Terrors are a larger and slightly more intelligent cousin to the
flitter mouse. With a wingspan of up to one
ped and a weight of two
muts these bats are about
triple the size of most known species. A group of Kanapan Terrors will make
their home far from any densely populated area, preferring to live in the
undisturbed wilderness. Roosts have been found in the forests of Cahm and
throughout the Kanapan peninsula
supposedly for its temperate, moist climate and wide variety of insects and
Appearance. A Kanapan Terror's wingspan is a good ped in width and its body is half a ped long, making it a fearsome creature to even the bravest hearts. A thin, leathery skin stretches between the bones forming a soft, velveteen wing making gliding and swooping easier for the bats. Downy, gray fur covers them everywhere and makes the bats even harder to see against cavern rock or dark rain clouds. In the rain however a bat will most likely seek shelter, as the storms are still powerful enough to knock weaker bats back to the earth.
Picture description. Eerie scene out in no-man's land with Kanapan terror bats circling a dead oak tree... - beware! Image drawn by Seeker.
Ears lie atop the batís head and are well pointed like
tall triangles. Their nose is a small snout, much like a dog, and forms the top
half of the jaw. Little, pointy teeth line the lower jaw and two fangs and
several more teeth hang from the upper section. A little tongue can poke out of
the Kanapan Terror's mouth for licking juices, but
also for bathing other members of the group.
Kanapan Terrors also have black beady eyes that are hidden in its dark fur but shine in light and can be seen on their heads, spaced a good deal apart those of birds. Mostly they are nocturnal but some still enjoy daylight frequently, finding it more fun to bother the larger animals awake in the sun. However, seeing Kanapan Terrors out at daylight in general is still quite rare.
The one claw on the "wrist" of these bats is well developed and a perfect tool for ripping open food they cannot quite swallow. The other bones in the wing are like the other four fingers on the human hand, its claw being like a thumb. Though these "fingers" actually are bones and support the wing, the batís bones closely resemble a hand when looked at as a whole. Not only are the bones well joined at key points, but also they are thin and hollow to further decrease the overall weight.
Overall the Kanapan Terrors are no more fearsome than other bats but the sheer size of them causes terror and mistrust. Rumors of intelligence and a hidden agenda make their appearance even more frightening even though no rational fear can be discerned just by looking at them.
Special Abilities. Kanapan Terrors, similar to regular bats, have very unique abilities, among them the following:
Navigation through Sound
Bats seem to guide themselves by producing a high pitch screech that is beyond the hearing range of normal humans. Fortunately elven members of the Compendium have had better success in discovering this feat using their improved hearing and logical minds. Some less reputable researchers theorize that the bats must be great mathematicians but most experts have rejected this in favour of the probability that itís a natural thing rather than mathematical calculations. In any case, Kanapan Terrors are mostly supposed to be able to judge exceptionally well when their sounds meet other objects and detect from there how to avoid crashing into obstacles.
Also the eyes of Kanapan Terrors seem to be able to absorb light at a highly efficient rate, granting them superb vision in even the most dimly lit places. Starlight, moonlight, torchlight, any source at all will give them near perfect sight. This sensitivity does not prevent them from enjoying a bright summer's day however, it just happens that they are mostly asleep during the afternoon hours.
All bats seem to have a sense of smell that rivals any other, being able to discern members of their own family by the scent. This could also be implemented into hunting, though no evidence exists that this is exactly how they find prey. Current reports believe more strongly that Kanapan Terrors rely on hearing rather than smelling. If you decide to go hunting after this very sensitive beast, avoid eating meat as much as possible for these midnight feeders can smell the scent in your sweat!
Kanapan Terrors were first discovered in the forests of Cahm, on the
Kanapan Peninsula. Roosts can be
found in larger caves, old abandoned buildings, and at any enclosed space large
enough to support the group. The original "Giant Bats" were found deep in the
abandoned mines obscured by undergrowth. The roost of these particular
bats seems to be hidden away from
the rest of the mine, hiding from the crystals protruding along its walls. These
crystals seem magical in property, possibly
enchanted, because of their natural glow. Huge chunks of uncut gem stick out of
the wall shining, repelling the
bats to the deepest regions of the
mine with some odd ability. Unfortunately for miners the gems themselves are
flawed, difficult to cut, and run so deep into the
earth they cannot be removed whole. Market
value for the rock is extremely low because what can be taken loses its glow
within minutes and whatís left is simply shards of flawed gem.
The forested areas where the bats live are filled with a variety and abundance of insects, their main source of nutrients. Eating these small insects sometimes isnít enough however and the bats tend to raid local gardens of any fruit they might have. Almost becoming like owls they have begun to hunt small rodents like field mice and such to support their large bodies.
Habitat/Behaviour. Kanapan Terrors are not only known for their size but also for their higher intelligence compared to the common flittermice. These bats exhibit a wide range of emotions and personalities that even when studied takes time to understand. They show respect to superiors, courtesy to other bats, and avidly defend what they believe is theirs. It is also noted that some have suffered from claustrophobia and cannot live in the roost with other bats, as well as other mind effecting conditions.
