Fatal Fauna of Thanalan

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A Brief Informative Guide
to Dangerous Native Monsters for Visitors to the Region

Released with Approval of the Sultana
by the Thanalan Geological Survey

Kannadi Albedo, Author


It is of no surprise that Thanalan, being south of Mor Dhona and west of Paglth'an, boasts a vast array of deadly monsters which care little for civilized borders. On the topic of Thanalan’s monsters, herein a reader may learn that which is only most necessary to know regarding the twin questions of “What They Are,” and “What to Do If Encountered.”

These pages contain brief examinations of twelve species of living creatures which the Sultanate of Ul’dah believes pose the most pressing threat to both civilians and foreign visitors. The reader is advised that, while any monster is a potential hazard if directly provoked, these which follow are both aggressive and numerous enough to be of particularly grave concern to the non-adventuring civilian.

Ahriman

Description

A most vicious voidsent bearing a large head and single very large eye, and quite small body from which extend spindly arms, legs, tail, and leathery wings. A three-pronged tongue often lolls from the mouth full of dagger teeth, which are not precisely teeth but dagger-sharp and arrowhead-shaped extensions of raw skull and jaw bone. What skin there is trends to black, but yellow is not unheard of.

Unique Abilities

As few who have encountered an ahriman have lived to tell of it until the advent of adventurers, the species’ precise abilities were long a matter of conjecture and superstition, but modern observation has illuminated that darkness. Folklore holds that ahrimans can condemn a being to a sudden death with a single look, but in fact they deliver a form of thaumatic paralysis through their eye. Death only follows by assaults of claws, teeth, and magic upon the paralyzed. The species is gifted with great magic affinity besides, so the skills of the Thaumaturge are available to them by nature and not training.

Diet

Largely unknown. The distance from an ahriman's mouth to its stomach being as small as it is, the precise purpose of so many wicked fangs is a matter of debate.

Distribution

Ahrimans -- not "ahrimen", for the record -- are fortunately quite rare in Thanalan. While a few have been spotted in the open air in Southern Thanalan, the vast majority prefer the darkness of caves and the tunnels between them. One may reason that this is to protect the sensitive eye from the glare of sun and the blow of sand.

Advice

Death is all but guaranteed for one who faces an ahriman. If an ahriman is found, do not approach it. Do everything in your power to avoid its notice. Do not, under any circumstances, look it in the eye.


Amalj’aa

[A Note: Amalj’aa are, technically, members of a Beast Tribe and thus regarded as sapient beings by Ul’dahn Ecological Convention #A-113. This is only an academic distinction and affects neither the official state enmity toward the species nor the grave threat which amalj’aa pose to all civilized peoples. For the latter reason, they are included in this guide.]

Description

A violent reptilian temperament housed in a tall and broad bipedal body with a thick counterweight tail and a long back-pointing crest upon the head. Short tearing claws are driven by muscles tough as wood. Skin hues are invariably dark, offset somewhat by jewelry and clothing.

Unique Abilities

Being sapient, amalj’aa are privy to the various Disciplines of civilized peoples, but possess bestial skills and arcane magics all their own. Suffice it to say that the horrors which people can inflict upon one another are only the beginning for amalj’aa.

Diet

Amalj’aa nutritional needs are as varied as those of the five peoples, but contain such unsavory meat-prey as drakes and peiste. Luckily, tales of their eating people would seem to be exaggerations at this time.

Distribution

Being that Paglth’an is the amalj’aa capitol, most sightings have occurred in Southern Thanalan. However, scouts can range widely, such that no region of Thanalan can be guaranteed free of them.

Advice

The threat posed by amalj’aa is immense. If you happen to locate one, retreat at once and report the location to the nearest warden. Do not linger. Do not attempt to engage it in conversation.


Antling

Description

A terrestrial vilekin possessing a large armored thorax, thin armored abdomen, four quick short legs and a large head set with fearsome mandibles. The exoskeleton is invariably a shade of dark brown.

Unique Abilities

The most famous ability of the antling, which supersedes all its others in understanding the creature, is its Trap Jaws. Very tight muscles in the jaw hinges allow for a great deal of mechanical energy to be stored and released in a single devastating snap. With this one ability an antling may not only bring swift and cruel damage to prey and enemies, but it can crush great rocks, firing broken shards thereof at range with surprising accuracy at any whom it believes to be a threat.

