During my travels across Aarnekas, my companions and I have met a wealth of different creatures. The majority of those listed herein were intent on sending us to the Raven Queen – in Aarnekas it’s best to stay on the beaten track, though even that isn’t a guarantee of safety.
I’ve outlined everything we’ve encountered as of the 19th of Wine, 317 Age of Nine Kings. It’s important to note that I’ve not listed many of the humanoid races who have also tried to kill us during our travels, don’t always assume that you’re safe with folk you meet. Bandits, cultists, corrupt guards, and even innocent-looking priests can be deadly threats.
This first volume covers creatures alphabetically from A to G.
The Aboleth is an enormous creature of the deep, and while we encountered one we never got a proper look. My previous reading tells me that they’re huge and tentacled with a gaping maw full of sharp teeth.
You may find an Aboleth in the Inner Reft, making sea travel rather perilous – however you should be safer if you charter a vessel that hugs the shore. At the time of reading there may not even be an Aboleth any more, as the last Black Dragon we met vowed to hunt and kill the aberration.
Escape from an Aboleth is difficult if you’re on a ship. Advice on encounter: run away, or enlist the help of a dragon.
The regular Beholder is a large pinkish blob which floats above the ground. You’d never tell this to its face, but it vaguely resembles a private part of the male anatomy; or it would were it not for the eye which occupies a large portion of the body. Above this central eye are several smaller eyes on stalks.
Beholders normally occupy large caves and dungeons, sometimes beneath cities. By avoiding these kinds of places, you can probably avoid ever meeting one. We encountered a beholder in the catacombs of Reynford, it may still be there so definitely be wary of that place.
Beholders are generally intelligent, but that doesn’t mean they can always be bartered with. In fact it’s nearly always best to avoid. Advice on encounter: run away.
The Death Tyrant looks like a giant Beholder skull with a glowing red eye, and is even more dangerous than a regular Beholder. I’ve had the misfortune of encountering one of these, but in the realm known as the Underdark.
Advice on encounter: run away fast, get somewhere that it can’t reach you. Even better advice is to never go to the Underdark.
Spectators are like baby beholders, smaller and with a green tinge to their skin (though this doesn’t make them any less dangerous). They occupy similar environments to Beholders and thus are generally avoidable.
Advice on encounter: generally run away, unless you’re very tough. If you were intending on encountering a full Beholder then a Spectator may provide a good practise fight.
The only Black Pudding we encountered was monsterous in size, but I’m told that isn’t normal. We discovered the ooze on Islæ Nægis where it had grown large enough to overcome its captors; while strictly in Igægi it merits including in this guide to Aarnekas due to proximity. Black Puddings resemble large black mounds of slime and may be difficult to spot in a dark place.
It’s important when fighting a Black Pudding not to use your standard metal weapons, as the monster is immune to their effects and can corrode them with its acidic body. We found fire to be effective enough, though if you have lime or another alkaline substance to hand then this will be much more damaging.
Advice on encounter: if you have magic, fire, or lime, stand your ground. If you only have weapons, it’s best to get out of the ooze’s way.
A Bulette (or Land Shark as they’re commonly known) is a dangerous monster with the capability to flatten a town, it leaves destruction behind it and views almost anything that moves as food. The Bulette is shark-like in appearance, with a huge gaping maw and armour plating covering it’s hide.
We encountered a Bulette beneath Reynford and managed to disable it before it caused too much havoc. We did this through less conventional means, by poisoning the creature – a front-on attack was likely to leave one of our party dead. Advice on encounter: disable before it causes too much damage, or attempt to escape.
The Cockatrice is an ugly beast, looking like a cross between a chicken and a lizard. Individually they’re not a huge threat but if you encounter a nest then it’s best to leave immediately. Cockatrice have the ability to turn a person to stone with even just a small scratch, my companion Jason spent the best part of the day as an impressive statue.
Advice on encounter: if there’s only one then you may be able to disable it, any more and you should take up a heroic pose – you’ll be holding it for a while.
Everybody knows what a dog looks like, but unless you’ve come face to face with a pack of hunting dogs then you may not know how dangerous they can be.
Advice on encounter: if one of your group has the ability to speak to animals, use it to confuse or befriend the dogs.
Dragons are more enormous and magnificent creatures than a book can possibly get across. They are huge winged beasts with impenetrable scales and fearsome teeth and claws, the sharpness of which is only matched by a Dragon’s intelligence and wit.
