Angin's Giant Lizard
The caravan slowly made its way across the burning sands and away from Firethorne. Each massive reptile trod heavily but surely over the shifting dunes, laden with goods or passengers. The leading lizard, ridden by the caravan's guide, was the largest of all and the alpha of its pack. The others followed obediently, now and then bending their scaly necks down to catch a passing scorpion or cobra.
Angin's Giant Lizards are native to the deserts of Eruth and Crisel. They are massive, standing up to six feet tall on thick, sturdy legs ending in massive clawed feet. Each toe is splayed wide to better distribute the lizard's weight and keep it from sinking into loose sand. From snout to tail, an average giant lizard is about ten feet long if male and twelve if female. Their tails are thick and heavy and can be used as a bludgeoning weapon. Angin's Giant Lizards are carnivorous, and prey mostly on smaller reptiles and desert insects that inhabit the dunes they call home. They are opportunistic hunters, however, and will go for larger prey that seems easy to catch and take down such as camels or wounded birds. Folk should be wary of wild lizards as they present a large threat to livestock and to folk themselves.
Angin's Giant Lizards live in packs of up to ten individuals. Each pack is led by an alpha, determined through fighting between adults until a victor emerges. Once the alpha has established dominance, the pack works as a tight and cohesive unit, following commands without hesitation even at the risk of injury. This behavior makes it possible to control an entire pack of lizards simply by taming or subduing its alpha.
Angin's Giant Lizards are well adapted to desert life. They are active mainly at night and in the early morning, resting when the sun nears its zenith to conserve energy in the burning heat. The lizards build stores of fat reserves in specialized cells along their sides, allowing them to survive for days without proper food. They have also minimized water loss through a thick skin beneath their scales and utilize nearly every drop they obtain to its fullest potential.
Because of these lizards' ability to survive in the harsh conditions of the desert and their pack behavior, many desert folk have utilized them as pack and transport animals. Massive caravans, sometimes with twenty to thirty lizards, make near constant trips between desert settlements, carrying supplies, goods, and passengers. The lizards can be brought up to be quite docile, and many settlements have maintained domestic packs of the creatures for use in transport. They are also excellent in case of attack, as the lizards naturally defend themselves at the alpha's command and can be directed by a handler to defend their cargo as well.