Diet

Mostly carnivorous, but antlings are not picky. Foragers of antling nests will collect most anything edible, meat or not, and have been noted carrying pumpkins and other vegetation stolen from farm plots and caravans. When a nest is in need of greater provisions, antlings can and does attack large prey such as aldgoats, adventurers, and even drakes.

Distribution

All antlings are of a nest, the largest near Ul'dah being the once-proud Copperbell Mines. Diggers of the species even now carve out still larger caverns, into which still more fearsome creatures have moved.

That is not to say all antlings are subterranean. Diggers may be seen dotted about Western, Central, and Eastern Thanalan. Foragers may range very far indeed, and have been seen patrolling the rocks of Southern Thanalan for foodstuffs.

Advice

Antling ranges bring them frequently into contact with civilized peoples, particularly along the thoroughfare from Central to Eastern Thanalan, where the vilekin gather to attack vulnerable travelers and caravans for whatever may fall. When traveling through that passage, keep your limbs close and your foodstuffs secured in a scent-locked container.

Despite the clear danger of their jaws and speed, antlings can still be hunted by seasoned adventurers. If you come upon one such clash, do not interrupt, for the antling will be drawn to you as a more economical alternative.


Bomb

Description

A floating, nearly spherical voidsent composed of head, mouth, two eyes and two tiny vestigial arms. Coloration is either red or black, depending on the breed.

Unique Abilities

Bombs are named such for their notorious ability to explode violently as a baffling and ironic means of self-defense. Aside from this, they possess great affinity for magic of the Fire element.

Diet

Much study has been taken into bomb behavior, and it would appear that they subsist on fluids from unfortunate prey. The needle-sharp teeth of a bomb gouge the blood of others directly into its mouth. It is believed that bombs also draw in particular gases which are found in greatest abundance underground, and from them synthesize the minerals often found in the species' physical remains.

Distribution

With Thanalan being rich in sulfur, and sulfur being a main ingredient in a bomb’s composition, bombs may be found dispersed very widely indeed across Thanalan’s regions. Despite this, many people do not come in contact with them, as the voidsent rarely venture out of caves and tunnels unless disturbed. Any who dare to walk the many subterranean areas of Thanalan, however, are almost guaranteed an encounter.

Advice

Bombs are invariably aggressive and see all organic life as a threat, the reason being that most life forms breathe the very oxygen which bombs require in great abundance. If you are walking above ground and a bomb or cluster of bombs floats within your sight, retreat to the nearest warden and breathe shallowly.


Buzzard

Description

A cloudkin of small stature, wiry build, and feathers mainly of blue and white with some red tips about the head and neck. A jagged-edged beak and large claws allow it deadly purchase on even large prey, such as people. Vultures and lammergeyers differ from buzzards only in subtle feather patterns.

Unique Abilities

The buzzard is a very powerful flier, such that a few strong beats of its wings can summon slashing winds and hurl out its own feathers like arrows. Occasionally, the craftier ones will be seen to carry an unfertilized egg, the shattering of which scatters sticky yolk and sharp shell shards over attackers.

Diet

Mostly meat, torn from animal carcasses. Most overblown incidents of buzzards attacking and killing people neglect to mention that every victim was well within the territory of the fiercely aggressive cloudkin.

Distribution

Buzzards frequent the high and narrow passes of Southern Thanalan, while Scout Vultures patrol the same geography in the North. Lammergeyers, more comfortable with open spaces, are known to fly the Southern and Eastern regions.

Advice

Most points of contact between buzzards and travelers lie along the roads to Camps Bluefog and Broken Water. If business or wanderlust take you to either, do all you can to avoid buzzards’ direct line of sight.


Chigoe

Description

A small, flat, brown and red vilekin bearing large wings, large eyes, and a long proboscis.

Unique Abilities

For such a diminutive body, a chigoe spits an immensely toxic poison, known as Digestive Ooze. The nature of the poison is to digest prey before they die. If it should fall into an open wound -- most likely made seconds prior by the chigoe itself -- the likelihood of necrosis is high unless treated immediately by magic.

Diet

It is a misconception that chigoes subsist entirely on the blood of the living. While they are certainly happy to drink blood to near bursting, they also enjoy a protein slurry of dissolved flesh, rotted into liquid by the vile ooze of its saliva. Whether this latter meal comes from a creature dead or currently alive is of no concern to them.

Distribution

Sightings have long been reported in Central, Eastern, and Western Thanalan. They favor no particular environment, so long as they have access to parasite themselves upon.

