Ape, Carnivorous

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd EditionCampaign Setting Logo

Ape, Carnivorous
Climate/Terrain:Tropical/Forest, hills, and plains
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Low (7)
No. Appearing:2-8
Armor Class:6
Movement:12, 9 in trees
Hit Dice:5
No. of Attacks:3
Special Attacks:Rending
Special Defenses:+2 bonus: to surprise roll
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:L (7'+, very broad)
Morale:Steady (11)
XP Value:175

The carnivorous ape is a larger, stronger, and more aggressive relative of the gorilla. It lives in tropical jungles and plains, sometimes lairing in tall trees.

Carnivorous apes have broad shoulders, thick bodies covered with black hair, long arms, and short legs. Hooked black claws grow from their fingers and toes. They have light brown faces, flaring nostrils, and mouths full of long sharp teeth for shredding and ripping flesh from prey. Carnivorous apes walk on all fours, using the knuckle of their hands for support. They can also swing through the trees at 75% of their normal movement rate.

Combat: Carnivorous apes have a fair intelligence and are very cunning. Owing to their keen sends, they gain a +2 bonus to their surprise roll. They typically hide in trees and stalk their prey for miles, dropping down to attack when their victim pauses to drink from a stream or is otherwise off-guard. In plains or other areas devoid of trees, they hide in tall grasses and thick bushes, leaping at a victim from behind. Carnivorous apes attack by rearing on their hind legs, flailing with their massive arms, and snapping with their powerful jaws. If an ape strikes its opponent with both hands in the same round, it inflicts an additional 1d8 points of rending damage. When a carnivorous ape defeats an opponent or wishes to frighten an intruder, it stands on its hind legs, beats its hands against its chest, and bellows thunderously. The sound of a bellowing ape has been known to panic the timid.

Habitat/Society: Carnivorous apes live in families ranging from two to 20 members with about twice as many females as males. A pregnant female gives birth in about nine months. An infant never leaves its mother for the first three years of its life, clinging tightly to her long hair and riding on her back wherever the family goes. The largest male serves as the leader, establishing the daily routine and defending the family from danger. The leader is occasionally challenged by younger males, the challenge resolved by a brutal but non-fatal wrestling match. The loser leaves the family in humiliation; a defeated challenger eventually joins another family, but a defeated leader remains alone, living out the rest of his life in bitterness.

Families do not have permanent lairs, but instead roam from place to place in their home ranged an area of 10-20 square miles. The leader marks the boundaries of a family's home range by scratching crude symbols in tree trunks or by spraying them with musk secrete from glands under his tongue. A family wanders constantly, never spending two consecutive nights in the same place. They keep the jewels, coins, and other treasures gathered in their travels in hollow trees or other secure locations.

A family eats its first meal of the day shortly after sunrise. The adult males do the hunting, dragging their prey back to the family for all to share. The meal is followed by a long nap for the adults and play time for the youngsters. The family has a second meal before sunset, then shortly after dark goes to sleep in a secluded meadow or in a communal nest constructed in the branches of the tallest trees.

Ecology: Though aggressive by nature, carnivorous apes normally kill only for food or in defense of their families. They enjoy fruit and nuts, but most of their diet consists of rodents, small reptiles, eggs, and fish, as well as the occasional giant insect or carrion. Wild game supplements the family menu; antelope, buffalo, deer, and lions and other predators. It is not unusual for a pride of lions to violently challenge a family of carnivorous apes for hunting rights in disputed areas; the apes will usually relocate rather than risk the lives of their families.

The carnivorous ape's reputation as a man-eater is overrated. Although it is true that some eat humans exclusively, raiding villages and attacking hunting expeditions for prey, such families are rare. More common is the solitary man-eater, usually a frustrate ex-leader who attacks humans as much out of anger as hunger. Carnivorous apes are a favorite target for human sportsmen, who hunt them for trophies (pelts, hands, and heads). Additionally, certain primitive tribes mandate the killing of a carnivorous ape as a rite of passage.