Sunday, May 3, 2020

Smirches and 24 Other Birds

Chris has sent a plague of fowls to bedevil your games.

But whimper not!  I shall drive them back with my own motley array of avian weirdos.

1. Rubber Duck - A small, greasy waterfowl that can produce a flexible, waterproof substance when rendered, boiled, and distilled.

2. Crosserton Hen - A speckled hen traditionally used by the urban planner's guild.  The bird would be left to wander the town, and a new road would be built based on its travels.

3. Capoewary - A enormous, shaggy bird.  It kills hundreds of people every year by chasing them down, kicking them in the head, and then dancing over the corpse.  It is known that this is part of their courtship rituals, with mating usually taking place immediately.

4. Saffertine Pigeon - A fat yellow-and-brown pigeon.  It is famous for knowing how to count, and has distinct "words" for all numbers up to eleven.  It is known that this bird taught humans to count, since the sounds are identical.  (We didn't adopt the saffertine word for eleven, "eefo", because it sounds dumb.)  They are sometimes purchased to teach children to count (although the bird is more likely to teach children how to build a nest from their own hair.)

5. Alaveult - After the Veultish duck lays its eggs, the bird separates into two separate animals following a brief period of passivation.  The majority of the animal remains on the ground to care for the eggs, while the wings (along with one eye and a bit of brainstem) protect the nest.

6. Rail Hawk - A reddish black raptor, the rail hawk possesses a second pair of wings.  When the second pair of wings are opened, the rail hawk accelerates to ludicrous speeds, exploding predators and demolishing buildings that it crashes into.  This experience is usually fatal for the hawk, whose feathers (and skin) are often stripped from the extreme speed.  It does not unfurl these wings except in the defense of a mate or a nest.

7. Greater Ultross - These black birds are only ever seen flying west-to-east, and are never known to land.  It is known that they perpetually fly eastward.  The females lay their eggs on the males back, and they drink they water by flying through clouds.  If their wings are restrained, they cannot breathe, and quickly suffocate.  They have no feet.

8. Gooseface Barnacle - A species of barnacle that turns into a goose when the weather becomes too cold.  By all accounts, the gooseface goose is an entirely ordinary bird, and tastes excellent with lemon and butter.

9. Pekornino - An odious, smelly bird that haunts the bogs of the Madlands.  It attacks travelers by flying above them while squeezing out an egg-bomb, which then explodes.  They give birth to live young through the mouth.

10. Contrary Chicken - A peculiar species of chicken once bred by to grace the tables of the holy emperors.  At the end of its life, the chicken will lose all of its feathers and curl up into a ball.  The other hens will then weave an egg around the ancient chicken.  Inside the egg, the chicken will revert into a strange form, like an embryo with with several major differences.  The egg is then cooked.  The Second Egg (as it is called) is reported to be delicious.

11. Mime Bird - A black-and-white banded species of crake, this bird imitates actions as well as sounds.  It uses this ability to scare away predators (so convincing is its pantomime of a hyena).  They are common at the parties of nobility.

12. Antiparrot - A bird that compels people to imitate its warbling cry.  No one is sure how this works, but scientists say it helps the antiparrot get laid somehow.

13. Underworld Mockingbird - A tremendously dangerous bird, although it is only medium-sized and slate blue.  First it learns your speech.  Then it learns your best jokes, and uses them to impress your friends.  Then it wins over your allies through gifts of seeds and gems.  By the time it kills you and begins wearing your hats, no one notices, nor would they care if they did.

14. Worst Bird - Named by unhappy birdwatchers, this camouflaged dope imitates other bird calls with near perfect accuracy.

15. Astral Peacock - A bird declared to be a Peril to Salvation by the Church, the feathers of the Astral Peacock's tail do not depict anything that can be described with words.  Exposure to the astral peacock's tailfan causes the ejection of the soul from the body, with all the concomitant risk such an action entails.