Advice

Chigoe, being small in comparison to other threats, may pass under notice until it is too late. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, keep all wounds wrapped tightly, and only partake of those chigoe repellents which are sold by reputable Ul’dahn merchants.


Diremite

Description

An arachnid vilekin of multiple castes, each possessing thirteen eyes, two frontal pincer claws, and a toothed jaw of an appearance more suited to reptiles. Of the castes, there are the Mitelings, brown and white laborers and defenders; the Diremites themselves, black and gray with intimidating horns and large, lethal stinging tails; and Banemites, of a slightly more bluish hue and with fatter tails and thicker horns than Diremites.

Unique Abilities

All diremite castes, without exception, can claw into their prey a thin caustic fluid to eat away at skin and even armor. The tails of Dire- and Banemites can inject a more deadly poison still, though their larger size and tighter internal musculatures make their act of stabbing an equal if not greater threat.

Diet

Most anything, however disgusting, is on a diremite’s menu. In an ecological sense they perform a necessary service of removing the dead and decaying, but the service is tainted somewhat by how often they themselves make the bodies to be removed.

Distribution

Diremites are a very recent player on Thanalan’s ecological stage. The recent migrants are believed to have come from Mor Dhona, but denser populations in Southern Thanalan suggest an incursion from Paglth’an. Regardless of their origin, diremites may now be found in all regions, but with the Central Thanalan presence currently limited to Nanawa Mines.

Advice

As per usual, do not approach. Fortunately, unlike most aggressive monsters, diremites throw off a very clear visual cue if they are active: each of their thirteen eyes flashes bright red, owing to sudden blood flow. If you encounter a diremite with eyes darkened, very quietly retreat and you will come to no harm. If at any moment its eyes turn red, however, flee.


Drake

Description

A spiky scalekin of an average length of eighteen fulms. Claws, teeth, armor and tail -- all are stone-hard and wickedly sharp. All examples which reside in Thanalan, being the Sundrake, Flamedrake, and Inferno Drake, are various shades of red.

Unique Abilities

All drakes can, in addition to breathing devastating elements, launch a Caudal Spine from their tails with power enough to fell at range. As to their claws and teeth, there is nothing particularly unique about ripping apart a smaller creature.

Diet

It may surprise the reader to learn that drakes, particularly those of Thanalan, are as much scavengers as they are predators. Opportunism is in their blood. Still, drakes have a reputation for being man-eaters, and for good reason. There is an old and poor joke among all cities familiar with drakes. In Ul’dah it is rendered thus:

Q: “What does a drake eat at a dinner party?”

A: “Whatever is at the table.”

At, not on.

Distribution

Drakes may be found in all regions. Sundrakes reside in Central, Southern, and Eastern Thanalan; Flamedrakes (not to be confused with the Coerthan Firedrake) may be found in the West, East, and North; and Inferno Drakes in the East, North, and South. They each live in small groups, frequently with one or more peistes in attendance for reasons suspected to be inter-species assistance.

Advice

Recently there has been something of a trend among wealthy tourists to Ul’dah, which is Drake-Watching. Carts are taken to within one hundred yalms distant from known cliffs which are home to drake groups, and customers are supplied with naval spyglasses to behold, most often, nothing more exciting than the laying-about of the scalekin.

The Thanalan Geological Survey does not wish to disparage the practices of any sector of Ul’dahn commerce. Regardless, the minimum safe distance for civilians is at least two hundred yalms. Citizens who truly wish to partake of Drake-Watching are admonished to seek out only the most professional guides. More than one tour party has been attacked in the past.


Ghost

Description

A bulbous white ashkin with a long thin tail and dermal flaps resembling wings, of which it has no need, for it floats weightless. It has no eyes or mouth, for it needs none. There is no appreciable physical distinction between those of the Bogy variety and the Errant Souls. Both are composed of a semisolid aetherial substance known as ectoplasm, which invariably evaporates before any samples can be studied.

Unique Abilities

A rare ability of teleportation, lending weight to the superstition that they are not entirely of this world. Often they appear and disappear, leaving debilitating curses of umbral magic in their wake.

Diet

Unknown. Folklore holds that ghosts subsist on misery, and so seek to cause it in mortals. There is no particular evidence to discount this.

Distribution

In caves, and seclusion, and perhaps in dreams. Ghosts are not unique to Thanalan, but some adventurers and those familiar with occultism claim that the non-bodies of the ones native to the region have a sandier texture than others.

