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In the north of Thistleland the Moss Drake tends to it's garden. fearsome, dangerous and quick to anger, perhaps this beast is not just alone, but also lonely...

Moss Drake

Moss drakes are solitary creatures that inhabit the north-west rock crag filled barren rocky region of Thistleland. Physically intimidating, Moss Drakes are large quadraped creatures resembling wingless dragons with scaled skin and long shaggy green fur on their mane, which grows along their back from their head down to the tip of their tail.

Standing up to twenty to twenty five feet tall, Moss Drakes have thick scales and thicker skin, rendering most traditional weapons ineffective against them. Through an unknown means, Moss Drakes appear immune to many types of magic. A Moss Drakes scaled skin is cream-white and rough looking, resembling limestone in colour. Their green manes colour grows from a deep and dark green at the base, to a bleached and finally grey colouring at the tip of the shaggy fur. The Moss Drakes mane is very course, with thick fur strands. Moss drakes paws are large with strong but blunt claws. They often have protruding snaggle teeth on their snouts.

Despite their intimidating looks, Moss Drakes are strictly herbivores, consuming moss which they grow in crude moss gardens outside their cave. To create such a moss garden in the rocky wastes they will use their Moss Drakes breath, a highly specialised type of liquid acid they spit out in a stream which is evolved to melt inorganic materials rapidly yet leave any organic item unharmed, and spit their acids on a patch outside their cave home. When a suitable area has a covering of this acid it will melt away leaving a type of slurry that the Moss Drake proceeds to rub an amount of moss into. The Moss will then grow over the next year or two, filling the now nutrient-rich rock patch, which the Moss Drake will then gather up with it's large paws and consume, messily. Each Moss Drake will have several moss gardens outside it's cave to ensure a steady supply of food.

The Moss Drake has a specialised way of processing the moss it consumes. As well as extracting nutrients from the relatively energy-poor diet of Moss, their digestion process will strip the chlorophyll from the moss and absorb the chemical directly into the Drakes body. This is then added to the base of the Moss Drakes fur on their pelt, giving the Moss Drake it's distinctive green mane. The reason for this process is energy: While the Chlorophyll will eventually break down, producing an affect looking akin of bleaching as the mane grows longer, it will produce energy for the Moss Drake while in the sun. For this reason Moss Drakes are known to lounge out in the warm sun for long periods. Due to the gradual breakdown of Chlorophyll in it's mane, the Moss Drake will need to regularly harvest it's moss gardens for nutrients and moss.

Due to their apparent resistant to many types of magic, the Mages have insisted that The Adventure Guild place a permanent nominal bounty on any and all Moss Drakes, though due to their intimidating abilities, size and strength, such bounties are rarely claimed. Moss Drakes have been known to use their acid breath against Adventurers with impunity, rapidly melting their weapons, armor and equipment, before snatching up the poor hapless victim in their jaws and swallowing them whole.

Being eaten by a Moss Drake, while expensive due to the loss of weapons, armor, equipment and dignity, is usually not a cause for much concern. Their stomachs are not designed to digest meat and as such pose very little danger to victims. The moss that a Moss Drake eats also lines their stomach, providing a soft and generally comfortable place to rest while you have been eaten, as well as providing a measure of replenished air which can keep the stomach habitable.

While intimidating and quick to react, Moss Drakes are not offensive in nature. They are highly defensive animals, being highly protective of their moss gardens which they will generally not permit other creatures to approach. They are also slow to trust anything new that they encounter and will generally react to anything they do not appreciate by eating it.

To a Moss Drake the act of eating a victim, be it attacking Adventurers or unfortunate Fennec Wolf that approached it's moss garden, is the equivalent of a non-harmful deterrent, mixed with a sentiment of putting the victim in a "time out". They will typically spit out the victim later, whenever they can be bothered.

While generally considered difficult, it is possible for people to peacefully encounter a Moss Drake, and even befriend them over time. There are tales of people in some Thistleland villages of the occasional person who spends great amounts of their time with a nearby Moss Drake, and it has been reported the friendships are genuine and deep. It has also been reported that Moss Drakes will typically eat such people often for even small teasing, especially if the person tells bad jokes.

People who have known Moss Drakes typically refer to them as "loveable grumps".

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