Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday Featured Creature: The Superb Owls

It's Superb Owl Sunday here at G&S HQ, so what better day to launch the Featured Creature series, with a spotlight on the superb owls themselves?  Go start your Ga'Hoole-inspired campaign right now!

Renowned for their wisdom and cunning alike, the owls often serve as councilors and sages for other species.  Even animals on whom they would normally prey have been known to seek their advice.  Owls in general have a reputation for honesty, and usually take their reputation seriously enough to play the role of oracle or spiritual advisor, even if they are not individually wise.  The advice of an owl is held in high regard by everyone.

The following game information is for typical owls of both the orders Strigiformes (true owls) and Tytonidae (barn owls); other species of owls have differences noted below.

     AC: 5
     AT (Dam.): 2 talons (used as a single attack; 1d3+1 [1d4]), beak (1d2)
     Beginning HP: 6
     Habitat: Any
     MV: 5; fly 8
     SZ: Tiny
Species Traits:
  • Excellent Vision: Owls get a +4 bonus on all Scout lore checks to spot hidden objects
  • Flyby Attack ability
  • Low Light Vision
  • Natural Camouflage: When in their home habitat, owls have a +4 bonus on Trickster lore checks to hide or remain unseen.
  • Nocturnal: Most owls are active at night
  • Sharp Hearing:  Owls get a +4 bonus on Scout lore checks to hear noise
  • Sneaky Bird:  Owls gain a +3 bonus on Trickster lore checks to move silently; the bonus is +6 when they are airborne
  • Swoop maneuver ability
  • Suitable Niches:  Herbalist, Runner, Scout, Seer, Storyteller, Trickster
Some varieties of owl deviate from the above template, depending on species.  The differences are noted below.

Burrowing owl 
This species of owl prefers underground nests, and often takes over abandoned ground squirrel or rabbit  burrows.  They prefer to line their nests with mammalian dung, which helps regulate the temperature within, and unlike most owls, they prefer insects as prey.

  • Mimicry:  Burrowing owls can successfully mimic the hissing and rattling sounds of rattelsnakes with an Average Trickster lore check. A Challenging Deception save reveals the ruse.
  • MV: 4 on the ground; burrowing owls have longer legs than their kin, and can thus move faster on the ground.
Northern hawk owl
 Hawl owls have many hawk-like features, hence their name.  From a distance (especially during flight), they are often mistaken for hawks.
  • Diurnal: Hawk owls are active during daylight hours  
  • Habitat: sub-Arctic
  • SZ: Small

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