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by Jamie Baty

DMR2 104
Large Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 6d10+18 (51 hp)
Initiative: +1 (+1 Dex)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armour Class: 14 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +4 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+15
Attack: Bite +10 melee (1d6 +5)
Full Attack: Bite +10 melee (1d6 +5) and 2 hooves +5 melee (1d10 +2)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./ 5 ft.
Special Attacks: Quills, rotting disease
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60ft., low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +4
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 12, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 14, Cha 6
Skills: Hide -3, Listen +9, Spot +8
Feats: Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Power Attack
Environment: Any plains, hills, mountains
Organisation: Solitary, Pair, or Clutch (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 5
Treasure: Possibly eggs and/or hatchlings
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 7-12 HD (Large); 13-18 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: -
The origin of these ravenous beasts is unknown; as usual the mad wizard's experiment is suspected, although they may be the spawn of some twisted, inimical power. In any case, they are nightmarish creatures the size of a large bull, with a giant serpent's head, tortoise feet, thick green fur, and a horse's tail.
Surtakis are territorial hunters that inhabit mountain foothills, badlands, and other rough but fairly open country. Most adults tolerate each other only at mating time. Juveniles, however, tend to stick together for a year or two until they can carve out territories for themselves.
Surtaki are always hungry and will eat anything they can catch. They eat only meat but will scavenge if the opportunity presents itself. Surtakis spend about two-thirds of their time snoozing to conserve energy. They never really fall into a deep sleep, however, and their keen senses of hearing and smell usually alert them when prey or danger is at hand.
Most surtaki live 35 to 40 years, attain their full growth in about five years, and mature sexually in about 10 years. A female surtaki mates every two years. After a year, she scrapes out a shallow nest on a sunny hillside and lays a clutch of 2d12 eggs, which hatch in 4d4+4 weeks. The mother keeps watch over the nest during this time and fearlessly attacks anything that comes near. Curiously enough, she takes no interest in the hatchlings when they appear and may eat them herself if she is hungry. Typically, only 1d6 hatchlings survive the first six weeks, and only 1d3 survive the first year.
Freshly-laid surtaki eggs are considered a great delicacy in some parts of Mystara, and sell for 2d4 gold pieces each. Tastes, however, vary widely, and many Mystarans find the eggs, fresh or otherwise, disgusting in the extreme. Surtaki hatchlings also have some value (1d4x10 gold pieces each), but they are hard to handle, as their spines harden and become dangerous within 30 minutes of hatching. Hatchlings would fetch higher prices were they not virtually untrainable. They are sometimes used as guard beasts-their bizarre appearance can make a big impression but they are untrustworthy and usually are useful only if they can be released into an unused area where they are free to attack anything that enters, or if they can be charmed or dominated so that they will obey commands.

Surtakis are keen hunters and are not particular in type of prey. When hunting, surtakis usually lie in wait for their prey, hiding behind the crest of a hill or in dense undergrowth and charging at anything that comes within 100 yards, as long as it isn't bigger that the surtaki itself. They are fierce fighters and do not give up easily.

Quills (Ex): A surtaki's shaggy fur conceals dozens of barbed quills, similar to those of a giant porcupine. Any creature that strikes a surtaki in melee combat must make a successful Reflex saving throw vs. DC 13 to avoid the quills. If the save fails, the attacker suffers 1d6 points of damage, and may be affected by the surtaki's rotting disease (see below).
Any creature foolish enough to grapple a surtaki automatically takes 3d6 hp of damage per round it grapples the surtaki.

Rotting Disease (Ex): The surtaki's quills can infect any creature damaged by the quills with a horrid rotting disease.
Rotting Disease
quill, Fortitude DC 16, incubation period 1 round, damage 2d6 Con. The save DC is Con based. Creatures infected with this disease are not able to heal naturally, regenerate, or even receive any healing from magic. A cure disease spell, remove disease ability or a wish is required to heal the disease.

Scent (Ex): This special quality allows a surtaki to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

Skills: A surtaki has a +2 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks.