The manticore is a true monster, with a leonine torso and legs, batlike wings,
a man's head, a tail tipped with iron spikes, and an appetite for human flesh.
The manticore stands 6 feet tall at the shoulder and measures 15 feet in
length. It has a 25-foot wingspan. Each section of the manticore closely resembles
the creature it imitates. The leonine torso has a tawny hide, the mane is a
lion's brown-black color, and the batlike wings are a dark brown with sparse hair.
All manticores have heads that resemble human males; the mane resembles a heavy
beard and long hair.
Combat: The manticore first fires a volley of 1-6 tail spikes (180 yard range as a
light crossbow). Each spike causes 1-6 points of damage. The manticore can fire
four such volleys each day (the spikes regrow quickly). Next, the manticore
closes with its prey and attacks with its front claws and sharp teeth. In an outdoor
setting, the manticore tries to stay in the air to minimize its chance of
being attacked. It is a clumsy flier, however, and cannot use its teeth in the air.
Habitat/Society: Manticores are found in any climate but prefer warm lands to cool ones. This
reflects the wide climate range of their favorite food, humans. A manticore's
territory may cover 20 or more square miles and includes at least one human
settlement. Such territories usually overlap with those of other manticores and
other man-eating predators like dragons.
Manticores mate for life. The male remains with the female during gestation
and hunts for her. Manticores bear one or two cubs which grow rapidly to
adulthood in five years. Cubs are born with 1 Hit Die and gain an additional one each
year. In their first year, cubs lack flying ability, but they are still small
enough for an adult to grasp in its forelegs. There is a 20% chance a
she-manticore's lair holds cubs under one year old. Cubs up to two years inflict one point
of damage per front paw and 1-2 points with their bite. Cubs 3-4 years old
inflict 1-2, 1-2, and 1-6 points of damage.
Manticore cubs can be caught and trained to assist evil humans. Such training
is difficult and dangerous, especially since domesticated adults have an 80%
chance of reverting to a wild state. Manticores will not allow themselves to be
used as mounts. Wild adults may voluntarily ally themselves with evil humans,
provided such allies can provide them with a steady, ample food supply.
Manticores normally eat their prey where they kill it. Males sometimes haul
slain prey back to their mates or drag still-living prey to their lairs for the
cubs to practice killing.
Manticores collect their victims' valuables for a variety of reasons,
including curiosity, emulation of other monsters who collect treasure, the man-scent on
the things, or because they know humans value the things and therefore might
come looking for them. Their lack of real hands prevents most manticores from
using what magical items fall into their possession. However, manticores that
have allied with evil humans may possess magical items designed specifically for
their use. Examples include magical collars or bracelets that are, in effect,
oversized magical rings.
Ecology: Manticores are wide-ranging carnivores that have successfully survived in
every region inhabited by humans, whether in the wilderness or underground. They
are nightmarish opponents but invaluable allies if conditions are right. A
manticore's pelt is a mark of the most powerful hunters and warriors. An intact,
cured manticore hide complete with wings is worth 10,000 gp.
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