16. Goblin Peacock - A regular peacock, occasionally sold as a novelty.  Those looking at its tailfeathers are instantly nauseated. Many viewers immediately vomit on the bird, which happily consumes the meal.  This is the purpose of its tailfan.

17. Century Peacock - A magnificent bird, the century peacock is clad in reds and yellows rather than the cooler pavonine colors.  The century peacock is the largest of its family, and their tail can reach as long as 20'.  The century peacock only spreads its tail once in its life, at which point the bird begins singing its Life Song (also only ever sung once) before bursting into beautiful rainbow flames and dying.  The peahens who were impressed by this display will fight over the corpse.  By ingesting the peacocks meat, they receive his seed, and thus gestate the fallen prince's eggs.

18. Sanjavino - A extremely accelerated hummingbird.  They spend years in their eggs, forgotten among the reeds.  When they hatch, they fly around at sixty miles an hour, slurping up nectar at an accelerated pace, mating, and laying their eggs.  They live for a single day and a night.  It is believed that they somehow map out the local flowers while they are still in their eggs; what else could explain their incredibly efficiency?

19. Threnody Bird - These black-and-yellow birds resemble hummingbirds.  They are scavengers, but they are most famous for feeding on gravewax, which they sup from the nostrils and ears of the deceased.  It is said that after feeding, they will learn a song that the dead person knew in life.  These birds are also called "ghoul birds" and are usually killed on sight, although they are known to be harmless.

20. Surgeonbirds.  The bloodthirsty cousin to the hummingbird, these birds use their tears to anesthetize their prey before drinking their blood like a mosquito.  In times of famine they will abandon their usual discretion in order to attack in vast swarms.

21. Fortress Birds.  The brothers live in enormous bird-castles.  Each one can be as tall as fifty feet, made of woven reeds and stolen buttons.  The birds spend generations on these structures, living and dying within them.  The females leave the nest-castle when they mature, and seek out the most impressive structure they can find.  They have rich lives, have kings, conquer neighboring castles, and have "bards" that develop new songs for the colony.  They are nearly extinct, because smirches keep burning down their nests.

22.  Helican.  Enormous, murderous pelicans.  HD 4  Def leather  Bite 1d8+swallow.  Toloba the Unheard famously spent 9 years living inside the pouch of a helican name Little Kit.

23. Daysingale.  A bird of impossibly beautiful song.  When a mated pair sings, all those who hear it are enraptured.  Those who are charmed by the bird will live in the woods, becoming the protectors of those beautiful songs, while abandoning all other loyalties.  After a decade of mighty feats and peerless conquests Sir Odringer famously abandoned the Quest for the Cloak after hearing the dulcet tones of a Daysingale, much to the disgust of his peers.

24. Grackleboom.  A nocturnal bird, a bit like a crow shaped like a pheasant.  It's booming calls are so odious that it drives all predators away.  (No one can sleep in a hex where a grackleboom is nesting.  You're probably safe from mundane predators, though, since they are similarly driven away.)

25. Smirches.  A large and filthy crow, smirches can weigh up to 15 lbs and can have an 8' wingspan.  They are famous for their stench, their cleverness, and their familiar "HAW HAW CAW CAW" call.  Although they have no language, they understand the concept of money, and will steal coins in order to buy things, even shopping around to see who will give them the best deal.

They become aggressive when they are hungry, and will form mobs, robbing fishermen of their catch.  They lurk in alleyways to steal lunch from children.  They have been known to steal cats and hold them for ransom.

They have nimble claws, and there have been multiple cases when a smirch has found a knife and stabbed someone to death.  They are frequently described as the smartest creatures on Centerra (usually by witches).

They would have been hunted to extinction long ago, were they not capable of explosive defection during their retreats.

DM Note: There is no game that doesn't benefit from the addition of a smirch.  They will follow parties while waiting for an opportunity for mischief or murder.  They will stay outside of easy bowshot, and will keep an eye on anyone with a bow.  They are so terribly, terribly clever.


  1. god damn it i have to write fucking birds now

  2. Even now I am still chuckling to myself, worrying my girlfriend

  3. Birds: