Animal, Herd (Athas)

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Animal, Herd (Athas)
Climate/Terrain:Scrub PlainsAnySandy wastes, stony barrens
Activity Cycle:NightDayNight
Intelligence:Animal (1)Non- (0)Animal (1)
Treasure:See belowSee belowK,Q,U
No. Appearing:1-1001-201-1000
Armor Class:456
Hit Dice:1+22+21+1
No. of Attacks:221
Damage/Attack:1-31, 1-61
Special Attacks:PheromonesSonicsPoison
Special Defenses:PheromonesSonicsNil
Magic Resistance:NilNilNil
Size:S (2-4')S (2-3')T (1')
Morale:Average (8)Unsteady (5)Steady (11)
XP Value:6512035

Many animals are used on Athas for food, clothing, or weapons. Some have been partially domesticated or are stupid enough to allow themselves to be captured and herded.


The kip is a shy, six-legged, armored creature that digs and eats roots of plants and trees. Their supple, armor-like covering makes excellent durable leather goods.

The leathered kip grows from 2'-4' in length. Kips are covered with a horny armor that is segmented into nine separate plates. They have elongated, pointed snouts and very small, beady eyes located on each side of their snouts. The eyes are protected by a glass-like covering that protects them while digging. The sharp, strong foreclaws enable the creature to dig. Their short, stubby, hind legs only allow them to amble around slowly.

Kips communicate via a series of low grunts. Although not a true language, dwarven kip-herders have learned to mimic the sounds in order to better control the herd. Kip language can be learned at a cost of a single non-weapon proficiency slot. As with other languages, a simple check should be made against a character's Intelligence for successful communication. Failure means: 1) the kip doesn't understand and ignores the attempted communication; 2) the wrong information is conveyed.

Combat: Kips are generally non-combatant and prefer to amble away when approached. Thus, they are easily herded. They will only fight if cornered or to protect their young. Kips use pheromones to protect themselves. Pheromones are secreted chemicals that produce an emotional response in the victim. Once a day a kip can release an 8-cubic-foot cloud of invisible, gaseous chemicals. Creatures within the gas cloud must save versus poison or suffer apathy. If effected, the victim will cease caring about anything, including drinking water, for a period of 1d8 turns. Exposed creatures or individuals can be herded along or made to drink, but they really don't care if they live or die. Because of their high resistance to poison and the ability to focus, dwarves are +4 on their saving throws against the pheromone cloud.

Habitat/Society: Kips bear offspring twice a year. A litter will contain 2-6 leatherettes, which mature in 3-5 months. Until mobile, the young fasten themselves to folds in the mother's skin and ride along with her as she moves. Kip are one of the few creatures on Athas that eat brambleweed, as their armor temporarily protects them as they dig out and expose the sweet roots.

Ecology: Kip herds provide a staple of meat and leather goods in most dwarven communities. Roasted, an adult kip will feed two very hungry dwarves; made into a stew, the meat and broth will easily feed six. Kips and dwarves seem to be complementary in pace and temperament. Dwarven communities keep the kip herd in a slow, constant motion since kip tend to destroy roots of growing plants. Their elongated, pointy snouts and keen sense of smell aid them in their search for food. Kips will eat anything that doesn't put up a fight, including garbage.

Dwarves with animal husbandry skill can safely milk the pheromones from an adult, but the chemical will lose all potency within 48 hours. Only a small amount of pheromonal fluid can be milked from each animal. A turn spent milking a kip will produce enough fluid to create a small (one cubic foot) pheromone cloud.


Z'tal are small, upright lizards that hop in shepherded leaps across Athas. They are very stupid and are known to stampede when panicked.

Z'tal jump wherever they go on powerful hind legs that end in sharp talons. Their small head is rounded in the back with a sharp, hard point on the end. Their long, thick tail is used for balance when they hop. The vestigial forearms and claws are seldom used. Varying in shades of tans and browns, z'tal are covered by sharp, feather-like scales.

Z'tal constantly make a series of chirps, squeaks, and squawks. These noises are intended predominantly to keep the herd within a single area. When threatened, z'tal scream and run.

