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Climate/Terrain:Outlands, Lower Planes
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Low (5-7)
Treasure:J,K,M, (B)
Alignment:Chaotic evil
No. Appearing:4-40
Armor Class:6
Hit Dice:2+3
No. of Attacks:1 beak and 1 kick
Special Attacks:Shriek
Special Defenses:Nil
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (7'tall)
Morale:Unsteady (5-7)
XP Value:175

Abrians are man-size, flightless birds native to the Lower Planes that've spread like a plague throughout the Outlands.

Some cutters say that abrian hunting parties've been sighted in Arcadia, Arborea, or Bytopia from time to time. An abrian's body is covered with black and red spiny feathers, and it balances on two large, powerful legs. Clueless primes've said that an abrian looks like a bad-tempered ostrich, whatever an ostrich is, but they also say that the abrian's far heavier and has a much larger head and beak. An abrian's wings are tiny, atrophied arm-claws, carried in front of its body. Its arms couldn't hold anything larger than a small child, but it does use them for handling small items. Its head and legs are bare of feathers and covered with tough, scaly, gray hide.

Abrians are intelligent, but not extremely so – they rarely have much to say to anyone except one of their own, and often don't have the sense to lay off prey that's obviously too tough for them. A body shouldn't expect to start a conversation with one, and more than a few berks've been put in the dead-book for trying. The abrians' intelligence is more obvious when they hunt; the creatures are surprisingly cunning and clever in laying traps, cooperating in the chase, and using hit-and-run tactics in a fight.

Combat: Abrians're likely to attack anything they encounter, hoping to make it their next meal. They're great nuisances in settled lands, where they often raid livestock and attack outlying farms. In wild areas, they're especially dangerous, since they'll usually try to drag down any party of travelers they run across.

An abrian attacks by slashing with its serrated beak and delivering a powerful kick with one of its clawed legs. The abrian's kick can easily kill or incapacitate a grown human. Abrians can't wield weapons with their small forelimbs, but might be able to use a magical item such as a ring or a wand if the item is usable by characters of any class.

Abrians also possess a shrill, piercing shriek that can disorient and deafen prey. The cry of a single abrian is only a nuisance, but if 4 or more are shrieking together, any creature within 20 feet must successfully save versus spell or be deafened for 1d6 rounds. Deafened creatures suffer a -1 penalty to surprise rolls and have a 20% chance to miscast spells with a verbal component. If 8 or more abrians are shrieking, the effects above are doubled and the deafness lasts 1d4 hours. In addition, deafened victims suffer a -1 penalty to attack rolls and Armor Class due to inner ear damage.

An abrian hunting flock often divides into 2 or more groups and makes hit-and-run attacks from several directions against tough opponents; while the prey is busy fighting one band, another'll burst out of ambush and charge into their rear. The first band quickly withdraws, circles for an opening, and then dashes in when the enemy turns to deal with the second group. If the second group sirikes from concealment, its approach might not even be noticed by deafened enemies.

Abrians have courage in numbers, but tend to retreat quickly when things don't go their way. However, they'll fight to the death to defend their lair.

Habitat/Society: Abrians gather in small flocks, led by an older female of 3+6 Hit Dice and Average intelligence. The flock usually settles in one spot for several months at a time before moving on. Abrians favor caves, ruins, and dense forests or thickets for their communal nests. Usually, about one-third to one-half of the flock remains behind to guard the nest and the group's treasure while the others set out on hunting forays that can last several days.

An abrian nest usually contains a number of young equal to 25% of the adults. Young abrians have 1+1 HD and can kick once per round for 1d4 points of damage. A clutch of 1d6 eggs per 10 adults can also be found in the lair. Abrian eggs are worthless, but in some areas there may be a bounty on them.

Females are the decision-makers of an abrian flock, but males lead the hunting parties. (The male and female of the species are nearly indistinguishable to non-abrians.) In addition to the flock leader, a flock has a 50% chance of including a shaman. The shaman is the second-oldest female, and has the spell ability of a 2nd-level priest with access to the spheres of all, animal, plant, and guardian.

From time to time, a party of abrians led by one of the older females may engage in trade with other intelligent creatures. The abrians must be far away from their nest and they must be fairly well fed in order to view other creatures as anything except prey or a threat to their fledglings. Abrians appear to have little concept of civilized behavior or communication, and such meetings often end in disaster.

Ecology: Abrians originated in Carceri or the Gray Waste and quickly spread to neighboring planes. They can now be found almost anywhere, as they cover great distances in their nomadic wanderings. Abrian hunters are encountered on the Upper Planes on rare occasions, although it's far more common to find them in the Outlands or the Lower Planes.

An abrian flock typically operates out of one lair for 4 to 6 months before moving (sometimes hundreds of miles) to a new hunting ground and re-establishing the nest. The creatures are voracious and lay waste to a large area before moving on.