The Beasts of Stone
Mighty Animal-Spirit Idols; Ambiguous
Usual Location: Each of the primal animal-spirits has its own territory, surrounding the ancient idol that serves as its primary voice. A weathered stone monolith, shaped like a crouched animal at rest — this may be the focus of a mighty spirit. They are scattered through the mountains, deserts, and islands of Khavayin — in any wild place, one of the Beasts may be listening.
Agents: Animal-spirits, magical beasts, dire animals, idol-priests, gnolls, lycanthropes, shifters, primalists
Common Knowledge: The Beasts of Stone are ancient, primal animal-spirits who sometimes take interest in mortals, either as followers or as enemies. Each one is tied to an idol of some sort, its primary means of communication with the physical world. The Beasts vary greatly from one to the next, according to their animal nature. Some are predatory, some benevolent, some dispassionate. But they speak as one when great threats to the natural world arise.
Characters and the Beasts of Stone: Individual Beasts are known to become patrons to adventurers who seem aligned to their interests: a shark-totem might protect a sailor, while a jackal-totem might favor a wily thief. Having one of the Beasts as a patron likely comes with a selection of goodwill and rivalries from the animal-spirits most closely tied to the benefactor. Heroes more dedicated to protecting the wilds might earn the friendship of the Beasts as a general whole. Those who try to tame or exploit the wild places are sure to draw the spirits’ anger.
Allies: The Beasts of Stone are generally too seclusive and territorial to pursue active alliances with other powerful forces. Some of the avian Beasts respect the Queen of Birds without offering actual obedience, and certain reptilian spirits consider the Serpent Emirs kin.
Enemies: Similarly, the Beasts have few longstanding enemies as a whole. They do revile the Ghul Queen as an unnatural thing that takes without giving, and they resist the Ogre Khan’s attempts to “domesticate” them and their fiercest children.
The True Danger: The idol-priests say quietly that the Beasts of Stone are currently asleep, and the manifestations they send are but lucid dreams. If the mortal races ever go so far as to truly wake the Great Beasts, there will be precious little left of civilization.
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