The Manticore is - like e.g. the griffon - a strange and nowadays very rare combination of two or more common Caelereth beasts, in this case obviously of an oracau and a gryph, sometimes of a scorpion too. Manticores possess the complete body of the predator but are also endowed with enormous wings, furthermore - although this may vary - they can have a lethally spiked tail which reminds of the mentioned scorpion. Very seldom Manticores can be spotted who have an uncouth mannish head and who also possess the ability to speak. These exceptions may eventually result of an ancient curse. The latter creatures are all deemed to be of evil nature, whereas the typical Manticore cannot be categorized per se in this way.
|Image description: The mistress and her pet - a sorceress commanding a Manticore. Picture drawn by Aragorn Hárf'a'chón.|
As the Manticore mainly
it also has most of its abilities and advantages, but although a dangerous foe
the Manticore has not the agility seen at the
itself. Many descriptions in the old books tell that the heavy wings mostly
hinder the beast to lead quick attacks with its claws. The attack with its
spiked, poisonous tail seems to be the most effective weapon the beast
possesses. As for the wings which make the Manticore so impressive: They allow
the beast only to fly short distances, which often is enough to catch the prey
in an unexpected moment.
The Manticore has a natural vermillion color and stands between 1.3 and 2 peds in height at the shoulder, a length of up to 3 peds, and also has a wingspan of up to 5 peds. It has huge jaws that hold three rows of razor-sharp teeth, upper and lower, that interlock when the beast closes its mouth. The teeth could shred flesh and bone to shards without much effort.
There are two breeds of Manticore, those with scorpion tails and the even rarer Manticore with dragon tails. Dragon tailed Manticores have the speed and agility of normal oracaus and can fly 4 times as far as the scorpion tailed Manticore or 1.2 dashes. The wings of the Dragon tailed Manticore may appear like the wings of a dragon.
The Manticore has two primary methods of attacking its prey. One method is to
pounce on its prey by jumping or flying on top of the prey, knocking it to the
ground and biting its neck. Manticore’s really are to big to fly as birds do,
however they can glide. They have the ability to run and then leap and glide for
30 peds at a time, or to glide down from a perch. The
Manticore can actually fly for 1.2 dashes.
The other attack method is the more commonly seen, tail attack, where the tail is whipped releasing 1 - 6 poisonous spikes to kill or paralyze its prey. The tail of the scorpion tailed Manticore can be used to sting it prey as well.
The Manticore is an intelligent beast and uses various pack attack methods. Furthermore the Manticore has - like all cats - a remarkable ability to see in the dark (darkvision) and often is not alone when hunting... Manticore also retain the stealth ability of cats.
It is also said that Manticores have the ability to speak, but would rather eat someone than chat, additionally they have a keen sense of smell. It is said that the Manticore can smell the blood of its prey.
One more thing needs to be mentioned here: It is very unlikely that Manticores have magical abilities on their own, however, many pictures show these beasts as pets of witches or powerful sorceresses, to whom they seem to have developed a certain affinity. The reason for this is as unexplainable as their true origin, but there sure is much more in respect of this peculiarity than just the need of the artist to let an innocent maiden pose near a symbol of manlyhood.
Territory. There have been stories of the Manticore as living in a large variety of territories around the world, but it is has been many years since they have been seen roaming of living above ground.
They mostly can be encountered in underground sewers, caverns or also at crypts or ruins and feast on the flesh of creatures they kill. Tamed Manticores prefer to be housed in large caves or caverns, but enjoy having access to sunlight.
Manticores considers all land within 12 leagues as their territory, and their prime hunting grounds.
Habitat/Behaviour. Manticores live in a pride of up to five total Manticores, the males are the hunters and the fierce protectors of the pride. The females also assist in the hunting and caring for the pride. Manticores rest in shifts of 8-12 hours, however there is always one Manticore awake. While the Manticore can hunt effectively on its own, it prefers to hunt in packs of 2, 3, or the more rarely 5 Manticore pack.
Manticore prides without cubs tend to eat their prey where they kill them, but if there are cubs in the pride then the prey is always brought back to the lair. While the male Manticores are the primary hunters, they always wait for the females and the cubs to eat before they eat.
Rarely are there two male adult Manticore’s in the same pride, Males strive to kill each other when they meet.
Manticores have been known to collect the valuables of their prey. They are intelligent enough to know that people value things. While they may not understand what those things are for, they collect them in their lairs. They also have been known to use these valuables to set traps for unwary travelers. Most Manticore lair’s have small treasures, the lairs with the longest history may have the wealth fit for kings.
|Image description: A cursed Manticore with a Mannish head drawn by by Vaelaron Dalavaga.|
Manticores prefer to eat meat, of any kind, and the fresher the better.
Manticores usually capture a prey once every two weeks, and can live without
food for almost a month, while they can just as easily eat 3 or more meals in a
day. The Manticore was said to relish feasting on
humans, elves and
dwarves, while the smaller races were
considered neat snacks.
Typically they would hunt and eat any best the size of a large horse or smaller, as this was the size of beast that two Manticores and devour in one meal. Larger animals will be hunted if the Manticore is in a party of more than two. They do not store their food, as they refuse to eat anything that has been dead for more than one day.
Mating. Manticores mate for life and usually have a litter of 1 or 2 cubs at a time. Most Manticore cubs are primarily female with perhaps a male cub born once in every 3 births. Manticore mates will only have one litter at a time. And only 1 litter every 7 to 8 years as there is always a period of 2 or more years between litters. Cubs reach adulthood in 5 years, and are encouraged to find their way in the world. Some female cubs stay with the pride until a suitable mate if found. While the female is carrying, the male will hunt for her and clean her repeatedly. Both parents equally contribute to the cubs growth.
Female Manticores only take one mate and that will be the only mate that she will have for the duration of her life. Males primarily have one mate but have been known to have up to three. Still a lost mate is never replaced.
Myth/Lore. The origin of the Manticores is completely unknown. However, the beasts are mentioned in several mythological stories written down in the Mène'téka and which all take place long before the often cited War of the Chosen where many creatures were bred who seem to contradict nature's course (e.g. the centaur). This may lead to the assumption that the Manticore roamed the vast lands of Caelereth from the beginning of time, but couldn't survive in the many ages and hence seem to be extinct by now.
Researchers. While from time to time reports of Manticores show up, none of these reports have been substantiated. They may be extinct or solely under the care of sorcerers.