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Written by Beorn Barnes
The griffins are monstrous beasts capable of flight with a man and his bow, plus a good portion of loot he may have acquired. A griffin is a large half bird half lion hybrid, with the head, beak, feet and claws, and wings of an eagle along with the body of a lion. Griffins naturally populate the northern mountains, but are in their greatest populations at the Ribs. They've hollow bones to allow for flight, but are no lesser on the predatory totem pole for it; the only truly competing predator in the Ribs are the Dragonkin, which annihilate griffins near their cities for their own safety. They are generally utilised by the der Whurlitz Griffin Riders, and possibly barbarian tribes. ==Physiology== A griffin is a creature with the body of a lion, and the head, wings, feet, and claws of an eagle. Like a bird, the griffin has hollow bones and strong shoulder muscles for sustaining flight. Your average griffin stands four feet (1.33m) high at the front shoulder and measures nine feet (3m) in length. The largest recorded griffin reached almost five feet (1.66m) in height and eleven feet (3.66m) in length. Griffin’s weigh from six hundred to seven hundred fifty pounds (270kg to 337.5kg) and can carry approximately one hundred seventy pounds of weight (76.5kg) on a thirty mile (48km) trip. Their wingspan is roughly 2.3 times their length. Griffins are very agile and strong. Due to their weight the griffin is a gliding creature, one that reduces its flapping to a minimum to conserve energy. In the air a griffin can reach great altitude and speed while gliding, all with lethal silence. If a griffin must flap to stay aloft, they cannot flap much longer than five minutes before returning to a sustained glide to rest. ==Threat Rating== Griffins, while quite agile and aggressive, aren't too resilient when it comes to taking damage. As their bones are hollow they are easier to break and sever, if you can manage to land a direct hit. Arrows are an easier way to kill the griffin, but you must hit its vitals or it is likely to survive. A griffin has been known to keep flying with its wing shot in the shoulder but it could only glide, not flap its wing. ==Feeding== Griffins eat only lightly, but they eat frequently. The griffin is also a strange combination of an omnivore with a carrion feeder, meaning that while they have no compunctions killing for food they're perfectly willing to eat it as it rots. As an omnivore they are capable of existing for some time on grain and some berries, but only for a month or two at a time. A griffin requires adequate meat for health more than any other food, and the easiest sign of a lack of meat is that the feathers will molt and be of poor quality. It is best to feed meat and grain together, if meat rations must be reduced. ==Temperament== The griffin is among the Ribs’ most potent predator and it has the attitude of such. A wild griffin is fiercely independent and is vicious when threatened. Griffins are notoriously aggressive and territorial, known to require almost twenty square miles of territory for a single pair. It is known that griffins are virtually impossible to tame except when raised from a hatchling state. Even then these are still half wild beasts, submissive and responsive to their handler under most situations. Unlike a dog who might wonder why it got hurt by its master, a griffin-handler would likely be slain if it ever caused its griffin pain—the only exception known being in the tending of wounds. ==Intelligence== Griffin are deviously clever, for an animal, and more than capable of learning up to forty two-syllable commands. Like almost all animals they are adept at reading body language, and draw nearly as much inference from the body language of their handler and others as they do from vocal commands. Griffin are also something different in that they cannot be transferred between handlers. A griffin learns to trust only one person and to accept training and correction from this one person, but once that person dies instinct then takes over and the griffin becomes feral. ==The Senses== Griffins have amazing eyesight and are able to pinpoint a goat at one mile in altitude. If they knew the breeds of the goats they wanted they could even identify the type of goat from that height. However, griffins have absolutely no night vision and so cannot fly at night. Secondary senses are its senses of hearing and smell, the weakest being smell. Mating Griffins are incapable of having offspring more than once every three years; rarely are as many as two soccer ball-sized eggs laid. Incubation periods of the egg last from six to seven months. Like some birds of prey, the griffin has its own mating dance. The griffin spar for several minutes in air, then spar during wild acrobatic manoeuvres such as barrel rolls and inverse loops. The entire dance could last for as many as five minutes and is performed at absolute top speed. While showy and very risky, there is no intent behind the dance except both mates just showing off. ==Lifespan== * 0-1 Years: Infancy. * 2-8 Years: Youngster, early flight. * 9-11 Years: Preadolescence, stabilized flight with light loads. * 12-13 Years: Adolescence, finalizing growth and strength increases. * 14-45 Years: Adulthood * 46-70 Years: Old age; cannot carry more than 1 passenger after 65 years. * 71+ Years: Dead.