chimeras Species in Scarterra | World Anvil


Chimera are one of the most well-known non-humanoid mortals that survived from the the First Age all the way to the Feudal era of the Third Age.

Basic Information


Chimera are best known for their unusual anatomy. Each chimera has four powerful legs, a live snake for a tail, and three powerful heads.   Chimera get bigger and stronger as they get older though their growth slow down a lot after age fifty and stops altogether early in their third century.   Males and females of the same age are roughly the same size.

Growth Rate & Stages

Chimera can live up to five centuries or more, but very few chimera live long enough to die of old age. They fight with humanoids, they fight with other predators. Male and female chimera alike will fight each other for mates or territory. Given the remote barren places chimera live, they often risk dying of starvation.   Chimera females are typically fertile from age 50 to 350. Males are fertile from 70 to 450. Females lay clutches of typically two to five eggs. If food and mates are readily available a female chimera can lay a clutch of eggs as often as once per three years, though once per decade is a more common timetable. Clutches of eggs range from 2 to 6 with three being the norm.   Chimera hatchlings drink their mother's milk for roughly five years before they are weaned and switch to solid food. Primarily they eat regurgitation from their parent's, but young chimera gradually begin experimentally hunting small game on thier own at this age.   It is possible for a chimera in a food rich environment to support two separate clutches of hatchlings ten years apart but very few chimera parents attempt to do so.   When chimera are first hatched they have fairly amorphous and undetermined heads and remain so roughly for their first ten years or so, then the heads will gradually begin taking their adult form, finishing their transformation around age twenty-five, at which point a young chimera is not fully grown but is more than capable of surviving unaided so they are normally kicked out of the nest at this point.   A young chimera's heads will develop along the lines on whatever the dominant animals of the local area are. If two lion-headed chimera fly to a different land where tigers are the main land predator, and has offspring there, the chimera's children will probably have tiger heads.

Ecology and Habitats

Chimeras can theoretically survive almost anywhere, but since they don't along well with humanoids, they tend to be found in wild remote places where humanoids seldom venture.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Chimeras are omnivores with a preference for meat.   Chimera are primarily hunters by nature, and they prefer fresh meat above all other food sources, but chimeras require a lot of calories to function, so they are usually hungry.   By neccessity, chimeras are opportunistic feeders regularly eating carrion, various plants, and fish, whatever they can find. Chimera will regularly graze via their heribivore head and during periods of serious scarcity will graze via their dragon head. Sometimes, chimera will even catch small rodents with their snake tails.   Their constitution and powerful teeth allow them to chew and digest almost any non-poisonous plant. Their stomachs are capable of digesting even old rotten meat and their teeth lets them crush and swallow bones or crunch on hard shells.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Most chimera are loners. Chimera usually split shortly after mating, but sometimes mated couples stay together.   About two-thirds of the time, female chimera are the sole caretakers of hatchlings, but one third of the time the father will help look after the young. Offspring are sent away once they are able to fully fend for themselves.   On rare occasions, young chimera adults of the same sex will form plutonic duos for mutual survival and friendship.


Chimera are fully mortal and thus cannot become domesticated, but they can (with difficulty) be taught to obey non-chimera masters.   For most of the First Age, a majority of chimera were low level thurekal of the dragon kings and queens.   It was and is not unheard of for chimera to serve non-chimera in the the Second Age and the Third Age, but very rare and never a long-term arrangement.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Chimera corpses can be turned into reagents but it is difficult. Under ideal circumstances, a freshly slain chimera can be converted into about 1000 drams of reagents.   Chimera hides can be tanned into leather which function as durable reagents. Typically about 400 drams worth with an adult chimera.   Chimera teeth can be made into spear points or the spikes of clubs and other weapons. Potentially worth 100 drams of durable reagents but mostly used as trophies for high status weapons.   If a trained alchemist has access to a freshly slain chimera, they can pull up to 500 drams of reagents from a chimera's blood, but a chimera's blood is more or less unuseable after 48 hours.   Venom can be harvested from a chimera's snake tail, but this venom is not seriously different from harvesting the venom of an ordinary snake.   Chimera flesh is edible once cooked, but not particularly palatable.

