc scoutmaster from KaraKorum
 
The omnivorous rendercoons, squid-like tentacles aside, are identical to the common raccoon. That is, if said raccoon was the size of a small mountain goat. It's been discussed that the mountain goat might have a better disposition. However, that last is still up for debate.
 
Yet, the fur patterns of a rendercoon follow a similar theme. The species is covered in brown or russet tinted fur with black fur on its hands and ears. They also have the legendary black and gray 'mask' fur pattern across its face. Only a rendercoon has much more to offer! Four tentacles grow out the beast's back, two on either side of its spine. These extra limbs are covered in a very fine fur, almost down-like. The tentacle fur shares the same color pattern as the body, only the tentacles are decorated with a series of black rings. The same is true for the rendercoon's raccoon-like tail.
 
Like their raccoon cousins, rendercoons have clawed fore and hind legs. The forefeet are every bit as nimble as one might fear as far as the average root cellar would go. Rendercoons don’t normally pick locks, but window latches are not entirely out of the question.
 
The beast's eyesight and hearing are sharp, but not astounding by any regard. It's their sense of smell and taste that set them apart. A rendercoon can take in scents over its tongue, allowing the beast to 'taste' the scent to better understand if the source of the smell is food. This allows them a greater ability to root out food in various environments, from the deep forests to the back of a pantry.
   
...and backpacks... bedrolls... and don't get me started on them stealing anything shiny...
— Stefanos Vel-Barboza, Seskyalii alchemist
 
Discussion of the rendercoon would be incomplete if tentacles were not addressed. These extra appendages allow the animals an amazing climbing ability and also make them adept at fishing. If threatened, they can use them in combat, lashing out with the end of the tentacles which have dozens of small, retractable barbs on the end. 
 
One of the more unique aspect of the rendercoon is the 'mist walking'. These creatures, when threatened or angry, can transport themselves over short distances provided there is enough fog in the area. If there isn't, the beasts can generate a thick fog for just these purposes. This can be quite frustrating to Rendercoon Ranchers trying to wrangle their "cats".
 
 

Wait, What? Cats?

 
Yes, cats. They call them 'cats'...
— Stefanos Vel-Barboza, Seskyalii alchemist
 
In Copan Shire, the nickname for rendercoons are 'cats'. This isn't to say there aren't regular cats around in the settlements. There are plenty of those which keep the local rat population low. However, the tone and diction for a rendercoon 'cat' is said with a rare mix of reverence, undercut with a small amount of frustration and disdain. Visitors to the region are warned to listen carefully to the tone to know the difference. 
 
The story behind why is murky and there are several variations depending on which settlement, or 'barco', a person finds themselves in. A consensus is that not long after establishing the first settlement, a rendercoon stole a set of Samakarii gemstones from a halfling pirate crew. Also, it liberated the pirate captain's dinner as well. A bit tipsy and into his cups of rum, the captain saw the rendercoon thief making its way back to the forest with its loot. The captain declared the "biggest thievin' cat he’d ever seen" had robbed them. 
 
However, the reason for the nickname could be the similarity in fur texture to the large cats found in the Samakar mountain and forest region.
 
 

Home on the Cat Range

 
Stories of Copan Shire "cat fur coats" bring to mind slaughter houses. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Many generations back, an enterprising Copan Shire halfling named Thalbin Hornwood discovered a little known secret to the rendercoons. Given the right situation, they shed. A lot.
 
Shed? It's like a 'fogbank of fur'...
— Stefanos Vel-Barboza, Seskyalii alchemist
 
In fact, after earning many scratches and some tentacle abuse, he managed to half-domesticate a small 'squad' of rendercoons. Then, when they shed, he sheared them like a sheep.
 
This relaxed the beasts and jump started an industry that grew into one Copan Shire’s more popular trade exports: rendercoon fur, such as a 'fine cat-hair coat'.
   