Combat: Z'tal emit a piercing scream when frightened. The sonic intensity of the scream is so great that any being with normal hearing within a 100' range must save versus petrification or be overcome by vertigo. A successful save means that the victim is able to fight off the effects, but suffers a -2 to any rolls that require concentration (fighting, spellcasting, psionics, etc.). A failed save drops the victim to the ground unable to determine which direction is up. No combat, psionics, or spellcasting is possible until the creatures stop screaming or move out of range. Covering one's ears before the scream gives a +2 bonus to the saving throw. Filling the ears with wax, cotton, or some other substance adds a +4 bonus to the saving throw. Silence magics may negate the vertigo effects. The deaf are unaffected.

In desperate situations, the z'tal will defend itself by rapidly bouncing or rubbing against its adversary, scraping its razorsharp scales against its opponent and causing 1d6 damage per round. The peck of a z'tal only causes a single point of damage.

Habitat/Society: Z'tals are well suited for life in the desert. They require little water and can sustain themselves through foraging. Z'tal travel in groups called leaps and are acknowledged as perhaps the most stupid and timid of creatures on Athas. They sometimes accidentally die by running off cliffs or into the Sea of Silt if chased.

About once a month the female digs a small hole and lays a clutch of 1-3 eggs. The eggs are immediately forgotten and left to fend for themselves. The eggs are not edible by any known creature because z'tals' scales develop almost immediately after conception.

The rear talons of z'tal are used to dig out small insects and seedlings, which the z'tal crushes with its beak. Docile creatures except when frightened, one screaming z'tal will soon stampede the entire leap of lizards.

Ecology: Z'tal meat is dense and coarse, though the hind quarters (drumsticks) and tail of an adult z'tal make excellent eating (once the scales have been carefully removed). Roasted, the three pieces will feed six hungry individuals or one half-giant. Z'tal meat makes an excellent base for soup; a single z'tal cooked this way will easily feed a dozen hungry, man-sized creatures. The sharp, flexible feather-scales are frequently used as small knives and razors. The scales dull after a week of regular use and can not be resharpened.


These furred mammals live in burrow communities in the desert. Although they represent a possible prime source of food or clothing, most people think they are too dangerous to bother.

Standing about 1' tall on their hind legs, jankx have a small, pointy head and internal cheek pouches that allow them to carry food or water when they run. Jankx have long, sleek bodies and four short, muscular legs. Golden in color, their pelts are highly prized for trade.

Jankx communicate in a series of ultrasonic squeaks and barks that are inaudible to humanoid ears.

Combat: Jankx have spurs and poison sacs located on the underside of each limb near the paw. In combat a jankx will attempt to hook its adversary with a spur. The spur attack inflicts 1d2 points of damage per hit. A successful hit also means that the poison has been injected (save vs. poison for no effect). If the victim fails to save, tremendous pain follows as the area injected with the poison begins to wither (limb, torso, head, etc.) Only the region in which the poison was injected will be effected; the thick poison does not travel throughout the entire body. The effected area will shrivel and become useless at a rate of 1' diameter per round. The poison can be negated by neutralize poison; slow poison will limit the effects to 1' per hour. The victim is capable of no other action except to scream in pain until the poison runs its course. If injected into the head, the poison will cause the unfortunate victim to lose one point of Intelligence per turn until their intelligence reaches zero. The victim then becomes comatose and will eventually die of starvation.

Habitat/Society: Jankx live in a complex community of underground passageways. Their burrows contain different living, storage, and sleeping areas. Food storage and deep water supplies are always closely guarded. Traditional family units' tunnels always interconnect with other jankx families. Jankx sleep through the day and emerge at dusk for a night of foraging. Their small paws are very well evolved for digging and handling small items.

Ecology: Those who consider themselves jankx “herders” are more trappers than anything. Jankx are usually snared when they are on their nightly forays. A herder hovel is always built either above ground or on solid stone to prevent jankx from burrowing underneath the hovel and killing the herder. Jankx meat is considered gamey but palatable. Due to the difficult position of the poison sacs, caution should be taken in preparing jankx meat. A general rule is one jankx for elves and humans, more for others. Caution must always be exercised when cooking jankx meat. When cooked, the burning flesh emits an odor that sends any nearby jankx into a rage. If cooked too close to a jankx community, a horde of jankx will invariably find the source of the odor and attack the diners.