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  • Them's Fightin' Herds

    Current Version: Early Access 16: 5.21.2019

Predator lore headcannon 05/08/2019 may as well date it

Apr 11, 2019
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Not sure if any have made their own detailed fan ideas for the predators, but here's mine. Built from whatever came to mind. It will be a few posts, centered on the 5 main sorts. The wolves, the cougars, the snakes, the bears, and the alligators. I'm not going to elaborate much on The Devourer, figure that is the developer's job. Though I've have other old one style ideas...
 
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Apr 11, 2019
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Book of Wolves:The Eyes of the Forest


There is still some mystery about the history of the Wolves, despite some efforts. While the Sheep Dogs have been available for some input, it is unclear if the pups had forgotten their history or that the Sheep interpreting them did a poor job.

In the time before the war, the wolves seemed to be the only predator that knew how to act as a herd. They coordinated, even hinting at a command structure. Their main tactic was simple, but effective. Drawing close, as a pack, and reveal themselves hooves away from their prey. They would bark and growl, catching all off guard. Near all herds subjected to this panicked and ran, and the wolves would pick them off with ease. Those who survived only did so by outrunning those who did not.

And it did not stop there. Slain ungulates would be found on the outskirts, left uneaten. Those grazing would see the wolves prowling, building the dread they were now encircled. Even those that backed down would glare at ungulates from a distance, with the defending herd wondering if the wolves might rush forward at any moment. Few things gave more tension than the knowledge that wolves were about.

On the other end, the Omega Wolves that had lived among the sheep seemed more friendly. Starting with ending the rabbit crisis of Baaaaah before the sheep finished panicking (it’s said the unanimous panic lasted three days). Then, they stealthily helped the locals with lost items. Story was, the first wolf sighted among them was seen when it handed a nearsighted ewe her glasses....it then fetched bandages for her after she had leapt out a window in terror.

It’s said, somewhere in Baaaaah, the picture of an awkward wolf mending a the timid sheep can be found hanging from a wall.

What old culture could be found, by limited sheep scholars, was from paintings on the walls of old wolf dens. Pictures of wolves mostly, but four seemed to be of some repute. While normal wolf pictures had a neutral coloration, these four had clear distinction. A Blue Wolf, a Black Wolf, a Silver Wolf, and a White Wolf. A curious sheep tried to get some insight to those images from a few sheep dogs.

For Blue Wolf, the dogs said (as best interpreted) “Pack Mother, nice, survive together” This blue wolf was often seen with pups and grown wolves in a circle around it.

Next the Black Wolf. The dogs called it “Terror wolf, mean, survive anything”. It was often drawn on or near a slain ungulate, with others running away. Almost always, the other wolves stood behind this dark wolf.

After that, the Silver Wolf, that seemed taller than the others. The dogs called it “Moon warrior, long hunt”. This wolf was often seen before a giant monster, and always under a circular object(likely the moon) in the sky.

And last, a lone White Wolf with some radance around it. The dogs called it “Packless , wise, unhappy”. This wolf is sometimes drawn surrounded by wolves that lay on the ground. For whatever reason, those wolves had budding flowers and trees drawn near them.

While the sheep agreed they had done a great job, the other herds were not so sure. While those tidbits did answer some questions, most agreed it only scratched the surface. It did somewhat explain why the wolves, during the war, were known to fight to the bitter end on most occasions. There was still the mystery of if those colored wolves were real or myth.

One remaining question was of why the omega wolves had befriended the sheep. The sheep dogs had a response, of a sort. “Pack Mother, survive together or die alone, sheep pack, sheep with pack”. Again, the sheep were pleased to have made this great stride in understanding. And, again, most ungulates facehoofed at the fact this hinted a larger story. At least all could agree the dogs meant well in their actions.

Though one might ask “What do you mean “sheep with pack”?”
 
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Apr 11, 2019
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Book of Cougars:The Cries from the Darkness


None are sure where the Cougars came from, some are even unsure if they ever were. While a wolf might be sighted or a dragon heard, the cougar was much more insidious. The first ones were discovered after several missing ungulates from a once quiet settlement. When it became clear something had been stalking the town, panic set in. No one had known it was there until it was far too late.

Unlike wolves and bears, cougars preferred to stalk their prey, always unseen. Laying claim of those unaware or those found alone. They left no bodies, with only blood telling of their passing. Sometimes, the only hint of something wrong was a scream from the darkness. But when help arrived, no one could be found. And it only got worse from there…

The unicorn, deerfolk, even cattlefolk told of the sounds in the night. Screams and laughter from unknown origin. They didn’t know, at first, the large cats could make such sounds. Those who looked for the source of the cries were never seen again. One deer-hunter told of a cougar repeating something they said, word for word with a uncanny hiss. Then again, others would say cougars could teleport when unseen...

The mystery of the true powers of these creatures fueled more than a few ghost stories among all herds. For some, the cougar is a ghost story.

Thankfully, they rarely work together. But while the males were content to fight among themselves, the females would coordinate, and the results were terrifying. Several capable deer and unicorns were lost before such groups was driven away. These events were what brought about the first deer-hunters. An anomaly for deerfolk to be sure, but those few brave deer kept their towns safe after dark.

No one is sure if the beasts even had any language among themselves, well beyond hisses, growls and yowls. Despite the stories of voice mimicry, none could prove the cougars even understood what was even said. They drew no pictures, but did have a kind of effigy to prove some kind of culture. It was the closest they could see of any clear thought beyond hunting, and it also revealed what became of the missing...

They would typically pick them clean with efficiency, eating all they could. Then, the bones were given a clear place near a dens entrance. Either as a warning, or perhaps simple disposal no one can agree. It was always organized the same way with each den, the skulls would be on top of the pile with the jaw bones missing. The unicorns suspected this was a matter of dark magic, though it’s connection to such in not entirely known.

At least, not known officially. The unlucky ones who would clear these piles would never find any jaw bones. What the cougars did with them is unknown. Or perhaps, best not known.

In battle they were fast and agile, but but lurked in shadow whenever they could. While an unaware ungulate would be slain before they saw the danger, an aware one on the attack stood some chance. While a number of hunters never returned, more than enough would return victorious. The simplest rule was to be well aware of ones surroundings. The hardest was to know an ambush before it was sprung.

When the war began, the cougars were caught off guard, no longer able to quickly hide from view. They would still fight back savagely, finding new ways to outmaneuver hunters. While a lone hunter was somewhat easy, several supported by other herds was insurmountable. Still, several cougar hunters were lost in the fighting. What little fortune was, at least no more bodies were taken when the war started.

As the last cougar left Foenum, a faint hope came. Many towns were silent every night, it’s inhabitants hiding in their homes. Now, for the first time, all ungulates could enjoy the night’s sky without fear.
 
Apr 11, 2019
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Book of Snakes:Two Sides of the Serpent


The Snakes have a checked history in Foenum, and not just in their scales.

Once in the desert kingdoms, the home of the Horned Prophet, serpents were near revered for a time. In modern day this is now a fact of contention. On one hoof, a wise snake did advise the first pharaoh and the land thrived under their guidance. On the other, the lives of other creatures were offered to it. “After all,”, it once said to the pharaoh “great things have a price.”.

It’s said the serpent knew their former followers, weary of the sacrifices, were turning against it. It was never found, despite many countless searches. Only the young and foolish serpents were slain, but the cunning would vanish. But the truly cunning would have avoided this to start with. For better or worse, in the land of Foenum those latter were extremely rare.

To hear the snakes talk of their own history it would seem unbelievable. They would claim to come from a time before Foenum, even before ungulates. A time of unnatural titans and monstrous things. The dragons would claim that they alone survived that woeful time of nightmare, but the snake was there too, in the shadows. The serpent's would even say that it was they that first invented magic.

But in the end, who can really trust those with forked tongues?

Even so, the snakes of Foenum were a worrying pest. They could hide anywhere, could confuse with illusion, and had a venom that could bring sickness and death. They would eat things whole, but could only eat smaller creatures. The worst danger was that, at times, some ungulates would hear poisonous whispers in their ears. More than one fight between herds came about from the whispers of a cruel snake.

