Anthelian Species in Harmony | World Anvil

Anthelian

Anthelians are a burrowing monstrosities that dwell underground. Due to undergoing extreme metamorphosis at different stages in their lives, as well as many external conditions factoring in on their metamorphosing process, anthelians vary wildly in shape and size.

Description


Though each individual anthelian is very different from the next, they all have some common denominators. Groups of individuals living in the same conditions for prolonged period of times also develop similarly enough to be put into a certain category. The most commonly used categories are eggs, critters, warbeasts, and colossi. Common features shared by nearly all groups of anthelians (except eggs) are dark skin/scale color, having at least six appendages, red or yellow eyes that give them excellent vision in the dark, being skilled at burrowing, and a finely attuned tremorsense allowing them to detect and precisely locate vibrations in the ground.

Eggs

Anthelian eggs is the only group every anthelian is guaranteed to be a part of. The eggs are round in shape with the average being around 15 centimetres in diameter. They have two layers of shells, with the inner layer being about 2 centimetres thick with a smooth surface. The outer layer is pitted, creating an uneven exoskeleton around the inner layer, and is about a centimetre thick on its high spots, and can be as little as 2 millimetres thick on the low spots. Both shells are very hard in order to withstand rockslides, quakes, and predators. The eggs' colors vary from white to light grays, but can also appear brownish and black when laid in areas with volcanic activity. The contents of the egg, before an anthelian is fully developed inside, is a pink goo.

Critters

The anthelian critter is the second most common group of anthelians, after eggs. Most anthelians start out their lives as a critter after hatching, and will within 2 weeks grow from an average of 12 centimetres in length to an average of 60 centimetres in length. They have six legs that ends in a point that are used for burrowing, though at this stage in their lives they are unable to burrow through stone, unlike the larger variants of anthelian. They have two thorn-like pincers that are used to grapple their prey. Their dark gray skin has small details of crimson red that is only slightly visible through the cracks of their lighter gray scales.

Warbeast

The anthelian warbeasts gained their name for having been used as beasts of burden and war by goblins. It is assumed that the goblins in some way trigger the metamorphosis process to turn these anthelians from old critters to warbeasts, and that more than one of these processes takes place before the beast is in its final form, as their shape and size is wastly different from that of a critter.

The warbeast is on average two and a half metres tall from the tips of their legs to the top of their backs. It has six legs, each with three joints, used for burrowing. The two front legs are also used for attacking prey. Their skin is dark gray, rough, and extremely hard and sturdy. They have light gray scales covering only the tips of their legs. On top of their heads are two horns, one larger horn averaging at 45 centimetres in front of a smaller horn about one third the size of the larger. They have four yellow eyes that emit a small amount of light, and a mouth that is unable to ever fully close due to 24 evenly sized fangs protruding from the jaws.

Colossus

The anthelian colossus, often called the war colossus, and sometimes called a rock lobster, is assumed to either be an anomalous evolution of in the metamorphosis process that is used to create a warbeast, or to be the next step in that process. Evidence to back this up is that they share same mouth features, have the same horn formations on their heads, and the colossus has free-rotating pincers in the same place where the warbeast would have an extra set of eyes.

The colossus is generally considered huge, with the smallest individuals being slightly larger than a warbeast, and the larger ones standing around four metres tall. They are also significantly longer at this stage as they have developed tails and can now measure up to seven metres long. Their lengths appear somewhat shorter, though, as the colossi stand more upright, raising their heads, front appendages, and front body upwards. When standing upright in this way, they may reach heights of up to five and a half metres.

This group of anthelians have developed an extra pair of appendages, having eight in total, and instead of having pointy ends, these two have pincers. They have also formed an extra layer of protection from their previous stages. They now have a light gray skin covered with protective dark gray scales, and their scales are covered with dark brown, thorny chitin plates.

Combat


The tactics of anthelians are as varied as they are. What they have in common is that they mostly act on instinct, and will use whatever features they currently have to take down their prey.

Critter tactics

The anthelian critters usually attacks prey smaller than them, such as rats. They will burrow into sand or soil and wait for vibrations to occurs, at which point they will gauge the size of their prey. They will then leap up from the ground to try and immobilize their prey with their pincers, and will immediately start eating whatever they have caught. While biting down in this way, their inner skin is usually exposed between the scales on their necks, making them easy prey for larger creatures.

Though usually ignoring creatures lager than them passing through, they will attack if their eggs are threatened. All critters that detect the threat will join in on swarming it, with each of them biting down with their pincers. According to Torp Weltseele, a swarm of 15 critters can strip a cow to its bare bones within a minute.

Warbeast tactics

The anthelian warbeasts, if not rightly tamed by them, share a special relationship with goblins. They are often used by them to make new tunnels, haul equipment, and are ridden by hobgoblin leaders as war mounts. As mounts, they usually attack using their front legs, slamming down and crushing their prey. In open spaces when not mounted, they will charge their prey with their horns in an attempt to either pierce them or at least knock them prone.

When not utilized by goblins, the warbeasts will initially use similar tactics to the critters. They can now burrow into stone as well as sand and soil, and will go just beneath the surface and wait for vibrations to occur. On smaller prey they will leap up and slam with their front legs before immediately biting down on them. The warbeasts differ from the critters, however, in that they will attempt to attack creatures much larger than them. When a large creature enters the range of the warbeast's tremorsense, the anthelian will wait for the creature to pass them by before charging at them, horns first, from their back.

Colossus tactics

Though the colossi also share a relationship with the goblins, their connection is somewhat weaker. A colossus will simply ignore any lesser goblinoid in its path, resulting in a lot of goblins being stomped to death when the beast moves along with a horde. It is often observed by Reavers in northern Gorlovoye that the first three to four creatures to break surface when a goblin horde emerges from underground are war colossi, implying that they are essential for digging the vast network of goblin tunnels.

A colossus has a vast arrangement of offensive capabilities and will use them all when taking out prey. They will attempt to grab and pierce any smaller creature with the pincers on their forelegs(-arms), and will continuously stab these grappled prey with with their free-rotating pincer jaws. Any creature moving into range of the beast while both its claws are occupied will be viciously stomped by its legs, or slammed by its massive tail. When facing a large number of enemies it will attempt to spray them with a seemingly acidic, green liquid coming from its mouth. Most living organic matters coming in contact with this liquid is turned into a porous kind of rock-like material. Other anthelians are not affected by this.

While waiting for prey underground, being the fastest burrowers of the known anthelian groups, the colossi do not wait for creatures to come close before attacking. Almost immediately after sensing a creature smaller than them with their tremorsense, they will practically swim through stone at full speed, not emerging to attack before being close within range to their prey. Their means of attack is determined by their relative direction to their prey. When attacking from the sides the anthelian will use its horns to gore, when attacking from below it will use its jaw pincers, and when coming from above it will use its forelegs(-arms).

The head of an Anthelian critter as illustrated by an unnamed magister of the Archonate in the late GE-era. The shape of this drawing has given the critters an unfortunate nickname among the people of Gardelinden.

Articles under Anthelian


Comments

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Jan 10, 2023 06:12

Interesting creature with a fascinating lifecycle and use by Goblins.

Jan 10, 2023 07:09

I see this article is sorely in need of some touch-ups, but I am glad you found it fascinating nonetheless. Thanks!


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