Runequest Thursday #32 - New Creature, Titanoboa!

Clint Staples

My Runequest game set in the River of Cradles has a lot of paleolithic and mesolithic fauna running around. So Brightwater has to fear Daggerfangs, terror birds, shovel-noses, and mastodons, along with dragons, ghouls and Chaos Naiads.

The region also has a great deal of bog land, which my player character are often slogging thought to get where they are going, either by boat or on foot. That got me thinking about what sorts of marsh creatures, extinct in our own world, might have lingered in the swamps of Glorantha.

I thought the titanoboa fit the bill. It would be something that made the PCs, and the settlers wary in marshy areas, and would provide a threat even the dragodons and crocodiles of the Zola Fel River could not ignore.

Then I realized that titanoboa could do double duty, working just as nicely in The Savage North, which is a much more sword and sorcery setting than Glorantha. After all, with all those moody black-haired Bogdanan barbarians wandering around with their axes and fur breechclothes, a giant snake seems like a worthy addition to the bestiary. Add to that the background bit from Savage North that, thousands of years ago, the entire region was the heart of a steamy Serpentfolk Empire, and that the elder race is still trapped under the glaciers, possibly sleeping - protected by their dawn age sorcery, and a the votes for giant snake start to pile up.

So here I share the titanoboa with you. You can download his datafile with the link below the image.

Titanoboas love marsh waterways, with plenty of low islands, scrub and quiet pools. Ambush hunters they  are slow on land, attacking by surprise often from beneath the surface of murky shallow water. They ahn hold their breath for hours if inactive, and will often do so until something tasty happens by. Though not overly aggressive, they are territorial and will fight rather than move if attacked. Their preferred method of combat is to bite, then envelope prey within their coils, crushing the life from them. Savvy marsh-dwellers know to watch for crumpled and squeezed metal armor as a sign that a titanoboa has made the area its home.

The datafile gives the details for a fully grown snake of some fifty feet in length. Such a beast would weight well over a ton and have a girth nearly 3 feet across at its widest point. If you want a larger serpent, add 10 SIZ and STR, +2 AP, and +5 Hit Points [+1 HP per location] to the existing one for every dozen feet or so of length. Or you could have a look at His Majesty for something a little bigger, and a little different.