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Shadow Elven Skinwing

by Jamie Baty

GAZ13 39
Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 4d10+4 (26 hp)
Initiative: +2 (+2 Dex)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), fly 60 ft. (average)
Armour Class: 15 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +4 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+12
Attack: Bite +7 melee (1d8 +4)
Full Attack: Bite +7 melee (1d8 +4)
Space/Reach: 10 ft. /5 ft.
Special Attacks: -
Special Qualities: Darkvision 90ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +2
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 5, Wis 13, Cha 8
Skills: Listen +6, Spot +11
Feats: Alertness, Endurance, Flyby Attack (B)
Environment: Any underground
Organisation: Solitary; as Military mounts: Patrol 2-8 plus equal number of 2nd level shadow elf riders.
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 5-8 HD (Large); 9-12 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: -

Skinwings play a vital role in the defence of shadow elf cities, and the sight of their large forms gliding smoothly and silently above the City of the Stars is dramatic and impressive. Skinwings are reptilian, distantly related to pterodactyls, but more bird-like in appearance (though they do not have feathers). Their skins are hard and leathery, varying from light brown to dark teak.
Shadow elves take great care to rub down their skinwings with an oily substance derived form fungal secretions to keep their skins from cracking and to maintain suppleness. Feeding them is slightly trickier. Skinwings will eat fungi if it is prepared correctly, but they also like and need meat in their diet. Rats and snakes are greedily gobbled up, but skinwings will not usually eat fish or the giant frogs and toads sometimes found in underground rivers. Their favourite meals are small, juicy little kobolds, halflings and similar humanoids. Joints of orc, hobgoblin, and their brethren are also eagerly fallen upon by these sharp-beaked creatures.
Skinwings may still be found in the surface world, in Red Orcland, but those found in the great caverns of the shadow elves are considered to be the paragons of the species. Shadow elven skinwings have little other than a name in common with the skinwings found among the Shazaks.
Most shadow elven skinwings are used by the military. These skinwings are very devoted to their riders and bond stronger to them. Any skinwing that has paired with a rider for more than a year will not accept other riders, and will usually waste away and die if its rider should die.

Skinwings naturally will swoop down on their targets and snap with their bite. Skinwings used as mounts tend to follow the commands of their rider and will not attack by swooping unless the rider desires it. Shadow Elves do field skinwings that carry crossbow-armed riders. These troops will stay out of melee range and wear down opposition.

Skills: A Shadow elven skinwing has a +4 racial bonus to all Spot checks.