January 30, 2014

Scaly Terrors of the Janggalan Isles

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Some iconic reptilian monsters of the Janggalans, for the Hari Ragat game. One theme that runs consistently through the reptilian category is that these reptiles can live to incredible age, gaining size, strength and spiritual power – in other words, magic – as they do so.

Bayawak (Monitor Lizard)
Monitor lizards are very common throughout the Janggalans, and are normally regarded as common small game. Large specimens however can reach 6 feet long and can be fully as dangerous as wolves when cornered, or against weak, wounded characters. Monitor lizards are carnivores that usually eat birds, small reptiles, eggs and carrion, but the large ones can be bold enough to attack small children or obviously weakened humans.

Vijadesans believe that bayawak can reach much greater size, strength and spiritual power if they live long enough. Elder Bayawak are said to be cunningly deceitful though indolent, capable of human speech, and extraordinarily fond of human flesh, the more rotten the better. They are thus known in legend as kaon-bangkay, corpse-eaters, and are said to haunt old battlefields and the sites of massacres because they grew fat in these places. They are specially drawn to the graves of spiritually powerful persons. Their diet of rotten flesh makes their bite poisonous.

Sawa (Python)
The largest land predator usually encountered in the Janggalans is the reticulated python, or sawa. Large adults can reach 25 feet or more, and have both the strength and a size of gullet great enough to go after deer, wild boar, water buffalo or adult humans as prey. The Orang Bakawan hunter-gatherers say hardly any of their menfolk have not been attacked by a sawa at least once, and they regularly lose children to these snakes. Like all pythons, the sawa is a constrictor, killing its prey by suffocating it in its powerful coils. However, python meat is considered a powerful medicinal and is sought after for feeding to the sick and injured.

Sawa are believed to live for centuries if not slain first, and elder sawa are said to be natural sorcerers possessed of incredible spiritual power, mesmeric gazes, and the ability to mimic not only human speech, but the speech of persons well-known to its intended victim. Tales are told of hunters who heard their wives or children calling to them in the jungle, only to find a hungry forty- or fifty-foot serpent in their stead when they came to investigate.

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