Diet: Flesh, preference for humans
Length: 10’2″ (not including tail)
Lifespan: 13 years
Habitat: Montane forest and alpine prairie
Activity Cycle: Diurnal
“Was it worth it? Hell no. Being the man famous for killing a manticore means you’re a man who’s met a manticore. The places that thing stuck me, they still hurt every day. Can’t even hear trumpets without getting angry, fighting angry. It scares my wife, it scares my dogs. I’ve hunted bears, hunted dragons. But the things I hunted, they’re just animals. They maul a man, they did it because they were in the wrong place, or they were injured and couldn’t hunt a deer. Manticores? They hate us. The bodies I saw… the priests say that the gods made manticores to punish us. Yeah. I believe them.”
– One-armed Hark, retired hunter
“When humanity becomes too strong, nature makes a manticore.”
-Mandis, goblin heretic
The legendary manticore is feared over nearly all other creatures for a simple reason; of all prey, their favorite flesh is human. Elves, beastfolk, ogres, and others who are derived from human stock are just as vulnerable to these hunters, and all fear the trumpet-like howl of these terrible beasts. Though they seem to be simple beasts in most ways, they are hideously cunning and patient creatures that can surprise and overcome the most experienced hunter.
A manticore’s bizarre jaws are usually weapons of last resort. Their three rows of teeth shred meat easily enough, but have difficulty with bone, which causes the infamous hollowed-out look of their victim’s carcasses. The preferred weapon of the manticore is its tail, a slick and worm-like thing bearing barbed quills, spines formed from its own hair and steeped in venom. Not only can the stinger on the tip inject an invariably lethal dose of this venom, the quills can be fired like crossbow bolts, bringing pain and paralysis to anyone unfortunate enough to be struck. Cautious and clever, a manticore never approaches a struck target until they are certain the venom has taken its toll and its prey can no longer fight back. Their other native ability is the power to leap incredible distances, something they do both to close in on stung prey and retreat when they bite off more than they can chew.
Outside of their taste for manflesh, little is known of manticores. They cannot be kept in captivity, and the official policy of every nation where they occur is to kill them on sight. What they do when not among us, and where they come from, are mysteries most people are willing to leave unsolved.