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Yora
2014-07-31, 09:36 AM
My campaign is set in a kind of Dawn of Civilization setting with a few small city states surrounded by monster infested wilderness. For the jungles and warm plains I have lots of fantastic creatures like giant insects and all kinds of reptiles. But currently the party is in one of the northern regions like Scandinavia or Canada, where such creatures seem out of place.
I got cave bears and sabre lions, but that's basically the extend of "fantastic wildlife". For higher levels I got dragons, giants, and all kinds of spirits, but that's pretty regular fantasy stuff. What I need is more fictional animals to emphazise that it's not Earth. Maybe even animals that got domesticated.
Any ideas?

Airk
2014-07-31, 09:42 AM
My campaign is set in a kind of Dawn of Civilization setting with a few small city states surrounded by monster infested wilderness. For the jungles and warm plains I have lots of fantastic creatures like giant insects and all kinds of reptiles. But currently the party is in one of the northern regions like Scandinavia or Canada, where such creatures seem out of place.
I got cave bears and sabre lions, but that's basically the extend of "fantastic wildlife". For higher levels I got dragons, giants, and all kinds of spirits, but that's pretty regular fantasy stuff. What I need is more fictional animals to emphazise that it's not Earth. Maybe even animals that got domesticated.
Any ideas?

How "magical" are you looking to go here? Winter forests are pretty barren of big, exciting creatures a lot of the time, but; Wolves? Yeti? Wendigo? Gigantic snowy owls? "Winter spirits" of any sort?

Thinker
2014-07-31, 09:51 AM
The Entelodont (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entelodont) might work. It was sort of like a very large, apex predator boar that stalked the plains and forests of prehistoric North America. It isn't exactly fantastical, but is still terrifying.

You could also Wendigo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendigo) for your own purposes. They are feral, cannibalistic people who crave power and extend it through their wicked acts. Formerly tribesmen, they have gone insane and gained strength, speed, and other powers that continue to grow as they feed on people.

That leads me to beast people. They're beasts with properties of people or vice-versa. They're people that are covered in fur and walk upright, but have terrible claws and powerful bites. Make them smaller in size and have them stalk the canopies of the northern forests.

BWR
2014-07-31, 09:56 AM
Dire versions of normal animals.
Carnivorous lemming swarms
linnorms
huldra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulder)
Nøkken (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neck_(water_spirit))
draug (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draug)
Giants, ogres etc. (real trolls, not the D&D kind)

Another_Poet
2014-07-31, 11:28 AM
Bears

Wolverines - seldom in a bestiary but use dog stats, plus ability to climb

Balverines - a cool creature from the Fable series of video games, basically use wolf stats but give it a super jump ability instead of tripping, and add sneak damage when they flank or surprise you

Wolly gator - my favorite creature from Final Fantasy XII. There's woolly everything elses, why not woolly gators? (Sorry biology) Use alligator stats and give it a good charging speed.

Yeti

Oozes - that give off heat and have a fire attack. They melt their way through the snow, draw in cold creatures who want their warmth, and then flambe them.

Darkmantles that hang from the trunks of pine trees, looking like bark instead of limestone.

In general, in cold areas I like to use fire creatures. It catches the players by surprise, and it makes a lot of sense because most of their prey is resistant to cold - ice attacks would be silly.

hamishspence
2014-07-31, 01:02 PM
Frostburn has some interesting prehistoric cold-climate creatures.

The_Werebear
2014-07-31, 01:11 PM
Woolly gator - my favorite creature from Final Fantasy XII. There's woolly everything elses, why not woolly gators? (Sorry biology) Use alligator stats and give it a good charging speed.


Definitely that. If that's too much of a strech, you could modify Leopard seals or walruses to attack in the manor of Gators.

Warmth Drinking undead. They look like normal people, but camping with them or staying near them gradually draws the spirit fire out of people until they are all corpsicles.

Yora
2014-07-31, 01:29 PM
I am primarily looking for normal animals that just don't usually exist in Europe and North America. But things that locals would still regard as just an animal.

Some good ideas here, though. Wendigo seems like a great regional refluff of ghouls.

hamlet
2014-07-31, 01:57 PM
The Wendigo is an old Native American myth based on a psychological phenomenon that actually happens time to time. Really good monster in 3.x IMO.

