In the process of looking at the Symbaroum game in general, and developing the Mountain Pass area in particular, I felt I needed to expand the options for natural encounters. In putting together a hex map – which I’ll talk about more as time goes on – I didn’t want intelligent intervention overwhelming the environment. Bandits and undead work great, but the mountains should be a savage and unforgiving place without swords or threat of robbery!
Here we have the Snow Jackal:
Traits Natural Weapons (I), Diseased (II)
Accurate 11 (−1), Cunning 10 (0), Discreet 12 (−2), Persuasive 5 (+5), Quick 12 (−2), Resolute 10 (0), Strong 8 (+2), Vigilant 12 (−2)
Abilities Acrobatics (novice)
Weapons Bite 3 (short), diseased 3 dmg for 3 days
Armor Thick Fur 2
Toughness 10 Pain Threshold 4
Shadow Green as leaves dappled with morning sunlight (corruption: 0)
Tactics The snow jackal most often hunts in pairs, running low and parallel to their target, aiming for surprise and flanking as a means to overwhelm the victim before combat can flare.
A metre and a half in length and around 15 – 20 kilos in weight, Snow Jackals are substantial wild dogs capable of bringing down prey of significantly greater size and weight, especially when hunting in packs. The jackals have light grey fur that pales to almost perfect white during the colder months offering them impressive natural camouflage.
Snow jackal rarely travels alone, tending to keep to family groups of 4 – 5, or larger packs where two or more families merge together. They communicate through a varied range of sounds, covering alarms, hunting updates and alerts to encroaching predators. Jackals make their homes in underground den camouflaged in shrubland or hidden away in gulleys.
Environs Snow Jackals can be found across the gulleys and foothills of The Titans, as well as the southern reaches of The Ravens
Predation and Treasure Snow Jackals will hunt most animals native to the foothills and peaks of the mountains, except for those with greater size or ferocity like the Mare Cats and Baiagorn. Omnivorous, they’ll eat fruit, nuts, berries and roots, but also favor birds (and their eggs), rodents, hares and the young of larger predators. They will consider consuming any meat, whether a live kill or a mouldering carcass; a jackal pack will stomach truly gut-wrenching meals if hungry enough.
Where possible they will attempt to pull big kills back to their gulley lairs, which means anyone searching near a jackal hole will likely find scattered possessions and torn clothing. A GM can take this as an opportunity to seed for future adventures without needing to be too obvious.
Finding the lair will be difficult, especially if the characters kill the jackals they encounter. Under normal circumstances finding the lair, assuming the jackals have been discovered and killed, requires a successful [Vigilant—4] test. If the characters spot the jackals and trail them back to their lair, they require a [Vigilant—2] test to keep track of them or just a successful [Vigilant] test if a character in the party has Beast Lore.
In the Jackal’s Lair
Roll 1D4, then 1D6, if characters have the opportunity to roots around the lair of a jackal pack – assuming the pack are either ahunt or slaughtered. As well as uncovering 10+1D10 shillings in loose coins, half of which the characters will need to extract from amongst jackal droppings, they also find a half consumed meal or some evidence of one:
1: the tattered remains of a ranger’s outfit with a leather tube, chewed but intact. The tube contains, (1: a map of a local site, such as a mine or derelict tower, marked with a cross, 2: a plan sketched roughly of an enemy camp or fort, 3: a message from a noble house in Alberetor, 4: a message from Korinthia’s court, in a strong cipher, 5: a brief journal of the ranger’s travels, 6: a spyglass with a series of strange glyphs etched into the rim of the lens)
2: the stripped bones of a traveler with a heavy purse, containing (1: a large gold coin of unfamiliar design, which a Loremaster will recognize as Symbarian in origin, 2: a heavy piece of swirled and bubbled ore, 3: a wax sealed bottle, empty and yet unnaturally weighty, 4: a fleshless skull, not human but humanoid in appearance, 5: a smooth stone globe with intricate internal swirls that appears too perfect for Ambrian crafting, 6: a slab of metal with Symbarian glyphs etched on one side, but most corroded until nearly unreadable)
3: the torn remains of a robe or heavy travel cloak (1: the inner pocket holds a small purse containing a folded piece of parchment with a coded message and a lock of red, 2: a seared forearm adheres to the interior of the garment gripping a strangely spotless dagger, 3: inspection of the lining uncovers a slip of filmy fabric that reveals, if held up to a candle or the warmth of a fire, a message or map, 4: with a bronze signet ring in the pocket displaying the arms of a noble family with connections to one of the characters in the party, 5: with a stoppered crystal vial wrapped in cloth in the inner pocket containing an unidentified herb, plant or bloom in perfect health, 6: containing an iron locket caked in blood containing a picture of an unidentified but high born looking woman and a single initial engraved inside)
4: the gnawed and grey-green remains of a dead (1: barbarian bearing the tribal tattoos of the Jezite Clan, 2: Alberetorian female, much of her flesh gone and bones snapped, but her eyes bowel-clenchingly alive and watchful, 3: Ambrian soldier, displaying mortal wounds inflicted by some corrupting weapon of the Enemy, 4: goblin showing the strangest signs of old age, 5: Alberetorian male, the corpse bloated with etterherd eggs, 6: fairy apparently skewered through the heart by a sliver of metal and with hair still intact, but ears and nails lost)