grootslangs Species in Scarterra | World Anvil

grootslangs

Long ago in the First Age, when dragons ruled the skies from their sky scraping towers, all the beasts of the seas and soils were larger and stronger. The grootslang was a beast so mighty even dragons feared it.   It caused concern among even the Nine themselves that grootslang would dominate the world and not let their first chosen people to build a society. Korus in his wisdom sought to dilute the awesome power of the grootslang by splitting them into two separate creatures, elephants and snakes.   However, Korus either would not or could not unmake all of the Grootslang. A few Grootslang refused to be split into two creatures and went underground, both figuratively and literally."   -Janesh, Mereshnari Outrider

Basic Information

Anatomy

Grootslangs have the bodies of massive gray skinned snakes.   They have vaguely cobra like heads with elephant-like ears and trunks. They have large fangs and tusks, both of which are retractable when they are moving underground.   Their trunks look similar to elephant trunks but serve a different purpose acting as a fire hose to spray poison at targets. This also marks targets with scents and sounds to make it easier for the grootslang to track its prey if they leave its line of sight.   Grootslang have a tiny secondary brain towards the end of their tail. When hunting or defending themselves, the front half and back half of a groostlang can fight and act independently.

Biological Traits

In addition to their amazing tremor sense abilities and prodigious size, grootslangs can spray debilitating poison from their trunks, gore targets with their tusk and bite with devestating force.   They can distend their jaws and swallow man-sized prey whole.   Grootslangs can regenerate wounds but only if they have recently fed, this means fighting back against a grootslang might just cause it to eat more people or animals.

Genetics and Reproduction

No one knows how or even if grootslang reproduce. No one has ever seen two grootslang mating or has found what looks like a grootslang calf or snakelet or an egg or anything of the sort.   A single grootslang is terrifying enough, but a pair of grootslangs is even worse. If one sees two grootslangs they typically kill and eat roughly four times as much prey as much as a single grootslang will.   Some have concluded that the pair is extra hungry because one or both are pregnant or about to be preganant or they are going to bring food back to their young somehow.

Ecology and Habitats

Grootslangs tunnel around all of East Colassia and can potentially be found anywhere. Grootslang have been seen in the mountains, desert, coastline, marshland, and jungles but they seem to prefer hunting in the savannahs above all else.   Grootslangs seem to have curiously avoided large settlements completely. They only push into the far north during the summer months.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Grootslang are apex carnivores willing to eat almost anything apart from elephants and snakes. Groostlangs eat humans, elves, horses, camels, zebra, giraffe, hyenas, lions, almost everything.   Grootslang tend to emerge from underground, gorge themselves on whatever they can reach, then retreat underground, often sleeping for months or even years at a time between meals.   They can and do attack people. They very frequent attack groups of people riding horses or camels.   When hungry, grootslangs are attracted to noise first and foremost. Fasting riding humans or elves on horses or camels make a lot of noise and tremors. Grootslangs have also interrupted lions trying to separate prey from a herd attacking the stampeding herd and lions indiscriminately.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

by Me with Hero Forge
-Basim, Confederate satyr and apothecary and reagents dealer
"It is possible to harvest a small fortune in reagents from the corpses of slain magical creatures.   I do not normally condone hunting beasts to harvest reagents, but if you have to kill a monstrous beast in self defense, you might as well harvest it for reagents afterwards.
  So can grootslang be chopped up into reagents? Yes, but I'm not sure it is worth the effort. Grootslangs are highly venomous and they eat a lot of weird stuff. Their flesh is highly toxic. Only a very skilled alchemist can detoxify the blood of a grootslang to make useable potion reagents.   The fangs and tusks make fine trophies but they are not especially easy to enchant magically and many have tried.   Your best bet to make money off a dead grootslang is to make leather from its skin. The leather can be enchanted for various things but it's not the greatest reagent I've ever seen, even compared to other exotic leathers.   Given that grootslangs are pretty much the dangerous beasts still thrashing about in the Third Age, it's definitely not worth the risk to deliberately seek out grootslang for the reagents.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Grootslangs are believed to have once lived throughout all of Scarterra. Ancient grootslang skulls and tusks have been found in extremely varied places.   In the Third Age, living grootslangs are exclusive to the continent of East Colassia though they can be found anywhere on the continent.

