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Gryphon

Gryphons are powerful aerial predators, swooping down from their high aeries to take their prey with beak and talon. Aggressive and territorial, they are no mere beasts, but rather calculating combatants and loyal companions to those who earn their respect, fighting to the death to protect their friends and kin. Gryphon's are found largely in Mountainous terrains to the north, however have been known to find roosts in any territory with extreme elevation changes. Their thick pelts protect them almost entirely from even the coldest climates, and the frigid nights of Granvelt.   Weighing in at almost 1 ton and measuring 16 feet long from hooked beak to tufted tail, the Gryphon strikes an imposing silhouette that has long been used in heraldry and other iconography as a symbol of power, authority, and justice. In reality, the Gryphon is less concerned with abstract concepts than with hunting food and protecting its own. While Venosians have had excellent success taming Gryphons, and incorporating large Aeries into their culture and military, Gryphons have no inherent affinity for humanoids, and frequently come into bloody conflict with civilized races over their attempts to secure their favorite food—Horse and Goats. City folk may marvel at the trained Gryphon’s stately manner and 50-foot wingspan, but those farmers forced to share territory with its wild kin know to hurry home and secure their barns when the beasts’ hunting shrieks split the sky.   Gryphons mate for life, and will even recognize other creatures as part of their Aerie. They will often search for years to take vengeance over a slain or kidnapped family member, be it a mate, a child, or a human rider. It was likely this innate stubbornness and fierce loyalty that first brought them into domestic use as mounts and guardians.   Despite the inherent danger, Often times from Venos as much as Gryphons, trade in captured Gryphons and stolen eggs is brisk, with their eggs worth up to 3,500 gp apiece and live young twice that. Characters eager for Gryphon mounts, however, should note that buying or forcibly domesticating intelligent creatures like Gryphons is still recognized as slavery by most good deities, and winning a Gryphon’s allegiance of its own free will is no easy task. Reaching a mutually agreeable accord (or even a friendship) is a much more elegant and safe route to securing a Gryphon mount.   Before it can be ridden in combat, a Gryphon requires practice bearing a rider. In order to be trained successfully, a Gryphon must first be helpful toward its trainer (possibly requiring a Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Handle Animal check). After that, 6 weeks of practice and a successful DC 20 Handle Animal check is sufficient for the beast to be comfortable with a partner, and due to their intelligence, trained Gryphons can be treated as knowing every trick listed in the Handle Animal skill description, possibly even responding to new, simple requests made in a language it is well exposed to.   Gryphons can carry up to 1400 pounds as a light load, 2800 pounds as a medium load, and 4200 pounds as a heavy load. Riding a Gryphon requires no saddle, however specialized Exotic Saddles are made, that include locking mechanisms to ensure the Rider’s safety during extreme maneuvers.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

Quadrapedal creatures. They have the head, and legs of an Eagle in the front, with sharp fangs, and the body of a Lion behind, with a tail very similar to a Lion with large feathers extending out to either side.

Genetics and Reproduction

Mamalian reproduction process, with avian tendencies for child rearing.

Ecology and Habitats

Mountainous regions, but any region with extreme elevation changes will do.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Carnivorous primarily

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Largely in Northern Environments.

Average Intelligence

At full maturation, roughly young human child intelligence.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Extremely accute vision, with a secondary set of tranparent eyelids that protect against minor aerial debris. Keen hearing as well, especially in higher frequencies, used for basic communication with each other over extreme distances.

Before Venos domesticated them, Gryphons were their #1 reason for maintaining a Military Force. Gryphons would terrorize their livestock, and destroy farms in search for food.
Gryphons favorite meal is Goat, however Venosian Dire Mountain Goats are often times too large for them to carry, leading them to instead attack horses primarily.
Scientific Name
Griffin Magnificum
Origin/Ancestry
Unknown
Lifespan
50-60 years
Average Height
2.5-3.5 meters (8.2 feet-11.5 feet
Average Weight
1800-2200 lbs
Average Physique
Extremely muscular for an aerial creature, known for dense muscles, despite it's less than dense bone structure.
Each Aerie has it's own language. Skilled Riders may not be able to fully understand their Gryphons, but can often get a good approximation.

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