In Aarnekas I’ve had the pleasure of meeting three Dragons. In all cases my curiosity has outweighed my sense of self-preservation, but only one of the three has promised to kill me.
Black Dragons are one of the more dangerous of the chromatic dragons, known for their foul temper and burning acidic breath. Black Dragons are recognisable for their jet black scales and almost skull-like heads.
My companions and I were lucky – when we encountered a Black Dragon we quickly made it into its favour. We killed a giant Black Pudding that had taken over the Dragon’s lair, and we were rewarded with large diamons for our efforts.
I imagine in different circumstances we would have been killed immediately for trespassing on the Dragon’s island. Advice on encounter: don’t approach, if you must then show deference and offer your services.
Blue Dragons are recognisable by their deep azure scales and large frilled ears. These Dragons are considered vain by others, and the only one we met promised to kill us in a months time rather than immediately as a reward for rescuing it from a sinking ship.
It’s best to stay away from Blue Dragons, time will tell whether my companions and I survive our second encounter. Advice on encounter: don’t approach, if you have no choice then play to the Dragon’s inflated sense of self worth.
Unlike the other two dragons documented here, Bronze Dragons are pleasant and amiable. They have beautiful bronze and green scales and once can be seen flying or swimming around the Inner Reft.
Advice on encounter: be respectful, but also enjoy the opportunity to speak to such a magnificent creature in relative safety.
Drow, or dark elves, are native to the Underdark and we found that they attack on sight. Although uncommon in Aarnekas, there’s every chance that a band of Drow could find their way here.
Advice on encounter: if you outnumber them then you may stand a chance, though if they have a mage it may be best to escape.
I’ve had the misfortune of being blinded by a Dust Mephit and so don’t have a first-hand account of what they look like. my companion, Salzar, described them as imp-like creatures shrouded in a cloud of dust.
Advice on encounter: cover your eyes before they have chance to blind you. As long as you have your wits about you then you should be able to make short work of them with all your senses intact.
Like a Black Pudding, a Gelatinous Cube will try to absorb a creature into its large transparent cube-like mass. Here it uses acid to slowly digest its prey. These oozes are difficult to see – beware floating items when traversing underground corridors.
Advice on encounter: do not approach alone, as nobody will be able to rescue you. If you’re in a group of strong adventurers, then you should be able to defeat a Gelatinous Cube.
A Ghost is the soul of creature that is bound to a place or object from its live. They normally take the form of a translucent humanoid, and strike fear into even the hardiest of travellers. Ghosts also have the ability to possess the body of one of your companions, be wary of getting too close. As if this wasn’t enough, regular weapons have less of an effect on the Ghost’s incorporeal form.
When encountering a ghost, you can aid it by discovering its unfinished business – this will allow it to pass on to the afterlife. Advice on encounter: help the Ghost, if it’s aggressive then escape or use magic to defeat it.
Giant Rats have a descriptive name, and not a lot needs to be said about them. Although their bite is painful, they’re fairly easy to dispatch or scare away.
Advice on encounter: attack unless you’re being swarmed.
Gnolls are hideous monsters who crave flesh of any kind, they have the face of a hyena and large teeth and claws which they use to tear into people. My group has encountered Gnolls several times, and we’d rather not meet any more.
Advice on encounter: be on your guard – if a pack of Gnolls get a taste for your blood then their attacks become frenzied.
Goblins are smaller than most folk with green or grey skin and pointy ears. Goblins are abundant across a most of Odreïn, while not very dangerous individually their sheer numbers can make them a worthy foe – raining down arrows on a group of unwary travellers.
If the tide of battle sways out of a Goblin band’s favour, then they’re quick to turn heel and run. Advice on encounter: don’t let them surround you, if they only outnumber your group 2:1 then fight them off. Be aware that a band of Goblins may be acting as scouts for a more dangerous group of Orcs, Hobgoblins, or Bugbears.
Grick are worm-like creatures with barbed tentacles around its sharp beak. We had the misfortune to encounter a couple of Grick in our travels, both in dark caves and dungeons – you are likely able to avoid meeting one by avoiding these places.
It can be nearly impossible to spot a Grick in a rocky environment as they blend very well with the stone. Advice on encounter: be on your guard in caves and dungeons, if forced to fight then take out the Grick’s tentacles.