I'd recommend giant ravens and owls, but you're talking about creatures that don't exist in North America?

How about Mastadon/Mammoth? Irish Deer. Bears.

Uhm, even those are North American, at least to an extent.

Dawgmoah
2014-07-31, 01:58 PM
Many of the creatures/animals/monsters presented on this thread have already been written up in various rulebooks and bestiaries.

Mongoose's Frost and Fur list some cold climate creatures as well as creatures from Finnish and Slavic sources, like the Sakushka which is a magic using frog (magical beast) that has some spell-like abilities and lives in cold marshes.

Moose, Caribou, Dire Amardillo, and a large bear (Kainkutho) are a few listed.

Without straying from WOTC there is Frostburn, which lists 52 monsters for cold areas: like the Dire Polar Bear, Megaloceros, Woolly Mammoth, White Pudding, Giant Raven, etc.

There are several thousand creatures statted for northern/cold areas in varous books. Unfortunately I have never tagged any just for cold weather...

Slipperychicken
2014-07-31, 08:26 PM
Seconding mammoths. Also giants which ride mammoths in battle.

Doorhandle
2014-08-01, 01:50 AM
The Entelodont (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entelodont) might work. It was sort of like a very large, apex predator boar that stalked the plains and forests of prehistoric North America. It isn't exactly fantastical, but is still terrifying.

You could also Wendigo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendigo) for your own purposes. They are feral, cannibalistic people who crave power and extend it through their wicked acts. Formerly tribesmen, they have gone insane and gained strength, speed, and other powers that continue to grow as they feed on people.

That leads me to beast people. They're beasts with properties of people or vice-versa. They're people that are covered in fur and walk upright, but have terrible claws and powerful bites. Make them smaller in size and have them stalk the canopies of the northern forests.

If you're using the wendigo, make it the pathfinder version for the sheer joy of having a moose-headed cannibal with flaming foot-stumps run over the party.

Yora
2014-08-01, 03:20 AM
Seconding mammoths. Also giants which ride mammoths in battle.

They work well in the plains, which I have and are inhabited by beastmen. But they would have a hard time inside a vast forest.

Doorhandle
2014-08-01, 04:58 AM
They work well in the plains, which I have and are inhabited by beastmen. But they would have a hard time inside a vast forest.

...no it could still work. Treats would be much cooler as mammoths.

hamlet
2014-08-01, 06:03 AM
How about treents/ents? A cold climate went that takes the form of a fair tree maybe. Not an enemy so to speak, but definitely something that the players will have to deal with. Perhaps he doesn't like fleshy trespassers in his forest, but they could make themselves useful and deal with an infestation of orcs nearby that have been clear cutting.

hamishspence
2014-08-01, 06:08 AM
They work well in the plains, which I have and are inhabited by beastmen. But they would have a hard time inside a vast forest.

Isn't the mastodon (MMIII) the mammoth's forest-dwelling cousin?

Yora
2014-08-01, 07:12 AM
All great ideas, but I am primarily in need of animals. Stuff like owlbears, dire rats, and sabre toothed lions.

J-H
2014-08-01, 08:06 AM
Feral horses, or near-horse creatures (there were several, I think) with more hair and a slightly different build. Take the Horse entry, apply templates or adjustments as desired.

For additional threat, draw from the Herculean mythology and have one herd of the horses be the flesh-eating kind.

Bears have already been mentioned - black, grizzly, and polar are all options.
Alaska is known to have Texas-sized mosquitos (I'm from TX, so I can say that). Mosquito Swarm?
Wild pigs, goats, shaggy cattle, moose, sheep, llamas, alpacas... most of the Dire animals...
Ducks and geese, seasonally.

Colder biomes just don't have the amount of diversity that you find in a temperate environment, let alone a tropical/subtropical environment.

The_Werebear
2014-08-01, 08:12 AM
Dire Frostsquirrels. No, I'm serious. Some sort of arboreal or ground tiny mammal that that burrow into trees or root systems. They stockpile what little nutrients are available during the warm months to ride out the winter. The difference is that, if they run out of supplies (like, say after a short summer in a harsh winter) they will swarm like army ants into anything that may have food. Despite not being much of a threat in one on one combat (at most, tiny sized creatures) they can get into abodes through burrowing or climbing, and will devour all your supplies, making them more dangerous than larger, easier to stop creatures like bears.

