Medieval scholars have long puzzled over the significance of the strange marginalia illustrations of axe-wielding rabbits and giant snails common in medieval illuminated manuscripts. The answer, of course, is that they are simply illustrations of two creatures frequently encountered in Panzoasia! Here they are, in a cross-compatible format for use with most Old-School adventure role-playing games.
Note: For the “Morale” entry, the number in parenthesis is for use with the 2nd Edition Advanced rules. For the “Move” entry, the first value in the parenthesis is for use with 1st or 2nd Edition Advanced rules, and the second number for use with post 3rd Edition rules.
Number Appearing: 1 or 2
Size: Small (3’ high)
Alignment: Summer and Winter: Neutral, Autumn: Lawful (good), Spring: Chaotic
Morale: Summer and Winter: 3 (or 4), Autumn: 9 (or 12), Spring: 11 (or 17)
Move: Walking: 90′ (or 9”, or 20 ft.), Hopping: 180’ (or 18”, or 40 ft)
Armor Class: 6 (or 13)
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks & Damage:
1 punch (1d3) or weapon (by weapon type), 1 bite (1d2)
* Natural Camouflage: 60% undetectable in natural environments.
* Always Surprises if undetected.
* Leap: 20’ horizontally, or 15’ vertically.
* Mad Gaze: Anyone meeting the gaze of a Fool Hare in Spring must Save versus Wands, or temporarily have their Wisdom reduced by 1d6 points for the remainder of the day. Victims cannot be affected again for the remainder of the day.
Saves: As Thief 1
Challenge: Four 1st Level Characters
Fool Hares are 3-foot tall, bipedal leporids that live throughout the temperate lands of Panzoasia. They are sentient, albeit dim-witted by human standards. They are incapable of actually speaking, but can comprehend the basic vocabulary of whatever intelligent creatures they live near. They can dwell in any environment that supports ordinary hares. Fool Hares usually make nests of leaves or grass on the ground in overgrown fields, but prefer an abandoned shack or shed when they can find one. They are adept are hiding in natural environments, being visually undetectable 60% of the time. An undetected Fool Hare always acts with surprise – although they will only attack during their springtime madness.
Fool Hares are best known for their changeable dispositions and colors, both of which vary by the season. In Summer, the Fool Hare is Neutral in Alignment, brown in color, and avoids contact with people. In Autumn, however, the creature’s pelt turns Gray, and they become Lawful. At this time the Fool hare is sociable and friendly, and those who live near human farmers may even try to make themselves useful! Of course, since the creatures are infamously hare-brained, their attempts to be helpful are often quite comical. In Winter the Fool Hare turns white, and once again avoids people. In Spring, however, the Fool Hare turns Chaotic, which is reflecting in its variegated white, gray, and brown fur. At that time the creature is actually feared, because it becomes quite erratic, and often aggressive. Fool Hares afflicted by their springtime madness have been known to steal weapons and attack travelers, or commit acts of random vandalism. Some are even seen riding Perdurable Snails!
In the Spring, Fool Hares become potentially dangerous in another way – those who meet their Mad Gaze are known to lose all self-control for the remainder of the day, represented by the temporary loss of 1d6 points of Wisdom (to a minimum score of 3). Luckily, a person can only fall victim once per day. Affected people might confess repressed affections, reveal secrets, compulsively steal small items, or even start fights over trifles. Panzoasians embarrassed by their own impetuous springtime behavior will often say they “met a Fool Hare”. Importantly, Fool Hares are not immune to their own Mad Gaze – a fact that probably accounts for much of the strange behavior they exhibit during the Spring.
Because they are intelligent (however dimly), wantonly kill Fool Hares is generally considered immoral, and actually eating them is completely verboten. The evil Humanoids have no such compunctions, of course, and Bugbears and Ogres are particularly fond of roast (or raw) Fool Hare. It is also not unknown for unscrupulous furriers to trade in Fool Hare pelts, which can be nearly impossible to tell from those of ordinary hares, once sewn into a garment.