Facial characteristics

Chimera have three primary heads, one of the three heads is always a dragon. The other two vary.   In East Colassia, these are commonly a lion head and a wildebeast or zebra or buffalo.   In West Colassia, these are commonly a bear and a mountain goat.   In Penarchia, these are commonly a tiger and a gaur.   In Umera, these are commonly a tiger and a yak.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Chimera can be found in any remote location with ample prey. Chimera can fly and can and sometimes do migrate very long distances.   The largest and healthiest populations of chimeras are found in West Colassia and Penarchia.

Average Intelligence

These three headed beasts are fully mortal and sapient but tend to be dull-witted compared to other mortals. The wisest and brightest chimeras have intelligence and reasoning power comparable to average humans.   That said, it is unfair to call chimera dumb. Their instincts for survival are great and their sensory acuity is unsurpassed by other large creatures.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Kovenoth AI Headshot by me with Midjourney
Gorisonad the Wise, scholarly dragon
It is said that chimera have three heads and less than one functional brain between them. While it is true that chimera are not great at higher level abstract, they are far from dumb. They have multiple functional brains, but the bulk of their grey matter is focused towards the task of collecting and interpreting sensory data.
  A chimera technically has four heads, counting the little one on their snake tail. Despite what some bards' stories suggest about chimera heads quarreling among themselves, the four heads work in sync well.   A chimera's dragon-head does not have the sensory acuity of a full dragon, but they more than make up for this with the other heads.   Chimera can use the eyes, ears, and noses and in the case of the dragon and snake heads, tongues of their various heads to create an excellent sensory map of their surrounding area.   It is possible although difficult to sneak up on a sleeping chimera but an awake and alert chimera cannot be sneaked up. With their sensory prowess even the mightiest illusion magic is barely a mild inconvenience. Even dragons cannot do this (unless they cast a divination spell of course).

Civilization and Culture

Major Language Groups and Dialects

All chimera is born knowing the Draconic language, though their form of the language is much cruder than dragons and other Draconic speakers.   A newborn chimera will develop its innate language skills for at least a few months. They will repeat a nonsense word several times at infancy that is unique to them and this will become the chimera's name.   Chimera will speak through all three of their heads but their dragon heads are the most articulate and precise whereas the other heads are not able to ennunciate as well (but their voices carry much farther).

Common Etiquette Rules

"We so called 'barbarians' are more polite than 'civilized' men because a civilized man can insult someone and then hide behind their laws but if you insult a barbarian, he will try to kill you.   Predators are even more polite than barbarians.   Chimera who meet by chance will circle each other and size each other up. If one is clearly stronger than the other, one will bow its heads in submission.   If two chimera are equal, they will lock eyes and either mutually withdraw, agree to a temporary truce, or intiate a fight for dominance, all with very little speaking if any.   Chimera are less likely to tolerate another of the same sex in their territory than one of the opposite sex, for obvious reasons. That said chimera mating rituals still involve a lot of fighting."   -Dabub, orc hunter

Culture and Cultural Heritage

"Zivid has three heads and a living tail. The gods have nine heads and thousands of tails.   Some chimera pray to the gods and claim this gives them strength. Others say the gods don't listen so chimera should not pray to them.   Zivid not sure if godheads listen, but Zivid prays anyway, just in case. Names of the heads not important. If they are gods, they will answer to any name."   -Zivid, chimera

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Chimera are loners at heart, but they do have one outlet for (relatively) peaceful interaction.   Roughly every five years, each region populated by chimera has a "Gather".   Non-chimera have yet to figure out how chimera organize this as, without any visible trigger, chimera for well over a thousand mile radius will feel a compulsion to fly to the same area. The only unifying factor that non-chimera have deduced to a Gather is that Gathers occur during years with above average hunting opportunities.   Chimera tell stories, boast, show off for potential mates, and share what little news is relevant to the chimera as a whole. After a few days, they disperse, and only a tiny number of the attendees are slain by in-fighting.   It is suicide for a non-chimera to crash a Gather, but outsiders have figured out Gathers exist by studying chimera migrations. Also, a few canny spell-casters have managed to scry on them from a distance.


