Cockatrice

The cockatrice is nasty and extremely deadly beast, that creates devastation wherever it goes. Sometimes confused with the basilisk, the cockatrice appears to be an emaciated rooster with the long scaly tail of a snake. Wherever a cockatrice goes, everything dies–all animals, plants, even insects.

The cockatrice is one of the most deadly creatures ever imagined. Folklore (and some games) sometimes considers cockatrices the same creatures as basilisks–here they are separate monsters. A cockatrice makes a slithering sound when it moves, and plants within 1 megahex wilt as it moves past. If the cockatrice is killed within 1 hour of its passing, the plants will recover–otherwise they die.

Ecology

The cockatrice is thankfully extremely rare. The devastation it can cause is terrible–it creates deserts wherever it lairs. The cockatrice can normally be found in any temperate area, and does not tolerate cold or mountains well.

A cockatrice will tend to create its lair by tunneling into the soil. There it will mate and spawn. A typical female cockatrice will give birth to 10-20 hatchlings. It is fortunate for other creatures that the offspring immediately begin eating each other as soon as they are born. The result that only a few hatchlings survive to adulthood.

A cockatrice does not collect treasure, but tends to have the remnants of its victims scattered throughout the area around its lair. These bodies can be infected with the same vile poison that killed the poor soul to start with.

Isle of Ealdun

Cockatrices have been found in the badlands of the Varge as far north as the Morrigan Mountains, and more rarely, as far south as Southmoor. Wherever a cockatrice is rumored to have been sighted outside of the Varge, the Council of Wizards sends wizards to track and kill it. This has limited the devastation these beasts have caused, but also led to the bones of many wizards being found throughout the Isle.

Gaming

Cockatrices must be used with great care. They will attack anything that they see as a threat. They are extremely aggressive, and filled full of hate for other living creatures.

If a creature survives its poison attack (see below), it will fly into the face of the victim and attack with its beak and claws. If a fight seems to be going against it, the cockatrice will attempt to escape by flying a distance and then slithering into its lair.

If the players attempt to search its lair, roll 2 dice. On a roll of 2-5, the cockatrice’s mate will be there–and will attack as well.

If no other cockatrice is encountered, the players may find the corpses of other victims. Most of these will be unfortunate peasants, but occasionally they will find something worth keeping. If this happens, roll 3 dice against the player’s IQ. If she fails, the character will take 2d worth of poison damage from the corpse itself–the cockatrice’s poison is potent!

Stats

Cockatrices will have the following stats:
ST: 25-35
DX: 9
IQ: 6
MV: 4 on the ground/7 in the air
Size: 1 hex (1/2 meter)

The cockatrice will attack with its claws, beak or whip-like tail for 1d damage. Its most feared weapon, though, is its gaze. Any creature that the cockatrice gazes upon is stricken with a powerful poison–anyone stricken must make a saving roll of 4d vs ST or take 3d damage. If the victim survives the damage, he will be at -4 DX for the next 3 days. A critical failure means death.

Rumors

Some stories in folklore tell that not only is any creature the cockatrice looks at stricken with poison, but anyone that even looks at it! Treat this as a rumor, and optional for use.

Cockatrices are deadly creatures and should be placed as such. Only the most experienced–or prepared–adventurers can escape an encounter with them!

Source: GURPS, HOW, folklore.

Marko ∞

2 comments

  1. I like it, except for one thing. I think the Cockatrice should be required to MEET the gaze of its victim; thus the character should have a chance to avoid looking at the Cockatrice — perhaps 4/DX or, if taken unawares, 5/DX. The character should also be able to fight the cockatrice while not directly looking at it, but at a significant DX penalty, perhaps -4 or even -6 (given that he can’t directly view the creature, he is sort of fighting “in the dark”).

    However, that’s just my $0.02 worth… ;-)

  2. I thought about that. When I read about the cockatrice in other games, they were all that lethal. That is what made them scary. The PC does get a saving roll against the poison, though. It’s a freaking bad monster.

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