Joined: 01 Apr 2005
| Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 11:01 pm Post subject: Labyrinth Flora and Fauna
|Flora and Fauna of the Labyrinth Dungeons
This guide is based on the accounts of those who, like Amaru and his party, have passed through the Labyrinth alive. It is highly unlikely that this account is exhaustive, as the Dungeons are vast and its inhabitants unfriendly. Possibly not even the gods know the full range of monsters imprisoned there.
Caribes - Singular "caribe" (pronounced \cuh, ree' bay\). These little monsters are easily the most numerous denizens of the Labyrinth, and can be found throughout the underworld prison. They move in massive packs, sometimes numbering in the millions, devouring every living thing they come across. It seems that, long ago, they were humans who, by accident or design, were sealed into the Labyrinth. Under the hellish conditions and the influences of such creatures as the Ubervargs, who used them for slave labour and food, they gradually devolved into mindless beasts. Summary: Annoying alone, very dangerous in groups. Probably the weakest Labyrinth monster.
Living Juggernauts - Massive monsters with three pairs of legs, weighing several tons. Their basically dark bodies are covered by shining patterns of luminescent cells, which, when the Juggernaut is motionless, give it the appearance of a large, lumina-covered hill. Those who draw too near are captured by the long, prehensile tongue and drawn with incredible force into the creature's maw. Over the centuries, the skin of a Juggernaut increases in thickness until it is nearly impenetrable. An elder Juggernaut, having lived thousands of years in the Labyrinth, is nearly indestructible. Summary: Massive. Extremely strong Labyrinth monster.
Phantom Unicorn - There is apparently only one of these beings, but one is enough. This misty apparition wanders the Labyrinth, unhindered by walls or barriers. As it wanders, it drains the energy from those it meets, feeding and gathering strength for an unknown purpose. Magic is ineffectual against it -- and yet magic is the only way to harm the creature, since physical attacks pass right through it. The Phantom Unicorn is quite beautiful and can easily charm its victims, making them quiet and acquiescent while it sucks the life force from them. Summary: A deadly wraith that preys on all in the Labyrinth. Possibly the most powerful creature in the Dungeons.
Pseudodrake - About the size of a horse, standing on four legs, these reptillian beings live alone in the territories they have claimed for themselves. Their scales are about as strong as steel plate armour (though a lot more flexible). They breathe poisonous fumes, and channel spirit energy through vestigial wings. Interestingly, they exhibit only animal intelligence. Summary: Pretty tough, but since they never trespass in each other's territory except to mate, they can be overcome by numbers. Moderate Labyrinth monster.
Ubervargs - These creatures are enormous relatives of the common Varg. Their senses are incredibly keen, and their eyes generate light which enables them to see even in pitch darkness. They live in massive packs, which roam throughout much of the Northern Labyrinth (i.e., the Labyrinth under the old Northern Reaches), and communicate via a language of howls, barks, snarls and body language similar to Ardanian Vargs, but with more syntactical complexity. Their champions are the Psiarchs, powerful lupine mystics with the powers of telepathy, telekinesis, and mind control. Many dwell in the cavern near the North Labyrinth Gate under the rule of the Alpha Prime, a Psiarch of nearly two thousand years. These Ubervargs use their mental powers to herd the caribes as cattle. Other packs not associated with the Alpha Prime's hegemony hunt what and where they can. For all of them, the caribes are their main source of food, but they prefer more succulent and intelligent meat. Summary: Physically and mentally strong. Average Labyrinth monster.
Redtooth Xiphers - Strange creatures resembling the legendary Centaur but whose bodies are covered by hardened bands of black hair resembling plate armour. Froms their joints protude spines and spikes which secrete a sense-numbing toxin. Both their fore-arms and their long, whip-like tails end in long blades which can shear through mithril with ease. Their heads are crowned by a low ring of spines. They have no eyes, but rather depend on their senses of hearing and smell. Their crimson teeth, from whence they get their name, are long and serrated. Obviously they prefer meat. They travel in small herds, led by a dominant male or female. Whether or not they are animals or higher creatures is unclear, but they can be cunning as well as extremely vicious. Agile and powerful, they do have a slight weakness against magic. Summary: Not something to fight if it can be helped. Above average Labyrinth monster.
Whitetooth Xiphers - As the Redtooth Xipher, except that their armoured coats are marked by grey and silver streaks and their teeth are white. They are somewhat more heavily armoured than their cousins, but lack speed. Summary: Nothing to be trifled with. Above average Labyrinth monster.
Blacktooth Xiphers - Both larger and sleeker than the other Xiphers. Their spines secrete a deadly poison, capable of killing in less than a minute. Their mirror-like black coats are tougher than dragonscales, and no substance has been known to withstand the blades on their arms and tails. They move with blinding speed, and seem to shrug off magical attacks, as well. Summary: The strongest of all Xiphers and very dangerous. Strong Labyrinth monster.
Zymphoni - A race of unsurpassed beauty. Delicate and ethereal, their strength lies not in their frail bodies, but in their voices. It is said that, long ago, the Zymphoni (singular Zymphonus) wandered a twilight Ardania, charming all creatures with their melodies. Then came the Dragons, who were unmoved by their songs. Sickened by the crudeness of the draconic race, fearful of being exterminated, the Zymphoni voluntarily exiled themselves to the Labyrinth, where their spellsongs have shaped them a new kingdom. This land is, however, always threatened with destruction, and the Zymphoni have woven a web of illusion around the passages leading thither. Summary: A race weak physically but very strong magically. Difficult Labyrinth inhabitant (it is hard to label creatures so beautiful as "monsters").
Appendix: Passive Creatures
These creatures, mostly plants, pose little or no threat to those who dare the Labyrinth. However, they are strange enough to warrant mention.
Bloodmist Grass - A magical relative of Ardanian wheat. It is found only in the Labyrinth. It apparently does not require light to grow, instead feeding off of the pent-up emotions of those trapped in the Dungeons. In appearance it is red-orange, with a tough stalk that can grow up to ten feet in height and leaves that quickly wither and die. When it germinates, the growing seeds give off glowing, blood-coloured smoke that rises to the roof of whatever cave or tunnel it is growing in. The entire plant is edible, although dry and rather tasteless.
Lumina - A slightly magical subterranean fungus that grows in colonies throughout the Dungeons (and other underground areas). It gives off a gentle, yellowish light which brightens and dims in eight-hour cycles. Apparently it feeds off of nutrients contained in stone or the air; it is especially abundant in limestone caves. It is inedible for most creatures.
Sawberries - A delicious fruit that grows on a vine-like plant. The berries themselves are sterile; the plant spreads by sending out runners which establish a new plant wherever they touch. The name comes from the serrated spines that covere the stems and the edges of the leaves. It only grows where there is an abundance of light and water. Thus, although native to the Labyrinth, it is quite rare.
Time Algae - A purplish algae that grows in damp places. It produces a sticky, luminous oil that, once every hour, falls away from the colony and congeals. Since the oil is poisonous the algae is inedible, but it is useful for keeping track of time and the congealed oil can be used in much the same way as wax.