Design Blog: The Crag Terror, Martes volantes

Knights of Terrova Creature Design: The Crag Terror, Martes volantes

Physical Description: At first glance, the Crag Terror is a rather unassuming little carnivore. Only slightly longer than the old-world wolverines this mustelid is rather large for its genus males measuring about 4 feet in length (1.3 meters) and weigh around 20 pounds (9 kg, females measuring about 2.5 feet in length (.76 meters) and weigh around 15 pounds (6.8 kg). This mammal holds a surprising secret, it can glide due to flaps of skin stretching from the animal’s front legs to their hind legs similar to that of an old-world sugar glider. These animals possess a beautiful coat with a base color of slate grey decorated with snowy white spots and stripes. This striking coat blends perfectly into the snow-covered slate and granite canyons they dwell in. Their short skull and thick canines produce a powerful bite that will send even the toughest individual to the nearest healer. The young of this species are covered in a soft deep black coat that hides them in the caves and crevices they are kept in.

Diet: The Crag Terror will consume any animal it can outrun and overpower. Adults are fully capable of taking down animals much larger than them such as mountain goats and deer, there have even been a few reported cases of fatal attacks on Humans. Their powerful jaws and strong stomachs allow them to eat everything from hair to bone, not much is left to scavenge from a crag terror kill site.

Behavior: The crag terror is a solitary creature only found together when breeding, feeding, or when a mother is raising her young. They are highly territorial and will not back down from any creature, it is not uncommon to find dead crag terrors after an immortal wanders through their territory as they will attempt to attack it until the immortal wanders off or becomes enraged enough to kill them. Their sturdy hooked claws allow them to climb almost anything, I have not encountered a material that their claws could not pierce. They use these claws to gain vantage points on their territory, it is common to find them in the treetops or atop sheer rock pillars. When a prey animal is spotted they will glide from their perch onto the backs of the unsuspecting animal, using their powerful jaws they bite into the back of the prey’s neck breaking the vertebra and severing the spinal cord. When feeding crag terrors gather from near and far to the carcass, going into a frenzy feeding is often accompanied by screeching growling and fighting. The screams of feeding crag terrors can be heard from miles away often causing sleepless terror-filled nights for many a settler. This has led to the animal getting the nickname of “the mountain devil”.

Ecology: These animals have no natural predators the majority of crag terrors are killed by other crag terrors or their own bravado. They are adapted to the high altitudes and cold temperatures of the mountains but can be found in lowland forests, often using these tall old forests as highways between mountain ranges. They will almost never be found in flat clearings and are never found in wetlands.

Lifecycle: wild lifespans of these animals average 3-6 years with almost no wild animals dying of old age, disease, or natural predation. In captivity, they can live until well over 20 years. Maturing at 7 months old these animals breed on average 2-3 times a year with a pregnancy lasting 1 month they produce litters upward of 14 kits and will raise them for 3 months. Born blind and helpless each kit weighs 5 ounces at birth.

Relationship With Humans: Crag Terrors are the bane of settlers across the continent. They create a constant threat to livestock. The screams of a group of crag terrors haunt the dreams of many a woodsman. Their coat is soft, dense, warm, and beautiful this attracts many a would-be trapper to crag terror territory. The dangers involved in crag terror trapping make their coats extremely expensive often a luxury item for the elite. Crag terrors are kept by a few of the most elite on the continent, a captive crag terror is a sign of extreme wealth and power, a gift of a crag terror kit is not something to be taken lightly it is considered an extreme honor and if the animal escapes or perishes the owner is often ostracized and blacklisted from most if not all businesses and social groups.

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