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A Gazetteer of Ochalea - Ochalean Bestiaryby Giampaolo Agosta
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Ochalea is generally considered a land free of monsters - at least when compared to the Known World. This is mostly due to two facts: first, there are few goblinoids in Ochalea; second, many monsters in Ochalea are adept at disguising their presence, by means of shapechanging, charming magics, invisibility or simple stealth.
Table 8 shows a list of the most common monsters in Ochalea.
Table 8: Monsters in Ochalea Creature Local name Creature Local name Aranea Lamara Cyclops Living Statue, Jade Jinjong Bargda Naga Shejing Brownie Zaoshen Guardian Weishejing Cat, Great Spirit Xieshejing Tiger Water Jiangshejing Panther Ogre Magi Wang Liang Dragon Long Kingfisher clan Feicuizu Gold Jin Long Frog clan Qingwazu Jade Yu Long Ox clan Huangniuzu Sea Hai Long Phoenix Fenghuang Undead Si Long Purple Worm Ziqu Drake Roc Peng Mandrake Skeleton Elemental Drake Spirit Shen Fish, Giant Animal, Lesser Shoushen Giant Catfish Animal, Greater Gargantua Carp Nature Ziranshen Fu Dog/Lion Evil Eshen Gargoyle Undead Sishen Ghoul Sprite Weixian Gray Philosopher Werefox Hulijing Guardian Warrior Bingmajong Wererat Laoshujing Haunt, Ghost Weretiger Laohujing Hsiao Xiao Wight Jiangshi Hypnosnake Zombie Killer Tree
AnimalsThere are many dangerous predators in Ochalea, from the natural to the supernatural ones. Tigers are common in the southern jungles, as are panthers.
Snakes of the common types are present, as are rare varieties such as the Hypnosnake.
Finally, giant animals such as the Roc and the Purple Worm can be found in the more remote areas.
ConstructsMagically animated monsters are sometimes created to protect temples, ancient treasures or tombs. Guardian Warriors and their horses are often created to protect the tombs of the Ochalean rulers, Archdukes and provincial governors. Jade Statues were created before the rise of the Empire of Thyatis and during the independence war to protect temples from the Alphatian wizards - to this end, these constructs were designed to be able to survive massive magical attacks. Finally, Gargoyles are sometimes found in subterranean tombs or larger fortifications - they are never built on palaces, houses or temples, since these are mostly built using wood rather than stone.
``Demons''Ochaleans lump several types of creatures related with evil, Entropic cults under the ``demon'' label. Some of these demons, like the One-eyed demon (Cyclops) and the Ox-headed demon (Bargda) are just evil or cursed creatures that serve the Demon Cults as mercenaries or bound by powerful spells.
Others, like the Tree demon (Killer Tree) are actually unrelated with the Demon Cults, and just happen to share appearances with some evil spirits.
Finally, evil spirits are corrupted nature or animal spirits that have absorbed magical energies - see Section 10.8.
DragonsOchaleans consider Dragons as a major symbol of power. While real dragons are uncommon at best, they are a common theme in Ochalean art and religion.
Dragons of the Sea, Gold and Jade subspecies are the most common. There is a powerful draconic kingdom in the Dragon Mountains, ruled by an aged Gold dragon. Other kingdoms are found in the seas around Ochalea.
Ochalean dragons sometimes choose to disguise themselves as humans to observe or manipulate the human society for their purposes.
FaeriesFaeries generally dislike Immortals, yet some of them are deeply interested in the concept of religion. So, while few faeries - mostly Sprites - live in Ochalea, some envoys of the Faerie courts can be found hidden among the city folk (Mandrakes) or posing as nature spirits (Elemental Drakes). Brownies are probably the only faeries well liked by the Ochalean, who consider them as kitchen gods (Zaoshen).
Friendly to the faeries, but not faeries themselves, the Hsiao are devoted to the way of Law. Most Hsiao in Ochalea live in nests built on the forested mountains, near the monasteries of the Lawful faiths. As clerical scholars, the Hsiao are extremely interested in the Ochalean philosophical studies, and are often sought by abbots and other high-ranking priests for advice. The Hsiao worship Lafwul Good and Lawful Neutral Immortals, especially those focusing on Law itself as their main area of interest, including Koryis, Tarastia and Ka.
