Manticores are monstrous winged predators that combine the features of several creatures into a deadly whole.
A manticore has the body of an immense lion the size of a horse, the wings of a dragon, and a long tail ending in a cluster of vicious spikes. Some manticores have a lion's head, but others have the face of a snarling bearded human with razor-sharp teeth. Unlike lions or humans, both male and female manticores have manes or beards.
It is unknown how manticores came into existence, though magic is assumed to be involved. Manticores are not picky eaters; they are ravenous eaters of meat, whether freshly killed or rotting carrion. They patrol vast stretches of land seeking food.
Manticores are strangely fecund and capable of interbreeding with other lion-like creatures, including common lions, dire lions, lamias, sphinxes, and chimeras. Such crossbreeds are usually members of the mate's species, but with manticore features, such as a chimera with a spiked tail.
Habitat and society
Manticores are more than dumb beasts. Though not as smart as a human, they are thinking creatures capable of speech, and often strike deals with or bully evil humanoids into working with or for them, often employing such creatures to guard their lairs. They make their homes in high places like hilltops and cliffside caves.
Manticores have keen senses and are skilled trackers. They possess great strength, ripping claws and fangs, and the power of flight, but their most unusual feature is the ability to whip their tails and launch a volley of spikes at their prey. The spikes rapidly grow back over the course of a day.
Manticores have been encountered in the Hold of Belkzen, on the Nesmian Plains of southern Nirmathas, in the hills in the Mwangi Expanse, in the Takalak Hills on Motaku Isle in the Shackles, in the Gembasket of Katapesh, and in the hills of Glenebon in the Stolen Lands of the River Kingdoms. They are rumored to live on Bag Island in the Shackles. They were once hunted by the warriors of Sarkoris in what is now the Worldwound. In Varisia, manticores are found in the hinterlands of Magnimar, the Stony Mountains, and the Devil's Elbow.
Manticores are encountered on occasion in the Darkmoon Vale of Andoran, where they inhabit Arthfell Forest and Darkmoon Wood. The Greenfire Circle and Fangwatch keep their numbers in check, and many have fled north to the Five Kings Mountains. A powerful manticore named Grazhgaugh closely guards a grove in Darkmoon Wood; some say he is guarding an ancient elven artifact.
Two prides of manticores live in the Roiling Den, in the Chelish city of Corentyn, where they aid in the protection of the city through a partnership with the human ranger and Chelish Navy Lieutenant Frazura Antelo.
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