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Bahar

The Favored Mount of the Chisisi


In their language, this bony creature is called the Bahar. Sensing the vibrations of movement, it is hostile to approachers- particularly during mating season. But one should beware its quick temper particularly as it first wakens, as they have no eyes and only primitive ears with which to perceive the world at first; should you find yourself on the bad side of a Bahar, patience is a virtue- awaiting just the right moment to strike at its soft underbelly. Should it curl into a ball, however, hope for a swift kill is lost.
Flora and Fauna of the Greater Chisisi Region
  Based on significant data discovered in the Tolaran fossil records, Bahar are potentially one of the oldest native species on the continent. Two species in the family have so far been identified by Explorers and Biologists- both of which are found almost exclusively in the Chisisi Desert o Tolara; the first, Common Bahar, are found in the sandy regions of the Chisisi Desert, and as far north and east as Rasha-Ui. The second, however, is strongly issolated to the Gahiji Mountains in the south of the region.   Since their inhabitation of the region, both types of Bahar have been extensively domesticated by the Ilerian and Enethian Humans, who use them as their preferred terrestrial mounts due to their size and speed. Despite their extensive domestication by these groups, however, wild Bahar are still plentiful throughout their native regions- encouraging desert dwellers to develop traditions that include capturing and taming one as one of many rites of passage.

Anatomy & Appearance

  Bahar have seven pairs of jointed legs sittuated along a semi-flat body, with a bony hammer shaped head, and a long, barbed tail-like spine at its end.   Their body is a basic segmented dorsoventral body type (being longer than they are tall). The body plan consists of a head, and an eight segmented thorax covered covered with a barbed, plated exoskeleton made of Chiton; these overlapping, articulated plates provide Bahar with moderate protection- similar to other Isopods types found throughout Saleh'Alire; their under abdomen has six segments instead, and the plating is much thinner and more flexible, making it far more susceptible to attacks.   As a segmented insectoid related to Woodlice, they are capable of rolling into a ball when disturbed, attacked, or frightened. When rolling into a ball in this manner, a Bahar leaves no gap between the bony external plates that coat the exterior of its body; this is a defence mechanism meant to protect themselves, and their soft, unarmored underbelly, from predators- though they have few in the wild.   The Bahar must progressively shed this exoskeletal plating as it grows- moulting in stages, with the back half of its exoskeleton shed first, followed a week later by the front half. While moulting could go on indefinitely, suggesting that Bahar could technically be immortal (or close to it), the process is so energy intensive that many Bahar eventually break down and weaken- typically reaching a length of 8 feet (244 cm), and a height averaging 4 to 6 feet (122 to 183 cm) before their death.  

Coloration & Markings

  Being desert creatures, Bahar are typically sandy in oclor- ranging from a tawny or taupe, to deep oranges, browns, and reds. Typically the most common type of Bahar may be slightly speckled, but otherwise have no markings. A second type issolated to the Gahiji Mountains, however, occasionally has colored banding- allowing it to blend in better with the striped rock in their region.
Status
Semi-Domesticated   Conservation Status
Stable, uncommon   Classification
Isopod   Related to
  • Woodlice
  • Pill Bugs
  Geographic Distribution
Average Lifespan
50 to 100 years

Average Height
4 to 6 ft
122 to 183 cm   Average Length
7 to 9 ft
213 to 275 cm   Average Weight
500 to 800 lb
227 to 400 kg

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Cover image: Animal Fur by Tim Foster

Comments

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19 Dec, 2020 06:50

Excellent flavor texts. Nice article and description of wild and domestic.

19 Dec, 2020 07:15

Thank you, love <3 Glad you enjoyed!

2 Jan, 2021 01:36

I love these guys! I want one! I have a soft spot for isopods... even giant ones. I like that you describe both the behaviour of wild bahar and also their domestication. I enjoy the image of a giant ball of spooked bahar more than I should.

2 Jan, 2021 01:46

One of my players said they wanted me to write about fish, the other wanted something lizardy. My brain went "graboids from tremors" and "the Krolusks from WoW" for some reason... And these cuties are the result.   my players have taken to calling them "Himbo Bugs" because I once described them as being "cute but dumb as rocks". I regret my choices, lol. But I'm glad you love them!

2 Jan, 2021 02:07

Himbo bugs!! Ha, I love it.