Winter's Herald

First Encounter of a Cold Kind

PCs hear crashing noise. This noise is the sound of antlers crunching against each other. Enter in a slightly cooler (from Warm to Moderate [pg. 9, Frostburn]) environment, and they come upon a herd of Megaloceros, 4 of which attack.

Stats:

MEGALOCEROS Large Animal Hit Dice: 6d8+18 (49HP, 58HP, 43HP, 38HP) Initiative: +1 (Last, 13, 6, 20) Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares) Armor Class: 14 (–1 size, +1 Dex, +4 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 13 Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+13 Attack: Gore +8 melee (1d8+7) Full Attack: Gore +8 melee (1d8+7) Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft. Special Attacks: Improved grab, stampede, toss Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent Saves: Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +5 Abilities: Str 20, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 8 Skills: Listen +7, Spot +6 Feats: Alertness, Endurance, Run Environment: Cold marshes Organization: Solitary or herd (6–20) Challenge Rating: 4 Treasure: None Alignment: Always neutral Advancement: 7–12 HD (Large); 13–18 HD (Huge) Level Adjustment: —

This large elklike creature has shaggy fur and a huge set of antlers easily 10 feet across.

The megaloceros is a large, powerful deer, standing up to 7 feet tall at the shoulder with 100-pound antlers span- ning 12 feet. It favors lakes and bogs, and can be trained to serve as a mount. The creatures’ enormous antlered skulls are popular decorations for castles and hunting lodges. These beasts also serve as powerful totem animals for neanderthals and snow goblins, who call the animals “Great Snow Elk.”

Combat Megaloceroses prefer to avoid combat, except during mating season, when males are extremely aggressive and territorial, and during the spring calving season, when female megaloceroses are extremely aggressive in defense of their young. Megaloceroses typically charge the most obvious or brightly colored target, attempting to gore and toss it, then return to trample and finish it. When an entire herd is threatened, the young males sometimes charge two and three together against a threat. Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the creature must hit a Medium or smaller opponent with its gore attack. If it gets a hold, the megaloceros scoops up the opponent with its antlers and can toss it aside. Stampede (Ex): A frightened herd of megaloceroses may flee as a group in a random direction (but always away from the perceived source of danger). They literally run over any- thing of Large or smaller size that gets in their way, dealing 1d12 points of damage for each five megaloceroses in the herd (DC 18 Reflex save half). Toss (Ex): A megaloceros can vigorously shake any creature caught in its horns and fling it in a random direction. Resolve the toss as a bull rush manoeuvre (+9 check modifier), except that there is no attack of opportunity, since the megaloceros has already grabbed its foe when it tries to toss the victim. The megaloceros does not need to move with its foe in order to throw its foe more than 5 feet. If the tossed victim beats the megaloceros’s Strength check, he remains in his current square with no ill effects and is not grappled any longer. Tossed victims take impact damage on landing as if they had fallen a distance equal to the distance they were tossed. Scent (Ex): A megaloceros can detect opponents within 30 feet. The exact location is not revealed unless the creature is within 5 feet. Training a Megaloceros Small and Medium humanoids such as Neanderthals, snow elves, human druids, and gnomes sometimes use mega- loceroses as mounts; Midgard dwarves use them as pack animals. Their speed and height are particularly useful for scouts and reconnaissance of all kinds. Their gait is fast, jarring, and prone to sudden shifts in direction. Training a megaloceros requires four weeks and a suc- cessful DC 20 Handle Animal check. Riding a megaloceros requires an exotic saddle. A megaloceros can fight while carrying a rider, but the rider cannot also attack unless he or she succeeds on a Ride check. Carrying Capacity: A light load for a megaloceros is up to 400 pounds; a medium load, 401–800 pounds; and a heavy load, 801–1,200 pounds. A megaloceros can drag 6,000 pounds.

Initiative: M1, tobey, doug, m3, tim, denzel, m3 m4

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