Ryven

Ryven

This humanoid resembles an anthropomorphic badger. It stands nearly as tall as a human, but its body is broader and covered with gray fur, with a white stripe running across the top of its head and down its back to its bushy tail. A ryven has long, sharp claws on its fingers and toes alike.


Ryven

XP 200 ()

Neutral Medium

Initiative +2


DEFENSE

AC 13 (natural armor)

hp: 19 (3d8 + 6)


OFFENSE

Speed: 30 ft., burrow 5 ft.

Multiattack: A ryven normally makes one melee attack or one ranged attack. When berserk, it bites once and attacks once with claws.

Melee Attack—Bite: +4 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). Hit: 2d6 + 2 piercing damage.

Melee Attack—Claw: +4 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). Hit: 1d6 + 2 slashing damage; also see White and Black Death, below.

Melee Attack—Shortsword: +4 to hit (reach 5 ft.; one creature). Hit: 1d6 + 2 piercing damage; also see White and Black Death, below.

Ranged Attack—Light Crossbow: +4 to hit (range 80 ft./320 ft.; one creature). Hit: 1d8 + 2 piercing damage; also see White and Black Death, below.


STATISTICS

Str 12 (+1), Dex 14 (+2), Con 14 (+2),

Int 8 (–1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)

Languages: Common

Skills: Perception +3, Survival +3

Senses: Darkvision 60 ft.


TRAITS

Rage: When a ryven is reduced to 12 or fewer hit points in combat, it flies into a berserk rage lasting ten rounds (one minute). While berserk, the ryven has tactical advantage on bite attacks, it uses both its bite and claw attacks, all of its attacks do 2 extra points of damage, and it gains resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. It drops whatever it held in its hands and fights solely with tooth and claw. Ryven shamans are immune to rage.

Ryven Shaman: Any large group of ryvens (seven or more) will be accompanied by one or more tribal shamans. A ryven shaman has heightened Wisdom (16) and the ability to cast the following spells, using Wisdom as its spellcasting ability (DC 13, attack +5). It doesn’t need material components to cast these spells. The listed spells are suggestions only; others can be chosen instead. Ryven shamans are immune to rage.

Cantrips (at will): druidcraft, guidance, resistance

1st level (x4): cure wounds, faerie fire, goodberry, speak with animals

2nd level (x2): beast sense, moonbeam

White and Black Death: Some ryven (approximately 1 in 5) coat their weapons and claws with a poison known as “the white and black death.” A living creature struck by a poisoned weapon or claw must make a successful DC 12 Con saving throw or take 1d6 poison damage immediately and be poisoned for 1d6 rounds.


ECOLOGY

Environment: Temperate

Organization: Solitary, pair, raiding party (4– 9), or tribe (11–30 plus 2–16 noncombatants, 1–3 shamans, and 2–6 giant badgers)

Ryven are known as badger-folk by other races. They resemble man-sized, bipedal badgers. They are a battle-hardened race, having waged war for generations with elves and centaurs. Ryven warriors carry the scars from their battles with pride.

Most ryvens carry weapons—shortswords and spears are among their favorites—but their use of weapons is really a type of cultural shorthand that tells other ryvens, “I am under control; see, I’m using a sword!” When berserk rage seizes them, they instinctively drop whatever weapons they held and resort to their teeth and claws: “the old weapons,” as they refer to them.

Some (mostly those who’ve been in the wars for a long time) coat their weapons, crossbow bolts, and sometimes even their claws with a specially formulated poison called “the white and black death.” These poison-users are not casual killers but a distinct cult within ryven society. The feelings of other ryven toward them is complicated. They are admired for their prowess in battle and their ability to protect the pack, but at the same time, most ryven have a general unease about the use of poison as being somehow less than courageous.

Ryvens attack with surprise whenever possible. They’ve been known to burrow into ambush positions, then burst up out of the ground in a blast of rock and dirt when an enemy enters their killing zone.

As tribal folk, ryvens dig extensive burrows deep into hillsides and riverbanks. The largest, strongest members of a tribe invariably become its leaders, and the wiliest become its shamans. It is not uncommon to find more than one tribe sharing the same burrow complex. Each usually has its own, sometimes secret, entrances and living chambers, but all of the tunnels are interconnected for rapid movement and defense. Entrances and exits are well camouflaged so enemies and predators can’t easily find them. Although ryvens aren’t especially religious, they consider their shrines and temples to be the most important chambers in their warrens, so they are always guarded. In most cases, the temple doubles as a final redoubt in case the burrow is overrun.

Thanks to the efforts of their shamans, all ryven tribes count giant badgers among their friends. Sometimes giant badgers live in a warren alongside the ryvens; other times, they live nearby.

The favorite meals of ryvens include sheep, goat, deer, and snakes, but they aren’t above consuming the flesh of humanoid enemies. They consume massive quantities of meat, much more than one would expect for creature of their size.

Ryvens are primarily nocturnal, so most encounters with them occur at night. They have no difficulty hunting and fighting during the day; they just prefer nighttime.