Also, it would be hilarious to maul a player with a dire squirrel swarm

Mark Hall
2014-08-01, 02:16 PM
I am primarily looking for normal animals that just don't usually exist in Europe and North America. But things that locals would still regard as just an animal.

Some good ideas here, though. Wendigo seems like a great regional refluff of ghouls.

The al-miraj, from the Fiend Folio, might be a good option. They're pretty much "Bunny with a dagger on their head", but they're a nice change to toss in as food.

Zaydos
2014-08-01, 09:29 PM
Go big, even ectotherms grow larger in cold conditions.

Catoblepas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catoblepas) is a possibility. Not originally linked with cold climates but easy to work in with them (and African wild life is the closest to ice age wild life).
Some form of terror bird (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phorusrhacidae) even if not exactly the most ecologically accurate, the idea of a giant two legged murder bird is fun (and if you're using giant insects it should be within the bounds of suspension of disbelief).
Unicorns and/or Kirin, go back to the more deer like descriptions of unicorns potentially to make them less "horse with horns".

Slipperychicken
2014-08-01, 11:09 PM
That leads me to beast people. They're beasts with properties of people or vice-versa. They're people that are covered in fur and walk upright, but have terrible claws and powerful bites. Make them smaller in size and have them stalk the canopies of the northern forests.

You could probably just use Orc stats for those guys. I've seen interpretations where Orcs have snouts and are essentially pig-men.

inexorabletruth
2014-08-01, 11:43 PM
Here you go (http://monsterfinder.dndrunde.de/results.php?id=3089174673&skip=0)... basically as thorough a list as I can think of for all magical beasts found in cold forests.

Thrudd
2014-08-01, 11:47 PM
Look at Pleistocene era animals of northern Eurasia and North America for some inspiration, wooly rhinoceros, giant beavers, giant ground sloths. Make variations of earth mammals, but make them bigger and woolier, maybe some have more horns or bigger teeth.
Have you looked at the random encounter table from the MM and Fiend Folio for sub-arctic and arctic environments? Maybe get some ideas there. Giant Lynx, giant owls, giant wolverine. Winter wolves and hoar foxes (cold breathing canines). Giant furry constrictor snakes. Ice toad and ice lizard.

If you want it to be really unearthly, create a giant insect creature that has adapted to the cold climate. Like a giant beetle (maybe a relative of the fire beetle) with a biochemistry that allows it to constantly store heat and release it in times of freezing temperature. Giant wooly caterpillars that people ride, use as pack animals, and harvest their heat producing glands (they would need to have special heat producing/storing/releasing glands to allow them to survive below freezing temperatures). Maybe they are relatives of the fire beetle.

Pokonic
2014-08-02, 12:08 AM
Giant Dire Squirrels. Bear-sized, agile tree climbers that have teeth that can crack open fullplate and the ability to drop in on any party traveling in the woods. For added fun, make them Giant Dire Flying Squirrels.

Dawgmoah
2014-08-02, 10:30 AM
Go to Google, enter, "Ice Age Epoch Animals" or "Pleistocene Epoch Animals" and you will get lots of information on various ice age animals that, in many cases, are extinct today. For a bit of more diversity, go to the Pliocene. Of course most of them are not "Artic" or "Ice Age" type critters but you can always work them in.

I like how what DND calls the Dire Armadillo is named the Beautiful Armadillo...

Lots of variations: pigs with horns, short necked giraffes that may have been carnivorous, three-toed horses, etc. Lots of these creatures are already statted in various D20 monster books, or you can just template regular animals into these and generate your own stats.

cobaltstarfire
2014-08-02, 02:33 PM
How about the Hoar Fox? (Like a winter wolf, only it's a fox apparently?)

Your best bet if you don't mind stating up creatures is to look to mythology from cultures from regions similar to what you're envisioning. There's lots of fantastical but still very much animals in Eastern and Indigenous cultures.

