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The magic-warped landscape of the Great Southern Chaos often make it difficult for ordinary animals to thrive, as some of its regions are hostile to any normal life form, and even the creatures that do live here tend to be altered by the fell magics that still linger here. Most of these mutations are one of a kind, but a few have given rise to entire new species. One of these are the birds known as stymphalians. They resemble herons whose feathers have a slightly metallic sheen, and can reach a wingspan of five feet. What makes them noteworthy is that thanks to a peculiar arrangement of their wing muscles they can actually launch their feathers as a kind of arrows against their prey, and the metallic residue in the feathers makes them sharp enough to penetrate clothing and even light armor. To make matters worse, the feathers have tiny barbs which make them hard to extract, and they have glands that extrude a toxic substance which they periodically rub into their feathers with their beak. Even a single wound by such a feather will often cause an infection, and multiple hits will ensure a slow and painful death unless medical help is available.

Also peculiar are the nesting habits of stymphalians, as they lay their eggs directly into one of the acidic lakes of the Great Southern Chaos. Initially they sink to the ground, and the thick shell of the egg reacts with the acid waters, warming the interior in a chemical reaction while it slowly dissolves. Once the baby stymphalian is ready to hatch, the egg has become light enough to float to the surface where it will burst out of the shell.

This behavior means that while flocks of symphalians will periodically migrate to nearby regions in search for prey, they will always come back to the Great Southern Chaos for their egg-laying season as they are dependent on the acid lakes. A few smaller flocks are known to exist near the Eternal Storm where acid lakes also form from time to time, but as these lakes often vanish as quickly as they appear, the overall size of the stymphalian population in that region remains limited, much to the relief of the locals.

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

Taken out of Greek mythology, with a dash of pseudo-biological explanations thrown in for flavor.


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