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War Hippo

Thunder echoed throughout the marshy plains. The goblins went about their business, assuming it only heralded a storm. Only Ergalak, the soothsayer of the tribe, took note of the lack of clouds in the sky. She sniffed the air, it was musty, but lacking the scent of rain, instead it had a different smell. Sweat, and blood. She quickly ran to blow the war horn, desperate to reach to the pedestal of the tribe. Her hand reached out, fingers grazing the horn, but she was too late.   The herd of war hippos charged through the palisade of the tribe. The Divine Knights sat gleaming atop the ferocious beasts in their barding of steel and regalia. The jaws of the hippos opened wide, each bite revealing the almost fifty centimeter long teeth. Ergalak blew the horn, only drawing attention to herself, as one of the Divine Knights directed his beast's attention to the goblin, she drew her blade.   The earth shaked with each step the hippos took, and Ergalak knew this was her end, she knew it since she heard the thunder. She dove towards the hippo, whose hide deflected each strike, it's barding almost redundant. The hippo snapped its jaw down onto Ergalak's arm, instantly breaking it. The hippo seemed to laugh with its snorts, it charged through Ergalak, she seemed to have already made peace with her fate.   The war hippos continued their destruction, and when the battle ended, only a single war hippo had fallen. Its ride ceremoniously cut off its head, to return it to the capital, where it would lay with its ancestors.  
The Divine Knight sat atop his mighty war hippo. Its tough hide covered in thick metal plates. The emblem of the god king resplendent in it glory on the hippo's armor. It's massive tusks magically fused with plated silver. Truly a force to be reckoned with.
    In the theocracy of Ziti-Orna War Hippos are bread for battle. Used exclusively by the Divine knights of the theocracy as a symbol of their position they are a terrible sight to behold. Though there have been few large scale wars in Ziti-Orna lately, the divine knights still ride through these beasts through the various cities of the country. It is almost impossible for anyone other than a Divine Knight to ride these creatures as it requires the god king's blessing and a magical spell known only to the order of his knights. The hippos are much too aggressive to lead much less ride without this spell to control them. As such, when someone is seen riding a war hippo the physical impressiveness is actually dwarfed by the symbolic power.   Built for crushing and ramming through enemies, war hippos sport massive and powerful jaws capable of ripping and shredding. While great for short bursts of energy these hippos make terrible long distance mounts and most knights will forgo them for camels. Unlike other knights who hold a strong personal connection with their mounts, the Divine knights hold no such attachment to these hippos. Their large sedentary nature combined with the fact that it is almost impossible to have them travel the long journey through the desert to the other cities causes the knights to use whatever hippos are available to them at their location. This has required each of the main cities to have breeding centers for the hippos.

Basic Information

Anatomy

War hippos are similar to normal hippos in structure and anatomy. The only real difference being the size. War hippos in general are much larger and heavier than their wild cousins. They have also been bread to have a reduced magic mental resistance so as to allow their riders to more easily control.

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

War hippos are found on the continent of Ziti-Orna.
Lifespan
30 years
Average Height
5 feet
Average Weight
4500lbs

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Cover image: Monsoon by Tianhua Xu

Comments

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Jul 8, 2019 15:56

I love this idea! I thought it was amazing how you managed to make them a "status" symbol in your world.   I was left wondering, however, how do Divine Knights manage to get hippos in every other city, since these war hippos have been bred specifically for this purpose? Does every city have a contingent of war hippos?

Jul 9, 2019 17:06

Yeah I was thinking that each city would have to have their own contingent of hippos. I'll have to make that more clear. Sounds like I can also make a new article about a new job haha The person who has to breed the hippos.

Jul 9, 2019 11:10 by Dimitris Havlidis

Holy crap, war hippos... that's some very angry tonnes of meat coming towards you!

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Jul 9, 2019 17:10

I got the idea from my last dnd campaign where one of my players had a hippo mount and basically tore through a horde of zombies.