 

Family, Dens and 'Squads'

 
Rendercoons may be prickly, but they are social creatures. However, the term for a group is not a 'pack' or even a 'herd'. It would be a 'squad'. As it happens, the only thing more inventive than one rendercoon is a group from the same den. The beasts are not sapient. However, they have an eerie habit of working together to accomplish a goal. Especially when the goal is getting dinner from someone else.
 
Usually, a squad of rendercoons consists of two adult males and three adult females. This doesn't count the four to five pups that a den would hold.
rendercoon.png
120 pounds of teeth and claws in a 5 pound bag by CB Ash

Geographic Distribution
South Edoya, mainly the Copan Shire region
Lifespan
10-15 years
Average Weight
120–170 lbs
Average Length
nose to haunches length of 47–70 inches

A Tornado of Teeth and Claws

As the Rendercoon Ranchers would say: don't get lured in by a cute pair of fuzzy tentacles. Rendercoons, despite their mischief, have a mean streak that lingers as a dark glint behind those alluring tentacles and soulful eyes.
 
When cornered, threatened, or overcome by Mossmange Fever, these beasts do come out fighting anything near them. This is made even more dangerous due to their unpleasant bite. A rendercoon's teeth and jaws have a locking mechanism. This allows the beast to latch onto its favorite prey, the Wasp Spider. Once latched on, rendercoons rarely unlock their jaws until their prey stops struggling or the beast falls unconscious.
 
One angry rendercoon is dangerous enough. But facing two or even a whole squad is a 'different kettle of lavafish' as they say in Copan Shire. First is due to their frantic, claw and bite fighting style. It's a blur of deadly motion that would impress any martial master. Second would be the propensity for a squad to allow one or two members to be 'bait' and visible. They hiss and spit, causing quite the racket. Meanwhile, the rest of the rendercoon squad mist walks in from behind...

This really explains why Copan Shire halflings are so... erratic.
— Kavi ot’Maninga Sukir Arroweye, Orisnuc scoutmaster from KaraKorum


Cover image: by CB Ash

Comments

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2 Dec, 2020 13:37

If ever there was fluffy, cuddly ball of nightmare fuel, it is the tentacled, dire-racoon-like beast called a rendercoon.
  Bwhahahah, what an excellent way to st art an excellent a rticle! That's a fantastic funny starter :D   I wonder... Are there Dire Rendercoons? :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.   Current challenge article: Peculiar Plant - the Mind-Shadowed Lotus
2 Dec, 2020 13:40

Actually, there are rumors of Dire Rendercoons! Some say they might even challenge a troll! Thanks always for reading, Q!

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
2 Dec, 2020 15:01

I love that Rendercoons are also called "cats" in some regions- I'm sure this has lead to many confusing situations and rough surprises ^^

Feel free to check out my submission to the Peculiar Plant Challenge !
2 Dec, 2020 15:04

heh! And some horrified looks when someone starts raving about a "fine cat-hair coat"! :D

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
6 Dec, 2020 03:32

Oh thank you for the deep belly laugh. It was much needed. I love these odd-as-all-get-out rendercoons.

Author of the upcoming book Rise: Liminal Chronicles |
6 Dec, 2020 12:05

You're welcome! I have to admit, I've been coming back to re-read about this bizarre guys to give myself a good laugh, too! :D

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
13 Dec, 2020 02:23

So wonderfully weird with lots of good quotes. I want to meet the woman brave enough to bite a 120 lb tentacled racoon!

13 Dec, 2020 12:28

Ah, well you see, Captain Antea was having a little bit of a bad day at the time... then along came a rendercoon. Which, with rendercoons, is how so many stories start... "when along came a rendercoon..." :D

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
13 Dec, 2020 15:38

"don't get lured in by a cute pair of fuzzy tentacles" was my favorite line, and this was probably my favorite thing I've read this month. This article needs to be seen by way more people. So, so good!

13 Dec, 2020 15:53

Heh, thanks! I had an absolute ball writing it! :D

— The wolf of Tales of Justice, Creator of Legends of Elohey, Star Wars: Shards, Fiven Chronicles and more!