The Kapanan Terrors social structure is a four-part system, one lead bat followed by females and elderly on the same level, and on the bottom of the pile are the regular male bats. Certain rules must be followed when approaching a higher ranking bat, which is included in the following sections:
The Lead Bat is the strongest male of the group. When this Ďkingí dies the bats will fight until one stands alone and unopposed. He will take the lead, and will not be challenged for supremacy again. His only real purpose is to mate with the strongest females, defend the roost, and decide on a new roost if the current one is destroyed. Other bats that approach the leader will lower their head below his, to show respect. It is considered a challenge to do otherwise while in his presence.
Female bats are the designated caretakers of children and raise the young. This includes teaching them how to fly, nursing them, protecting them, and other essentials of life. Like most mothers they are extremely protective of offspring and care deeply for the young. Grooming the gray fur and scratching behind a bat's ears is a way to show affection. Family bonds are another form of loyalty the Kanapan Terrors exhibit besides superiority.
Females rarely leave the roost except when feeding or, if they choose, can compete for the right to mate with the lead bat. A male bat that comes before a female will land besides her, stopping short and will wait until she sniffs him before coming closer. If she makes a hissing sound, it is a signal to go away. Persistent males will be further discouraged if they ignore this warning until the female has had enough and will strike the unwanted male. Though she will not kill him, the male is likely to be severely injured if he does not retreat away from the roost for several hours.
Older bats that are too weak to fly out and fight the dangers of Caelereth stay in the roost most of the time. They will eventually leave the roost to die in peace, but other bats wonít force them out or kill them off. Oddly enough these bats seem to respect age and the elder bats are usually given the rite of way in most conflicts with male bats.
The lowest ranking in the system but the most numerous, male bats are the staple of the winged force. They defend the roost; scout the land around it, and battle for dominance. These males are rowdy, playful, and at times clumsy. Immature even at times these bats will try to fit whatever food they can get into their mouths, even if it means to choke on the object. The smarter ones just suck on the juices out of fruits or live animals, but others prefer to shred their food and slop up the bits.
Males are built with stronger jaw muscles than females and spend a lot more time away from the roost. Patrolling territory and harassing passers-by is a favourite past time among bats, but rarely cause any harm. Kanapan Terror males have also been found to enjoy practicing aerial combat with each other, and frequently try out new and rather dangerous maneuvers against a partner.
Diet. The diet of a Kanapan Terror is an ongoing list for they are extremely curious and will try new things at least once. If the bat decides it likes a particular taste it will seek the newfound food out above all others. Common treats for Kanapan Terrors include sugary fruits, any insect, small rodents, small birds, and most plants with any kind of juice. The Kanapan Terrorís scent is very powerful for locating foods, so powerful in fact that smells that offend them will drive them away. A good tip for avoiding a Terror is to seek an odour the group finds repulsive and carry as much of the substance as possible.
Picture description. Adventurers stumbling upon some nasty surprises when entering what they think to be a cave - terror bats included! Image drawn by Faugar.
One aggravated farmer reported a
bat trying to swallow whole an
entire pineapple. He was of course unsuccessful and choked on the large fruit,
passing out. The farmer was able to recuperate the
bat by removing the fruit, and sent
the confused mammal on its way. This unfortunately didnít last and the same
bat reenacted the incident a week
Mating. Bats are not as arbitrary about their mates as other mammals, once they choose a mate that is their mate for life. Of course the Lead Bat and the strongest female mate with each other while the other bats simply find a regular female to mate with.
Mating season begins in the springtime with the first fights and challenges. This goes on until Singing Bird when it settles down a bit and the rituals may begin. The male and female meet each other on the ground or a ledge and start to sniff each other. Crawling around the cave together, the bats memorize the scent of their mate so that next year they will be able to find their partner. After enough time has passed, the two bats mate and that pair will annually meet on their anniversary of their first time.
The fight over a female bat can be quite intense. First the top two contenders meet each other in the air away from the roost and engage in intense aerial combat. Impressive maneuvers, biting, scratching, diving, trickery, ambush, whatever it takes to get the edge and catch the eye of the female. If one of the bats yields it will head back to the roost early and not challenge the victor again. Kanapan Terrors have discovered that if they are to survive the strong must mate with the strong, believing that this will allow offspring to inherent the strength.
Myth/Lore. The name of the Kanapan Terror has lived mostly in children stories and the few explorers who share such tales around the campfire. Origins to the story lie within the local farmers' desire to rid the peninsula of the pest that ruins many of their crops as well as a scary monster to tell to misbehaving younglings. Names like "Berag the Merciless", "Grog the Defiler", and sometimes just "The Terrors" would be sprinkled in parents' threats. "Eat your vegetables or Grog will get you!", "Go to bed, the bats will come for children who stay up late!", "Listen to your father or heíll bring Berag home with him!" and the like.
Tales were circulated about these giant bats that lived in the forest, a winged terror that stalks in shadow and rules in the rainy nights. Instead of drawing the brave hearted to slay the 'beasts' the fables only made them even more infamous and kept explorers from visiting the cavern to seek them out. The Kanapan Terror faded into myth and folklore, only to be told in jest and humor. After many years no one was exactly sure where they came from nor where the cave could be found.
Recently discoveries made by various researchers of the Compendium have brought the reality of the creatures to light. Several groups of Kanapan Terrors are under observation across the peninsula and more conclusions are drawn annually. Even so, stories are still told to those who wish to hear about Berag and his brutish strength by the town elders around the campfire. The young mostly enjoy the fictions of Grog the Defiler; in legend he could turn crops into mold, barns into stink bombs, and could leave guano across an entire wheat field.