As to their venom, none could tell much beyond it was of strange magic of it's own. Oftentimes death was the result, other times a terrible sickness or rash. The Zebra would tell of a bite that gave life instead of taking it, one that could cure any sickness. Or, in some tales, even revived the dead. While near all ungulates fear and hate the snakes, the zebra still hold them to some reverence. And even then with some caution.

When the war came, the snakes were unable to win in hoof to scale engagement. At best, they tried to get some of the predators to work together in some battles. At worst, they caused disarray among the herds. But in the end they would still fail.

Even so, in the jungles of the zebra, snakes can still be found. While this is a fact few can believe, the reason for it is even harder still.

Those surviving snakes say they follow an ancient serpent, one older than any dragon. They called him “Jaunty, the Smiler”, and he is the only creature the snakes hold clear reverence to. He holds the snakes of the jungle to certain rules, and as such they are much more honest with others.

While a simple lie would easily be overlooked, a cruel falsehood would draw Jaunty’s attention. Those that had upset the old snake vanished without trace, said to have been swallowed whole. It’s said among this number has been some long forgotten ungulates, too ambitious and calculating for their own good.

The reason this ancient serpent would have his snakes ally with the zebras is a mystery to the other ungulates. Even so, the zebra’s give offerings to them. After all, everything has a price. Which then brings the question of what the jungle equines gain from this.

They say the zebras were able to push back the Lions and Tigers before the other herds arrived to help. And the Hyena were all but wiped out, begging to any herd they came across to spare their lives. How these events came about, few can say. And even then, who would believe it?

For good or ill, to fear or respect, the snakes are enigmatic...though always kinda icky. And more importantly a reason for caution.
 
Apr 11, 2019
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Book of Bears:The Children of the Mountain


In the farthest reaches of the High Plains is a mountain even the Alpaca do not tread on. It made sense on first glance, what little grew there was toxic and volcanic ash constantly clouded it’s reaches. They say when, snow falls there, it becomes black. They called it Mount Cinder, and once it wasn’t just the mountain or is eruptions that were cause for worry. It was where the first Bears came, an enemy all knew and dreaded.

Old alpaca tell that the bears came about just after a fierce eruption. While Cinder was known to erupt, this blast shook all of the High Plains and was heard as far as Baaaaah.

From clouds of ash that could wither any plant, they came forth. Harder than the strongest cattle, and more fearsome than any dragon. Ash, fire, and boiling heat could never faze these monsters. Even other predators avoided the bears.

The bears rarely spoke among themselves, nor even working together in any visible capacity. This was a near blessing, as a lone bear was reason enough to evacuate a town. What little culture they had was in strange rock idols and odd paintings on cave walls. Carvings of Mount Cinder, of bipedal shapes, and images of a fiery creature roaring under a mountain. It was as if they worshiped Mount Cinder as a god.

In battle, they rivaled all others. They would break down buildings, ignore injury, and would tear into what their paws could reach. Even other bears were not safe from their kin, and they seemed to revel in destruction and death. Thankfully winter months offered some respite, the beasts going dormant in those cold months. But by spring, they were back, hungry and without mercy.

Worse, some seemed to enter a frenzied state. Those that remembered them say it was as if the beast was aflame from within. The bear’s eyes and mouth glowed with an unnatural light, with plumes of smoke rising from it’s roaring jaws. A berserk bear could lay low a herd of cattle, even the longma defending them, before succumbing to its wounds.

Some even rumored they could not naturally die. One story told of a bear with a clear scar across its eye. It was seen again near a century later, unhindered by it’s age unlike the one who wounded it. The only signs of it's age was pockmarked skin and fur, and it could still lay low those that stood before it. It thankfully died at the hands of a capable longma during the war. They say it continued fighting even while engulfed in flames.

One thing noted with much curiosity was the beasts tendency to target settlements. While only attacking Deerfolk homes in warmer seasons, Sheep, Longma, and even Unicorn homes were often at risk. It’s said some who evacuated would see the bear had more intent to destroy than chase them. And most often, the structures was found later razed by fire.

