Thursday 23 March 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #82: Striped Hyena Lore

 Four hexes southwest, one northwest of Alakran.


This population of hyenas that prowls the east Wahattu desert belongs to the striped species rather than the spotted species found across the Scarp. With their crest of back hair and pointy ears, stripies are a whole different story than spotties. Their social groups are only 2d4 strong, they don't have the counterproductive issues with reproducing that spotteds do, they are exclusively scavengers. If one is brought exactly to 1 or 0 hp, it feigns death like an opossum. What's more, the males can spray a vile scent from their anus like a skunk.

Not the Witch's Steed: India's Striped Hyena | RoundGlass |Sustain 

And they have a weird and fearful reputation among humans for being (1) ridden by witches, (2) robbing graves, (3) casting evil spells, and (4) having body parts that make powerful protective and aphrodisiac talismans. Some believe that (5) their bite turns bones to jelly. And if (6) were-hyenas exist, they're bound to be one of these. Worse, 1/3 of encounters with the striped hyenas from this hex are with a loner that actually has one of these powers or traits (roll d6 for which one).

The nocturnal animal digs dens for a lair. One further belief about them deserves comment (from Wikipedia):

In Kandahar, hunters locally called payloch (naked foot) hunt striped hyenas by entering their dens naked with a noose in hand. When the hyena is cornered at the end of its lair, the hunter murmurs the magic formula "turn into dust, turn into stone," which causes the animal to enter a hypnotic state of total submission, by which point the hunter can slip a noose over its forelegs and, finally, drag it out of the cave. A similar method was once practised by Mesopotamian Arab hunters, who would enter hyena dens and "flatter" the animal, which they believed could understand Arabic. The hunter would murmur "You are very nice and pretty and quite like a lion; indeed, you are a lion". The hyena would then allow the hunter to place a noose around its neck and pose no resistance on being dragged out of its lair.

These methods are known in the folklore of Gesshed, the Dhuga Hills, and Targatana, and there is a 25% chance that each of the formulae will actually work -- although it will certainly work if the hyena in question is one of the magic ones.

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