Early History

by Eron12 with Hero Forge
-Carcelli, Arcane Priestess
"There are alternate stories about the genesis of chimeras but the most commonly accepted lore is that Greymoria the Dark Mother fused the essence of different creature types together with powerful arcane energies early in the the First Age. Presumably, Dark Mother’s intention was to send them into battle to weaken the dragons. This did not go as planned.
  Well before the end of the the First Age, almost every chimera bowed in submission to one or more dragons, becoming thurekal. The chimeras generally offered their services to the highest bidder and served as scouts and outriders in many dragon armies. The chimeras were usually paid with livestock. They still often fought dragons, but now they fought dragons at the behest of other dragons. They also fought other chimeras on behalf of their competing dragon masters.   Some legends say Greymoria punished the chimera race for shirking their original divine mandate by stripping their intelligence down to the barely sapient level it’s at today, but if you ask a dragon about this story she will probably laugh and say, “Maybe the chimera were always weak minded fools!” Bringing this up to a modern chimera is a good way to provoke an immediate attack...not that one should be making a habit of chatting with chimeras."

The First Unmaking

by Eron12 with Hero Forge
-Akeem of Magicland, Professor Emeritus Of History
Even before the elementals started swarming, many chimeras were deserting their dragon masters as the dragon nations became less and less stable. By the time the First Unmaking was fully underway, nearly every chimera abandoned their status as thurekal in order to survive on their own.
  Many chimeras died during the First Unmaking, but chimera took proportionally fewer losses than most other mortals, including the dragons. Chimera are fast, strong, mobile, and adaptable. Their only real possessions were livestock, and livestock are fairly mobile. In some cases they were able to preserve their herds or retained enough lore on herding to establish new herds after the Unmaking was over.

The Second Age

"At the dawn of the Second Age, a few chimera clashed with the surviving dragons and emerging elves, but for the most part the chimera claimed territory that few others particularly wanted. Chimera living in cold climates were especially likely to be left in peace.   Without proper thumbs, their ability to construct tools and buildings was limited, but they were able to make some crude stockades and other simple structures made from stacked logs. The chimera established chiefdoms based around simple pastoral societies and herding.   Historians have no way of knowing if these ancient chiefdoms were matriarchal, patriarchal or egalitarian. Based on the behavior of modern chimeras, we can surmise these chiefdoms were ruled over by the biggest and strongest chimera bullying at most two dozen other chimera into following his or her lead, regardless of sex.   Chimera and elves never got along well but they didn't fight a whole lot because chimera tended to thrive in areas that our ancient elven ancestors had minimal interest in settling. Eventually as the population of Second Age elves expanded, elves did begin encroaching on chimera territory and some of the chimera chiefdoms were displaced by elves towards the end of the the Second Age but a silm majority of the chimera chiefdoms survived until the Second Unmaking."   -Tarsynora Craroris, grey elf historian

The Second Unmaking and Red Era

Many chimera died during the Second Unmaking but once again they took proportionally fewer losses than most other mortal races, including the dominant elves and our ancient dwarven ancestors.   Enough chimera survived the Second Unmaking with clear memories of their lost chiefdoms that these chiefdoms were quickly established anew in the Red Era of the the Third Age.   We dwarves then as now, made a point to avoid provoking chimeras. We have enough enemies as is, but other Scarterrans are less prone to leave these beasts in peace. The ancient elves and dwarves of the the Second Age had very few among them who sought a nomadic barbarian lifestyle, but Third Age mortals seem to gravitate towards this lifestyle.   Chimera often clashed with human and orc nomads. It quickly became impossible for chimera to properly maintain their small chiefdoms in the face of large tribes of humans, orcs, and others.   Fierce competition forced the surviving chimera to live primarily as solo hunters or very small family bands making them simulataneously less organized and more dangerous.   -Harren Greystone , Royal Historian Of Meckelorn

The Feudal Era

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-Fremiss the Vibrant, dragon
"The Feudal Era of the Third Age has not been kind to the chimera race. The wild areas of Scarterra are rather crowded with nomadic barbarians and assorted monsters that the chimeras have to compete with for good hunting grounds.   The chimera chiefdoms of yesteryear are long gone, but chimeras still tell tales about these past chiefdoms and over the centuries, these tales have become exaggerated and embellished until they became grandiose utopias.   The chimera speak of glorious ancient "Glorious Chimera Kingdoms" that never really existed, and they hold much resentment over the humanoids who destroyed them, especially humans and orcs. This has pushed chimera to be more aggressive and vengeful towards humanoids.   While the chimeras have killed many humanoids and continue to do so, they have suffered proportionally greater losses. With too many enemies to fight and an inherently slow rate of reproduction, the chimeras are slowly sliding to extinction with each century seeing more chimeras die than chimeras are born.   It is possible that we dragons could save the chimera from extinction if we resumed our thurekal relationships of old, but we can't help them if they don't allow us to help them.   Just as their flawed oral history grossly exaggerated the grandeur of their ancient chiefdoms, their flawed oral history grossly exaggerated the mistreatment they received at the claws of dragons. If a chimera encounters a dragon, they will fight or flee, never talk."

