Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bestiary: Cockatrice

This is my version of an AD&D style Cockatrice.  I use the GURPS standard basilisk, complete with the legendary origin (a cock's egg hatched by a toad on a dungheap).  It occurred to me that the chicken-serpent Cockatrice could be a sort of half-breed, so I ran with that idea as their origin.


The first Cockatrices were born from the mating of Basilisks with ordinary chicken hens who somehow survived the experience.  There are both male and female Cockatrices, and they breed true.  A Cockatrice appears to be an ugly chicken with snake’s scales visible under the feathers, and a long, serpentine tail tipped with a tuft of feathers.

Cockatrices are notoriously surly, and will attack targets much larger than themselves without fear, often foregoing their gaze attack for a direct assault.  This may be a mating display, as hens are more likely to mate with a valiant-seeming cock.

The flag of the Western Republic is a black Cockatrice on a gold heater on a field of green.  Cockatrices have been bred as pets and guard animals in Westhavia for centuries (a habit most foreigners regard as pure insanity).  These domestic breeds lack Lifebane and poison skin, and are calmer than their wild relatives.

ST: 3                HP: 3              Speed: 6.0
DX: 12             Will: 12          Move: 4 (ground); 8 (flying)
IQ: 3                Per: 10           Sequence: 6.0
HT: 12             FP: 12            SM: -3 (5 lbs.)
Dodge: 9         Parry: N/A     DR: 1 (Tough Skin)

Bite (12): 1d-6 pi, Reach: C.
Claw (12): 1d-6 cut, Reach: C.
Poison Skin (Resisted by HT-2): 1 point toxic damage, done to anything that touches a Cockatrice with bare skin.
Death Gaze (Will vs. HT): 3d toxic. The Cockatrice’s roll is at -1 per yard to the victim, and it must gaze into the victim’s eyes. DR does not protect!  While supernatural, this ability lacks a Power Modifier so Magic Resistance, Psi Resistance, and similar do not protect. Weasels, ferrets, and their close kin are inexplicably immune.

Class: Dire Animal.
Advantages: Claws (Sharp Claws); Death Gaze; Fearlessness 4; Flight (Winged); Poison Skin; Immunity to Poison; Teeth (Sharp Beak).
Disadvantages: Bad Temper (12); Lifebane.
Traits: Hybrid (Bird, Reptile); Wild Animal.
Emblematic Trait: Immunity to Poison.
Habitat: Plains or Forest, usually near settled areas.
Organization: Solitary or clutch (1 cock and 3-5 hens, plus chicks).

Notes: Cockatrices are only capable of short, barely controlled bursts of flight.

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