Baagogai Species in Samthô | World Anvil
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General introduction

The baagogai is a dreaded predator of which several subspecies live in mountainous or forested areas of the continents Mentzuul and Sheshane. It is a bipedal mammal that is a surprisingly good climber and makes natural caves and crevasses in the mountain sides and glaciers its home. One subspecies of baagogai from Sheshane has adapted to life in forests and makes hollow or fallen trees its lair. They are even more skilful climbers in the trees than their mountain dwelling brethren.

Appearance and distribution

There are four subspecies of baagogai, one of which lives only in the very centre of Mentzuul in the Ul Too mountains which are considered sacred by the Olmosot and the Nguk alike. The Ul Too subspecies is of medium height - for a baagogai species - and reaches a height of 2.1 to 2.3 metres standing up. Its fur is thick and snow white to blend into its environment and to be protected from the harsh, cold winds in the mountains. It is also a very bulky beast, as it often hunts goats and maasut in the steep mountains and the bulk helps it to better buffer the stresses from the frequent falls that occur during hunting.
The second subspecies of baagogai from Mentzuul are the much larger giant baagogai, which reach up to 2.3 to 2.5 metres in height. They live in all the mountain ranges of the western part of Mentzuul. Individuals from the north are covered with thick white fur with some grey patches and spots, but the further you go south, the more greyish the fur becomes.
In Sheshane, there is a north-western subspecies and a southern subspecies. The northern subspecies is similar to the giant baagogai of Mentzuul and reaches comparable heights. It has an off-white fur that helps it staying hidden while ambush hunting goats and kariyuna. The further down the west coast you go, the more brown the fur becomes.
The baagogai in the very south are the smallest, standing only 1.9 to 2.2 metres tall. They are reddish brown, brown or blackish brown in colour and have patchy, shaggy fur hanging down in lose strands.
All baagogai are almost completely covered in fur, except parts of the face and the palms and undersides of the feet. Their skin colour ranges considerably, even within subspecies. It can be pale, grey or black or fleshy pink.


Baagogai are ferocious hunters and make animals like goats, maasut kariuna or gobak their prey. They are rather bulky ambush predators and either sneak up to potential prey or lay in wait close to more frequented animal crossings. Only in very rare cases do they attack prey larger than themselves with gobak being the only common exception. Being very strong the baagogai emerge from their hiding spot and overwhelm their victims with their sheer strength, pummeling them with their big paws and cutting them with their claws. Once the prey animal is destabilised and subdued, the baagogai deals the death stroke by biting through the throat or breaking the neck or skull.
Due to the scarcity of food sources, baagogai spend most of their time solitarily, although in rare cases they live in pairs. The wood dwelling subspecies is an exception, since it lives in a richer environment. They sometimes live in pairs or loose mobs of up to 5 or 6 individuals. The giant baagogai which live further north on the west coast of Mentzuul are the only ones to sometimes venture out of the mountains and down to the nearby coast where they hunt gobak. The giant baagogai further to the south stay only in the mountains like all the others. The only notable exception are the forest dwelling subspecies of southern Sheshane which live on forested mountains as well as forests in the lowland. They are never seen outside of the forests and shun swamps or open grassland.

Behaviour, cultural role and use

Solitarily living baagogai, pairs and mobs all are very territorial beasts. They mark their territories with smell marks, so Men, Len and most Joun have difficulties staying out of potentially dangerous areas. Some Joun and Luak are sufficiently smell sensitive to notice the marks left by the baagogai. The main purpose of those marks is communication with other baagogai, though. When it's time to mate - and they are solitarily living - male as well as female baagogai wander about the frontiers of their territories or sometimes venture into neighbouring territories to catch the smell of and meet potential mates. Pairs mate with each other or might mate with an external individual, should they be in heat and separated from their partner to hunt or perform border patrol.
Baagogai mate during the autumn and are pregnant during the winter. The cubs, of which they have one or two, are born late in spring or early in summer. When food sources are rather scarce during the winter and a female doesn't find enough food to sustain the embryos growth, a special adaption comes into play. Other than all other mammals, the embryo can actually go into hibernation independently from the mother and be kept alive in a state of suspended animation. When more calories are available, the embryo will continue to grow as usual. Baagogai don't hibernate, but instead go into a winter rest sometimes. This is especially true for the Ul Too subspecies, as they have to deal with a harsh continental climate. Some of them have hiding spots for food in holes in the ground or snow.
Baagogai display a certain degree of intelligence. They can use objects they find as tool but can't craft tools themselves or refine objects they use. So they are limited to sticks and stones which they throw at prey animals or stones to crack open bones to reach the nutritious bone marrow. When facing more pugnacious prey or other predators, they sometimes throw dirt or snow in an attempt to blind them. In fights among each other or against other predators they also often defecate and throw feces at their adversaries.
Baagogai are a source of fear and reverence alike. In fact most societies fear them and keep clear of them. The Olmosot and the Nguk are two nomadic peoples, who travel to the Ul Too mountains regularly to conduct rituals. While the Nguk see the baagogai as a malicious spirit of the mountains trying to interfere with their religious activities and thus serving as an adversary to the spirits they revere, for the Olmosot the baagogai are a manifestation of the spirit of the mountain that seizes the sacrifices it deserves when it hunts members of the envoys to the mountains. This might be because the Olmosot come from the north where there are no baagogai, so the activities in the Ul Too mountains are the only situation in which they encounter these animals, thus percieving them as limited to these mountains. There are different kinds of rituals which are performed to somewhat deal with the baagogai and to minimise the danger they might pose. On Sheshane, the northwestern subspecies is very elusive and is also regarded more a myth than reality. They are sometimes called paharkee mahanab - man of the mountain - due to their upright stance and bipedal walking. The southern, wood dwelling subspecies is less mystified as people get into far more contact with it. They are clearly seen as an animal, but they are nonetheless feared and shunned. Some societies there see them as a cursed animal or one that was put into existence by a malicious god or spirit, one society even thinks that they were humans once, but got cursed and turned into animals.
Unsurprisingly baagogai can not be tamed. They also can't be formed a bond with. In very rare occasions some measures can be taken to reduce the aggressiveness of the baagogai, so it's slightly more safe to venture into their territories. These measures can be of physical as well as of a ritualistic or spiritual kind.


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31 Jan, 2022 18:54

I love how much detail has gone into this creature. You've covered their behavior, reproduction, hunting methods, even how other species interact (or try not to)... This reads like an encyclopedia entry, and I'm here for it. This is a great example to work from when creating any sort of creature. :)

5 Feb, 2022 21:20

Thanks a lot! I'm happy you like it. :)   I am still deep in the building phase and so my articles are very encyclopedic. Hope one day I'll become a storyteller, but for now I build this catalogue from which I can draw material.

My world is Samthô - a 'as realistic as possible' fantasy-world, that's still in its childhood stage.
A current addition to Samthô is my contribution to the rivers ant waterways challenge: Paunis