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Our Dire and Native Beaver

Our Dire and Native Beaver

Sometimes, Kobold Quarterly does silly things. This time, it’s Darren Calvert‘s fault. Well, his fault and also Canada‘s fault. Because it’s important to blame celebrate Canada on certain occasions, such as July 1, which is Canada Day.

“This actually came out of the campaign I’m playing in… We spoke to an NPC who asked us to investigate what’s causing local farmland to flood. My first thought was dire beavers,” says artist Darren Calvert. “Our party is already dreaming of acquiring dire beaver mounts to ride into battle…”

Behold, mere mortals, the dire beaver, with complete stats for your game. Because really, how can you resist it?

The stats are from a quick contest run among the patrons of the current Open Design projects on 48 hours notice. With about a half-dozen entries split among multiple groups of patrons, it was a strong-toothed field of contenders, and not taken too seriously. The various patron groups for Tales of the Old Margreve and Glories of the North critiqued the critters as they were posted. Is a beaver’s skill a Craft at building dams, or a Knowledge (engineering) skill? We could have argued for days. Fortunately the deadline was tight.

The urbanites of Streets of Zobeck mostly stayed above the fray. Too pastoral for them, I suspect.

Submissions included a clean 4E set of stats that was elegant in its simplicity, a much more involved Pathfinder version included animal companion stats AND the Latin name (either steortodon or trogontherium, for those scoring at home). Another version featured the thundering tail slap and the bleed ability—those teeth dig deep!—and one featured armor gnawing, ice walking, and a summary of their pelts for armor value.

One more described their lodges as “walled keeps with miles of tunnels,” which I fully approve, and also covered the alchemical uses of castoreum (aka, beaver musk oil). They were all crazed with beaver fever, and frankly, I am tempted to compile all the entries into a madcap PDF, or better still, ask Scott to do it. They all brought something to the table.

In the end, though, I chose based on the crazy powers of the entbane variety of dire beaver. Congrats to our winner, Endzeitgeist! Get in touch with us by email to claim your prize, which may be sent to you with a few wood chips just for flavor.

Dire Beaver (CR 2)

XP 600
N Large Animal
Init+0; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception+9


Defense
AC 12, touch 8, flat-footed 12 (-1 Dex, +4 natural, -1 size)
hp 37 (5d8+15)
Fort+7 Ref+3 Will +2
Defensive Abilities ferocity


Offense
Speed 30 ft., swim 40 ft.
Melee bite +9 (2d6+6) or tail +9 (1d8+6 subdual)
Special Attacks cleave trees, spit splinters
Space 10ft.; Reach 5ft.


Statistics
Str 18, Dex 8, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +3; CMB +8; CMD 17
Feats Endurance, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Craft (dire beaver dam) +8, Perception +9, Swim+15; Racial Modifiers +8 Craft (dire beaver dam), +8 Swim
SQ hold breath


Ecology
Environment any temperate or tropical with large bodies of water
Organization solitary, pair, or family (2 adults and 1d4 kits)
Treasure incidental (nothing wooden, though)


Special Abilities
Cleave Trees (Ex) A dire beaver always does double damage against trees and tree-like creatures and ignores their hardness or DR (e.g. treants). Dire beavers are always treated as having the Cleave feat against wooden opponents and trees.

Hold Breath (Ex) A dire beaver can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to four times its Constitution score before it risks drowning or suffocating.

Spit Splinters (Ex) Once every 8 hours, with enough wood, a dire beaver may opt to explosively regurgitate a mesh of splinters and acid in a 15-foot cone originating from its mouth. Creatures caught in the acidic vomit take 2d4 piercing damage from the splinters and 2d4 acid damage (Reflex DC 13 halves). Once a dire beaver has used this ability, it gets really hungry and can’t use it again until it has both eaten a fish meal and chomped on enough wood to replenish the splinters. This save is Constitution-based.

Ecology
Among the predators of the forests, rivers and lakes, the dire beaver is an oddity: while not the strongest or smartest creature around, most creatures that once have gotten the acidic, burning and splinter-laden spittle of the dire beaver hurled at their snouts steer clear of these architects of the water-front.

