Yewdar Bestiary: Hrulgin
19 August 2019
The Grendian mountains in my homebrew world Yewdar are a dangerous place that were long a hindrance to east-west travel across the continent Osenia until the advent of airships. The dwarven peoples have carved out relatively safe and well-defended holds beneath the stone. The surface of the mountains, though, are home to vicious predators as well as prey creatures well-adapted to life in the extremes of the frigid, unforgiving heights.
When I looked to populate the mountains in anticipation of my players arriving there, I decided to borrow a creature for David & Leigh Eddings fantasy classic The Belgariad. The hrulgin (singular: hrulga) is an equine creature that strongly resembles a horse from a distance. On close inspection, however, it’s quickly apparent that they are something else entirely. Hrulgin have claws instead of hooves. They have sharp canines in place of the flat grinding teeth of the noble horse. They are carnivorous, cruelly intelligent, and filled with a hatred for all living things.
In Yewdar, I took the core concept a step further: hrulgin in Grendia hunt in packs, filling an ecosystem niche typically held by wolves in other habitats.
With this concept and goal in mind, I set about creating a monster for Fantasy AGE…
Since the Eddings’ hrulgin were so horse-like, I wanted to start with the stock horse from the Fantasy AGE Bestiary. From there, enhanced them with the Elite and Heroic templates to make them truly formidable, hearty creatures worthy of fear and respect as mountain predators. I applied a number of the Special Qualities found in the “Modifying Monsters” chapter near the end of the book to bring them the proper flavor:
- The Fanged quality to grant them a bite attack.
- The Pack Advantage quality to make swarming prey advantageous and potential deadly.
The result was a creature that was respectable all by itself, but was truly terrifying in a pack of 4-6. In the session where I used hrulgin in a mountain ambush, the party of six Level 4 players were forced into a tactical retreat that left several of them battered and bloody… with the group tank climbing to safety with nearly single-digit Health remaining!
If you use these hrulgin in your own AGE game, I’d love to hear about it!