The Future

"Twice, the world was Unmade by callous gods and foolish mortals and each time the chimera survived and emerged stronger.   Zivid looks forward to Third Unmaking."   -Zivid, chimera

Common Myths and Legends

"Long ago, our grandparents' grandparents had mighty kingdoms with huge structures and vast herds. Hundreds of chimera grew fat and strong under mighty and clever kings and queens.   Till the day when encroaching hordes of two-legger stole killed the kings and queen, stole their land and butchered their herds.   The two-leggers will pay. Kill them when you can, avoid them when you can't"   Zirvid, Chimera

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Chimeras can eat almost anything but they will usually feed on beasts before they feed on mrotal flesh.   Chimera will not hesitate to eat mortal flesh for moral reasons, but they do realize that humanoid mortals often have friends or family that will try to avenge them. Thus, chimeras will generally only hunt mortals for food if they are desperate or especially vengeful.   If a chimera kills a mortal in self-defense, it will not hesitate to eat them afterwards. Waste not, want not.
Adolescent Chimera Stats   Willpower 5 Lethal Soak 6   Dexterity 3, Strength 7, Stamina 6, Appearance 1, Charisma 1, Manipulation 1, Intelligence 1, Perception 3, Wits 3   Abilities: Alertness 3, Animal Ken 3, Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Dodge 2, Intimidation 2, Stealth 3, Survival (tracking+1) 3   Multi-Heads: Chimera can take three physical actions a turn without penalty. Head Attacks: Dragon and Cougar head bite for 9 dice lethal. Head Butt for 9 dice bashing,   Breath Weapon: Stamina damage in either 20 foot cone or 40 foot line. They can use their breath weapon as often as once every four rounds.   Wings: Chimera can fly.   Large Target: Difficulties to hit Chimera are -1   Viper Tail: Not all chimera have a viper tail. Vipers can bite at targets behind the Chimera at a -2 die penalty. They inflict five dice of lethal damage with follow up three levels of poison, resisted by Stamina difficulty 7.   Health: OK, OK, OK, OK, -1, -1, -3, -3, -5, Incap     Typical Adult Chimera Stats     Willpower 6 Lethal Soak 7   Dexterity 3, Strength 9, Stamina 7, Appearance 1, Charisma 1, Manipulation 1, Intelligence 1, Perception 3, Wits 3   Abilities: Alertness 4, Animal Ken 3, Athletics 4, Brawl 4, Dodge 3, Intimidation 3, Stealth 3, Survival (tracking+1) 4   Multi-Heads: Chimera can take three physical actions a turn without penalty.   Head Attacks: Dragon and Cougar head bite for 11 dice lethal. Head Butt for 11 dice bashing   Breath Weapon: Stamina damage in either 20 foot cone or 40 foot line. They can use their breath weapon as often as once every four rounds.   Wings: Chimera can fly.   Large Target: Difficulties to hit Chimera are -1   Viper Tail: Not all chimera have a viper tail. Vipers can bite at targets behind the Chimera at a -2 die penalty. They inflict five dice of lethal damage with follow up three levels of poison, resisted by Stamina difficulty 7.   Health: OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, -1, -1, -1, -3, -3, -5, Incap
500 years under ideal circumstances
Average Height
Up to seven feet, shoulders to toes.
Average Length
Up to fifteen feet, not counting the snake tail which is usually at least six feet long.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Relative to most other mortals in Scarterra, chimera have very little susceptability to elemental influences on their physiology.   A chimera's coloration and body marking has far more to do with their component animals than the elemental influence of the regions their parents were exposed to.   Their front legs mostly resemble those of associated with their land predator head and their back legs mostly resemble those associated with their back legs. Thus a chimera made up of a dragon, tiger, and gaur is probably going to have muscular tiger-striped front legs and brownish hooved back legs.   Most chimera have scaly backsides that gradually give way to furry legs and underbellies.
Geographic Distribution

Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake


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