Sunday 12 February 2023

Hex Crawl 23 # 43: Hyenas of the Plains

 Three hexes northeast, one southeast of Alakran.


This TED article by Lucy Cooke recapitulates in graphic detail the sexual and reproductive lives of hyenas, painful for the female and humiliating for the male. Well, these unpleasant facts are also part of Mittellus gnoll lore, but it's the other facts about spotted hyenas that apply to this large, 50-strong pack of the animals which patrols the region.

The species aren't scavengers -- that honor belongs, in this region, to the jackals of hex #42. Spotted hyenas are instead fiendishly intelligent and social, scouting in small groups but joining for larger purposes. They revel in the hunt, rivals of lions, using dirty tactics to bring down prey. The neighboring gnoll tribes have each recruited a dozen or so of the beasts to their side. Somehow, being sighted even by the wild hyenas seems to bring the attention of the nearest gnolls.

The nearby road could not have tolerated such a peril in peaceful times. Undoubtedly, this huge horde of unwholesome cackling and hooting beasts is just as much a part of the chaotic horde that swept across Dulsharna, as the matriarchal gnoll tribes who call their four-footed kin "Little Mothers".

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