Over on my twitter, I sometimes post entertaining or suggestive errors as typos of the day. Yesterday, I accidentally typed “manticore” as “manticorn”, which prompted…
According to rumour, the Manticorn was once a fearsome manticore, an ancient and especially cruel creature. In time, he came to repent of his dreadful habit of hunting and eating people, and when the Priestess appeared at the beginning of the 13th Age, he was among the first pilgrims to seek her out. He threw his mighty bulk at her feet and begged for forgiveness. She took pity on him and touched his mane, and lo! A shining horn of blessed ivory sprouted there, proof of his absolution and redemption. Thus, if you should happen to encounter the Manticorn in the forest, be not afraid! He is a harmless and gentle creature now, and you should trust him.
The above rumour was, of course, spread by the Manticorn. The truth is much more grisly. The Manticorn was, indeed, an elder manticore. When he fell sick, he sought the fabled healing power of a unicorn’s horn, and ate so many unicorns that his mane and fur turned pearly white, he sprouted his own horn, and his tail spikes became unicorn horns too.
The Manticorn delights in hunting eating only the purest flesh – just as a unicorn can only be caught by a virgin, the Manticorn can smell holiness and goodness at a distance, and infallibly track those who are gentle and true-hearted enough to be a satisfying meal for the monster.
You are what you eat, and it’s eaten a lot of unicorns.
Large 8th level spoiler [beast]
Battering paws +13 vs. AC (2 attacks)—35 damage
Natural even hit or miss+: The Manticorn can make a bounding teleport as a free action.
Crushing leonine jaws +13 vs. AC— 50 damage
Natural 16+: The Manticorn can make a terrible gore attack as a free action.
Terrible Gore +13 vs. AC – 50 damage, and the Manticorn cannot use bounding teleport until the end of its next turn.
Critical Hit: The target is cursed by the Manticorn. If the Manticorn is slain, then over the course of several weeks, the target is slowly transformed into a copy of the Manticorn. This process begins with bad dreams, followed by the subject growing a shaggy mane and a unicorn horn sprouting from their forehead. By the time the target sprouts bat wings, a tail, claw and is walking on all fours with the bloody entrails of a unicorn dangling from their teeth, it’s fairly obvious what’s going on. The curse can be lifted with a suitably epic quest.
R: Sweet Breath +13 vs. MD (all nearby enemies) – 10 psychic damage, and the targets perceive the Manticorn as a friendly, holy beast and suffer a -4 penalty when attacking (save ends).
Critical Hit: The target is compelled to move towards the Manticorn, and suffers a -4 penalty to all defences (save ends).
Limited Use: 1/battle
R: Volley of Unicorn Horns +13 vs. AC (up to three enemies in a group) – 35 holy damage, and 10 ongoing damage. The Manticorn cannot use bounding teleport until the end of its next turn.
Bounding Teleport: The Manticorn may pop free and teleport to any spot nearby it can see, and may immediately make a battering paws attack.
Hunt The Holy: If the Manticorn has encountered a good-aligned Paladin, Cleric or other character who’s notably holy (say, a relationship with the Great Gold Wyrm or the Priestess, or a suitable One Unique Thing), then the Manticorn may use bounding teleport appear somewhere near that character, regardless of range. Limited Use: 1/day.
Flight: The giant bat wings are mostly vestigial given the Manticorn can teleport, but hey, it can still fly.
Last Twist Of The Horn: If the Manticorn is reduced to 30 hit points or less, then any hit with its terrible gore has the curse-bestowing effect, not just a critical hit.
PD18 HP 275