Another_Poet
2014-08-05, 02:30 PM
All great ideas, but I am primarily in need of animals. Stuff like owlbears, dire rats, and sabre toothed lions.

Got it. This is a little tough because the colder the climate is, the less biodiversity there tends to be. But here are some more ideas:

Snow lions. Would be a nice break from the usual wolves. Have a whole pride of them - an alpha male, his harem, and a variety of young'uns - and just use lion stats. In the past, I've given the alpha of a wolf pack a druid level which really, really messes with players heads and is kind of fun. You could do something similar.

Giant birds.

Mice. Mice are notorious for thieving food. I would consider making them a real problem at night, basically eating the adventurers out of their rations and maybe damaging equipment.

Dinosaurs. Why not?

Snow monkeys. In real life, they sometimes hang out at hot springs. Monkeys in general tend to be aggressively territorial, gang up on people in the wild and steal things if they're more used to humans. So I think roving packs of 10-20 that fiercely defend their territory is a good idea, and when they're losing maybe the last few steal items and then flee. As a bonus, you could have hot springs with healing or magical qualities, but strongly defended by these guys.

Alpacas are harmless (basically) but would make sense as cold-weather wildlife or pack animals in a mountainous region.

Guanacas are larger llama-like creatures from Patagonia. They would make sense. In real life they're just heard animals that would probably run from people, but since your players have likely never heard of them you can make them as horrific as you deem fit.

Yaks are used as pack animals and meat in the snowy Himalayas.

The Garuda is a roc-like being from snowy Tibet. It is a mythical beast but is realistic enough you could probably get away with it.

Chinchillas could replace mice or squirrels, are cute as heck and could also be thieves.

I like to take hares and give them magical powers in my game. A paladin once earned her reputation by capturing the mythical May Hare and its various healing powers. This kind of stuff works well in cold areas.

Cougar or snow leopard, for a solo or mated-pair alternative to a pride of snow lions.

That's about all I can think of for interesting cold-weather creatures. Mostly it's fish, small mammals, small birds, and the few apex predators we already know too well.

Jay R
2014-08-05, 03:57 PM
Make magical versions of anything in Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauna_of_Canada), or Russia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Fauna_of_Russia), or Scandinavia (http://www.scandinavianmountains.com/flora-fauna/mammals/).

Make dire versions, or frost versions, or whatever seems reasonable.

Tomtes could be fun.

(And don't forget the Abominable Snow Monster (http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/The_Abominable_Snow_Monster).)

sktarq
2014-08-05, 04:17 PM
Dire Camel-no I'm not kidding the cold parts of the world had Camels and big ones-look up the Yukon Camel
Whooly Rhino and Mammoth-oldies but goodies
Elasmotherium- single horned running rhino with possible legendary links to the unicorn myths.
Lions/Dire Lions-European Lions and their love of Caribou herds
Glyptodon or really an subarctic relative.

Couronne
2014-08-05, 04:36 PM
Bush Babies - only make them really hairy, tree dwelling and give them some form of hypnosis.

Giant Sloths have already been mentioned, but get cool points just because they're sloths.

Some sort of mole with really sharp claws for getting through the solid earth.

Take anything, give it a big shell and then fluff it to store dead vegetation, victims and poo in the shell = mobile compost heap and therefore warmth - giant tortoise is obvious but not dangerous, why not go for something like an angry pig...more Piloswine like with a 'shell' made out of its own matted hair. That could cause some nasty infections.

Musk Ox.

Ermine (it's a white weasel).

Evil furry bat things.

Drop bears.

Winter Spriggans - all dead bark and malice.

Sheep?

I think I've scraped the bottom of the crack-pot now.

Edit: Oh yeah...Gorilla expys.

Bulhakov
2014-08-05, 04:54 PM
My first thought - you need some interesting prey and/or lower level predators for all those fantasy carnivores to feed on:

- white deer with crystal antlers and some natural magic abilites
- other "aternative" deer (e.g. hammerhead elks?)
- giant squirrels living in meerkat-like packs (maybe with extremely primitive culture, like body painting, song and flint weapons?)
- furry scolopendra that burrows through snow
- blink rabbits
- razor-blade spined hedgehogs (though hedgehogs usually hibernate in the winter)