Average Intelligence

Grootslangs are very clever beasts but they are not fully sapient.   Given that grootslang are so dangerous and reclusive, it is difficult for naturalists or rangers to truly analyze grootslang behavior, but it is speculated that they are at least as intelligent as elephants, given their livespans, their potential for learning is very high.   What is observed is that grootslangs are able to make reasonable decisions when fighting crowds choosing attacks to neutralize the strongest threats while opportunistically swallowing more vulnerable targets.   Though grootslang have prodigious appetites, they are not indiscriminate killers. They will withdraw if they have eaten their fill or face more opposition than expected.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

A grootslang's primary sense is its hearing and touch.   Above ground, their elephant like ears will carefully be angled to hone in on potential prey and potential threats. When tunneling underground, they retract and tuck their ears in.   Underground groostlang use vibrations above to locate prey tending to favor large concentrations of creatures.   Grootslang vision is relatively poor but they are not blind, they are just short sighted near blind at ranges of 30 yards or more. They use their vision to aim direct attacks at targets very close to their head, only after they located a potential target with their tremor sensing.

Who would win...

 
by me with Midjourney
"A common thing humans like to say is 'grootslangs were so powerful even dragons feared them!'   Most humans are afraid of bears and lions but if you give a human a bow and spear, the human will still win against most bears and lions.   Who would win in a fight between a dragon and grootslang? That is what everyone discusses around their campfires at night.   A grootslang is roughly as big as strong a fully grown dragon at the height of his size and power, maybe a little bigger.   Most dragons are not at their height of power and size, so grootslang are bigger and stronger than most dragons, so a grootslang will always beat a dragon in a wrestling match for what that is worth.   A grootslang bites with enough force to seriously injure a larger dragon or cripple a smaller dragon. A dragon bite can can do similar damage to a grootslang though I hear they taste awful.   Grootslang are clever beasts but they are far less intelligent than humans, let alone dragons. Grootslangs cannot fly and they have poor eye sight. Grootslang need to feel vibrations to target their enemies so a dragon underground is at a serious disadvantage, but a flying dragon is almost untouchable.   A lot of young dragons in their leyacorpla periods have picked fights with grootslang and if the young dragon is stupid enough to stay on the ground, the young dragon will die.   A dragon that keeps airborn and makes hit and fly attacks with his breath weapon will live but he arguably won't win. Our fiery breath does very minor damage to a grootslang. If somehow a grootslang was prevented from diving underground, we could kill them at a safe distance with our breath but once a grootslang suffers some minor burns and realizes its attacker is airborne, that damn elephant worm is going to retreat.   So that's how a smart dragon should fight a grootslang. But really the smartest dragons leave grootslang. The humans tell stories about grootslang guarding caves of diamonds but those tales are all camel dung. We dragons have nothing to gain from killing a grootslang so if you see one of these surface, just go airborn and enjoy the show as the grootslang tears up beasts or mortals on the ground below."   -Jemmurth the Swamp King, dragon
Genetic Descendants
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Grootslangs are predominantly grey with elephant-like skin, though a shade darker than the average elephant.
Geographic Distribution

Typical Grootslang RPG Stats

  Willpower 6, Lethal Soak 10   Dexterity 5, Strength 9, Stamina 7, Perception 4, Wits 4   Abilities: Alertness 3, Animal Ken 1, Athletics 3, Brawl 5, Dodge 1, Intimidation 3, Stealth 1   Health Levels: OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, -1, -1, -1, -2, -2, -2, -3, -3, -5, Incapacitated   (it can heal a lost health level a round after swallowing a man-sized prey or equivalent chunk of meat)   Effectively the front half and the back half of a grootslang operate independently, though the creature shares one set of health levels.     Head End: Can gore and bite at one enemy with ten dice accuracy for base 15 dice lethal damage.   OR   It can spray venom from it’s trunk at all nearby opponents near its front end with six dice accuracy and base two levels of physical attribute damage against hard armor targets, three levels for lightly armored or non-armored targets.   Tail End: Can crush one enemy with eight dice accuracy for base 10 dice of lethal damage   OR   It can tail sweep all nearby opponents with six dice accuracy and base of ten dice of bashing damage.     Each attacker making attacks on the head end is resisted by a six dice parry attempt with its tusks (difficulty 5), assuming the attack hits, damage is at -1 difficulty because there are more vital organs on the head side.   Each attacker on the tail end is resisted by a five dice dodge attempt (difficulty 6).


Cover image: Grootslang in cave by Myths and Folklore Wiki

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