Jackalope

by Kevin Turner
 Climate/Terrain: Temperate Hills
 Frequency: Uncommon (20% chance)
 Organization: Heard
 Activity Cycle: Any
 Diet: Herbivore
 Intelligence: Semi-Intelligent (2-4)
 Treasure: W
 Alignment: Neutral

 No. Appearing: 10-400 (10d20)
 Armor Class: 6
 Movement: 24, Bw 4
 Hit Dice: 2+3
 THAC0: 17
 No. of Attacks: 1
 Damage/Attack: 1-3 bite or 3-8 (1d6+2) antlers
 Special Attack: Swarm, trample
 Special Defences: Camouflage, surprised on only 1
 Magic Resistance: Immune to slow spells and effects
 Size: Small (2'-3' long)
 Morale: Individual: Average (8-10), Herd: Fearless (20)
 XP Value: 175, Leader: 210
General Introduction: Jackalopes are the result of an attempt to magically cross-breed a jack rabbit and an antelope. They resemble large jack rabbits with the antlers of a prong-horn deer. Both males and female have antlers, though males have larger racks-sometimes measuring up to a foot in length. Coloration ranges from light brown or grey to dark red-brown or black with lighter fur on the throat, nose, and belly. They often have spots or broken stripes along the back. Occasionally, a jackalope will be born with the coloration of a gazelle.

Combat: Jackalopes have remarkable camouflage and they are very difficult to detect (there is a -3 on any attempt to spot) them if they are standing still. In some instances and terrains, this becomes even more difficult (this drops to 5% if found near shrubs or bushes where their antlers will blend in with the branches). Further, they have an incredible sense of hearing and smell, (allowing them to be surprised only on a 1) and are very difficult to surprise. In any given herd there is always at least one sentry for every twenty animals. If found, they typically run from danger, using their incredible speed to their advantage. If the burrow is threatened, however, several (3d4) males will defend the herd by charging at the offending creature and striking with their antlers (for 3-8 points of damage). Their speed is such that anyone hit is often (must save versus paralysis with a -1 penalty per successful charge or be) knocked to the ground. At this point, the wise character picks himself up and beats a hasty retreat. If, however, he continues to threaten the burrow, many more (an additional 5-16) jackalopes, both male and female, arrive on the scene each round and swarm the attacker, butting and biting furiously. (Females can do 1-5 points of damage with their antlers, but prefer to rely on the males for defense). If encountered in their burrow or in a migrating herd of of 100 or more there will be a leader (with 3+4 hit dice), but otherwise has no remarkable abilities. This is usually the largest male, though female leaders are not unknown. Either way, the leader has exceptionally large antlers that do (4-10 points of) exceptional damage regardless of sex. Any creature caught in the path of a migrating herd of jackalopes is in for a wild ride. Moving at tremendous speed, they trample any- thing and everything in their path inflicting (2-40 points of) massive damage for every twenty jackalopes in the herd to any hapless soul in their way; often knocking them to the ground in the process. Herds on the move are considered fearless when checking moral. Jackalopes are immune to slow spells and similar effects.

Habitat/Society: Jackalopes prefer to dwell in scrublands and velt-like regions where their natural camouflage conceals them most effectively. They dig long, winding burrows, some-times stretching 200 yards across and 6 to 8 feet deep. There the young are kept until mature enough to keep up with the herd on their frequent migrations. A pair of jackalopes will typically bear 6-12 young in one litter, only half of which generally survive till adulthood. They typically bear 3-5 litters a year depending on food conditions and predation. Baby jackalopes are weak, but far from helpless (they have 6 hit points and no antlers) when they are born. They take 7 weeks to mature enough to run with the herd, though they cannot mate until reaching two years of age. In the wild jackalopes live to be around 18 years old.

Ecology: Jackalopes are voracious herbivores, eating almost any type of grass or shrub-sometimes even small cactus plants-found within a 4 mile radius of the burrow. Once the area has been depleted, they move to a new area, often one they have visited before several years before. A burrow contains roughly 30-40 nests interconnected by twisting tunnels. Jackalopes sometimes collect gems, coins, and shiny object d'art which they use to adorn their nests. Once every seven years, all the herds in one area gather together into one large mass and travel to a completely new foraging ground. This mass migration takes about a month, during which time the herds cover incredible distances, stopping only to drink and munch a few greens before moving on. Entire villages have been known to be completely flattened by a rampaging herd of jackalopes. Jackalopes are hunted for their antlers, pelts, and meat, which has a gamey taste to it. The antlers are mostly sought after as parlor room decorations, though some wizards and alchemists use ground jackalope horn in potions of speed or in the ink of a haste scroll. A good jackalope pelt is worth about 500-800 gold, and may be used to make a pair of boots of speed. They also make decent familiars, gifting their masters with their heightened state of alertness. As they breed rapidly (like rabbits), it is advised that a wizard keeping more than one jackalope be certain they are all of the same sex. Otherwise, they may suffer the lamentable fate (to gruesome to be mentioned here) of the famed mathematician Fibinocci. Arctic Jackalopes: Also called the moosehare, this is a larger, heavier subspecies found in colder climes. The arctic jackalope is also a magical crossbreed; this time between a moose or caribou and an arctic hare. Their fur is longer and heavier than common jackalopes, and it changes color with the seasons, granting them the same camouflage ability. Their antlers resemble those of a caribou or (occasionally) a moose. As with "normal" jackalopes, both males and females have antlers. Unlike their smaller cousins, however, there is no sexual dimorphism. In addition, moosehares don't swarm their opponents, they simply trample them for (3-36 points of) incredible damage for every ten members. The herd always has a leader who is the dominant female. (She has 4 hit dice and her antlers do 1d8+4 damage). Moosehares travel over snow with no penalty, easily outdistancing any threat. They eat mostly grains, shrubs, and lichens. They are hunted for the same reasons as jackalopes. Moosehare pelts fetch 800-1,000 gold in some cities. Some nomads have domesticated the moosehare, and use them to pull heavy loads or sleds. (A team of six arctic jackalopes can pull up to 400 pounds of sled and cargo, with a movement rate of 15. Each additional moosehare adds 60 pound to the weight limit (to a maximum of 700 pounds) or increases the speed by 1. The maximum number of arctic jackalopes that can be hitched to a sled is 20). Further, a few barbarian tribes are known to worship them as sacred animals.

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