Heroes of The Last Age
Griffons are powerful aerial predators, swooping down from their high aeries to take their prey with beak and talon. Aggressive and territorial, they are no mere beasts, but rather calculating combatants and loyal companions to those who earn their respect, fighting to the death to protect their friends and kin.
Weighing in at over 500 pounds and measuring 8 feet long from hooked beak to tufted tail, the griffon strikes an imposing silhouette that has long been used in heraldry and other iconography as a symbol of power, authority, and justice. In reality, the griffon is less concerned with abstract concepts than with hunting food and protecting its own. While they can sometimes be trained or befriended to serve as mounts, griffons have no inherent affinity for humanoids, and frequently come into bloody conflict with civilized races over their attempts to secure their favorite food—horse flesh. City folk may marvel at the trained griffon’s stately manner and 25-foot wingspan, but those farmers forced to share territory with its wild kin know to hurry home and secure their barns when the beasts’ hunting shrieks split the sky.
Griffons mate for life, and will often search for years to take vengeance over a slain mate or child. It was likely this innate stubbornness and fierce loyalty that first brought them into domestic use as mounts and guardians of treasure hoards. Despite the inherent danger, trade in captured griffons and stolen eggs is brisk, with their eggs worth up to three thousand five hundred gold pieces apiece and live young twice that. Characters eager for griffon mounts, however, should note that winning a griffon’s allegiance is no easy task.
Purple worms are giant scavengers that inhabit the deepest regions of the world, consuming any organic material that they encounter. They are notorious for swallowing their prey whole. It is not uncommon to hear of a group of adventurers vanishing down the ravenous maw of a purple worm, screaming as they disappear one by one.
Although they seek to consume living creatures, purple worms also consume vast amounts of dirt and minerals as they burrow underground. The insides of a purple worm may contain a considerable number of gemstones and other items able to withstand the corrosive acid inside its gullet. In areas filled with valuable minerals, such as those near Dwarven mines, the natural tunnels created by burrowing purple worms are often filled with vast amounts of unrefined ores.
A purple worm usually claims a large underground cavern as its den, and while it returns here to rest and digest food, it spends the majority of its time on the prowl, burrowing through the endless dark or slithering along established tunnels in the constant drive to feed its immense hunger.
Although the deep-dwelling purple worm is the most common of its ilk, variant immense worms of differing colors dwell in other remote wildernesses. A sleek, mottled blue-and-green variant of the giant worm dwells in deep underground lakes or tropical seas. A deep crimson variant of even greater size dwells in remote badlands and rocky deserts. Other species doubtless remain to be discovered in the far corners of the world.