Lifespan: 25 years
Activity Cycle: Nocturnal
A powerful but puny form of dragon, basilisks are, thankfully, extraordinarily rare and restricted to the driest, most remote stretches of desert in every world, most common in the salt flats of the Black Wastes. They actively avoid areas with more frequent rain, disliking the way it washes their virulent poisons off of their body. Despite their small size, they are happy to claim extremely large lairs, such as abandoned buildings or natural caves, or even the homes of larger dragons that they chase away. They will regularly rub against the surfaces of their homes, leaving layers of deadly toxins everywhere. Their favored treasure is polished, shining surfaces, the closer to mirror-like the better. Despite popular belief, a basilisk cannot kill itself with its own gaze, and enjoys bouncing its deadly attack off of reflections.
Meeting the eye of a basilisk is, as explained, fatal to most beings. To facilitate this, a basilisk’s eyes are writhing stalks, capable of turning in any direction. Those who see their burning red pupil will be shot through with agony, the deadly patterns contained within launching an attack directly upon their nervous system. Smaller animals usually have their hearts stopped outright, while larger foes are thrown into uncontrollable seizures for hours. There is a cost to this incredible ability, however; basilisks are very close to blind, only seeing clearly within a few feet of their eyes. They mostly hunt through scent, and know when their eyes have succeeded in killing a target when the enjoyable backlash of agony ripples through their body.
In case the basilisk’s eyes are not enough to defend itself, their bodies are also coated in a toxic oil, sweated out in their ragged feathers and spread across the rest of their bodies with careful preening. It can soak through bare skin and sufficiently thin layers of clothing, penetrating into the blood stream to destroy artery walls and blood cells. The oil is slick to the touch and its scent combines a sweet floral odor with a thick smell of dust. Their breath weapon simply sprays a large, slick spray of their oil out at a distance of about 10 feet.
Basilisks are highly solitary and territorial, and if two meet, they will engage in a staring contest that can last hours or even days before one flees unexpectedly. Nobody but the basilisks themselves knows what the terms are for winning or losing.