Advice

The creatures known as Ghosts are considered by Ul’dahn Ecological Convention #A-110 to be aether-based ashkin and not in fact disembodied sapient souls. Do not approach them out of the belief that they are departed spirits. They are not. They do not know you, they are not your deceased relatives, and as such, they will not treat you kindly.


Gnat

Description

A repulsive vilekin with a thorned thorax, four wings, large red eyes and distressingly skull-like mouth in which a long thin tongue lies coiled. The bodies are invariably gray, black, and filthy.

Unique Abilities

Gnats are rare among vilekin for their intelligent command of magic, albeit only of the Lightning element. The spell Shock Spikes is known to them, as is a potentially fatal skill known as Brundleflight, wherein the gnat stores vast electrical energy to power brief teleportation and a straight shocking beam.

Diet

A gnat may eat anything organic at all, so long it is rotten. Very few non-magical poisons known to civilization are capable of dealing them so much as dizziness, and so they will descend on even the fresh corpse of a peiste.

Distribution

Examples of the Pus Gnat variety frequent the danker reaches of Nanawa Mines, and the aptly-named Vile Gnat breed is often the subject of extermination Guildleves in Western Thanalan. In Eastern and Southern Thanalan, one may find the Redwing Ked, a truly vicious type indeed.

Advice

Gnats have an excellent sense of smell, so do not attract them. If sleeping away from Ul’dah or a hamlet, dispose of waste by burial. If traveling with perishable food, keep it in secure and preferably cold storage. Bathe regularly.


Hyena

Description

A canine beastkin similar in appearance to a wolf, but with a spotted hide of dark yellow. Hyenas are known to Ul’dahns as "mongrels," in all appropriateness, for never are they anything but ragged in appearance.

Unique Abilities

Vicious claws and teeth are all that a hyena needs, yet as with all in the Wolf family, they can embolden themselves with particular frequencies of howling and very quickly regain health by consuming the blood of their prey.

Diet

Hyenas, while mostly scavengers, will predate upon rodents, puks, occasional migratory hippogryphs -- and of course, people. Desperation can sometimes drive packs of them to attack an ailing aldgoat. When hunting large prey such as people, a hyena will purposely bleed its target in order to drink the blood before setting about consuming the meat.

Distribution

The Dusty Mongrel hyenas (named for a fondness for rolling about in dirt) roam Northern and Western Thanalan. Laughing Mongrels (for a barking call like laughter) hunt in the Central region, while Blotched Mongrels (for misshapen spots) prowl the Southern.

Advice

Preventative measures for hyena attacks are similar to those of antlings. Secure all food as scentlessly as possible in your travels, and do not lag behind your traveling party. If you camp away from a hamlet or thoroughfare, do not under any circumstances leave children unattended.


Peiste

Description

The peiste, arguably the most terrifying of all Thanalan megafauna, carries its armor-scaled serpentine body upon four clawed legs. Its skeleton is held such that the entire body is curves upon curves. Long spines of bone and scale adorn the great arch of its back, while smaller spines sprout between the large bulbous eyes. Peistes of the basilisk variety bear additional outward-fanning spines upon the head and hood of the neck.

Unique Abilities

An intensive study of peiste behavior is currently under way by the Eorzean Geographic Society. For the purposes of this guide, know that they are swifter than a pugilist, stronger than a marauder, more durable than a gladiator, and can kill at greater range than a lancer with greater accuracy than an archer.

All peistes, but especially those of Thanalan, can blast a painfully scouring stream of sand from their fanged maws.

Diet

Whosoever and whatsoever it can swallow. Prey which cannot pass whole down its throat can be ripped apart into more manageable pieces by its own claws.

Distribution

As wide as Thanalan itself. Fellbite peistes are known to roam in the South and East while Sandskins wander about the Central region. Rarely a Sandskin specimen will dare to approach within screaming distance of Ul’dah itself.

Basilisks, by contrast, keep to the distant reaches of the North and South and to the shaded, relatively verdant chasm bottoms of the West.

Advice

Peistes have no fear whatsoever of any people, even armed adventurers. Do not approach. If your travels take you to the magnificent eroded-arch bridges of Western Thanalan, take special care to watch your footing.

Leaders of Drake-Watching expeditions tend to lure customers with promises of a peiste sighting. Do not patronize any who do. While it is true that peistes enjoy a comfortable social relationship with drakes, the former have a much higher and sharper field of view than the latter. If you can see a peiste, it can see you. If it can see you, you had best pray you have a fast chocobo.