Although they are highly territorial when it comes to intruders or protecting their kits and will fight to the death with their razor-sharp teeth, they also have been known to be playful creatures that can be bribed with the right food to allow people to cross their sturdy, beautiful dams.

Dire beavers love wood containing magical energies. Be it wands (even the residue in recently emptied ones), magical plant creatures, or enchanted quarterstaffs—throw one at the creature and it will (usually) leave you in peace while it gnaws on the delicious morsel.

The lairs of dire beavers contain their kit and is hidden inside their elaborately crafted dam, accessible only via the water and by maneuvering through the confusing, twisting tunnels inside the dam. The nest often contains, gems, pieces of gold and crystals, the remnants of discarded wands the creature has found and eaten. Almost every couple with kits also seems to have a piece of Ironwood in their nest for their kits to chew on.

Legends
◊ It is said that every 100 years, several families of dire beavers travel for miles on end, leaving their territory and following a strange call. They form a huge hunting pack to take down a treant. Whether this is true and done according to a treant’s dying wishes or something different altogether, remains to be seen.

◊ Even bigger dire beavers show strange abilities from consuming enough magical items, being able to duplicate magical effects and spitting raw magical energy at their opponents.

◊ A school of gnome scholars and progressive architects considers dire beaver dams the epitome of natural craftsmanship and seeks to emulate their sturdy constructions. They are currently looking for bodyguards for an excursion and dive into a particularly huge dam in the Old Margreve.

Congrats to the patrons who designed their takes on this creature, and our thanks to Darren Calvert for dreaming it up and illustrating it! And Happy Canada Day!

15 thoughts on “Our Dire and Native Beaver”

  1. Giant beavers actually existed. From http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/young_naturalists/pleistocene_megafauna.html:

    Giant Beavers. Rodents were bigger in the Ice Age too—especially beavers. The largest rodent in North America was the giant beaver. It measured 8 feet long and weighed 480 pounds—around the size of a today’s black bear! Compare that to the modern beaver, which weighs around 65 pounds.

    The giant beaver had cutting teeth up to 6 inches long, which may have been used for cutting wood. Its tail was not as wide as a modern beaver’s, but it probably helped the giant beaver to be a good swimmer.

    In 1938 construction workers found the skeleton of a giant Pleistocene beaver in St. Paul. Today, you can see it at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

  2. It’s amazing what kobolds can do in 48 hrs when there’s a silly monster contest on the line.

  3. Wow, awesome! I’m really honored to have been chosen amid all those great entries. As far as I’ve seen some really cool other entries were out there and I’d love to see them compiled as a Pdf. And thank you guys for all the kind words!

  4. Jarrod Camiré

    If you need a 4E version for a monster of this kind you just need to look at this very web site. The Afanc I created some times ago for the KotM (King of the Monsters) contest is close enough to a VERY big beaver, though its origins are not from Canada; it’s a monster fromm the Welsh mythology. Well, blame it on Great Britain if you must… It’s still all in The Commonwealth of Nations — formerly the “British Commonwealth” — after all!

    God Save The Queen (and the poor beavers, big and small, that the adventurers are going to mercilessly hunt down!)

    From Canada with love!

  5. Capt Canoehead

    The dire beaver has been known to be used as mounts by Canadian kilted yaksman on occasion.I saw one once and he was drinking fermented maple syrup and gourging on Tim Horton’s doughnuts,getting ready for some looting and burning at the G20 summit
    in Toronto.

  6. Silly maybe but sometimes the silly ones are the ones to watch as they can kill you as you laugh at them.

  7. Charles Carrier

    I’ve seen this before in other articles, and I don’t understand it, so I hope someone can explain it to an old grognard:

    In the Spit Splinters paragraph it describes the save as “Reflex DC 13”, but the last sentence says “This save is Constitution-based”. Reflex is Dex based, right? How exactly do the Con and Dex come together here?

  8. Charles,

    “This save is Constitution-based” means that the beaver’s Con is used to determine the DC of the save, in the same way that a wizard’s INT is used for spell DCs. I suppose this might matter if the beaver were hit with a Con drain or something.

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