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The Hour of the Beast

I recently had the pleasure of releasing the third Order beast in the game, my rage worgs, the first “litter” of which reached maturity just this morning. Coincidentally, a player asked me last week how I decided on appearance variables for my worgs, so I thought I’d address beasts in general.

Prior to creating my worgs, I had little experience setting up beasts. I thought it’d be fairly simple: write adult and baby descriptions, select a few different adjectives, and some magical system will put them together for me. I could do that in a few hours if I flexed my creative muscle a bit.

Three grueling days later, after wracking my brain for about 72 different variables, I finished my worgs.

Without giving too much of the process away, beasts take a lot more effort than initially expected. You have to consider male and female differences (if any); designs for incubated “eggs,” adolescent, and adult beasts; and at least eight different variations per feed type, per train type, including neutral.

However, the result is worth it. Because mature worgs are running around in-game now, I feel able to share my test worg, which I regenerated several times before settling on its features:

At first glance, this rage worg appears like the common wolf, with a narrow muzzle, upright, triangular ears, and a club-like tail. The similarities end there, however; rising fifteen hands at the shoulder, the beast cuts a hulking figure, possessing a pelt of blackish-green fur and ghostly wings of dust and ash. Thick muscle ripples beneath his coat, yet his movements belie a savage grace and swiftness uncharacteristic of a creature of his size. Knife-like fangs line his grinning maw, while glowing aquamarine eyes stare outward with a cruel intelligence. Beneath his massive paws, shadows undulate outward, forming a pulsing web of evanescent blood splatters upon the ground.

I emboldened the variables. Fur colour, wing type, eye type, and shadow type all differ depending on feed, but it’s up to my Order to discover what all of the options are. Just remember that there are three beast stats affected by two types of feed each: meat and oats for the body, fish and vegetables for the mind, and eggs and fruit for the spirit. Feeding a worg a protein-heavy diet of meat, fish, and eggs will yield a certain aesthetic, whereas those fed a vegetarian diet of oats, veggies, and fruit will yield something else entirely.

As for why I picked worgs in the first place — everyone in Havens expected me to make leopards, but I selfishly want leopards to remain a unique and rare animal. Additionally, so much of Shikari’s persona is the brooding loner type, but for my Order, I want to emphasize the concept of the pack in just about every aspect of the roleplay. I knew I wanted a wolf or wolf-like animal, but wolves themselves are too common in Lusternia.

However, I did remember a term I’d read in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin: warg. And I distinctly remember that worgs are magical beasts in Dungeons & Dragons. And of course, there are the warg riders in The Lord of the Rings, too.

Then, during one of my idle Google searches, I happened upon this excerpt from Pathfinder:

“Worgs hunt in packs, running down and surrounding their prey like common wolves, but their intelligence and ability to speak make them better at coordinating their attacks. They sometimes use one packmate as a decoy, pretending to be a humanoid calling for help in order to lure intelligent prey into an ambush. Worgs that travel with goblins often allow them to ride on their backs, but in such situations it is usually the worg that is the master, not the rider.”

Pathfinder also has a version of the worg called the winter wolf, which suits the theme of my newest priest and worg pup seller.

But enough about me and mine; what’s your favorite beast we’ve released so far? How much zimoru have you spent getting the characteristics you want? If you could decide the next beast we release, what would you choose to make?

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