There is one story of a meticulous unicorn who correlated all bear sightings in The Woodlands. They noted the beasts were often moving in a direction before being driven back or slain. On a map, it was clear that each individual bear was moving in the direction of The Sacred Grove. How they had known its location is a mystery. Though it seemed obvious what the intention was.

It is even said the blood of the slain bears ignited the very grass they laid upon. And those burnt patches took near decades to recover. Even some areas after the war have yet to regrow. It seemed, even in death, those bears were at war with life itself.

Long after the war, Mount Cinder remains abandoned, even the longma avoid it. It’s eruptions continue to this day, as though it too would wish nothing could grow in it’s sight.
 
Apr 11, 2019
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Book of Alligators:Terrifying Survivors of a Forgotten Age


Most stories of the Alligators come from the unusual Marsh Tacky, the equines of the swamp. Though before that they only came from scattered reports from not just swamps, but any body of water.

Like the cougars, the gators was often not seen, with the only hints being ungulates pulled into the water. It was even reported of a full grown bull being yanked under, with only his torn remains being found days later.

Understandably, more herds would dig wells after that…

It was only during the war that alligators became a visible threat, attracted by all the creatures and slain bodies. They were tough scaled, and could break near any ungulates with their jaws. Some even said bears would give a hissing gator it’s space, and no predator would pursue one into the water. When the war ended, the frightful reptile would have faded from memory...if not for the marsh tacky.

Descended from refugees of a regrettable equine civil war, thier ancestors fled to the southern swamps to escape the fighting. It had good grazing, trees of wild fruit, and they knew few would pursue them to this humid marsh.

It was then that they found they were not alone. It was when they saw the eyes from the water's surface they knew several gators had escaped the war.

However, all the frightful creatures did was tell the terrified horses to leave their swamp.

In time, that rough first impression would soften. One friendly mare tried, and succeeded, to befriend one of the reptiles. While he wasn’t much for conversation, some picked wild fruit had him open to some dialogue. No ungulate had ever known the gators ate fruit before then, and it was this particular friendship that was the source of those other tales.

Like the Dragons and the Snakes, the alligators said they had also survived from the lost age. While the other two reptiles would take pride in their power to endure it, the gators simply say they had survived. They told of a great cataclysm that struck the land, one that nearly wiped the slate clean. While they did not know how the other reptiles survived, they did share their experience.

They went below the waves, only surfacing for what scraps they could find. While many on the surface died off, they lived on and adapted to the new world after the cataclysm. While several gators enjoyed the feasting during the war, the wiser did what had worked in the past. The war had finished as they waited below the water. Afterward, they worked to adapt to the new world, just as they done centuries ago.

They were at least honest on their carnivorism. They would say flesh sustains all creatures, rather it is flesh of the plant or of the body. They bore no grudges, nor claimed supremacy. It was all a matter of survival. For some time, they had been avoiding ungulates entirely. Before the horses had found them they had been eating fish and the fruit off trees.

Though, there was one other part to their diet…

Few ungulate had ever considered the idea that predators outside of Foenum could exist. Nor that such creatures would try to reach the land, believing the untouched ungulates ripe for the taking. Those foolish beasts would try to cross the swamps, and none had made that crossing. The swamp horses claimed to have seen unknown and unnatural bones that the gators offered as proof to this fact.

The marsh tacky still live in those swamplands, building rough houses and growing crops. While the equine war had ended, they have no intent to return. They are friendly, though have few visitors. There is even talk of some exploring the marshes for interesting finds. Some have been seen catching fish from ponds...

Meanwhile, other herds wonder on the need to confirm these strange stories, though none would volunteer to enter those marshes. With or without the fearsome gators, it’s still a swamp. Hot, humid, and with a unpleasant smell.

As such, none pursue the alligators, and that fact suits the gators just fine.
 

Feanor

Proud Velveeta
Backers' Beta Tester
Feb 3, 2016
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Didn't get to read it all but I enjoyed what I did! Grammar is mostly fine. Snakes and Gators... Am I right in thinking this Lost Age is the time of the Dinosaurs?
 
Apr 11, 2019
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More or less. Had the idea, seeing as the universe has plenty of magic, that it was more eldritch than normal. Seeing as dragons exist, and they had to grow that powerful surviving against something.
 
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