The Fu Dogs and Lions, envoys of the Lupin Immortals, often sojourn at the faerie court of Ochalea - while, just like other faeries - the Ochalean Sprites find Immortals somewhat distasteful and are generally alien to the concept of divine magic and worship, they are as curious as the Dreamlands faeries about them, and take every opportunity to discuss the philosophies of Law and Chaos with their guests.
NagaThese human-headed giant snakes are sometimes found in the rocky badlands (Guardian and Spirit Naga) or in the waters of the Chungkiang (Water Nage). Guardian Naga are ancient servants of Kong Long (Ka), often honorbound to protect specific sites or preserve ancient histories, while Water Naga are related to the river spirits and are generally neutral towards outsiders. Spirit Naga are corrupt Naga that serve evil spirits as guardians or assassins.
ShapechangersThe Ochalean belief holds that Shapechangers (or ``Spirit Folk'') are the result of interbreeding between animal spirits and mortals. They include in this broad class a variety of creatures, from Aranea (spider folk) to Lamara (snake folk) to lycanthropes (fox folk, tiger folk and goblin rats - only werefoxes, weretigers and wererats are present in Ochalea).
The Wang Liang (Ogre Magi) are also part of this group. There are three Wang Liang clans, each composed of many small families (3-11 adults plus 1-3 children), the Kingfisher clan, the Frog clan and the Ox clan. Members of the Kingfisher clan are light-blue skinned, with dark green hair; Frog clan Ogres are light-green skinned, with dark blue hair, while those of the Ox clan are yellow-haired and light-brown skinned.
Most Shapechangers are crafty enought to merge with ease into the Ochalean society, lending to the image of Ochalea as a monster-free land.
Nature spirits and animal spirits find it easy to materialize in Ochalea more than in other areas of Mystara. Also, the presence of large numbers of Shamans means that spirits often find their way to Ochalea through summonings. Indeed, most Shamans receive their spells from powerful spirits, and only the most powerful deal with the Spirit Lords (i.e., the Immortals).
Evil and undead spirits are unfortunately present as well, though they use their innate abilities to pass undetected. Many Demon Cults are lead by or allied with powerful evil spirits. Undead spirits are sometimes summoned by evil Demon Cult priests and shamans.
UndeadPerhaps most surprisingly in a land known for its large priesthood, Ochalea is haunted by a large number of undead monsters. However, most priests in Ochalea live a cloistered life, and remain aloof from the problems of the more remote areas of the sparsely populated country.
Ancient Demon Cult elders, lost in their ponderings of evil philosophical concepts, become Gray Philosophers. A legend says that once Lan Yi-Xiong assaulted a fortress of the Demon Cultists: so absorbed in their thoughts were the cult elders, that they were oblivious to the battle outside the underground council hall. In the end, Lan Yi-Xiong brought a mountain down to crush the cultists, burying the entire council all - the elders did not even notice their own deaths, and might be still found seated on their council dais in front of tea cups reduced to dust by the violence of the impact.
Ghosts, remains of people whose life ended tragically, are perhaps the most dangerous of the undead - they can appear seductive, or lower the guard of their opponents by lamenting their tragedies, only to kill them when they are defenseless. Not all ghosts are evil, though - some just look for a release from their suffering, in the form of a righting of whatever wrong brought them to their undead state. Some ghosts can end up serving other, more powerful entities.
Undead spirits can exist both in the Spirit World and in the Prime Material. These entities are powerful enough to be fully independent, and can be a major threat for Ochalean cities. However, they also tend to attract more attention from the priesthood than other undead, so they are remarkably rare.
Restless dead animated by lower, animalistic souls, the Hopping Corpses (Wights) are dangerous, because they try to absorb the qi (life force) of the mortals, pushed by incredible hunger. They are not very intelligent, since they lack the higher soul.
Skeletons and zombies are the less powerful undead, mere animated corpses existing thanks to necromantic magic wielded by evil spirits, priests or wizards, or created by other undead. They are rarely found on their own, so the adventurer who meets a group of these monsters should consider this a warning that some greater evil is afoot.
Ghouls are among the most common undead in Ochalea, and can be found in graveyards as well as in the sewers of Beitung.
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