Note that certain Fairies (particularly the mischievous Pucas) are known to assume the form of Fool Hares, which also contributes to most people’s reluctance to harm them. Most Fool Hares nonetheless come to bad ends at the hands of their numerous predators. Those that don’t, can live up to 12 years.
Number Appearing: 1 (10% chance for a protective companion under the influence of the snail’s Dart venom. Roll on the Wandering Monster table, ignoring creatures with HD greater than 6).
Size: Small (1 – 3 HD), Medium (4 – 6 HD), or Large (7 – 9 HD)
Morale: 11 (or 17)
Move: Slithering: 30′ (or 3”, or 10 ft.)
Armor Class: Body: 9 (or 10); Shell: 3 (or 16) (50% chance an attacker is faced with either per Round)
Hit Dice: 1 – 9
Attacks & Damage: 1 rasping “tongue”, by creature Size:
+ possible Dart
* Shoot Dart: The Snail makes a normal to hit, as an melee attack. Dart inflicts 1d4 points of damage. Victim must Save versus Poison, or be compelled to defend and care for the snail for the remainder of the day. Usable once per day.
* Immune to Disease.
* Burned by Salt: 1d6 points of damage per pint.
Saves: As Fighter 1 -10 (as per Hit Dice)
Challenge: Four Characters of the Same Level as the Snail’s Hit Dice.
Perdurable Snails are dangerous creatures found throughout Panzoasia, only not eradicated because their bodies are valuable resources – and the horrible things will not breed in captivity. They can be found in the same environment inhabited by other land snails, and hibernate in their shells during the winter. In form they exactly resemble enormous garden snails, except their slimy bodies are usually shades of blue and purple. Like other snails, they leave a glistening track of slime wherever they go.
Perdurable Snails are worrisome for two main reasons. For one, they are aggressive omnivores that are known to attack sleeping or restrained livestock. Secondly, they are effectively immortal, unless killed by violence, poison, or salt. A juvenile Perdurable Snail has a body almost 3 feet in length, and is about 20 inches high. They add a foot of length (and a Hit Die) each year, eventually growing up to 12 feet long, and 7 feet high at the top of their spiral shells. Luckily, they are not fast animals, and it is possible to keep most of them from reaching such a frightening size.
Those unlucky enough to come into contact with a Perduable Snail with be attacked by the rasping, tongue-like radula that shoots out of its mouth. Furthermore, the Perdurable Snail can shoot a dart into the body of anyone within melee range. The dart is coated with a psychoactive venom that causes victims to regard the Snail with affection – breaking off any attacks, and even going so far as to bring the monster food! For its part, the Snail will not attack a creature under the influence of its Dart venom, and will allow the envenomed creature to accompany it, until the effect wears off. Luckily, the creature can only carry one dart at a time, and it takes a whole day for it to form another. The effect of the venom is automatically broken once the Snail dies.
The flesh of a Perdurable Snail is delicious when properly prepared – and the larger the snail, the better the taste. It is particularly valued as a delicacy in Corthis, Ydez, Agidea, and Xidu. The creature’s slime is a reagent for Potions of Elasticity, Fortitude, Growth, Healing, and Longevity. The liquid from its dart is harvested, and often put into the cup of wine shared by newly married couples. Finally, the whorled shells of Perdurable Snails can be cut into highly decorative (but quite functional) shields (which are particularly favored in the Ultimate South of Panzoasia). The soft body of a Perdurable Snail is worth 75gp per HD (but only a quarter of that if the slime has been ruined by salting). The shell is worth another 50gp per HD.
The magical nature of Perdurable Snails causes 1 in 10 to be Chimeric. A Chimeric Snail has the same abilities as any other of their species, but their head exactly resembles that of some other creature. Commonly seen variations includes snails with the heads of horses, bulls, dogs, goats, and snakes – or even dragons, and people! Note that a Chimeric Snail attacks with a bite, rather than the rasping tongue of a “normal” Perdurable Snail, but the damage inflicted is the same.